The Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA) announced the finalists for the 2021 MEPRA Awards today, the largest-ever edition, with 88 organisations shortlisted across 55 categories. This year, a record 639 entries were submitted by agencies and in-house communications departments, making it the most hotly contested awards season yet. Winners will be revealed during a black-tie gala event on 24th November 2021 at Atlantis, The Palm Dubai.
This year marks the 13th edition of the ceremony, the communications industry’s most prestigious event, which celebrates and recognises the most creative and impactful practitioners in the Middle East. The annual MEPRA Awards is open to all Middle East based agencies, corporates, government organisations, non-profits, students and academia working in the communications profession.
Leading the nominations tally this year is the UAE Government Media Office for its DOUBLE MOON campaign and Weber Shandwick MENAT & Mastercard MEA for their campaign: Empowering Every Business, both up for seven awards.
This year’s programme saw the introduction of ‘Best Home-Grown Agency of the Year,’ which recognises independent agencies established and developed in the Middle East region. Eight consultancies were shortlisted for this category, including Acorn Strategy, Gambit Communications, Matrix Public Relations, Publicist Inc, SOCIATE, Tales & Heads, Tish Tash Marketing and Public Relations and W7 Worldwide.
To celebrate MEPRA’s 20th anniversary, this year’s awards also features a People’s Choice Best Middle East Campaign for the last 20 years’ category, which provides the public the opportunity to vote and select the overall winner from ten finalists, including campaigns from ASDA’A BCW, Four MENA with ENEC, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Memac Ogilvy, UAE Government Media Office and Weber Shandwick MENAT with the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi.
This year’s entries were assessed by a panel of more than 50 regional and international industry leaders to select the 2021 finalists and winners. The judging process was also reviewed by AMEC Chair and Co-Managing Partner CARMA International Richard Bagnall, who served as an independent adjudicator. Shortlisted entries were limited to 10 per category and for categories, which received a larger collection of entries, only the top 10 were shortlisted, regardless of whether the submission reached over the 70% scoring threshold.
Taryam Al Subaihi, MEPRA Chair and judge, and Director of Corporate Communication at EWEC said: “It’s been a pleasure to review the entries for the 2021 MEPRA Awards. Having personally reviewed over 100 submissions myself, I’ve seen close at hand the brilliant and diverse communications work that’s being undertaken right across the region. Our industry should be proud of the incredible work they’re producing which is pushing boundaries and making a mark globally with innovative and creative campaigns. Congratulations to all our finalists for making it this far in our most competitive awards season yet.”
For the second time, MEPRA has developed an online showcase, which includes a preview of all shortlisted entries for each category so entrants can review their competition ahead of the awards ceremony later this month.
The 2021 MEPRA Awards is supported by Acorn Strategy, APCO Worldwide, CARMA, ASDA’A BCW, Edelman Middle East, Four Communications Group, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Matrix PR, Memac Ogilvy, Mojo PR, Mubadala Investment Company, YouGov, Weber Shandwick MENAT, Zayed University.