“It took a lot of hard work to do this campaign. I think I aged a bit while de-aging Kapil Dev,” exclaims Dheeraj Sinha, CEO, Leo Burnett South Asia, ecstatic after winning the gold for Airtel 175 Replayed at Cannes Lions.
In the Brand Experience and Activation category at Cannes, four campaigns from India were shortlisted. Airtel 175 Replayed for Airtel by Leo Burnett, The Responsible Manhole for TVS Motors by Dentsu Creative, The Everything book for Vedantu by Dentsu Creative and Suraksha Teeka for Mortein by Dentsu Creative.
While EA Sports and Apple secured the Grand Prix in the category for putting the fictional AFC Richmond team from the TV show Ted Lasso into FIFA 2023 computer game, Indian entry Airtel 175 Replayed from Leo Burnett struck gold.
After the win, Dheeraj Sinha told businessline, “This is about giving India a part of its cultural (cricket) history that was lost. For the launch of future-led 5G services of Airtel, we used technology to recreate our past. We worked with Oscar-winning, post-production set up, DNEG, to de-age Kapil Dev. We recreated the stadium and the crowds of that time and mapped human data to recreate each of the shots that got played that day. By recreating Kapil Dev’s 175-run innings from 1983, we brought back our past to launch the future of technology. Because any technology is as useful as the human interaction it facilitates.”
Even the launch of the campaign was futuristic. As Sinha says, “This content was launched by Kapil Dev himself via his hologram for an audience of social personalities and influencers. What a way for people to get an experience of what future technology can enable.”
On the win, he says, “I am so glad that this project got massive recognition at the global stage such as Cannes Lions, a testimony that we are now creating world-class ideas for our brands from India.”