Five agencies grab Mall of the Emirates accounts

World’s largest leisure complex adopts best-of-breed approach to communication.

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By  Tim Addington Published  June 12, 2005

Mall of the Emirates, the 6.4 million square foot shopping and leisure complex currently being built in Dubai, has appointed its marketing, creative and promotion agencies following an exhaustive pitching process that lasted well over six months. In one of the biggest briefs of the year so far, Mall of the Emirates has selected five companies to deliver on its advertising, media planning and buying, event management, public relations and website development needs ahead of its September 2005 launch. Agencies winning contracts for the development’s communications business include Saatchi & Saatchi, OMD, and Gulf Hill & Knowlton. Mall of the Emirates, owned by Majid Al Futtaim Investments (MAFI), has opted for “best of breed” agencies, rather than selecting a full service company capable of handling all of its requirements under one roof. “Our philosophy when selecting agencies to represent the Mall of the Emirates was to go for specialised companies that were the best in their field,” said Alan Jones, marketing manager at Mall of the Emirates. “In many cases a number of potential agencies were invited to take part in a pitch, before a shortlist of final candidates were drawn up and assessed.” Mall of the Emirates will have over 425 stores, 65 restaurants, a 14-screen cinema, and the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort, called Ski Dubai. A 384 suite Kempinski Hotel, with 16 chalets overlooking the ski slope is being built alongside the shopping centre. Its backers claim it will be one of the world’s largest retail and leisure complexes. Saatchi & Saatchi has been appointed to work on the mall’s creative. Four ad agencies were short listed after an initial eight were invited to take part in the pitch. “There is such a fantastic story for advertising to tell with Mall of the Emirates, and we are doing it in a simple, emotional and compelling way,” said Rob Mitchell, managing director at Saatchi & Saatchi in Dubai. Saatchi’s creative will be placed by OMD, which won the media planning and buying elements of the contract for both the mall and the Kempinski Hotel. OMD already looks after the media requirements of MAFI’s City Centre chain of malls. “We’re thrilled to have so evidently proven our ability to make a difference in a fiercely competitive arena,” said Ravi Rao, OMD Dubai’s general manager. “After delivering strong results for the City Centre group of shopping complexes, the whole team is very excited about launching and supporting such an innovative venture.” Another MAFI stalwart, HQ Creative, has been awarded the complex’s events business. The firm will plan and organise the Mall of the Emirates grand opening festivities, which is expected to include five days of entertainment and activities. Three events companies pre-qualified for the pitch. “We have worked very closely with MAFI Group throughout the past eight years and are absolutely delighted to be the company selected to develop and deliver the grand opening events,” said Katie Veira, executive director, HQ Creative. North 55 has been hired to mange the development and implementation of the complex’s website, while Gulf Hill & Knowlton will be responsible for the Mall of the Emirates’ public relations.

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