Agency loses out after Pearl takes PR in-house

Dubai-based public relations firm MCS/Action has lost the prestigious Pearl of Qatar account less than one year after it was appointed to represent the US$2.5 billion project, Campaign Middle East can reveal.

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By  Tim Addington Published  July 17, 2005

Dubai-based public relations firm MCS/Action has lost the prestigious Pearl of Qatar account less than one year after it was appointed to represent the US$2.5 billion project, Campaign Middle East can reveal. Tony Christodoulou, chairman and owner of Action Global Communications, claimed the agency was awarded the account to help train Pearl Of Qatar staff in order that they could then take its PR in-house. “It’s gone in-house, it’s not gone to someone else,” said Christodoulou. “It was always part of our deal with Pearl of Qatar that we would train their people and it would then go in-house. This is a successful completion.” But Roger Dagher, communications manager at the Pearl of Qatar, said that while the option of taking the work in-house was being considered, the company had plans to put the PR account out to pitch again. “We are in the process of not using them [MCS/Action] any more,” said Dagher. “I will be sending requests for proposals.” He said that the company was looking to expand the scope of its work to cover all of its business activities. The Pearl of Qatar is an island destination currently being built on reclaimed land off the coast of Doha. It is being marketed as the Riviera Arabia and will have ten themed districts. Despite MCS/Action’s loss, Christodoulou said that the agency was now “much stronger” following a string of account and staff losses over the last 12 months. “We had problems but we have come out much stronger,” he said. “The current team is pushing forward and doing well.” MCS/Action also recently stopped representing freight and courier company DHL in the UAE following a decision to unify its PR network in the region. But it has since started work for TNT. Christodoulou was in Dubai recently to sign a contract making him the majority shareholder in MCS after its founder, Barbara Saunders, decided to take a back seat role. Under the agreement, Saunders has relinquished her 75% stake in MCS and now owns 25% of the company. Christodoulou said that MCS wanted to expand its regional role in the Middle East and Dubai was the natural choice for its headquarters. The company has also launched a training programme for marketing and communications professionals. It includes information on what public relations is, how PR agencies work and the impact of internal communications. The agency claims that three of its existing clients and other companies have already made use of the service.

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