C&B partners with Y2AD 

Public relations consultancy, Cicero & Bernay Public Relations (C&B) has expanded into Syria with a new strategic partnership with Y2AD. Founded in 2001, Y2AD is an advertising agency that operates across Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and the UAE. The acquisition will oversee the strengthening of its network of communication experts across the MENA region. Y2AD will be assisting the consultancy with PR and media relations as well as on-ground support and the development of communications in PR strategies.

“Syria is a vibrant and an upcoming key-location for our partners and clients,” says Maysa-Jana Atoui, Business Development Director, C&B. “With heightened interest in investors who are keeping an eye on its market, focusing on the bigger picture of its upcoming potential, C&B is keen on making a presence there. Y2AD has more than 17 years of experience in Syria and our strategic partnership with them is one we are proud to have initiated as part of our overarching mission to expand upon our network. This will broaden our influence and present us with a valuable opportunity to increase the reach of our clients into to a valuable region.”

J. Walter Thomspon PR Levant rebrands

Global communications agency, J. Walter Thompson (JWT) PR Levant has rebranded as Hill+Knowlton Strategies (H+K) Levant. The joining together of H+K and JWT PR aims to create an exceptional talent base, enhanced client offer and a stronger combined footprint. H+K will deliver purpose-driven, integrated client campaigns and insights to tell stories through an earned media lens.

“We are thrilled to expand our reach in the Levant to better serve our clients’ regional needs,” says Bashar AlKadhi, CEO, H+K MENAT. “As the first international PR company established in the Middle East, this partnership is a significant step in our journey to grow our already strong regional footprint.”

Suzanne Talhouk, H+K Levant General Manager said, “We are proud to partner with H+K who have a prestigious reputation across the globe,” says Suzanne Talhouk, General Manager, H+K Levant. “With the H+K network, we will build our strengths and extend our services to our ever-expanding pool of clients looking for regional support.” 

Fork Media and Ziff Davis to launch Mashable in the Middle East 

Media and ad tech company, Fork Media has partnered with Ziff Davis to launch Mashable in the Middle East. Falling under the umbrella of Ziff Davis, the multi-platform media brand offers entertainment worldwide including content on technology and digital culture. The partnership aims to create engaging and offbeat English and Arabic content for the MENA region and provide publishers, brands and advertisers a platform to reach a premium audience.

“We entered the Middle East market three years ago as our first international foray and it has grown since then to get huge adoption for our ad-tech platforms and also launch media properties like Curly Tales and Mashable, after successful launches of the same in India,” says Samar Verma, CEO, Fork Media. “Our strong partnership with Ziff Davis continues to grow beyond India with the integrated approach of content, sales and marketing providing the right localisation strategy for these globally popular brands.”

TF1 Group acquires Gamned!

Media holding company, TF1 Group has acquired a majority stake in, Gamned!. Founded in 2009, the programmatic advertising agency aims to combine human expertise and technology to offer multichannel programmatic campaigns to brands and agencies. The acquisition aims to enable TF1 Group to offer high-powered solutions to meet all of its advertisers’ needs.

“We pay tribute to Gamned!’s achievements, talents and technological expertise, which will help us deliver more value from our digital assets and qualified data collected from advertisers,” says Gilles Pélisson, CEO, TF1 Group. “This will enable us to provide advertisers with optimised targeting and enrich the dialogue between our partners and web users beyond our platforms.”

Spark Foundry partners with AstroLabs

Spark Foundry, part of Publicis Media has partnered with AstroLabs. Founded in 2013, AstroLabs is a co-working agency and learning academy for digital technology companies in the UAE. The partnership will deliver a programme called Transformational Upskill to Spark Foundry clients across the region.

“Our partners and our talent are the two most important assets in our business and our partnership with AstroLabs was set up with the objective to nurture both,” says Alain Brahamcha, Spark Foundry MENA, CEO. “In today’s landscape we need to continuously evolve and acknowledge that the only constant is change.  Positive change which has put transformation as the core driving force behind the evolution of our clients’ business and ours.  I’d like to thank AstroLabs for their support and our client partners for acknowledging the importance of this collaboration and allowing us to be the catalysts in their business transformation.”

Future Tech Media acquires Adzouk

Dubai-based digital advertising agency, Future Tech Media has acquired the digital advertising network, Adzouk. Founded in 2011, the programmatic supply side network works with advertisers including General Motors, Unilever and Jaguar Land Rover across the MENA region. The acquisition aims to increase client needs particularly in Africa and Asia while strengthening Future Tech Media’s strategic positioning in the region.

“In today’s rapidly evolving and connected world, our clients are demanding more and more digitally cutting-edge solutions,” says Boye Balogun, Managing Director, Future Tech Media. “This acquisition enables us to grow faster and offer clients a comprehensive solution encompassing content, media and technology. There is a perfect synergy between our existing product offerings and we’vealready started integrating Adzouk’s products across our five offices. We will also continue to work on new product development as we advance our advertising technology roadmap.”

Jamie Atherton, Co-founder and MD, Adzouk, continues, “This is a very positive step for the business as we are now part of a larger integrated digital technology business. We will be able to offer our clients Future Tech Media’s products including access to their content studio and influencer marketing technology. We are very proud of Adzouk’s achievements over the last seven years and are confident that we are in a hyper-growth phase with the right talents and leadership on-board.”

ASDA’A Burson Marsteller partners with The Pearl Initiative

Dubai-based PR agency, ASDA’A Burson Marsteller (BM) has signed a Memorandum of Engagement (MoE) with The Pearl Initiative. Founded in 2010, The Pearl Initiative is a non-profit organisation that develops programmes and publishes regional research reports and case studies and aims to influence regional business. The agreement will work towards highlighting their commitment to enhance corporate accountability and transparency in the Gulf region.

“Corporate governance, accountability and transparency are the pillars of successful businesses,” says Sunil John, Founder and President, ASDA’A BM. “We are happy to engage in The Pearl Initiative’s activities to raise awareness on the value of ethical business and to promote the highest principles of corporate accountability and transparency in the Gulf region.”

Carla Koffel, Executive Director, The Pearl Initiative continues, “We are grateful to be working side by side with one of the leading PR consultancies in the Middle East to promote the adoption of strong corporate governance practices by businesses operating in the Gulf Region. Their commitment to supporting our vision will contribute to the expansion of our reach and highlight the significance of a corporate culture of accountability and transparency as a key driver of business sustainability.”

Watermelon Communications partners with 3AW

Dubai-based marketing and communications agency, Watermelon Communications has formed an alliance with 3AW. 3AW is a network of independent full-service communication agencies with branches in the United States, Mexico, Brazil and Spain. Watermelon Communications is the first entity from the GCC region to be included in the 3AW network.

“We are very delighted to join this global network of communications, advertising and marketing services agencies,” says Madhu Kuttat, Managing Director, Watermelon Communications. “The 3AW network of agencies is connected by knowledge, expertise, passion and commitment in the markets they represent. This membership will empower us to provide marketing solutions across the world with local expertise. Enhancing services to our new and existing clients on a global level is a practical implementation of the concept of ‘think local, act global’ when it comes to communications. Moreover, this alliance would enable us to exchange expertise and insights and provide services to clients of 3AW’s member agencies in this part of the world.”

We Are Social acquires Socialize

Global creative agency network, We Are Social has acquired a majority stake in UAE-based digital agency Socialize as part of its expansion into the MENA region. The move sees We Are Social’s global workforce top 700 staff members, based across 11 offices in nine countries. Socialize will continue operating as an independent brand while taking advantage of We Are Social’s global infrastructure and agency ecosystem.

“We Are Social’s entrepreneurial spirit and future-focussed offering makes it the perfect strategic fit for Socialize,” says Akanksha Goel, Founder and Managing Director, Socialize. “We’re looking forward to joining forces with a network that is so like us from both a cultural and working practice perspective, a forward-thinking partner who shares our vision of the future and a global ecosystem that allows us to deliver greater value to our clients.”

Robin Grant, Chairman and Co-Founder, We Are Social continues, “We’re incredibly excited to be welcoming Akanksha and the rest of the Socialize team to the We Are Social family. They’re kindred spirits who share our creative culture and passion for social. As one of the fastest-growing and most dynamic regions in the world, the Middle East is absolutely crucial for our global clients and having Socialize as part of our network has fulfilled a long-held ambition.”