LONDON: Lebanese news TV station, Murr Television, has won the Grand Prix in WARC’s inaugural prize for Middle Eastern and North African strategy thanks to a campaign from TBWA/RAAD that helped to fix the country’s life-endangering potholes.

The WARC Prize for MENA Strategy is a free-to-enter awards scheme that is designed to gather and establish a regional body of strategic work that has proven its effectiveness. It will award the Grand Prix winner $7,000.

Murr Television’s Ensa Joura ("Forget the Potholes") initiative highlighted government indifference to the maintenance of the country’s roads, eventually acquiring a specialised truck that fixes any pothole in less than a minute. Murr, the second most-viewed TV station in Lebanon, fixed more than 2000 potholes, 571% of the target, largely thanks to an app through which citizens could report potholes requiring urgent attention.

Judge Olga Kudryashova, Strategic Planning Director, Y&R MENA, commended the campaign, explaining that “from beginning to end, it was strategic and cleverly framed.” Meanwhile Kudryashova praised the social aim at the heart of the campaign, as well as its authors’ honesty. “They put the brand last, they mobilised people and they admitted to mistakes they made, revealing that their first attempts didn’t work.”

An eminent judging panel, chaired by Asad Rehman, Director, Media, North Africa & Middle East, Unilever, awarded $1000 each to three Special Award winners. The special award for Research Excellence went to telco du’s Tropa for Life in the UAE. Judges praised Leo Burnett and Starcom in Dubai for a campaign with a clear insight that overtly targeted Filipinos.

Taking the Channel Thinking Special Award was Baheya Cancer Hospital’s The Sweet Donation, through FP7 Cairo. This saw the charity team up with Egyptian bakeries during Ramadan, successfully encouraging donations via their premium packaging of sweet treats. Finally, The Egyptian Autistic Society’s The first step is you, , through Momentum Egypt, took the Local Hero Award for challenging parents of autistic children to alter their perception of autism.

In addition to the Grand Prix and Special Awards, the judges awarded four Golds, four Silvers and three Bronzes. The full list of winners can be viewed on the Prize website.

Data sourced from WARC