Cannes Lions and IAA to host ad festival in Dubai

The Middle East’s advertising agencies are to be spoilt for choice for advertising awards to enter.

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By  Tim Burrowes Published  November 6, 2005

The Middle East’s advertising agencies are to be spoilt for choice for advertising awards to enter. Last week saw the D&AD Global Awards, which recognise creativity in design and art direction, launch a call for entries. And in a separate development the International Advertising Association has signed an agreement with Cannes Lions to host an event in Dubai next November. The D&AD Awards, organised in the UK, have a closing date of 27 January and a panel of judges from across the world, although none from the Middle East. Vincent Raffray, executive creative director of Tonic, the first Middle East ad agency to win a gold Cannes Lion, urged creatives to take part. He said: “It will definitely help people to see the work that is winning these international awards. When you see the work, it’s a lot more inspiring than seeing it in a book or on a website. “The creative work in the Middle East is slowly improving. I hope we will see more finalists from the region. These international awards play an important role in the advertising industry and improving advertising. People here need to realise what it takes to win these awards, and by events and awards coming to the region, it will give those involved in the industry a chance to see what is involved in winning them.” However, he criticised the lack of any Middle East judges from among D&AD’s 300 or so panel. He said: “By not having any judges from the Middle East, they are basically saying that they don’t take us seriously.” Last month D&AD chief executive Michael Hockney told Campaign that if the region was well represented then future years would see judges from the Middle East. He said: “We are very keen to encourage entries from the Middle East.” Meanwhile, the IAA revealed its deal with the Cannes Lions. Previous awards organised by the IAA became mired in controversy over the fairness of the judging process. Tanvir Kanji, president of the IAA’s UAE chapter, said: “It was decided after our last awards that in future this would be best handled by an independent, international body.” It is so far unclear exactly what the involvement of the Cannes Lions will be in the awards process. The Cannes Lions in France is a week-long advertising festival that culminates in a series of awards events. The local version would include a three-day festival in Dubai for the Middle East and North Africa region. The deal was signed with Terry Savage, executive chairman of the Cannes Lions and a former jury president of the IAA GCC Awards. He said: “The MENA region is one of the world’s most exciting and fastest developing.” Meanwhile, Campaign’s inaugural awards, which are independent and chaired by Unilever Middle East chairman Jan Zijderveld, are currently open for entry, with a closing date of 7 December.

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