Campaign Annual – Top 10 News Stories of 2017

  1. In January Publicis Groupe announced the launch of its Publicis Sapient operation in the MENA region. This meant the demise of Flip Media as a brand. The digital agency was part of Publicis Communications, but has now been rebranded as SapientRazorfish.
  2. UK-based creative and technology agency Omobono opened offices in Dubai in February. Middle East managing director Hadley Newman said the firm’s main focus will be on private and government entities within the UAE, with Abu Dhabi and Sharjah both likely to be important, as well as Dubai.
  3. The International Advertising Association in May announced that it had established a new forum to drive expansion and best practice in the film and video advertising industry in the UAE. The IAA UAE Production Forum was formed with steering and working committees.
  4. M&C Saatchi has launched in the region, opening a UAE office to bolster M&C Saatchi’s existing business in the UAE and MENA. It launched in May, led by Amy Brill, head of PR, who will lead PR work in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
  5. Cannes Lions owner Ascential announced in November that it would introduce a host of changes to the festival, including plans to reduce its length and streamline the awards structure. Lions had been facing scrutiny since Publicis Groupe CEO Arthur Sadoun announced during the show in June that the holding company’s agencies would pull out of all advertising shows for a 12-month period.
  6.  In August it was announced that at long last WPP’s Grey Group had acquired a majority stake in Hug Digital, after prolonged negotiations. Eight-year-old Hug is one of the largest and fastest growing digital agencies in the MENA region.
  7. Campaign’s first full-scale event, Marcomms360, run in partnership with Haymarket, took place in October. A stellar line-up of speakers, sponsors, workshops and attendees made it a success, and it has helped set the marketing and communications agenda for the months ahead.
  8. Hanover Middle East only launched in the region in the summer, but by the end of November the PR firm had bought out Bell Pottinger Middle East. Bell Pottinger was for sale after its parent company in the UK went into administration following a client backlash over a controversial contract in South Africa that involved stirring up racial tensions. However, the Middle East branch was far removed from the scandal, and its clients along with 17 consultants will now transfer straight across to Hanover.
  9. At this year’s Dubai Lynx, Impact BBDO Dubai was  named Agency of the Year for the second time in two years, and BBDO Worldwide took Network of the Year. The network took no Grands Prix, though, with the film Grand Prix going to Blue Barracuda’s work for Zespri Kiwifruit.
  10. Fox Networks Group and the region’s largest IPTV platform eLife in October launched three new channels made for the region: Fox Rewayat, Fox Life and Fox Crime. Fox Rewayat shows dubbed dramas; Fox Crime shows crime shows; and Fox Life airs unscripted shows such as cookery and travel programmes – including made-in-Dubai show The Open Road.