dentsu India Team

This column was originally published at EXCHANGE4MEDIA.

The second-best thing about Cannes trip was ‘people’

Guest Column: Amit Wadhwa, CEO, Dentsu Creative India, shares memories of some interesting encounters with people he had at the Festival of Creativity last month

I consider meeting some interesting people during the Cannes Lions 2022 trip to be the second greatest thing for obvious reasons. Winning, and winning it big along with being the first-ever Indian agency to secure the ‘Agency of the Year’ title, was certainly the greatest high and nothing will ever compare. Everything else is a distant second, third, fourth, etc. Also, the fact that I was travelling out of India for the first time in a long period, added to the excitement of this journey. For me, the best thing about travel is meeting different people, and thus, also my second favourite memory of our trip. Here are a few that I remember vividly, for different reasons:

The landlord: We reached Cannes after a good run of wins at another award function in Mumbai; and so, we were anticipating a relaxed Sunday evening, as the festival would kick off the next day. However, our apartment was anything but a cozy abode. To our surprise, there was no AC in the bedroom. When we called the landlord in a panic, he was totally unshaken and rather than figuring a solution, gave me the advice of my life – “Sir, you should never sleep with the AC on, you will catch a cold.” Cannes mein mummy ki yaad dila dee. 

The sixty-something young digital enthusiast: During the much-awaited India party at Cannes, I was introduced to this elderly gentleman, who was most likely in his mid-sixties. He was definitely much younger in his passion, and when I heard about how he ended up here, it left me amazed and extremely inspired. He was from a Kolkata-based agency that had entered a Facebook/Meta contest for some thumb-stopper videos. Out of all the entries submitted (most of them by some really young creative writers), his entry was the one that was selected. While we keep talking about new-age talent for the new-age medium, there is no age to learn and adapt. The moral of the story is - Keep Reinventing Amit!! 

A friend from Pakistan: At the end of the third day of the festival, a young gentleman approached us and not just congratulated us, but also thanked us. We were naturally curious about him thanking us. Upon asking him, he introduced himself as Hamza who was visiting the festival from Pakistan. His agency had won big last year at Cannes with two golds and some more metals, but unfortunately, this year had not been as rewarding. But he was really happy to see agencies from Asia doing well, particularly Dentsu Creative India, which had won two Grand Prix at the time. He expressed his admiration for the idea and the fact that it originated in OUR area. His words, feelings, and hug were all genuine, and they left us all with a beautiful feeling. 

Mexican anchor: On day four, as we were leaving the awards show, we met this very interesting-looking Mexican TV anchor (with a lovely blue-coloured beard - this is of zero significance), who was recording a show. He congratulated the team and asked us about the idea. When we shared the idea, he was so moved by it that for the next 5 minutes he took over the role of a participant in the interview. He began talking about a Mexican artefact that was taken over to Sweden (cannot authenticate the claim here) and how it should be returned to Mexico. That to me is the power of an idea. 

Indians @Cannes: Last but certainly not least, as strange as it may sound, it is always great to meet people from your country whenever you travel outside. The ones you meet in Cannes are extremely special because they are friends from different agencies who we don't get to see very frequently. Spending some time together, exchanging thoughts & ideas and most importantly, cheering for each other just makes meeting them so much more fun. 

These are only a handful of the people I met on my trip; there were many more, but I'll save that for when we meet in person.