DIFF calls creative advertising review

February 28, 2010

The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) has signalled its intention to refresh its creative advertising by inviting a number of agencies to pitch for the business.

Incumbent Impact Plus has held the business for four years after being appointed twice in succession by DIFF. It is in the running again in the current pitch and joins a field which features Memac Ogilvy, Leo Burnett, Tonic, JWT, AdKitchen and Birdie.

Speaking of the decision to review, Mahsa Motamedi, director of marketing and sponsorship for DIFF, said: “We are evaluating the agencies based on their ability to think strategically and execute professionally and creatively. Unique art direction and copywriting skills in both English and Arabic are the main aspects we will be assessing… all in all, we are looking for an agency to be a true, effective and efficient communications partner.”

She added: “Our advertising has mainly been campaign based. Whatever we have done so far has worked to achieve the festival’s goals while being cost effective as well. Going further, we want to focus on an innovative long-term strategy that complements our new media and digital campaign, and look forward to a new creative path.”

Last year the festival, which had its sixth edition in December, focussed 40 per cent of its marketing on new media.

Dubai Lynx names STC advertiser of the year

February 24, 2010

Saudi Telecom has been named this year’s Dubai Lynx Advertiser of the Year.

The recipient of two gold media awards at last year’s Lynx for its ‘New Day New Dawn’ re-branding campaign, Saudi Telecom (STC) becomes only the second winner of the award after Melody was named the inaugural winner in 2009.

“To be named as Advertiser of the Year is both an honour and a responsibility that we welcome,” said Mohammed Al Faraj, general manager corporate communications at STC. “This prestigious award is further proof that STC is not only a telecom company, but also a leader in creativity and uses media creatively. Our goal is to showcase the power of STC as a home-grown brand and to engage our customers on a personal level through passion pillars that matter and which are a part of their lives.”

The Dubai Lynx Advertiser of the Year award is presented to advertisers in the MENA region who have distinguished themselves for inspiring innovative marketing of their products and who embrace and encourage the creative work produced by their agencies.

STC’s gold-winning ‘New Day New Dawn’ re-branding campaign was the work of Starcom.

General Motors calls agency review

February 9, 2010

General Motors Middle East has called a review of its communications partners in a bid to ensure its agencies are delivering ‘outstanding service’.

In a statement, GM said it was seeking a “reassessment of its roster of marketing services partners to meet its current and future business and marketing requirements”.

Memac Ogivly and Leo Burnett are GM’s incumbent agencies, both of whom have been invited to participate in the review process.

A company spokesman said: “In our quest to sell vehicles that customers aspire to buy and to build brands they are proud to own and deliver an unmatched ownership experience, we are looking for the best agency partner(s) to deliver outstanding services that meet our objectives.”

ADMC takes the English Premier League online

February 4, 2010

The English Premier League is to begin its move away from TV and on to the web in the Middle East and North Africa thanks to Abu Dhabi Media Company’s decision to broadcast the 2010/2011 season online.

The announcement was made by Abu Dhabi Media Company CEO Edward Borgerding at the MENA Cristal awards in Mzaar, Lebanon yesterday, and follows ADMC’s winning of the rights to the EPL last year.

The move helps bring to an end speculation as to how ADMC was going to be able to air all of the EPL’s games, and how it was to charge for them. The Orbit Showtime Network has the rights to the EPL until May and has been showing the games purely on satellite pay-TV.

From August, all EPL games will be availabe online for a fee, although Karim Sarkis, executive director, broadcast group at ADMC, said matches will also be available via satellite and cable to those without access to broadband.

“What was different about the contract with the Premier League this time around was that platforms no longer matter,” said Sarkis. “Whereas before they sold the rights by platform, now platforms don’t matter, because they understand that the whole world is changing in terms of how TV is getting to people. You can reach a higher number of people this way than you can do trying it the Showtime, or the Orbit or the Al Jazeera way.

“What we’re going to do is hit two birds with one stone. On the one hand we’re going to be doing something very new, very innovative, but on the other hand we’re going to make it available to a much higher number of people.

“There is still an issue to deal with, which is broadband penetration isn’t at the same level across all our territories, so you can’t avoid the traditional means of distribution.But even then we’re doing something innovative, which is HD distribution. So, alongside IPTV, cable and broadband distribution we will also have  a satellite based solution but it will be in HD only. We think we need that in the beginning. The way we see it is, over time, the mass of our viewers  are going to shift from the box model, but definitely in our key markets we think the scales will tip in favour of the people who will access it through the non-conventional means.”

ADMC has the rights to the EPL for the next three seasons.

JWT Beirut, OMD and Starcom big winners at Cristals

February 3, 2010

JWT Beirut has scooped this year’s media Grand Cristal thanks to its integrated campaign for the opening of Le Mall.

The agency walked away with the top prize as well as two other Cristals. The night’s other big winners in the media category were OMD, which topped the media rankings, and Starcom. Starcom won five crystals, including trophies for its work for Galaxy, Aveo 5 and Emirates. OMD also won five Cristals, including those for clients Visa and Mobily and a special jury award.

It was a clean sweep for JWT in the promo and direct category, with JWT Dubai landing three Cristals, including the Grand Cristal for its ‘Stress balls’ work. JWT Cairo also walked away a winner thanks to its work for Vodafone.

There was no Grand Cristal awarded in the cyber category, although Leo Burnett Beirut was awarded for its work for Exotica, and JWT Beirut picked up a Cristal for Le Mall.

Film shortlist for MENA Cristals

February 3, 2010

Here is the MENA Cristal film shortlist. More to hopefully follow if we manage to work out how to use this French computer


Impact’s COO Pierre Azzam departs to seek new path

February 3, 2010

Pierre Azzam, Impact BBDO Group Lower Gulf COO, has decided  to “seek a new path and explore fresh opportunities”, bringing to a close his 26 years with the group, according to a statement from the agency.

During his tenure, Azzam was instrumental in the expansion of the network, overseeing the setting up of its Abu Dhabi and Qatar operations.

Azzam commented: “Leaving a group in which I have invested more than half of my life is never easy, with all the emotions and history. I shall take a long-overdue break while exploring new opportunties for the second stage of my professional life.”

In a statement Alan Khouri, Impact’s group chairman and CEO, said: ” We are genuinely sad to see Pierre leave the company, but I have to respect his decison. Pierre has been exemplary in contributing to our growth and development. I shall miss him both as a professional associate and as a friend.”

It is the second time in as many weeks that Impact BBDO has made headlines.

As reported in the current print issue of Campaign, BBDO Worldwide is believed to have taken majority ownership of Impact BBDO after Alain Khouri ‘ceded’ a portion of his shares to the Omnicom Group company.

The agency declined to discuss details of the deal as it was between a private individual and a public listed company, admitting only that Khouri retained a ‘substantial’ amount of shares and his responsibilities as chairman and CEO.

Impact was formed by Khouri in Lebanon in 1971 and in 1979 became the first regional agency to partner with a global agency network.

Group president Dani Richa will work with Azzam and the exisiting management to ensure a smooth transition of his duties over the coming months.