Regime change at Fortune Promoseven

January 31, 2010

An unprecedented number of Fortune Promoseven’s senior management have been fired or have ‘left of their own accord’ following a major shake-up of the agency.

Azmi Yafi, CEO of the agency’s Dubai operations; executive creative director Peter Russell; deputy managing director Christie O’Higgins; and creative director Leslie Oakes have all gone, although the agency would not say in what circumstances they had left. A number of mid-level account managers have also ‘moved on’ from the Dubai HQ.

Russell (pictured) had been in his role for less than a month, having been appointed ECD at the end of November following the departure of Marc Lineveldt to Saatchi & Saatchi.

It is not known whether further departures are imminent, but a rebranding of Fortune Promoseven is expected within the next few months.

Kamil Najjar, regional marketing director at P&G, has stepped in to replace Yafi as CEO, while Daniel Georr has been flown in from the network’s Beirut office to take up the position of executive creative director.

Tom Roychoudhury, chief innovations officer at MCN, Fortune Promoseven’s parent company, said the agency was looking to re-model itself along the lines of McCann London, which has a ‘perfect blend of creativity, effectiveness and innovation’ according to its website. “We are restructuring because we want to be a completely different agency,” said Roychoudhury. “We want to be different in two ways. Different to what we were and different to what’s already out there. Fortune Promoseven wants to rebuild itself along the lines of the agency for tomorrow.”

FP7 is part of MCN, which is an Interpublic group company.

Four agencies make shortlist in Mobily pitch

June 2, 2009

Saudi mobile phone operator Mobily has shortlisted four agencies to pitch for its advertising business following the distribution of a request for proposal in April.

mobilyNine agencies were involved in the RFP stage, with FP7, Full Stop Advertising, Drive and incumbent Impact BBDO making the cut.

Mobily is holding a major review of its advertising account, although the Riyadh-based company denies it is taking place. Owned by multiple stakeholders, including the UAE’s Etisalat, in the first quarter of 2009 Mobily’s adspend was $14.8 million, according to the Pan Arab Research Centre.

Wondering about the The Big Won? So are we!

May 18, 2009

headerGuess what? The UAE boasts the second most successful advertising industry in the world. The accolade is highlighted in an international report by The Big Won. But before you start celebrating, a closer look at the criteria behind these rankings is definitely required.

With all due credit to the progress being made in the UAE’s advertising sector, any order of merit which rates the emirates above both the UK and the USA naturally raises some questions.

So how is this report compiled? Well, as described previously on this blog, the results were presented as an interim indication of how the world’s countries, networks, agencies and senior advertising figures performed at the awards ceremonies held during the first quarter of 2009 – including two in the Middle East, two in London, three in the USA and one each in Thailand and Romania.

Helping the Middle East reach prominence were Memac Ogilvy Dubai and Leo Burnett Beirut, as well as FP7 Doha, whose Fadi Yaish was named top creative director. When Campaign contacted the UK-based compiler of the list to inform him that all of Fp7 Doha’s Dubai Lynx awards had either been revoked or returned following the scandal over scam entries, we were told the list would be amended accordingly.

The new listings can be seen here. Fp7 Doha, which was previously rated as the world’s number two creative agency, has unsurprisingly disappeared from the top 10 but the UAE remains the second best country overall.

It should also be pointed out that the cut-off point for these rankings is now 7 May, strangely just a few days before the conclusion of The One Show, a week before the announcement of The Clios and just over a month before Cannes.

Surely the setting of this apparently arbitrary date presents a confusingly skewed reflection of real success?

For respect and credibility, any rankings of international agencies must be based on a level playing field. And if the small matter of FP7 Doha’s Lynx awards escaped the attention of The Big Won’s chief, is it unfair to wonder whether anything else has been missed?

The Big Won correctly credits many top agencies and creatives but it certainly shouldn’t be taken as an accurate barometer of overall performance.

Dubai creatives join forces for good of industry

April 30, 2009

A group of Dubai creatives have come together to establish a club designed to break down agency barriers and represent the community with a single voice.

The new ‘Creative Club’ had its inaugural meeting last night and included creative directors and executive creative directors from Y&R, FP7, Tonic, JWT, Lowe, TBWA\Raad and Brandcom.

lineveldtThe group, which has found a home courtesy of Sam Ahmed at Studio Central, will be meeting monthly. It will also be forming an executive committee and has elected Marc Lineveldt (pictured), executive creative director of FP7 Dubai, as the inaugural chairman.

The aim is for the forum to become a focal point for senior creatives, all of whom are being encouraged to join the club and help combine the opinions of Dubai’s creative community into a single voice.

The Creative Club follows on from the defunct Creative Directors Forum, which was formed in 2005 by many of the creative directors present last night, including Lineveldt, Vincent Raffray from Tonic, and Manoj Ammanath from Brandcom.

“This is very much what Marc and I wanted to do in the first place,” said Raffray. “What’s different is that in Studio Central we have a great place to meet and a real commitment. It’s a better environment and with all the issues that have been happening recently it’s a good time to get together for the benefit of the community. The goal is to give a voice to the region’s creatives and to raise creative standards.”

FP7 punishes Doha office over Lynx scam scandal

April 23, 2009

Several creative staff are parting company with FP7 Doha and the office is handing back all of its Dubai Lynx awards, it was announced today in the wake of the scam ads scandal.

Parent group Fortune Promoseven has issued a statement following the conclusion of its internal investigation into the affair.

The action has been welcomed by the organisers of last month’s Dubai Lynx, who are overhauling their entry regulations in light of the recent issues.

The names of the staff leaving FP7 Doha have not been disclosed – and nor whether they have resigned or been fired. However, it appears likely that creative director Fadi Yaish will be among those moving on.

Fortune Promoseven’s full statement is as follows:

“Fortune Promoseven had committed to thoroughly investigate FP7 Doha’s entries into Dubai Lynx 2009. This internal investigation has now been concluded.

“It seems our strict policies and procedures for awards entries were circumvented. This is clearly unacceptable to our company.

“As a strong demonstration of the seriousness with which we view such behaviour, it has been decided that FP7 Doha will hand back all of its awards from the Dubai Lynx festival, and FP7 Doha has also been instructed not to submit any entries to Cannes Lions 2009.

“Corrective actions are being taken and several staff responsible will part ways with the company. In addition, FP7 Doha is strengthening its policies and procedures to ensure compliance for all future awards entries.”

Philip Thomas, CEO of Lynx organisers Cannes Lions, said: “Promoseven’s decision to have FP7 Doha return all awards – including bona-fide winners – shows real intent.

“Dubai Lynx is about lifting creativity for clients in the region and this action sends a signal to the market that this is what the focus of Lynx will be in the future.

“We will announce changes to the 2010 entry critera shortly.”

The outcome of a separate investigation by Lynx organisers into entries from other agencies is yet to be published.

See earlier posts for the background to this story.

FP7 launches its own internal Lynx investigation

March 26, 2009

FP7 has launched its own investigation into the legitimacy of some of FP7 Doha’s winning Lynx entries.

Azmi Yafi, CEO of FP7, UAE, is leading what he calls ‘a fact finding mission’. He said:  “Yes, we are prepared to take decisive action regarding any submission by FP7 Doha which genuinely contravenes the rules, regulations and the spirit of Lynx.”

Yafi and the management team are looking at every winning or shortlisted entry and investigating the accuracy of all pertinent entry-related information.

“This is not just about winning or losing at Lynx,” said Yafi. “This is about ethics, and practices, and about Promoseven’s responsibility towards our industry.”

The internal investigation was launched by the group’s top management after several allegations about irregularities. Yafi added: “We are looking into the allegations and if we have discrepancies from our end, we will take immediate and swift action to remedy them.”

The move follows the launch of an official investigation by  Dubai Lynx organisers into work for three of FP7 Doha’s clients (see previous post).

Lynx predictions – ‘Khede Kasra’ to win the day

March 17, 2009

pertThe TV and integrated shortlists are out and it’s easy to see where international judge Steffan Postaer was coming from when he let rip at the quality of the TV work earlier this week. However, while this may not be a vintage year for TV, there is the odd little nugget of gold if you dig deep enough.

Eliot over at AdNation tells us he’s got the winners list in his hands, but we’re going with our gut. So, here are our favourites for gold in the TV: FP7 Dubai’s ‘Bird’, ‘Cake’ and ‘Dog’ for Sony; Leo Burnett Beirut’s ‘Stop the suffering’ for P&G; TBWA\Raad’s ‘Long-time-no-see Saudi kiss’ for MTV Arabia; and Lowe’s ‘Staying alive’ for MTV.

In the integrated, Leo Burnett Beirut’s ‘Khede Kasra’ for The Hariri Foundation, and Memac Ogilvy’s ‘Fight breast cancer’ are our top tips. But ‘Khede Kasra’ to steal the glory.