Dubai Lynx. The magic carpet ride of advertising awards shows!

March 17, 2009

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1500 people -Are you kidding me? (From Adfreak)

And so I’ve come to the end of my duty as juror for the International Advertising Festival in Dubai. As I prepare for tonight’s awards ceremony followed by the long, long journey home (I leave at 2:30 AM!) I barely have time to compose this last post.

Unfortunately, I cannot discuss any of the winners, as the show has just started. Unlike Cannes, where leaks about prizes are commonplace, here they manage to keep a tight lid on matters. Complete secrecy maintains a level of excitement for the contestants and I don’t want to spoil it.

What I can say is that the finest work was found among press and posters. Why remains a mystery. Perhaps creatives are not beholden to local vendors for achieving their campaigns. As reported here (somewhat controversially), the television category was hit and miss, with more of the latter. As is the case in most such festivals, radio was the most challenging. In the end, numerous well-deserved medals were given in all categories. The ceremony should be a hit.

Even if some of the work is not to international standards, Dubai Lynx is by far the most sophisticated regional show I have ever experienced. Run by many of the same people who do Cannes, the size and professionalism of this event is unsurpassed. While similar events in the States comprise bigger names and more celebrated campaigns, the Lynx is a weeklong event, replete with seminars, workshops and glitzy guest speakers. I myself hosted a seminar today and found it to be most rewarding. Hopefully, the young Arabic students felt the same way!

Dubai is a modern city. Hell, most of it is younger than me! This includes the advertising industry. With everything growing and moving at such a furious pace, it’s hard to discuss themes and motifs. What’s the point? Chances are it will all be different next year!

*A special shout out to Phil for his patience and to the Dubai Flower, may she ever bloom!

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