Region stumbles as Cannes kicks off

June 21, 2010

It’s been a pretty inauspicious start to the Cannes Lions festival for the Middle East and North Africa, with only 13 pieces of work making the cut in the first seven shortlists unveiled this morning.

The region has picked up no shortlists in the direct, promo and PR categories, leaving it to Y&R Dubai to wave the flag in print and outdoor.

Y&R Dubai has work for clients Harvey Nichols, Neenah Paper and Microsoft shortlisted in the press category, with JWT Dubai bagging one for its Reynolds Fine Carbure Pens campaign. TBWA\Raad has one shortlist for The Fridge and Elephant Cairo also has one for Lika Gum’s ‘Out of this world’.

In outdoor Y&R Dubai has been shortlisted for its ‘Wolves’ work for Harvey Nichols; its Xbox campaign for Resident Evil 5; and for its ‘Splitting Steven’ campaign for Paras Pharma.

There are only two agencies with a chance of winning any metalwork in media – Impact BBDO Dubai for ‘Emirates take off’, and Leo Burnett Beirut for its ‘Make a move’ campaign for Exotica.

In radio, both Memac Ogilvy Dubai and Leo Burnett Beirut made the cut, for ACDelco and Alfa respectively.

The shortlists mean that, so far, only one of the grand prix winners from this year’s Dubai Lynx – Elephant’s ‘Out of this world’ – has a chance of winning anything at this year’s festival. Starcom’s ‘Confessions of Corporate Spies’, which won the media grand prix at the Lynx, and Memac Ogilvy’s ‘Dustvertising’, which won the direct & sales promotion grand prix, are already out of the running, as is Saatchi & Saatchi Dubai’s ‘Abandoned cars’.

The shortlists for cyber and design will be unveiled tomorrow, whilst film, film craft, titanium and integrated will be revealed on Friday.

Cannes Lions glory could be out of reach

June 20, 2010

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.

Countdown to the 2010 Dubai Lynx begins

March 9, 2010

This year’s Dubai Lynx International Advertising Festival kicks off in 5 days time with the largest offering yet from the 3-day shebang.

Things get rolling on Sunday 14th at the Cannes Lions organised event with a screening for delegates of the acclaimed documentary Art & Copy, hosted by The National newspaper.

The documentary, which has been doing the film festival circuit in 2009,  takes a look behind the scenes at the social and cultural impact of the modern ad industry, revealing the work and influence of some of the most important advertising creatives of all time.

The 15th and 16th see the festival’s seminar programme swing into action, with presenters tackling a spectrum of issues affecting the regional and global industry.

Speakers include Chuck Porter, co-chairman, Crispin Porter + Bogusky; Mark Tutssel, CCO of Leo Burnett Worldwide; Prasoon Joshi, executive chairman and regional executive creative director, McCann Worldgroup India; David Nobay, creative chairman, Droga5 Australia and John Hunt, worldwide creative director, TBWA\ Worldwide.

Before culminating on the evening of Wednesday 17th with the Dubai Lynx awards presentation and dinner, the festival has also added two more evening social events to the delegates’ calendar.

The first is a media networking event on Monday hosted at festival venue, The Palladium, by Guardian News, while Tuesday sees the UAE’s Creative Club host their inaugural party at the Media One hotel in Dubai Media City.

Ramzi Raad named Dubai Lynx advertising person of the year

January 20, 2010

TBWA\Raad’s chairman and CEO, Ramzi Raad, has been named this year’s Dubai Lynx Advertising Person of the Year.

Only the third person to receive the accolade, Raad will be handed the award during the Dubai Lynx Awards Ceremony on 17 March at The Palladium in Dubai.

The Advertising Person of the Year award, which was previously won by Joseph Ghossoub, president and CEO of MENACOM, and Tanvir Kanji, head of Inca Tanvir, honours someone who by their efforts, energy and dedication, has lifted the presence and profile of the region within the international advertising, marketing and communications community.

Terry Savage, chairman of Cannes Lions, who, with Motivate Publishing are joint organisers of the festival, said: “Ramzi has been, and continues to be, an instrumental figure in the development and growth of the advertising and communications industry throughout the Middle East and North Africa. We are delighted to pay tribute to his dedication and success.”

Raad, who founded TBWA\Raad in 1999 and has been in the industry for 40 years, said: “I am extremely humbled and flattered to be acknowledged by the Middle East ad industry with this award, which I consider only partly personal, as most of the credit goes to my TBWA colleagues who have earned this honour along with me. I am so pleased that this comes to me on the 10th Anniversary of TBWA\RAAD, confirming that we have fulfilled the TBWA mantra to ‘Change the Rules of Arab advertising’ something I had promised to do, and we have done it in record time.”

The 3rd Dubai International Advertising Festival and accompanying Dubai Lynx takes place from 14-17 March.

The Roger Hatchuel Academy, Cannes: Inspiration found.

July 2, 2009

Ali Mahmoud Marashi is a batchelor of business administration student, marketing communications, American University in Dubai. He was sponsored to attend the Roger Hatchuel Academy by Motivate Publishing, publisher of CampaignME.

Well I’m not much of a blogger, so I’ll jump right into things with my one piece of advice: Every individual in this business, be they a creative director or account planner, should go to the Cannes Lions festival at least once in their lives.

Ali Grand PrixNot only was I lucky enough to attend the many incredible seminars and awards ceremonies, but I was also privy to the Roger Hatchuel Academy master classes, which were smaller more intimate sessions with major players in the industry such as Neil French, Bob Scarpelli and Akira Kagami.

And my experience wouldn’t be complete if it weren’t for Clive Challis, Rick Boyko, and the 34 incredibly smart, incredibly talented, and just plain incredible students with me in the academy. Having been a part of that, I feel I got as much out of the experience as it had to offer me.

Having just come back from Cannes I feel truly inspired, and inspiration is something I feel is sorely lacking in this region. What I witnessed at the festival this year reminded me of why it is I wanted to go into advertising in the first place. Somewhere along the line I forgot what that was, and the festival was exactly what I needed to jog my memory.

So go to Cannes and take a deep breath. Take it all in. And don’t forget what you see, feel and experience there. Now that I’m back I really want to do something with my new found perspective, and I want to do it fast as I don’t know how long it will last. It’s inevitable that at some point I’ll once again forget what great advertising should be and what it could be in the region, but at least now I have a solution to that problem – I’ll just go back to Cannes.

Obama campaign wins Cannes double

June 27, 2009

obama8As if winning the world’s premier political office wasn’t achievement enough, USA President Barack Obama has just added another accolade to his CV: winner of two Cannes Lions Grand Prixs in the Titanium and Integrated categories for the multi-platform media campaign that got him the job.

The jury for the categories, presided over by David Droga of New York’s Droga5, decided unanimously that there was no other close contender for the trophies. Speaking at a press conference prior to the awards ceremony, Droga defined the Titanium category as, “ideas that create a movement, bigger than just a disposable idea. Traditionally a public service campaign can’t win a grand prix. But Obama transcended that into becoming a brand that was created by the owner and the public. Our industry couldn’t ignore it. It’s inspiring, Obama sums up how our industry has changed.”

The jury were also keen to point out that the choice was a-political, citing the campaign’s breadth and depth as a truly integrated offering that made it the clear winner. “We didn’t vote for the man. It was a rational and unemotional decision. There will never be another political campaign that doesn’t use the tool the Obama campaign established.

Droga’s own agency also collected a titanium Lion, Droga’s third, for its component in the Obama presidential campaign. The film ‘the great schlep’ featuring comedian Sarah Silverman also collected a gold in the Direct Lions.

Spike Lee chooses MOFILM’s winner in Cannes

June 27, 2009

Acclaimed director Spike Lee kick-started a young filmmaker’s career in Cannes yesterday by announcing him the winner of the MOFILM user-generated content initiative.

 The competition led by MOFILM, a pioneer of crowd sourcing for entertainment and mobile, saw twelve global advertisers, including Nokia, Doritos, Kodak and Philips, hand over a real brief to consumers. The challenge was to produce a 30-second commercial for any of the various brands in 6 weeks.

Spike Lee - Cannes

Lee personally judged a shortlist of twelve films and whittled them down to a final three, before announcing 23 year-old Hiroki Ono of Japan the winner with his film for Nokia. All three finalists had been flown to the festival by the competition’s organisers.

Lee, famed for films such as Malcolm X, 25th Hour and Inside Man, has been the professor of film at New York University for the past twelve years and is a long-term advocate of raw film styles.

 “Anything that gives young people a chance to show what young people can do, I support,” said Lee. “You don’t need to be employed by an agency to make commercials. Before creativity was a lockdown. I’m 52 and my generation went to film school just to get access to equipment. Now they can say, ‘I don’t need to go to film school’.”

Picking up a mobile phone on the table in front of him, Lee said: “We’re coming to a time very soon where we’ll go into a theatre and see a film shot entirely on a mobile phone. You have to make your own breaks. You can’t wait for some hand to come down and anoint you the next Tarantino, or whoever.”

Annan and Geldof urge Cannes to promote Climate Justice.

June 26, 2009

Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, and musician and campaigner Bob Geldof, launched the ‘Time for Climate Justice’ campaign in Cannes this morning on behalf of the Global Humanitarian Forum.

In a press conference ahead of their climate justice seminar at the Palais today, the pair unveiled the ‘tck tck tck’ device which is central to the campaign’s message. The work hopes to motivate people around the world to become climate allies by uploading their own personal ‘tck’.

The collective of videos will form a global petition in the form of a personalised ticking clock. The hope is to urge politicians to act decisively and with conviction at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen on 7th December this year.

Introducing the concept of climate justice, Kofi Annan said: “Climate justice has, at its heart, the principal that pollution has a price and the polluter must pay. It addresses the issue that the world’s poor are carrying the heaviest burden for a problem they have done least to create.”

 Before beginning his part of the address, Bob Geldof passed on his condolences to the family of Michael Jackson who died yesterday, and spoke briefly of collaborating with the singer at the Live Aid event in 1985.

Though moving on to the topic of climate justice, he reverted to his firebrand self and spoke of the problem in explicit terms.  ”What we’re talking about is the death of humanity,” he said, citing examples of mass human migration across Africa due to the rapid desertification of the landscape. “I like humans. They fascinate me more than anything else on the planet. We need 1 trillion dollars, now, to put in radical measures. Carbon emissions must be cut by 30 percent by 2020, and 80 percent by 2050, or we will witness humanity’s death in our children’s life times.”

The campaign was created by Havas Euro RSCG worldwide and has open source access to all its logos. Advertisers, creative agencies and other interested parties can download any of the graphics to use for free in any communications.

Leo Burnett Beirut makes Film Lions shortlist.

June 25, 2009

Leo Burnett Beirut is the only regional agency to make the shortlists for the 2009 Film Lions in Cannes with its work for client Pert Plus.

The spot for the shampoo brand is called ‘Stop the suffering’ and features animated hair strands grieving after falling from a scalp and being washed down a plug hole. The work has already been recognised at Dubai Lynx this year where it picked up a gold.

The agency has already enjoyed success at this year’s Lions after scooping a PR gold for its ‘Khede Khasra’ campaign. The much garlanded work attempts to empower the region’s women by highlighting the Khasra punctuation mark which denotes femininity in the Arabic language.

The winners of the film Lions will be announced in a ceremony on Saturday night in Cannes.

Yes you Cannes, says Obama’s campaign manager.

June 25, 2009

After a stirring introductory film put together by DDB Chicago, the applause was loud and long when David Plouffe, manager and architect of Barack Obama’s boundary pushing presidential campaign, took the stage at Cannes this morning.

David Plouffe in Cannes

After extensive media coverage, the tactic of leveraging new media pursued by Plouffe to galvanise the USA’s electorate almost needed no explanation. But the capacity crowd was keen to hear the facts, figures and risks taken by the team first hand; particularly as Plouffe had an oratory ease to rival the man he so famously helped to power.

 As Plouffe was at pains to make clear, it was the combination of grassroots empowerment, plus digital, that had propelled Obama to power; the technology being an aid to help voters interact personally, one-to-one. The tactic mobilised an army of volunteers to their cause, 50 percent of whom had no prior political campaigning experience. It was, said Plouffe, an exercise in “giving people the responsibility to change the future of their country”. Beginning as no hopers, as Plouffe put it, they felt able to buck conventional campaigning wisdom.

 He also conceded that rival John McCain was actually the first candidate to raise substantial funds on the internet when he’d stood against Bush four years prior, though he had, suggested Plouffe, seemingly forgotten the lessons he’d learned. Obama’s team used personal fundraising, no matter how small, as the bedrock to their campaign and gained an average contribution of 85 dollars per fundraiser, who numbered in their hundreds of thousands.

 The fundamental component to the whole scheme, said Plouffe, was Obama himself, whom he described as a “great product”. “Nothing is more powerful than authenticity,” said Plouffe, citing Obama’s ability to connect with voters, and that people had a “sensitive bull**** meter”. With this in mind, the campaign team used YouTube vlogs to reiterate the message, with Obama and Plouffe himself reminding voters personally of what they needed to do to engender the change they craved.

Obama in Plouffe's presentation

 At the beginning of the campaign’s two-year journey, the now eponymous Twitter didn’t exist and only became a factor in the final stages of the campaign. The majority of the work was done, said Plouffe, by people taking the cause into their own hands and producing content outside the official campaign. The most famous examples being by musician Will-i-am and graffiti artist Shepard Fairey, who designed the now iconic Obama posters.

 The most famous self-initiated part of the campaign for Cannes delegates, though, was “The Great Schlep” film featuring comedian Sarah Silverman. The work, put together in conjunction with Droga5 New York, has just collected a gold in the Direct Lions.