For Some Endangered Species, this may be Technology’s Finest Hour

The annual Dubai Lynx Awards is tomorrow night. The night when the cream of the advertising and marketing sectors come together and either strut like peacocks onto stage or sit still and pretend to be good losers. My conscience is clear with this disparagement. Before I become an editor, I had occasion to be both peacock and pretender at this awards show (a pretender many, many more times than a peacock, just to be clear).

In fairness the evening itself, year on year, provides more empirical evidence that advertising standards in the region no longer have to grovel in the dust compared with the brilliance and creativity of the western world. The Dubai Lynx winners of today tend to be magnificent, and iconic to the culture they serve.

Endangered Voices

This year, there’s a rather special advertising campaign that’s a contender for honours. It’s called Endangered Voices. Created by Leo Burnett for the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL) and Homat al Himal(HHI), what makes this campaign special are the mechanics which make it effortless for big brands to help endangered species. And that’s just the half of it. The effortlessness is matched to an engagement which is more binding every time there’s a touchpoint between brand and consumer.

We’ve explained the idea in a prior article, but let’s recap. Endangered Voices asks companies to tweak their branding for a short time. All the companies have to do is to replace whatever sonic device they use when their logo appears with the call of an endangered species, crafted by technology to mimic the one or two second tune of the brand’s identity.

One can make any number of observations about advertising awards. Some call them narcissistic and meaningless, and certainly distracting. Others believe that vanity is still a currency to be traded in the marketing world. Also, that awards are the distinction between an advertising agency of quality and one that, well, has none.

I think these viewpoints have a certain validity. But in the case of Endangered Voices, none are applicable.

Because here is an idea that uses technology not to trick nor to entice. An idea that does not draw attention to itself or its creators. Endangered Voices strikes one at a visceral level, activating or reactivating a sense of community and an optimism that some things are not inevitable; they can change.

And let’s not forget that this is a Lebanese initiative. A country that  remains resilient in the face of a collapsed banking system, stoic about a societal infrastructure reduced to barely skeletal proportions and resigned to the threat of warfare every single day.

In a country where circumstances have conspired to instil a mentality of every man or woman for themselves, they’ve still found the time to remind us that every living creature on earth has as much right to life as we do.

Inside Telecom wishes SPNL and HHI every success with Endangered Voices. We congratulate Leo Burnett for channeling their creative energies so brilliantly towards conservation. And we hope that this idea inspires creative talent around the world.

Phew. Reporting on technology for good. This could become addictive.

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