India draws a blank at Cyber Lions: what’s the reason?

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This year, India drew a blank at Cannes in the Cyber category. While we had a pretty good run with 23 metals thus far, the lack of even a single metal in Cyber is disappointing. A look at the winners – be it the Grand Prix, Gold or any other metal, it shows that when in comes to Digital/Interactive, we perhaps need a lot of catching up to do.

I feel that most online/digital work is still caught up in the 2D-animated Bollywood spoof. ‘Let’s create a viral campaign’ is also a common phrase when planning a ‘surround’ campaign. But, hello? Viral campaigns don’t get created, they happen. If consumers find it interesting, they will share it irrespective of whether it was designed or engineered to be shared. So in the process of trying to engineer this ‘would-be popular’ stuff we may end up creating stuff that falls into a stereotype: “hey, that ‘Daddu ki Amanant’ worked I think, so let’s do something like that’ syndrome”.


Most of the work that picked up metals in the Cyber category were truly interactive. Some used more than one medium, like the Fiat Eco Drive (which won a Grand Prix) campaign. The Eco Drive idea was truly exceptional because it combined the PC, car and the online medium but made it all so simple. Others like Heinz’s ‘Talk to the plants‘, which won a Silver, deserve a metal for the sheer audacity of the idea.

When it comes to plain-vanilla stuff like web banners, it is a great mix of interactive and rich media. The Apple editorial banner or even the simpler one for Pringles are good examples of using the medium well. Check out the fun Pringles banner (which won a Gold).

In India the road blocks to outstanding, global-standard digital work could be: relatively small numbers of consumers with access to the internet, thus making it an ‘also-ran’ medium for most clients; (b) advertising agencies’ creative talent still not very comfortable with the demands of a new medium and seeing at as an ‘adaptation’ medium. What say? Better luck next year?

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