From esports to Heinz, everyone talks gaming at MENA’s Dubai Lynx

ESL Faceit Group, Emirates and Heinz discuss game industry wins

From esports to Heinz, everyone talks gaming at MENA’s Dubai Lynx

MENA festival Dubai Lynx saw attendance from big brands this year, a number of whom expressed their interest in the gaming market, either having intentions within it or plans to leverage its success in other industries.

ESL Faceit Group, Emirates, and even food processing company Heinz were among them, talking on the Brands in the Hot Seat panel.

As reported by Campaign Middle East, this panel saw leaders from each company discuss trends and issues in the creative industry, with gaming coming up as a common theme across the three.

In and around games

MENA’s Dubai Lynx festival is an annual event celebrating creative excellence in branded communications, with awards distributed across design achievements, creative commerce, creative strategy and more.

Among the festival’s speakers, ESL Faceit Group’s SVP of global marketing Fabio Tambosi commented on the fundamentals of marketing: "It’s not only about grabbing their attention, it’s about retaining their attention."

Citing esports in particular, Tambosi noted the importance of authenticity and finding a genuine way to connect and engage with a community.

Emirates NBD CMO Moadh Bukhash spoke about applying prevalent game formulas to non-gaming areas of life, like using the positive reinforcement of an accolades system in financial management - awarding badges to people who save more money than their peers, for example.

"It is really about finding gaming elements that drive people towards behaviour like fitness apps do. But in a financial management context," he explained. "If you’re not paying attention to esports and gaming, you’re not paying attention as a marketer."

Finally, Heinz managing director Passant El-Ghannam took the discussion more directly into gaming itself. "We see gaming as a mean, not a goal," she said. "The winning formula is to add value to the gamer to connect with them."

While Heinz is predominantly a food manufacturer, the brand has been known to leverage video games to grow brand awareness. For example, the company ran a campaign with Call of Duty on the Hidden Spots map, designed to give gamers a place of respite to leave their character while eating in the real world. Heinz even developed a Trivial Pursuit game for mobile over a decade ago.

MENA winners

On the celebratory side of the festival, Dubai Lynx’s 2024 winners included ProtecTasbih, United Arab Emirates and VML Casablanca.

"Congratulations to our 2024 winners for setting the creative benchmark in MENA for another year," said Lions & Dubai Lynx CEO Simon Cook.

"This year’s winners really showcase the level of excellence coming from the region. A huge congratulations to all our winners, Special Award winners and Young Lynx Competition winners," added Dubai Lynx vice chairman Ian Fairservice.

The MENA games market continues to outpace global growth, having surpassed $7 billion in revenue in 2023.

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