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Views from inside Festival of Media MENA’s jury room

Festival of Media MENA

Views from inside Festival of Media MENA’s jury room

It’s always good to know you’ve won, but, win or lose, it’s more important to know why. So, we went behind the scenes to the jury rooms to see what the judges thought of the shortlisted entries.

Best Communications Strategy

The judges were very impressed with the powerful insights of the entries in this category. The voting for the Gold trophy was rather close, with a tie between “Johnson’s Baby Bath Time Song” and “INFINITI – From Darkness to Light”. While the former was based on a strong insight and an untapped area, the latter delivered better results – especially considering the challenging Saudi market – which made it stand out.

“Celebrate the Breaker’s Breaks” scooped up a Bronze for its alignment with the broader brand message of Kit Kat representing a break, while also effectively localizing the campaign. It was on this front that adidas’ “There Will Be Haters” lost out. While the idea cleverly tackled a social problem, the campaign had too much of a global feel and wasn’t localized well enough, since cyber bullying isn’t as big a problem in the region. Although the jury agreed that the “7up Relaunch” was a great cause and a good idea, it lacked depth and a clear link back to the brand. Knorr’s “Spirit of Ramadan” and NIDO Fortigrow’s “Mother to a Generation” both delivered good results and engaged the target audience; however, neither stood out as unique.

Best Content Creation Award 

The voting for the Gold – “MAGGI Diaries – A Journey of Women, Food & Change” – and the Silver – Freska’s “Hindhasha” – resulted in healthy discussion and the final decision was a close call. Both campaigns jumped out immediately, but Maggi took the Gold for fuelling an initiative that not only touched its target audience – women – but also empowered them. “Hindihasha”, on the other hand, was funny, clever, engaging and based on a true insight, but, unfortunately, the unclear results had the jury members settling for a Silver. At first glance, Nescafé Arabiana’s “Meet the Family” felt a little gimmicky and not necessarily reflective of the Nescafé brand. A closer look and some discussion led to the recognition of the fact that it was a niche product and, most importantly, it used digital content to drive people offline and promote sales, which is quite unusual.

Best Engagement Strategy

“Fanta Gaming Masters” was an easy win for the Gold in this category, with the campaign tapping into all of the right touchpoints, combined with the brand’s massive gamers movement. Nescafé Arabiana’s “Meet the Family” won the Silver for grabbing a white space in the market and elevating it to the next level. Both the Gold and Silver winners were applauded for tapping into a real insight with a well-defined strategy and generating strong engagement. Although Coca-Cola’s “No Labels” was recognized as having a good concept with a twist, its lack of scale didn’t help it score any brownie points.

Best Experiential Campaign

The Gold for “Chipsy Smiles” was an almost unanimous decision, as the campaign scored big on all fronts, right from the insight and approach to the activity itself. “Fanta Gaming Masters” stood out next, bagging the Silver due to the massive gaming movement it created. The judges didn’t feel any of the other entries were strong enough to be awarded a Bronze in this category, although many certainly had the potential. For instance, Coca-Cola’s “No Labels” wasn’t really seen as an activation, merely as a social experiment that lacked scale and an entry that would’ve probably done better in the Content Creation category. “Lay’s Max Xtra” was appreciated for its combination of bringing consumers into a physical space and engaging them, but it wasn’t enough to win in the category.

Best Use of Digital Media

The jury was quite disappointed with the caliber of entries in this category; the judges certainly expected more. NIDO Fortigrow’s “Mother to a Generation” stood out quite easily for the Gold trophy as it put digital at the heart of the campaign. There was a tie between the “Durex Real Feel: MENA Launch” and adidas’ “Transfer Predictor”, with the former taking the Silver trophy for its brave stance and clever execution in a region where sex is taboo. Nescafé Red Mug’s “IKIGAI” was true to the brand, but didn’t have enough amplification and, although “#HnS Freestyle: Face a Million” had an interesting execution and high engagement, these weren’t enough to make it stand out in the category.

Best Use of Content

Overall, the judges found that the content was powerful in all of the entries. “Be There with Emirates” bagged the Gold due to the obvious content messages that were adapted around the world – successfully in each market – through different channels, relying on Emirates’ own staff as brand advocates. Coca-Cola’s “Ramadan Prejudice” presented a full view of the campaign – unlike the entry in the Best Experiential Campaign category – using content at the core of its strategy. “MAGGI Diaries” won the Bronze for its use of content in bringing real stories to life through different channels. Barbican’s “Live the Code” was appreciated for getting under the skin of Arab men; however, the jury felt that the campaign could potentially be refreshed with new content that would put the brand at the core of the story. Channel 4’s “Radio Spa” was liked, but the lack of ingenuity in the idea and the ambiguity of the results were a deterrent. KFC’s “Flying Bucket” appealed to the jury, but didn’t seem like the right fit in this category.

The Utility/Public Service Award 

No particular entry stood out in this category and, hence, the jury decided to award only a Silver to touch’s “Al Tawasol”, which truly represented public service – with the metrics to prove it. There seemed to be a strong disconnect between the category’s criteria and the entries submitted, as most of them were CSR campaigns. There was a lot of discussion in the jury room around the weightage of the results – especially since none of the campaigns had a business result – and the potential need for behavioral change or NGO/government-related campaigning. Project Forgot’s “Memories Matter” simply seemed like a clever gimmick without any benefit to the brand, particularly since it failed to deliver on the tagline: “We can beat the disease [Alzheimer’s] by talking about it”. One Touch’s “Step Up for Life” did improve brand perception, but the judges were surprised that the activity was based on singing and not any tangible benefit. City Centre Deira/Mirdif’s “Not Just Special, but Super” was undoubtedly a beautiful execution, but didn’t have any connect to the brand, while Knorr’s “Spirit of Ramadan” was simply not unique.

Best Targeted Campaign

The judges weren’t impressed by the standard of entries and expected to see more sophisticated targeting methods. Because of this, they chose not to give away a Gold in this category. “Dettol Hajj”, which won the Silver, was the best contender, but, as one of the judges pointed out, the specific target, Hajj pilgrims, are a huge number – roughly two million, which is almost the population of a country. On the other hand, RAKBANK’s campaign went all out by targeting everyone, which seemed like blanket marketing, leaving the judges puzzled as to why it was even entered in this category. BMW i8’s “Experience the Revolution” was a well-targeted campaign, but lost out due to its lack of originality. The Bronze went to Lay’s “What Happens at Girls Night Stays in Girls Night” for its spot-on gender and location targeting.

The Smart Use of Data Award

There seemed to be a certain misconception that “smart use of data” implied the use of programmatic media. Although the judges initially struggled to understand how the Gold winner, Samsung’s “Digital Campaign Optimization (DCO)”, counted as a campaign, it won major props for being a proprietary technology that was used across campaigns. Misr El Kheir Development Foundation’s “Army of Loyalists”, which won the Silver, impressed the judges with its use of multiple data points to retarget donors and the fact that a charity organization – not the kind that is generally perceived to be tech-savvy – was behind the campaign. Baume et Mercier’s “Life is About Moments” had a very strong execution, along with specific creatives based on data insights. Moreover, the link to inventory and the limited frequency cap meant that the brand was confident about reaching its target, while remaining consistent with its philosophy of being non-intrusive, thereby ensuring a 100 percent share of voice. In fact, the jury loved it enough to say that it probably would have won the Gold in the Best Targeted Campaign category.

Best Social Media Strategy

Nana’s “#LiveFearless” – the Gold winner – was praised for its effective use of social media in creating a highly engaging campaign. The Silver winner, Rani Float’s “Kees Gawafa”, was recognized for its strong insight and the fact that its content was developed with social media at the core. Meanwhile, Cheetos’ “Flames of the World” won the Bronze for its integrated approach.

Best Use of Video

This category was particularly difficult to judge. There were several great videos, but they lacked other elements that would have made them stronger. For instance, “Pepsi UrTheCast” was considered the best video, but there was no clarity on how it was used, and the jury felt that it would have performed better in the Content Creation category. Similarly, Lay’s “What Happens at Girls Night Stays in Girls Night” got the content spot-on for the Saudi market by getting around the privacy element of a Saudi household; however, it failed to show Saudi women engaging and the link to the brand wasn’t obvious. Etisalat’s “The Green Genie” won the Gold for its bold and cheeky stance, which converted consumers. The judges were especially impressed by the speed with which the campaign was executed, since Etisalat reacted to its competitor and got the commercial on air in three days. Coca-Cola’s “Old Rivals” got to the heart of the Saudi consumer while staying true to the brand, winning it a Silver; while Vimto’s “Come Together” won the Bronze for a touching video that leveraged the power of second-screening.

Best Use of Mobile

Unfortunately, the judges were quite disappointed with the entries in this category, as none of them were mobile-centric – a bigger letdown in a region that boasts the highest smartphone penetration.

The jury settled on only one Bronze winner: Visa’s “Cash to Card”, as that was the only idea that was developed with mobile as the main platform and wouldn’t have worked on any other medium. Although Lipton’s “See It, Hashtag It, Win It” and AXA Cooperative Insurance’s “Mini Game by Gameloft” delivered good results, neither treated mobile as the primary device.

Best Launch Campaign

Cheetos’ “Flames of the World” won the Gold for what the judges described as a brilliant idea that tapped into a powerful insight and turned it into an amazing execution. “Sting Launch” also had a strong insight and good execution, but localization was the key to its Silver win, while Lay’s “What Happens at Girls Night Stays in Girls Night” won the Bronze for a fully integrated launch campaign. However, there was a strong debate between the Silver and Bronze winners, as well as Mondelez International’s “Cadbury Marvellous Creations #Firstbite”.

Best Entertainment Platform

In this category, Nissan Middle East’s “The Academy” was a clear Gold winner, as it managed to connect the brand and the youth through constant engagement and entertainment.

The Creative Use of Media Award

Channel 4’s “Radio Spa” stood out as the Gold winner for its innovative use of a traditional medium – radio. It not only identified a problem, but also went as far as to change the use of that medium through precise application of technology. NIDO Fortigrow’s “Mother to a Generation” pulled in a Silver for using the platform not just as a means of engagement, but also to stimulate and grow the campaign across channels. And, lastly, Emirates NBD’s “Second Life Billboards” merited a Bronze for taking a traditional and physical medium and applying creative thought to its use.

The Effectiveness Award

This category saw a lot of worthy entries, including “#BacktoLife with Panadol Cold + Flu” and Nescafé Arabiana’s “Meet the Family”. The former’s results were impressive, but the judges argued that impressions and views can both be paid and don’t necessarily indicate effectiveness, while the latter tapped into a good opportunity and showed strong results. However, it came down to picking the most effective of the lot and Gold-winner “Sting Launch” stood out as a “transformational campaign” that didn’t just sell the product, but also expanded the pie. Nana’s “#LiveFearless” bagged a Silver with almost-unaninmous votes for an interesting campaign that delivered results, while “Step up for Life” was awarded the Bronze for standing out in a difficult category, in which it was able to spread awareness.

Twitter Live Marketing Award

“#BacktoLife with Panadol Cold + Flu” easily stood out as the Gold winner thanks to its focus on Twitter. The campaign used the platform perfectly to encourage sharing and discussion in the moment. Coca-Cola’s “Old Rivals” scored high in terms of content, which was quite engaging, and its results – 52 million impressions on Twitter – proved its effectiveness.

Cheetos’ “Flames of the World” bagged the Bronze as it didn’t necessarily fuel the conversation, but it did get people talking and also engaged them, which ended up generating some great pieces of content. While “McDonald’s 1955 Burger #Throwback” generated conversation and engagement, it lost out because it did not focus purely on Twitter.

Best Use of YouTube Award

This category saw the jury discussing and debating long and hard, as they found quite a few entries not very relevant. Kit Kat’s “Celebrate the Breakers’ Breaks” stood out as the Gold winner for its correct use of YouTube to fully leverage the campaign to its maximum potential, while Pepsi’s “UrTheCast” scored the Bronze for an integrated campaign that put YouTube at the centre of its strategy.

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