Joao Medeiros, Executive Creative Director of Havas Dubai, tells Dare! about a bumper night at the Dubai Lynx Festival, which saw the agency walk away with six awards.
The prestigious festival celebrates incredible creativity throughout the Middle East and North Africa regions, and awarded Havas Dubai one gold, two silver and three bronze awards on the night. Here, Joao tells us about Havas Dubai’s gold-prize winning work for LEGO (which hinged upon replicating an issue of Saudi newspaper, Al Madina, in LEGO blocks to mark Saudi National Day), and why he is so proud to work for the agency.
Why was Saudi National Day a good fit for this campaign?
Saudi Arabia is undergoing huge developments and progressive reforms, which bring about a sense of pride, belief and excitement for the future. Saudi National Day (September 23) is treated as an annual celebration of all that the Kingdom has achieved, and the potential of its promising future.
Reimagining the future of Saudi Arabia seems very much aligned with LEGO’s DNA. A brand that celebrates and supports creativity during this time has a place of honour in Saudi Arabia.
Can you tell us about the concept of this campaign and where the idea came from?
We knew National Day would be a great moment for LEGO to activate a powerful idea on imagination and building potential. So, on Saudi National Day 2020, along with LEGO, we reimagined the biggest celebration of the year. As soon as one of the Kingdom’s largest news publications, Al Madina, released its National Day edition, our team recreated every single photograph, article, visual element and even every ad completely out of LEGO.
These creations were captured, edited and printed to create LEGO’s very own National Day newspaper. Featuring the same news, just rebuilt with LEGO. The newspaper hit newsstands across Saudi Arabia within a matter of hours. The wonderful insight of tying an idea into the much-loved National Day edition of the leading newspaper came from our Associate Creative Directors, Anshuman Bhattacharya and Rodrigo Nakaza. It made perfect sense! The client loved it and the only hurdle was actually pulling it off.
The campaign’s execution involved recreating the newspaper in LEGO in just two hours. How was this executed?
This wasn’t an easy feat to pull off! We had tried for a few weeks to convince the newspaper to provide us with an advance copy of the National Day edition, but they insisted on remaining tight lipped. The best we could do was get a PDF copy sent to our media team in Riyadh, the moment the paper was printed. So instead, we set our alarms for an early morning start and aligned with our team in Riyadh. The Dubai team created the paper within a few hours. Once the layout was set, we sent the file over to our team in Riyadh, who printed the paper and distributed it across Riyadh and Jeddah. Our PR team then set about amplifying the idea by sending personalised copies of the LEGO newspaper to key influencers. Of course, we didn’t create the whole paper from scratch as we were able to set the template, mast head, etc, in advance. The creation work itself took about two hours on the day. The whole production with printing and distribution took roughly six hours.
This was Lego’s most successful social campaign in Saudi Arabia, why do you think it worked so well?
LEGO is a loved brand across the world, including Saudi Arabia, and this activation truly felt part of its DNA, which is why it sparked people’s imaginations. At its core, the concept also had a strong PR element and re-imagining one of the country’s leading newspapers out of LEGO is a buzz-worthy concept.
It was also a reminder to the Saudis that their future lies in unleashing creativity. The idea was amplified further when one of the leading morning radio shows picked up the concept and even invited the agency as guest speakers in the show. I loved this! We not only got people talking about the brand, but also the agency itself joined the conversation on the role of creativity in Saudi Arabia. This is a real testament to the progress being made in the region and the opportunities that lie ahead.
The activation won gold at the Dubai Lynx Festival last week. How does it feel to be a part of such successful work?
I am fortunate to have had a determined and dedicated team to pull this off! Though it’s great for us to be recognised, I am even more excited that this demonstrates to our whole team here that resilience pays off. It has created some strong momentum for our agency in the region and we are now looking ahead to next year’s follow up.