Ogilvy launches CommonHealth Middle East with Dubai hub

Ogilvy CommonHealth

Says market ‘moving from illness to wellness’; public health, health and wellness brand spends expected to match those of pharma in 18 months

Memac Ogilvy Group announced the official launch of healthcare specialist agency Ogilvy CommonHealth Middle East and North Africa at an event in Dubai on 24 September. The event marked the launch of the Dubai office of the global offering.

From the hub of Dubai, supported by an existing office in Turkey (Istanbul), the unit will service needs of pharmaceutical companies, consumer companies focused on health and wellness brands, and governments engaging in public health communication across the region.

The offering will draw upon the strength of 1,200 experts at Ogilvy CommonHealth spread across 32 markets, said Gloria Gibbons, president, Europe, Africa and Middle East, Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide. Memac Ogilvy’s presence in 13 markets in the region will aid roll out of campaigns.

The Dubai office will be headed by Karen Kamel, business director, reporting to Ronald Howes, regional (UAE) managing director, Memac Ogilvy. The Turkey operation is headed by Beril Koparal Ayanoglu, head of strategy, CommonHealth MENA.

Why Dubai? Why now?

Edmond Moutran, chairman and CEO, Memac Ogilvy Group, reasoned the launch of the offering in Dubai. He said, “Clients working with us in the space are (largely) already in Dubai. The expertise needs to be there to launch a specialist offering like this. Dubai has been the hub for all businesses we have started recently. Design, sports marketing, Mindshare, Mediacom, OgilvyOne, Ogilvy PR are all based in Dubai. It’s natural to put all these companies together under the leadership of Ronald (Howes). It gives us the ability to support each other. There are common services that can help.”

Ayanoglu noted that with pharmaceutical companies trying to operate more regionally of late, in a hub model, it was logical for a company offering them services to follow suit. “All companies related to healthcare are mainly located in these two hubs,” she said.

‘More than 10 clients’ have already asked the agency to set up office in Dubai, added Gibbons. “We’re aware of the vision many countries in the Middle East are now setting for their healthcare – to be world-leading,” she noted.

Key client segments

The clientele of Ogilvy CommonHealth can broadly be classified as pharmaceutical companies, governments spending on health (public health) and consumer companies with brands in the health and wellness space. While pharmaceutical companies form the ‘bedrock’ of the agency’s offering, the health and wellness segment is growing globally, underlined Gibbons.

“We’re starting to see that in the region as well. While globally pharmaceutical companies are the primary segment, next comes public health and third is health and wellness. But globally, consumer companies are growing their focus on educating consumers. In the region, we see at least a 50:50 between pharma spending and the others (public health and health & wellness) in 18 months,” she explained. In regions like the UAE, public health would be increasingly important, she added.

The market, according to Ayanoglu, is moving from ‘illness to wellness’. Ogilvy CommonHealth is currently also engaged in a research project, findings from which will be revealed in October.

“There is a high incidence of diabetes and cardio-vascular diseases in the region. There is a need to make public aware. Our role is not just to service clients, but also to collect data and serve the public. We are collecting and analysing data, and trying to foresee what the needs of the region could be,” she surmised.