Ogilvy Launches Middle Eastern Network
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Ogilvy Launches Middle Eastern Network

Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide is adding to its Middle Eastern operations with the creation of Memac Ogilvy PR. The new company will offer capabilities in nine markets and will be led by 10-year public relations veteran Cherif Wehbe.

Paul Holmes

NEW YORK—Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide is adding to its Middle Eastern operations with the creation of Memac Ogilvy PR. The new company will offer capabilities in nine markets and will be led by 10-year public relations veteran Cherif Wehbe, who was most recently in the corporate practice at Ogilvy in London.
 
Agency chairman and CEO Bob Seltzer says the Middle Eastern expansion was planned long before the events of September 11 turned the spotlight on the region, and is part of an ongoing strategy that has the PR firm taking over the public relations operations of its sister advertising agency.
 
Says Seltzer, “In countries where there was no PR unit, Ogilvy & Mather has typically brought in one or two public relations people so they could provide their 360-degree brand stewardship. As those units have grown to the point where we think they can offer good quality service to our clients, we have been taking them over and incorporating them into Ogilvy Public Relations.
 
The Middle Eastern PR network, which began in 1997 when the first PR professional joined the Memac Ogilvy Group, has grown steadily and now services a diverse client roster that includes 3M, American Express, Credit Agricole Indosuez, Nestle, Motorola, Unilever and Volvo. It includes 14 people in nine markets, including Amman, Bahrain, Beirut, Casablanca, Cairo, Jeddah, Riyadh and Kuwait, and coordinated from a regional hub in Dubai.
 
“The Middle East is a developing region and we’re excited to be the latest global PR network to be able to provide clients with comprehensive coverage in these markets,” says Seltzer, who adds that while there are clients who are interested in getting help in Africa and the Middle East, “This is more about future potential than it is about what we can do this month.”
 
Wehbe, who is based in Dubai, is a ten-year PR veteran who has worked for clients including Procter & Gamble, Kellogg’s, Kraft Food International, BMW, Land Rover and Dubai Duty Free. Prior to joining Ogilvy in the summer of 2000, he was public relations manager at Leo Burnett Middle East.
 
Says Wehbe, “This capability provides our clients with Arabic specialists who are immersed in the local culture and integrated into a global network.”
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