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Coming soon: the Oscars of the advertising industry

We live in a world of advertising. Every media channel that we use, from television to mobile phones, newspapers and magazines, is continuously trying to convey a message about a certain product or service to catch people’s attention.

Advertising has a tremendous effect on people’s behaviors and consequently on a business’s earnings and success.

Numerous ceremonies are held around the world to award the most influential people in this sector, for the great difference that they make in the business world.

Known as the Oscars of the marketing industry, MENA Effie Awards were conceived in 2009, to honor the most effective advertising efforts in the Middle East and North Africa region.

What makes MENA Effie Awards special?

 A story of inspiration

The MENA Effie Awards will take place on November 15, 2017 at The Pavilion – Armani Hotel, Dubai.

In 2009, Alexandre Hawari, Co-CEO at Mediaquest Corp, organizer of the MENA Effie Awards, recognised the need to acknowledge and celebrate the people and companies that are helping transform the region; and that is how Mediaquest came up with the idea of Effies.

He explains that the Effies Awards ceremony was created after Mediaquest joined forces with the world-renowned Effie Worldwide to become the GEMAS Effie MENA Awards, which are now called MENA Effie Awards.

Launched in 1968, the Effie Awards program is known by advertisers and agencies globally as the pre-eminent award in the industry.

“Effie Worldwide stands for effectiveness in marketing communications, spotlighting marketing ideas that work and encouraging thoughtful dialogue about the drivers of marketing effectiveness. The Effie network works with some of the top research and media organizations worldwide to bring its audience relevant and first-class insights into effective marketing strategy,” said Hawari.

What are the awarded categories?

Hawari explains that the categories are decided based on the judges’ feedback and depending on how the market is changing.

The categories are divided into 3 segments: Product & Services categories – these categories speak to the overall industry; while Specialty categories are designed to address a specific business situation or challenge; and the Shopper Marketing, which is for integrated campaigns that were specifically designed to engage a target shopper.

Read: MENA Effie Awards back in Dubai for ninth edition

Who are the judges?

Hawari says that judges on the panel are marketing veterans from the industry: CMOs, VPs, Marketing Directors/Managers, Corp Comm and Brand Managers.

He explains that being an Effie Judge is a challenging job.

“Being an Effie judge is one of the toughest jobs, because as a judge you are not only raising the bar for the industry by the winners you select, but you are at the same time sending a message to the industry on different levels about marketing effectiveness,” he said.

He added: “The MENA Effie Awards are also focused on enhancing learning in our industry and what better way to do this than to have the industry as part of the jury panel?”

However, the judgment process is not the only challenge faced by MENA Effie Awards.

What are the challenges?

Other challenges include ensuring transparency and credibility of the awards.

“The one factor that makes the MENA Effie Awards stand out as an award program is our transparency and credibility of the awards, which is something that is of utmost importance for us and we need to ensure it is well respected,” Hawari said.

To do so, MENA Effie Awards work with some of the top research and media organizations worldwide to bring the audience relevant and first-class insights into effective marketing strategy.

The advertising strategy also posed some challenges.

“It was extremely complicated to find a cost-effective way to reach this sector, so we relied on many different approaches, such as direct marketing and advertisement in print media, as well as regular above-the-line advertisements, digital advertisements and social media campaigns,” said Hawari.

Despite all challenges, the MENA Effie Awards have already made its mark in the industry as the Oscars of the marketing industry.

“What we now aim for is MENA Effie to become a network for the marketing industry through programs, insights, videos and white papers on effective marketing and other key educational and learning tools focusing on sharing insights on the principles of effective advertising and marketing communications,” he said.

Read: Global online ad spend set for nearly double digit growth until 2021

Last year’s coveted prizes

The 2016 four most anticipated awards were:

– Grand Prix, the award that celebrates the best advertising campaign among all categories, was won by Bou Khalil Supermarché for “The Good Note” by J. Walter Thompson Beirut.

–  Most Effective Advertising Office of the Year: FP7/DXB

–  Most Effective Media Office of the Year: Starcom Dubai

–  Most Effective Agency Network of the Year: FP7 MENA

It’s worth noting that the Gold Award for the automotive industry was won by Leo Burnett Cairo for their Renault Egypt campaign.

As for the banking sector, the Gold Award was won by J. Walter Thomson, Kuwait, for their campaign “Towards Perfection” for Boubyan Bank.

FP7 won the Gold Award for its “It belongs online” ad for Orange telecom.