LONDON: Successful campaigns in the Middle East and North Africa are genuinely local and many are targeting a significant youth audience in an appealing way, according to a new WARC report. However, many campaigns rely too much on short-term, tactical executions.

The MENA Strategy Report 2017 is based on an analysis of entries to the 2017 WARC Prize for MENA Strategy. (Non-subscribers can download a sample of the report here.)

Papers entered into this competition demonstrated a high degree of confidence in adopting a localised strategy to differentiate brands in memorable ways that made much more of an impact than if they had been simply iterations of global campaigns adapted for the MENA region.

And with 28% of the MENA population being aged between 15 and 29, the report noted a palpable demand for work that chimes with this audience, with winning entrants mirroring the socio-cultural influence that young people have in the region.

“In most cases, the insights were very uniquely Arab,” said Asad Rehman, Director, Media, North Africa & Middle East, Unilever and chair of the judging panel.

“Some insights presented certain taboos in society, some presented cultural realities that are challenging Arab traditions, and some brilliantly showcased the Arab world’s undeniable ambition to take on the world stage as one of the best.”

But while he found the insights to be “powerful and unique”, he was less convinced by how these were being translated into campaigns.

He observed a roughly even split between those campaigns that were changing behaviour and laying the foundations for future work and those that had taken a short-term tactical approach.

The latter “took the side of the creative solution much more than the side of ‘solving the problem’,” he argued. And this tendency to sacrifice substance for creativity is one reason he thinks the region needs more strategic firepower.

“The MENA region is ripe and ready for some serious strategy work,” he declared.

Interested readers can register here to find out more at a free-to-attend event WARC will be hosting in Dubai next month. Strategy Works: Lessons from the 2017 WARC Prize for MENA Strategy is taking place on Tuesday 14 November at the Choueiri Group Building, Media City.  

Sourced from WARC