Coke to appoint ‘happiness ambassadors’ for social media mash-up

October 22, 2009

Coca-Cola has launched a new ‘social media mash-up’ campaign, that will see the brand appoint three ‘happiness ambassadors’ to travel the world and spread their happiness and enthusiasm wherever they go.

cokeAccording to Coke, the chosen group will meet ‘everyday people’ on their 150,000 mile journey and will share their experiences on Flickr, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as they go. Their mission is to ‘share their happiness and enthusiasm with the rest of the world’.

Nine people have been shortlisted to fill the positions and Coke is asking the public to vote on who they think is most suited to the job. The project, dubbed Expedition206, is part of the wider Open Happiness campaign.

During the year-long initiative, the chosen group will visit 206 countries, representing Coke’s various markets. According to the current proposed route, they’ll hit the region around July/August 2010, at the height of summer temperatures.

Coke hopes that people across the world will act as local travel guides, suggesting places for the group to go and helping them find the secret of happiness.

The group leaves Madrid on 1 January 2010 and culminates in the US on 31 December 2010 after visiting all corners of the globe.

Omnicom’s global profits slide in Q3

October 22, 2009

Omnicom, the global advertising group that runs agency networks including BBDO and DDB, has seen its profits fall by 22.5 per cent during the three months ending 30 September.

In its third quarter results, released today, the group, run by John Wren, reported that year-on-year profits had decreased from $213.6 million to $165.6 million, with worldwide revenue falling 14.4 per cent to $2.83 billion.

In the US alone, revenue for the period dropped by 13.2 per cent to $1.5 billion, while international revenue decreased 15.8 per cent to $1.35 billion.

The figures meant Omnicom’s operating profit for the three-month period fell from $373.4 million in 2008 to $294.8 million in 2009.

Middle East and Africa to buck adspend freefall in 2010

October 19, 2009

Advertising expenditure in the Middle East and Africa is expected to grow by 14.6 per cent in 2010, according to the latest global adspend report from ZenithOptimedia.

However, the increase will follow what is expected to be an overall drop of 11.4 per cent in adspend for 2009 – a figure that has contributed to ZenithOptimedia revising its global advertising expenditure forecasts downwards to -9.9 nine per cent for 2009. Figures for the Middle East and Africa also include the rest of the world not covered by North America, Western Europe, Asia Pacific, Central & Eastern Europe and Latin America.

This time last year, ZenithOptimedia expected global adspend to increase 4 per cent in 2009, despite the anticipated economic downturn. Today’s revision follows worst than expected performances in all parts of the world: spend in North America, the world’s largest advertising region, is expected to fall 12.6 per cent; Central and Eastern Europe, 20.9 per cent; and Western Europe; as well as the 11.4 per cent drop in the Middle East and Africa.

But the predicted rise in adspend for 2010 means that the Middle East and Africa will be the only region with significant growth, with North American and Western Europe expected to report 4 per cent and 1 per cent drops in adspend respectively for 2010.

“We now forecast a meagre 0.5 per cent recovery in 2010, down from 1.6 per cent in July,” said the report. “This figure marks a sharp disparity between developed markets, which we expect to shrink another 2.9 per cent, and developing markets, which we expect to grow by a very healthy 7.8 per cent.”

Dubai Media Inc takes control of Arab Media Group

October 12, 2009

The consolidation of Dubai’s media assets is continuing apace, with control of the Arab Media Group being transferred to Dubai Media Inc.

The move is the result of a directive from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, ruler of Dubai, and follows the switching of ownership of Al Bayan newspaper from AMG to DMI early last month.

A statement said that all “printing and publishing, Dubai Radio and television, with all their assets, rights, contracts and liabilities will transfer from Arab Media Group to Dubai Media Inc”.

The decision means Emirates Business 24/7 and its Arabic sister paper Emarat Al Youm, Masar Printing and Publishing Company and Noor Dubai Radio and TV, are now under the control of DMI, which is home to Dubai TV and Dubai One.

Najla Al Awadhi, deputy CEO of DMI, had said in an interview with Campaign in June that consolidation was due to take place: “I would think in the next couple of months you will see some interesting changes in the media landscape of Dubai. There definitely is going to be a drive to consolidate media assets, with synergies between the Dubai media assets, us being one of them, amongst many other assets which are media related.”

It is not yet known how the move will affect the senior managment structure of both groups, or whether Abdullatif Al Sayegh will continue as CEO of AMG.

Etisalat blocks access to Bill Gates-owned Corbis

October 11, 2009

Etisalat has blocked access to the Corbis website in the UAE, one of the world’s largest picture libraries.

The resource of stock film and photography footage comprising more than a 100 million images, is privately owned by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and is a vital art-buying tool for the region’s ad agencies and publishing industry.

Etisalat blockedIt is not known why Corbis has suddenly fallen foul of Etisalat’s censorship guidelines, having been freely available without restriction for several years, though sources say the  company is currently in talks with the telco giant to get its site unblocked.

The latest incident adds to an upsurge in criticism of Etisalat’s policies.

In July the company rendered the UAE’s Blackberry devices inoperable for several days after sending them a battery sapping ‘performance enhancement patch’.

The patch was revealed to be spyware potentially allowing Etisalat access to texts and emails sent by customers.

FP7 retains McDonald’s ad account in the Middle East

October 8, 2009

FP7 has retained the creative advertising business for McDonald’s following a review of the fast food giant’s account in the Middle East.

FP7’s Dubai office had pitched against Leo Burnett and one other agency during the review, which culminated in a two-way shoot-out between FP7 and Leo

FP7 has held the McDonald’s account for 16 years, ever since the brand launched in the region, and the retention of the business is being hailed as a “reconfirmation of the continuing faith” that McDonald’s has had in the agency’s capabilities.

Fadi Salameh, president and CEO of the Middle East Communication Networks, the parent group under which FP7 falls, said: “ We are very happy and grateful to the Partners at McDonald’s Middle East for this reconfirmation of their trust in us. This is a re-affirmation of our commitment to this fantastic global brand in our region and we will continue to build on our long relationship, and work hard towards being their partners in their business and marketing efforts in the region.”

OMD Digital declines to work with P&G

October 4, 2009

OMD Digital has knocked back the opportunity to work with Procter & Gamble after winning part of the FMCG giant’s digital media business.

P&G launched a review of its digital media strategy in June, with the business subsequently being split between Starcom IP and OMD Digital.

However, OMD has taken the unusual step of declining to work with P&G. In a statement it said: “P&G recently reviewed its digital media arrangements and invited OMD Digital to take part in the process. The quality of our proposal led them to take the 10 most digitally [active] brands in their portfolio from the incumbent Starcom and ask us to manage them. However, we couldn’t agree on the financial terms of this potential collaboration and therefore OMD Digital has decided to decline the opportunity to work with P&G.”

The decision means that Starcom will now be handling all of P&G’s digital media account for brands such as Olay, Max Factor, Pantene, Pampers and Head & Shoulders.

Rayan Karaky, general manager of digital operations at Publicis Groupe Media, under which Starcom IP falls, said: “P&G had awarded us the majority of the business and now they have decided to consolidate all the business with us. P&G has a rigorous pitch process and they always partner with the best agency.”

OMD, Starcom, Mediacom and Technowireless were initially invited to pitch for the business, which involved taking responsibility for P&G’s digital media account for the Arabian Peninsula. It was the first time that P&G had sought an agency purely dedicated to digital media planning and buying.

P&G, whose regional HQ is in Jebel Ali, confirmed that the business would now be handled solely by Starcom but declined to comment any further.