LONDON: The final group of judges for the inaugural WARC Prize for MENA Strategy, a set of awards with a $10,000 prize fund to reward the best demonstrations of strategic marketing thinking in the Middle East and North Africa, includes senior figures from Emirates NBD and regional agencies.

From the client-side, Dominic Fernandes, VP, Business Marketing at leading Middle East banking group Emirates NBD, joins jury chairman Asad Rehman, Director, Media, North Africa & Middle East, Unilever.

New agency-side judges include Dana Al-Kutoubi, Head of Strategic Planning, JWT Saudi Arabia, Tom Hardstaff, Head of Strategy, UM MENA, Gabriel Mafra, Senior Planner, DigitasLBi MENA, Ravi Rao, CEO, Mindshare, MENA, Ziad Skaff, Managing Director, Hall & Partners MENA.

Short biographies of all judges can be read on the Prize website.

Entry to the WARC Prize for MENA Strategy is free and open to brand owners and agencies in any discipline. Entrants must submit a case study showing how strategic thinking has made a difference to a brand. Full details and an entry form are available on the Prize website.

The closing date for entries is 12 May 2017.

The top entries will be awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze awards. The Grand Prix for the best overall paper will receive $7,000.

In addition, three $1,000 Special Awards – the Research Excellence Award for the best use of research in the development of strategic ideas; the Channel Thinking Award for the best example of a brand achieving its objectives using an innovative channel strategy; and the Local Hero Award for the best example of a challenger brand from the MENA region using smart marketing strategy to take on bigger competitors – will be awarded at the judges' discretion.

Chairman Asad Rehman noted that the consumer landscape in the Middle East is changing fast: "It is defying traditions, it is embracing modernity and it is doing it all whilst trying to keep the value system intact.

"If there was ever a time to pay attention to and reward 'strategy' it is now."

Data sourced from WARC