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How the Dubai Lynx was won – judges’ view


A total of 12 grands prix were awarded out of a possible 16. Here jury presidents and judges explain why the winners were chosen and cast a critical eye over the categories that they presided over

Creative effectiveness

Hephzibah Pathak, global brand director at Ogilvy & Mather India, was president of the creative effectiveness jury

“The Vodafone micro-recharge idea (Fakka) solved a genuine marketing problem and at the same time delivered great value to the consumer. Looking outside the category, the agency unearthed a brilliant insight and developed a simple and innovative solution that opened up a whole a new market. Conveniently designed, it fits into cash registers and wallets alike. It energised behaviour of even the tough-to-please, value conscious consumer.

“Every single person in the jury felt the idea was fresh, innovative and delightful. We were also very impressed with the extent of its impact. ‘Fakka’ delivered huge sustained business results and even opened up distribution for Vodafone. They invented a new role for a product and made it into a valid form of currency. That’s deserving of a creative effectiveness grand prix.”

Winner: Fakka

Client: Vodafone Egypt

Agency: J.Walter Thompson Cairo

Film Craft

Laura Gregory, chief executive and founder of GreatGuns, was president of the film craft jury

“We had the most fun judging the film craft awards because we laughed so much. What really stood out for us was the strength of the work and its artistic simplicity. The craft of script, casting, and direction were powerful. Comedy performance was abundant and in the shortlist accounted for nine of the 13 films in best director, seven of the eight films in script, and 11 of the 12 films in casting. This was reflected in the jury’s most popular selections – the du campaign, Vodafone’s ‘Out of service’, and Saudi Telecom’s ‘Soccer Tourette’.

“Outside of the gold winners, the two films for UN Women – ‘Give mom back her name’ – were powerful, using mixed techniques that included hand-drawn animation, projection mapping and live performance from the main artist and interaction with a real audience. It was so unique, it didn’t sit easily in any one category in craft
but was highly awarded in other media.

“The grand prix was a tough decision between the three-film du campaign and Vodafone’s ‘Out of service’. We debated at length. But in a unanimous vote we awarded the grand prix to the du films because together they formed a strong campaign. It was almost impossible to judge them as individual films. Everyone had a different favourite, mine were the two women. The jury felt that the new campaign took on last year’s films and the constraints of a lower budget head-on to create an even more powerful series of films, executed to near perfection.”

Winner: The Russian Odyssey/Tears of Winter/Verisimilitude at Noon

Client: du

Agency: Leo Burnett Dubai

Production house: Good People

Directors: Ali Ali, Maged Nassar


Karolina Galácz, deputy creative director at Y&R Hungary, was a juror on the direct, promo & activation, interactive and mobile jury

“‘Dark Iftar’ is one of those cases where from the first time they see the work in the room, the judges feel almost compelled to mark it in their minds as special. That is a recipe for making them question, debate and scrutinise your work that much harder. But the pure importance of ‘Dark Iftar’ proved, simply, bulletproof. ‘Dark Iftar’ is a testament that storytelling (or ads or content) can change the world. It’s proof, too, that businesses can when they do it with such arresting simplicity and such perfection.

“You can almost hear as it happens: a little tick in the minds of the millions of people who saw it, the sound of their prejudices disrupted, their preconceptions moving – just a tiny bit, a millionth of a millimetre, but moving – in the right direction. And that is a rare achievement. ‘Dark Iftar’ is work that matters. It is also work that sells, work that stays with you, work you want to watch again, work that surprises, work that unites, work that addresses the human in all of us. It is the type of entry that makes the judges let their guards down and experience it as an audience, in ‘human mode’ instead of ‘judging mode’. It stands against darkness at a time when we don’t see enough of the light of compassion and it does it with humanity’s oldest, most powerful, (weapon or) gift: a story, well told.”

Winner: Dark Iftar

Client: Coca-Cola Middle East

Agencies: Memac Ogilvy Dubai, FP7/DXB

Production house: Deja Vu


Norm Johnston, global chief strategy and digital officer at Mindshare Worldwide, was president of the media jury

“The jury spent three days looking at over 250 different submissions across a wide range of categories. A few trends emerged. First, social was the foundation for many of these campaigns. Nearly every submission used some form of Facebook or Twitter to extend or augment the idea and activation. In fact, it’s incredibly impressive how quickly the region has accelerated on digital.

“We also saw lots of brands that were able to balance promoting themselves and selling more products with actually helping people, none more so than the grand prix winner. What we loved about the MoltyFoam billbed idea was that it was great innovation with very traditional media. So much attention is on digital these days and along comes a simple but very clever idea to rethink an approach to outdoor that not only sold more mattresses but also helped the homeless. What we also liked was that it was an ongoing programme, not a one-off gimmick designed to win awards.”

Winner: The world’s first billbed

Client: MoltyFoam

Agency: BBDO Pakistan


Karolina Galácz, deputy creative director at Y&R Hungary, was a juror on the direct, promo & activation, interactive and mobile jury

“Judging rooms are spaces where everything is magnified. For entrants of the mobile category, this meant each pixel, each minuscule imperfection of user experience, each user comment, each screen of an app was studied via a magnifying glass. ‘Backup Memory’ passed this excruciating test, smooth sailing. It was the easiest grand prix in the room.

“It was clear to us that much more than a product, ‘Backup Memory’ is a solution, a cure, quite possibly a global one. It can and will enhance the lives of people living with Alzheimer’s disease, as well as the lives of all their loved ones, using only something we all have: a social media profile.

“This app embodies the very point of mobile: making our lives better in a meaningful way, through a personalised experience. With ‘Backup Memory’, we awarded technology at its best: when it is not posing as an idea in lieu of one but when it is a perfect vessel for it, making things possible that we had never dreamt of before. Tech is most amazing when it is the most human.

“And last but certainly not least, the business case for the app is a solid one. By helping its users strengthen their relationships, Samsung did the same between them and the brand as well. Isn’t that the most expected coincidence?”

Winner: Backup Memory

Client: Samsung

Agency: 3SG-BBDO Ariana


Susan Credle, global chief creative officer at FCB, was president of the film, print, outdoor, radio and print craft jury

“Our jury felt that work that should be given the grand prix should be work that separates itself from the rest of the entrants. Lifebuoy did just that. It didn’t behave like the other outdoor pieces. As one juror said, we used to create work that told people what they wanted; today we need to create things people want. Who looks at a grocery cart handle and thinks ‘what a great place to advertise for Lifebuoy?’

“We often talk about advertising, especially outdoor advertising, as intrusive. Interrupting our space. Which is why we need the creative to be generous to people. What self-respecting, disinfectant-gel-squirting person wouldn’t appreciate a simple device that cleans and protects that touched-by-thousands grocery cart handle? When we create ideas like this, we not only protect people from germs; we protect the business of advertising. Ideas that create a thank you from the public are good for all of us.  And that’s why Lifebuoy received the grand prix.

Winner: Handle on hygiene

Client: Lifebuoy

Agency: Memac Ogilvy Dubai


Susan Credle, global chief creative officer at FCB,
was president of the film, print, outdoor, radio and print craft jury

“We judge print the way people experience it, quickly. The first round of judging is all about standing out. No, no, no, no, no. Wait. Yes. Our  grand prix winner stopped us all the first day. The campaign from Qatar Islamic Bank was visually strong. We collectively remembered it later as we discussed the work over drinks. It easily made the shortlist in several categories – illustration, art direction, consumer print. When a campaign begins to show up across categories, you know you have something special.

“Our next discussion about the work was all about the craft. The simple, yet dynamic, patterns were inspired by the very subject of the print pieces, seatbelts. From the copy to the illustration, we felt the team had distilled this work down to its very essence. As we began our medal discussion for print, the campaign quickly rose to the top. Finally, it was time to discuss the grand prix. As one jury member dramatically put it – and I paraphrase – ‘if I had created this piece, I would retire immediately. This would be the perfect creative note with which to exit this advertising business’.

“From the first jury I ever sat on, my presidents always insisted we reward work that makes us jealous. I have never heard a jury member express jealousy so strongly. Our final discussion before awarding the grand prix was about the message. We felt that the team had found a new way to talk about buckling up. Normally, the strategy would be about vulnerability and death toll statistics. But this campaign took a different path. National pride. Let’s do this for each other. Let’s be a country that stands together, or rather sits together, to keep each other safe. Beautiful craft, an interesting strategic way in and a perfectly distilled message. We had our unanimous grand prix in print.”

Winner: Star pattern/Arabesque/Geometric motifs

Client: Qatar Islamic Bank

Agency: Memac Ogilvy & Mather Doha

Good Note & hand-5

Public Relations

Pascal Beucler, senior vice-president and chief strategy officer at MSLGroup, was president of the PR jury

“Chosen from among the gold awards, the grand prix rewards the very best of the best, la crème de la crème. From all standpoints: it needs to be grounded in solid insights and foresights. The strategy and ideation must be spot on, the creation and execution outstanding and the documented results have to demonstrate the actual effectiveness of the campaign.

“Why did our jury choose ‘The Good Note’ (also a grand prix winner in the direct and integrated categories)? Because in many ways ‘The Good Note’ brilliantly shows what PR stands for today: changing attitudes and behaviour to change life. What this campaign could achieve is to successfully fight against the stereotypes and negative perceptions which were discouraging Lebanon’s citizens from giving money to the homeless. All in all, this fully integrated PR campaign could produce a societal shift in Lebanon, bringing trust back between the people and the street children.

“All possible means and techniques were cleverly and creatively mobilised: organic public relations via interest generated from local digital influencers and key opinion leaders. ‘The Good Note’ became prominent on social media, fed by an Instagram page, and people even started building their own content around it. The Lebanese people strived to give again, turning the country’s oldest supermarket chain into its only social service network, adding significant business results to the societal change of mindset. This is truly an example of the best use of PR (People Relations) and a very well-told story indeed.”

Winner: The Good Note

Client: Bou Khalil

Agency: J.Walter Thompson Beirut

Promo & Activation

Alice Bottaro, creative director at DDB Berlin, was a juror on the direct, promo & activation, interactive and mobile jury

“‘Merry Balconies’, the grand prix winner in promo & activation, is a great example of how an idea doesn’t need huge budgets, hip brands or ground-breaking technologies to win awards. It’s possible to create excellent work on a laundry brief, using only some pegs.

“The idea was to distribute flashing LED-pegs to a Lebanese neighbourhood that suffers power shortage, transforming the laundry lines into Christmas garlands. The ability of turning an ordinary action like hanging out your laundry into something almost magical immediately caught our attention. ‘Merry Balconies’ is simple, poetic and, at the same time, strongly connected to the brand and to its role in the consumer’s life.

“Our industry has a tendency to take itself very seriously and I believe that those little pegs conquered our hearts because they were refreshingly playful and unpretentious. They stood for a genuine moment of happiness, transporting us from that jury room in a Dubai hotel straight to a Lebanese neighbourhood lit up for Christmas. Is it a game-changer? Maybe not. But it demonstrates how even the most everyday actions can inspire great creative, reminding us to keep looking for those simple, little things that are able to touch people – inside and, more importantly, outside a jury.”

Winner: Merry Balconies

Client: Procter & Gamble

Agency: Leo Burnett Beirut