Dubai Lynx: Go­ing for Gold

The Dubai Lynx In­ter­na­tional Fes­ti­val of Cre­ativ­ity re­turns from 5 to 8 March with a fo­cus on in­no­va­tion and pro­gres­sive tech­nolo­gies that are chang­ing the face of the ad­ver­tis­ing and me­dia in­dus­try

It’s that time of year again. The time when ev­ery agency in the re­gion is fran­ti­cally fi­nal­is­ing its Dubai Lynx en­tries.

Why? Well, be­cause which­ever way you look at it, the Dubai Lynx re­mains the re­gion’s pre-em­i­nent awards show. It is also the best in­di­ca­tor of how work from the re­gion will per­form at global award shows such as Cannes and D&AD.

As Vidya Man­mo­han, ex­ec­u­tive cre­ative di­rec­tor at Grey Dubai, says: “Many have come and gone, but the Dubai Lynx is the only one that is still cred­i­ble on a re­gional level.”

The ques­tion of who has en­tered the most work, who will win agency or network of the year, and whether cau­tion and sen­si­bil­ity will pre­vail over ex­trav­a­gance will only be an­swered in time. So to will any nag­ging doubts as to whether any agency will make a mock­ery of the event. Yet, there is no doubt that all will be in at­ten­dance.

This year’s fes­ti­val will re­flect the huge fo­cus on in­no­va­tion and pro­gres­sive tech­nolo­gies that has taken place in the re­gion, with the speaker line-up ex­am­in­ing how these de­vel­op­ments will change the way con­sumers ex­pe­ri­ence brands and ul­ti­mately drive busi­ness.

Kick­ing off on 5 March at the Mad­i­nat Jumeirah and cul­mi­nat­ing in the Du-bai Lynx Awards Cer­e­mony on 8 March, the Dubai Lynx In­ter­na­tional Fes-tival of Cre­ativ­ity ar­rives with two new award cat­e­gories – in­no­va­tion and a new mu­sic sec­tion for branded con­tent and en­ter­tain­ment. It also has a line-up of 57 in­ter­na­tional jury mem­bers, amongst them Ben Jones, former chief tech­nol­ogy of­fi­cer at AKQA, who will pre­side as jury pres­i­dent over the first in­no­va­tion award.

“Cre­ativ­ity has shown time and time again that it is a key el­e­ment in build-ing brands, at­tract­ing and re­tain­ing cus­tomers and im­pact­ing the suc­cess of a busi­ness even in the face of eco­nomic up­heaval,” says Terry Sav­age, chair­man of the Dubai Lynx. “With the pace of in­no­va­tion and tech­nol­ogy mov­ing as quickly as it is, the real world is mov­ing ever closer to the vir­tual re­al­ity. These de­vel­op­ments drive and are driven by cre­ativ­ity. Bring­ing a di­verse range of speak­ers to the fes­ti­val is a means to open up the dis­cus-sion, share ideas and prac­tices and pro­vide in­spi­ra­tion to the cre­ative in-dus­tries in the re­gion.”

“For me, in­no­va­tion is the per­fect blend of sim­plic­ity, thought­ful­ness, naive ex­cite­ment, tim­ing and the ‘ret­ro­spec­tive ob­vi­ous’,” adds Jones. “It’s of­ten in the new ways we com­mu­ni­cate to the fresh busi­ness mod­els that are cre­ated and quite of­ten this is where the ex­cite­ment lies and of­ten with­out huge spend. These pil­lars shone through many of the en­tries from dif­fer­ent

Cre­ativ­ity has shown time and time again that it is a key el­e­ment in build-ing brands, at­tract­ing and re­tain­ing cus­tomers and im­pact­ing the suc­cess of a busi­ness.” Terry Sav­age —

cat­e­gories at last year’s awards and I’m ex­cited to see what en­tries come through this year.” Amongst the speak­ers will be

Eric Salama, chair­man and CEO of Kan­tar, who will dis­cuss the lim­its and pos­si­bil­i­ties of us­ing data for cre­ative pur-poses, and Al Mose­ley, pres­i­dent and chief cre­ative of­fi­cer at 180 Am-ster­dam, who will ar­gue why mad­ness mat­ters. The sci­ence of brav­ery will be dis­cussed by Blue Bar­racuda’s ex­ec­u­tive cre­ative di­rec­tor Joao Flores and gen­eral man­ager

Phil Adrien, while Good Peo­ple’s Ali Ali will re­turn with three of his col­leagues to dis­cuss the work they wish they’d done.

Mean­while, the jury pres­i­dents who will hold the fate of agency work in their hands in­clude Matt East­wood, world­wide chief cre­ative of­fi­cer at J. Wal­ter Thomp­son, who will pre­side over the film, print, out­door, ra­dio, print and out­door craft and in­te­grated jury, and

Fredda Hur­witz, global chief strat­egy of­fi­cer at Havas Sports & En­ter­tain­ment, who will be in charge of the branded con­tent and en­ter­tain­ment cat­e­gory. Other in­clude Gerry Boyle, chief ex­ec­u­tive at Publi­cis Me­dia Asia Pa­cific, who will head up the me­dia jury, and PR pres­i­dent David Brain, pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive at Edel­man Asia Pa­cific, Mid­dle East & Africa.

“As brands and cor­po­rates have looked to put pur­pose and en­gage­ment at their core, we have seen an in­cred­i­ble growth in PR cre­ative be­cause it is of­ten the best suited to de­liver on those things,”

says Brain. “In MENA in the past, PR for brands has tended to be about am­pli­fi­ca­tion and pub­lic­ity and whilst those are still valu­able as­sets, the jury and I hope to be look­ing be­yond that sort of work this year. Agencies in the re­gion are mak­ing huge progress fast and I am very much look­ing for­ward to see­ing some of the best cre­ative work in the whole of Lynx turn up in this cat­e­gory this year.”

But how im­por­tant is the Dubai Lynx? In­deed, how im­por­tant are awards shows in gen­eral? And have they be­come so ubiq­ui­tous that their value has de­creased?

In Jan­uary last year Amir Kas­saei, chief cre­ative of­fi­cer of DDB World-wide, wrote that “too many of us in the in­dus­try have bought into the idea that win­ning awards is proof of cre­ative ef­fec­tive­ness, so much so that we’re will­ing to sac­ri­fice our in­tegrity to get them. And in turn that has less-ened the in­tegrity of the awards them­selves”. He added: “If we are com­ing up with so­cial ideas that pre­tend to solve the world’s big­gest prob­lems or help dis­en­fran­chised peo­ple, but, in fact, are only be­ing done to win an award, we are cyn­i­cal and per­haps even crim­i­nal.”

Kas­saei said the in­dus­try had lost fo­cus in what re­ally mat­ters and that DDB would be pulling back from awards, although not com­pletely.

“Awards are im­por­tant both in­ter­nally to stim­u­late our cre­ative tal­ents and also as a way to build a cre­ative rep­u­ta­tion and at­tract new clients,” says Hu­bert Bou­los, CEO for the Mid­dle East at DDB. “As for

Amir Kas­saei, he never said we should pull out of awards shows. He said fo­cus on a few shows, and most im­por­tantly Cannes. He wants us to fo­cus on qual­ity ver-sus spend­ing out­ra­geous amounts of money to top rank­ings.

“From a lo­cal per­spec­tive, we have no pres­sure at all to buy our way via count­less en­tries to add up points. Ba­si­cally, we have to fo­cus on few en­tries of high qual­ity in a very few select num­bers of awards shows.”

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