26 May 2024 09:29

Advertising & Marketing

Learning from the Jury at Cannes Lions 2018 – Alok Gadkar, ECD and GM, Classic Partnership Advertising

At the recently concluded 65th Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Mediavataar MENA caught up with Alok Gadkar, executive creative director and general manager at the Dubai based, Classic Partnership Advertising.

This year Alok was part of the carefully selected jury that reviewed entries and decided the winners in the category for Health & Wellness Lions. We spoke to this much awarded ad man, who has six Cannes Lions under his belt and a collection of accolades from D&AD, D&AD Impact, One Show, Clio, The Global Awards, Dubai Lynx, Mena Cristal, Abby and AAAi Awards.  He has also been on the grand Jury for the New York Festival, Global Awards and KYIV Festival, among others.  Alok shared insights from the Cannes Lions jury room, and especially touched upon creativity in the MENA region.

On being a juror:

The Health and Wellness category was challenging, but a very enriching one to judge. This is one category that is not medium specific but sector specific. You get to see a great spread of work in a wide range of mediums that comprise print, direct, films, Public Relations, digital and others. The areas covered are also vast and include right from organ donation and personal hygiene to animal health. 

Looking at about 1482 entries, narrowing them down to 800, selecting 150 shortlists and finally awarding 39 Lions was an exciting experience.

This year the entries displayed a strong influence of digital and the introduction of apps in the areas of health and wellness. Crowd sourcing, creation of user experiences and PR led campaigns also created huge impact.  The entries ranged from a 45-minute film Corazon, to promote organ donation and Sip Safe, a wrist band that helps you know if your drink has been spiked and Blink to Speak, the world’s first eye language for people paralysed due to illnesses like ALS. 

His personal favourites at the festival this year:

The Nest Address. The clever use of the smart phone by Romania’s energy company, Enel, to protect storks nesting on their power lines from electrocution. 


The Noon Assembly.  McCann Health’s initiative for Kwality Ltd to address Vitamin D deficiency in Indian children by shifting their assembly timings from early morning to around noon.

Sip Safe.  A wristband designed by Y&R Melbourne in partnership with Monash University to test for drinks that have been spiked with drugs. 


His personal favourites from the MENA region:

Highway Gallery. A billboard campaign from TBWARAAD to provide a first-look of the Louvre at Abu Dhabi to car drivers along the Dubai to Abu Dhabi route. 


One Poster for Peace: Posters created by Y&R Dubai that are a unique blend of common art forms from both Christianity and Islam to communicate their message that “there’s so much more that unites us than sets us apart.”


RX sticker – Prescription Stickers designed by The Classic Partnership Advertising Dubai, for Dubai Health Authority to help the blue-collared workforce in Dubai understand medication dosage prescribed by doctors.  


Tips for winning at Cannes Lions:

•The jury is looking for powerful ideas. Ideas that are life changing and actually made a difference. Please consider this important criterion before applying. And see your idea right through. Let the entry tell the complete story – right from the aim of the campaign to the results, without missing any key points

•Decide the relevant category where your entry fits and enter only there.  People applying the same work in various categories is a big waste of money and ends up irritating the jury

•Watch out for the basic hygiene in your entries.  This entails definitely No Typos. That is a big turn off.  Play suitable background music – one that is appropriate with your entry and does not appear jarring. Provide the right supporting material especially the right images. Don’t forget to send the web link. Submit physical pieces wherever required. Let the jury see your creation instead of just imagining it. 

The creative scenario in MENA

These are exciting times for creativity in the MENA region. The increase in competition is leading to brands becoming more demanding. Mobile commerce is changing consumer patterns in a big way. The lines between online and physical are getting blurred. Servicing retail has become challenging. Getting people into retail is now becoming difficult. This stimulating scenario is driving creativity in the region and providing an impetus for us to produce more original work.  

Our clients are also changing.  Their minds are now open to new non-traditional ideas and they are becoming brave enough to buy into them.  This is a game changing development. Being non-traditional is benefiting our clients and resulting in creatives being pushed. We are therefore seeing great work coming from the region.

Another noteworthy development is the increase in PR led campaigns coming from the region.

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