Harsh Shah

Cannes Lions 2022 Blog: Day 1(01) in creativity

Harsh Shah, managing partner, dentsu Webchutney, on his learnings from Day 1 at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

While writing this Day one recap of the Cannes Lions 2022, It's been hard to pick one moment to start this note with - There are so many highlights, emotional moments and some moments that have left me speechless with pride.

Harsh Shah
Harsh Shah

Then it made sense to do it from the moment that pretty much sums up my one-and-a-half decade-long advertising career. ( A career I voluntarily chose, ditching a relatively comfortable software developer's life. ) The moment that gave meaning to the 'I want the world to see my work' thought was when I jumped into this relentlessly crazy advertising world. THE GRAND PRIX!

The Grand Prix for the Unfiltered History Tour. The walk of fame, the weight of the metal that justifies all the hard work that 100+ people put in, creates a compelling piece of work that defies boundaries and appeals to everyone, irrespective of where you are.

It's a feeling everyone should strive for and experience once in their lives. A feeling inspired a few university students we met at the festival to have hope and keep producing good work.

Day one at Cannes summarises every emotion one can feel rather elegantly. When Nike talks about dance, the expression and athleticism come with it. The fact that sports have never been more critical when it comes to impacting the world's geopolitical situation, to just individuals finding their voice and reason for being.

Braveheart creatives from Ukraine opened themselves to the world. The mid-day session called 'Creativity under bombs' left me angry, sad and motivated simultaneously. When Jamala – a top Ukrainian singer- says, 'there is no music left in me,'; it makes you so angry, it makes you want to act, and that's when it hits you – creativity can make the world a better place. All it takes is the heart to do it.

Often, we are constrained by budgets and spend weeks trying to negotiate for that extra dime. But when Pasha Vrzheshch said, 'Good, we didn't have any budget to do media. That meant we were not restricted by budget'; it opened our eyes to possibilities beyond any constraints or barriers we put on ourselves.

Coming back to where it all started was 'unapologetic creativity'. One of the year's best works – 'Better with Pepsi' beautifully deconstructed to teach us the basics of creativity – collaboration, cultural relevance and absolute transparency. A brand-agency 101 by Todd Kaplan and Luis Miguel Messianu.

If I were to sum up the day with all the lessons I have learnt, I would say – 'Be brave like Ukraine'. As so boldly put by President Volodymyr Zelensky, 'Power of creativity is bigger than the power of a nuclear state'.

Heading for an evening of celebration. Stay tuned for Day two.

(The guest author is managing partner at Dentsu Webchutney, digital creative agency from Dentsu Creative India.)

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