Initiative MENA, a regional media communications network and part of the MCN Group, walked off with a Gold and Bronze award at The 6th Internationalist Awards for Innovation in Media last week, held in New York. The agency picked up a Gold for its ‘Carefree Secret Talks’ campaign, which reached out to female consumers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in a bid to talk about feminine hygiene issues, a big challenge regarding a taboo subject in an extremely conservative market.

Initiative MENA’s ‘Arch Rivals’ campaign for KFC Arabia bagged a Bronze award, for leveraging the sporting rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona FC and the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo had joined KFC brand ambassador, following in Lionel Messi’s footsteps. With a mix of online memes and jokes, special Ronaldo-themed brand activations, as well as the development of an AR app, the campaign was very successful: Social media conversation increased by 137 per cent, with brand sentiment up by 20 per cent. The AR app also generated more than 65,000 photo shares over a 45-day period.

Ramzy Abou Chacra, Regional Managing Director of Initiative MENA, said of the awards: “I am delighted to see that Initiative MENA’s unique brand insights and creativity have again been recognised on an international stage. Awards that encourage global best practice are vital, and to win two is a real endorsement of our client-centric approach. I praise the team for their sustained efforts that yielded such fantastic results on behalf of our valued client partners.”

The Internationalist Awards for Innovation in Media is an annual event that seeks to connect the people and ideas in international advertising, marketing and media through content, thought leadership, community and collaboration. Marketer-driven, The Internationalist has become a trusted source for international best practices, and is dedicated to the business needs and challenges of international marketing professionals as they participate in multinational brand building.

Initiative Media Middle East is a performance-led media communications network, solving clients’ business challenges by creating innovative marketing solutions. A part of the Middle East Communication Networks – one of the largest communications groups in the MENA region; the Dubai-based entity operates with a network of 100+ media specialists, with offices found in Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Jeddah, Cairo, Beirut and Morocco. The agency works with a number of notable local, regional and international clients, including Johnson & Johnson, Americana, The Clorox Company, Patek Phillipe, Mubadala GE Capital, Al Muhaideb, Etisalat, Lifescan, Masdar, Rabea Tea and Mobily; delivering effective campaigns that garner tangible results.