The ‘7-Day Brief’ Competition rallies creatives in MENA in support of UN Women

Winning YouTube video urges for more 24/7 hotlines to provide much-needed support for women suffering from domestic abuse

Date: Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Dubai, 11 March – In support of UN Women’s mission to end violence against women, Google partnered with the Dubai Lynx for the 7-Day Brief Competition powered by YouTube. The competition, now in its third year, dispatched a brief to the creative community across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) inviting them to create a 60-second video in just seven days that raises awareness about this social cause.

YouTube screenshot

The winners of the competition are: Shafiq Alam, 35, and Mohamad Sarhi, 33, from Jeddah. The winners tackled the brief by portraying a young woman giving a makeup tutorial or ‘vlogging’ about how to cover facial bruises – a parody spin that leverages the growing popularity of beauty channels on YouTube around the world. The 60-second film concludes by urging viewers to donate to UN Women and to support the creation of hotlines throughout the region for survivors.

Alam and Sarhi comment: “It feels great to be recognized among so many amazing entries from the region, especially since it’s for a good cause. The brief gave us an opportunity to tackle an important issue in the region and to raise awareness on domestic violence. Posting the videos to YouTube allowed us to spread this message effectively across the region and the globe.”

Official figures suggest that one in three women have experienced some form of abuse but actual numbers are likely to be much higher. The financial cost to society is very large, with medical expenses and productivity losses amounting to billions every year. Globally, UN Women works with governments on ensuring survivor-focused policies that aim to protect women and girls from all forms of violence. In the MENA region, UN Women aims to improve and expand mechanisms to protect women, including shelters, psychosocial services and legal support. Hotlines will tie these services together in each country, with women able to call 24-hours a day.

Mohammad Naciri, Regional Director of UN Women says, “The silence surrounding violence against women in the region needs to be broken. Violence against women and girls is the single-most harmful practice in achieving equality. The winning entry is incredibly powerful; it's a conversation-starter and shows us that violence for many women is a lived reality.”

Tarek Abdalla, Head of Marketing for Google in MENA, said: “Through the 7-Day Brief, we hope to encourage people to use technology to spread positive and powerful messages to millions of people around the world. YouTube has long been used as a platform not just to entertain but to inspire large audiences. We’ve seen amazing talent emerge through this competition and we hope that young and passionate creators continue to produce more compelling content on YouTube and to share it with others.”

Global watchtime on YouTube is growing by 50 per cent every year, with millions of hours of video watched on the platform every month by more than one billion viewers around the world. In MENA, YouTube continues to invest in the digital ecosystem by empowering and mentoring content creators to become successful on the web.

Emma Farmer, Festival Director, Dubai Lynx said, “We’re delighted to have partnered with

YouTube to once again deliver the 7-Day Brief. It’s an incredibly effective competition that raises the profile of both the winners and the client. UN Women’s mission is an important one and the winning video has resonated with this, resulting in a powerful campaign. I’d like to congratulate the team on their worthy win.”

Winners of the competition are offered the chance to travel to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France this year. Previous briefs for the 7-Day Brief competition were in collaboration with the UNHCR and the Red Cross.

For more information please contact:

Camilla Lambert, Press & PR Manager, Dubai Lynx

+44 (0)20 3033 4016

Sarah Brun

UN Women


+20 1022 664640

Dalia Halabi

Communications Manager, Memac Ogilvy PR