Agencies from the Middle East are participating in the Loeries in greater and greater numbers, with telling results
Of the five grands prix awarded at the Loeries in August, the UAE took home three of them. Whichever way you look at it, that’s not a bad haul for an awards show based in South Africa.
Yet the wins are arguably an inevitable result of the Loeries’ own strategy. The festival’s organisers have been actively encouraging participation from the Middle East and North Africa for the past few years, this year even going so far as to organise a media trip in association with South African Tourism to help raise awareness.
It’s a strategy that is obviously working, with entries from the region doubling as recognition of the Loeries grows across the Middle East.
“Around 20 per cent of entries this year were from outside South Africa, which was around a 100 per cent increase in this sector,” says Andrew Human, chief executive of the Loeries. “From the results, it was clear that there is very strong, creative and brave work coming out of the Middle East.”
The UAE was the second biggest winner behind South Africa, with the awards night an evening to remember for Impact BBDO. The agency won a grand prix, seven golds, five silvers and five bronzes, as well as the agency of the year accolade. BBDO MEA was also named regional agency group of the year.
It was also a good year for Y&R Dubai and TBWA\Raad, both of which won a grand prix apiece, with Y&R also taking home three golds.
“A grand prix is the ultimate award in the industry, it demonstrates recognition and defines your work as iconic, authentic, and superior,” says Walid Kanaan, chief creative officer at TBWA\Raad. “Winning it at the Loeries – and in integrated – is as valuable as winning it at any other award show.”
The MENA region has its awards shows of course, but the Loeries is pushing the MEA angle with noticeable results.
“Each award show has its own identity and set of expectations,” says Kanaan. “I wouldn’t compare the Loeries to any other award show. Judging from the awarded works and quality of the jury, I’d have to say the competition’s level was pretty high, respectable, and credible.”
Human adds: “This is an important business region for brands as they expand into new markets, and many global brands and agency networks are now managing their business units as a MEA region. The Loeries is an important indicator of what is being done – and by whom – across the region. It is also notable that the Loeries is a not-for-profit association run by the industry – the only one in the region – and with the sole focus of promoting the value that creativity adds.”
With more than 3,000 entries, Human believes the Loeries are now well entrenched as a regional showcase, and this broader and more inclusive focus will continue in the future.
“The aim is to continue to showcase regional work, and I expect we will see more work from other countries which are only now growing in stature, such as Kenya and Nigeria, as well as other countries in the Middle East, like Egypt and Lebanon,” he says.