New Digital Editor at Harper’s Bazaar Arabia

ITP Media Group has appointed Kyli Singh to the role of Digital Editor of Harper’s Bazaar Arabia. With a Masters degree in digital journalism from New York University, Kyli previously worked in the United States with Yahoo! News as News Editor, The Huffington Post as Associate Editor and most recently with TIME Inc. as Audience Strategy Operations Manager. In her new role, she will work across the digital content of Harper’s Bazaar Arabia and contribute strategies for the growth of its digital platform.

New Senior Director at Z7 Communications

Z7 Communications has appointed Anna Vale to the role of Senior Director. Anna previously worked in London with brands such as Clinique and Tom Ford, and most recently with Estée Lauder in New York as Executive Director of Global Communications, where she oversaw the brand’s communications strategies for international markets. In her new role, she will be responsible for implementing Z7 Communications’ strategic growth plan and strengthening the agency’s positioning as well as raising their profile in the Middle East.

“I am absolutely delighted to have Anna join the team at a hugely exciting time for Z7,” says Zeina El-Dana, Founder and Managing Director, Z7 Communications. “Appointing someone of Anna’s international calibre is a testament to the drive and growth of the agency and her strong experience in global markets will ensure that we build on our current success long into the future.”

Blue Apple appoints new PR Director

Blue Apple has appointed Santripti Vellody to the role of PR Director. With 16 years of experience in the media and communications industry, Santripti previously worked with Globosat Entertainment in New York as Marketing and Advertising Manager before moving to Dubai and most recently working with BPG Cohn & Wolfe PR as Associate Director. In her new role, she will be responsible for expanding the PR division at Blue Apple through traditional, digital and experiential PR solutions, while growing its current roster of clients in the PR domain across industry practices.

“I look forward to my new role at Blue Apple and in building the PR business of the agency as well as bringing my experience to the clients at hand,” says Santripti. “The industry has evolved over the last five years and it is vital to remain relevant in an ever-changing market on how we are communicating brand messages. It will be exciting to merge both traditional and digital mediums as a part of the PR strategy moving forward for the clients of Blue Apple.”

Five Minute Focus – Anwar Roma (Lights of Rome)

Team TMN chat with Matt Slater, Co-founder of Seven Media and Executive Producer of The Lights of Rome, to talk about the premier of Ali Khaled’s new documentary: Anwar Roma (Lights of Rome)…

What was it that stood out about this story that compelled you to make this documentary?

The 1990 World Cup resonated with many people from my generation, that are almost 40 years old now, as it was probably the first World Cup we watched as young kids. When the UAE qualified for the World Cup in 1989, it was one of the most important sporting moments in the country’s history and yet, there are very few people that know about it.

What makes this story so unique?

The UAE was only 19 years old when it qualified and at that time, was the smallest nation ever to qualify for the World Cup. It is a real underdog story and even though we all know the outcome, when watching the old footage in the film you still find yourself rooting for the UAE.

The film is also unique as it doesn’t only focus on football, but gives an insight into what the UAE was like at that time – which I know expats and international viewers will find fascinating.

Tell us how the collaboration with Image Nation came about?

Seven Media has been the retained PR agency for Image Nation for the past three years and has always enjoyed a close relationship with them. When the Director, Ali and I came up with the idea, we felt that it fits Image Nation’s mandate perfectly. Its documentary department strives to make films that are of importance to the Emirati culture and history which made them jump at the chance to create this film.

What were your most challenging moments while producing the film?

The archive footage was the hardest to source. The games were barely covered in the local press, so finding footage from the qualifying games was particularly hard for our team. Hana Makki, the film’s Producer from Image Nation, spent over a year and half sourcing the archive footage alone.

What was the reaction at the World Premiere at DOC NYC, New York?

We received an incredible reaction at DOC NYC – something we were slightly apprehensive about – being that it was an Arabic documentary, about the UAE and football! But it was very well received. We had audience members tell us how much they loved learning more about the UAE and its history – which is one of the reasons we made this film in the first place.

How do you think UAE nationals and residents will react to the film?

The story will definitely resonate with UAE nationals. This was an incredible moment in UAE history and something that should be celebrated. We also hope the day of the release, which is December 1, 2016 in time for UAE’s National day, will ignite patriotism around the film.

For expat residents who have recently moved here, the archive footage of the UAE from the 70s and 80s is fascinating. The film is not only entertaining, but you might learn a thing or two about the Emirates that you didn’t know before.

This is also a film about football at the end of the day and sport is one of those things that unite people around the world when you oversee language and cultural barriers and so we hope this film will reflect that.

How long did the creation of the documentary take, from conceptualisation to the very first premier?

Ali and I had our first chat about the idea just after the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Image Nation then started production around two years ago and our team was still in the editing room the day before the premiere! Since the film is largely made up of archive footage, that’s what took the bulk of the work.

Do you plan on premiering the film in any other countries in the region?

There are no plans yet for regional screenings, following the film’s New York premiere and UAE release. There are a host of film festivals dedicated to sporting films which The Lights of Rome would be perfect for and so we hope it will be screened around the world. The film is a great opportunity to showcase not only this great moment in sporting history, but the UAE’s rich culture and history as well.

Where will the premier take place in the UAE and where will it be showing?

The premiere will be at Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi on December 1, 2016 and will hit selected theatres across the UAE including, Nation Towers, World Trade Center Mall, Dubai Mall, Derrfields Mall, Dalma Mall, Cineplex Grand Hyatt and City Centre Fujairah.

Five Minute Focus – ‘Content is not King – Emotion is’

TMN catch up with John Brown, Head of Engagement at Hotwire, to find out more about the upcoming event, Content is not King – Emotion is…

Tell us a bit about Hotwire UK and the upcoming event?

Hotwire is a global integrated communications agency that is partnered exclusively with Active Digital Marketing Communications in the region. Both agencies are focused on pushing the boundaries of communications and ensuring that our clients are not just getting the right counsel, but are able to navigate the emerging industry trends in order to better communicate with their audiences. This upcoming event is aimed solely at sharing the knowledge that both Active and Hotwire have on how communications has to be emotional in order to be relevant – a message that resonates even more strongly in a region like the Middle East.

Where did the concept for ‘Content is not King – Emotion is’ originate from?

If you take a look at some of the most successful and well-known communications campaigns, you will find that at the heart of them is emotion, which is what we remember first. Not necessarily the brand, but the emotion we had when we experienced the campaign. Now we have technology and data at our fingertips to help us weave an emotive message into every campaign we do.

Who is the event aimed at?

We have identified existing and prospective clients and partners that we agree will find this extremely relevant as well as potentially give them an advantage over their competitors. We have a calendar of events like this over the course of 2017, some of which we may open up to larger audiences.

What do you think makes an event such as this relevant to the Middle East community?

Because of the unique partnership between Active and Hotwire, the Middle East community will be able to get a glimpse into global trends that are shaping our industry, with a clear understanding of how they can execute these trends in the region today. We’ve made every effort to ensure that what is discussed is made relevant for the Middle East market.

In addition, we know that the region is very active on the digital and social media front and that for many companies, brands as well as solution providers, the challenge is not how to reach these key stakeholders but how to truly engage them and that is something that is still developing in many markets across the globe. We want to see the Middle East as one of the most keen adopters of this approach and feel that the desire is there.

How do you think the event can benefit Dubai’s media community in terms of digital communications?

The event will deliver ROI ideas and programmes for clients to offer wider and more developed solutions that is different from any tactical advice that they can get from anywhere else.

What do you think of the media community in the UAE?

It is vibrant, dynamic and always open to change. It is comparable to many communities in the US, Europe and Asia where Hotwire operates and has very key relationships through its offices with these communities and often leads on initiatives, knowledge and skill sharing, as well as key areas like measurement.

How do you find the PR industry differs in Dubai to elsewhere in the world?

It doesn’t, when you look at the highest levels of public relations the expertise is there, which is why for Hotwire the partnership with Active made sense. We have shared values, shared approaches, shared principles and a shared desire to evolve, develop and exceed clients changing sets of priorities and needs. We have been working with Active in this region for over eight years before we formalised the partnership and that shows that we have been involved and engaged with the region for many years through the Active team.

What should PR Professionals expect to take away from the event?

Marketing and PR professionals should take away two things, inspiration and a sense of pride. This event will help to showcase just how important PR and communications is to delivering powerful messages that truly engage the audiences they want to involve and excite.

How can communications professionals get involved?

We’re the gatekeepers of emotive stories. If there’s one thing this trend towards emotive campaigning highlights, it is the need to have communications professionals contributing at the highest strategic level. We’ve always had to earn our results by creating stories that immediately made journalists and audiences feel something. Now that this is integral to any successful campaign, communications professionals should be at the heart of the overall marketing strategy.

Are there future plans for events like this in the Middle East?

There will definitely be more of these events conducted by Active and Hotwire for their immediate clients, prospects and partners as these are seen to be part of the value-added services that we all believe is essential in the client agency relationship. As they evolve and grow, we will definitely look to do more “open” events in 2017, but at this stage these will be quite focused events where Active working with the Hotwire team in London, New York and San Francisco will play a major role in inviting key stakeholders.

Omnicom Media Group expands agency network

New York based marketing agency, Hearts & Science has launched in the Middle East under the umbrella of Omnicom Media Group MENA. Hearts & Science combines personalised marketing with real-time data-led insights to offer a range of services to their clients. Fadi Maktabi, previously Head of Strategy at OMD UAE, will lead the new office at Dubai Media City.

“It’s terrific to see the tremendous momentum continuing unabated with the expansion in the Middle East,” says Scott Hagedorn, Global CEO, Hearts & Science. “Fadi has an impressive track-record and expertise in insights, strategy and innovation, a strong platform on which he can build to leverage that momentum and experience the success Hearts & Science has witnessed in other markets.”

Elie Khouri, CEO, Omnicom Media Group MENA adds, “Hearts & Science will transform the market by redefining the standard for precision and performance.”

Image Nation announces documentary premiere

UAE-based media and entertainment company, Image Nation has announced the world premiere of its upcoming football documentary The Lights in Rome, to be screened at the DOC New York film festival in November 17, 2016. The documentary preserves an important moment in the Emirati history when they qualified for the 1990 World Cup in Italy as well as interviews from former Emirati football players.

“The Lights of Rome is one of our films that is so close to my heart as it tells the story of my childhood,” says Mohammed Al Mubarak, Chairman, Image Nation Abu Dhabi. “This film is not only another entertaining and informative documentary to add to our slate, it will serve as a historical documentary that finally details the legacy of what those players achieved for the UAE and Middle East football.”

Danielle Perissi, Head of documentary and factual entertainment, Image Nation Abu Dhabi adds “Through our documentary work, the Image Nation team has the opportunity to memorialise important cultural and historical events for the UAE. We hope it will leave a lasting impression for the next generation of Emiratis, as well as the broader community in the UAE and around the world.”

Five Minute Focus – Megan Hess

Team TMN chat with Zahirah Variawa, Managing Director of Think Liquorice, to talk about the launch of Megan Hess’s new book, New York: Through A Fashion Eye

Tell us a bit about Megan Hess?

Megan Hess was destined to draw. Her initial career as a graphic designer led to her employment as an Art Director at some of the world’s leading design agencies. In 2008, Megan illustrated Candace Bushnell’s New York Times bestseller; Sex and the City. She has since illustrated portraits for Vanity Fair and Time magazine, as well as created iconic works of art for Cartier of Paris and decorated the windows of Bergdorf Goodman in New York. Megan also channels this signature style into her bespoke range of silk scarves and limited edition prints, which are sold around the globe. Her illustrious clients include; Chanel, Dior, Tiffany & Co., Yves Saint Laurent, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Ladurée, Sephora and the Ritz Hotel in Paris. When she’s not working in her studio, Megan is usually hiding in a coffee shop, secretly sketching those around her and looking for that perfectly dressed person.

This is her fourth book following Fashion House, The Dress and Coco Chanel: The Illustrated World of a Fashion. Megan’s portfolio has been bursting at the seams with bigger and better projects being added every year. Since her last visit, she has launched a collaborative sleepwear and footwear collection and traveled the globe with leading luxury brands and numerous other projects in the pipeline.

Tell us about the concept behind the launch for Megan’s latest book

With New York: Through A Fashion Eye, Megan Hess will take you on a fashion adventure through this iconic city and allow you to discover her favourite places to shop, eat, sleep and play – all through her fashion eye. Megan’s signature style of fashion illustration has made her a favourite with international fashion labels, making her the perfect in-the-know guide for the reader. In her inimitable elegant way, she shines a light on the vast array of fashion-themed restaurants, hotels, parks, famous shops, galleries and sites to visit, as well as her own favourite places. This is an uber stylish travel guide that highlights all the famous spots and will serve as a special keepsake for your trip. For armchair travellers it’s a stunningly, gorgeous and inspiring snapshot of the city. New York: Through A Fashion Eye is full of Megan’s absolutely, beautiful, full-colour bespoke artworks that bring the New York streetscapes to life. This is a must-have insider’s guide to New York for any fashionista.

 What makes this event unique to previous launches you have held for Megan?

Each year we work very hard to try and create a concept that is unique, creative and true to the city with the brands who have partnered with us along the journey so far such as Fairmont The Palm. This year we wanted to celebrate the launch of the New York themed book, but still stay true to our city of Dubai. We’ve come up with something we consider to be the perfect marriage of the two cities – both incredible in their own right. We’re bringing a New York inspired sunset soiree to the Seaview Garden of Fairmont The Palm. Without giving too much away ahead of our VIP event – New York City will come to life in a very Dubai-esque style!

How will you make the Dubai launch stand out from its international counterparts?

Megan’s book tour travels across most of the major fashion capitals in the world and with all of these talented teams behind each event, it is always hard to stand out. What we take advantage of here is the beautiful weather and the outdoor setting we have. Dubai stands out as the only city on the tour that offers guests beautiful, warm weather with a skyline sunset and the luxury of hosting the event as a glamorous high tea.

Can anyone attend the launch?

The launch takes place in two events. The first is an invite-only event taking place in the Seaview Garden and the second is open to all and is a meet and greet that will take place in the Mashrabiya Lounge at 7pm. Both events will take place on Thursday, November 3, 2016

Could you tell us more about what media can expect to see at this event?

Megan Hess, in a small and intimate setting so they will have the opportunity to interact with her in luxury and comfort. A beautiful food and beverage service all uniquely themed to the event by the wonderful team at Fairmont The Palm. A New York inspired setting with a very special (secret) feature that we are very excited about. A Think Liquorice style event – small, intimate and enjoyable with loads of attention to detail.

Will there be opportunities for brand partnerships?

Yes, we are open to partners and sponsors for the event if confirmed fairly soon. Ideally this needs to be brands that fit the level of the Megan Hess brand and add value to the guests and event.

How can PR’s/brands get involved with this event?

Get in touch with Team Think Liqourice. We are always open to ideas and partners on any event and this one is particularly exciting as the brand association is extremely significant. Interested brands can reach out through email to