Dentsu Webchutney Tops Cannes Lions from India (Again)

Déjà Vu—and then some from the week that saw digital creative define Indian advertising for the second year running

Dentsu Webchutney
4 min readJun 25, 2021

What a week it was for creativity at Cannes Lions. With the show back in action after 2 years, you can’t blame us for feeling a sense of déjà vu: in this year’s edition, we reaffirmed the journey we’ve been on for more than 20 years. It’s not un-Cannes-y, if you ask us (and excuse the pun in the same breath). 😋

If 2019 was a watershed moment for digital creative in India, 2021 has been a tsunami of confirmation bias of what the future of Indian creativity actually is. It can be innovative. It can be consistent. It can be relevant. And yes, it can signal a shift in how the world sees work coming out of our country and its diverse talent pool. We are lucky to herald it with 7 Lions and 20 shortlists, making it our best year ever at Cannes, leading the Indian agency tally once again.

Throughout the 5-day festival period, we were heartened to see coverage, and followed it closely. Chronologically, here’s how it went down:

Day 1

Frosé week” started with us rounding up a third of all shortlists, with cautious excitement on our showing. It’s the time of the week we see most action from traditional agencies, so securing 30% in categories digital is maturing in was incredible motivation for all.

Day one started with two shortlist announcements and ended with nine shortlists. Now here’s where it gets fun. Shortlists and wins come together in a firehose of information.

Day 2

“Among the eight shortlists, Dentsu Webchutney leads the tally with four shortlists — three in Digital Craft for “The 8-bit journo” campaign done for Vice Media and one for “The World’s Most Reported Trailer” for Thappad in Entertainment Lions category.” Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

What followed were results of day one’s shortlists, and this kicked off our own record-breaking run in 2021:

Day 3

Half way through, day 3 was a day of outcomes and even more shortlists for us.

While the reaction for India was “seemingly muted,” it was anything but on our office floors, when this bit of information met PANDEMONIUM across teams. If it wasn’t for data regulation, we’d share a dozen screenshots of our reactions. The foremost reaction, however, was for hitting 20 shortlists for the campaigns at Cannes!

Day 4

Okay, on day 4 we were officially out of a pair of hands to count shortlists on. So here’s one reaction we could share publicly on the wins with Ad and Media Insider, via Gautam Reghunath, CEO:

It’s right about now, the middle of Cannes Lions week, where it usually gets exciting for us at Webchutney. That’s because the categories up for awards during that time, and those that we’ve been lucky to win in recently reaffirms our point of view on where creativity is headed. The kind of work that has won in digital craft, creative e-commerce, mobile, social & influencer are true to the style of creativity that we want to champion and we’re so happy to be in such excellent company this year. And also the company of all the other wonderful Indian work that’s won from FCB, DDB, Ogilvy and others.

With a shortlist count of 20 in the bag, the jury was literally out on pending categories.

Soon, the vaunted news emerged: on the last day, the grand tally showed up on news media. 7 Cannes Lions 2021 for us, 4 Silver Lions and 3 Bronze Lions. Add the 13 other entries that achieved shortlists and we end the week with a whopping 50 points — our highest ever. Indian Television said it best: “Dentsu Webchutney emerges as the highest-scoring Indian agency for the second year in a row.”

A consistent performance over the course of this week cemented the consistency we’ve sought for years.

Here’s to chart topping success, yet again.

We might sound like a broken tape recorder while talking about the work itself, but a year that deserves to be in the record books needs a re-affirmation of the work that worked:

The 8-Bit Journo with VICE India

Total: 15 shortlists and 5 Lions

The World’s Most Reported Trailer with Trigger Happy VR

Total: 2 shortlists and 1 Lion

The Better Half Recipes with Swiggy Instamart

Total: Three shortlists and 1 Lion

In the true spirit of last year’s Wish We’d Done It, a couple of campaigns we thoroughly enjoyed from India at Cannes Lions 2021:

FCB Interface’s The Punishing Signal
DDB Mudra’s Project Free Period

A massive thank you to our people, past and present, our amazing clients who allow us to do what we love, our well-wishers at Dentsu International, and the jury at Cannes Lions that resulted in this outcome for Indian creativity.