Creative pride: experts pick their winning ads

Top names in the industry share their pick of winning ads from 2020-21

June 25, 2021 03:14 pm | Updated June 26, 2021 10:10 am IST

Lyndon Louis, Executive Creative Director, Brandcare Mumbai

Some of the work done in 2020-21 was, in many ways, reflective of the period itself: edgy and unusual. This was work that respected the environment it inhabited. As a member of this year’s Health & Wellness Jury at One Show (, I had the privilege of meeting quite a few of such unexpected gems.

Lyndon Louis

Lyndon Louis

Take, for instance, the ‘Unfinished Votes’ project executed by gun safety organisation, Change the Ref. It saw the threads of technology, creativity and humanity coming together to create the fabric of a safer society - at an individual as well as collective level.


Closer home, the ‘Artist’ film done by Savlon was a fresh piece. In a sea of sameness, where the currents were in the ‘wash your hands, wear a mask, maintain social distancing’ direction, it swam differently. What made these pieces distinctive in their own right was the way they intersected cause, concept and craft.

On Cannes Lions: The one piece of work that, for me, stands out is the Lifebuoy ‘H for Handwashing’ project by Lowe Lintas. It is simple, insightful and has the rare potential to be implemented at a grassroots level - which, especially in a country like India, is the acid test.

Raj Nair

Raj Nair

Raj Nair, CEO & Chief Creative Officer, Madison BMB

In terms of sheer memorability created by the oddest choice of celebrities, Cred (the Rahul Dravid creative, for instance) obviously stands out. The campaign has possibly one of the deepest budgets to rely on. This has allowed them to take well-known people and transform each one of those personalities, making them do the oddest of things. And it mostly seems to come together.


On Cannes Lions: A worthy contender according to me, which has already won a Bronze Lion In Creative Data Lions (as on June 23) is the Not Just A Cadbury Ad (Ogilvy) entry by Mondelez India. A good mix of creatives, backed by geo-located data, enables Cadbury to provide an advertising platform for local retailers - across geographies like Mumbai, Pune, Indore, Lucknow and Delhi - who have been affected by the pandemic. A great idea that deserves every award it gets.

Abhijit Avasthi

Abhijit Avasthi

Abhijit Avasthi, Founder, Sideways Consulting

For obvious reasons, a lot of the work done for brands last year contributed in their own way in tackling the pandemic and its fallouts. For me, the standout piece of work was Axis Bank’s ‘Reverse the Khata’ by Lowe Lintas. It had heart, it is rooted in the Indian ethos, and offers a practical solution to help the society at large.


On Cannes Lions: As has always been the case with international award shows, a lot of amazing work in India is so culturally-rooted that it gets lost in translation despite the best efforts of the Indian jurors. But that’s fine too. That’s the game it is.

Kainaz Karmarkar

Kainaz Karmarkar

Kainaz Karmakar, Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy


My top picks are Dove’s Courage is Beautiful campaign, Body Form’s Womb Stories, and Burger King’s Moldy Whopper commercial. I choose these three because each one is a breakthrough idea and the execution has taken it to excellence. These are pieces that will forever be quoted in advertising agency corridors.

Hindustan Unilever, #AbWaqtHaiChamakneKa 


Hindustan Unilever’s latest campaign, #AbWaqtHaiChamakneKa, for Rin detergent celebrates the inspiring story of CA Bhavani Devi, India’s first female fencing champion to qualify for the Olympics (Tokyo 2021).

Hailing from Tamil Nadu, and belonging to a humble background, the ad (also out in Tamil) showcases how Devi had to overcome financial obstacles alongside societal stereotypes.

Prabha Narasimhan, Executive Director & VP – Home Care, Hindustan Unilever Ltd, on the campaign: 

How did the theme of women fighting the odds evolve at the drawing board?

The theme is not women centric. The campaign draws attention to real-life tales of courage of people who have created their own destiny. Today, more than ever, people are taking on regressive societal expectations and surprising us with their ambition. Our message is targeted at the youth. Not defined by social conditioning or pre-set norms, they are the quintessential fighters, donning multiple hats, with their eyes always on the prize. 

Is it necessary that brands have purpose — inclusivity, diversity?

People need to be assured that there is hope and positivity. Which makes the campaign relevant as it celebrates the resilience, determination and courage in us, traits that this pandemic has tested.

As told to Nidhi Adlakha and Rosella Stephen

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