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Levant Edition • The marketing and advertising resource • April 2011 • Issue N°12 •

Share play: BBDO’s Andrew Robertson on growing within existing Page 38 markets

DIGITAL Byte by byte OMD’s Maya Bou Ajram explains to Communicate Levant why her agency is devoted to digital and why the full day event that the agency organized this month is a sign that times (Page 44) are changing.


Profit without politics: RMS’s Nizar Nagro on making Rotana’s news channel work Page 42

One to watch: This month is Communicate Levant’s first birthday. Let’s celebrate! Page 16

MAKEOVER Following a recent surge in shake-ups, we examine the changing face of Lebanese agencies

More and more companies are talking the corporate social responsibility talk, but how many are walking the walk? We look at Lebanese companies and see where do-gooders are doing good, and where they are bad at achieving their goals. (Page 32)

TELEVISION Quality Street In the second part of our production guide, The Chimney Pot’s Henrick Larsson discusses ways to achieve the highest standards for your television commercial. Planning, pitching and picking the proper people are all important. (Page 36)

CAMPAIGN Joint effort

(Page 49) MediaquestCorp Egypt................... E£ 10 Jordan ................... JD 4 Kuwait ................ KD 1.2

Lebanon ........L£ 5 000 Morocco ............DH 22 Oman ............... OR 1.5

Qatar ................... QR 15 Saudi Arabia ........ SR 15 Switzerland .......... SFR 8

Syria .................. S£ 100 Tunisia ................ TD 2.5 U.A.E ...................DH 15


Tempus fugit L

ife has a strange sense of humor sometimes. I’m writing this letter, which will be published in our first anniversary issue, on Mother’s Day. Twelve months ago, when Communicate Levant was first launched, I was writing my first Letter from the Editor, and comparing magazines to children that you give birth to, nurse, nurture and support until they’ve grown up enough to stand on their own two feet. The magazine may still be making wobbly steps on these feet, but we’re getting there, as a look back at all that has been achieved so far shows us. Don’t worry, I won’t go into a self-indulgent binge right now; we preferred to let you tell us your thoughts (see page 16). It was instructive, so thank you for that. It is now up to us to make this magazine better, more relevant and more constructive. We’ll work on that, cross my heart. But isn’t that what everybody is thinking today? The only constant is change, as the saying goes. But hasn’t change picked up pace recently? Look at what’s happening within many agencies (see page 24). The industry is evolving so fast that we barely have the time to adapt, and so deeply that it’s shaking our certainties to the core. Look beyond what’s happening to the advertising

realm, at what’s happening to the region and the world. There’s an old Billy Joel song that I love. (I never remember all of the lyrics, and not for the lack of trying.) “We Didn’t Start the Fire” gives an impressive history lesson by recapping major events that occurred throughout the second half of the 20th century. I wouldn’t dare rise to the challenge by offering a recap of the past 12 months in rhyme. But let’s remind ourselves of some of the events that occurred between April 2010 and April 2011 nonetheless: the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland; the Pakistan flood; China becoming the largest energy consumer worldwide; birth of the iPad; Turkish aid flotilla; oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; the end of the American war in Iraq; churches attacked in the Middle East; North Korean attacks on South Korean island; WikiLeaks; Tea Party in the US; revolts across the Arab world; split in Sudan; blasts in Russia; flood in Australia; Iranian warships in the Mediterranean; tsunami and nuclear catastrophe in Japan; war in Libya… This helps to put things in perspective, doesn’t it? Going back to what one magazine can or cannot achieve could seem trivial, as if I were living in a make-

believe universe, with a big fat grin on my face; my IQ going down 10 points for every inch that grin spreads… But then, that’s what life is made of: more or less trivial details that add up to make our daily ride on this Ferris wheel we call the world. We wouldn’t have children (I just realized there was no mention of my daughters in this letter, for a change, so this now stands corrected), or launch magazines for that matter if we were to play Atlas all of the time, fighting a fire that we certainly didn’t start, but that we need to live with anyway, come what may. Nathalie Bontems, editor

Communicate Levant I 3



COVER: The big reshuffle 24

An internal adquake is seemingly shaking ­agencies in Lebanon and beyond. The people in charge of them tell us why, how and what they are changing

SPECIAL REPORT: Happy birthday to us 16 20

Your words: What our readers have to say about us Communiquiz: 12 months in 35 questions

NEWS 6 8 10 11 12 13

Marketing. The Beirut Duty Free rocks the airport Media. Al Joumhouriah is the new daily in town Production. Zoé Productions supports the Kun Hadi NGO Television. Sky News Arabia announces branding Digital. Yahoo exec calls for creative unity Digital. How Google reacted to the Japanese earthquake


We ask the industry: If you were not in this field, what would you have been?


Marketing. Do Lebanese corporations try to act responsibly? And is it working? Television. The Chimney Pot’s Henric Larsson on how to optimize your production’s quality


38 42 44 45 46


Q&A. BBDO’s CEO Andrew Robertson on how his network sees the future Q&A. RMS’s Nizar Nagro on Rotana’s news TV station project Guest Opinion. Maya Bou Ajram says OMD’s future is digital Blogosphere. What the Web is saying Work. Selections from the regional and international creative scenes Drive By: One blogger’s take on Beirut’s billboards

APRIL 2011 Medialeader SAL, Azar bldg, 5th floor, Dimitri Al Hayek st, Sin el Fil-Horsh Tabet, Beirut, Lebanon, Tel: (961) 1 492 801/2/3

CO-CEO Alexandre Hawari CO-CEO Julien Hawari MANAGING DIRECTOR Ayman Haydar CFO Abdul Rahman Siddiqui CREATIVE DIRECTOR Aziz Kamel ONLINE DIRECTOR Rony Nassour HEAD OF CIRCULATION Harish Raghavan, MARKETING MANAGER Maya Kerbage, COUNTRY MANAGERS Lebanon: Nathalie Bontems,, (961) 1

492801/2/3 KSA: Walid Ramadan,, Tel: (966) 1 4194061 North Africa: Adil Abdel Wahab,, Tel: (213) 661 562 660

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FOUNDER Yasser Hawari MANAGING DIRECTOR Julien Hawari EDITOR Nathalie Bontems MANAGING EDITOR Austyn Allison GROUP MANAGING EDITOR Siobhan Adams SENIOR SUB EDITOR Elizabeth McGlynn CONTRIBUTORS Ibrahim Nehme, Louis Parks CREATIVE DIRECTOR Aziz Kamel ART DIRECTOR Sheela Jeevan ART CONTRIBUTORS Aya Farhat, Samer Hamadeh EXTERNAL AFFAIRS Manuel Dias, Maguy Panagga, Catherine Dobarro, Randa Khoury, Lila Schoepf, Laurent Bernard RESPONSIBLE DIRECTOR Denise Mechantaf PRINTERS Raidy Printing Group ADVERTISING The Gulf MEDIALEADER, PO Box 72184, Dubai Media City, Al Thuraya Tower 2, Office 2402, Dubai, Tel: (971) 4 391 0760, Fax: (971) 4 390 8737, Lebanon Peggy El Zyr, peggy@mediaquestcorp. com, Tel: (961) 70 40 45 44 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Tarek Abu Hamzy,, Tel: (966) 1 419 40 61, Ghassan A. Rbeiz, ghassan@, Fax: (966) 1 419 41 32, P.O.Box: 14303, Riyadh 11424, Europe S.C.C Arabies, 18, rue de Varize, 75016 Paris, France, Tel: (33) 01 47 664600, Fax: (33) 01 43 807362, Lebanon MEDIALEADER Beirut, Lebanon, Tel: (961) 1 202 369, Fax: (961) 1 202 369 WEBSITE


Feeling flash


Beirut Duty Free organizes flash-mob dabke at airport

AAA elects new board Beirut. The Lebanese Advertising Agencies Association (AAA) elected a new executive board at a general assembly held at the syndicate’s premises in February. George Jabbour, head of FP7 Beirut, and president of the IAA Lebanon chapter, was elected president, with Optimedia’s Carol Hayek as vice-president. Joe Ayache was appointed general secretary, and Joe Hitti as treasurer. Other members of the board are Nabil Maalouf and Omar Nasreddine. On the move Beirut. Elie Achkouty left his position as sales director of Adline in March and joined Yahoo! Maktoob as regional sales manager.  I MEDIA Beirut. Beirut Duty Free pulled a communication stunt on March 5 under the slogan “Take Back More.” It used the concept of a flash mob – where a group of people suddenly assemble in a public place, perform an unusual, and sometimes seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then disperse – in the airport to generate buzz around tourism in Lebanon. Several times during the day, shops in the airport played a mix of the famous dabke (a Lebanese

 I ADVERTISING Drive Dentsu wins Jammal Trust Bank account Beirut. In the first quarter of 2011, Drive Dentsu became the official

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traditional dance) song “Howwara” and techno music, while a group of 30 dancers, hired for the occasion and disguised as regular passengers, suddenly started to dance, getting the public to join in. At one point, an airline crew joined the dance, as did the Doha rugby team. By mid-March, a video of this flash mob had generated more than half a million hits on YouTube, was featured in the Huffington Post, and was discussed extensively on social

media and blogs. M&C Saatchi, the agency behind the campaign, wanted to create “something passengers could take back with them.” “We just wanted to create a bit of good news from Lebanon,” Barry Brand, head of art at M&C Saatchi Middle East, told UAE daily The National. “We wanted to say, ‘Yes, we have our problems like any country, but this country also has a lot of vibrancy and spirit.’ It was essential we capture that.”

communications agency for Jammal Trust Bank. The agency’s work will include corporate communication, retail and tactical activities. Drive Dentsu’s first work for the bank was its “Bawmaret Ma’ak” campaign

for micro-credits. Using the slogan, “We Speak Your Language,” outdoor ads headed with titles relevant to different micro-enterprises were distributed on the Beirut coast, in the north of the country, and across the Beqaa valley. Originally written in Lebanese Arabic dialect (translated as “Entangled? The micro-loan silkens your way”), one message addressed aspiring hairdressers, while another addressed taxi drivers. These two professions were chosen to represent a variety of micro-enterprises. Other presentations included bus branding, radio, print and online banners.

Radio Rotana Delta revamps its morning show Beirut. Radio Rotana Delta’s morning show, renamed Sabahak Gheir and presented by Mireille Eid, has been revamped. Its three-hour format has been restructured by Swiss consulting firm Humanagement, according to the “Triple-F” rule: It is fast, fun and fresh, says Rotana. New segments have been introduced, and listeners are being asked to share their opinions. Admic publishes new magazine Beirut. Admic Group, which owns the franchises of Monoprix and BHV in Lebanon, is launching a new cultural and female-interest magazine called City Life. The magazine will be handled by a Paris-based publisher. New weekly newspaper launched Cairo. A new Arabic-language weekly Continued on page 8


New daily in town

Beirut. Lebanese daily Al-Jumhuria, published by caretaker Defense Minister Elias Murr, was relaunched on Feb. 28. Al-Jumhuria was first published in 1986, but due to the Lebanese Civil War, the paper folded after several months. Speaking of Murr’s motivation for re-entering the field of print media, editor-in-chief Anthony Geagea says, “[Murr] is completely involved in politics; he’s a politician before being a journalist, so he thinks it’s about time to have something new in the media market: a newspaper that is objective, that represents the interests of the people and the ideas of the sects, the parties, the religions, everything.”

The key, according to Geagea, will be to appeal to the disaffected Lebanese – whom he claims are many – tired of newspapers closely allied to a political stance, or party. In addition to having an independent editorial approach, Al-Jumhuria has a young staff, boasting many recent graduates in the fields of Arabic literature or journalism. “Not a lot of them are famous; we’re trying to give them a chance,” says Geagea. Geagea believes by being “objective and independent,” the paper can fill a gap currently served by existing channels. According to Geagea, the response to the early issues has been “beyond

Continued from page 6 newspaper, Alborsa, was launched on March 6, along with its website Alborsa focuses on economics, and tackles financial, stock market, trade, general economy and real estate news in Egypt. It comes out on Sundays.

expression, really. We were really astonished. On [the launch day], we didn’t have any copies [remaining] in the market; we were sold out.” TBWA\Rizk handled the daily's launch campaign. Marie-Christine Boulos has been appointed as commercial director of Al-Jumhuria. Boulos was an account director and media manager at TBWA\Rizk until 2007, when she joined Future Media Services to handle the commercial side of Future TV’s local, satellite and news channels. Communicate Levant’s questions on media representation, projected revenue, financial backing in general went unanswered.

 I PRODUCTION 3D shooting available in Beirut Beirut. Production house Né. À Beyrouth is offering 3D shooting services in Lebanon and the region. Stereoscopic shooting, which is available for the first time in Beirut, according to the production house, uses two cameras.


 I ADVERTISING Impact’s recent work Beirut. Last month, not only did Impact BBDO Beirut release the latest Ministry of Tourism’s (MOT) TVC, garnering mixed reviews in Lebanon (see Blogosphere, page 45), but it also revamped the country’s logo and slogan under the theme “Only Lebanon.” The new icon symbolizes the sun, the sea, Lebanon’s snowcapped mountains and green forests, all within an abstract shape of a cedar. The typography intends to give a sense of

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cheerfulness and puts forth Lebanon’s eclectic design styles. The logo has been introduced in a TVC and will be used in the upcoming MOT campaigns. Impact’s work also includes a new ad for the Kawasaki Ninja motorbike. Based on the insight that motorbikes are loved by many for their speed, while also appreciating the need to emphasize the bike’s safety aspect and braking efficiency, the agency developed the idea that the Kawasaki Ninja “goes fast, stops faster.” Impact BBDO was also in charge of Samsung’s new campaign for the electronics brand’s new 3D television.

The aim was to invite consumers to shift away from 2D to 3D under the concept “A whole new dimension.” Four ambient ads were set up in a shopping mall in Lebanon, in which passers-by were tricked into perceiving 3D elements (an escalator, shopping carts, a car, a bench) only to discover that they were in fact looking at constructions made from paper and cardboard. The “trompe l’oeil” operation carried the message: “Everything will look flat after your Samsung 3D TV experience.”

LG launches new range of green appliances Beirut. Consumer electronics and mobile communication brand LG Electronics has launched eco-friendly products under the label LG HealthCare collection. “People are becoming more concerned about hygiene and protecting their families from the dust mites that cause allergies, asthma and other related health problems,” says Billy Kim, general manager of LG Electronics' operations in Lebanon. The new range of products includes air conditioners and air purifiers. OMT hosts media gathering Beirut. Financial services company OMT’s management gathered journalists and professionals working in different media, including print, broadcast and agencies, for a presentation on the company’s services and its contribution to the Lebanese economy. Continued on page 10


Zoé shoots new Kun Hadi TVC

Continued from page 8 OMT’s chairman, Toufic Mouawad, says the company has spent more than $10 million on advertising and media, in addition to more than $2 million on education, social, and health projects in Lebanon. These were in collaboration with Western Union and through the “White Land Foundation”.

Rymco enforces smoke-free office environment Beirut. As part of its CSR program, Rasamny Younis Motor Company (Rymco) has announced a no-smoking policy in its offices. “Although our contribution is minute in comparison to the issue of climate change and the health risks that are caused by smoking, we are confident if more companies realize the influence that simple measures like this initiative have on reducing environmental harm, perhaps more of them will adopt such strategies,” Fayez Rasamny, chairman of Rymco, says.

Beirut. Kun Hadi, a Lebanese NGO dedicated to reducing the number of deaths caused by drink driving and speeding, released its latest TVC on Mother’s Day. Produced by Zoé Productions, the film is based on the idea that on Mother’s Day a mother is supposed to receive flowers, not give them. The advert shows a mother greeting her sons and daughters, who present

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bouquets amid hugs and kisses. The closing shot shows a woman standing over a fresh grave, flowers in hand, having just buried her child. Kun Hadi’s message is one that resonates throughout Lebanon: The year 2010 saw just under 11,000 road accidents. A large proportion, according to the NGOs’s research, involved alcohol and/or excessive speed. The majority of the victims were young men.

The estimated cost of the shoot was around $80,000, but according to Samy Chahine, managing director of Zoé, the team pulled it off “basically for free.” Creatives and account managers from M&C Saatchi, Zoé’s producers, freelance directors, makeup artists, lighting specialists, film crews, actors and actresses, plus caterers, all offered their services pro bono to support the cause.

 I ONLINE New information website from Lebanon Beirut., an Arabiclanguage news website has been established in Lebanon by two journalists: Annahar’s Amine Kammourieh and Sharq al-Awsat’s Antoine el-Hage. The project is financed by Walid Abou Sleimane, who heads financial company Aksys Capital.


Sky News unveils brand

Arabic News channel due to launch in spring 2012

 I MEDIA ADMC rebrands as Abu Dhabi Media Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi Media Company has unveiled its new corporate brand and visual identity, and has renamed itself Abu Dhabi Media. The rebranding initiative includes a new corporate brand identity, a television commercial, the redesign of the company’s corporate website,, and a range of communication materials and collateral. “Abu Dhabi Media is a modern media company driven by creativity and innovation, yet still deeply rooted in the heritage and values of our emirate,” says chairman Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei. “Our new corporate brand elegantly communicates the bold direction we are taking as a company and our commitment to our local community and culture.” Abu Dhabi Media worked with the Office of the Brand of Abu Dhabi (OBAD) to develop the new identity. The new TVC is a celebration of some of Abu Dhabi Media’s main brands and content, and features employees from across the company. The TVC was shot on location in Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah and Los Angeles.  I AGENCIES

Abu Dhabi. Sky News Arabia, a 24hour Arabic news channel, scheduled to launch in spring 2012, revealed its brand identity at a press conference held on March 14 at Yas Hotel, Abu Dhabi. The station is a joint venture between pay-television provider British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB or Sky, which is 39 percent owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.) and Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corp (ADMIC), a private investment company owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. “The Middle East and North Africa are going through rapid change and development: economic, social and political. What happens here shapes the news agenda, not just in this region but across the world,” says James Murdoch, chairman and non-executive director at BSkyB. “Sky News Arabia is an opportunity for us to participate in and contribute to the region’s future growth.” Sky News Arabia is a 50-50 venture between BSkyB and ADMIC, says

Nart Bouran, the recently appointed director of news. It aims to take an innovative approach to news coverage and delivery, and has balanced and credible news as an editorial focus, he tells Communicate. The channel will deliver news on different platforms. John Ryley, head of news for Sky News, says, “We are not just talking about a TV news channel; we are talking about a number of different platforms on which the content Nart and his team produce is consumed by the Arab World. So we plan to put it online and on mobile applications and tablets – not immediately, but in the months and years to come.” “We aim to offer a new voice to the Arab World, not just through TV, but through different outlets as well,” he says. The channel will be available in both high-definition and standarddefinition formats and is expected to be broadcast free-to-air to more than 50 million households across the MENA region and beyond.

on many fronts and managed to have a strong bonding with our clients, and he deserves such an award.” SMG’s Hamilton takes on global role

Dubai. Mark Hamilton, head of strategy and development for Starcom Mediavest Group (SMG) Middle East and North Africa, has been named deputy chairman of the group’s Global Product Committee (GPC). SMG’s GPC is an internal operating body of 24 members across the international network that aims to maintain and enhance the highest standard of work across SMG’s 110 global offices, says SMG in a statement. Australian CEO John Sintras has been named chairman of the GPC. Sintras will take on the role in addition to his CEO responsibilities in Australia. In addition to Sintras and Hamilton, the GPC includes 22 additional senior-level executives from SMG offices around the world including China, India, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Sweden, the UK and the US.  I TELEVISION

Mindshare declares Elie Haber MD of the Year Dubai. Elie Haber, managing director of Mindshare UAE, has been named Managing Director of the Year for 2010 by the regional media agency. Mindshare MENA launched the award in 2006 to reward managing directors across the region based on criteria such as business results, client satisfaction, and innovation. “Elie is praised for his strong leadership that led Mindshare UAE to grow despite the downturn that is hitting the market,” says Samir Ayoub, CEO of Mindshare MENA, in a statement. “He was very proactive

MBC Group experiences “deliberate disruption” in broadcast Dubai. Broadcaster MBC Group has announced that its channels recently experienced a “deliberate disruption” in their broadcast on Nilesat, by perpetrators unknown. In a statement, MBC says transmission of the channels was disrupted for several hours, leading to the absence of sound and video. MBC Group has condemned what it calls a “planned attack.” An unnamed source in MBC’s news channel Al Arabiya says the disruption amplified when viewership peaked during the channel’s coverage of political unrest in Libya. The news channel holds the perpetrators responsible for preventing viewers from watching its “bold and balanced coverage of the recent events in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya,” the statement says.

Communicate Levant I 11


Arab Youth Survey reveals strong desire for democracy Dubai. The single greatest priority for young people in the Middle East remains living in a democratic country, according to the findings of the latest edition of PR agency Asda’a Burson-Marsteller’s Arab Youth Survey. The 10-country survey was conducted by polling firm Penn Schoen Berland, which carried out 2,000 face-to-face interviews with young Arab nationals and expats aged 18 to 24 between December 2010 and January 2011. Following (and during) the political unrest in the region, another 500 interviews were carried out in five countries in February and March. These interviews found that while the importance of democracy was more pronounced, it was balanced by a desire for stability. Support of protests was high, as was a belief in their positive impact.  I ADVERTISING OgilvyAction Dubai wins Unilever homecare account Dubai. OgilvyAction Dubai has been awarded the account for Unilever Arabia’s Homecare category. Products such as Omo, Jif and Lux Sunlight will be added to OgilvyAction’s portfolio of Unilever brands, which include Pond’s, Dove and Sunsilk. “We are delighted to be given the opportunity to work with the Unilever Homecare category and are confident in our ability to deliver outstanding activation campaigns that will drive the consumer to purchase our brands,” says Richard Woodward, OgilvyAction’s business director for the UAE.

Publishers and agencies must work together, says Yahoo exec

Takaful Emarat appoints Action UAE as regional PR partner Four Communications launches social media news release product LightBlue wins Games 11 pitch

Harper’s Bazaar Arabia rolls out second annual Best Dressed publication FP7’s Infinity for Batelco among TED World’s 10 Ads Worth Spreading in 2011

Dubai. Advertising online presents a number of opportunities for marketers. Apart from the measurement tools available online, digital presents an opportunity for users to have a visual and interactive experience. This experience can be enhanced with multimedia formats that take interactivity to the next level. “To increase interactivity and make great wow experiences in online ads we need to increase our proactive engagement and work on getting creatives, media agencies and advertisers at one table,” says Herbert Dazo, head of ad technology at Yahoo EMEA. Dazo spoke to Communicate after a Yahoo Maktoob seminar in Dubai, where he talked about the various online advertising formats Yahoo has on offer in the region. At the seminar, Yahoo Maktoob presented some of its latest advertising products in digital technology, creativity and measurement. “Bringing creative agencies to the table with the publishers up-front not

only enables us to inspire and push boundaries within the canvases we offer, but it also enables us to remove logistical issues upfront within a fastpaced environment and make great ideas real,” says Dazo. He adds that the normal procedure in ad development is that once a brief is in, creative agencies start to think of ideas. “What we are really seeking is that creative-agency engagement, where they start looking and pushing for their ideas and checking on the opportunities with Yahoo and how we can make them work together,” he says. “What we are looking for is how we take these ideas to the next level and actually bring them alive and think about the challenges that are there within the technology in the industry and how we overcome them in proactive form.” It takes bringing together all the minds and parties involved at an early stage to be able to produce advertising that is appealing to the audience.


says Pete Gearing, head of marketing for th1ng in Dubai. The first commercial by th1ng aired in the first week of March. Sedar is one of the oldest brands in the Middle East. The new campaign is meant to give it a more contemporary feel. “The new commercials mark a step change in Sedar’s advertising,” says Dominic Buttimore, executive producer at th1ng. “We are introducing a bold, new style that better conveys the quality and range of Sedar’s innovative products for residential and commercial interiors.”

Sedar appoints th1ng to make new TV commercials Dubai. Animation and mixed media production company th1ng has been appointed by UAE-based Sedar to produce its television commercials. Sedar manufactures blinds, curtains, folding doors, false ceilings, and awnings, and has a significant retail presence across the Gulf, with showrooms in the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Oman. Th1ng will make 40 commercials for Sedar over the next 12 to 18 months,

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Majid magazine celebrates 33rd birthday with new layout, editorial additions and characters Saneou Al Haddath reveals MENA region’s top cities McCollins Media to create “longest Facebook wall in the world” Euromonitor International unveils new look and website to mark 40th anniversary BPG Blue to become BPG Possible Alhurra’s Al Youm to go live from eight countries to mark second anniversary

National Geographic Al Arabiya magazine holds university tours The Adkitchen appointed as agency for Dubai Properties Group Fox Series to become women’s channel, Fox

Go to our Web site for the full stories:


The largest earthquake in Japan’s recorded history hit the northeast coast of the country on the afternoon of March 11. The 8.9 magnitude quake pushed a massive tsunami through coastal towns, flushing away farmland and entire cities. Google responded to the event much like a traditional news organization, taking advantage of its software and data. It created a set of tools and pages with information about what’s happening on the ground, most of which can be found on its Google Crisis Response page, which includes emergency information about the quake and the resulting tsunami.  I RESEARCH

Sports Illustrated tablet ads “more memorable than print”

Ads in the iPad edition of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue proved more memorable with readers than ads in the print edition, and generated more reader actions, according to marketing and media research firm Affinity’s syndicated Vista service. Ads in the iPad edition generated 21 percent higher recall than ads in the print edition, while reader-action scores – registering actions such as visiting the advertiser’s website, getting a more favorable opinion of the brand or, in the case of iPad editions, clicking on the iPad screen – were 34 percent higher than in print. “The average percentage of readers reporting that they visited an advertiser’s website as a direct result of an iPad ad was almost twice as high as ads in print,” Affinity said.

© 2011 Google, GeoEye, DigitalGlobe, Cnes/Spot Image, TerraMetrics

Google sets up People Finder after Japan earthquake

The search giant also set up a People Finder page, where anyone could type in the name of people

they’re looking for who might have been affected by the disaster. Conversely, anyone who had informa-

Most, but not all ads appeared in both editions.

from multiple media sources daily, and only 1 percent of localists use digital media exclusively. The study found that 91 percent of localists watch local TV news at least once a week, followed by print newspapers, which get at least weekly perusal by 80 percent of 1,000 localists surveyed; local radio stations, which get 79 percent; local newspaper websites at 61 percent; and local TV station websites at 59 percent. The respondents had a median age of 44, 52 percent being female, 48 percent male. They were reportedly highly educated, with 71 percent having attended college.

“Localists” turn to TV most often for news Despite all the furious activity in hyperlocal media (community news sites), heavy consumers of local news still turn to TV the most, along with newspapers and radio, according to a new Nielsen study commissioned by the Newspaper National Network in the US. Local community news sites such as Patch, and are gaining ground. They’re already used weekly by 38 percent of “localists,” which the study defined as people regularly consuming content in at least four areas of local news: community events, community news, local government, local business, shopping, finance, sports and real estate.

However, only 2 percent of localists cite community news sites as their primary source of local news and information, compared to 49 percent for local TV, 30 percent for newspapers in print and online, and 11 percent for local radio. Sixty-nine percent of localists get local content

 I DIGITAL Amazon tops value perception rankings Amazon is the strongest brand globally and in the US, at least as measured by how consumers perceive value versus price paid. This is according to research agency Millward Brown’s Value-D ranking, released in March, based on surveys of 150,000 consumers in 24 countries. It’s the first time the unit of WPP’s Kantar Group – a market research, information and consultancy network – has released the value-based ranking of brand strength, says Peter Walshe, senior director of Millward Brown. Well-known iconic brands, such as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, while among the global top 10, trailed more utilitarian brands such as Colgate (No. 2) and Procter & Gamble Co.’s

tion about a person could enter that data as well. By March 11, the database had already amassed 7,200 records. Google had set up similar databases in the aftermath of the Haiti and New Zealand earthquakes. The company’s Twitter handles, @google and @googlemaps, streamed information on the progress of the tsunami as well as links to Google Maps data, showing where it could hit. Google’s YouTube division also collected citizens’ video accounts of the disaster on its CitizenTube channel, which shows some vivid firsthand looks at the devastating effects of the earthquake. Pampers (No. 4). Digital and tech high-fliers Apple and Google didn’t make the cut, but Nokia did. Apple didn’t make the top-10 list, Walshe says, because while it ranks among the highest of any brand in perceived desirability, it also ranks very high in perceived price. Google didn’t make the list because most consumers use its services for free, “so we can’t measure it on the price angle,” he adds. On the pricing spectrum, while Starbucks and other premium coffee brands might be more desirable overall, Nescafe globally, and Folgers in the US, make the top 10 on price perception. And while Walmart bested all bricks-and-mortar rivals in the US, it still couldn’t best its online rival Amazon.

Communicate Levant I 13

© Corbis


The Communiquestion

Dream job

We ask the industry: If you weren’t in your profession, what would you be? GILBERT NAHAS Head of TV production, JWT When I grow up, I want to be a gardener. Voila! ANNE VALERIE LAHOUD Producer and owner, Zoé Productions It is a question that we all reflect on at some point in our lives, and one that I have answered, as I always knew I would have been an artist. Dancing, singing, writing, and all other forms of self-expression make it so much easier to deal with inner emotions, to share feelings, and communicate only by intuition. Personally, my intuition has already played an important role in my relationships, personal and professional, and has rarely failed me. This is also why I know I would have made it, and loved being an artist. I feel an overwhelming satisfaction would have come from exorcising my deepest personal feelings by sharing them and getting rid of the burden of those deeply hidden emotions, by creating something magical that can make others happy as well. Thankfully, television production is a form of creative self-expression in many ways, which is one of the reasons why I am so passionate about my work, my team and Zoé. AMIR ANTOUN Senior planner, Starcom MediaVest Group I would have chosen to be a nightclub owner. NADA ABI SALEH Deputy managing director, H&C Leo Burnett Beirut A cat owner. A moviemaker. A polyglot. A world traveler. A lazy human being. A pathological lover of life. An off-Broadway choreographer. An admirer of the human mind. A bridge between March 8 and March 14. A breath of fresh air. The change that never stops. The wind that never rests. An everlasting smile. An unfinished dream.

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CARLA AL HALABY Creative operations executive, Spirit ME Ever since I was 12 years old I’ve held enthusiasm for drums; I consider them a great way to let out all of my inner hyper energy. I took lessons with a professional drummer hoping that one day I’d be as good as he was and become a member of a skilled band. I practiced for eight years, loved to listen to and create music, got extremely attached to the instrument, played with a band in university, and even became a drum teacher, transferring the experience I gained to other fanatical groups. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in advertising and public relations, thus letting go of my old passion and working in the domain I chose. I’m positive I would have been a great drummer if I had continued in that direction. Mind you, I have no regrets, since through being a drummer I was no stranger to hard work and practice, thus making me a better entrepreneur. RANIA NASSIF MOUFARREJ PR director, Adrenalin Communications “There is nothing that drives optimism more than a passion with a purpose; find your purpose” – Bruce Mae. Luckily I have been able to find that passion, make it my purpose and turn it into a profession. Being a journalist for more than 17 years, and a communication advisor for nine, I have never felt I have to go to work, but instead feel I am waking up each morning to practice one of my hobbies. I have always been passionate about people and communications. My career allows me to mix these two dimensions and broaden my perspective. In a nutshell, if I were not a journalist and a PR specialist, I would still choose to remain in the communication field as a publisher, writer, TV producer or media coach. KARIM ABOURIZK Art director, WonderEight I would be a food aficionado because I am a burger addict.

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First impressions

As Communicate Levant turns one, we ask you, our readers, what you thought of our first year


o here we are, celebrating Communicate Levant’s first anniversary. Over the past 12 months, a number of you have contacted us to give your opinions on the magazine. This came as a surprise, knowing how rarely people in Lebanon take the time to write to editors. Praising or criticizing, it’s always constructive feedback, so we asked industry players for their view as well. Granted, we’re being a bit self-indulgent publishing these comments, but it’s our birthday, so we’re allowed to be. We hope your feedback will help us spot where we are being – unintentionally – biased, so we can learn not to be, putting us more in touch with the market, so we can meet your expectations. We learned that, in general, you like the magazine’s angle and our attention to blogs, but you are skeptical of the industry, and would like us to be more critical. Thank you for your feedback; please keep it coming so we can continue to grow. And now, the floor is yours. I am an advertising student, and [Communicate Levant] has helped pave the way to solid know-hows of everything related to this field. I’ve enjoyed the Web Wisdom of Flip Media CEO Yousef Tuqan Tuqan, with his infinite rules to follow, in addition to many of the regional news items you feature. The big maps aren’t leaving any wall space in the house, but they were excellent ideas. November 2010’s article, “The producers,” was eye-opening indeed. Lastly, I was wondering if one of the sections in Communicate Levant can tackle more of the problems today’s fresh Lebanese graduates are facing in the media space. Asma Aa, marketing student

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Nada Abi Saleh, deputy managing director, Leo Burnett Beirut In one year, Communicate Levant managed to prove itself among all the magazines in the region. I think this is due to its direct contact made with the heart of the industry. Gabriel Aboudaher, TV producer, Leo Burnett Beirut


It’s a great magazine, however I would love to see more comment on advertising campaigns. Maybe have professionals comment on campaigns that are on the street. Constructive criticism, of course. Dana Alaywan, senior communication manager, Allied Advertising

I was very happy when Communicate finally issued Communicate Levant. I personally believe Communicate is the only magazine that can update us on all media and advertising happenings and news in a very useful and accessible way. However, all the articles are based on opinions taken from agencies, media, etcetera. … We never come across articles informing us (agencies) of how the client perceives the advertising and the media and how he measures its impact on his business. … It would be good to read some clients’ testimonials. … It would be interesting to highlight how digital became a need and how it started to become part of the marketing budget and even took a good chunk of it. (I noticed how the behavior of clients towards digital has changed, how it became a need.) In other words, I would like to read about the clients and their reactions. Reva Berbari, client servicing director, Cleartag Although I did enjoy reading your February issue, I can’t say I was fully satisfied. … Ad industry magazines always shy away from exposing [the industry’s] cheating acts. Of course I understand your position: You’re between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, your role is to promote the industry; on the other hand, these agencies are your bread and butter, both in terms of ad revenue and content. I also blame Communicate Levant for not investigating what the interviewees claim. [And] what about the receiving end? The mass public viewing these ads? Where’s their voice? A small opinion poll or sample survey of people on the street would have boosted the articles tremendously. My concern is to see an honest advertising industry. Fouad Berjaoui, marketeer Communicate Levant is undoubtedly the leading magazine in the Levant region for the marketing and the advertising sector. Its newspaper-like layout provides the reader with snapshots of the most relevant regional news. By including articles about key individuals and players in the industry, Communicate Levant makes its pieces very interesting and inspiring to read.

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I usually don’t buy magazines; I read everything online. But it so happens that I was at a café and saw the seventh issue [of Communicate Levant] and I remembered that this magazine usually features what bloggers are saying. … I have to say that it is really encouraging to see a Lebanese magazine mention this part of media: social media. Liliane Assaf, blogger

The Regional and International Work selections acknowledge the marketing talent in the world and allow people to overcome any creative limitations. In the future, we would love to see more visual coverage for advertising and artistic work in the region. Rania Bou Nassif Moufarrej, PR director, Adrenalin Communications I was delighted when Communicate Levant was first issued, and since then I’ve been enjoying every single article and news story that covers our industry. It’s always good to know more about fellow advertisers, clients, and ads, and go deep into things . . . But sometimes it’s a bit biased, revolving around two or three agencies. Layal El Sayed, Allied Advertising Communicate Levant is a must-read, not only for ad men, but also for business moguls and the interested public in general. It offers a wide range of insight and has become a reference in the advertising industry, with a welcome touch of wit. Makram Fata, executive manager, Adrenalin Communications I read [Communicate Levant] with interest. The segmentation makes it easily readable. It is targeted towards very specific profiles, which limits its distribution. Deenah Fakhoury, Fawaz Holding The Levant market really lacked a magazine like yours; I really appreciate the modern format, the quality of the writing and the content. I’d like to see more scoops: [They would] add some spice to the recipe. More Levant: A lot of the changes happening in the advertising scene [in Jordan and Syria] are not well covered.

More actual work. New campaigns: Bring in a creative director, art director or copywriter to talk about the monthly work. And I really wish there was something you could do to have more people from outside the advertising community reading the mag. That would be very helpful for the industry; it will make it more respected and liked, will grow the business and attract new, young talent. Nicolas Geachan, creative director, JWT Communicate Levant is a very engaging magazine in terms of advertising and social media news. As a person involved in this field, I’m eager to read the issue each month. I find it very interesting and reader-friendly. Caren Jreissati, PR communication executive, H&C Leo Burnett – PR Division I usually enjoy reading Communicate Levant, as I get a good overview of the market activities in the region. The section on successful international campaigns is a funk as it opens our eyes to new learning. The magazine, though, could play a stronger role in our day-to-day life. It could become an online tool to dig out references, and conduct campaign evaluations and likeability studies. And it could be more mobile-friendly now that we’ve all become mobile monsters with little time behind our desks. Ziad Jureidini, client service director, Drive Dentsu Communicate Levant comprises a solid range of informative and constructive advertising material. It builds a remarkable exchange platform that gathers different communication perspectives with the most recent advertising trends. It should, however, showcase young talent, and be

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a distinguished window to the advertising field. Also, more frequent updates should be performed on the Communicate Levant website to keep the information as fresh as possible. Walid Kanaan, executive creative director, Impact BBDO

I’d like to summarize my feedback in six words: daring, diversified, up-to-date, objective. Layal Moukahale, managing partner, Film Pudding

I read [Communicate Levant] from the first page until the last page with eyes wide open. It is so rich in its content and variety of articles. Keep up the good work and all the advertising agency insights. Elsa Khalil, communication manager, H&C Leo Burnett – PR Division

First off, on behalf of Grey, wishing you a happy first anniversary and a Grey-t year ahead. Communicate Levant has, without doubt, brought a fresh perspective to the industry in the region and is clearly promoting a lot of the young talent and capabilities along with a fresh perspective on what is going on in the ad scene in our part of the world. I think they are at the heart of sustaining a brighter future for our industry. Omar Nasreddine, regional director, Grey Beirut

In a region where adequate and professional communication references are largely lacking, Communicate Levant has brought much-needed industry insights to our desks by always delivering the latest news and analyzing it in a highly perceptive manner. Communicate Levant is a valuable resource to the Zoé team, and helps us refocus our management and marketing strategy. Anne Valérie Lahoud, owner/producer, Zoé

Communicate Levant is a high-quality magazine in terms of presentation, which is an essential tool to attract a customer at first sight. What always catches my attention is the highlighting of the new generation of people, the new blood in our economy. It encourages each one of us to come up with an original business idea. Tina Rousse, marketing manager Perfumes & Cosmetics, Socodile SARL (Part of Fawaz Holding)

The most effective way to tell if you love something is when you ask the question, “Has it been a year already?” So here I am, asking the question: Has it already been a year of Communicate Levant? First, and foremost, congratulations on having dared to launch. Second, bravo for making every section readable (for a change), interesting and informative. Third, thank you for not having pages of pie charts, bar charts, and area charts. Fourth, great choice of paper. Fifth, you proved that a publication is as good as the editor running it. Last, but certainly not least, “chapeau bas” [hats off] for not insulting the readers’ intellect (for a change... again), and choosing, instead, to use that intellect to fill some of your pages. So, if this is year one... Surprise me in year two. Ibrahim Lahoud, director of strategy, Brand Central

You Communicate, we Clemmunicate. Happy first anniversary to Communicate Levant, from the Clementeam. Sami Saab, creative director and founder, Clementine

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I would say that it’s time to like Communicate. Pierre Sarraf, founder Né. à Beyrouth Well, it’s tough to give feedback on one of the few magazines I am faithful to, and that I actually read from cover to cover. I’m quite a fan of Communicate Levant, really; and I appreciate each and every one of its issues. In fact, Communicate Levant first grabbed my attention because of its objective approach – a quality that was (and still is) not easy to find in a world of interests. Communicate is,

for me, one of those eclectic magazines where every time I read it, I discover something new and something interesting on any subject related to my business. It is The Reference when it comes to getting updates on the world of advertising. It is rich, yet it doesn’t overload the reader with useless chit-chat. It doesn’t take stands or promote certain individuals or companies to the detriment of others. It just puts all the information out there for us to process like real adults. And, without being a “paint painter” (a famous Arabic expression, commonly translated as “ass kisser”), I am honestly very happy that such a magazine exists in the region. To this day, I still haven’t found a better one with a similar approach and treatment of its subjects. Toufic Traboulsi, Independent Productions Communicate Levant is a one-of-a-kind publication; informative, analytical, entertaining, with a wide scope that covers local, regional and international work. From a communication and media professional point of view, Communicate Levant is an exciting read – contemporary, modern, and with engaging topics. I particularly enjoy the letter from the editor. … It really sets the mood and invites you to explore a rich and enjoyable magazine every month. Reine Zeinoune, media director, Mediacom In the Lebanese advertising market, Communicate Levant’s launch came as a fresh one. It’s fun and easy to read. However, some of the magazine content is built to create buzz around it and could be harmful to the subject’s image. But I guess this is one of the tough tasks of a magazine editor. Finally, Communicate Levant could consider featuring more advertising campaigns as case studies instead of just publishing the work. Raja Zgheib, marketing executive, VTR Beirut

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The Communiquiz

Communicate Levant is one year old. How much attention have you paid over the past 12 months? It’s time to find out. by Nathalie Bontems


year has passed since Communicate Levant was launched, but have you, dear reader, followed everything that happened during these past 12 months? Have you paid attention? Here is a chance to probe your memory, gauge your knowledge of the industry’s inner workings and demonstrate, once again, that you always know best.

3. What happened to the 63rd World Newspaper Congress scheduled in Beirut in June 2010? a) It was postponed due to political unrest b) It was cancelled due to a shortage in payments from the Lebanese organizers c) It was cancelled due to a lack of interest from publishers

1. Which of the following is not a Leo Burnett campaign for Exotica? a) A make-believe blogger called Ivy, determined to get laid by Valentine’s Day b) A giant teddy bear that broke into radio studios live on air, demanding roses and love c) A poster campaign of women with banners saying “Miss Missed Opportunity”

4. Who said: “Advertising today is just like Hollywood; it’s all about the box office”? a) Dani Richa, CEO of Impact BBDO b) Farid Chehab, chairman emeritus of H&C Leo Burnett c) Tarek Miknas, CEO of Promoseven Group

2. What was M&C Saatchi’s first slogan when it opened in Beirut? a) “One is enough” b) “Quantum leap” c) “You no longer have to say it twice”

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5. When was the law banning tobacco advertising in Lebanon first drafted? a) 2006 b) 2010 c) There is no such law 6. What did creative agency Clementine add to


its Joaillerie Moukarzel’s line “Mon bijou mon droit” (“My jewel, my right”) after the online uproar it generated? a) An exclamation mark b) A six-line explanation of the ad c) A smiley emoticon 7. Which TV station’s logo strongly resembles that of LBC? a) ABC b) BBC c) TF1 8. Which supermarket chain organized a competition with a cash prize of LBP300 million? a) TSC b) Fahed c) Le Charcutier Aoun

10. What did the visual of the Sama Beirut skyscraper ad by Impact BBDO show? a) A pigeon wearing suction pads on its feet b) King Kong wearing a scarf and earmuffs c) The Beirut skyline 11. With which magazine did toothpaste brand Crest partner for an online competition? a) The Health Journal b) Femme Magazine c) Gums and Ammo 12. Who said “Marriage is something of a national obsession, and our ad just portrays that”? a) Omar Boustany, Memac Ogilvy creative director b) Sami Saab, Clementine creative director c) Nicolas Geahchan, JWT creative director 13. Which local food chain was nailed by the Joe’s Box blog for blatant plagiarism of a Switzerlandbased Migros supermarket ad? a) Harkous Chicken b) Hawa Chicken c) Tanmia 14. Which other version of the “The Manschaft is not a beach towel” was also part of the FIFA World Cup campaign for Le Mall by JWT? a) “Manschaft is not the president of Germany” b) “The Manschaft is not an adult movie” c) “The Manschaft has nothing to do with firefighters” 15. What’s the most important thing in a wedding photographer’s bag, according to an attendee of National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry’s workshop? a) Lens cleaner b) Scotch c) Deodorant

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9. Which agency found its name thanks to a Zippo lighter? a) Fluid b) Z c) Ignite QUESTION TIME. Who’s done their homework? 16. Who said “I’m not used to entering a market by the back door, so I quickly got two plots in the UAE, then four, even 14 at one point”? a) Cheriff Tabet, CEO of Drive Dentsu b) Nasser Chamaa, chairman of Solidere c) Georges Chehwan, founder of Plus Holding 17. Which bank came up with a new financial product that we named the “nose job loan”? a) HSBC b) LCB c) FNB 18. Who described Lebanon as a big box of chocolates with a label on top reading “To open, read instructions inside?” a) Ibrahim Lahoud, director of strategy, Brand Central b) Georges Jabbour, president of the IAA Lebanon chapter c) Naji Boulos, managing director of Memac Ogilvy Lebanon 19. Which Lebanese daily paper was offered a free revamping of its website by the Beirut Spring blog, but threatened to sue the blogger? a) The Daily Star b) AnNahar c) Assafir 20. Which Lebanese TV station’s head said “Yes, we have to educate, but we also have to pay salaries. We want to sell shampoo, detergents and toothpaste”? a) Roy Hachem, CEO of OTV b) Michel el Murr, CEO of MTV c) Kassim Soueid, CEO of NBN

21. How many times has the first Syrian conference on advertising been postponed (so far)? a) One b) Three c) Five 22. Which creative figure from a competing agency did Edmond Moutran invite to the Memac Ogilvy management meeting in November? a) Becharra Mouzannar, H&C Leo Burnett b) Walid Kanaan, Impact BBDO c) Ramsey Naja, JWT 23. What was the name of the futurist invited to the International Federation of Outdoor Advertising conference held last June in Beirut? a) Watts Wacker b) Bart Backer c) Harry Hacker 24. Which of these Lebanese magazines was not launched during the past year? a) In b) U c) Plastik 25. According to PR analyst Paul Holmes, consumers identify corporations with which Star Wars character? a) Darth Vader b) Jabba the Hutt c) An Ewok 26. How old is the law on advertising that currently applies in Syria? a) 45 years b) 55 years c) 65 years

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28. Who said “If you don’t think the Internet matters in the Middle East, just wait a minute”? a) Yousef Tuqan Tuqan, CEO of Flip Media b) Dimitri Metaxas, group director, OMD Digital c) Microsoft founder Bill Gates 29. What’s the difference between a Tweet and a Tweep? a) A Tweet is a yellow bird and a Tweep is a well-connected twerp b) A Tweet is a message on Twitter and a Tweep is a person who uses Twitter c) A Tweet is a nice message on Twitter and a Tweep is an aggressive message on Twitter 30. What was the provocative line that M&C Saatchi came up with for Scotch whisky brand Label 5? a) Be different and vote b) Be different, don’t get breast implants c) Be different, respect traffic laws 31. What’s the Geekfest? a) An Athens-based spelling bee b) A get together of technology addicts c) An online event during which people drink beer

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32. What’s Flame? a) A brand of lighter b) A fast-spreading online ad c) A post-production compositing tool 33. Who said “The consumer’s desire to share put us in crisis-management mode”? a) Mark Daou, overseas operations director TBWA\Rizk b) Roy Haddad, chairman and CEO Middle East and Africa at JWT c) Philippe Skaff, CEO MENA, Grey Group 34. Which of these awards did FP7 grab at the last MENA Cristal Awards? a) Corporate Grand Cristal b) Cyber Grand Cristal c) Film Grand Cristal 35. Which international restaurant chain is suing a Lebanese blogger in Kuwait? a) Wagamama b) Benihana c) Pizzarama Answers: 1.b; 2. c; 3. b; 4. b; 5. a; 6. c; 7. a; 8. c; 9. a; 10. a; 11. b; 12. a; 13. b; 14. b; 15. c; 16. c; 17. c; 18. a; 19. a; 20. a; 21. b; 22. c; 23. a; 24. c; 25. a; 26. c; 27. b; 28. a; 29. b; 30. c; 31. b; 32. c; 33. b; 34. b; 35. b

27. What sort of saucy product is the Love Light brand? a) Romantic scented candles b) Glowing condoms c) Suggestively shaped bedside lamps

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Building blocks Communicate Levant looks at the puzzling shifts of people occurring within the advertising sector by Nathalie Bontems


nnouncements have been sounding, one after the other: This new CEO has been named, that international network is increasing its financial hold over its regional partner, this new team has been brought onboard, and that new department has been created. Nothing new under the sun, one might say. That’s part of every single corporation’s daily life, so what’s all the fuss about? Except we couldn’t help but marvel, not only at the sheer number of announcements, but more importantly at the coincidence of these changes within an impressive number of agencies. It is all happening, or being made public, in the course of a few months, within Leo Burnett, Impact BBDO, Promoseven, OMD, UM, VivaKi... Let’s recap: In December, Publicis Groupe announced that Alex Saber, chief operating officer of its media operations VivaKi (formerly Publicis Groupe Media and owner of media agencies Starcom Mediavest Group and Zenith), was the new chairman of VivaKi for the MENA region. Philip Jabbour was named CEO of SMG MENA and Tarek Daouk, its executive vice-president, was given a newly created position as the region’s

chief innovation and integration officer; Firas el Zein was promoted as CEO of Zenith Optimedia. In January, Leo Burnett MENA announced that its former regional executive chief creative officer for the Middle East and Africa, Bechara Mouzannar, was now CCO. A series of nominations and promotions have ensued (see “Major changes at Leo Burnett," page 8, Communicate Levant, Feb 2011). In February, Middle East Communications Network (MCN), which owns Promoseven and Universal Media, among other companies, announced that Ghassan Harfouche had been appointed group CEO, filling the position by the end of March. Also in February, a year after New-York based Omnicom took its ownership of Impact BBDO to 85 percent, the regional network announced its president Dani Richa was to become CEO. We couldn’t help but wonder what the reasons behind such a conjunction of events were. It turned out that they are many, and quite di-

verse. Catching up locally on decisions made at a regional scale, trying to solve pending structural problems, adapting to the new realities of the market, or handing over the helm of the group to a younger generation, are just a few of the explanations given, and they are not valid for all and everyone. Lastly, we wondered what these deep internal restructurings would mean to the industry, what they would translate into. When a new CEO is appointed, it’s no trivial matter; new policies, new strategies and new faces often follow. Not to mention the fact that with the departure of some of the men who had been there since the early days of advertising in the region – men often called the “founding fathers,” such as Alain Khouri for Impact BBDO or Farid Chehab for Leo Burnett, or others who have been instrumental in building the industry as Fadi Salameh for MCN – a page is being turned in a sector where names and interpersonal relationships usually play a significant role. The advertising industry in Lebanon, and the region, is at a turning point, it seems. And the men behind this – or should we say these – reshufflings have a lot to say.

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The Richa recipe Dani Richa, president and CEO of Impact BBDO, talks to Communicate Levant about the network’s future, its people, and making the two work better together profiles and backgrounds. Even for our different companies within the group, the walls come down. It doesn’t matter where the idea comes from, or who takes the lead. What matters is that they’re working together with a simple goal: finding a unifying idea and activating it effectively; each one, within his/her area of expertise, brings in the added value needed to amplify this idea, instead of duplicating it for the different media. Are you creating new positions? We have a lot of new positions, but we’re having trouble with titles right now. There are not enough titles and some have not been defined yet. We have “innovation officers”, “content development managers.” The titles are not that important, but these people integrate into the process and add value to it.

How will the increased financial participation of BBDO in Impact BBDO translate? We’ve become a full subsidiary of BBDO and the only change is on the operational front, not the cultural one. We haven’t just become BBDO; we’ve been BBDO since 1979. The culture of BBDO was embedded in Impact BBDO at all levels, way before the increase of share. Look at the appointment: they appointed as CEO someone from the agency, not somebody from outside (see “Sweet dreams,” page 38). Did Alain Khouri feel it was time for him to retire? Knowing Alain, he will never fully retire. We hope to keep bothering him for advice. But I think it was the right time; it coincides with a milestone, the agency’s 40th anniversary. And I think he felt the agency and team were ready and that – I hope – he was comfortable with his successor. All the pieces fell in place. I know that one would wonder if it has anything to do with the sale. But it’s almost like everything came together because it had to happen. Is there, in your opinion, a generation issue? Is it time for the older generation to let go? A lot of agencies started in the 70s and the people who had started them may have been in their 30s back then. So you will probably have more than one case of retirement; you could call it a generation thing because of that. With a new person in charge, changes often ensue. What are your plans for the network? For one, I’m not new. This is a progression that we’ve been preparing and one in which I’ve been

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involved before taking on these new responsibilities. All this hasn’t been triggered by an outsider who came in at management level and wanted to do things differently, but by the need to adapt to the changes happening in our industry. We’re aiming to cope with the all these changes by trying to take a leadership role. Because of the technology, the consumer is in control. This redefines everything that we’re doing. We are relooking at our business model altogether. Most importantly, we are redefining our recruitment and HR strategy in order to complete our offering. The profiles of the people we are hiring today are very different from the profiles of the people that we had. Can you be more specific? Today, I’m not interested in anybody who’s working in advertising, because we already do that and we need to complement what we do. We are looking at technical people who have the capability to develop apps, at motion designers who think in terms of entertainment and contents, at channel planners who, from within the agency and not the media planning, can define the consumer’s journey and identify the adequate touch points, at bloggers, people who engage conversations on social media. These people are quite different from your classic advertising executive. We have people coming from Latin America, the Far East, Australia, the US, Europe… We have one Serbian creative director, we hired a guy from Chile, and people are coming from the Middle East, but from completely outside our industry – like musicians. The beauty of what we’re doing is that it’s like a great incubator: Put the great people that we have to work closely with people who have different skills,

Are you considering structural changes – creating new departments for example? We have around 1,000 people and we sit in different offices, geographies and disciplines. What I’d like to see is these 1,000 people working with no such boundaries. To jumpstart the process, every Tuesday morning I personally sit with all the heads of the different companies to make sure that every single one of them knows what his counterpart is doing and looks at ways to work together. This has been extremely successful; every new business that we’ve approached as an integrated team has paid off. The organic growth is very important. Clients are referred from one of our businesses to another, and another. A group that can offer all that in the best of class, regardless of geography, has a winning formula. What are the next steps? The most important change is not structural, or opening a new company. It is the change in the mindset. It’s having the right group of talents working singlemindedly. Now, it’s a question of building on the diversification that we’ve done, the companies that we have opened in the past three years, and making it work together better. How receptive have the teams been to this change in mindset so far? It’s only normal that people are territorial. You will find resistance. And to break this resistance, initially I had to force it. But very quickly, people started seeing the benefits and seeing that instead of protecting their piece of the pie, the whole pie was growing. And people are finally learning. After doing the same thing for 15 years, it’s like a new job altogether. This change that was perceived as a threat is now seen as a propeller. I, for one, am learning so much.


Inner mutations Leo Burnett MENA is restructuring, with an ambition of becoming today the agency of tomorrow


“ t’s a refreshing of people rather than a reshuffling,” says Bechara Mouzannar (pictured, above), Leo Burnett’s new chief creative officer, when asked about the company’s restructuring. There has been a lot goings on within the network (which is owned by Publicis Groupe). When Farid Chehab, the former CEO and founder of the agency in the region, announced he would become chairman emeritus and hand over the helm of the company to Mouzannar, it had a domino effect. “There’s always a moment when things come to change; that’s part of any corporation’s life worldwide,” says Mouzannar. “Obviously, when someone is promoted, someone else needs to take his or her place.” Mouzannar is far from new to Leo Burnett, which didn’t wait for Chehab to make his retirement public to trigger this inner change. “Leo Burnett is not changing because Farid is leaving; this new orientation was given a few years ago. Maher Achi, Raja Trad and Farid Chehab were all in agreement to make the agency contemporary and integrated. But it’s becoming more official and growing. It’s maturing. When there’s a change at the helm of any structure, it is only normal that a new ‘government’ will follow,” he says. However, he adds that although the process had been jump-started several years ago, now is the time to take it further in terms of creativity. “For several years, at a creative level, there was some sort of stability at Leo Burnett, which was the agency’s policy at the time. But there’s a change in mentalities and, of course, all across the industry in tremendous proportions. When a whole industry transforms, people need to transform as well,” he says.

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ENGAGING TIMES. Mouzannar has a very clear vision of where he wants to take Leo Burnett MENA. “We want to create a fresh and insightful company, which engages and entertains people through innovative channels, not only traditional media, and with the potential of actually changing the way society feels and reacts to certain things,” he says. “We have a responsibility to the society in which we live and we want to interact with human beings, not necessarily through ads, but through acts that involve society.” Leo Burnett has long been claiming to create real campaigns for real people. “We’ve been doing this in some briefs and on some markets,” he says. “But now is the time to try to innovate in each and every campaign, and take the integration even further. We mean to have more and more participation from the public; this is where the future is and we are organizing ourselves to get to that.” Part of this organization consists of nurturing “growth from within,” says Nada Abi Saleh, deputy managing director at Leo Burnett Beirut. “We have this culture and what is happening today exemplifies it perfectly: Regionally, Bechara took the helm of Leo Burnett, but he had been doing it for a few years already and there was a continuity. Similarly, in Leo Burnett Beirut, for Areej [Mahmoud] who was associate creative director on P&G and local brands and who took over the creative part in Beirut, the transition happened smoothly.” The mixture of new and old blood is what Leo Burnett is now after. “It’s a change and it’s

not a change. Some people have been working for the past 25 years and others for just a year. This is both refreshing and gives seniority. It’s a change, but with some constants and pillars,” says Abi Saleh. “Take planners: Planning has been institutionalized recently but we have boosted the planning functions by adding to it digital and experiential planning functions.” The same goes for PR, says the agency’s new PR manager Mounir Camel-Toueg. “We want to turn our PR activity into an overwhelming and comprehensive understanding of how communication works. We are developing as communication people, as opposed to pure PR people. And we plan to be very aggressive.” Again, Leo Burnett doesn’t have an HR executive, but a “people and culture person”, and there are no “client servicing” people, but “brand experts,” “because we are at the service of the brand, not the client,” says Abi Saleh. “Terminology makes a big difference to us, because it illustrates our mindset, the way we position ourselves, and the way we work at Leo Burnett.” BRINGING DOWN THE WALLS. The plan is also to erase the rigid lines between the various businesses within the company. “Integration consists of having several departments working together in creative circles as opposed to separate teams. There are no more barriers. We applied this to a few campaigns at an experiential level that we now take as examples, but it was not implemented on the full hierarchy and geography of the agency. Today, we’ll make sure that all heads of creative departments will have the skills of integrating, conversing on the Internet, etcetera. The change is not only bringing new heads, but also a new type of heads, who are not only into creative excellence and strategic thinking, but also integration and innovation. Everybody should be up to speed on digital skills; everybody has to be aligned,” says Mouzannar. He adds that each and every nomination that has been occurring for the past months aims to fortify the humane aspect of the job. For example, Malek Ghorayeb, who will take over Mouzannar’s creative role regionally, was picked because “he’s excellent at motivating people and fine-tuning our creative work,” Mouzannar says. Areej Mahmoud “knows how to inspire others.” Creative director Yasmina Baz will take “an experiential role on P&G in terms of interaction with people. There’s a trend towards innovation and pushing the agency further, every single one of us having a role to play in this movement,” says Mouzannar.


Giving time New units, new faces, new objectives… OMD stands among the agencies that are rethinking their way of doing business


he fact that there’s no more “Media Direction OMD”, but simply OMD, the media strategy arm of Impact BBDO, is not a coincidence, rather a reflection of how the agency and beyond the industry is changing across the board. According to Chadi Farhat, managing director of OMD in Lebanon, two factors are driving the changes we are witnessing today. Transitional period. On the one hand, acquisitions are happening all over the region. “The old generation felt it was time to retire, and by that I mean sell their shares to the global owners and let go of the management, all of which they were not ready to do before. There’s a coincidence between the interest of the networks in the region and the will to sell of the older generation, following the latest downturn, which led them to reconsider. That’s the reason why they’re stepping out, allowing the new generation to step in.” Farhat says this transition is not only to let new blood in, but also because at a managerial and ownership level, things have changed. “We, at OMD, now report to the UK and New York. The eyes of the owning networks are focused on us. So, in return, we need to be up to the standards in terms of management, offering, services and structure. But this is for the benefit of the company, not the contrary: things move positively ahead, towards more governance, more organization, more accountability. You can sense the change,” he explains. Now or never. On the other hand, the market’s needs, the clients’ demands and the digital penetration have flipped the whole business upside down. “People are connected; clients in Lebanon know what’s happening in the US or Europe, for example, so they demand to be given the same level of service. As a result, the agency has no other option, but to restructure in order to provide for these needs: it’s no more about who gets you the right price, you need to hire the right talents and get the right research to offer the right solutions to take the brand further.” Inside OMD, since 2010, the trend is to move to more specializations, from being just a “planning and buying” company to having a specialized planning unit and a specialized buying unit. But beyond this, the agency also

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created a business development unit – handling organic growth within the company as well as client’s development. This unit organized the recent OMD digital conference (see page 44). A dedicated research unit, OMD Insight, was also established. “Before, it used to be the planner going to get information from Stat Ipsos and submitting them to the client. Today, it’s not about submitting data, it’s about reading that data, translating into solutions and highlights for the brand. Eventually, this unit could help the market and the media. It could do consulting for Communicate, for example. Again, it’s not about who pays less, it’s about who gives more,” says Farhat, adding that a special unit was also created exclusively for Pepsi, with a total of 11 people across the Levant. Owning specializations. In Beirut alone, OMD hired nine people on top of the 15-strong staff since 2010. The new hires are all Lebanese, but none of them were recruited from Lebanon. “Dubai was the shining star of the region, but when the crisis took place, many brilliant people were looking for other opportunities, among which the first was the rise of the Levant market. Of course, in terms of value, the Levant will never replace the GCC, but in terms of excellence, creativity and expertise, it is rising. So it was an opportunity for us as well,” says Farhat. This whole internal revolution was spurred by a decision taken at a regional scale. “It was already happening in Dubai before the crisis and then everything froze because of the downturn. So now we’re catching up. And it’s not over, actually. For this year, we have another big project on the specialization front and by the end of 2011 we’re planning to restructure our presence in Syria and Jordan, where, for now, we only have affiliates,” says Farhat. The objective is to own certain specializations on the market and “to ensure that the clients who we believe in and who believe in us are always with us. We can let go of those with whom we don’t share a vision, and we want to protect the big businesses that we have, rather than spreading thin across the different businesses that we can have,” says Farhat, who adds: “The question is whether or not the market is ready and knows of these specializations. But we’re taking them there, and it requires time.”

© Getty Images


Heart of the matter

Companies need to take their corporate social responsibility seriously in order to build sustainable businesses by Ibrahim Nehme


DR. ABDULRAZZAK CHARBAJI. Founder and principal of Charbaji Consultants

DONA SALEM. Events manager at the World Trade Center

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ou can’t help but feel a sense of hopelessness when you speak to Dr. Abdulrazzak Charbaji about corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Lebanon. The founder and principal of Charbaji Consultants, who is also a professor of applied statistics, applied econometrics, and research methods at the Lebanese American University, admits he was more enthusiastic about the topic when he started research on CSR eight years ago than he is today. “Sometimes you feel that some concepts are hard to implement in Lebanon,” he says. CSR is about how companies manage business processes to make a positive impact on society. Firms need to answer two aspects of their operations: the quality of their management – both in terms of people and processes (the inner circle); and the nature and quantity of their impact on society in various areas (the outer circle). A preliminary assessment by CSR Lebanon (a consultancy launched last year to raise awareness and enhance CSR dialogue) through its network of connections in the private and public sectors, and political, economic, and international organizations, showed that there is “a significant lack of aware-

ness about CSR within Lebanese corporations. Its implementation is still very limited, only undertaken by a few corporations in specific fields.” During a seminar organized by the consultancy in May 2010 – back then it was the first initiative to be undertaken at a national level to tackle CSR, a testament to how much the concept was in the shadows – Nick Hartmann, deputy resident representative at the United Nations Development Program Lebanon, expressed concern that CSR was not a genuine public commitment of organizations. “Despite the advancement of CSR globally, there has not yet been a serious national movement for the integration of CSR practices into the business strategies of local companies,” he said. UNDP Lebanon had recognized the need to move the agenda and work toward the development of a National CSR strategy, he added. A conference will be held in Beirut on April 14. Dona Salem, its organizer, says CSR conversation is picking up in the country. But she adds that despite her efforts to promote the conference, there is a lack of awareness about the issue, whereas in the Gulf countries the concept is well known.


CSR IN LEBANON. Ghada Hassan, executive director at CSR Lebanon, says Lebanon may be the one country in the Arab world that needs CSR the most because it has witnessed a lot of wars, has a lot of inequalities and lopsided developments, and is a country where the private sector is powerful and the government’s role is weak. Hassan puts companies in Lebanon into four categories: those that aren’t aware of CSR at all; those that are aware, but aren’t doing anything because they think they don’t need to; those that are not doing it correctly, or are doing it in a way that is not sustainable (a key metric of any CSR program); and those few doing it right. She says awareness among the public is increasing, prompting more companies to jump on the CSR bandwagon. But, in her opinion, had consumers been more aware of this aspect, they would have exerted more pressure on businesses to act responsibly. This, however, is not the case. According to Charbaji, Lebanese people, as products of their environment, are corrupted. He attributes this to Lebanon being a princely state with leaders on top and followers at the bottom, a mentality that is transmitted to the business world, where there’s no separation between management and ownership. “We are raised in a society that reinforces separation between a leader and a follower, something that also leads to succession problems – the owner transferring power to his son before retiring, even if the son doesn’t have the same vision for the company as his dad and/or is incapable of doing the job,” Charbaji says. “When you say CSR or corporate governance, it means strict guidelines for recruiting, hiring and firing, training, women’s empowerment, safety, etcetera. We don’t have any of these because of the succession problems,” he adds. CSR calls for the involvement of employees in decision making, which means a company must train its employees and give them information. “Who from the Lebanese small and medium enterprises is willing to give information to their employees?” Charbaji asks. Information is power. FACILITATING CHANGE. Holcim, which produces cement, seems to be one of the few companies in Lebanon investing in CSR and sustainable development; the company has its own CSR/Sustainable Development department. “Sustainable development is an essential element of our strategy. It’s not something we do as an extra, but it’s grounded in our strategy, embedded in every aspect of our business. It integrates the economic, environmental and social impacts, which are the three elements of the triple bottom line,” says Grace ElAzar, CSR/ SD coordinator and communication manager at Holcim Lebanon. “CSR is not optional anymore, especially if you really want to be competitive. We do it because we believe it has an added value and competitive advantage. CSR is one of this decade’s major business issues, following the rise to prominence of environmental management 10 years ago.” “A company should understand that it has a responsibility towards its consumers, its partners, and its community. It should aim for responsible

YOUNG AMBASSADORS. Schoolchildren do their bit to promote sustainable development growth,” says Benoit Dadolle, Middle East marketing manager at cheesemaker Bel Fromagerie. He says a company should never forget that its main objective is to facilitate change in the communities where it operates, as opposed to just being a commercial entity. Bel and its brand Picon recently partnered with NGO Arcenciel to launch an initiative dubbed “Happiness Heroes,” which aims to transform children into ‘Ambassadors of Happiness’ in their local communities by getting them to participate in a program fostering solidarity and promoting sustainable development. Thirty private schools from all across Lebanon will participate in this project. The purpose is to raise awareness of social problems among children and encourage them to take action. SUSTAINABLE AND BENEFICIAL. CSR strategies should be looked at holistically, and not as oneoff activities. Hassan says any CSR strategy must have, at the very least, a three- to five-year horizon. Some companies lay out their strategies over a period of 10 years. “For CSR programs to be successful, they must be sustainable and beneficial to the local community, and to drive sustainable CSR programs you need to create a link with your long-term business goals,” says Ferruh Gurtas, Intel’s corporate affairs manager for the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa region. “But if you do ‘on, off’ CSR activities that are not linked to your long-term strategy and do not involve local partners, then they can’t be sustainable.” “Holcim is a producer of cement, and this production has major impacts on our environment, which we are aware of. That’s why we pay attention to our environmental performance through our environmental management system to responsibly

Communicate Levant I 33

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manage the environmental impacts and continuously improve,” ElAzar says.

LEILA KOLEILAT. Communications manager at Roche

GRACE ELAZAR. CSR/SD coordinator and communication manager at Holcim Lebanon

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NOT CHARITY. Since CSR awareness and implementation are still in their primitive stages in Lebanon, many companies confuse CSR with charity. UNDP’s Hartmann stressed during his speech that local companies should move away from random philanthropic contributions and instead take an in-depth look at their internal processes and the communities in which they operate to strategically lay down the basis of a mutually reinforcing plan that will both contribute to the sustainable development of their communities and lead to long-term profit and corporate sustainability. Charbaji says companies in Lebanon make a lot of donations for a variety of reasons – religious, PR, or just out of goodwill. But this, according to him, is not CSR. “Donations are not bad, but they’re a cost; CSR is an investment, not a cost. We are talking about something that has a return in the long run; you don’t just pay and it’s over. There’s a big difference.” Hassan agrees. “Some companies think they’re doing their CSR homework by donating money. We encourage this on a personal level, but on a corporate level it has nothing to do with CSR. The most important thing about CSR is sustainability, and charity is not sustainable.” She suggests, however, that companies invest donation money to improve lives – such as building factories and financing projects that help create jobs. This leads to sustainable development as it boosts productivity and income, and has a long-term benefit.

Leila Koleilat, communications manager at health care company Roche, says even if a company wants to do charity by sponsoring a specific NGO, it can do more than just helping out with the monetary aspect. “The NGO needs to grow, it needs exposure, empowerment, education, and orientation for it to be strong enough,” she says, adding that Roche doesn’t just give money to organizations; it teaches them how to operate and invites them to global congresses to exchange experiences with NGOs. ElAzar says one of the challenges her CSR department faces is not falling into the donations trap. “Our CSR approach is not philanthropic, but rather a strategic approach, through which we focus on improving the quality of life of all of our stakeholders – the members of our workforce, their families, the communities around our operations, our customers and our suppliers. Years ago it was harder for people to understand this concept. Now we explain the reasons behind our strategy through dialogue and initiatives in the local communities.” According to ElAzar, Lebanon does not lack sources of donations, so much as investments in projects with long-term objectives and projects that serve the needs of specific communities. “Today we receive fewer requests for donations, and we still say no to a lot of those that we get.” She adds that donations are not wrong, but they’re not CSR. GOING GREEN. In addition to donating to charity, a lot of Lebanese companies have been “going green” in an attempt to “adopt the environment” as part of their CSR program.


it is to sell in a responsible way,” Dadolle says. “In the case of the Happiness Heroes initiative, the communication is done only in schools. If the objective were to sell more, then we would have communicated at points of sale in order to touch consumers’ heart and influence their purchasing.”

WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME? During CSR Lebanon’s seminar, Mohammad Baasiri, vice-governor of the Lebanese Central Bank, urged companies to embed CSR in their businesses, saying this will help reduce costs, increase profits, encourage shareholder stability, and employee loyalty, as well as improving brands’ reputations. Hassan says there are both tangible and intangible benefits to implementing a CSR strategy. “When a company is socially responsible towards its employees and able to retain its workforce, that’s a gain, but it’s an intangible, unquantifiable gain.” Many companies have separated their CSR units from their marketing units. “CSR programs must not be tied directly to sales. Intel is very sensitive about this topic and there is a clear organizational separation between the corporate affairs group, which runs the CSR programs, and the sales and marketing group,” Ferruh says. However, according to him, some companies do CSR to enhance their reputation. “In Lebanon they still look at CSR from a marketing point of view,” Hassan says. “CSR is handled by the communications department, whereas there should be a separate department to take care of it. Usually the communications department has a limited budget, so when CSR is part of it, only a small part of that limited budget goes to it. In addition, when anything is done, it is from a marketing point of view, and not a sustainability point of view.” “The objective of CSR is not to sell more;

MOVING FORWARD. Charbaji finds hope in sustainable education, as he thinks it’s the only way to reform a society and make it ready to absorb concepts such as CSR and sustainability. “You go to the kids; you teach them how to like each other; you try to eliminate the stereotyping that plagues our society; you give them corporate values such as green environment, human rights, equality, indiscrimination, etcetera. This way, if they fight, they won’t burn tires and pollute the environment.” He says many of the corporate values may contradict some of their already inherited social values, but this is the best way to develop better citizens, better managers, and better leaders. “We should teach them CSR and corporate governance before they become employees,” he says. “We live in a world where success is no longer determined by just stock prices, profits, deposits, and asset balances,” wrote Khaled Kassar, founder and CEO of CSR Lebanon, in CSR Lebanon’s first newsletter in June 2010. “If our yearly financial reports are not complemented with social reports that make us proud, our business is missing something of great importance, and our future as companies will be subjected to social and environmental risks that we can no longer ignore in the world, and in Lebanon in particular.” As Fadi Ghandour, founder and CEO of Aramex, an advocate of CSR, Tweeted last month, “The social responsibility of corporations is not a luxury or a PR job, it is believing that investing in society is a matter of survival.”

© Corbis

Dany Aouad, general manager at IB2, the agency that created the Happy Planet campaign for BankMed, attributes this to the global ecofriendly trend, with different companies trying to tackle this cause. However, he cautions that the intention should not just be in campaign messages. Aouad says BankMed has been undertaking a lot of activities to bring its green message to life. It is starting recycling programs and working on eco-friendly power systems. Bank Med has also installed solar panels at a school in Akkar, offered the ministry of environment a hybrid car, cleaned beaches, planted trees, and organized seminars and workshops. According to Koleilat, environment is the CSRrelated subject that the public is most aware of. But she’s hesitant to believe there is significant implementation taking place beyond the slogans and marketing messages. “We’re going green; so what?” says Hassan. She admits that a lot of companies have decided to support the environment, but questions if anything tangible is being done. “In some organizations the employees don’t even know their companies have gone green, with the management not taking the effort to educate their staff on simple yet important issues such as switching off lights, shutting down PCs, etcetera.” She says planting a tree in front of a company’s headquarters or banning smoking inside a bank’s branches is not CSR.

GHADA HASSAN. Executive director at CSR Lebanon

FERRUH GURTAS. Intel’s corporate affairs manager for the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa region

Communicate Levant I 35


Production Guide

Raising the bar

The Chimney Pot’s Henric Larsson explains how to maintain top-notch production standards


fter tackling the issue of budget, Henric Larsson, CEO of Sweden-based post-production house The Chimney Pot, explains in this second chapter of a three-fold guide how to boost the quality of your production project. SPEND MORE TIME ON OFFLINE. Usually your storytelling depends more on your offline than on your visual effects (VFX) shots. Do not try to put shots in order according to your storyboard. Try to change the order, to exclude scenes, etc. If you have alternative takes from the set and an experienced offline editor, you will be amazed by what he can do with your material. I often hear that local editors on new markets are not up to standard, but I think the issue is more about trusting them and giving them the opportunity and freedom to play around and try things. And a really good television commercial (TVC) always goes through a long and creative offline editing process.

HENRIC LARSSON. CEO of The Chimney Pot

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BE OPEN TO SUGGESTIONS; DO NOT CONTROL YOUR POST HOUSE TOO MUCH. Just because you were expecting something else, that does not

mean your idea is better. If you do not let your local post house surprise you, they will never impress you. Some clients tend to control every step of the process, which gives them a final product that is 90 percent of what they expected – since you can never control somebody to do something 100 percent the way you would have done it yourself; there are always unknown factors. But if, instead, you get your local artists to feel involved in the project and their input is valued, you will get a loyal team, as well as new ideas. Post-production artists are very creative and can add a lot to your project if handled the right way. If you are willing to accept that, sometimes, you may not appreciate everything presented to you, you will, in the long-run, end up with TVCs that look like 150 percent of what you expected at the start. WORK WITH INTERNATIONAL FREELANCERS. We all work on an international market, and artists travel all around the world to be inspired and learn from others. In the post-production industry, artists usually go to London and LA. The


willingness to travel for inspiration is something you, as a client, can use. There are tons of senior VFX artists around the world that would love to travel and do a freelance job. They do not care about the budget; they just want to get out for a month or two. If the job does not take too long, you can get some of the best stars, guys with Hollywood blockbusters on their CV, for your next job. Of course, there has to be more of a creative challenge than just producing a 3D pack shot, but stars are willing to come to you, and not only for the professional challenge. Next time, ask your post house to get a senior VFX supervisor or art director to join the team. You will benefit from it and so will your local post supplier, who will learn a lot from working closely with somebody with this level of skill and experience. However, you need to keep in mind that these artists are senior. You cannot tell them what to do in detail at every step. Another obstacle when working with international artists in this region is the constant change and feedback that make some jobs go on forever. Then the artists might not stay until the finish; they have to go back home at some point. But if you use them for art direction, you do not need them to supervise small tweaks of the TVC right up to the finish line. WORK IN HD. There is no reason not to finalize your commercials in HD today. You can consider finishing them in standard definition only if you are doing very advanced 20-layer VFX shots. Always demand that your film is finalized in HD, and that you get a HD master of it so that only at the end, when your post house delivers to the TV stations, should the film be converted from high definition or standard definition. Working in HD will give you a superior end product as long as you’re careful on how your post house down converts from HD to SD. Too many people use very advanced processes focused on keeping details crisp, which gives you artifacts such as aliasing and a very digital-looking picture. Make sure to quality control the standard definition master before it goes out for broadcast. LET POST HOUSES PITCH ON THE JOB. Being loyal to your post-production partner is something to value. Long-term cooperation will give you the needed support on special projects, plus a supplier that understands your needs and demands. On the other hand, you will get a better end result if you are willing to let a couple of post houses pitch on the job. If it is a more complex job than just a one-day work in a Flame compositing station, you can benefit hugely from letting two or three post houses pitch. Give them all a budget so you do not just put them against each other to get the price down. Let them instead tell you how they plan to execute the job, and who will be in the team. Let them send you references and mood boards for inspiration, etcetera. It will

RIGHT TAKE. Planning and attention to detail are key when shooting a film put the post houses on their toes, which is good for you and your project. TRUST YOU LOCAL POST HOUSE; DO NOT TAKE ALL THE BIG JOBS ABROAD. I too often hear that “local post houses are no good, so we take all the big jobs abroad.” What if all local ad agencies argued the same way and never gave any decent jobs to local production companies? There is, of course, what I call “agency tourism,” meaning that agencies love setups which allow them to travel to warmer places for shooting, or to cool cities for post. This being said, they still do a lot of jobs with local production companies that sometimes decide for themselves that they do not want to stay for post. Your local post-production partners probably knows how to realize your visions, since they have the tools and can exchange experiences with others. They also read stuff online. They might not have done exactly the type of VFX you demand, but there is always a first time for everybody, and it does not mean they are not able to handle the job. Trust them and they will deliver. Just demand frequent approvals at each step, so that early in the process you’ll be able to see if it is going wrong. If all production companies and ad agencies start entrusting local post houses with challenging jobs, the industry will grow and improve, and you will soon see local shops doing work you never expected a local supplier to do.

Communicate Levant I 37



Sweet dreams

Andrew Robertson, president and CEO of BBDO, tells Communicate how his agency is taking digital to heart, making moves in market share, and turning television back on by Austyn Allison


ALAIN KHOURI. Chairman emeritus of Impact BBDO

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t the start of February, against a backdrop of riots in Egypt, regional advertising network Impact BBDO celebrated its 40th birthday. At a dinner for staff and guests in Dubai, where Impact BBDO is headquartered, founder and CEO Alain Khouri handed over his title and the running of the business to its president, Dani Richa, and took a step back to become chairman emeritus. The transition had been two years in the making. As part of Khouri’s meticulous succession plan, Global holding company Omnicom Group has taken majority ownership of Impact BBDO – which also holds interests in buying network Omnicom Media Group. One year ago, New York-based Omnicom raised its ownership of Impact BBDO to 85 percent. One of the speakers at the birthday/hand-over dinner was the president and CEO of BBDO Worldwide, Andrew Robertson (pictured, above), who has been at the company’s helm since 2004. Communicate caught up with him before dinner to find out how business looks abroad and at home, how his network would tackle a volatile Middle East, and why he’s tipping TV for a comeback.

How’s BBDO’s business? Strong. We had a very good 2010. In terms of our product, we maintained the standard we set for ourselves, which is to win at Cannes, to win the Gunn Report, and to win the One Report. We won the One Report for the third year in a row, the Gunn Report for the fifth year in a row, and Cannes for the fourth year in a row. So, in a year when we could have been forgiven for taking the foot off the gas a little bit, we didn’t. I’m very proud of that. We had 22 agencies around the world that won their local agency of the year award, which is a very, very good number. We were the most awarded agency at effectiveness awards in more than 20 countries, which is a very good thing. We have won every single global pitch that we’ve done in the past 12 months, and we grew with a lot of our existing clients, so I feel good about 2010, and I feel that we laid the foundations in 2010 for a strong 2011 as well. We’ve got some very solid foundations from 2010 that will help us in 2011.


You measure a lot by awards. We set out our stall based on the quality of our work; we believe that is the most significant way we can add value to our clients’ businesses and differentiate ourselves from our competitors. We add value to our clients’ businesses because these days – and every single day this becomes more true – the only way of dealing with the attention economy is with creativity, the magical ability to attract and hold the attention of an audience while you give them an experience that changes what they do. That’s the business we’re in, and it gets more valuable every single day because it gets harder every single day, and it is much more about the attention rather than what you buy. So that, we believe, is terribly important. One of the things you have to do is benchmark the quality of your work against all of your competitors. And no matter how imperfect they are (and I don’t for one minute suggest that they are perfect), the major creative awards shows are a pretty good way of doing that. When you have, as they did here, a film for Mercedes that goes into Cannes, it’s competing with every other agency on the planet for a Lion. So if you win one, you’ve done a pretty good job. The institute of practitioners of advertising in the UK, which has by far the best and most rigorous effectiveness award scheme on the planet, has done an analysis going back over, I think, 20 years, of IPA effectiveness awards. It has shown that of all the campaigns that won effectiveness awards, those that won creative awards were, on average, 11 times more effective than the ones that didn’t. So they’ve actually been able to quantify what I believed to be true: Exceptional work generates exceptional returns and tends to get awards. Where do you see growth coming from? I have always taken the view that even when you’re the size of BBDO, your growth is driven more by your market share than it is by the market. This is a tremendously fragmented business, and the leverage is far more in our ability to develop the clients that we have and win clients that we don’t than it is on floating in on a tide or sinking on an ebbing tide. Throughout the recession we had very strong performances in places such as France and the UK, which were very depressed markets; we had a fantastically strong performance in the US in 2010. In Asia we’ve been growing. Australia and New Zealand are very strong, and Brazil has been spectacular. We’re seeing growth where we have good companies doing good work; it’s as simple as that. Where does this part of the world fit in? Impact BBDO had a good 2010, and is also, I believe, looking strong for 2011. The business did a good job of keeping clients where there were a couple of sticky reviews. But we kept the business. There’s been quite a lot of new business added, and the pipeline is strong across the region. The development of business with existing clients is very, very good, and frankly that’s the

TAKE OFF. Impact won a Cannes Lion for its work with Mercedes most satisfying thing to see, because that doesn’t happen unless you are doing a decent job on them day in, day out. So that looks good. And the work is good. Impact BBDO Dubai won the first film Lion at Cannes that has ever been won by a Dubai agency [a Silver for “Emirates Take Off” for Mercedes-Benz]. We had our best ever Lynx, even though we weren’t the agency of the year. Nobody beat us in the GEMAS Effies effectiveness awards. The quality of the work being done here is very good, so I’m pretty optimistic. How much of the work that you’re doing now is digital? We try not to think of it in terms of digital, but everybody always asks the question, so I have to know the answer. If you look around the world, about 23 or 24 percent of our business, measured by revenue, is digital. It’s lower here. It varies by country a lot in the Middle East, just because the penetration of Internet – and in particular the penetration of broadband, which is what really drives it – varies dramatically. One of our goals for 2011 is to learn to dream in digital. Dream in digital? We don’t see digital as a medium or a platform or a technology. We see it as a language, a language you use to communicate ideas and create experiences that change what people do. But it has its own syntax and grammar that’s different from some of the other languages we work in.

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WINNERS. Impact BBDO client Doritos picks up the GEMAS Effie award for the Best Youth Marketing Campaign When you’re learning a new language, there are three levels you work through. The first one is: I can understand you, but I can’t speak. The second one is: I can understand you and I can speak. But you know you’ve mastered a language when you wake up in the morning and think, oh, I was dreaming in Spanish, or I was dreaming in French, or I was dreaming in Arabic. And the challenge for us is to get to a point where we are dreaming in digital all of the time – that level of mastery of the language, across all of our companies, in all disciplines. That’s what we’re working towards. What other big trends do you see? In parallel with that, I’ve got to tell you, I’m also encouraging everybody to rediscover the magic of television. In the last quarter it suddenly became acceptable again to say “TV is great.” For five years, at least, you’ve sounded like you were advocating creationism, or something like that, by saying television had a role to play in life, because it’s been so not fashionable. But two things have happened: One is that the recession has caused an awful lot of agencies and clients to be a little bit more rigorous when they examine what is driving business and what isn’t. Lo and behold, television is still one of the most powerful forms of communication there is for driving business. Secondly, in the last quarter, Nielsen kind of made a big deal out of data that showed that television viewing among all age groups is on the up. So the conventional wisdom, that the

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Internet is eating television alive, is just not true. And it hasn’t been true for the past five years; it’s just been impossible to say. As a consequence of that, one of the things that happened is if you look at the quality of television advertising, I don’t think it is quite as strong as it was a few years ago. It’s not because the ability isn’t there; it’s that I think a little bit of the focus was taken off it. So we’re putting that back on. Will political upheavals in the Middle East affect you? There are things that are way outside our control, so the question is: How do you mitigate the damage and how do you create some kind of opportunity out of it? As weird as that may sound, it’s not crazy. The first thing you do is make sure your people are all right. The second thing is to help your clients. For a lot of clients, this is a difficult time. Some of them, if they’ve got retail outlets or ATM machines, are having a rough time at the moment. But, importantly, you plan for what you are going to do the day it gets better. And it’s very interesting when you talk to the guys from Lebanon who say, “We’re used to this.” They say, “We’ve seen this movie; it changes, but we know what happens. You go into it, everything shuts down for a period of time, then everything opens up, and when it opens up, if you are prepared, if you’ve got good programs in place and ready to hit the ground running, then you can gain share and do all sorts of things. You can gain share for your clients and with your clients, if you play your cards right.” That’s what we’re going to be doing.



Making news

RMS boss says proposed Rotana channel could break even in five years – if it gets its focus right by Nathalie Bontems


otana Media Services’ president Nizar Nagro tells Communicate Levant what he sees the future holding for the Rotana Group What media does RMS currently represent? Rotana, of course, as well as Fox and LBC Sat. And three years ago we established a radio station, Radio Rotana Delta, based in Lebanon. RMS was launched in 2004 as a company selling media advertising; [in terms of business volume] we already come second after Choueiri Group regionally, but our target is to become number one, maybe by next year. What developments are in the pipeline? We are investing in new programs for LBC Sat. On top of Star Academy, we have 11 new shows, such as Top Chef, a high-quality production that we shot in the Atlantis hotel, Dubai, and Celebrity Do It. We believe in investment, and in high quality on the production side. As RMS, we are looking for more media to represent – we have no outside clients for the time being – but our priority remains to better establish our existing media. Our objective is to make sure that Rotana, LBC Sat and Fox are among the region’s top-10 TV stations. So far, these three are part of that list; we expect to have four stations in the top 10 within the next two years. We may also launch a new TV station in Egypt. There are 80 million people in that country; marketing is improving every year there and the infrastructure is available. But investing in Egypt is not easy.

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What about the upcoming television news station that Rotana wants to launch? It is supposed to be launched around October 2011, maybe from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, or Qatar. This decision hasn’t been made yet. We are looking, in terms of criteria, for a profit center, facilities and freedom. Our main market will be Saudi Arabia and, for the first phase, we’ll broadcast only in Arabic. What will it be called? We haven’t taken a final decision on the name yet. With competition including Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera, this specific segment – television news – seems cluttered. Why launch another news station? We will differentiate ourselves by being more local, by looking at local issues with a positive perspective, which is [Rotana owner Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal’s] way with everything. We won’t go to extremes, but we won’t be in the middle either. We’ll support the culture, but there’s no political agenda behind this station. To be clear: We want to become a major player, and we plan to be profitable. How do you plan to be profitable? That’s quite rare for a news station. Business people believe in consultants, so we hired McKinsey and Booz Allen Hamilton. We also requested research from TNS and Ipsos. Our research shows that it is possible to break even in five years. We’ll target the banking sector, real estate and so

on, both at a local and at an international level. The station will be fully owned by Prince Al Waleed, and it will have the support of Rotana – of which Al Waleed still owns around 90 percent. We hope that people meters will be launched in KSA by the time the station starts; they have already been approved, and this will help us tremendously. What investment will be required to launch the station and then to operate it? We’ll invest $200 million in the station, and our yearly operational costs are estimated at $70 to $80 million. The fact that another news station, Future News, may soon be shut down doesn’t worry you? Future News should continue; it belongs to one of the largest groups [the Hariri Group] in the region. Maybe it focused on the wrong places, targeting all Arabs across the region. This leads to a mix of clients, and a lot of clutter. Fox News, by contrast, makes money because it has only one target: the US market. And maybe Future News was not expected to make money; maybe profitability wasn’t its main drive, whereas it is ours. What is the role of Lebanon in all this? Lebanon is very important in terms of high-quality production. We have a 150-person team in Lebanon, not to mention the 400-strong staff of LBC Sat and its production company PAC. Lebanon is more of a kitchen than a market.


Guest Opinion

Digital in play

OMD Beirut’s Maya Bou Ajram explains why her agency is pushing for more digital knowledge


hether it is the current political and economic events taking place around us, the increased access driven by government investments in wireless connectivity and richer connections, the era of mobility enabled by smartphones and gadgets, or the social nature of humans, which is enhanced further on the “very social” Web, the Internet has proven to be an integral element in the lives of people today. For such a small medium that makes up barely 4 percent of total regional investments, the potential and implications for marketers

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and agencies are huge. Internet penetration is growing year on year. Regionally there are 70 million Internet users, accounting for 30 percent of the population. By 2013 this is expected to increase to 100 million. In Lebanon, there are 1.5 million Internet users (a 36 percent penetration rate) – 60 percent of whom access the Net daily for three to six hours. The role of social media in this region is becoming too influential to be ignored, both politically and commercially. The most recent example is the role Facebook played in the Egyptian revolution, driving millions to the streets to demand their freedom. What started out as a site to connect people and keep them updated grew into a social phenomenon and enabler of change. The ability of social media to reach out, influence and prompt action is applicable to brands as well. Commercially it is best showcased in the renowned Old Spice campaign “The man your man could smell like,” where social media success was translated into sales with an overall increase of 107 percent in the last month of the campaign. Furthermore, technologies are offering brands unique solutions to enhance consumers’ experiences. Imagine having your fridge update you on the groceries you need; imagine pointing your phone down Gemmayzeh Street and getting an update on the names of the pubs and the promotions they are offering; imagine being present and participating in a live TV game show from the comfort of your own home. Imagine no more. These technologies are rising. At OMD we view digital as a medium that adds value to our clients and offers them effective and cost-efficient solutions to their campaigns. The Hello World Digital Seminar held earlier this month is part of our commitment to our clients and partners to develop the digital specialization in the industry. Internally, plans are in action to extend our digital unit to encompass the Levant region. Accountability measures are also being commissioned to shed more light on the online habits of the Levant consumer so that we establish a culture of measurement, learning and refinement for our ongoing development. Digital is indeed the future. It is shaping our behavior, it is enhancing our communication and bringing new rules into play. While in the Levant digital is still in its developing stage, it is our duty as agencies, researchers, and marketers to dive deeper into that field and explore its limits – only then will we be able to fully embrace its potential.


Blogosphere L

ebanon’s blogosphere is probably one of the most vibrant digital scenes in the region. Lebanese bloggers are many, dedicated, and very, very outspoken. Agencies are now turning to social media and online communities, listening intently to this direct feedback on how they are perceived. Here is what increasingly influential Lebanese bloggers – inside and outside of our borders – have to say about local work and news. THEY’RE LISTENING, AND WATCHING. This month, Lebanese bloggers were busy bees that kept the web buzzing about so many issues that it’s difficult to choose where to start: politics, that goes without saying, both local and regional; the tsunami in Japan; Libya, and so on… The “spontaneous dance” at the Beirut International Airport, supposedly a flash mob event that eventually turned out to be an ad for the Beirut Duty Free (see News, page 8), got tons of free coverage. However, this month we chose to focus on the latest campaign for the Lebanese ministry of Tourism, by Impact BBDO, that drew mixed reviews. Here is what some bloggers said. Danielle’s post on the “Lebanon Blues” campaign is rather neutral, featuring Impact BBDO’s insight. But it generated instructive comments on how the ad was perceived. “Maybe I’m more angry at the people who allow such an ad to associate itself with us as Lebanese rather than those who made it,” says one commenter. http://thisisbeirut.wordpress. com/2011/03/11/the-lebanon-blues/

Abir on Life in Still Motion screams “Shame on the Lebanese ministry of Tourism.” “What’s with the low, crappy fail and disgusting mind who approved such an ad? Dear (not so much) minister of Tourism, seriously? You believe that sex sells to that extent? […] With so many good write-ups, stories and blog posts about Lebanon, that’s all that you could come up with?”

Mustapha offers yet another take on the controversial campaign, saying: “To me this campaign is not bad because of sexism or bad acting and execution (though all these things are true). I think the ads are bad simply because they preach to the converted. Only those who already like Lebanon will like the ads.” h t t p : / / b e i r u t s p r i n g. c o m / blog/2011/03/11/new-tv-campaignto-promote-lebanon/

On Ivy Says, Ivy presents “Lebanon’s First Semi-Topless Magazine Cover,” i.e. the magazine Nadine that featured Aline Skaff, the Lebanese wife of Ghaddafi’s son, with an “interesting” cleavage on its cover. We cannot help but wonder how this went through censorship. And you simply cannot not check it out. lebanons-first-semi-toplessmagazine-cover/

On our Drive By this month (see page 50), the blogger mentions lingerie store Diamony’s billboard ad for the Oroblu tights brand. Tarek gives his own interpretation of the ad, and goes down memory lane to examine its probable meaning. http://beirutntsc.blogspot. com/2011/03/blue-by-you.html

Youmna Zod, on Marketing in Lebanon, gives a short presentation on an online tool still way too underappreciated by Lebanese marketers: Twitter. “Watch and learn [from Twitter],” she says. We couldn’t agree more. http://www.marketinginlebanon. com/2011/02/why-twitter-usersare-better-marketeers.html

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Regional Work

The Economist brand campaign Agency: Memac Ogilvy Copywriters: Dylan Kidson, Steve Hough, Sascha Kuntze Art Directors: Mel Harvey, James Purdie Designer: Leonardo Borges Creative Director: Ramzi Moutran Executive Creative Director: Steve Hough Senior Account Manager: Adriano Konialidis

Goes fast, stops faster Client: Kawasaki Advertising Agency: Impact BBDO, Beirut, Lebanon Executive Creative Director: Walid Kanaan Senior Art Director: Hovsep Guerboyan Copywriter: Marie-Noelle De Chadarevian Illustrator: Ruben Furio Photographer: Astrid Challita

Ensure germs don’t shadow you Advertising Agency: Euro RSCG, Dubai, UAE Creative/Art Director: Neeraj Sabharwal Copywriter: Wayne Fernandes Illustrator: Garry Walton / Meiklejohn Illustration Agency Group Account Director: Jamie McAinsh Account Director: Youmna Boustani

These ads (and more) can be found at

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Regional Work

With your power, the world is yours Agency: Spirit Client: Ahli International Bank Production House: Né à Beyrouth Creative Director: Maya Saab Director: Thierry Vergnes DOP: Yves Sehnaoui Senior Art Director: Olga Salman Communication Manager: Georges Kallab

You owe it to your great killed ideas Advertising Agency: Leap Studios, Saudi Arabia Creative Directors: Tamer Samy, Amr El Massri Art Director: Amr El Massri Copywriters: Amr El massri, Fahd Shamsheer

You can’t see them but the scars from verbal Everything in town at the turn of a page abuse are real and can last for years. Client: Batelco Directory Advertising Agency: FP7/BAH, Bahrain Creative Director: Don’t suffer in silence Fadi Yaish Art Director: Supparat Thepparat Agency Integrated producer: Mar Wai May Advertising Agency: Y&R, Dubai, UAE Photographer: Surachai Puthikulangkura Illustrators: Surachai Puthikulangkura, Creative: Shahir Zag, Kalpesh Patankar Supachai U-Rairat Producer: Anotai Panmongkol Photographer: James Day These ads (and more) can be found at

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Regional Work

Flexible wrappable tripod Client: Joby Advertising Agency: FP7/BAH, Bahrain Creative Director: Fadi Yaish Art Director: Supparat Thepparat Agency Integrated Producer: Mar Wai May Photography: Remix Studio Bangkok Photographer: Anuchai Secharunputong Producer: Prapapun Naiyawat

Don’t be an alien Client: Berlitz Advertising Agency: FP7/BAH, Bahrain Creative Director: Fadi Yaish Art Director: Gautam Wadher Copywriter: Aunido Sen Agency Integrated producer: Mar Wai May Photoduction House: Remix Studio Bangkok Photographers: Anuchai Secharunputong, Nok Pipattungkul Producer: Chanon Tungkamani These ads (and more) can be found at

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International Work

It works. Fingerprint security system Advertising Agency: Spicy H, Bangkok, Thailand Production company: MasterScene Executive Creative Director: Woon Hoh Siew Creative Director: Gaek Bee Lee Art Directors: Apiwat Pattalarungkhan, Adam Pamungkas Copywriter: Irvine Prisilia Photographer: Clarissa Peddy Photography Retoucher: OIC!

Don’t let food stay too long. Pepsodent Torsion Advertising Agency: Lowe, Jakarta, Indonesia Executive Creative Director: Din Sumedi Art Director: Adam Pamungkas Copywriter: Bondan Esp

Sammy-400 Osteoarthritis Treatment. When they rub each other the wrong way Advertising Agency: Sorento Healthcare Communications, Mumbai, India Creative Director: Olivier Altmann Art Director: Dinesh Ghosalkar Copywriter: Sarvesh Raikar Illustrator: Pritesh Rane Post Production: Sachin Bugade These ads (and more) can be found at

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Drive By One anonymous blogger critiques Beirut’s billboards. All of these examples, and more, can be found at

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LEAVE HER SPEECHLESS “Diamonds – that’ll shut her up... for a minute.” Ron White, comedian

LABOR OF LOVE Nine months is a long time. Eighteen months is twice as long and that’s how long the gestation period is for elephants. Coincidentally, 18 months is how long it’s been since Exotica was declared a perennial favorite of Beirut Drive-by. Welcome back Exotica!

HEALTHY CHOICE Is there a link between brain tumors and cell phone usage? Luckily, even with “deals” from mobile providers, the rates are still so high that most Lebanese limit their usage. Thanks Alfa and MTC for keeping us healthy.

TOP 10 THINGS WOMEN WANT Here’s a hint. It’s not a big, black, shiny spider with really long legs.

THE PERFECT BRIDE Barbie – the perfect inspiration for your special day.

FOOTLIGHTS A) Famous foot model enters the witness protection program. B) Cinderella ditches the glass slippers for some strappy reds. C) Re-enactment of Sharon Stone’s famous Basic Instinct scene. D) Check out Tarek Chemaly’s commentary at Beirut/NTSC.

Communicate Levant | Apr 2011  
Communicate Levant | Apr 2011  

Communicate Levant is a regionalized edition of the five-year-old Communicate magazine. It is a monthly magazine covering media, marketing a...