Cannes Lion of St. Mark award winner Piyush Pandey: ‘India has enough richness and energy to make an impact around the world’


The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity will honor brothers Piyush Pandey (executive chairman and creative director Ogilvy South Asia) and Prasoon Pandey (film director) with the Lion of St. Mark award at the 2018 festival.

The Lion of St. Mark award is given for the outstanding contribution to the creative industry award. This is the first time when the award will be conferred on two Indians. The Drum spoke with Piyush Pandey, who earlier won his first Cannes Lions awards with two Gold Lions for his work on an anti-smoking campaign in 2002, to find out what it means for him.

What is your reaction to winning? What does it mean for you?

We feel very honoured to have been bestowed this recognition. What it means, is that your work to date has been appreciated. But it also means that tomorrow is another day and you have to start from scratch and keep working hard.

What do you think it says about Indian creativity?

Indian creativity, because of the nature of the country, is sometimes different in its expression from developed countries. That the richness of this raw creativity has been recognised is likely to motivate a lot of young people to believe in India.

Where do you think India sits within the world from a creative standpoint now and how do you expect that to change? What can be done to better support creativity in India? What holds it back?

I think India stands noticed and respected by the world. I think in the future we will have to continue to do more of the same and try and universalise the Indian idiom. I don’t think anything holds back India in its creativity. If at all there is something, it is our mindset and our level of confidence. I believe that the youth of India is a very confident lot and they will be difficult to hold back.

How do award wins support growth in markets like India? Does it boost the agency/budgets?

Awards help you get respect and not necessarily new business or an increase in budgets. It is the impact of the work in the marketplace that helps business.

What do you say to people who think that campaigns win due to a ‘slumdog effect’? And parallel to this, we are actually seeing a lot of success in India where local is celebrated, with local languages helping brands and media businesses alike gain grounds – how do you see this trend amplified in your creative work?

I would hate to get an award in India due to the ‘slumdog effect’. We do not need anyone’s pity. I think we have enough richness and energy to make an impact around the world. Universal recognition of India’s growth and the growth potential is likely to help change perceptions. At times it does happen that our work is seen to be too local and some nationalities don’t get it and therefore don’t award it. We can live with that.

We live in a country which speaks more languages than Europe does and therefore we have many nuances. As long as we are able to touch the hearts of Indians with our work, we are happy. If some of the same work touches hearts internationally, it’s a bonus.

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Taruka Srivastav

I march to the Indian beat of The Drum.

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