Athar Awards honours Saudi marketers Obeid Al Abdali, Kaswara Al Khatib

 Athar – Saudi Festival of Creativity, the largest gathering of the creative marketing industry in the Kingdom, concluded its inaugural edition with the Athar Awards ceremony that saw the likes of Dr Obeid Al Abdali, President of Mazeej Marketing Consulting and Kaswara Al Khatib, Chairman of UTURN, take home the Saudi Athar Marketer Award and Saudi Athar Empowerment Award, respectively.The festival, which brought together more than 1,400 attendees from across the region and beyond to Riyadh, celebrated the distinguished work of some of the finest talent at the first Athar Legacy Awards of the Decade and the Athar Special Awards on 16 November 2023. In addition, the event also recognised winners of the Young Talent Academy Programme’s 24-hour hack competition as well as the participants of the Maheerah Programme.Attended by the who’s who of the industry from across the region, the award ceremony saw top honours being given away by the awards were given away in grand fashion by Ian Fairservice, Chairman of Athar Festival and Managing Partner & Group Editor-in-Chief of Motivate Media Group, and Mohamed Al Ayed, Vice Chairman of Athar Festival and CEO of TRACCS, alongside other senior leaders from reputable Saudi organisations.Commenting on the success of the festival, Fairservice stated: “Over the last few days, Athar Festival has proven that the potential for creativity in Saudi Arabia is simply boundless. Though it may have come to an end here at the Athar Awards, the conversations have only just begun, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”Similarly, sharing his thoughts on the inaugural edition of the Athar Awards, Al Ayed said: “Creativity has always been the differentiating factor of success. That success is what the first-ever Athar Awards intends to recognise and celebrate as we draw the curtain on what has been a truly amazing and inspiring festival. We are confident that the impact created here will spread to empower even greater levels of creative innovation in the Kingdom.”Athar Legacy Awards of the Decade:The Athar Legacy Awards of the Decade, recognised agencies and brands verified by the Dubai Lynx and Cannes Lions international festivals of creativity based on the highest number of cumulative points gained over the last decade. The four categories and the proud winners were:Saudi Athar Media Network of the Decade: StarcomSaudi Athar Brand of the Decade: stcSaudi Athar Agency of the Decade: Wunderman Thompson, RiyadhSaudi Athar Network of the Decade: Wunderman ThompsonAthar Special Awards:The Athar Special Awards went out to the most outstanding individuals, market leaders, and organisations who have positively contributed to the local creative industry’s growth and development. These awards were given across two individual categories and four group categories:Individual CategoriesSaudi Athar Marketer Award: Dr Obeid Al Abdali, President of Mazeej Marketing ConsultingSaudi Athar Empowerment Award: Kaswara Al Khatib, Chairman of UTURNGroup CategoriesSaudi Athar Disruptors Award: The Bold GroupSaudi Athar Excellence Award: The FullstopSaudi Athar Game Changer Award: AramcoSaudi Athar Creative Recognition Award: Impact BBDOYoung Talent Academies Awards:A fitting culmination of the Young Talent Academy Programme that took place over the course of the Athar Festival, the Young Talent Academy Awards at the ceremony acknowledged the outstanding performance of participants who excelled in six academies related to public relations, social communications, branding and design, innovation, copywriting, and planning.Held from 13-15 November, these youth took part in a 24-hour hack competition that saw the leaders of tomorrow put their skills to the test, with each academy producing a number of winners:Social Communications Academy Hack Competition WinnersLama Baaj, XELEMENTHessa Alnoufal, BassmatShahad Alhammad, HungerStationBranding and Design Academy Hack Competition WinnersNancy ElAzzi, Wunderman ThompsonMazunah Alfagham, King Saud UniversityAhmed Al-Hassan, XELEMENTInnovation Academy Hack Competition WinnersRaghad Othman, HungerStationSara Alruwalily, King Saud UniversityShaden Alotaibi, King Saud UniversityCopywriting Academy Hack Competition WinnersNouf Mishall Mohabat, SABICRuba Alshamrani, HungerStationYara Al Hanaya, Lhamin MarketingPlanning Academy Hack Competition WinnersNoora Alissa, HungerStationAmmar Sadiq, MindshareAbdullah Dahan, Onsor MoshaSaleh Alhedaithy, BassmatAyman Aldahan, MindsharePublic Relations Academy Hack Competition WinnersRaneem Alotaibi, Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic UniversityAljohara Alsuliman, Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic UniversityRaghad Asiri, Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic UniversitySahar Alharbi, Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic UniversityRaya Almoshawah, Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic UniversityThe Athar Awards ceremony successfully culminated the inaugural edition of the Athar Festival that brought the local and international creative community together to uncover and amplify the creative potential of Saudi Arabia. The realisation of this potential and its business impact on the industry and beyond will likely be explored in next year’s edition of the festival.

Riyadh set to host Athar Festival, the Kingdom’s largest marketing extravaganza

The highly anticipated Athar – Saudi Festival of Creativity, the Kingdom’s largest gathering of the creative marketing industry, will commence on Monday, 13 November 2023, at the Hotel Crowne Plaza Riyadh RDC with its three-day Young Talent Academy Programme comprising six distinct training academies (13-15 November).Organised by Motivate Media Group and TRACCS, the inaugural edition of Athar Festival, running from 13-16 November, also features a two-day festival (14 & 15 November) and an awards gala dinner (16 November).Speakers, panellists, industry experts and more than 1,000 delegates will come together to explore the next frontiers of the creative industry and the role of creativity as a catalyst for a vibrant, future-forward economy in Saudi Arabia.H.H. Princess Loulwa Bint Yazeed Al Saud will spearhead an exceptional lineup of over 100 speakers from key Saudi government entities and businesses, local and international creative marketing industry, and prominent global companies and brands. Award-winning creative marketer, Fernando Machado, Global CMO of NotCo, who has been recognised with over 200 Cannes Lions awards, including five Grand Prix, will deliver the keynote address.Ian Fairservice, Chairman of Athar Festival and Managing Partner & Group Editor-in-Chief of Motivate Media Group, said: “We are proud to present the much anticipated inaugural edition of Athar – Saudi Festival of Creativity, which will be a converging point for culture, creativity, talent and technology. The festival aims to make a profound impact on the creative landscape of the Kingdom and beyond. Our desire is to build a global platform based in Saudi Arabia that celebrates local creativity and catalyses the development of the creative economy by nurturing tomorrow’s talents.”   The engaging event will provide a venue for vibrant discourse across six themes that shape the future of the creative industry in Saudi Arabia and beyond. Artificial Intelligence is set to be one of the resounding themes throughout the festival’s agenda, which provides participants with an engaging platform to explore the latest developments in the industry, create connections, and spark their own creativity. Furthermore, in a first for the Middle East, FIRE, an AI-powered robot, is all set to make its first public appearance and feature on a panel alongside industry veterans on harnessing the power of generative AI tools in the realm of creativity.The prominent themes the festival will encompass are: Technology as a Creative Driver; Strategies That Help Grow Brands; Inspiration and Idea Generation; Work Culture and Talent; Bringing a Positive Change to Society, and Saudi Arabia – A Thriving Market for the Creative Industry.Athar Festival also features the Maheerah Women’s Empowerment Programme powered by Publicis Groupe Middle East, which aims to open new frontiers of possibilities for 10 high-potential women in the creative marcomms industry.The festival will culminate with the Athar Awards Gala Dinner, which will feature the Legacy Awards of the Decade, verified by the Dubai Lynx and Cannes Lions international festivals of creativity, and presented to agencies and brands. Also featured are the Athar Special Awards, presented at the discretion of the organising committee to outstanding individuals, market leaders and other stellar organisations who have positively contributed to the advancement of the local creative industry. The awards ceremony will also honour the winners of the 24-hour hack competition part of the Young Talent Academies.

Athar Awards to celebrate creative marketing excellence in Saudi Arabia

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Athar – Saudi Festival of Creativity, the largest gathering of the creative marketing industry in the Kingdom set to take place from 13–16 November 2023 at the Hotel Crowne Plaza Riyadh RDC, will feature a special Athar Awards gala dinner to conclude the four-day festival.The inaugural edition will take place on November 16 and feature the Athar Legacy Awards of the Decade and Athar Special Awards, in addition to recognising the winners of the 24-hour hack competition, part of the Young Talent Academies.The gala dinner is set to be attended by creative directors, chief creative officers, CMOs, CEOs and other senior decision makers from all sectors of the creative communications landscape including creative, media and communications agencies, event agencies, advertisers, media houses, brands, platforms, government agencies, publishers, tech platforms, young talent, and start-ups.The Legacy Awards will be presented to agencies and brands verified by the Dubai Lynx and Cannes Lions international festivals of creativity based on points gained over the last decade by Saudi-based campaigns or agencies. Categories include Media Network of the Decade, Brand of the Decade, Agency of the Decade and Network of the Decade.The Special Awards will recognise outstanding individuals, market leaders and other stellar organisations who have positively contributed to the advancement of the local creative industry. It includes the Empowerment and Marketer categories for individuals and three other categories, Disruptors, Excellence and Gamechangers, celebrating organisations for their achievement.The award ceremony will also acknowledge outstanding participants from this year’s Athar Young Talent Academies; a set of six academies designed for young professionals and students to explore creative marketing topics from public relations, copywriting, innovation, branding & design, planning, and social communications.Ian Fairservice, Chairman of Athar Festival and Managing Partner & Group Editor-in-Chief of Motivate Media Group, stated: “With Saudi Arabia’s reception of the first-ever Grand Prix Award at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this year, the local creative industry is in an era of continual progression. Through the Legacy Awards which are verified by both Dubai Lynx and Cannes Lions, we are able to commemorate agencies and brands that have consistently set high standards and embodied excellence through their work. As we approach the start of this year’s festival, we are very excited to close the event on a very festive note, giving peers a chance to celebrate one another’s achievements.”“Saudi creativity is in a remarkable period of growth, proven by the innovative ideas that have been brought to life across various industries,” commented Mohamed Al Ayed, Vice Chairman of Athar Festival and CEO of TRACCS. “Athar Festival’s Special Awards and each of the award categories has been tailored to recognize the brilliance and versatility shown by both individuals and organisations in the Kingdom’s creative landscape. As the Kingdom advances forward guided by the framework of Vision 2030, we are proud to reward exceptionalism and congratulate the Kingdom’s diverse creative communities.”Organised by Motivate Media Group and TRACCS, the festival promises to be an inspiring occasion celebrating marketing excellence and affirming the value of creativity in the world of business. The four-day festival programme will include a two-day festival and two days of training for young talent, underlining the enduring role of creativity as an enabler of growth and development.With an extensive line-up of 100+ international and celebrity speakers, Athar Festival’s landmark edition is expected to welcome 1,500 industry professionals and young talent to attend the festival and its academies, celebrating innovation and exceptionalism within Saudi Arabia’s creative ecosystem.

Athar Festival and Publicis Groupe Middle East launch Maheerah WEP

Riyadh: Athar – Saudi Festival of Creativity, the largest gathering of the creative marketing industry in the Kingdom, is proud to announce Maheerah, its women’s empowerment programme, for the festival’s inaugural edition.Organised in partnership with Publicis Groupe Middle East, a regional leader in marketing, communication, and digital business transformation, Maheerah is an acceleration initiative designed for women poised for career advancement within Saudi Arabia’s marketing communications industry. It aims to bring participants into the industry's spotlight at a time when more women than ever are rising to prominent roles in the Kingdom's workforce.Geared towards women with mid to senior-level expertise in the industry, the program offers 10 participants a series of tailored coaching sessions, individualised workshops, mentoring by esteemed industry leaders from around the world, exclusive networking opportunities, and more. In addition to full festival access, participants will also be invited to attend the Athar Industry Awards.As the official ambassador of Maheerah, Alaa Khushaim, Director of Marketing and Communications at McDonald's KSA - West & South will play a pivotal role throughout every stage of the programme, from participant shortlisting and selection to providing guidance and inspiration to the attendees. Excited with the opportunity, and the impact it will have on the careers of the participants, Khushaim stated, “When I was first approached with Maheerah, I saw a chance to be a part of an initiative that will leave a mark on the professional lives of 10 young women in Saudi Arabia and enable and inspire them with the right knowledge and skills to achieve remarkable things in our industry. I look forward to not only sharing my own experiences and expertise but also to learning from them. In line with one of the core objectives of Athar Festival, this programme will undoubtedly bring the marketing and creative community together to create long-lasting impact.”Ian Fairservice, Chairman of Athar Festival and Managing Partner & Group Editor-in-Chief of Motivate Media Group, said, "We are truly delighted to bring this initiative to Athar Festival. There is a wealth of female talent in the Kingdom, and this program offers a unique opportunity to create a supportive network of empowered women who can achieve their full potential and pass on their knowledge to others."Bassel Kakish, Chief Executive Officer of Publicis Groupe Middle East & Turkey said, “Talent will always be the most important asset that this industry will have. As a talent-first organisation, Publicis Groupe Middle East believes in investing in and empowering the future generation of leaders, so when we heard of the Maheerah Programme, we knew it was something we needed to support. The communications industry is going through an exciting transformation within the Kingdom, and we are committed to progressing the careers of women within the field.”Athar – Saudi Festival of Creativity is Saudi Arabia’s largest celebration of creativity, culture, talent, and innovation to date. Across four days, two content stages, a diverse range of training programs, an industry award event, and much more, the festival will serve as a platform for all those with an interest in joining an exciting new community of creative industry leaders from Saudi Arabia and beyond.

Cannes Lions success: UAE's official representatives commemorate winners

The official representatives of the UAE at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, Motivate Media Group and Motivate Val Morgan, hosted an awards ceremony on September 12 to honor the Cannes winners from the UAE. During the ceremony, Ian Fairservice, the Managing Partner and Group Editor-in-Chief of Motivate Group, and Avinash Udeshi, the Chief Operating Officer of Motivate Val Morgan, presented the Cannes Lions awards to the winning agencies in the UAE.Among the attendees at the award ceremony were Havas Middle East, Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett, FP7 McCann, and Impact BBDO.The 2023 Cannes Lions held particular significance for the Middle East region, as Ali Rez, the Chief Creative Officer of Impact BBDO, served as the first-ever Jury President from the MENA region. Impact BBDO was also honored as the MENA Network of the Year for the fifth consecutive year. They received several awards, including 1 Grand Prix for Print & Publishing, 1 Gold for Glass: The Lion for Change, and 1 Bronze for Creative Strategy.The UAE boasted the largest group of 18 Jury members overseeing the festival. This year's competition saw a substantial increase in entries, with 640 submissions from 22 UAE agencies, compared to 358 the previous year. Of these entries, 81 were shortlisted, and 21 received Lions, including 1 Grand Prix, 1 Gold, 6 Silver, and 13 Bronze awards. This accomplishment solidified the UAE's position as one of the top nations to receive numerous awards at the festival.Notably, the UAE also received awards for the first time in categories such as Glass: The Lion for Change, Entertainment for Music, and Creative Data. FP7 McCann secured the highest number of Lions, with 2 Silvers in Creative Data and Outdoor, along with 7 Bronze awards in various categories, including Brand Experience & Activation, Direct, Entertainment for Music, Industry Craft, Media, Outdoor, and Radio. The Us agency also achieved recognition with 3 Lions, comprising 1 Silver in Health and Wellness and 2 Bronze in Design. Havas Middle East was awarded a Bronze Lion in the PR category.In addition, Saatchi & Saatchi, a part of Publicis Groupe, received double Bronze awards in Health & Wellness and Creative Commerce, while Leo Burnett, another sister agency, earned double Silver awards for Creative Commerce and Creative Strategy.Notably, Jonathan Cruz from And Us, a member of the Young Lions Digital Competition UAE team alongside Saymon Medeiros, and Chloe Salloum from the American University in Dubai, who represented the UAE at the Roger Hatchuel Academy student programme, were also present at the event.