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The Dubai International Advertising Festival has announced a reduction of entry fees to encourage more agencies to participate in its 2010 edition, said the organisers.
The festival's third edition will be held from March 14 to 16, according to an announcement made at a press conference yesterday. It will include the Dubai Lynx Awards 2010.
The annual event has reduced the entry fees between 40 per cent and 60 per cent, according to figures received by the Dubai International Advertising Festival office in London.
Terry Savage, Chairman of Cannes Lions, the organiser, said: "The global recession has impacted the region, but keeping abreast of the industry's changes and challenges, it is crucial than ever to recognise the good work.
"This new price point makes Dubai Lynx accessible to all in the region, to acquire the real experience of the quality speaker list we are bringing, meeting with regional and international professionals in the field, learning, networking and exchanging ideas."
Referring to last year's issue with Fortune Promoseven Qatar that was stripped of its award after claims that the works were not commissioned by real clients, Savage said: "When we started with the Dubai Lynx Awards our aim was to lift the standards of creativity in the region. This requires passing a lot of bumps on the road, and last year we met with one of those. We have taken the right action and have become stricter."
He said: "However, the fact that the UAE has won six Lions at the Cannes Lions Awards this year, is an amazing achievement for any country. If we look at the categories in which the UAE has bagged those, we will see that it has outperformed significant markets, namely the whole of Europe. This demonstrates that our work has been fruitful."
A seminar organised by the International Advertising Association (IAA) UAE Chapter, during the Media and Marketing Show in November, featured a discussion among top media leaders regarding the issue.
Industry leaders complained that international jury members were not aware of the cultural sensitivities of the region, which was the reason why one of the agency's works was disqualified after winning the award, following anger over the theme in Lebanon.
One of the suggestions made at the seminar was to introduce a category for work that is not commissioned by clients, referring to restrictions placed by clients on creativity in various markets in the region.
Savage said: "Japan won 31 Lions at Cannes this year. No one understands Japanese or knows the Japanese culture, but they still won. Great ideas should transcend cultural barriers. The issue of whether an ad is legitimate or not is a different matter. We are in this business to sell our clients' products. If we want to break the rules we will not be able to stop them. If we find them, we will ban them for sometime from all our shows. We will be vigilant, but at the end of the day the agencies should realise that by such actions they are deceiving themselves and their clients and their reputation is tarnished. There was only one work that was culturally sensitive. The rest of the work was disqualified because it was not commissioned by clients."
Savage said considering a ghost work category is out of question.
"We are here to produce ads that generate sales and build awareness. If were in business to create ads that are nice, we should be artists. We are in the commercial field. If we were to introduce that category, we are almost recognising scam."
The Dubai International Advertising Festival will also include a two-day seminar programme.
Advertising person of the year
Ramzi Raad, Chairman and CEO of TBWA\RAAD Middle East was announced yesterday the Advertising Person of the Year, by the organisers of the Dubai Lynx Awards.
Terry Savage, Chairman of Cannes Lions, the organiser of the Dubai International Advertising Festival, said: "Ramzi has been and continues to be an instrumental figure in the development and growth of the advertising and communications industry in the Middle East and North Africa."
Raad told Emirates Business: "I appreciate the industry for bestowing this honour and I am proud because the efforts of the past 40 years have being recognised. When I first arrived in Dubai in 1975, there were only two or three advertising agencies in the UAE. I am happy to see Dubai become the communications capital of Mena."
Dennis Strieff, Worldwide Chief Financial Officer of TBWA WorldWide said in an internal communication: "I can only add that such a prize is also the reward of a fundamentally good and optimistic person."
Raad was optimistic during 2009, despite the ad industry showing a 26 per cent fall. Raad said: "No doubt 2009 was a challenging year for the world and the communications industry in particular. However, in a region that has been growing over the past 10
years in double-digit figures, the momentum remains there for us to amplify it. Optimism has always helped in the most severe situations, and at TBWA \Raad, 2009 was a good year despite all the factors."
A source who asked not to be quoted said TBWA\Raad saw over 10 per cent growth in 2009.
Opportunity for students
The organisers of the Dubai International Advertising Festival said Dubai Lynx will be an awards provider for the Dubai Media City Ibda'a Student Awards.
Dubai Media City will offer 125 students registrations for the festival allowing them to benefit from the activities, seminars, screenings, exhibitions and workshops.
Dubai Lynx will offer the winner a paid trip to Cannes and a place at the Rgoer Hatchuel Academy for a one-week training course available to only 35 advertising students worldwide.
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