Omnia expands into Jordan

UAE-based digital agency, Omnia has launched its Jordan office as part of its expansion plans. Located in Amman, the new office is in response to the growing demand for Omnia’s digital expertise and will act as a digital development hub for the company’s growing roster of digital clients which, at present includes the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, Emirates NBD, Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat), Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and ACWA Power.
“Given the breadth and scale of digital consultancy and transformation work that we regularly undertake and deliver on behalf of some of the region’s, and world’s, biggest brands, we are committed to attracting and developing world-class talent,” says Adam Booth, Managing Director, Omnia. “Our new Jordanian office and the talented Arabic speaking team that comprise it – coupled with our regular investment in the latest industry tools – reinforce our ability to successfully deliver a range of digital services that not only positively impact our clients’ businesses but transform them for the better.”

Shock Middle East launches new radio station

Dubai-based radio network, Shock Middle East has launched Heart 107.1 in the UAE. Heart 107.1 will focus on delivering interesting and relevant content, musical hits from the 90’s and the noughties, local and international news as well as inspirational topics with an aim to tap into all communities in the UAE.

The new station will also feature four main daily live shows and will see the appointment of a new team of presenters. Dave Cleary, previously Presenter at Dance FM will take on the role of Presenter for ‘Drive with Dave’ from 4pm – 8pm. ‘Mornings with Heart’ from 10am-1pm will be hosted by Jade Worsley, having previously worked in the UK with Dee 106.3 as Presenter. Tim Hartman and Faris Al-Raqqad who previously worked in Jordan with Bliss 104.3 will present ‘Breakfast with Tim and Faris’ from 6am-10am, along with Sheron Nanayakkara, joining them from Sri Lanka’s Red 107.8 Sky Media Network. Also joining the team is UAE-based Disc Jockey, Fadi Mansour who will host ‘Afternoons with Fadi’ from 1pm – 4pm.

“To say we’re pretty excited that this day has finally come is an understatement,” says Theo Makris, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Shock Middle East. “Heart 107.1 has been a long time coming – and we know it’s just what the UAE needs. Get ready to listen to some excellent music, the best of the best radio presenters – and a radio station which will always make you feel good.”

CIPR and MEPRA launch new training programme

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has partnered with the Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA) to launch new training programme, MEPRA Academy. MEPRA Academy aims to provide professional development opportunities across the region and will see CIPR provide exclusive access to MEPRA members on its continuing professional development (CPD) online portal. The new academy’s courses will be led by international experts and CIPR certified senior communications professionals across the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan.

“We know through our research that continued learning and internationally recognised professional accreditation is critically important to the regional public relations practitioner,” says Ray Ellington, Chairman, MEPRA. “We have developed the new MEPRA Academy and our partnership with CIPR to answer this need helping individuals develop their careers and our industry to raise its standards.”

In The Hot Seat – Yazan Al Tamimi

Team TMN catch up with Yazan Al Tamimi, Account Manager at Socalize, who talks about his role and what he thinks of the advertising industry in the Middle East…

Name: Yazan Al Tamimi

Nationality: Jordanian

Age: I’m turning 28 next Friday!

Current job title: Account Manager, Socialize

When did you first arrive in Dubai?

February 2015

Where did you work prior? 

Prior to joining Socialize, I worked in Jordan with AAIB Insurance Brokers as Digital Marketer and with Chef Rawan Al Tamimi as Social Media Manager. My most recent role was with REACH 2.0 as Account Executive after which I moved to the UAE.

What were your first impressions of the advertising industry in the Middle East?

I was amazed by how progressive the industry had become over the past decade. We’re now seeing unique campaigns, many of which are challenging societal norms and helping reshape the global perception of the Arab culture.

I think that agencies in the Middle East are in quite a unique position to drive change and lots of them are taking the necessary stands to serve as a remedy to the sense of ‘backwardness’ that shrouds our region.

Has your opinion changed much?

Not overly so, since I started working in the advertising industry. However, I’m now seeing the industry move forward taking bigger risks, tackling bigger taboos and driving progressive discussions around sensitive topics that weren’t dared talked about in the past.

Nike’s “What Will They Say About You?” campaign caused a necessary stir in the region, it was a rallying cry for equality, challenging the public perception of female athletes, all while addressing the ludicrous laws that prohibited all-girls public schools and women’s gyms from teaching physical education throughout several Middle Eastern countries.

The UN’s ‘Give mom back her real name’ campaign challenged men in the Middle East to say their mother’s name in public, as opposed to being referred to as their eldest son’s mother. It’s another great example of the progress the advertising industry is making and the change the industry is driving in our society, challenging the norms, promoting equality and nurturing open-mindedness.

Tell us about your current role…

I’m a part of the agency’s client servicing team. My role is to orchestrate the agency’s talent and bring it to life as well as impact campaigns that drive best-in-class results for the brand, which is easier said than done. There are lots of late nights, missed weekends and hard-work, but seeing my work have an impact on our client’s businesses and brand makes it all worth it.

What challenges do you face?

It’s not so much of a challenge in the restraining sense of the word, it’s more of a pressure to evolve – however, keeping up with the rapid changes that social media sees everyday can be quite strenuous. Technology is evolving so rapidly and social platforms for instance are introducing new products, formats and features almost everyday. It’s our job to stay up-to-date with these trends, all while keeping our clients ahead of the times as well as on the same page.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Working, innovating, growing alongside world-class marketers and seeing our work impact their business. I feel lucky that I get to work with amazing brands like OSN. I’m personally interested in entertainment and working on new campaigns for new TV releases is something I truly enjoy doing.

How would you rather be contacted at work?

Mainly by email! Urgent matters obviously should be handled over the phone, but generally speaking I find emails to be more effective. It never hurts to have something in writing.

What role has digital media played in redefining the relationship between PR professionals, journalists and bloggers?

Digital media has helped bridge the distance between PR professionals, journalists and bloggers. It is now a lot easier to build and sustain a relationship with influencers, find more information about them as well as what their key interests are and their ways of working.

What role does social media play in building a brand’s reputation in the UAE?

Social media is the biggest platform where companies can influence the public’s opinion about their brand. With every piece of content about their products, services and even values, their messages are shared across to the general public.

Advanced targeting is another form of influence brands can achieve through social media. Social platforms allow brands to reach their target audiences very precisely. Social media also enables brands get near-real-time insights and learning, which will help them with optimising and refining their brand activities more swiftly.

How would you describe yourself at work?                                                                   

For the best part, I try to keep a smiley face and friendly attitude at work. I try to stay as optimistically adaptive and flexible as possible, even on the worst of days!

What inspires you?

Hustlers, people going after their dreams and great stories.

Describe yourself in five words…  

Curious, ambitious, passionate, a dreamer and a doer.

What’s your most overused saying? 

Where’s my food?

Five things you can’t live without?

Family, friends, books, coffee and my MacBook.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Oddly enough, a Pilot!

If you weren’t in your current role, what would you be doing?

I’d be an entrepreneur, running my own business. Even with the stress that undoubtedly comes with it, I imagine building an empire from my own vision would be incredibly gratifying.

What’s your most used social media platform? 

Instagram is my platform of choice, no doubt about that.

How do you see the advertising industry changing in the Middle East in the coming years?

More marketers will start considering social media as a real marketing platform and will invest more in quality bespoke social content rather than pushing their television commercials (TVCs) on Facebook and resizing their below the line (BTL) assets for Instagram. Digital marketing will simply become marketing. As forecasted, by 2020, digital media will cross 50% of the total media investments. The media market will continue to be significantly altered as a result, as will the practices of marketing and advertising. I believe that more brands will be relying on big data and audience buying for their marketing campaigns. With better data about users, the effectiveness of digital advertisements through automation will continue to improve.

Y&R Amman selected for 2016 Act Responsible Exhibition

Jordanian-based communications group Y&R Amman has been selected for the 2016 Act Responsibly Exhibition during Cannes Lions for its work “Smokey Sperms” for the Tobacco Free Jordan campaign. Established in 1995, the agency is a member of MENACOM Group Jordan and it has worked to address the relation between smoking and fertility issues prevalent in the male population in Jordan. The Act Responsible Exhibition showcases the best campaigns for good causes, charities, institutions, foundations, corporations or brands as a round up of the work created around the world between 2015 and 2016.

“We are so proud that we made this,” says Emad Khayyat, Creative Director, Y&R Amman. “It is important that Jordanian advertising has entered the biggest stage in the world and has done so for a good cause, with the aim to actually make a difference.”