Edelman appoints Marie Claire Maalouf as EMEA Chief Creative Officer

Edelman has appointed Marie Claire Maalouf as the new EMEA Chief Creative Officer, following the departure of Mattias Ronge and Stefan Ronge. Maalouf, who previously served as the Middle East Chief Creative Officer at Edelman, will lead the agency's creative output across 13 markets in EMEA, including brand marketing, digital, influencer and entertainment, and will be based in the UAE.Throughout her career, Maalouf has been recognized for her work on impactful campaigns, such as 'Despair No More' for Tena, which aimed to redefine menopause for women in the Middle East. She has received numerous awards for her creative work, including Cannes Lions, The One Show, Caples, Clio Awards, LIA Awards, Dubai Lynx, D&AD, ANDYs, Warc, and Effies.Judy John, Edelman Global Chief Creative Officer, expressed her excitement for Maalouf's appointment, stating that she is confident that Maalouf's leadership will elevate the agency's work in the EMEA region.Maalouf expressed her enthusiasm for joining Edelman, stating that she was inspired by the agency's mission to build actionable brands through trust and the opportunity to work with a team of passionate creatives.AJ Hesselink, EMEA Chief Executive, expressed gratitude towards the outgoing co-chief creative officers and welcomed Maalouf's appointment, stating that she has already made a significant impact on the agency's ability to win new clients and produce important work.

Cannes Lions announces 2024 See It Be It cohort

Cannes Lions has announced the participants for the 2024 See It Be It talent acceleration programme for women. 19 creatives, from 14 markets have been selected to take part in this unique learning and development programme at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, taking place from 17-21 June 2024. The cohort will attend an exclusive four-day programme that includes mentorship opportunities, private masterclasses with industry leaders, as well as backstage access and session invitations tailored to each participant’s career goals.The programme will celebrate its 10th anniversary of aiming to achieve equal gender representation among creative directors and leaders across the global industry. Since its inception, See It Be It has brought together over 120 women and non-binary people, from 33 markets. This year’s cohort will include participants from Kazakhstan, Kenya and Thailand for the first time.This year’s Alumni Tutor, Daniela Varela, Creative Director, TBWA\Chiat\Day, selected from last year's cohort, will support the 2024 participants to elevate their experience at the Festival and work closely with programme Ambassador, Madonna Badger, to further the impact See It Be It has on the industry well beyond the Festival week. On her appointment, Varela said: “Joining the journey of this year’s cohort is an incredible joy and a huge responsibility. They represent the programme’s 10 year legacy: a global collective of talent, inspiration and leadership that fosters and enables the change we still need to nurture in our industry. I can’t wait to see what these new 19 stellar minds will unleash.”Commenting on the 2024 cohort, Madonna Badger, See It Be It Chairperson and Ambassador, Founder/CEO/COO, BADGER AGENCY, said: "Witnessing the collective courage, optimism and purpose of the 2024 Cannes See It Be It cohort fills me with immense pride and excitement. These exceptional creative women are reshaping the future of our industry and redefining what is possible. Their shared resolve to pursue excellence, break barriers and drive positive change is awe-inspiring and I absolutely love seeing each of them step into their power. It is an honour to connect with such a vibrant network of talent paving the way for others to flourish in our industry and beyond.”Frank Starling, Chief DEI Officer, LIONS, added: “See It Be It brings together the best and brightest leaders from around the world and we are proud to continue our mission to challenge the creative sector’s gender imbalance and empower women and non-binary creatives to excel in their careers. Our impressive alumni are Lion-winners, changemakers, disruptors and challengers in their disciplines, paving the way forward for future participants to flourish and challenge the status quo. Congratulations to all those selected, and we look forward to welcoming you at the Festival this June.”

MENA Young Lions PR: Alexandra Richards, Sara Al Dehni clinch the crown

PRCA MENA, the Public Relations and Communications Association in the Middle East and North Africa, has announced that Gambit Communications’ Alexandra Richards and Sara Al Dehni have won the MENA Young Lions Competition 2024 for their #LendTheirVoice campaign. The star duo will go on to represent the MENA at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.Responding to a brief set by Shamsaha, Alexandra and Sara beat a field of 16 teams. Each team had 24 hours to create a campaign that would help Shamsaha to target audiences from expanded regions, especially focusing on support to victims of GBV in Palestine and Sudan.Sylvia Marcus, the Partnerships and Business Development Manager at Shamsaha, commented: “At Shamsaha, we believe in the power of collaboration and innovation to drive positive change. Partnering with the PRCA MENA Young Lions Competition allows us to amplify our message of women's empowerment and protection throughout the Middle East, inspiring a new generation of advocates and change-makers.”PRCA’s Head of EMEA, Monika Fourneaux MPRCA said: “Each competing team has demonstrated exceptional skill and creativity. The breadth of innovative campaigns highlights the incredible diversity of young talent in our region. Congratulations to Alexandra and Sara for their outstanding achievement, and we extend our best wishes to them for success in Cannes. Thank you to all participants for your contributions, and we look forward to seeing you again next year.”

PRCA MENA announces shortlist for Young PR Lions MENA Competition 2024

PRCA MENA is one step closer to finding the best young PR professionals in the region as the Young PR Lions MENA finalists are announced.Five teams have been shortlisted to win the accolade this year and one of them will be heading to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity to take part in the international competition in June, 2024. Each team is made up of two PR professionals aged 30 or under.The shortlisted agency teams are:Atteline – Alina Zuberi and Sanya IjazBPG Group – Iman Dawood and Ruaa YoussefGambit Communications – Alexandra Richards and Sara Al DehniHill and Knowlton – Farah Elshafey and Robyn RebelloSiemens Energy – Amneh Alkhatib and Mina NashwanThe five competing teams have been narrowed down from the sixteen teams that entered the MENA Regional competition, after responding to a brief set by Shamsaha, a non-profit organization based in Bahrain, focusing on women’s empowerment and protection throughout the Middle East, which performed as the ‘client’. Participating agencies had 24 hours to create a campaign.The shortlisted teams will be asked to deliver a five-minute presentation explaining their PR campaign on the 26th of March 2024 online. Following this, there will be a five-minute Q&A session.PRCA Head of EMEA, Monika Fourneaux said:“As we announce the shortlist for this year's PRCA MENA Young Lions competition, we're thrilled to witness the remarkable talent emerging across the Middle East and North Africa. The caliber of entries reflects the creativity, dedication, and ambition of our region's young professionals. Congratulations to all the finalists!”The judging panel for this years’ competition is:Amel Osman, Head of Corporate Communications at Instinctif Partners MENAClaire Micheletti, Founder & Joint Managing Director at Cosmopole ConsultancyImad Lahad, Managing Director at APCO WorldwideLoretta Ahmed, CEO at Houbara CommunicationsLaureline Schwarz, Head of Global Corporate Communication at Al-Futtaim AutomotiveSylvia Marcus, Partnership and Business Development Manager at Shamsaha OrganizationFollowing this, the winning MENA team will be announced on 29th March.The winning team will then compete at the Cannes Lions 2024 Young Lions PR competition against representatives from more than 30 countries, delivering a presentation for a non-profit organisation in 24 hours that will be judged by a selected jury.PRCA MENA is responsible for running the element of the competition from the region to find the country’s brightest and best young PR talent.

Cannes Lions switch to Luxury & Lifestyle in place of Mobile

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity will be launching the Luxury & Lifestyle Lions, and will discontinue with Mobile Lions.  The Luxury & Lifestyle Lion will provide a global benchmark for brands in the luxury space for recognising and celebrating the most impactful creative work experiences in the luxury and lifestyle sector.Simon Cook, CEO, LIONS, said: “When we introduce a Lion that reflects the needs of an industry sector, the Award is crafted in collaboration with the relevant industry. Our global committee of experts have advised us that this highly disrupted sector needs its own benchmark, so that we can move from driving awareness to recognising solutions that are changing business models and setting a new creative standard for a market in flux. The Luxury & Lifestyle Lions will recognise branded communications and solutions that drive business performance and brand loyalty.”“The luxury market has faced significant disruption in recent years, especially post-pandemic. A shift in consumer behaviour and an accelerated shift towards e-commerce and emerging technologies are just a few of the areas the market has had to navigate and innovate. Adding to this, is the changing values of new demographics, the evolving definition of luxury in non-Western markets and the need for a heightened focus on sustainability and conscious consumption," said Marian Brannelly, Global Director of Awards, LIONS.In WARC’s ‘Guide to luxury marketing in an era of change’, Euromonitor research cited shows that sales in the luxury category have bounced back post-Covid-19 and are expected to exceed pre-pandemic levels in 2023 as China activity normalises. As cited on WARC, further research by Ipsos, shows that the global luxury market is changing bringing new opportunities and challenges. Commenting on the Award, Charles Georges-Picot, Global CEO at Marcel and Publicis Luxe, Global Client Lead, said: “At a time where the luxury sector must constantly reinvent, transform and honour brand heritage with a keen eye on the future, the introduction of a Luxury & Lifestyle Lions will help set a new creative benchmark for this highly disrupted and exciting sector. We know that creativity has the power to push boundaries and progress sectors and disciplines. We’re excited about a new industry standard that will redefine how we look at branded communications, business models and creative transformation in this dynamic space.”In other changes to the Lions, Brannelly commented: “It’s important that the Awards reflect the current landscape and pave the way forward, so as well as evolving the Lions, it’s equally important for us to retire Lions when necessary. In 2024, following consultation with our Juries, we will close the Mobile Lions. Mobile devices are embedded in work across every channel and discipline, and over the past number of years, mobile-led creativity has been expanding into almost every Lion.”