DABO & CO Founders win at Gulf Capital SME Awards

Lucy and Camilla d’Abo, Founders of integrated communications agency DABO & CO have been named joint Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2014 Gulf Capital SME Awards, in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the UAE small and medium business community. In addition to the entrepreneurial sisters’ success, DABO & CO were Highly Commended in the DHL People & Culture of the Year award – an acknowledgement of the company’s ongoing focus on talent and nod to the positive work environment it has created.

“As we celebrate DABO & CO’s 10th anniversary this year, we are extremely proud of what we have built and of the amazing people that have contributed to the success of the company,” says Camilla d’Abo, Managing Partner, DABO & CO. “We hope that our win will inspire other small and medium business entrepreneurs to follow their passions and to explore the array of opportunities that are available within the UAE.”

Lucy d’Abo, Managing Partner of DABO & CO adds, “It is an honour for us to have won the Entrepreneur of the Year award, alongside all of the other inspirational individuals that take pride in building successful businesses.”

Now in its third year, the Gulf Capital SME Awards recognises the success of companies committed to growth and innovation in business across the UAE. A total of 11 award category winners were lauded this year, with accolades including Gulf Capital Business of the Year, Emirati Business of the Year and RSA Startup Business of the Year.

Al Jazeera launches Palestine Remix

In commemoration of the UN International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Al Jazeera Media Network has launched Palestine Remix. The interactive website will allow users access to some of Al Jazeera’s best documentaries on Palestine, and enables people to cut-and-paste footage to tell stories and share it immediately through different social media platforms. The remix tool is a built-in simplistic video editing software that allows users to build their short films in minutes. The project also contains interactive maps and timelines, granting users a better understanding of the Palestinian issue and the opportunity to contextualise it.

“This project is not just about telling the important story of Palestine,” says Rawan Damen, Project Manager, Palestine Remix. “It’s about creating new ones. We want to give you a new way to understand, tell and share stories about Palestine. That why we’ve created Palestine Remix – to put the power of storytelling into your hands.”

The database provides the user the ability to watch full documentaries with their full transcripts, allowing the visitor to click on a word in the transcript and go directly to the specific point in the film. The user can also pick and choose, as well as mix and match the extracts of different films, view full films, or search the full transcripts using any word, name, place or concept. The database contains 84 hours in four languages, with more than 250 people, 580 places and a timeline that spans 215 years. It also provides drone footage of iconic places in historic Palestine – Jerusalem, Acre, Gaza and many others.

Palestine Remix is the first of its kind on the Palestinian issues, has a version specifically for mobile users and will be a mobile app before the end of 2014.

Twitter tracks users’ apps for ad targeting

Twitter has begun collecting information about apps installed on individual users’ devices as a way to improve its advertising and content targeting. By default, the social network’s tracking is switched on to collect data on the mobile apps that its users have downloaded, but users can opt out of having the information collected at any time.

In a statement issued on Twitter’s help centre, Twitter will be using the information collected to build a more tailored experience on Twitter, including:

  • Improved ‘who to follow’ suggestions that share similar interests.
  • Adding Tweets, accounts, or other content to your timeline that Twitter thinks you will find interesting.
  • Showing you more relevant promoted content.

Twitter is currently only collecting the list of applications that an individual has installed, and will not be collecting any data within the applications.

Winners of the MEPRA Awards 2014 announced

The winners of the MEPRA Awards 2014 have been announced. Celebrating the achievements of the Middle East’s PR industry over the last 12 months, a record-breaking 161 entries for this year’s MEPRA Awards were whittle down to 17 winners.

MEPRA Agency of the Year was awarded to Weber Shandwick MENA, while Memac Ogilvy Dubai won the Best Campaign award for The Autocomplete truth initiative and Mubadala won the In-House Team of the Year. A total of 10 agencies and organisations won for their creativity and execution, with Weber Shandwick, Memac Ogilvy and Hill+Knowlton Strategies winning multiple categories.

The winners were selected by a distinguished jury of marketing and communications leaders from across different sectors and organisations. The jury selected entries that exemplified best practices from across five categories – issue identification, research, strategic approach, planning and execution. Entries were received from across the region, extending to Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, as well as the UAE.

“The judges noted the quality of the entries this year, and they were impressed by how well the winners had managed to convey the underlying issue, the depth of research undertaken, the thought behind their strategic approach, the amount of planning which went into the winning campaigns and the quality of the execution,” says Carine Duvignaud, General Manager, MEPRA. “This year’s award-winning campaigns, agencies and organisations prove that the region has moved beyond what is traditionally viewed as a function that only embodies media relations to a profession that adds real value to the bottom line in terms of reputation building, issues awareness and incremental business.”

The full list of winners for the MEPRA Awards 2014 is as follows:

Sectors & Services 

  • Best Consumer Goods Campaign – Memac Ogilvy PR Tunisia – Delice
  • Best Consumer Services Campaign – House of Comms – Bounce: The Free-Jumping Revolution
  • Best Consumer Services Campaign (Highly Commended) – Hill+Knowlton Strategies – WWE Riyadh Tour 2014
  • Best Corporate Reputation & Image Campaign – Weber Shandwick MENA – The DGC-X-Factor! How DGCX Transformed Its Regional and Global Profile
  • Best Corporate Social Responsibility & Environmental PR Campaign – Blue Rubicon – Action on Diabetes Ramadan


  • Best Government Communications Campaign – Hill+Knowlton Strategies – Inspiring a Sporting Generation – Qatar National Sports Day
  • Best Health Car & Services Campaign – Memac Ogilvy PR Dubai – Break Away from Psoriasis
  • Best Business to Business Campaign – Weber Shandwick MENA – Credit Where It’s Due! Raising Understanding of S&P’s Role in Regional Capital Market Development
  • Best Internal Communications Campaign – ENEC – 123 Tarkeez


  • Best Integrated Campaign – Memac Ogilvy PR Dubai – The Autocomplete truth
  • Best Launch Live Event/Stunt – DABO & CO – The Launch of Nokia Lumia 1020: Reaching New Heights
  • Best Use of Media Relations – Mojo PR – ICAEW
  • Best Use of Social Media & Digital PR – Atlantis the Palm
  • Best Use of Sponsorship – Hill & Knowlton Strategies – ‘Winning the ultimate World Cup battle of the brands for Adidas’

People and Agencies 

  • Agency of the Year – Weber Shandwick MENA
  • In-House Team of the Year – Mubadala
  • Best Overall Campaign of the Year – Memac Ogilvy PR Dubai – The Autocomplete truth
  • Dave Robinson Award for Outstanding Young Communicator of the Year – Becki Willis, Hill+Knowlton Strategies
  • Dave Robinson Award for Outstanding Young Communicator of the Year (Highly Commended) – Rijosh Joseph, DABO & CO

Weber Shandwick named MEPRA’s Agency of the Year

Weber Shandwick MENA has been named Agency of the Year by the Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA) at the MEPRA Awards ceremony, which was held in Dubai last night. Weber Shandwick MENA also took home separate awards for ‘Best Corporate Reputation and Image’ for its work for DGCX (Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange) and ‘Best Business to Business Communications’ for its work with Standard and Poor’s. Honourees for each category are selected by an independent industry panel based on information gathered during the regional awards process.

“Winning MEPRA Agency of the Year is both a great achievement and a recognition of our commitment to creative excellence in a competitive marketplace with increasingly high best practice benchmarks,” says Ziad Hasbani, CEO, Weber Shandwick MENA. “I am delighted for my talented colleagues across the region who strive to achieve outstanding results for our clients day-in, day-out. However, we will not be resting on any laurels. We are driving forward a transformation of our business, which will ensure that we continue to stay ahead of the regional communication trends and place centre-stage the recognition that creativity and digital offerings are now key. We are confident that this award win will be the first of many.”

OMD launches study to explore ‘Future of the UAE’

OMD has launched a study to explore future behaviours of UAE consumers. The survey, called ‘The Future of the UAE’, aims to assess the impact of changes to the country’s population and socio-demographics on lifestyles, shopping, technology and media consumption. It will also explore consumers’ expectations and attitudes towards life in the UAE and the country’s role globally.

The fieldwork for OMD’s study on the future state of the consumer society in the UAE is already underway, including face-to-face interviews with a representative sample of 2,000 residents in the country.

OMD UAE is partnering with Integral-OMG, the research and consultancy arm of Omnicom Media Group MENA, to conduct in-depth qualitative and quantitative research, exploring consumer values and attitudes in the UAE today, as well as the changes in the modern household and their impact on decision-making and media consumption.

As well as dealing with societal issues, ‘The Future of the UAE’ study will delve into consumers’ attitudes towards technology, including smartphones, mobile and e-commerce platforms, media consumption and technological advances, as well as their expectations from brands, key sentiments and values that resonate with them, and their lifestyle aspirations for the future. Based on this intelligence, brands can derive affirmative conclusions on how to better communicate with their consumers in the face of change.

“Technology is constantly transforming our industry worldwide, and in the UAE that velocity is much higher given consumers’ seamless adoption of anything new,” says Nadim Samara, Managing Director, OMD UAE & Lower Gulf. “Catalysed by both the government’s pursuit of technology, along with a higher average purchasing power parity by the UAE residents, these future behavioural habits of consumers are an area of vast interest for brands and one that is particularly hard to predict. This is why we have decided to undertake this study, with the goal of gaining valuable insights on the future for us to make more effective and impacting decisions for our stakeholders; our intimate knowledge of ‘where we are heading’ is paramount to navigating the consumer pivots successfully.”

‘The Future of the UAE’ is part of a global research initiative by OMD, with some 15 studies either already completed or currently underway. Based on a consistent model, they allow for international comparisons, making the project relevant for both local and international marketers.

Neha Mishra promoted at Linktia

Neha Mishra has been promoted at Linktia to the position of Head of Photography and Production for Magnet Photo Production. Having been with the content production group since 2010, Neha first joined Linktia as a Senior Producer for Bareface Productions.

Producing over 300 campaigns in the MENA region and internationally, some of Neha’s most notable campaigns include producing Hello Tomorrow for Emirates Airlines, consecutive Rolex campaigns with Roger Federer and a Microsoft campaign with Todd Selby and Norman Jean Roy. In her new position, Neha will oversee all photography and production content for Magnet Photo Production.

“The Linktia group has an amazing culture of developing people from within the brands, which means that our team has grown together over the years,” says Neha. “This is something I’m very much in sync with and will focus to endorse. I welcome the opportunity to work with all of our talent and to develop Magnet further by focusing on producing great work regionally and internationally.

Linktia is a Dubai-based content production group made up of brands including Bareface Productions, arabianEye Productions, Alchemy Films, Aperto Middle East, Magnet Photo Productions, Corbis and The Studion.

Cheil Worldwide buys stake in Iris Worldwide

Cheil Worldwide has reached a deal to buy an unspecified stake in Iris Worldwide, a London-based international agency network with clients including Samsung, Shell, Adidas, Barclaycard and Domino’s. While Iris joins Cheil in a strategic partnership, both will continue to operate as separate entities for the time being.

Although both companies have declined to reveal terms of the deal, Cheil has made a significant initial investment, with the potential to acquire the business in its entirety within the next five years. Iris’ partnership with US media company Merideth – which has held a 15-25 percent stake since 2011 – will now come to a close as a result of this new acquisition.

“Our goal was to find the right partner who could match our determination and drive,” says Daiki Lim, President and Chief Executive, Cheil Worldwide. “We’ve watched with awe how Iris has built its global business and we are delighted to have this opportunity to work with their brand.”

Ian Millner, Iris’ joint Chief Executive adds, “We’re about to enter the most exciting chapter for Iris. The partnership won’t change who we are or what we do as a creative innovation network – but will extend our global reach and capabilities, and enable our clients and people to benefit from the huge opportunity presented by a true ‘East meets West’ and ‘West meets East’ network.”

Cheil Worldwide currently employs 5,000 staff in 48 offices and eight affiliate offices. Iris Worldwide has more than 1,000 employees across 17 offices worldwide.