Triple Lynx joy for Memac Ogilvy,

Campaign Middle East - - FRONT PAGE -

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

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