As ad folk networked alongside the azure blue Mediterranean sea, sunny beaches and glamorous yachts, the talk that dominated the festival of creativity this year was all about AI, Olympics and the role of humour in ads. One of the highpoints for the guests networking over rosé bottles was when the Olympic torch cut through the event. Noticeably, this year there was a big presence of digital creators too.  

India disappoints

It was an underwhelming show from Indian ad agencies in the French Riviera. At the 71st edition of the Cannes Lions International Festival of creativity, Indian agencies finished with a total of 18 metals – far less than its 2022 and 2023 haul. In 2022 India had roared with an impressive haul of 47, including two Titanium Lions. In 2023, India bagged 25 Lions.

This edition has seen the lowest pickings for India since 2019.

The winning agencies from India were Leo Burnett (5), Ogilvy (4), McCann Worldwide (3), VML (2), Early Man Films/Kundarkur Studio (2), FCB Kinnect (1), Tgthr (1)

Other than the disappointment, a controversy over credit marred one of the wins – the Jindal Steel – Steel for India campaign that bagged a Silver and a Bronze Lion in the Film Craft category. Created by Early Man Films, there has been a dispute over creative ideation with Wieden+Kennedy India raising the issue.

Trends ahead

Two trends that emerged from Cannes Lions 2024 are that humour and sports will be seen more in advertising. The powers that be have added a humour category in the Cultural and Contexts section to celebrate comedy in branded communications. This should give an impetus to brands to lighten up and spread more laughter.

Sports and advertising have always had a big connect but at Cannes with the buzz of the Olympics in Paris ahead and soccer body FIFA making its presence felt with its beach build out, the sense is that it is going to become bigger.