India missing from Leo Burnett's Cannes Predictions 2003

MUMBAI: It is that time of the year when ad and creative people from across the globe wait to see if their sweat and blood has been rewarded! The 50th anniversary of the Cannes Lions festival takes place from 15-21 June. For the third time ad agency Leo Burnett (India) launched its predictions for the same.

At a media briefing last evening, the final shortlisted 50 television commercials (TVCs) were aired. The Leo Burnett creative resources group in Chicago, which is headed by Donald Gunn, made the choices. Those in attendance had to mark the 20 spots that they felt were most likely to be awarded a Lion by the Cannes jury. The Grand Prix gets 50 points while the gold, silver and bronze get 30,20 and 10 points respectively.

It is interesting to note that India is absent from the list of TVCs that were finally selected - there were four entries from Asia. Last year, one Indian entry was present in the list.

Leo Burnett (India) president and CEO Arvind Sharma added that while India has a chance of scoring wins in the print section, on the television front things are pretty gloomy. He said: "Having said that our culture certainly had a presence in a few of the TVCs like Hindustani classical music playing in an Indian restaurant in Britain, India with its creative talent and pool of ideas, was in a position to stake its claim for the Grand Prix."

Speaking to, Sharma admitted that on account of the prevailing unfavourable economic conditions the quality of the commercials were a notch below what was seen last year. "Clients cutting back on ad spend will adversely affect product quality," he added.

The quality of the competition may have gone down but it's importance holds firm. After all winners are used as case studies by agencies across the globe for next year's creatives.

Media experts have informed that the Cannes advertising festival may not be hit to the same extent as the film festival was. This is because the former is not so much of a market - it is more of an evaluation and testing ground for content that has been successfully tried and tested. Film distributors on the other hand are affected by the prevailing environment sentiment while making choices of what to pick and reject.

Coming back to the Leo Burnett chosen TVCs a few of them registered strongly. The Nike ad managed to create a riveting atmosphere by showing sportstars like defending Wimbledon champion Leytonn Hewitt facing the moment of truth before the big action. The TVC was titled Before. In Hewitt's case that would be racket preparation to receive serve.

The Fedex ad Castaway extended the theme from the Tom Hanks film, which recently aired on Star Movies. In the ad the man completes the delivery after being marooned for five years. The joke is that the package contains a satellite phone, a fishing rod, which he could have used to have gotten out sooner.

The message of loyalty to clients in the face of the most adverse of situations is thus put through. Matsidaira Real Estate managed to make the unusual connection between property and the elitist sport of golf. A man's swing is always compact because the space in his home that he uses for practice is too small.

On the other hand for the Heineken ad Holiday Party the brand connect is not apparent. It wishes people who were not naughty this year Happy Holiday's to the tune of Frank Sinatra's feel good tune Let It Snow. What paper shredding resembling snow has to do with booze is anyone's guess. It would have made more sense if the ad had been made by an Enron rival.

The organisers of the festival have noted that despite worldwide events and the economic situation that has affected the advertising industry, this year's entries are only five per cent below last year. In all 17,251 entries were received.

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