TBWA\Raad wins its first ever Cannes gold
TBWA\Raad has won its first ever gold at Cannes and become the first regional agency to win in the new mobile category. The agency walked off with gold and silver in mobile thanks to its Red Tomato Pizza fridge magnet. It also won bronzes in media and promo & activation for the same piece of work. The agency is the first to win in mobile, which was introduced this year and received 965 entries. Reda Raad, the agency’s COO, said: “Winning at Cannes is one of the greatest industry honours. If you look at the creative awards table for the MENA region, TBWA\Raad has been one of the most consistent performers year-on-year. However, this year’s performance is the pinnacle.”
Preethi Mariappan is head of TBWA\Raad Digital Arts
“The launch of the mobile category at Cannes is clearly a nod to the importance of mobile as a mainstream medium. While this is an exciting new footprint for us, the real surprise lay in the work shortlisted and awarded. After sitting through the ‘killer mobile app’ rhetoric for years, it was wonderful to see surprising, intuitive and experience led pieces that challenge our conventions of what is possible in the mobile space.
For instance, the Grand Prix winner, Coke’s ‘Hilltop Reimagined’ was spectacular in the way it used connected devices. But most importantly in how it imaginatively captured human emotions and sensibilities. We’re so used to thinking of apps being clever or functional, never experiential.
I thought the Toyota BackSeat Driver was another great piece of work that really used mobile to deliver a real-time in-car experience, or ‘Pain Squad’ which uses gamification to actually treat kids with cancer. To go from an app or tech-centric point of view to a human real world problem solving approach, is a growing up.
It’s going to be interesting to watch how mobile ideas transform our experiences in real-time and relate to our needs as people, instead of just providing utility or information, or access to social sharing. The future of mobile is likely to be both connected and experiential. Two key atributes that helped drive our own win with the ‘VIP Fridge Magnet’.
Winning a Cannes gold for mobile in its very first year is definitely an epic moment for us at TBWA\Raad. But more excitingly, I believe this is a tipping point for us in the UAE, indicative of where we’re headed with advertising. I think it’s fair to say that breakthrough modern communication ideas don’t just have to come from evolved digital or mobile markets as the pundits would have you believe. After all, innovation comes from people, not markets.”
Records tumble at Cannes
Y&R Dubai may have become the most awarded Middle East agency in Cannes Lions history last year, but its achievements were surpassed by a rampant Memac Ogilvy Label, which walked off with three golds (the most ever by an agency from the region in a single festival) and one bronze, helping Memac Ogilvy as a whole notch up a memorable Cannes performance. The Tunisian office’s winning streak was complemented by Memac Ogilvy Dubai’s winning of a silver in cyber for ‘The smallest Ikea store in the world’ – the first silver for a regional agency in the category.
Memac Ogilvy’s success at Cannes can be viewed as a continuation of the agency’s recent resurgence, which began at the Dubai Lynx with Memac Ogilvy Dubai’s winning of two grands prix, and its Tunisian sister agency’s winning of a clutch of golds. (‘The Return of Ben Ali’ cannot win a grand prix at Cannes because it is for a public service). Edmond Moutran, chairman and CEO of Memac Ogilvy Middle East and North Africa, was understandably delighted with his network’s performance. Spea-king of the double gold for Memac Ogilvy Label at the opening awards ceremony, Moutran said: “There is no bigger entry to the Cannes scene than walking on stage and picking up two golds before you even attend a lecture. I arrived in Cannes at 5.30pm only to be told that at 7.30pm we can pick up two golds. This is the crowning of a long career and a huge effort seeking to upgrade the standard of our creativity at Memac Ogilvy and in the MENA region. This is the happiest moment in my career and I am so grateful to all the creative of Memac Ogilvy, especially the Tunisian team who won these awards.”
Interestingly, only one of this year’s Dubai Lynx grand prix winners – Y&R Dubai’s ‘Headline news’ cup sleeve for Gulf News – won anything at Cannes. In this case, a silver in media. “We didn’t do as well as last year in terms of the number of awards or the golds, but this year I’m happy for a diff-erent reason,” says Nadine Ghossoub, managing director of Y&R Dubai. “It’s no secret that Y&R Dubai is very strong in print, and for us to bring home a Lion in disciplines other than print is a huge feat. This year we are adding our first direct and media Lions to our awards shelf and I’m very proud of that. I am also very happy with the fact that our work, especially on Harvey Nichols and Land Rover, has been recognised yet again. Winning at Cannes is very difficult, and to do it four years in a row is pretty outstanding, to say the least. All creative agencies have good years and bad years, but to be consistent in their approach to creative work year after year is what Y&R continuously strives for and to be successful at that is an achievement by itself. We have consistently represented the region at Cannes for the last four years and we hope to continue the trend. That makes me extremely happy.”
Overall, the region almost doubled its awards haul of last year, increasing from 11 to 21. The previous record was 12 in 2010. Although the number of regional entries was the highest it had ever been, standing at 485 for the UAE alone, the roll call of winners was once again dominated by just a handful of agencies – Memac Ogilvy, Leo Burnett, TBWA\Raad and Y&R. The only straggler was DDB Dubai, which landed a design bronze for its ‘Gift a life’ for the Committee of Organ Donation in Lebanon.
TBWA\Raad, which not only picked up its first ever Cannes gold, but became the first regional agency to win in mobile – a category that was introduced this year and received 965 entries from 47 countries – was rewarded for its commitment to digital and the creation of TBWA\Raad Digital Arts. Its gold, silver and two bronzes were all for Red Tomato Pizza’s fridge magnet, which had garnered considerable international attention in the run-up to the festival.
“Winning at Cannes is one of the greatest industry honours,” says Reda Raad, chief operating officer at TBWA\Raad. “Producing award-winning and effective ideas for clients has become part of our culture and is in our DNA. If you look at the creative awards table for the MENA region, TBWA\Raad has been one of the most consistent performers year-on-year. However, this year’s performance is the pinnacle. These awards would not have been possible had it not been for all our great colleagues at TBWA\Raad. We are all very proud. A big thank you to Red Tomato Pizza for being such a great partner.”
Leo Burnett Beirut’s ‘No Rights, No Women’ also performed well, picking up one gold, two silvers and three bronzes in the PR and media categories, with Leo Burnett Dubai also picking up a bronze in print. Raja Trad, CEO of Leo Burnett Group MENA, says: “All the awards we have received are recognition of our hard work and commitment to creative excellence. I am very proud of everyone in our Leo Burnett MENA team. They keep challenging themselves and raising the bar. Their performance at Cannes is a testament to Leo Burnett MENA as well as the entire communications industry in the region.”
The festival as a whole was attended by a considerable contingent from the region, amongst them Peter Bidenko, regional executive creative director at Leo Burnett. “Many of the conversations at Cannes centred on the effectiveness of award-winning work,” he says. “It’s a good conversation to have. I guess some people still find awards frivolous, self indulgent and meaningless. I don’t think it could be further from the truth. There’s a study called the IPA Report that surveyed 213 case studies and found that the awarded campaigns were 11 times more effective than the work that didn’t win awards.
“And what does win awards? Work that has a well defined strategy to it. Work that can’t help to get noticed. Work that is simple and clear in its intent and what it sets out to say. Work that draws you in for more than a split second. Work that is liked and means something to people. Work that helps you to participate with the brand and in many cases love the brand. And of course work that is innovative and original. Remember that equation, 11 times more effective. I think the value of Cannes is that it teaches us not to be lazy. The winning work is intelligent, and treats the consumer with intelligence. It’s lovingly crafted and you can see in it care and persistence by its creators.
“The success across many agencies within the Middle East represents a maturing industry. And again I think it’s the persistence of the talented people who work here, over a number of years now, that has seen good work rise up in the region. It will continue. I hope that clients start to notice these campaigns and recognise the innovation and originality. I hope it helps us all to say yes to campaigns that haven’t been seen yet. Sometimes that is hard. Do we know it’s good or not if we can’t compare it to anything. As one creative director from London was telling me about a documentary he was making, the hardest part of the shoot was not knowing the outcome. Because it was a live documentary based on real people’s reactions, they had to have a leap of faith that the production would turn out well. This takes a brave client and one interested in doing brave work.
“Let’s continue in the Middle East to gather the momentum for good work, that makes a difference to consumers, that is liked by our markets, and then turns into Cannes gold.”
Source: Campaign Middle East http://campaignme.com/