Nisha Qureshi

How Dentsu’s ‘Teeka’ campaign made a mark at Cannes Lions 2023

The agency has bagged three bronze metals at Cannes Lions 2023 with the campaign.

2022 was a flagship year for Dentsu Creative India, it was the ‘Agency of the year’. It bagged a Titanium lion for the 'Unfiltered History Tour'. It also bagged a Grand Prix, a Gold, 4 Silvers and 3 Bronze metals. 

This year, the agency has had a decent run. It bagged 2 bronze metals for Mortien’s ‘Suraksha Ka Teeka’ campaign and another bronze for Vedantu’s ‘The everything book campaign’.

Speaking about the agency’s performance this year, Aalap Desai, CCO, Dentsu Creative India says the agency’s performance has been satisfactory.

“Dentsu had a dream run last year. Hardly anyone in the world has had that in two years in a row. I think our haul was decent. Every piece we have entered was recognised and acknowledged and instead of one piece, we demonstrated a wider range of pieces. We were also consistent and maybe that's got us at number 3 on the Cannes Lions tally this year,” says Desai. 

The campaign: ‘Suraksha Ka Teeka’ was an initiative to fight against malaria in Bareilly. The campaign/ awareness program aims at leveraging the Indian practice of applying ‘kala teeka’ on the foreheads of toddlers and babies. The practice has been revamped as ‘Suraksha Ka Teeka’  and as a part of the campaign. For the campaign the agency distributed specially manufactured ‘teekas’ in the houses of Bareilly. These ‘teekas’ will act as a repellent and save the young ones from mosquitoes.

As per Desai what clicked with the jury about the campaign was the cultural context of the piece and the simplicity by which it has been given a higher purpose. 

“It's simple and effective and has been done with a wonderful client that adds the scale to the idea.”

Explaining how the campaign went on floors Desai revealed that Dentsu used to have a relationship with Reckeitt and Mortein on the media side. It was then that they relaised that the brand is really passionate about the ‘Malaria No more initiative’- (A UN backed initiative against Malaria). 

“We got talking and soon a brief for the eradication of malaria evolved. We presented the idea and Saurabh Jain, (Regional Marketing Director, Hygiene, Reckitt- South Asia) approved it instantly. He and his team are probably the best thing that happened to the idea. For the next one year, we meticulously created the product and launched it in the most badly hit part in India, Bareilly, with an awareness campaign.”

Desai was also one one of the jury members for Cannes Lions 2023. Asked how he looks at the Indian contingent’s run at Cannes Lions this year, he says, he sees a few trends emerging.

“Metaverse has been replaced with AI and what all it can do. Purpose driven work with just a purpose is not enough. It is now important to show what we have achieved instead of what we have done. Also, India and its conversation are looked at with a lot of interest.”

“After last year's performance, expectations are natural but I feel they are not justified. Lightning doesn't strike twice. This year the haul has been good and we should be proud of the fact that we have not disappeared but have kept the momentum going for another year. We should not be comparing last year to this one but we should be applauding the consistency. It's not easy to achieve.” 

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