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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

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