2020/2021 Winners & Shortlists


CategoryMarket Disruption

Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation?

COVID 19 stopped marketing plans and campaigns in their tracks. Brands scrambled for stock footage and tried to salvage what was left of campaigns due to go live during this first stage of panic. It wasn’t the same for Nescafé Arabia. With ‘connections’ being the core of their communication strategy, they let their community tell their own stories of connecting - through UGC, remote shoots and innovative use of their social platforms.


COVID 19 had seen a huge increase in stock footage mash ups and 'adspirational' voice overs. Connections and catching up over coffee also took a hit. We needed to reconnect with our community now, probably more than before. We needed to find a way to inspire connections across our communication. People needed to be uplifted, they needed positivity and community - as well as a nudge to change perspective.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

We chose this time to look towards our community for inspiration instead. We looked at how people were responding to the pandemic and social distancing - and drew inspiration from them to break through the communication, negativity and noise all around us. Collecting stories of new ways to stay close from far, from across the region, we transformed NESCAFÉ Instagram grid into a range of balconies that come together to form a building. The ‘building’s’ tenants connect in their own unique ways from their different Instagram posts (different balconies). Inspired by residents serenading their neighbors and turning their balconies into outdoor cinemas, the brand used their content to encourage physical distancing while staying socially close and celebrating new ways of connecting.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

The coffee category was already facing a challenging start to 2020 with the implementation of excise tax in January and effects of regional turbulence, specifically Lebanon. COVID was the cherry foam on top. With ‘connections’ being the core of NESCAFE's communication strategy, we needed to find a way to not let our communication stagnate and to still push our messaging of staying connected, even through a socially-distanced pandemic. Our target audience was our followers across social media as well as others connecting in new ways - as they were the ones inspiring the idea and content.

Describe the execution (30% of vote)

We activated our regional network, to have COVID-compliant, remote shoots as we captured stories across the Middle East. This inspired others to shoot and share their own stories of connections in return. An illustrator developed a fresh look & feel for the balconies. This comes together perfectly to form the building. Whenever someone shared a story, their story got illustrated and became part of the building. We shared the entire story and concept across social media and digital.

List the results (30% of vote)

Organic reach: 7.1% (vs. 1.6% industry benchmark) Impressions: 59,184,096 Reach: 15,008,864 Views: 6.9million 90% positive sentiment Total Engagement: +65K

Please tell us how disruption in your market place inspired the work

The world was turned upside down during 2020, and we were inspired to look for new solutions that were both smart and agile. We reacted with content that we believed our fans would relate to, in an authentic way. We changed our approach to production, with remote shooting and lower cost set-ups. We changed the way we approached social. We pretty much changed everything, except one thing....the role of our brand in our audience's life: inspiring and nurturing human connections over a cup of NESCAFE coffee.


Name Company Role
Rana Najjar Publicis Middle East Creative Lead
Jaison Ben Publicis Middle East Creative Director
Marco Albuquerque Publicis Middle East Art Director
Jessica VenDerBerg Publicis Middle East Copywriter
Warsha Jamnadas Publicis Middle East Art director
Kyra Matthews Publicis Middle East Copywriter
Ritu Poojari Publicis Middle East Multimedia Designer
Raef Baskharon Publicis Middle East Multimedia Designer
Anas Shaherli Publicis Middle East Copywriter
Maya Khammar Publicis Middle East Account Management
Abdel Rahman Hassouna Publicis Middle East Account Management
Sabine Abdallah Publicis Middle East Account Management
Wassim Haddad Publicis Middle East Strategy & Planning
Wael Said Publicis Middle East Producer
Raef Labaky Nestle Middle East Business Executive Manager
Arifa Hussain Nestle Middle East Marketing Manager
Khaled Shehab Zenith ME Media
Raja-Paul Youssef Zenith ME Media
Chantal Hajjar Zenith ME Media
Haya Dakik Zenith ME Media
Zeina Daoud Prodigious Dubai Producer