FINAL ENTRY DEADLINE | JULY 26TH, 2024   ENTER NOW

Jury Selection

Wafa Kanan, President and Chief Creative Producer, Unique Image, Inc.

Wafa Kanan is the President and Chief Creative Officer for Unique Image, Inc., a Los Angeles-based integrated boutique brand marketing agency established in 1997. Under her leadership, Unique Image reshapes Corporate Brand DNA to influence positive change and drive impactful marketing strategies.

Those who worked with Kanan, including Fortune 500 companies, realized her commitment to empower brands and make an impactful difference. The results of her marketing strategies have been magical as her vision has garnered the gold standard of accolades including the Emmy, Telly, Communicator, and Davey Awards. She was named “Inspirational Woman of the Year” by the Los Angeles Times (2021), and received the prestigious PRNEWS award for her tireless campaigns to support our COVID-19 heroes (2023).

Recently, she turned her craft to publishing and film production. As an inspired filmmaker, Wafa wanted to bring life to her poetry by introducing music and visuals to awaken all senses. Her short film production “Awakenings” has been nominated and officially selected over 40 times in festivals around the world, garnering a dozen winners in five separate IMDb-qualified events.

We asked Wafa to share what she finds interesting across websites, events, and more. We’re celebrating two decades at the Davey Awards so don’t miss her ad campaign and music picks from the early 2000s.

Wafa's Picks

Websites

Ogilvy Public Relations
https://www.ogilvy.com/work
Ogilvy is the gold standard of the industry. The crème brulé of storytelling and the most influential agency in all of the world. I look up to their work and admire their innovation. Their pioneering work continues to span generations and they reinvented themselves no matter the obstacles. A testament is their mastering ability to give their clients the best that the industry has to offer. I marvel at their amazing portfolio and capabilities showcased on the website. I find it incredible how they are able to include their work on a front-facing website. Almost all of the Fortune 500 companies I have worked with demand confidentiality and prevent small businesses from using their brand on their sites. That is truly the power of Ogilvy.

American Marketing Association
www.AMA.org
As a member of the American Marketing Association, I believe they have done an amazing job with the advocacy of young professionals and provide in-depth insights and educational materials of the marketing industry. They assist the new generation with webinars and the development of some of the most intriguing campaigns. They will continue to be an influencer power and an empowerment trend for generations to come and I highly recommend them to my colleagues and staff. Their website is very informational, user friendly, and it gives a great insight about the marketing industry.

Greenland Tourism
https://visitgreenland.com/
EXPLORE GREENLAND is etched into the Northern Lights as you land on the country’s tourism portal. Below that are their two main seasons to select followed by their global tourism laurels. What more do you want when you are researching your next great vacation? Here, a little goes a long way to instantly knowing that Greenland is where you belong. They have used their storytelling tool with a first impression few can match. Everything is so perfect on their website. Their brand message, the creative elements of their presentation, and the credibility of the accolades they have garnered. They weave together high-quality images, enticing narratives, and intuitive navigation to provide a truly immersive user experience. They make it easy for potential visitors to explore destinations and envision their next adventure. It inspires me for my tourism and destination clients.

Events/Conferences

The Academy Awards
Each March the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures celebrates the year’s best achievement in film with a series of rich and expansive one-of-a-kind Oscar-centered events and activities during Oscar Week. Oscar Week is open to film insiders, press, industry members which gives you the opportunity to interact in the same room as Academy Award nominees and learn about their journey in a more intimate symposium setting. It’s a special way to experience the influencers who color our life through entertainment.

WBENC
As a certified woman-owned business by WBENC, I consider their events, conferences, seminars, and webinars to be the most enjoyable and productive for women in business. Being a member has opened vast opportunities to meet corporate clients that are looking for talented vendors with DEI in mind. They keep raising the bar with their galas and local events, which should never be skipped if you are looking to engage, connect and educate.

Muscular Dystrophy Association
I have always been partial to crowdsourcing and making a difference through action. The MDA Labor Day Telethon was the perfect marriage of entertainment, philanthropy, and business. Alas, the rise of streaming networks and online outreach killed the telethon and it was disbanded after nearly 60 years of entertaining through fundraising. I worked the phones with the MDA and was my own humble part of raising $2 billion and worked in the epic glow once lit by Jerry Lewis, Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, John Lennon, Carrie Underwood, and others. The days of the leaderboard showing the accumulation of $5 and $100 pledges are long gone now, but something I would like to see the return of one day in one of our new medias.

Music from the early 2000s

Yanni 2000
Lately, I’ve been hearing that it isn’t cool to listen to Yanni. Oh, I feel sorry for those misguided choices. Art in all its shapes and style is the language of the universe. The inspirational music that Yanni delivers makes me feel better about the world. His presence, the mood he sets, and his connection to the heart of each melody goes so deep that is literally able to heal and aspire greatness. His concerts are a celebration of  good vibes and the model of collaboration with his musicians who share the spotlight with him. I promise you when he says  that ”We are all the same” you will walk away feeling a little bit better.

Andrea Bocelli
Talk about overcoming any obstacles in life to make it to the international stage. That’s Bocelli. Some of my best creative sessions feature the Bocell as the soundtrack. His Statue of Liberty concert remains at the core of it all, as he embodies the immigrant arriving at Ellis Island fulfilling the long abiding wish of his father to see him perform there. For all of us living our own American Dream, it has a much deeper meaning. His passion for music and influence has somehow been transferred to his son and they perform together now. Making this a family thing is nothing but remarkable. I see him as a symbol of what music is all about and one that I will listen to until my last breath.

Christina Aguilera, “Beautiful”
As an anthem of feminism, the under-served, and the voiceless, “Beautiful” offered something emotional, hugely inspiring and different. It is no wonder that the song has given so many people the strength and hope in their dark times.The power of self-determination should never be underestimated. I find it to be one of modern music’s best songs and so relevant in today’s climate. Xtina’s hall of fame voice keeps me glued to the radio and has me proclaiming, “…don’t you bring me down today…”!.

Ad campaigns/commercials from the early 2000s

Go Daddy – Super Bowl Ads
GoDaddy might have been controversial, but the company mastered how to build their brand and sustain it. In fact, you could argue that few brands have had such a lasting impact on the industry, proving that it’s alright to offend (sometimes). In the ad world, the rule of thumb is to do no harm, but they illustrated that there is an exception to nearly every rule. It prided itself on the shock and awe it created airing risqué ads that spotlighted female sexuality. They received just as much earned media for their ads as it costs to air the ads themselves. They never backed down and built their brand from a no-name to the pinnacle of their industry segment.

Kaiser Permanente’s Thrive Campaign
Today, as consumers adjust to a healthcare landscape transformed by the Pandemic, Kaiser’s Thrive campaign seems more relevant than ever. With medical innovation and advancements in digital health, Thrive evolved with a focus on the accessibility of care online and in the doctor’s office. Their targeted digital strategy, along with TV, radio, and outdoor advertising, reflects the rapidly changing media landscape and how leading brands are connecting effectively with consumers. This 360-degree campaign is powerful as marked by how long it has been running.

Turkish Airlines – Miles&Smiles Campaign
Turkish Airlines jumped into the consumer ad world with massive star power with their Miles&Smiles launch. Their first ad, featuring the basketball player Kobe Bryant and the footballer Lionel Messi, quickly caught fire receiving more than 100 million YouTube views, 100,000 “likes” and 900,000 shares in the first week. They followed that up with out-of-home ads in the UK featuring Kevin Costner promoting daily flights from London. At the center of each ad was changing the sagging reputation of customer satisfaction. And change it did, garnering most of the top airline awards by the end of the decade and placing itself at the top of the pyramid with Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways and Cathay Pacific.

Movies from the early 2000s

Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings trilogy is widely regarded as one of the most influential film series ever made. It grossed over $3 billion globally while winning 17 Academy Awards including Best Picture. In 2021, The Fellowship of the Ring was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. You just don’t get more impactful than this franchise.

Passion of the Christ
When it was released in 2004, the retelling of Jesus’s death was controversial for its gory violence and alleged antisemitism. It was effectively canceled before it made it to theaters. The film’s producers sought help from the evangelical community and pastures all over America urged their parishioners to see the movie, and did they ever. It stands today as the highest-grossing R-rated film ever in the United States at $370+ million at the box office. Despite the irony of it all, this was a case study of how cancel culture impacts the artist’s life and the artistic universe we live in. One must stick to their values and have a realization about how important our world can be changed.

Casino Royale
The James Bond franchise was on life support when Daniel Craig renewed the iconic spy series. For me the film’s other star burst from the screen. French actress Eva Green, playing Vesper Lynd, was the first Bond female who was his equal. And, at the same time, his great love and his worst betrayal. Thanks to Paul Haggis (screenwriter and producer for consecutive Best Picture Oscar winners “Million Dollar Baby” and “Crash”) who came in and made the dialogue and storytelling riveting, Eva Green was the poster woman for female empowerment. I was fascinated by the tête-à-tête between the film’s two main stars with Vesper getting the upper hand most of the time.

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