If the Dubai Lynx is a barometer of the health of the MENA creative industry, then judging by what we witnessed during Lynx week, the industry is alive and well. After all, it seemed that there were more delegates; more work submitted, sponsors, topics covered, stages and activities. By all measures, it seems to have been a bigger event on all counts. At the same time I could not help but feel that the Lynx awards and the creative industry are no longer joined in “sickness and in health” – while one struggles with contraction and massive cuts, the other seems to prosper. Certainly the creative industry seems to have helped create and nurture a new industry – the awards industry – and I wonder if this bodes well for us all.
I am delighted that the MENA creative industry seems to generate more award-worthy work. This certainly points to a growing talent base that is capable and can make a difference in communication provided their energies are properly channeled and guided.
The Dubai Lynx is credited with having accelerated the growth and spread of creativity, and this is great news for the brands we are entrusted with, for the businesses of our clients, and for the economy at large- key phrase being brands and clients’ businesses. So, I applaud every award given to work that has done that because such creative had to work harder, had to navigate a more treacherous and challenging journey and had to jump through many more hoops to survive and make it in finished form.
Most of the work awarded seemed to be worthy though in some instances one is left feeling that more deserving pieces of work should, perhaps, have been acknowledged. Quality of craft was very good in case studies and film. In print, on the other hand, we were left wanting.
The above aside, the scale of Lynx has left me with a few questions:
• With more categories to enter work into, what does that mean for the industry? Will it pull us into a steeper downward race to lower margins as we chase more awards and titles?
• Are we losing sight of the big picture, which is that creative awards are a byproduct of exceptional work designed and developed to solve brand marketing and communication challenges?
• While all is fair in love and war, is all fair and acceptable in the pursuit of reputation?
• How will all this help us solve some of the more challenging issues the industry faces?
• Are our energy and money going into the right places?
Perhaps it is not the role of Lynx to help us answer these questions, but should we not be taking stock of where we are and- more importantly- where we are headed?