M&C Saatchi buys stake in Quantum

March 28, 2010

M&C Saatchi has bought a minority stake in Beirut-based ad agency Quantum Communications, leading to the creation of M&C Saatchi MENA.

Quantum was previously known as Saatchi & Saatchi Beirut until it withdrew from the agency’s EMEA network at the end of December – a network it had been part of for 18 years.

The new move means Quantum is once again part of a global network after a period of just three months. “This was not a decision we took lightly, and was fueled by a desire for progress, knowledge and growth. Both for the partners we work for and the talented people we employ,” said Quantum CEO Eli Khoury.

“We’re confident the new collaboration will continue to set new standards, further enhance the quality of the work, attract like-minded clients and cement the agency’s reputation as one of the most dynamic and visionary agencies in the region.”

M&C Saatchi’s CEO, Moray MacLennan, added: “The Middle East and North Africa is a dynamic region and the Quantum agency is both dynamic and innovative – the culture is 100 per cent Saatchi and we are delighted to have them as part of our network.”

M&C Saatchi MENA’s offering will also include Brand Central, Fusion Digital and Vertical Media in order to “seamlessly provide clients with a full mix of skills and expertise for offline and online communications”.

M&C Saatchi was formed in January 1995 by brothers Maurice and Charles Saatchi after the two were ousted from their own agency, Saatchi & Saatchi. In 2008, M&C Saatchi announced that it was to open an office in Bahrain in order to service clients such as the Bahrain Economic Development Board.

Maxus enters the Middle East with BPG Media

March 22, 2010

Global media agency Maxus has launched a new strategic affiliation with BPG Media that gives the GroupM agency its first presence in the Middle East and North Africa.

The new alliance, called BPG Maxus, will offer media services including strategic planning, implementation and buying, analytics, and digital communications throughout the Middle East and North Africa regions.

BPG Media is the media planning and buying arm of the Dubia headquartered BPG Group. Maxus is one of four global media agency networks within GroupM. Its three sister agencies are Mediaedge:cia, MediaCom and Mindshare, all of which are already present in the region. Both Maxus and BPG Group are part of WPP.

“The Middle East and North Africa are critically important regions for many of our clients, and we need a strong presence there” said Kelly Clark, Maxus Worldwide CEO. “This partnership allows us to tap into the considerable demand for more creative and accountable media communications in the Middle East and North Africa.”

Avi Bhojani, group chief executive officer of BPG Group, said: “In the light of tough market conditions, BPG Group made a paradigm shift in the way we engage clients. Our affiliation with Maxus will further enhance our integrated marketing communications model.”

Memac Ogilvy, JWT and Starcom shine at Lynx

March 17, 2010

Memac Ogilvy, Starcom and JWT were the big winners at this year’s Dubai Lynx awards, which took place at The Palladium last night.

Memac Ogilvy Dubai was named agency of the year after winning a host of golds and a grand prix in the interactive, direct and media categories, while JWT was named network of the year. Starcom retained its media agency of the year title, bagging the media grand prix for its ‘Confessions of Corporate Spies’work for Chevrolet.

Leo Burnett Cairo landed top honours in both the TV/cinema and craft/TV categories, walking away with a grand prix in the two categories for its Melody Aflam ‘Arabic Films – The Mother of all Foreign Films’ campaign, while the print grand prix was awarded to Elephant Cairo for Sima Food Industries’ Lika Gum campaign ‘Out of this World’.

The Dubai Metro ‘Abandoned Cars’ campaign by Saatchi & Saatchi Dubai won this year’s outdoor grand prix; the direct and sales promotion grand prix was awarded to Memac Ogilvy Dubai for the entry ‘Dustvertising’ for BP Visco Engine Oil; while this year’s interactive grand prix went to Memac Ogilvy Label Tunisia for SFTP’s ‘Boga Cidre’ ad. The integrated grand prix went to Elephant, Cairo for ‘89 Fans from 89’ for Coca-Cola. There was no grand prix awarded in radio.

Nine integrated entries shortlisted

March 17, 2010

Only nine campaigns have been shortlisted in the integrated category at this year’s Dubai Lynx.

Of those nine, the Leo Burnett network sits top with four thanks to its work for Emirates, du, General Motors and Exotica.

Second is JWT Beirut for its Le Mall and Save Christmas campaigns, while TBWA\Raad, Elephant Cairo and Memac Ogilvy have one shortlist apiece.

The integrated category received 39 entries this year, up 20 per cent on 2009. The winners of all the categories will be revealed tonight at the Dubai Lynx awards ceremony.

For the full integrated shortlist, see below.


Where are the results, asks media juror

March 16, 2010

Agencies’ inability to provide proper results for media campaigns has led to some work being marked down during the judging process at this year’s Dubai Lynx.

Kate Cox, head of creative communications at MPG and a juror on the media jury, said the region needs to work on proving the effectiveness of campaigns.

Speaking following the completion of judging in the media category, she said: “Some amazing ideas were judged down simply because they just did not have the effectiveness results. It’s sort of a tricky balance to make between the clients not investing in research to prove it, and getting results from other areas.”

However, she added that some categories had entries that should be internationally awarded. “There were some campaigns that Cannes would be proud of – innovative campaigns that were smart and inventive and had comparable creative ideas that I would be proud of in Europe if I could’ve executed them.”

This year saw a 10 per cent increase in the number of entries in the media category, with 230 in total – 70 of which were shortlisted yesterday.

Leo Burnett shines in TV/cinema shortlists

March 16, 2010

Leo Burnett has put in a strong performance in the TV/cinema and craft/TV shortlists, which have just been released by the Dubai Lynx.

A total of 95 pieces of work have been shortlisted in the TV/cinema, craft/TV, interactive and radio categories, with the Leo Burnett network living up to its reputation as a strong contender in the TV/cinema category. The network has 11 shortlisted entries and a further nine in the craft/TV category. Work from the Cairo, Beirut and Dubai offices are shortlisted, with Leo Burnett Cairo’s hotly tipped work for Melody Aflam leading the way.

Also shortlisted 11 times in the TV/cinema category is Elephant Cairo, which also received three shortlists in print yesterday and is run by former FP7 Cairo creative director Ali Ali.

Memac Ogilvy has the most shortlisted entries in the interactive category, picking up eight, while TBWA\Raad is second with six. There are only 13 pieces of work shortlisted in radio, with TBWA\Raad and The Tribe picking up the most.

The winners will be announced at the Dubai Lynx awards tomorrow evening.

For the full shortlists, see below.





News International’s paywall won’t work, says rival

March 15, 2010

Rupert Murdoch’s decision to erect paywalls around News International’s portfolio of newspapers will not work and goes against the grain of all that’s happening in media, said the Guardian News and Media’s Mark Finney.

Speaking at the Dubai Lynx today, Finney, who is GNM’s head of client sales, said: “We don’t think it will work. In fact, we can get benefits of scale from News International charging for content.

“We do not believe in asking people to pay for content on the point of desktop. It’s not in keeping with developments that are happening around the world at the moment, and we believe it goes against the grain of what’s happening digitally.”

Finney was echoing similar views expressed by Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of UK newspaper The Guardian, who last month described Murdoch’s decision to erect paywalls as “completely antithetical to the way everything is going”. In August last year, Murdoch announced that all News International titles, which include The Times and News of the World, would begin to charge for access to online content by this summer. The Times is expected to begin charging in May.

Finney added, however, that GNM could change its mind if it was proven wrong. “It won’t work, but if it does work obviously we reserve the right to change our thoughts at the last possible minute and start charging for content because we are, after all, interested in continuing to exist,” he said.

 GNM reported an $85 million pre-tax loss last year.