One of the great sadnesses of the scam ads argument that has raged since Dubai Lynx is the real danger that this storm will completely overshadow the awards deservedly given to some genuinely effective and progressive work that night.
It’s noteworthy that two of the most admirable ads focused on the empowerment of women in the Middle East.
The Khede Kasre campaign created by Leo Burnett Beirut served the Hariri Foundation’s drive to encourage women to participate more actively in society and take on a bigger social and political role. It would undoubtedly have won a grand prix at the Lynx if its charitable basis had not rendered it ineligible under a rather odd regulation that’s difficult to understand.
One campaign that did win a grand prix was Starcom MediaVest Group’s work for Galaxy chocolate, entitled Fallen In Love Again. It centred around a poetry contest for women which was aired on MBC and gave Arabic-speaking participants across the region a valuable and rewarding opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings.
One of the people behind the project, Cristina Charles, associate media director at SMG, says: “With this campaign , it wasn’t the brand talking to them. It was the women saying ‘this is about me and how I want to portray myself’. The response was fantastic.”
In the latest edition of Campaign Middle East (and in a recent blog on this site) Tanya Dernaika, strategic planning director at Memac Ogilvy Dubai. spoke out against the dominant stereotypical portrayal in ads of Arab women as robotic ‘Stepford wives’.
In light of her powerful argument against this outdated and unhelpful mode of thinking, it’s important that we don’t lose sight of the two outstanding campaigns mentioned above, and that we celebrate the justified plaudits they received at the Lynx.