Mindshare MENA in March lost its multi-million-dollar media planning and buying account with Nissan after OMD UAE won a competitive pitch. The Omnicom Media Group-owned agency took back the media planning and buying account it lost to its WPP rival in 2009. The account gives OMD control over content marketing and performance marketing for both Nissan Middle East and its luxury brand Infiniti. OMD competed against Mediavest, Initiative and the incumbent Mindshare after Nissan put the account to pitch in November last year, shortly after the arrival of new chief marketing officer Fadi Ghosn.
Leo Burnett Dubai won Emirates’ creative account for the Middle East and North Africa in April, following a competitive multi-agency pitch. The new partnership commenced in June, with the agency tasked with developing strategy and creative for the business needs of Emirates across the MENA region. It also covers transcreation and the adaptation of work for the regional market. The incumbent on the account had been Impact BBDO. In August 2015, Emirates appointed an interdisciplinary WPP team to handle its global branding and creative account.
In August, Coca-Cola Middle East reappointed UM MENA as its media agency of record after holding a three-way pitch in spring. The global beverage giant handed the multimillion-dollar, full-service media and digital account to the Dubai-headquartered incumbent agency after considering pitches from Starcom and MediaCom. MCN-owned UM MENA has held the account in the Middle East and North Africa for the past eight years.
In April Impact BBDO won the creative account for UAE real estate firm Emaar. The brief covers only Emaar’s property developments, rather than its other projects such as Dubai Opera. BPG Bates, which holds Emaar’s digital account, also took part in the pitch.
DDB Dubai won the creative account for McDonald’s food trust business in October, following a three-way pitch. After working with the fast-food giant on a project-by-project basis, the Omnicom-owned agency signed a contract to promote the quality of McDonald’s food. Leo Burnett, which pitched for the business along with TBWA/Raad, remains McDonald’s agency of record.
The Kuwait Food Company, also known as Americana, launched a pitch for its media planning and buying account at the end of November. Its franchises include KFC and Pizza Hut, and it has worked with MCN-owned Initiative MENA for the past eight years. However, the pitch comes following the October acquisition of a majority stake in Americana by an investment company led by UAE-based Emaar Properties chairman Mohamed Alabbar. As well as Initiative, new Omnicom agency Hearts & Science is understood to be pitching.
7 Qatar Airways
In October, Qatar Airways approached a number of media networks to pitch for the media planning and buying brief for the Middle East and North Africa. There is no incumbent agency on the account as the duties are currently handled in-house from the Qatari national carrier’s offices in Dubai. Of the networks invited to pitch, it is understood that Carat MENA, Group M siblings BPG Maxus and MEC, and UM MENA have accepted. The Qatari government-owned airline last called a review of its global media account in 2011, reported to be worth $30 million at the time, though no agency is believed to have been chosen.
In September, Dubai-based PR agency Asda’a Burson-Marsteller won the regional communications account for global credit card company Visa. Asda’a pitched against the incumbent BPG Cohn & Wolfe and reportedly Brunswick, MSLGroup, Four Communications, APCO and Impact Porter Novelli. BPG had won the account covering the Middle East and North Africa from DABO & Co in 2012.
Over the summer the airline Flydubai moved its creative to Memac Ogilvy from fellow WPP shop Y&R, and shifted its media to Omnicom’s OMD from
Publicis’ Mediavest. Y&R had held the creative account since January 2015, three months before the departure of the agency’s senior management, including CEO Joseph Ghossoub.
UAE telecommunications giant Etisalat consolidated its entire advertising brief into Impact BBDO in April, following a major review. Dani Richa, chairman and CEO of BBDO Middle East, Africa and Pakistan, said: “Etisalat is the product of consolidating several years’ relationship and organic growth. Growing existing business is proof our work is working, and to be associated with as powerful a brand as Etisalat, the leading telecom brand in the region, is of upmost importance to us.”