BEIRUT: While the slopes may be suffering from thin snow this season, there will be no shortage of events at the MENA Cristal Festival, an international summit for media and communications, being held this week in Faraya.
Billing itself as the “Sundance of the advertising world,” the Festival has feted great marketing in the Middle East and North Africa since 2005. Hundreds of professionals will appear at this year’s festival, including executives from advertising agencies, TV producers and corporate communication specialists. The event opens Tuesday afternoon and closes with an awards ceremony Thursday in Beirut.
Talks by industry executives will cover a wide variety of subjects, from data and analytics to accessing emerging markets. Conference speakers include Hussein Freijeh, the managing director of Yahoo! Middle East and Africa operations. Freijeh will discuss strategies for connecting consumers with brands. Farid Chebab, the honorary chairman of Leo Burnett MENA, is also slated to present. He will share thoughts on the importance of innovation in the communications industry.
Events will also highlight women in the marketing and communications industries, and a number of speakers Wednesday will address strategies for online startups and how to boost their general presence in the region.
In an introductory letter, Christian Cappe, CEO of the MENA Cristal Festival, said that this year the conference would focus more on digital innovation and data than in years past.
Thursday evening, Cristal awards will be presented to agencies, producers and advertisers from the MENA region responsible for the year’s most innovative campaigns.
International juries composed of industry insiders will judge ads on categories including art direction, production, use of social media and best product launch.
Three new categories have been added to the docket this year, with awards for market innovation, brand entertainment and public relations being given.
Additionally, Boutros Boutros, the head of Emirates’ Corporate Communications will be named “Marketing Man of the Year,” and Fadi Ghandour, the founder and vice chairman of Aramex, will receive a special merit award for his entrepreneurship in the region.