WARC Awards for MENA Strategy 2022 - Insights uncovered
Posted on 2023 Mar,06

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Innovative media executions, co-created brand stories and nostalgia are the driving force for effective marketing in MENA

Following an in-depth analysis of the shortlisted and winning entries of the WARC Awards for MENA Strategy 2022, an annual case study competition showcasing the best strategic thinking from the region, WARC has released an insights report outlining common themes and successful marketing trends. 

Catherine Driscoll, Commissioning Editor EMEA, WARC, said: “The campaigns analysed for the report offer a masterclass in executing strategic insight. They utilised a variety of approaches - a fresh and creative use of media, a relaxed control of the brand message to involve customers and communities, or drew on nostalgia to create powerful connections. 

“The work also addresses opportunities and challenges in the region as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic – capitalising on new digital behaviours and seeking to empower women who were, in places, set back by the restrictions.”

Jury chair Lianne Braganza-D’Sylva, Chief Marketing Officer, Cigna MEA, added: “The winning campaigns of the WARC Prize for MENA Strategy not only exemplify great creativity, but also a deep understanding of the human condition with the power to move people and shape culture, inspiring us all to think differently about the world.”

The key lessons outlined in ‘Insights from the WARC Awards for MENA Strategy 2022’, are:


  • Fresh media thinking

A creative use of media channels was a key theme and proved to be a powerful way to effect behaviour change, circumnavigate budget restrictions and stand out on busy occasions. Campaigns tried new channels to cut through the clutter and used traditional media in innovative ways. 

adidas’s Liquid Billboard created the first interactive billboard where women could swim in, and Grand Prix winning campaign Read The Label for fresh juice brand Barakat, made effective use of packaging to drive behavioural change.

Jury member Ali Cheikhali, Creative Strategy Lead, Google Creative Works, commented: “Old media, new magic! That was one of the awards’ biggest themes this year. Brands and agencies proved that with new thinking, yesterday's media can become today's game-changers.” 


  • The power of co-creation and community

Successful campaigns lent into word of mouth in all its forms allowing for more authentic and engaging communications. Through empathetic insights, campaigns connected with people on an emotional level, encouraging them to discuss, share and get involved.

Campaigns by M.A.L.I., stc, adidas and Barakatall leveraged advocacy and involved people in their stories rather than communicating top down. Gold winner Castrol increased the impact of its Portraits of Glory campaign through engaging influencers and elevating its mechanics. 

Commenting on the campaign, judge Fabio Medeiros, Head of Strategy, MENA, VMLY&R, said: “Portraits of Glory has proved that committing to people, fostering love, loyalty and respect can drive actual growth in sales and build sustainable relationships.”


  • Nostalgia and cultural relevance revitalise brand stories

Nostalgia as a creative approach was a powerful tool to engage with new and existing customers by drawing on the emotional connection people have with their heritage and local culture. 

With humorous creative, HungerStation reminded customers of life before delivery apps, leading the brand to surpass its annual app download targets by 25%. Cheese brand Jibnet Abu Al Walad made itself relevant to a new younger audience by ‘owning’ the origins of the popular Omani sandwich. Both campaigns revitalised their brand’s appeal without a huge redesign or media budget.

Ali Cheikhali, Creative Strategy Lead, Google Creative Works, said: “Tapping into consumers' emotional connections with their past can drive impactful results and lead to business success. By embracing the power of nostalgia, brands can create a deeper connection with their audiences and leave a lasting impression.”