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Creative trips: The Middle East

A tour of regional creativity through the ranks of the Lion

To celebrate Dubai Lynx in March, we take a look through Lion-winning work from the MENA region.

created on Tuesday 31 Jan 2017

Despite instability in some major parts of the region, ad spend in MENA is on the rise: reaching $23 billion in 2016 and projected to top $25 billion by 2018. TV and print are still the dominant mediums, but digital is catching-up. YouTube has exploded in the region, with Saudi Arabia occupying the number one spot in YouTube penetration globally. 

Dubai Lynx, part of the Cannes Lions family of regional festivals, is just over month away. Now in its 11th year, Lynx is the biggest creative event in the MENA region. The success and growth of Dubai Lynx has helped spur success for MENA campaigns on the global stage at Cannes. Here’s a tour of regional creativity through the ranks of Lions. 

The Shortlisted one

See the full credits on the Cannes Lions Archive
Keep The Flame Alive, by Diageo Lebanon
Shortlisted Film Craft Lion 2015

Johnnie Walker’s ‘Keep Walking’ campaign has a special meaning in Lebanon, where people drew inspiration from the positive message after the unrest and conflicts that have affected the country. This campaign picked up a Silver in Cyber, Bronzes in Cyber and PR and was also shortlisted in Direct, Cyber and Promo & Activation.

The Bronze one

See the full credits in the Cannes Lions Archive
The Autocomplete Truth, by UN Women
Bronze Creative Effectiveness Lion 2015

This was a big winner in 2014, taking home a haul of trophies and shortlist placings: a silver Lion in Cyber, three Gold and a much-coveted Titanium & Integrated Lion. Creative Effectiveness is about long-term results, so entries into this Lion have a longer eligibility period, which is how it returned to collect this Bronze in 2015. 

The Silver one

Goliath Tarantula, by Land Rover
Silver Print & Publishing Lion, 2013

Print is still a major force in the MENA region, and the Print & Publishing category at Lynx is especially competitive. This Silver Lion winner from 2013 also picked up a Gold Print & Publishing Lion for photography and was shortlisted for Art Direction. 

The Gold one

See the full credits in the Cannes Lions Archive
Too Depressing, by Du
Gold Film Lion 2014

This darkly funny film from Du Telecom was part of successful series from the region's mobile giant, Du. If you enjoy these, check out ‘Too Complicated’ and ‘Too Informative’.  

The Gold one

See the full credits on the Cannes Lions Archive
Abla Fahita, by J Walter Thompson Cairo
Titanium & Intergrated Lion 2015

Abla Fahita was one of the most popular speakers at Dubai Lynx in 2015, and she also made a brief appearance at Cannes Lions in the same year to collect this award.

This writer remembers being in the audience at the ceremony where this was announced. Due to timing reasons, the film which illustrated the full Abla Fahita story had to be severely edited, meaning those in the audience who had no idea who Abla was (basically anyone from outside the MENA region) was left more than a little confused.

Fortunately, the story found its way into the media as journalists analysed the awards, and it also gives us much please to share this slightly strange, slightly crazy but very creative and deeply fabulous story with you now. 


Passes are now available for Dubai Lynx (5-8 March). Browse more regional creativity on the Cannes Lions Archive


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