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Amit Wadhwa, Ajay Gahlaut on kicking off Dentsu Creative’s global launch by winning big at Cannes Lions 2022

CANNES, FRANCE — The 2022 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity marks the first time the coveted Agency of the Year award has gone to an Indian agency, and it was given to Dentsu Creative.

This feat didn’t just cap off their week at Cannes, it was also the perfect way to kick off the launch of the agency’s launch as Dentsu Creative, which is Dentsu International‘s global creative network that unites its creative agencies. The new and exciting creative structure was announced on the first day of Cannes Lions, so to end the festival with the huge win is the fitting bookmark for this global move.

The Agency of the Year title isn’t the only thing that the new global network is celebrating either. With their “The Unfiltered History Tour” campaign for Vice Media, Dentsu Creative was able to bag a Titanium, three Grand Prix, two Gold Lions, and three Silver Lions as well, making the work the most awarded campaign from India in Cannes Lions history.


To learn more about the new creative global network and its impressive performance at Cannes Lions 2022, adobo Magazine spoke with Dentsu Creative India CEO Amit Wadhwa and Group CCO Ajay Gahlaut on the last day of the festival.

“I think that [this is] what the clients are asking for and what the brands need, which is integration,” Wadhwa told adobo Magazine when asked about reason behind Dentsu Creative’s launch. “You don’t need siloed services because the brand [shouldn’t] be seen differently on TV, differently on digital, and differently anywhere else. It has to be seen [through] one single lens, and Dentsu creative does that.”

He added that with this new structure for horizontal creativity, it lets them effectively bring in the best talent for brand-led thinking, digital-led thinking, PR, and creative tech, among others. “While everyone keeps saying integration, the truth is, without structurally changing the whole setup, you cannot really bring integration to its true essence. But [at] the Dentsu Creative, I think we’ve done that. We’ve shown our intent to integrate.”

Wadhwa and Gahlaut shared that while the launch of Dentsu Creative itself was something they took quick steps towards in the past several months, the exploration and building of ideas surrounding integration via this new structure was something that’s been happening for the past couple years and the journey has both been challenging and exciting.

“Change is always exciting as well as a little difficult because you’re changing and going beyond routine. So, of course it has its own challenges,” Wadhwa expressed. “But, I think, when you see the end goal and the objective, it just makes it super exciting. Because, to be honest, I don’t think there’s any network who’s taken this kind of a step to move into an offering which is absolutely integrated. So yeah, it’s been, it’s been challenging, but at the same time exciting.”

With their excitement to see Dentsu Creative achieve the goals they’ve set out for it, its performance at Cannes Lions became the perfect way to introduce it to the world, from announcing its launch to receiving several awards as this new global network

“It’s been a fantastic experience for us,” said Gahlaut. “No Indian campaign has done this ever before. This is the highest winning campaign from India of all time.”

He added that it felt even more satisfying to experience this during the return of the in-person Cannes Lions. “It’s happened after two years of virtual cannes. I mean, if this had happened during the pandemic, it would have been a pity because we wouldn’t have been able to physically walk up on stage. And that is a feeling that’s indescribable.”

Gahlaut also touched on how these wins have impacted the morale among creatives back in India. “Back home, it’s been extremely inspiring for all the teams and as a nation. The Indian creative industry has been extremely proud of our showing. It’s brought everyone together as an industry, and I think it’s inspired everyone, so we are thoroughly enjoying it.”

“My goal as the CCO is to raise the standard of the work across the board. And to make sure that, following up on our fantastic performance at Cannes Lions this year, that [standard] infuses the entire agency with the energy to do better work,” said Gahlaut, referring to what his goals are for the Dentsu Creative and how these wins have affected his journey towards them. “There already is a lot of buzz. So, I think these wins have made my job a little easier because people are excited about it. It’s about the work. Like I always say, all talk stops once the work shines, right?”

Fred Levron – Global CCO, dentsu international
Ajay Gahlaut – Group CCO, Dentsu Creative India
PG Aditiya – CCO, dentsu Webchutney
Gurbaksh Singh – Chief Innovation officer
Ashwin Palkar – ECD
Binaifer Dulani – Creative Director
Kushal Lalvani – Group Head – Copy
Meghna Yesudas – Senior Copywriter
Karishma Changroth – Group Account Director
Anjali Thomas – Senior Account Manager
Geetika Sood – Associate Creative Director
Niranjan Raghu – Group Head – Video
Ishtaarth Dalmia – VP, Strategy
Ananya Rao – Creative Strategist & Manager – Corporate Strategy
Aabhaas Shreshtha – Creative Director
Shreya Vivek Arora – Sr. Visualizer
Tanya Paul – Group Head Art
Rahul Sharma – Senior Lead Developer
Rakesh Bairwa- Senior Director – Production
Karthik Nambiar – Art Director
Vaishakh Kolaprath – Associate Art Director
Vignesh Praveen – Sr. Video Editor and Animator
Gerson Pearson – Associate Group Head – Video and Mixed reality
Manasi Sheth – Associate Art Director
Manish Joseph – Senior Group Head – Motion Graphics
Priyanka Borah – Senior VP
Stuti Sudha – Senior Group Head – Copy
Farishte Irani – Copy Supervisor
Amey Chodankar – Creative Director
Gautam Reghunath – CEO
Sidharth Rao – Group CEO
Swarnpreet Kaur – Manager, Growth and Strategy
Harsh Shah – Managing Partner
Anna Lake – Regional MarComms Director, APAC
Research Consultant: Shaleen Wadhwani – Art Historian & Cultural Researcher
Filter Developer: Kalpit Dwivedi – Pixel Party
Field Researcher: Emi Eleode
3D Modelling and Sculpting: Prashant Bhikadia, Shanel Moraes
Director: (Launch Promo) Ronak Chugh
Sound Design (Launch Promo) Ateesh Chattopadhyay
Music: (Launch Promo) Sameer Rahat
Freelancer – Illustration: Sachin Ghanekar
Team VICE: John Montoya – Senior Director, Audience & Content Strategy, Zing Tsjeng – VICE UK Executive Editor
Podcast Production: Produced by Jesse Lawson, With research from Marthe Van Der Wolf
Contributors: Anuraag Saxena, Founder, India Pride Project, Heba Abd el Gawad, Member, Egypt’s Dispersed, Heritage: Artefacts of Excavation, UCL Researcher, Tarita Alarcón Rapu, Former Governor of Rapa Nui, Sergio Rapu, Documentary Filmmaker from Rapa Nui, Petros Apostolakis, Human rights activist, Claire G Coleman,, Author and Member, Aboriginal Arts Consultancy, Rodney Kelly, Restitution activist, Victor Ehikhamenor, Prominent director and artist, Hari Shakur, Historian and member, New Afrikan Independence Movement
Ernest Domfe, Artist, Fu Yiwen, Hong Kong-based broadcaster and feature writer, Darrel Blake, Organiser, Black History Tours in London, Sharifa Balfour, Museologist and Curator of Institute of Jamaica, Max Joseph, Human Rights Activist

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