Cannes Lions 2022: Being recognised for work that can transform lives is great: Mahesh Ambaliya

Mahesh Ambaliya, Associate Creative Director, VML Y&R, talks of his idea behind the ‘Killer Pack’ campaign for Maxx Flash, that won a Health & Wellness Grand Prix at Cannes

Srabana LahiriUpdated: Tuesday, June 28, 2022, 09:37 AM IST
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Mahesh Ambaliya and Mukund Olety of VML Y&R with Patricia Corsi, President of the Health and Wellness Lions Jury on the stage at Cannes | File

MAHESH AMBALIYA, Associate Creative Director, VML Y&R, the brain behind the celebrated ‘Savlon Chalk Healthy Hands’ that won a Creative Effectiveness Grand Prix for Ogilvy at Cannes in 2019, now has another Grand Prix under his belt for the campaign Killer Pack, for mosquito repellent brand Maxx Flash.

In 2019, Ambaliya wasn’t at Cannes and his photograph was held up by Team Ogilvy while receiving the award on the Cannes stage. This time around, Ambaliya is a first-timer at the festival, enjoying his moment of glory on the stage, looking to absorb the vibes at Cannes and meet the creators of some of the top campaigns from around the world.

“It's my first year attending Cannes and to start the festival with a Grand Prix on Day 1 was an amazing feeling. It was a proud moment for India. Both the Grand Prix awards on Day 1 were for ideas that have a real impact on lives of people. Even the ‘Adeli’ initiative which got India its only Lion in Glass also stands to transform the economics of how women work in commercial kitchens. So, getting recognised for work that can transform lives is great. To win two Grand Prix awards at this age is a dream,” he says.

Mahesh Ambaliya poses with the Grand Prix Award at Cannes

Mahesh Ambaliya poses with the Grand Prix Award at Cannes | File

“Meanwhile, I would like India to keep doing great on this stage year after year and continue to win as big as this year.”

Talking about the genesis of the campaign, Ambaliya says the brand’s aim was to step up and offer a solution when mosquito-borne diseases were on the rise even when it was not raining.

“Our research showed that garbage collection points where Government officials couldn’t reach for fumigation were a problem. So, we decided that discarded packaging should help. Maxx Flash loved the idea because it made them the only brand in the category to take a step beyond offering a solution inside the house, and showing that packaging can also be a solution. The only challenge was to source and integrate the right bacteria that would kill mosquitoes into the pack,” recalls Ambaliya who spent a month at the Dwarka centre of the National Centre for Vector-Borne Diseases Control to find a solution.

“They took me to a village where dengue cases were rising. They had identified all the water-logged places and cleaned every nook and corner, going from house to house. Yet, they were not able to reduce the infection. They later found out that huge patches of cactus plants on the outskirts had discarded plastic bags brought by the wind stuck on them, and those bags had become breeding places for mosquito larvae. The locals then found a way to cut them, and officials sprayed larvae-controlling chemicals to check dengue cases in that village,” Ambaliya adds.

Ambaliya has an inherent need to do good and he doesn’t want to compromise on it. “The world is facing new challenges every day and the day I can't make a difference with my role as a creative, I will go back to my farm and grow cauliflowers,” he declares.

GRAND PRIX WINNER: MAXX KILLER PACK

‘The Killer Pack’ from VMLY&R Mumbai that scored a Health & Wellness Grand Prix involves using discarded packaging of Maxx Flash mosquito repellent coils to check the growth of mosquito larvae at typical mosquito breeding grounds in India.

The innovative, 100% bio-degradable packaging is lined with bacteria that can kill mosquito larvae when disposed of in these breeding grounds. It is safe for humans.

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