Get a demo Do I subscribe? News sign-up
Print

Indian NGOs critical of adland

News, 05 May 2015

NEW DELHI: As the annual Cannes Lions 2015 come into view, the Indian Confederation of NGOs has hit out at the advertising industry's short-term focus on awards.

The organisation contends that there is a tendency for campaigns developed by agencies and brands to help disadvantaged people in India to come to an end around the same time as the advertising awards season finishes.

Accordingly, it has produced a short film aimed at Cannes Lions jury members, in which the voices of disadvantaged communities are heard, the common thread being that many initiatives - from adult literacy to children feeding programmes - only run between March and June.

An open letter to Terry Savage, CEO of Cannes Lions, says: "We spoke to many underprivileged beneficiaries and understood their obvious disappointment at the abrupt discontinuation of many wonderful initiatives, shortly after the ideas win a Lion. Or soon after they don't win one, for that matter."

Disappointment was perhaps too mild a description of the frustration of a man seeking to better himself by learning English and spending several months grappling with the alphabet from A to L, only for classes to be abruptly terminated.

"For every social injustice in this world, there's a copywriter and an art director who are determined to change it," the film's narrator says. "But why change the world for the better for only three months every year?"

The group's solution is not the obvious one of encouraging the relevant parties to extend their campaigns throughout the year, but instead to suggest that Savage increase the number of Cannes Lions festivals from one to four a year to boost the amount of cause-related work agencies undertake.

Mumbrella noted several recent examples of campaigns that might fit this analysis, including one that infused with iodine the bindi dots worn on the foreheads of women in India to help curb disease.

Data sourced from iCONGO, Mumbrella; additional content by Warc staff