It is nearly time to bring the curtains down on 2016. As the year comes to an end, we take a look at the news which was most read by the industry in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Here are the top 15 headline breakers from the Arabian Marketer in 2016:
#1. Almarai Sets Social Media On Fire In KSA With Film On Breastfeeding
Almarai created quite the buzz with its film on breastfeeding. In partnership with its agency Leo Burnett KSA, Almarai launched the campaign. Within a week of launch, the film became the second most shared video in the world at almost 1.3 million shares. Almarai’s Facebook page became the fastest growing page in the world, garnering over 39,000 new fans a day. This made Almarai the third most popular FMCG brand on Facebook, right after Nestle and P&G with over 45 million views on social media.
#2. PHD MENA Marks Expansion Journey With Senior Promotions
PHD’s MENA operations ended the year with a slew of changes in its senior management. Individual achievements at the agency were recompensed with promotions and new responsibilities as part of the agency’s expansion into new services and new territories.
#3. Media Veteran Samir Ayoub Launches Media Audit Firm – MEDPUSH
After nearly a three-month hiatus, Samir Ayoub, former Chief Executive Officer of Mindshare MENA, made a comeback in a new avatar. Mr Ayoub launched a media audit and consultancy firm – MEDPUSH – that aims to not only assist marketers to improve their media plan’s efficiency but also work with media owners to improve their overall offer and drive accountability. The firm launched with Aujan Coca Cola Beverages Company as its first client.
#4. WPP’s Classic Partnership Wins Gold, Silver In Pharma Lions
The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity had just begun when it brought goo news for the region with WPP’s The Classic Partnership, part of the Menacom Group, bagging a Gold and a Silver Lion in the Pharma Lions category in Lions Health. The agency won the awards for ‘The Nazar Initiative’ that it had conceptualized and executed for Aster Healthcare & Medical Centres. This also marked UAE’s first Lion in the category.
#5. Being A Great Place To Work Trumps All Else: Nadim Samara, OMD
OMD had a good start to 2016. Its first quarter boasted a significant business win, Nissan and Infiniti, partnering with sister-agency TBWA\Raad to handle both brands. This followed winning ADCB earlier in the year, and securing third spot in UAE’s Great Place to Work ranking, which its holding company Omnicom Media Group and its agencies have retained for three years consecutively.
#6. MENA Ad Spends: Digital Still To Catch Up; Print Declines
Advertising spend breakup in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is partial to traditional media. While the fact is well known to many, it was further highlighted in the ‘Media Industries in the Middle East’ report. The report indicated that about 80 percent of the total ad revenues in the region come through television and newspapers, which reiterated the preference of regional advertisers on traditional media platforms. However, it was interesting to note that while television advertising had increased marginally since 2010, ad revenues from newspapers had slightly gone down.
#7. This du Campaign Will Send Chills Down Your Spine
du embarked on a campaign, #PostWisely, that inspired the online community in the UAE to think before they post.
A study conducted by du, in light of the campaign, found that of the 75 percent of respondents who have been befriended or followed on social media by people they don’t normally interact with, nearly half (49 percent) accepted 50 percent or more of these unfamiliar requests, which is a rather concerning figure. du produced a series of hard hitting Public Service Announcement (PSA) videos that provides a glimpse into the danger lurking on the internet, as well as survey results detailing UAE social media users’ relationship with the internet.
#8. Cannes Lions MENA Scoreboard: Who Brought Home A Lion?
The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2016 ended on a mixed note for the region. While some agencies performed well, some were below expectations. The region on the whole, including Turkey, brought home far lesser Lions in comparison to last year. In 2015, Middle East & North Africa (MENA) agencies won 39 metals, including a joint Grand Prix. The total tally this year was 26 metals.
#9. It Is All About The Mindset, Says du’s Hala Badri
From being named among the Most Influential Arab Women to the Leading Businesswoman of the Year, du’s EVP of Brand & Communications, Hala Badri, has written a growth story that is inspiring a whole generation of future leaders. The Arabian Marketer caught up with Ms Badri on her journey, her advice to aspiring women leaders in the region and what inspires her.
#10. Nissan & Infiniti Park Media Mandate With OMD
Following a comprehensive media review, Nissan signed up with OMD as its regional partner for media communications for its flagship brands Nissan Middle East and Infiniti Middle East. The incumbent on the business, since 2009, was Mindshare. OMD won the pitch against agencies including Initiative and Mediavest apart from the incumbent.
#11. J. Walter Thompson, FP7/MENA, Starcom Shine At Effie MENA
J. Walter Thompson, FP7/MENA and Starcom Middle East stole the show at the Effie MENA Awards 2016. In addition to winning the hallmark honors of the evening, the agencies also won the maximum number of awards in different categories. J. Walter Thompson was honored with the Grand Prix for its popular ‘The Good Note’ campaign. The campaign created by its Beirut agency for Bou Khalil Supermarche aimed to bring back the trust of the Lebanese in helping the young children begging on streets.
#12. Zenith Forecasts 11% Drop In MENA Ad Spend In 2016
While it was a good year for the advertising industry globally, the MENA had to brace for challenges. This was evident in ZenithOptimedia’s new Advertising Expenditure Forecasts 2016. The drop in oil prices in 2014 had a severe effect on the economies in MENA, and had prompted advertisers to cut back budgets in anticipation of lower consumer demand. Political turmoil and conflict also further shook advertisers’ confidence in the region, according to Zenith. The agency forecasted an 11.1 percent drop in ad spend in MENA in 2016, followed by further declines of 5 percent in 2017 and 1.1 percent in 2018, averaging out at a 5.8 percent annual decline to 2018.
#13. FP7/Cairo Highlights The Veiled Woman Power Through ‘3ala Rasy’
Debates and controversies may surround the ‘hijab’ but the veil of a Muslim woman is also a source of confidence and power. FP7/Cairo highlighted this aspect in one of its communication that it called ‘3ala Rasy’. 3ala Rasy attempted to replace inhibitions and insecurities that a veil brings to a woman with pride and empowerment. ‘3ala Rasy’, which means ‘I am my veil’, aimed to empower veiled women in Egypt.
#14. Four Peat Win For FP7 At Effie MENA 2016
For FP7/MENA, the year might not have started off well in terms of winning trophies at some of the most important award shows including Dubai Lynx Festival of Creativity and Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, but it ended the year with a bang with a fourth consecutive year win at the Effie MENA. FP7/MENA not only won ‘The Most Effective Network of the Year’ at the Awards but its Dubai office was also crowned the ‘The Most Effective Agency of the Year’.
#15. OMD Elevates Samara & Najjar To Newly Created Leadership Roles
As a result of recent successes and to stimulate further regional expansion, Omnicom Media Group MENA made a number of promotions and changes to OMD’s management structure in the Middle East. As the agency explained, “these are as much a celebration of past achievements as they are a step forward towards future business growth”. Nadim Samara was promoted from Managing Director to the newly created position of CEO of OMD UAE. Wissam Najjar, who was the Managing Director of OMD Levant, relocated from Beirut to Dubai to take the newly created role of Regional Managing Director for the Lower Gulf, Levant and Emerging Markets. In other promotions, Rachid El Khazen, Director-Investments of OMD Lebanon, was elevated to the position of General Manager.