Competing at the Dubai Young Lynx

For those unaware, Dubai Lynx is one of the biggest creative advertising festival across the Middle East and North Africa. The conference and forum consists of speakers from across the world discussing trends in advertising, creative, technology and media across 4 days. The event concludes with an awards show honouring the best in various categories – including  Radio, Print, Outdoor, Digital, Mobile and more.

A small component of the festival is the Young Lynx Integrated Competition. As part of the competition, teams of up to three participants (below the age of 30) compete to prepare and present an integrated communication and media plan. Teams are given roughly 30 hours to prepare the plan in line with a brief – this year it was the Angel Appeal, and its support vessel, the Flying Angel

We (Clique Media) participated in the competition this year with a team comprising of myself, Soham Bhagnari (@sohamb), and Kunal Chandak (@chandak_kunal). It was a really good learning opportunity for all of us as we were required to modify our thinking process drastically; we went from just media planning (which is currently a large portion of our role) to integrated communication planning. We went from strategy to conceptualization and finally execution.

Although we were extremely happy with our idea – that spanned across print (newspaper & magazine), ambient, SMS, Mobile Web and social, the judges seemed to think otherwise. Of course we were a little biased :)

Nevertheless, we saw some stellar work from all the participants and congratulations to the winning teams of Aegis Media, Wunderman and Team Y&R. We’re coming for you next year.

Image Courtesy: Farrukh Naeem


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Hanging out with Google in the UAE

Google MENA held their first real life hangout with bloggers in the UAE at The Pavilion Dowtown Dubai and I was one of the selected (read: lucky) few to be invited. Joining us from the Google team was Ari Kesisoglu (MD Google MENA), Maha Abouelenein (Comms head for Google MENA) and Hind Rasheed (Comms Manager for Google MENA).

Both Joe Akkawi (@JoeAkkawi) and Ion Gonzaga (@ionGonzaga) have covered the event quite exhaustively on their blogs (and I highly encourage you to check it out) so I’m not going to be doing that again. I will however talk about my impressions of the event.  The entire event was very Google-esque, right from the choice of the venue to the setup of it. Not only was it done in an informal setting, the Google team (and especially Ari) were extremely welcoming and encouraging of our feedback, and were extremely gracious in receiving it – both the good and the bad. In fact, at one point @IbaMasood and I went into a semi rant of sorts against Gmail’s search operators and Ari was listening intently. I’m not sure if/when improvements may be made, but at the very least it served as catharsis. I can imagine the other attendees may have had similar conversations with the team.

The event served as a great way to meet fellow bloggers who I have only met virtually until now as well as a catalyst for discussions about issues affecting us – not necessarily with Google products. The Google team here must be lauded for effectively putting together a great event without turning into a sales pitch as Iba may have feared. Ha.

I only managed to get a few pictures of the event which can be found on my Google+ page (had to be done). I must say I’m already looking forward to the next one.

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