Indian NGO group to adland: Why only do good during awards season?

A group of NGOs in India has launched a campaign that challenges the advertising industry to think of ideas that do good for more than just the three months of the year when the biggest awards shows take place.

A short film by the Indian Confederation of NGOs entitled ‘A video appeal to Cannes Lions jury members’ features disadvantaged people complaining that agencies’ efforts to help them tend to come to an abrupt end after they’ve won an award – or not, as the case may be.

In the blurb beneath the video on YouTube, a message is addressed personally to Cannes Lions boss Terry Savage.

It reads:

Dear Mr. #‎TerrySavage,

It’s often said that the entire universe conspires to get a good deed done. Well, in the case of advertising creativity, one could say it conspires a lot more during the months leading up to the #‎CannesLionsFestival in June every year.

Which is a good thing. Because it is during this short burst of a couple of months that creative thinkers slam pedal to metal and we witness the birth of brilliant campaigns that benefit humanity. Myriad ideas that feed the hungry, educate the underprivileged, address inequalities and make the world a much better place.

That’s commendable and incredibly inspiring because these cause-related ideas are not for personal gain. These are ideas for good. Selfless demonstrations of the fact that for every social injustice in this world, there’s a copywriter and an art director who are determined to change it. The last vestiges of hope for a world consumed by commercial decay.

It’s 3 months of pure, unadulterated, cockle-warming service to humankind.

But therein lies the problem: Why should the good work stop after the Awards are given out in June? Why should the world be a happier place for just 3 months every year?

The note goes on to say that iCONGO spoke to underprivileged beneficiaries of agency awards work and “understood their obvious disappointment at the abrupt discontinuation of many wonderful initiatives, shortly after the ideas win a Lion.”

The group suggests that Terry Savage increase the number of Cannes Lions festivals from one to four a year to ensure that the volume of cause-related work increases.

The last few months have seen a variety of causes tackled by agencies in Asia as Cannes approaches, including a iodine-infused bindi to help women in India stave off disease, a chair with a crutch fitted to it to raise awareness of landmine victims among students in Singapore, and a video that encourages people with domestic helpers in Singapore to give them a day off.


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