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Wallis opens second PR firm in expansion drive

Dubai-based PR firm Wallis Marketing Consultants has opened a new agency as part of a long-term plan to create a wider marketing communication services group.

Dubai-based PR firm Wallis Marketing Consultants has opened a new agency as part of a long-term plan to create a wider marketing communication services group.

The company, which opens for business today, is called The Portsmouth Group and has taken at least 12 of WMC’s existing clients, including Motorola, Oracle and Sun Microsystems, with it.

A separate business unit focussed on market intelligence and media monitoring is expected to be up and running within two months. Event and direct marketing divisions are also planned, with advertising and media buying services also slated to be introduced.

Eileen Wallis, former client services director at WMC and now managing director at the Portsmouth Group, denied that the agency was created to manage conflicting accounts with WMC.

Campaign understands that Motorola was on the verge of pulling its regional business with WMC after the agency took on Chinese telecommunications and networking firm Huawei Technologies as part of its affiliation agreement with international PR agency Fleishman Hillard.

WMC will continue to manage such accounts as Trend Micro, Acer Computer and the Fleishman Hillard affiliated business of Etihad Airways and the Egypt Tourism Board.

“The idea behind establishing a communications services umbrella organisation comes from a number of our multinational clients and the types of services they were looking for and the experience they had in the Middle East market,” she said.

“I think that with the maturation of the communications sector in this region there is an increased focus on ethics and transparency within the industry and how these companies work and how they deliver results.

“I want to be able to say to them [clients] that I don’t represent any conflicting accounts as a result of affiliation or not, and am operating ethically and above board.”

Wallis stressed that The Portsmouth Group, which does not have an international affiliation, would be completely independent from WMC, which is run by her husband Michael Wallis.

The agency has a separate Dubai Media City trade licence, bank account and IT system, and will be located in a separate office. The new agency will initially be staffed by 12 people in Dubai, with additional people at offices in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Wallis added: “I certainly anticipate situations where we would be asked to pitch against WMC.”

Asked how her personal relationship would change as a result of the new structure, Wallis said: “Michael and I have been working together for at least the last six years and one thing that I have always insisted on to maintain our marriage is not to talk about work outside of the office, and this will remain in place for the new organisation.”

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