The region’s top digital advertising talent was honoured last night at the second ever MENA Digital Awards ceremony, the culminating event of the only awards programme in the region dedicated to celebrating marketing in the digital industry. The glittering soiree that took place at the Westin hotel, Dubai, concluded the two-day Digital Media Forum (DMF) 2015, which had attracted 500 industry stakeholders from across the region and beyond to discuss the latest developments taking place across the digital landscape.
“The MENA Digital Awards is the only marketing industry awards programme in the region that focuses solely on the digital sector. It was established last year to honour success and excellence in the sector, thereby helping to promote the best in digital marketing planning, creativity, innovation, and effectiveness,” said Najla Semaan Mazboudi, Managing Director of Spot On Media Services and Events, owner and founder of DMF and the MENA Digital awards.
“This is the second ever MENA Digital Awards and follows on from last year’s highly successful event which set a template for recognising the very best marketing initiatives that harness the ever-increasing power of digital,” she added.
The MENA Digital Awards 2015 featured 14 categories, including 4 categories added this year to reflect the evolving digital platform across the region. There was also an award for Agency of the Year and Network of Year, based on a newly introduced winners’ points system. Voting took place across two rounds; a preliminary heat to determine shortlists and a final round to establish overall winners. All categories had been designed to be all-industry inclusive and not restricted purely to media companies, meaning that a variety of businesses from across sectors were eligible to enter.
Big winners on the night were Leo Burnett Mena, who scooped the Grand Prix Award through their impressive tally of awards in several categories; including two Golds in Digital Cause Marketing, a Gold in Best Digital PR, a Gold in Best Use Of Social Media, a Silver in Best Performance Campaign, a Bronze in Best Use of Video and a Bronze in Best Use of Mobile. Omnicom picked up the Network of the Year Awar, and OMD picked up the Agency of the year.
Other notable winners included Initiative Mena, who garnered two Silvers for their work for KFC under Best Application Mobile/Tablet and Best Use of Mobile, along with two Bronze under Best Integrated Media Campaign and Best Use of Video. Across the categories, Socialize Agency received two Golds, BBDO collected a Gold, three silvers and a Bronze and Proximity picked up a Gold, two Silvers and a Bronze. Other various precious metal awards under different categories went to UM MENA, Ogilvy, Buzzman, OMD MENA, PHD and Sama Dubai.
“It was an absolute honour and a pleasure to be asked to judge the MENA Digital Awards for 2015,” said Evan Welsh, Senior Director – Corporate Affairs, SAP, US “The standard was incredibly high, as I had expected, but as a jury panel, we had a strict set of guidelines that helped us greatly in our decision-making process. Personally, I was very impressed over the levels of creativity seen with all entrants and there were some tough calls to take,” he added.
“One of the main things we looked at was how well each agency made use of the full capabilities open to them for their particular campaign,” added Maria Lagutina, Digital Sales – eCommerce and Customer Experience EMEA Citibank, UK “The digital platform is such a rapidly developing one that the most dynamic of agencies were able to update their campaigns with new initiatives, something that garnered extra points. But all proved to be of a very high standard which shows just how far we have come in the space of a few years” she continued.
The MENA Digital Awards 2015 wrapped up this year’s DMF, which was held under the banner: ‘Digital Technology: Bringing the Future Closer.’ The instalment was the latest in the DMF programme that has grown significantly since its inception in 2011, when it was established in response to the increasing popularity of the digital platform for marketers. DMF Cairo was hosted for the first time in October last year, with DMF Jeddah planned to take place soon. The forum has established itself as a must-attend event on the calendar for industry professionals from across the region.