Triple Lynx joy for Memac Ogilvy,
When Eddie Moutran, the chairman and CEO of Memac Ogilvy, took to the stage for the third time at the end of the Dubai Lynx awards, he was making regional history. No agency had previously won ‘Agency of the Year’ and ‘Network of the Year’ in the same year that its figurehead was named ‘Advertising Person of the Year’. Moutran was understandably emotional.
The wins capped an eventful day for Moutran, who earlier in the afternoon had sold a further 20 per cent of the agency to WPP, giving Ogilvy & Mather a majority stake in the network following seven years of protracted negotiations. “2014 caps a remarkable journey for us,” said Moutran shortly after the awards. “We started life 30 years ago this year, with one client and four staff. Today, we have shown once again that we are the region’s most creative communications agency. I could not be more proud of everyone at Memac Ogilvy.”
At the heart of the network’s success were two campaigns – Memac Ogilvy Label’s ‘Mobilising the 12th Man’ for Tunisian football club C.S. Hammam-Lif, and Memac Ogilvy Dubai’s ‘ Autocomplete Truth’ for UN Women, which won a handful of golds but was unable to win a grand prix due to its charitable nature. ‘ Mobilising the 12th Man’ walked away with both the media and mobile grands prix (see page 16).
It had been a close run thing though, with Memac Ogilvy fighting off the challenges of Impact BBDO and Leo Burnett to take home both titles. Only two other grands prix were awarded. Impact BBDO Dubai won for the agency’s body of work for Cimenterie Nationale in print and poster craft, while DDB Dubai was recognised for Henkel’s ‘Preserving Pride’ in the promo & activation category.
Starcom MediaVest Group walked away with the ‘Media agency of the Year’ title (see page 22), whilst the independent agency of the year accolade went to Kairo. Déjà Vu Dubai was named production company of the year. In total, 207 awards were handed out, including 41 golds, 70 silvers and 92 bronzes, with Memac Ogilvy alone winning two grands prix, 14 golds, 23 silvers and seven bronzes.
“Nothing happens over night,” says Moutran of the long build-up to the double titles. “It was a very carefully planned strategy that started a few years ago when Ogilvy and WPP told us that our creative was not up to the standard of Ogilvy worldwide. As much as I didn’t like what I heard – or the way it was said to me – we had to wake up to the fact that they were right. We needed to work on our creative product and we did.
“I really encourage my people to work for clients and not to do ads just to win awards. If agencies continue to create ads purely to win awards the industry will have black days ahead. I want to win with ads for our clients, I want to win with ads that sell the product before we enter awards, otherwise, what are we doing?”
He adds: “I’m hoping one day that we’re going to be number one, two and three in terms of agency of the year. That’s my dream. Why not? There’s nothing wrong with dreaming is there.”
For Impact BBDO, which had possibly submitted the single highest number of entries and had also been gunning for both agency and network of the year, the evening ended in relative disappointment, with second place in both categories. Dani Richa, chairman and CEO of Impact BBDO Group MENA, however, remains upbeat. “As an agency, we have built on our previous successes. We had a great body of work, out of which our work was recognised across a multitude of categories from various offices in our network. Overall, I am very pleased with the progress that we have achieved and I have no doubt that we will continue to do well in the upcoming international shows. When I look at our combined achievement in both the MENA Cristals and Dubai Lynx, I believe that our group is well in the lead.”
Sasan Saeidi, managing director of FP7 UAE, admits to being disappointed with the overall performance of his network, but delighted with the awards won by ‘Sapna’ for the SmartLife Foundation. “The aspiration for participating successfully in award shows these days are a critical component of every agency; nobody can deny that. But the type of work that gets entered and awarded should be equal- ly important, if not more.
“We are extremely proud of the quality of work we have produced for the 2014 Dubai Lynx this year. We had an admirable presence as FP7 UAE with work that mattered. And I don’t use that term loosely. 13 metals for the UAE, including the two golds, three silvers and one bronze for Sapna, which was one the highlights of the festival if I may say so.
“Yes, we were expecting much more and we felt our work deserved more praise than it received, but such is the award shows and all the excitements and complications that go with it. Better luck next year for us. We will continue to work hard and make sure we produce work that is effective, and original. That is the only way to compete.”
Meanwhile, director Omar Hilal had a successful Lynx, taking home 10 awards, including gold in film and film craft for Vodafone’s ‘Magdy Abdelghany’ and Dolceca’s ‘Swimming Mango’ respectively, both with JWT Cairo.
“I think this was the fairest show in the history of the Dubai Lynx,” says Hilal. “The best work won, and won a lot. I was awed by several pieces in the event, but more than any other, it was the ‘Autocomplete Truth’ campaign by Ogilvy Dubai that stood out as the main contender for Lions this year. The film and film craft categories awarded the best work too, although I would have liked to see Cheyef Halak’s ‘Celebrate the Lebanese way’ by Impact BBDO Beirut win more. It was an excellent film, with superb casting and script.”
Clockwise from above… Memac Ogilvy celebrate on stage at the Lynx; Memac Ogilvy Dubai’s ‘Autocomplete