Cannes Lions glory could be out of reach

If I were a betting man and someone had offered me decent odds, I would have placed a wager on the winners of this year’s Dubai Lynx and made a tidy sum. But I didn’t. And no one offered me odds either.

I’m not going to bet on the Cannes Lions festival either – the odds are too long. But I am going to play a fool’s game and attempt to predict. Cannes, of course, is a totally different ball game to the Lynx. In the five years I’ve been in the Middle East, only four gold Lions have been won – two of them by FP7 Doha, the other two by Tonic and Wunderman. Leo Burnett Beirut won a PR Lion last year, but it was not classified as gold, silver or bronze thanks to it being the first year the category had been included at the festival.

Now, there’s obviously a distinct possibility that I’m going to end up with egg on my face, but I believe the only true chance of gold lies with Elephant Cairo. Its ‘89 Fans from ‘89’ campaign, which won the integrated grand prix at the Lynx in March, is in a tough category but it is a genuinely excellent piece of work that deserves to put Egyptian creativity on the map. Conversely, everybody’s favourite – and another Lynx grand prix winner – Leo Burnett Cairo’s ‘The Mother of All Foreign Films’, will, in all probability, walk away with nothing. It was shortlisted at the Clios, but left empty-handed. For whatever reason, the Melody work just doesn’t travel well.

Starcom’s ‘Confessions of Corporate Spies’ for Chevrolet deserves to win and could pick up gold. I am, however, opting for a silver. Similarly, Memac Ogilvy Label’s ‘Boga Cidre’ could win a bronze, but Memac Ogilvy Dubai will be left almost entirely out in the cold. The agency’s unprecedented success at the Lynx, where it was named agency of the year, will not be replicated at Cannes, purely because, although its work in non-traditional fields stands out in a regional crowd, it lacks the killer instinct necessary on a global level. I’m not saying Memac Ogilvy will not pick up anything, but the level of success will be tamed considerably.

As for print, well, in theory the region should do well. It makes up the bulk of the Middle East and North Africa’s entries and Y&R Dubai alone has submitted 55 pieces of work. A couple of silvers may be awarded, but for what is anybody’s guess. The chances are we may never have seen any of the print or outdoor work before. But if anyone’s going to win a silver or bronze, it’s Y&R, which has numbers, history and a 2010 winning streak on its side.

Anyway, now that I’ve alienated everyone, let’s hope that those who truly deserve to win, do. Best of luck.

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