Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What do Miley Cyrus & Charlie Sheen have in common with the Dubai Lynx?

I've had the honor of attending every single Dubai Lynx festival since its inception in 2008. I've witnessed it grow and evolve into one of the most respected and attended advertising festivals in the MENA region, and have even won a few gongs along the way.

But just like Miley Cyrus, Charlie Sheen and pretty much anyone in Hollywood, no advertising festival is without scandal.

Over the years the Dubai Lynx has had its fair share. In 2009, the organizers stripped FP7 Doha of its Agency of the Year crown and withdrew 7 of their awards. They followed this by laying down new rules for the 2010 show. A bold and brave move that had bloggers around the region rejoicing their part in the coup. No doubt the following year, scam and copycats were greatly reduced.

From 2011 - 2014, the Lynx became bigger. Record breaking entry numbers year after year and Ali Ali winning so many of them; in 2012 he didn't even bother picking up his Film Grand Prix for Kalbaz.

There was also the emergence of new categories. In 2011, TV/Cinema became Film. Direct & Sales Promotion became two separate categories: Direct and Promo & Activation. As did Craft which became Film Craft and Print & Outdoor Craft. This year also saw the emergence of the new Design category.

In 2012, two new categories were added: PR and Mobile. Print & Outdoor Craft became the number 1 home of unpublished work Print & Poster Craft, and the Young Creatives category became the more important-sounding Young Lynx Integrated Competition.

Branded Content & Entertainment finally made its debut in the 2013 Dubai Lynx and in 2014 nothing changed. I was hoping for a Digital Craft section by now but I guess we're just not there yet.

2014 was a surprising year in many ways:
- There was no Grand Prix awarded in Branded Content & Entertainment, Film, Film Craft, Print, Radio, Outdoor, Interactive, Direct, Design, Integrated and PR. A7A
- Actually only 4 Grand Prix's were handed out. 2 of those (Media and Mobile) for the same campaign; the much deserved 'Mobilizing the 12th Man' by Memac Ogilvy Label Tunisia.

All this really begs the question: Is the quality of work in the region getting better or worse? Can we really compete with global standards?

Two of the most awarded pieces of work "The Coke Social Media Guard" and "The Autocomplete Truth" were massive winners bagging a total of 22 awards between them helping Memac Ogilvy win Agency and Network of the Year.

But were they rip-offs? Take a look for yourself and be the judge.
The Coke Social Media Guard
The Autocomplete Truth

We can all agree that there's a lot of talent in the region. We can also all agree that advertising awards are big business. We want to believe that truly creative, honest and effective work gets rewarded.

It's about time we turned this belief into reality.

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