UAE-based creative agency, TBWA/RAAD has received the most awards in the region at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The awards took place on June 18 – 22, 2018 at Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes, France. The agency secured a Gold in Outdoor, a Silver and a Bronze in Media and a Bronze in Radio & Audio for its Highway Gallery at the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The agency also won a PR Gold with #SheDrives for Nissan Saudi Arabia and a Bronze in Brand Experience and Activation for its Camelpower work for Nissan Middle East.
Controversy has surrounded Vogue Arabia’s first ever Saudi Arabian issue after a social media backlash erupted, stemming from the title’s choice of cover star. The cover features HRH Hayfa bint Abdullah Al Saud, daughter of the late King Abdullah, sitting behind the wheel of a car, but many social voices pointed to the fact it was indeed her father who curbed the rights of women drivers. While the glossy magazine described Her Highness as a trailblazer, others preferred to recognise some of the detained Saudi Arabian activists for their bravery in standing up for women’s rights.
Dubai-based photo platform, phocal Media has launched a new image collection that aims to illustrate the recent changes in attitudes in Saudi Arabia regarding women driving. A regionally-authentic visual media specialist, phocal Media is best known for its arabianEye collection that covers the Arab world. The company also works with a portfolio of strategic international partners including Alamy, Reuters and Magnum Photos.
“We’ve been gathering market feedback for some time, and it became clear from our creative partners that some fresh perspectives and faces were needed for client projects,” says Greg Aslangul, Managing Director, phocal Media. “The changes in Saudi Arabia have resulted in a shift in content needs for the region, and we wanted to adapt our content to reflect this.”
Media communications agency, Starcom, part of Publicis Media, has secured the account to handle the media mandate for IKEA in Saudi Arabia. IKEA is known for its modernist and eco-friendly furniture while selling total home furniture solutions and ready-to-assemble furniture. Starcom will provide brand growth and manage the strategic media planning for the multinational retailer.
“The selection process was a challenging one and we are proud to have stood out with our innovative offering and thinking to win the account,” says Edmond Bouez, General Manager, Starcom, Jeddah. “We look forward to this partnership.”
Saudi-based fashion directory app, Fashtory has appointed POP Communications as its PR agency in the GCC. Fashtory is an app that connects fashion consumers to active designers across the region. POP Communications will be responsible for all media relations and influencer engagement in the GCC.
“Fashtory has revolutionised the fashion industry in the region which is fast-paced and ever changing,” says Zainab Imichi Alhassan, Managing Director, POP Communications. “We are thrilled to become part of their journey as this exciting new brand moves from start-up to major industry player.”
Global communications agency, M&C Saatchi PR has been appointed as the PR partner for Discovery Networks in the UAE. Discovery Networks aims to deliver factual entertainment through its core brands, Discovery Channel, TLC and fatafeat. M&C Saatchi PR will handle the strategic and creative communications of the network by delivering both consumer and corporate campaigns for discovery in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, among other key markets in the Middle East.
“It’s been an incredible ten months since we launched M&C Saatchi PR in the region and we are delighted to add another world-class brand to our growing roster of clients,” says Amy Brill, Head of PR, M&C Saatchi PR UAE. “We are very excited to be working with the team at Discovery Networks and look forward to delivering strategic and creative campaigns for them in the coming year.”
UM MENA has appointed Assaad Kassis to the role of General Manager of its Saudi Arabia office. Having joined UM MENA’s Dubai office in 2010, Assaad most recently held the role of Regional Business Director, where he managed brands such as L’Oreal, Hershey’s and The Coca-Cola Company. In his new role, he will focus on growing the local business of UM MENA by augmenting the implementation of their product services for existing client business and simultaneously focusing on new acquisition. He will also work on ensuring UM’s regional client teams have heightened on-ground presence and are consistently plugged in with the local Saudi Arabian market.
“I can’t think of a better candidate than Assaad to lead our Saudi Arabia office at a time where our focus will be to continue strengthening our product line for local partners and expand our operations,” says Joe Nicolas, Regional Managing Director, UM MENA. “This is also an extremely exciting change for our Saudi Arabia office as Assaad has proven to be highly pragmatic and an organisational visionary and he will definitely be taking that with him in his new role.”
UAE-based communications agency, Seven Media has been appointed by Tourism Authority of Thailand to handle its PR campaign across the Middle East. SevenMedia will handle the account from its Dubai office and work across markets in the region including Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia with an aim to increase the number of visitors from the Middle East to Thailand.
“Thailand is a destination that we are hugely passionate about and we are incredibly excited to be working with Tourism Authority of Thailand,” says Sharan Sunner, PR Director, Seven Media. “We know that travellers in the Middle East are spoilt for choice when it comes to holiday destinations and we are looking forward to showing them why Thailand has so much to offer.”
Global communications firm, Grayling UAE, has appointed Lauren Ramey to the role of Account Director. With over five years of experience in strategic communications planning, international media relations and issues management, Lauren previously worked as Director of Communications Planning in the Office of the Premier of Ontario in Canada before moving to the GCC and most recently worked as the Communications Advisor to the Ministry of Finance in Saudi Arabia. In her new role, she will work towards delivering strong guidance to the clientele of Grayling across the Middle East.
“With Grayling, I share a real passion for inventive and integrated communications solutions, which have a long-lasting positive impact on organisational goals,” says Lauren. “I look forward to working closely with this dynamic team to realise our passion through delivering strategic counsel and powerful content to the firm’s impressive and growing client list across the region.”
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.”