H+K and Four Communications shine at annual MEPRA awards

H+K took home 19 gongs, including CEO Bashar AlKadhi collecting the 2019 Chairman's award for his outstanding contribution to the industry, while Four Communications won 17 awards.

H+K Strategies CEO Bashar AlKadhi (left) collects the 2019 Chairman’s award from Jonty Summers for his outstanding contribution to the industry
H+K Strategies CEO Bashar AlKadhi (left) collects the 2019 Chairman’s award from Jonty Summers for his outstanding contribution to the industry

The ceremony was the biggest awards night in the Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA)’s history, with almost 500 guests in attendance, as 70 agencies and in-house communication team finalists battled it out to win across 47 categories. Almost 400 entries were submitted in total. 

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Brazen took home Small Agency of the Year and Four Communications Group won the coveted Large Agency of the Year award. 

For the second year, there was less than 1 per cent difference between the winner and second place for Large Agency of The Year, with Four Communications scoring 81.87 per cent and Hill+Knowlton Strategies just behind them on 81.44 per cent. 

The Small In-House Team of the Year went to Standard Chartered Bank and Large In-House Team of the Year to Mubadala Investment Group. 

MEPRA also welcomed new winners, with Havas PR, LIGHTBLUE, iJordan, M&C Saatchi PR, Masdar, Travelport, Standard Chartered, TBWA\RAAD, Landmark Group, Oman Oil Company/Orpic and Instinctif Partners all taking home gongs for the first time.

This year marked the 11th edition of the awards, which celebrates and recognises the most impactful and creative campaigns in the Middle East.

Winners were awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze in each category during the black-tie gala at Atlantis, The Palm Dubai. 

Nada Elbarshoumi from Weber Shandwick MENAT and Ameera Al Marzooqi from Emirates Global Aluminium were crowned The Dave Robinson Outstanding Young Communicators of the Year, for Agency and In-house respectively

Each will receive a MEPRA Academy scholarship, which includes eight complimentary training sessions from the 2019 MEPRA Academy calendar to assist with their continuous professional development. 

Jonty Summers, MEPRA chair and managing director, Hanover Middle East, said: "This is the biggest edition of the MEPRA awards with more entries than ever before. We took the decision to expand the number of categories to reflect the breadth of the world of PR across the Middle East. 

"The vibrancy and creativity seen by the judges across almost 400 entries show that public relations continues to evolve, to inspire opinion shifts and action and drive business results."

Entries were assessed by a panel of more than 40 regional and international industry experts. The judging process was also reviewed by CARMA CEO Richard Bagnall, who served as an independent adjudicator. He said: "It’s been a pleasure to chair the judging panel for the 2019 MEPRA Awards. 

"Having personally reviewed over 50 entries, I’ve seen at close hand the brilliant and diverse PR & comms work that’s being undertaken on a daily basis right across the region. 

"It’s very encouraging to see that so many companies and practitioners entering the MEPRA awards share our commitment to the highest standards. 

"Judging has been meticulous, fair and detailed ,with plenty of actionable feedback provided where required."

For the second year, the MEPRA Awards Gala was preluded by the REMAP Creative Communications Festival, which provided practitioners from across the region the chance to learn, share knowledge and celebrate the best through one event in Dubai. 

Speakers included Buzzfeed UK, YouTube, Freedom Pizza, EXPO 2020 Dubai, Kerning Cultures and more.

To view the full list of winners visit www.mepra.org/awards

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