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In the ever-evolving world of Indian advertising, campaigns that capture our attention and leave a lasting impact are those that go beyond the familiar.  These are the campaigns that tap into the spheres of technology, creativity, and social responsibility to create experiences that resonate with audiences on a deeper level. 

In this article, we will delve into three intriguing campaigns: Shahrukh - My Ad for Cadbury campaign f by Ogilvy India, Airtel’s 175 replayed campaign by Leo Burnett and Machine-Gun Mouth by the DDB Mudra Group.

Each campaign uniquely leverages four elements - technology, history, creativity and social responsibility. Let's delve deeper into the campaigns to further explore these connections:

Airtel’s 175 replayed by Leo Burnett

The campaign was awarded the ‘Cannes Gold Lion’ prize at the Cannes Lion Festival of Creativity. The campaign by Leo Burnett highlighted the technological capability of Airtel’s 5G internet to reproduce an unrecorded event in Indian cricket history. Former Indian captain Kapil Dev’s 175 not-out innings, was crucial to lead the Indian team into the World Cup final of 1983.   However, this innings was never captured on television due to a strike by BBC workers at that time.

The experiential campaign involved creating a hologram of Kapil Dev playing the innings, drawing from memories and narrations by Kapil Dev and others who played the match.  The hologram was streamed via 5G, at a theatre-like venue to an audience who had been invited to witness the legendary innings. This vivid demonstration of the power of 5G to offer a next-generation viewing experience for cricket & sport on the phone great impact because it was done not on regular matches but on a unique event and streaming experience.

By combining technological prowess with an emotional storytelling of India’s lost cricketing history and its restoration, the Airtel brand integrates itself into the story of India. And thus, it also garners a sense of loyalty from consumers by positioning itself as a rooted Indian brand, which is also tech-savvy and creative.

Cadbury’s Shahrukh Khan My AD by Ogilvy India

Ogilvy India took home the most prestigious title - Grand Prix in the Creative Effectiveness Lions for their campaign - Shah Rukh Khan My AD for Cadbury Celebrations.

The campaign leverages the festive spirit as we encounter a heartwarming ad campaign video by Cadbury aimed at supporting local retailers during Diwali, the festival of lights. We already know that chocolates see a big surge in sales during the festive season, and festive seasons are usually a time of charitable acts of kindness as well; the positioning of the campaign during the Diwali season was very well timed.

The campaign showed us the problem of small business owners who were still hurting from the destructive impact of the pandemic and were finding it difficult to recover.

It highlights that while big brands have the marketing budget to feature A-list stars, small businesses find themselves unable to compete in the market. Thus, Cadbury came up with a brilliant solution - to make Shahrukh Khan, India’s biggest film superstar, the face of all these small businesses.

By using machine learning to recreate Shahrukh Khan’s face and voice, a lot of these small businesses could make a video using Shahrukh’s likeness to take their shop’s names and market their shops on various social media platforms like Whatsapp.

This campaign ticked all the boxes. As it not only helped small business owners in their marketing but also integrated Cadbury India’s brand into the marketing. The video implies that the local shop will certainly have Cadbury’s products, and it also makes for a good PR campaign for Cadbury as it makes it seem like an altruistic brand that is helping businesses recover in this festive season.

The campaign was a win-win for everyone, including Ogilvy India and even Shahrukh Khan’s personal brand.

Machine-Gun Mouth by DDB Mudra Group:

DDB Mudra group got their hands on a bronze lion for their campaign ‘Machine-Gun Mouth’ for Battleground Mobile India in the Entertainment Lions-Gaming category. The campaign features a young kid simulating machine gun noises from his mouth while not holding any mobile device. He disturbs everyone as he is constantly making the noises, while people, especially the elderly, just stare at him in shock.

The campaign highlights just how much disruption a constantly gaming young person can cause to a household; he is constantly disengaged with the rest of the world and does not fit in with the rest of the family while they are partaking in family-bonding activities such as going on a road trip or playing carrom together. However, the machine gun mouth comes to a pause when his mother picks up her phone, a voiceover is heard, which introduces Battlegrounds Mobile India and lists out the interesting feature - OTP-controlled gaming, with up to a 3-hour limit. Implying that parental control can be enforced on children using OTP, the campaign introduces the campaign of responsible gaming.

It’s a smart campaign by the DDB Mudra group as it highlights the disruptive and negative effects of gaming. However, it subverts all of them by introducing the OTP -controlled feature of the app, and thus making Battlegrounds Mobile India appear as a responsible gaming platform as compared to the rest. The campaign thus reminds individuals to strike a balance between their digital lives and the real world.

Actionable Insights:

As we navigate the digital campaign landscape in this year’s Cannes Lions, we encounter campaigns that offer diverse insights and perspectives. From technology-driven campaigns by Cadbury featuring Shahrukh Khan to creative advertising efforts such as "Machine-Gun Mouth" for Battlegrounds Mobile India, each campaign explores different facets of contemporary India - it brings to the fore, an India that can be indulgent and escapist (campaigns by Battlegrounds and Airtel) and an India that is struggling and fighting with its indomitable spirit (campaign by Cadbury).

Both Indias,  exist at the same time, albeit in different spaces. The bridging gap, however, can be technology as it can provide solutions to the vast Indian population, however big or small their problems might be. This year’s campaigns and performance of India at Cannes Lions echo that sentiment, we saw our advertising agencies win big and how!

The key to the winning campaigns, however, was the integration of technology with emotional storytelling, not just around the brand but in India itself. By weaving the brand story with the story of India, using the vehicle of technology, our creative agencies have shown us the path to a brighter future, not just that of Indian advertising but of India itself.