Dubai: If you Google Dubai Advertising Agencies you will find that there are over 500 ad agencies registered in Dubai alone. No wonder, the Cannes Lions decided to create an annual event called the Dubai Lynx. The 2009 Dubai Lynx Awards was held as an international advertising festival over three days from March 15-17, 2009. The festival included three days of seminars and workshops, culminating in a glittering Awards ceremony dinner at the Makhtoun Ballroom of the Dubai Convention Center.
The Dubai show actually starts when your Emirates flight lands on the new terminal 3 of the Dubai International Airport. Every passenger can see the tarmac on his personal screen, exactly the way the pilot does, and the sight of the airport lights in the evening hue is quite amazing when you touch ground. Terminal 3 itself is a show piece of expansive elegance and the six-lane motorway to your hotel makes you wonder whether you are arriving in a first world country or into the super world. No visible signs here of recession, and even less so in the lobby of the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel, which is brimming with businessmen from different parts of the world.
Even though the Awards Ceremony was a black tie affair – the Britons still wear dinner jackets and black bowties in Dubai (although we seem to have stopped seeing them elsewhere) – the Indian element was pretty strong – from jury members to speakers and winners. Jasmin Sohrabji, Managing Director, OMD India; Agnello Dias, Chief Creative Officer, Taproot India; and Srikant Sastri, Co-founder and Managing Director, Solutions- Digitas, India, formed part of an international jury headed by Tham Kai Meng, Worldwide Creative Director, Ogilvy & Mather. No international festival these days is complete without Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman, O&M, holding forth on advertising creativity.
The Dubai Lynx Advertising Person of the Year was awarded to Tanvir Kanji, Founder of Inca Tanvir Advertising, Sharjah. The Mumbai-born Kanji has contributed significantly to the advertising industry as a member of the organising committee of the 40th IAA World Congress held in Dubai in 2006, chairing the IAA Awards committee that same year and representing the UAE in the Asian Federation of Advertising Associations (AFAA).
This year’s Lynx had a record 1,591 entries that had made through the shortlist in categories like print, outdoor, direct sales promotion, media, TV and cinema. The entries were from across the Middle East – from Muscat to Cairo – and for a change, the Advertising Agency of the Year was from Doha. FP7 Doha dominated the proceedings, followed by FP7 Dubai, while the media category was won by Starcom MediaVest Group, Dubai. The young creators’ competition in print was an interesting addition with as many as 15 teams taking part.
It was truly an exciting event from the Cannes Lions with plenty of ground support from Motivate Publishing, the UAE Chapter of the IAA and Dubai Media City, while the main sponsorship came from Gulf News.
Chander M Rai is the President and CEO of Cross Border Media Inc and can be reached through email on firstname.lastname@example.org