Shortlist announced for MEPRA Awards

The Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA) Awards 2018 shortlist has been announced. The awards have been divided into 26 categories including Large Agency of the Year, Small Agency of the Year and In-House Team of the Year and will have more than 30 agencies competing including ASDA’A BCW, Cicero & Bernay, Four Communications Group and Seven Media. The awards are designed to recognise exceptional returns on investments, creativity and strategic impact and the finalists will be awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze during the event. The winners will be announced on November 28, 2018 at the JW Marriott Marquis.

“The quality of entries submitted for this year’s Awards is very strong,” says Jonty Summers, Managing Director, Hanover Middle East and MEPRA Awards Judge. “There are some real stand-out entries, highlighting how public relations teams in this region are delivering impactful business results for organisations through creativity, storytelling and thoughtful planned campaigns. This year’s MEPRA competition is tough, and those recognized as finalists should be immensely proud of their work.”

EDGAR Middle East relaunches online platform 

EDGAR Middle East has announced the relaunch of its online platform, The men’s luxury lifestyle magazine will continue to provide daily content on all things people have come to recognise about the brand with Rob Chilton overseeing the brand as Editor.

“From day one I’ve tried to make EDGAR an accessible, unpretentious and stylish magazine for every man, whether they’re interested in the latest Aston Martin, Dubai’s hottest restaurant opening, Louis Vuitton’s freshest sneaker, Berlin’s coolest boutique hotel, or the new chronograph from Audemars Piguet,” says Rob Chilton, Editor, “EDGAR will continue to cover all the bases for men, delivering great stories from fantastic writers around the world, superb photography and interviews with inspiring men who have a story to tell.”

Zenith celebrates 30th anniversary

Zenith Middle East, part of Publicis Media Group is celebrating its 30th anniversary in the Middle East. Founded in 1988 and created from the media buying departments of Saatchi & Saatchi, BSB Dorland and KHBB, Zenith first opened its agency in Paddington, London. Over the years, Zenith has become a worldwide media agency network and merged with Optimedia to launch into performance, branded content, analytics and sponsorship consulting.

“I feel very proud to be part of this pioneering network as we celebrate our 30th anniversary,” says Vittorio Bonori, Global Brand President, Zenith. “As the ROI agency we have continually innovated and our vision is to be a key business partner for clients, focused on growth strategy, experience planning and 1-2-1 optimisation.”

Ampersand celebrates first anniversary 

Global marketing and talent consultancy, Ampersand is celebrating its first anniversary in the Middle East. In the first year, Ampersand has been successful in winning, developing, designing and implementing international projects for a variety of clients including Aston Martin Lagonda, Johnson & Johnson, Travelex and Unimoni. Its approach is to change the rules of training while developing and delivering engaging and stimulating experience to maximise the transfer of knowledge and return on investment.

“We believe that the Ampersand ethos of Creative Learning has been central to our success in securing so many fabulous projects from some of the world’s highest profile brands from a standing start in less than 12 months and the future looks bright too with more projects from existing clients and new clients in Dubai, Hong Kong, London, and Singapore,” says Nick Clemets, CEO, Ampersand.

BELIEVE Branding rebrands globally

Branding agency, BELIEVE Branding has rebranded as Believe You Me. With offices serving Australia, South East Asia and the Middle East, the rebrand aims to develop and be up-to-date with the changing world while working across a variety of brand-led engagements. The agency will focus on the three core practice areas of brand strategy, creative and production particularly in FMCG Consumer Packaging, Corporate Identity, Digital Experience and Shopper Marketing.

“After several decades of working across the Australian, South East Asian, Indian and Middle Eastern regions, the notion of ‘trust’ is a constant that defines both people and brand from the inside out, just as it is with our new name, Believe You Me,” says Blair Triplett, Managing Partner, Believe You Me. “We wanted a new name that reflects who we are, but equally a name that underpins the brands we build and the close relationships we have with our clients to help drive truly insightful brand strategy and consumer-led brand design.”

Xpress to cease print publishing

Dubai-based weekly tabloid newspaper, Xpress has ceased print publications. Published by Gulf News, the final edition was published on August 30, 2018 and will continue to exist online. 
“Xpress lived on for more than 11 years, bringing readers quality community stories and investigative reports of high international standards,” says Abdul Hamid Ahmad, Editor-in-Chief, Gulf News. “And for most of these reports, we had to dig deeper to collect information and meticulously check the facts before we published them. Many of these reports were picked up by the foreign media. The stories exposed fraud, they uncovered crime, and they put the spotlight on unfair dealings. I would like to thank our readers, who placed their trust in us, the editor of Xpress and all the staff, who were a part of its launch, its journey and its success.”

Elevision Media partners with DIFC 

Elevision Media has signed a 10-year contract with Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) to handle all advertising solutions across the region. The partnership with DIFC will see Elevision install more than 80 formal digital display screens across DIFC. Elevision will deliver the project in multiple phases, the first of which will go live in Q3 2018 and will cover the Gate District.

“We are now embarking on a new and exciting phase of growth with DIFC; one of the world’s top ten financial centres,” says Niall Sallam, Founder and CEO, Elevision Media. “The new partnership validates DIFC’s endorsement of our vision and supports the direction of our strategic growth.”

Brand Ripplr offers alternative to influencers

UAE-based influencer platform, Brand Ripplr is offering an attractive alternative for all influencers in the region. Brand Ripplr is separating itself from other UAE influencer agencies by on boarding influencers under their license without insisting on exclusivity or additional commission charges.
“As an ad-tech platform that sees the influencer-marketing process through from start-to-finish, we welcome the new legislation,” says Tanaz Dizadji, Founder & CEO, Brand Ripplr. “For too long, the industry has been unregulated, and it is only right that the NMC has sought to find solutions to protect both consumers and brands when it comes to influencer marketing. There’s been a lot of commotion around the new laws… and some agencies have seen the new legislation as an opportunity to enforce influencer exclusively without justification. However, this will lead to the over-commercialisation of influencers and further inflate influencer pricing in the market.

“As a key industry player, it is important that we take a stand to protect both the brands and the influencers. Brand Ripplr will still be able to take full responsibility for this paid content and ensure that it satisfies NMC standards, but without taking commission from its influencers or charging brands unjustifiably for influencer marketing campaigns. Influencers are welcoming a move that meets industry standards without crushing their ability to create awesome content and collaborate with the right brands.”