Little Yadav
Jun 21, 2024

Whose idea is it, anyway?

Jindal Steel campaign that won silver and bronze at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity sparked a row over creative ideation with Wieden+Kennedy

Whose idea is it, anyway?

The tug-of-war over creative ideation between Jindal Steel and Power (JSP) and Wieden+Kennedy (W+K) over the ‘Steel of India’ campaign, which had been amicably solved back in May, resurfaced at Cannes Lions.

After Early Man Film and Kondurkar Studio, credited as the entrant, won silver and bronze for their work for Jindal Steel, submitted at the Cannes Lions in the ‘film craft’ category, W+K has raised an issue, claiming that the campaign idea was conceived by them and for being neglected in the credits as the campaign’s creative contributors.

The issue dates back to March when ad agency W+K took Jindal Steel to court over an intellectual property dispute. In its petition to the Delhi High Court, W+K stated that they were the original creators of the ‘Steel of India’ campaign and be recognised for the same. The ad agency pointed out the similarities in the imagery they had recommended and the final film made by Early Man Film and Kondurkar Studio. The ad agency had requested the court to bar Jindal Steel from distributing and publishing the video on all platforms. 

W+K's initial case claiming its idea had been appropriated

W+K India reportedly stated that the verdict clearly specified that prima facie, the campaign was significantly similar, theme-wise, sound or design-wise, to what W+K India had presented to Jindal Steel. The matter between the two parties, over ownership of the creative ideation, was subsequently settled out of the court, and the matter was dismissed after W+K transferred the copyright to Jindal Steel, who compensated the former for the transfer of copyright.

In a statement shared with Campaign, Early Man Film said: "It is but natural that when a breakthrough piece of work appears, there would be many claimants for credits. It’s an issue for agencies, clients and lawyers to iron out. As far as we are concerned, there is no controversy. The film was shortlisted for direction and editing in film craft. We provided the required paperwork to satisfy the rigid scrutiny of the Cannes Lions authorities.  The film was judged on merit by the jury and they deemed it good enough to award two Lions. We are proud of the film and that’s that."

Safir Anand, IPR lawyer and senior partner at Anand and Anand law firm, explained, "Diligence and indemnities in such situations become critical for both the advertising and marketing agency as also the company. As a best practice, the company must always seek disclaimers from the advertising professionals on the originality in the campaign. Additionally, contracts must be watertight and clear on the ownership and credit to be given to the agency. Contracts must also spell out the role and obligations of the professionals working on the campaign with the advertising agency."

Campaign India

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