COLVYN J Harris, chief executive officer of JWT, South Asia, is a happy man. His agency has won eight Lions at the just concluded annual Cannes Festival of Creativity, ahead of contenders such as McCann Erickson and Ogilvy & Mather (O&M) which have won seven and six Lions respectively. While Lions are always coveted, what makes Harris all the more happy is that he has managed to silence his detractors. “Cannes is a global forum where one’s work is pitted against the best in the world. And all the agencies that did not participate at Goafest, participated here. What does it show? I think if they had participated in Goafest, there would not have been a different result. We did well at Goafest and we did well at Cannes. And we are delighted,” he says.
In May this year when advertising agency JWT India walked away with the maximum number of metals — 40 — at the Goafest — a Grand Prix, five golds, 13 silvers and 21 bronzes—there were many who said it was of no consequence. Purportedly, it was no big deal winning 40 metals when the biggies of the Indian advertising industry— Lowe Lintas, O&M, Creativeland Asia, McCann Worldgroup, BBDO, Grey and Leo Burnett—had decided ‘not to participate’ in the seventh edition of this creative celebration. But when in June, JWT did an encore at Cannes — the world’s biggest ad fest where it was pitted against the best creative works from around the world— picking up as many as eight Lions, seven of which it got for its ‘Making every yard count’ campaign for sports footwear and accessories maker Nike, it had proved its creative credentials. Its creative prowess could no longer be denied. As Kiran Khalap, co-founder, Chlorophyll, a Mumbai-based brand and communications consultancy, noted, the agency “had understood the marketing needs of its clients”.
“For a long time, creativity and effectiveness appeared to be parallel lifelines for different ad agencies, even though some agencies like BBH in the UK topped both charts,” explains Khalap. Then, the Cannes awards owners did something clever: They tracked the share prices of the winners of Cannes awards. Apparently, the share price of the winner clients of the year at Cannes for the past 10 years has been the highest when the clients have been producing their most creative work. “In simple words it means when advertising is meant to