Do campaigns showing the country in a poor light and playing up to stereotypes tend to win more at Cannes?
Remember Lifebuoy's Gondappa film which won big at Cannes last year? Or even the others from 2014's metals tally - including 'Share my Dabba' and 'No Child Brides'. If one common thread could be pulled through them all, we would see that each of them showed our country in a poor or hungry, impoverished light.
Call it the Slumdog Millionaire syndrome (remember the movie which went on to win an Oscar and lot of international praise, even as it showed the underbelly of Mumbai?) or just a coincidence, the fact remains that most award winners from India, of late, have been the ones which have played up to the stereotypes of the country being backward, neglected and poor.
In turn, can it also be true that Indian agencies and brands are trying to portray India in a not-so-holy light just to get a better shot at the awards? Are we really that 'hungry for lions'?
National Creative Director, Lowe Lintas + Partners
While the chances of winning a lion if you play up to the stereotypes is not brighter, it is true that around 80 per cent of winners in the last decade have probably done that.
The expectations of playing back the images are not just limited to India. We expect campaigns from Ireland to be funny, we want to see more finesse and craft from Brazil etc. However, I don't see the same expectation when it comes to print.
What is more important, is the ripple effect it creates. You may have done some genuine work and won an award. This creates a cycle where agencies think that work on that pattern can get more awards.
Co-founder and CCO, Taproot
Fortunately or unfortunately India has lot more issues than the world has. And we have been doing public service advertising for years. Google did a Indo-Pak film. Though it is cliched, but it is the reality.
However, it is a task to make the international jury understand that this is a problem in India and therefore we are trying to find a solution. Ultimately the jury is awarding the creative idea and not the country.
Chairman and CCO, BBDO
Some of the recent campaigns that have won big at Cannes without showing 'underprivileged India' are ideas like Nike's 'Make Every Yard Count', and Gillette's 'Shave Sutra' and 'Women Against Lazy Stubble'.
But we've also seen big winners that look at the country's underdevelopment and find solutions to uplift it. These are prototypes for good. Recently, for the 'The Indian Confederation of NGOs' ( iCongo), we put out a lighthearted 'video appeal to the jury at Cannes Lions' - the film on YouTube urged the jury to be more conscious of some of these things. The film went viral instantly! The industry loved it. It's great when an industry laughs at itself.
Chief Creative Officer, Publicis South Asia
The few campaigns that can be accused of putting a lens on the uglier bits of the country are mostly of the public service variety. Since their job is to try to solve the wrongs in society, they will pull the curtain back from some unsavory truths.
Does that induce international juries to award the entries? Not quite. Good juries tend not to award the uniqueness of the problem, but the genius of the solution. So if you want hold up a lion plated in gold, you'd be much better off using the wrinkled bits of your brain to find a great idea rather than a new social problem.