THE BIGGEST SHOW IN TOWN
FAMILIAR FAVOURITES AND UNEXPECTED UNDERDOGS ALIKE TAKE TO THE LYNX STAGE.
At the Dubai Lynx this year, 18 grands prix were awarded. And Impact BBDO not only saw its Dubai office named agency of the year for the second time in two years, but also went one better, taking network of the year for BBDO Worldwide. The Lynx titles come on top of a good year for the agency. When the Big Won rankings were published in January, Impact BBDO Dubai was the most awarded agency in the MENA region.
However, the network took home no grands prix from the Lynx. The much-tipped “Lies” and “Sabotage” spots for Centrepoint took a gold and two silvers in film craft and a gold in film. The Valentine’s spots for Visa went unrewarded, although “I have nothing special” and “So strange” for the same client won a bronze in film.
Omnicom sister agency OMD Dubai walked away with media agency of the year, largely on the back of BBDO’s success.
Memac Ogilvy came second in both agency of the year for its Dubai office and network of the year for its regional network. The network picked up a branded content and entertainment grand prix for Nestle’s “Tummyfish”, the inaugural innovation grand prix for “Spuble” and the public relations grand prix for its “Trump” campaign for Royal Jordanian.
Memac Ogilvy’s group chief creative officer Paul Shearer says: “Winning a grand prix is the most important thing for an idea. It gives you confidence to enter heavily at Cannes.” He says that, “you never really know what will win, but with experience you have a good feeling”.
This year, Shearer was hoping for four grands prix, and says one winner was “a surprise” while one of his picks won silver. “It’s sometimes a lottery,” he admits.
Walid Kanaan, CCO of TBWA/Raad, says the Lynx is “a tough competition, probably the toughest in the world.” The agency was selective in its entries, he says. But it was enough to win TBWA/ Raad Dubai third place in the agency ranking and the same position for TBWA Worldwide in the network list.
“It was no surprise for us that Pril “One Drop” was rewarded the most, grabbing a grand prix in promo & activation,” says Kanaan. “The tiny bottle idea already won trophies in many awards shows such as the Clios, the Loeries and the Effies.”
But TBWA “also had our share of upsets,” he adds. “Go Sport ‘Championship Hijack’, for example, didn’t convert as expected. But at the end, all we really cared for was to see our team’s endeavour and perseverance translated into applause and admiration.”
TBWA will be putting forward Dnata “Silly VR” for Cannes, he says – the campaign picked up a bronze in film craft and a silver in film at the Lynx – and also work the agency has recently done for Nissan and National Geographic.”
The film grand prix, the Lynx equivalent of best picture, went to Blue Barracuda (pictured above, right) for a series of ads for Zespri Kiwifruit. Speaking to Campaign a day after the awards, general manager Phil Adrien says: “It’s all still a bit of a blur. … Our win would not have been possible if it had not been for the bravery of our client Candice Stuart of Zespri Kiwifruit Arabia and our partners at the Misfits Content Creators. We should not have been allowed to have that much fun teaching people how to eat a Zespri.”
This was the first time Blue Barracuda had entered the Lynx. “As a comparatively smaller agency we don’t have the time, resources or a culture that is hell-bent on winning creative awards,” says Adrien. “Our culture is based on doing real work on real briefs and helping our clients solve real business problems. The winning work has been an absolute game changer for our client and helped them to increase their sales during Ramadan by 59 per cent. Now that’s something to be proud of.”
Y&R Dubai’s work for The Cartel had won Lions in Cannes and this month won Lynx grands prix in outdoor, print & publishing and print & outdoor craft. Executive creative director Kalpesh Patankar says: “Our creative idea celebrated the abaya as a canvas. We focused on maximising contrasts, with white backgrounds to offset the midnight black abayas in a minimalist approach that explored how to truly be seen. It was a statement to announce ‘her’ presence by saying ‘I am here’.”
The headscarf motif was also explored by Grey Dubai in its “Veils of Pride” work, which took the design grand prix. “When Tathqeef, an Emirati organisation, approached us for event support and a website revamp, little did we know it would get us here,” says ECD Vidya Manmohan. She adds: “Our win at the Dubai Lynx is a celebration on many levels – of the success of every woman under a hijab, the might of words over pretty pictures, and the power of simplicity.”
The Classic Partnership’s breast cancer awareness campaign for Medcare won the direct grand prix. “Hang on! A grand prix? Pinch, pinch is it for real? Is it really in our hand? Hearts beating faster than a hummingbird, wide-open mouths that simply refuse to shut tell us that it is,” says general manager and ECD Alok Gadkar. When he has calmed down a little, he adds: “It is our first grand prix, just like our first gold and silver Lions a few months ago, and this heavy metallic potion has got us on a real high.”
Also on a roll is production house Good People. The directors’ collective won the Lynx Palm for production house of the year in 2016, only a few weeks after launching. It came as little surprise that they repeated this feat just after their first birthday. “We’ve worked extremely hard this year,” says director and founder Ali Ali. “Our producers Cynthia and Michel in Beirut worked very hard this year. And even though production house of the year may be just a label, another awards-lingo accolade, to us it is an encouragement, a motivational pat on the back that says: ‘Keep going, guys, you’re doing a great job.’”
Leo Burnett won three grands prix: “# Postwisely” for du in both integrated and interactive, and “Legally Bride” in the grand prix for good category. CCO at Publicis Communications Bechara Mouzannar says Leo Burnett’s creative teams “have won the three most coveted future-facing grands prix and an innovation Lynx [for Samsung’s “Safety Screen”] for their real innovative campaigns for important brands and causes. The work not only resonated in the region but also engaged with the world.”
On not being on the podium for network or agency of the year, he says: “This was not one of our best years at the Lynx as a network, but I accept failure because this is the only way to win again.”
Coca-Cola Middle East was advertiser of the year, having been behind projects such as “Line Up Song” and “Dark Iftar”.
The announcement had been made in December, when Dubai Lynx chairman Terry Savage said: “As a global brand, Coca-Cola are renowned for their innovation and creative communications. CocaCola Middle East have embodied this spirit and made it relevant to their local audience with messages that resonate far beyond just the MENA region.”
In the three years to 2016, CocaCola amassed 42 awards at the Lynx, including three grands prix. This year it picked up 10 more.
Pierre Choueiri was advertising person of the year. “Choueiri Group is, and has been for almost 45 years, the largest media representation entity in the Middle East, and Pierre has played an integral role in driving this growth,” says Savage. “This award recognises and pays tribute to the work he has done to shape the advertising industry in the region.”
Choueiri Group’s companies currently market and manage the advertising space of 28 satellite and one terrestrial television stations, 13 print titles, 14 radio stations, more than 40 web portals and their apps, and the largest network of outdoor signs in the GCC.
Choueiri told attendees at the Lynx: “This accolade reflects on all of Choueiri Group, the entire team, our history and legacy, and especially the long-term trust our media partners continue to place in us.”
Dubai Lynx Film Grand Prix won by Blue Barracuda Dubai