Edelman DABO welcomes Account Director

Edelman DABO has welcomed Daniel Mercado to the role of Account Director. Previously an Associate Account Director at Ogilvy Public Relations, where he was responsible for driving corporate, technology and consumer PR campaigns across the MEA region, Daniel has over eight years of PR and Marketing experience. As Account Director, he will focus on delivering integrated communication marketing campaigns to strengthen reputations and drive consumer loyalty. Daniel’s work will centre around Edelman DABO’s expanding corporate practice and his responsibilities will include providing senior counsel to agency clients, bringing new services to market, growing the agency’s talent base and spurring business development across the GCC.

In The Hot Seat – Sasan Saeidi

Sasan Saeidi, Managing Director of FP7 UAE Group gives us his opinions on the UAE’s changing media landscape…  

Name:Sasan Saeidi
Age: 40
From: I’m a global citizen – Iran, Canada and the UK           

Current Job Title: Managing Director- FP7 UAE Group (part of McCann Worldgroup)

When did you first arrive in Dubai?
I arrived in Dubai around nine years ago.

Where did you work prior?
I started my career in North America, with FCB Canada, I then moved to Saatchi Canada & US. I have also worked with BBDO Dubai prior to joining FP7 McCann around six years ago.

What were your first impressions of the media industry in the Middle East?
I found it intense, fast and very competitive. There was also a lot of money being spent. 

Has your opinion changed much?
I believe that our industry of media and communication has not changed. Although it will always remain competitive and tactical, the evolution of trends in tech and digital has been a big influencer in the way brands communicate their messages across platforms. Media in general, I feel, has gotten smarter and more impactful.

Tell us about your current role…
I work at FP7 DXB, part of McCann Worldgroup. I’m proud and delighted to say that it’s a lovely place to work – our culture is great, our people are wonderful and our ambitions are lofty. We have so far done a stellar job, so our reputation and name speaks for itself. This has really been the result of the hard work and determination from a lot of likeminded folks working together and coming to work everyday with the mission to exceed expectations for our clients, their brands and themselves. I am humbled to be part of it all.

What challenges do you face?
The challenges that we’re facing are those that everyone is facing. It’s a tough year for marketing and communication brands – we’re all trying to make our dollars and efforts go further this year, which has not been easy. But it’s a cycle, which will pick up again. The key is to ensure that we continue to invest in our creative and strategic product in whatever way possible. We also must keep the culture of our agency brand strong and ambitious – yes, we need to be cautious of so many factors but we must also remain focused on the fact that even during times of difficulty there are a lot of opportunities to seize. We must be long-term but agile in our business decision-making in order to ride the waves. If you plan for the worst and hope for the best, you’ll be ok.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Making people feel they belong. Of course there are so many things that need to be done to achieve this – from leading the charge, to inspiring and mobilising talent, to building capability, then bringing this all together by creating a culture where people feel included and that they matter. 

What advice would you offer to someone looking to start a career in media in the UAE?
Get into the business if you have passion for creativity and ideas, don’t get into it because of a paycheck – there are definitely easier ways to make money. 

What’s your pet advertising peeve?
What I hate more than anything is when we think a creative communication concept is ‘too smart’. Who are we to judge a consumer as stupid or say they won’t ‘get it’? There is a great saying by David Ogilvy: “The consumer is not a moron; the consumer is your wife”. It’s one of the best quotes for our business. Try telling your wife she’s stupid next time. Let’s please not dumb things down.

Describe yourself in five words…
Curious, strategist, a reader, passionate and a lover.

What’s your most overused saying?
Sir or Madam. It’s respectful.

Five things you can’t live without?
I think if we have to, we can live without anything. But since you’re asking: my family, my blackberry, wine, reading and coffee.

If you weren’t in your current role, what would you be doing?
I would be running an antique business or something to do with interior design and galleries. 

If you could change one thing about media in the UAE, what would it be?
In terms of creativity in media, I would love for brands to do fewer one-off concepts and instead focus on more creative concepts that can build a long-term relationship with their audience. This would ensure that our work is playing a meaningful role for the brand and, in turn, the consumer.

How do you see media changing in the UAE in the coming years?
Media is becoming more and more fragmented. There will definitely be more of a push in digital and social, though traditional media will always remain relevant. Targeting ever-changing attention spans across multiple platforms (especially online) will be the ultimate test for us all, it will require a robust strategy driven by insights and research, as well as proper, fit-for-purpose content that can really engage. 

If you could have one work wish granted, what would it be?
Be nicer to the creative agency community and value the creativity this industry provides. We must understand that creativity will save the world and the people who are behind it should be, in-turn, respected.

Moment of Zen

When Team TMN heard about a new yoga technique that promises relaxation as well as better movement and mindsets, we went in search of our moment of calm… 

What: Yoga Foundations with therapy balls

Where: Zen Yoga, Dubai Media City

When: Mondays and Wednesdays at 8.15pm

The promise: “The objective of the class is to increase people’s body awareness to allow them to move better, feel better and take what they’ve learned to other Yoga classes, and their daily activities.”

Did it deliver? It was with great skepticism that Team TMN attended the Yoga Foundations class with therapy balls at Zen Yoga. Each of us have tried yoga before, but always had similar results – yawning or drifting off into space after around five minutes, mostly as a result of our own impatience or incredibly short attention spans. However, once we had entered the dimly lit classroom in Zen Yoga and sat by our mats, blankets and yoga balls, we were hit by an unusual feeling for those of us who work in Dubai – ease.

Having arrived at Zen Yoga filled with all the frustrations of the day – minds racing from meetings, tasks to add to a ‘to-do’ list and trouble with traffic, it was strange to feel so calm, so quickly after starting. To our joy (and relief) the class began with some simple steps using the myofascial yoga balls on our backs to unknot tension by simply rolling on them and practicing breathing techniques. We instantly felt as if the weight of the day had been lifted. The therapy balls are supposed to pry apart scar tissue, adhesions and knots by mimicking the touch of a massage therapist, allowing blood flow and water to return to dry and stiff parts of the body. We can’t say for sure if they did this, but they did seem to have a soothing effect on us, aiding in the ‘switching off’ process.

Our instructor, Emilie, was incredibly friendly and professional, managing to make even total beginners feel welcome and a part of the class’s yoga community. She took us through movements that come from Yoga Tune Up, which is a form of mobility training combining elements of yoga with physical therapy principles. This meant that yoga poses were broken down to teach us how to engage the right muscles, as well as how to disengage muscles that tend to work too hard. The clear and concise anatomical language that Emilie used was incredibly interesting, and helped us to understand exactly what we were doing, without causing us to switch off as a result of obscure jargon.

As the class came to an end, we felt a sense of collective calm and wellbeing that is rare to achieve after just one class. Having good knowledge of the poses and techniques that we’d learnt was especially useful in making sense of the processes involved in the classes.

The Verdict: We certainly left feeling considerably calmer, more focused and a lot more relaxed. Team TMN thoroughly enjoyed the 75 minutes of Zen and will definitely be back for more.

Boguslavsky & Co launches Social Cult

Marianna Boguslavsky, Managing Director of digital strategy agency Boguslavsky & Co has launched Social Cult – www.socialcult.co – a social media marketing startup aimed at independent films with limited budgets. Currently in its initial launch phase, the website will also soon have an eCommerce component.

“There is a significant problem with the current state of the indie film marketing industry – phenomenal, ground-breaking independent films are not getting enough traction because they aren’t marketed effectively,” says Marianna. “Most indie filmmakers and producers have little budget and we feel that negatively influences the way films are marketed so we want to help change that if we can.”

BPA Worldwide to release concurrent data

Global assurance provider BPA Worldwide will release concurrent audience metrics for 41 consumer titles and six newspaper brands in the Middle East, for the six-month period that ended December 31, 2015. The top-line figures in the Trend Report About Circulation (TRAC) cover media with operations in four Middle Eastern countries: Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Included in the report are the headline average qualified circulations and other channels, including web traffic ‘average unique browser’, social media and apps downloads for the most recent December 2015-ending BPA brand reports.

“The concurrent release of audience data for consumer and newspapers based in the region helps level the playing field in the marketplace,” says Rana Hariz, Director, Middle East Operation, BPA Worldwide. “Media buyers and advertisers can turn to this single report and make an accurate evaluation of audience metrics between brands before they buy.”

BNC Publishing launches new awards

Hotel News ME, part of BNC Publishing, is set to host its inaugural Leaders in Hospitality Awards 2016, on April 19 at The St. Regis Dubai in order to celebrate the best of the industry’s talent, properties and concepts. The awards are designed to capture the outstanding elements of properties, campaigns and people across a number of categories including Leading New Hotel, Best Spa and Best Room Refurb. Judges will be announced on hotelnewsme.com later this month.

“The Leaders in Hospitality Awards 2016 will celebrate and bring together professionals at all levels,” says Melanie Mingas, Group Editor, Business Portfolio, BNC Publishing. “The categories have been meticulously constructed to represent all sectors and levels of the industry, as opposed to the traditional people-only awards. We have categories that will distinguish exceptional concepts, properties and personalities across the industry.”