OMD win $1.3 billion Vodafone account

August 30, 2009

Vodafone, the UK-based telecommunications giant, has appointed OMD to handle its iternational media planning and buying account, worth around images$1.3 billion.

The deal covers all global markets where Vodafone is a wholly-owned business and includes Egypt and Qatar regionally.

Vodafone is the largest mobile telecommunications network company in the world by turnover, with its current market value estimated at $122 billion.

It has operations in 25 countries and partner networks in a further 42 countries.


Crowd-sourcing is the future for Peperami ads says Unilever

August 26, 2009

Unilever has turned to consumer-generated content as the future of it ad campaigns for the Peperami brand after splitting with Lowe, its UK agency of 15 years.

Peperami-Animal-001 The FMCG giant has enlisted the resources of the website ideabounty.com – an online community for creatives – devising a competition which asks the public to submit ideas for future commercials for the meat snack brand.

The competition is open to applicants worldwide and interested parties will be able to register on the site to receive a brief from 28 August.

The winning idea, which will be announced in November, will receive what Unilever is calling a “bounty” of $10,000 as well as being turned into a global ad campaign, set to break initially in the UK.

Unilever plans to pitch out all further briefs for the Peperami brand in this way, rather than appointing a retained agency. Though its new commercials will be still be based on its existing anarchic icon, the ‘animal’ character created for it by Lowe.

Matt Burgess, the managing director of Chrysalis UK, the division of Unilever that manages Peperami said, “This is not a stunt. As an ongoing way of making our content we are crowd-sourcing. We do not plan to appoint a retained agency for Peperami, but at this stage we have no plans to roll out this strategy across our other brands. We have to see how this works first.”


Coca-Cola drops Jiwin in favour of Memac Ogilvy PR

August 23, 2009

Soft drinks giant Coca-Cola has handed its regional public relations business to Memac Ogilvy PR, removing it from incumbent Jiwin.

coke The handover of the account took place last week, with Memac Ogilvy PR – part of the Memac Ogilvy Group – taking up the reins as Coca-Cola’s contractual obligation to Jiwin expired. Jiwin had handled the account since September 2007 following a successful pitch bid. The same pitch saw Memac Ogilvy come a close second.

The move signifies the company’s desire to consolidate its business by working with an existing partner – Memac Ogilvy handles aspects of Coca-Cola’s creative and media accounts – said Antoine Tayyar, public affairs and communications manager, Coca-Cola Middle East.

“What we need in the next period is to have more presence in markets and Ogilvy PR has this,” said Tayyar. “It was a streamlining of the business. We selected one of the agencies that work with us also on creative and media and we consolidated in this area, PR, into an agency that works with us. There wasn’t a need a need to do a major pitch, because at the end of the day we don’t have hundreds of creative [agencies] we work with. And previously, a couple of years back when there was pitch done, Ogilvy was one of the top two.”

Memac has taken on responsibilities with immediate effect, handling the introduction of a new visual identity for Coca-Cola brand Sprite and the Coke Light integrated campaign ‘Very Important Apartment’.

Ronald Howes, regional managing director of Memac Ogilvy GCC, said: We look forward to further strengthening our relationship with Coca-Cola in the weeks and months to come.”


Emirates hands its UK advertising account to VCCP

August 23, 2009

Emirates has moved its $5.7 million UK advertising account out of incumbent Leagas Delaney and into VCCP’s London office without a pitch.

emirates VCCP, which had an office in Abu Dhabi and works with clients such as Qatari Financial Centre, was asked to handle the business after its presentation to the airline as part of the $270 million global advertising account, which was put up for pitch in June.

Leagas Delaney, which has handled the UK account for five years, was not asked to defend the business and is not involved in the global review.

The UAE-based airline spent around $5.7 million on advertising in the UK last year, the bulk of which went on promoting its long-haul flights.

An Emirates spokesman admitted that the account had moved but said it had nothing to do with the global review.

He said: We can confirm that Leagas Delaney is being replaced by VCCP. This is entirely unconnected with the pitch for a global marcomms agency. It is purely a UK appointment by Emirates.”

This is the first time VCCP has worked for Emirates. However, the VCCP Group-owned brand promotion specialist Branded Moments of Truth worked on a project for the airline three years ago, and Bell Pottinger, which is part of the VCCP parent Chime Communications, handles the airline’s public relations.

Charles Vallance, one of VCCP’s founding partners, has an essay titled The Art of Unlearning in today’s new issue of Campaign.


TV ads still the most memorable says poll

August 20, 2009

Television provides the most memorable advertising, according to research commissioned by the organisers of the Edinburgh International Television Festival, reports the UK website Brand Republic.

The research, which was conducted by pollsters YouGov and management consultancy Deloitte, found that 64% of people who watched television found TV commercials were one of the three media which had the most impact.

The findings will fuel arguments by the commercial TV sector that television advertising remains a powerful marketing medium in the face of the growing popularity of the internet.

The YouGov/Deloitte research also found that, after TV, newspaper advertising was the second hardest-hitting medium. 30% of those polled credited it as the most impactful medium.

Magazine advertising scored third place in the survey, followed by radio and outdoor.

The research also found that 44% of the sample used the internet to research a brand or company after seeing an ad on TV. Yet only 8% of respondents rated internet advertising as high-impact, and just 12% deemed search ads as the most memorable form of advertising.

But, according to the findings, nearly 25% of the 2,000 respondents said that they were impervious to the effects of any advertising.


Gap scraps TV in favour of social media

August 17, 2009

Gap, the fashion retailer famed for its TV ads, is scrapping them in favour of social media for a campaign to promote its new line of denim wear.

GAP adThe high-street chain, which made its name by featuring stars including Audrey Hepburn, Orlando Bloom and Liv Tyler in its TV ads, is shifting its focus to the web for its ‘Born to Fit’ campaign.

Instead of TV advertising, the initiative will see Gap put Facebook at the centre of an online campaign aimed at targeting consumers who are already using the web to talk about fashion.

The ‘Born to Fit’ campaign uses cinema, print and outdoor ads to drive consumers to a branded Facebook page where they can watch a video of Rada Shadick, Gap’s ‘fit engineer’ explaining how the new denim line, dubbed 1969 after the year Gap was founded, has been devised.

Internet users can also upload photos and videos featuring their own ‘born to’ statements before clicking through to gap.com to make a purchase.

The campaign, created by AKQA, features customised banner ads running across a selection of blogs. The banners say what each blog was ‘born to’ do. For example the ads on glam.com say ‘Born to set Trends’ and the ads on popsugar.com say ‘Born to strategise’.

Gap has also devised an iPhone app that allows consumers mix and match outfits and interact with friends on the brand’s Facebook page. In addition, the Stylemixer app targets consumers with special offers when in the vicinity of a Gap store.

Gap has been scaling back its marketing spend recently to focus on new product development after seeing same-store sales slump.


A criminal waste of Lebanese talent

August 12, 2009

By Ramsey Naja, chief creative officer, JWT MENA

“One of the good things about living in Beirut is the low crime rate. Which is a debatable advantage in a city equally known for partying and war: you won’t get mugged on the way to the club but you may get bombed – you do the stats. And this summer, it seems that people have decided it’s worth the risk of being F-16ed, judging by the number of tourists flocking into Beirut.

Ramsy bwBut for the visiting advertising pro, there is no concealing the vandalism on offer in the Lebanese capital. Save for a few glittering exceptions, it is violently on display on the majority of outdoor posters peppering every street: awful, pathetic, boring, vulgar, idiotic, toe-curlingly embarrassing advertising. Crime? Well you got it. In the region’s advertising cradle itself, the industry seems to compete with a delicatessen’s cheese counter.

For the place that launched a thousand advertising careers, many of which have gone to majestic heights on foreign shores, home is where the fart is. It seems like any brief is debunked with flatulence. It’s a collection of what-not-to-do: knee-jerk copy (with inevitable oh-I’m-so-clever exclamation marks), sigh-inducing visual metaphors and Johnny-two-times ads where the copy repeats what the pic labours to show.

Recently, the Lebanese ad industry had a great chance to show its mettle: an un-99.9-per cent election campaign upon which the world cast an intrigued gaze. For once, the Arab world had a freedom of speech champion with gold-plated balls, a Middle Eastern country that does opinion but not Bar Mitzvahs. Pens were sharpened instead of swords and our industry waded in. So what did we get? We got advertising that didn’t just preach to the converted, it pandered to the lowest common denominators and joined up with PR that managed to dig beneath the basest instincts for the kind of 360 that made you vomit with dizziness. And if you thought that was an aberration driven by the country’s bargain basement politics, the work on display today confirms it: what Lebanon suffers from is a criminal waste of talent.”


China launches Arabic-language TV channel

August 11, 2009

China has launched an international Arabic-language television channel as part of its initiative to boost the country’s profile abroad, reports the Hong Kong-based magazine Media.

CCTV State-run China Central Television (CCTV) said the new service would broadcast news, entertainment and education programmes 24 hours a day to a potential audience of about 300 million people in 22 countries.

CCTV vice-president Zhang Changming said in a statement the channel “would serve as an important bridge to strengthen communication and understanding between China and the Arab countries.”

A Chinese media industry source said the goal was to boost China’s soft power, increasing the influence of its opinions overseas. “It is all about nationalism and propaganda. CCTV wants to demonstrate how China is growing fast. Promoting Chinese culture is just secondary.”

The source said that there he did not expect major advertising opportunities on foreign CCTV channels as the primary focus is propaganda. The Arabic satellite channel can be received across the Middle East, North Africa and in the Asia-Pacific region.

The move is part of an ambitious programme of international expansion by the state-controlled media to promote the image of China abroad. Xinhua news agency, which already reports from more than 100 countries and territories, also plans to open more foreign bureaux.


Staff cuts made but Riyadh office not closing, says Grey director

August 10, 2009

The regional director of Grey’s Saudi Arabia operation has denied rumours that the agency’s Riyadh office is in the process of closing down.

lawandosMarc Lawandos (pictured) confirmed that a number of staff had been made redundant and that more could follow, but said there were no plans to close the office. “These rumours are faster than the speed of light but the truth of the matter is that the Riyadh office will not be closing,” he said.

Lawandos declined to specify numbers but said the office’s headcount had to be reduced to cut costs in the wake of the economic downturn. “We have had to make some unfortunate decisions,” he said. “These guys work hard, they are dedicated and they invest a lot of time in our business.

“But the backbone [of the Riyadh office] was mainly real estate and finance and with the economic hit these guys froze their budgets, and accordingly we have had to lay off the teams working on those accounts.”

The Riyadh operation has been far worse hit by the financial crisis than the agency’s Jeddah office, whose portfolio is mainly in the FMCG sector.

Lawandos said attempts to diversify the client base of the Riyadh office were now under way, with a number of pitches being pursued. “We need to secure a significant win that would put us back on track but until then we may need to lose more people,” he said. “These guys are like a family to us so we give them options. If someone has an opportunity elsewhere he is welcome to leave.”

He added: “High expectations are set for post-Ramadan. We will just have to wait and see but we are working really hard to get some business in.”


Carat to triple workforce following Nokia success

August 9, 2009

Carat intends to triple its Middle East workforce by the end of October as it expands to cover 17 countries across the region following its winning of the Nokia media account.

The media agency is currently negotiating with affiliates in several new markets and within three months its expected new offices will give Carat one of the widest regional presences of all networks in the region, according to Antonio Boulos, the recently-appointed CEO of parent company Aegis Media Middle East.

NokiaIn the GCC, Carat is already present in the UAE and Saudi Arabia but will soon have offices in Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Yemen and Kuwait. In the Levant, Carat has an office in Lebanon and will soon be present in Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Sudan, while its North African presence includes Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, the latter of which also serves Libya. Iran is another imminent target, said Boulos.

The long-planned expansion has been accelerated by Carat’s $500 million Nokia win for EMEA, with the Middle East operation allowed an extended changeover period to strengthen its geographical reach and digital expertise before taking over the account from Mediacom by next June.

Boulos said the growth was being driven by the requirements of not only Nokia but also existing clients, as well as forecasts of future opportunities. “We are committed to the region, we see growth and what is happening this year will not deter us. On the contrary, it’s a good time to proceed with the expansion. Under such conditions, recruiting, expanding and investing are more beneficial than last year or the year before,” he said. “We are not the largest, we know that, but we have a very healthy operation and a very good cash flow.”

Boulos said the regional operation would now pursue local clients more aggressively than before. “When I talk about expansion, we want to bring the same quality to the Middle East that Carat offers in its best markets,” he said.