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BPG Group asserts: go digital or go bust

19 September, 2011

Over 255 Team BPG members and associates attend BPG’s 18th offsite workshop iBPG in Fujairah

DUBAI — BPG Group, one of the larger marketing solutions groups in the Middle East, has called on the communications industry and organizations to immediately embrace the digital world or face being ousted from the business by rivals. This was emphasized to Team BPG and associates by Group CEO, Avishesha [Avi] Bhojani, at the Group’s 18thAnnual Offsite, titled iBPG 2011. The new integrated digital business model and the Group’s way forward were shared at the offsite, which was held from September 14 to 16 at Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort in Fujairah.

Avi also stressed the importance of strengthening integration from within. Unveiling the theme of this year’s workshop, ‘Digital Digital Digital,’ Avi emphasized that differentiation is the name of the game and BPG has already carved a niche as a media and medium agnostic communications solutions company.

Over 255 members of Team BPG and associates from 33 nationalities and representing 25 different companies attended the three-day event in addition to BPG Group Chairman, Abdulla Majed Al Ghurair; Andrew Scott, Chief Operating Officer, International Specialist Communications, WPP; and a large number of international experts and speakers.

“BPG has always believed in coming up with game-changing ideas and this has becomes more relevant in today's digital era. If WPP, Omnicom, Publicis, Inter-Public and Havas don’t digitize fast enough, Google may just gobble us,” Bhojani also told the audience.

The offsite also included presentations by prominent speakers including Toby Hoare, Chairman and CEO of JWT Europe, CEO of Team HSBC/WPP and a Board Member of BPG Group; Mark Turnbull, Managing Director, Bell Pottinger Special Projects; Nick Vale, Global Planning Director at Maxus Worldwide; Sonal Dabral, Chairman of Bates 141 and Executive Creative Director Bates 141; Hamdi Osman, an independent management consultant and former Senior Vice President and CEO of FedEx Middle East, Europe, Indian Subcontinent and Africa Region; Bob Gilbreath, Chief Strategy Officer of Possible Worldwide; Andrew Keen, British-American entrepreneur and author of The Cult of the Amateur; and Andy Hayes, General Manager, Lambie-Nairn Middle East.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Bob Gilbreath said: “Traditional interruptive advertising is failing as we move into a Digital Age. Media agencies are driving the digital revolution. They are one step ahead of the client in knowing that the digital era is shifting our world.”

Another prominent speaker had a differing view of the Digital Age. “Thinking digitally is not only thinking of new media. It is thinking of a new world that is changing our lives entirely,” said Andrew Keen.

In his thought provoking talk on revolutions, Mark Turnbull said, “The great democracy of the internet is changing the world and the Digital Age. But if we talk about the democracy in the Digital Age we live in today, let’s do so with the confidence we have earned.”

On Day 2, participants attended one of six sessions that focused on various communications disciplines; essentials of branding and design, making meaningful marketing for a brand or business, five strategies to build next generation communications, is the internet killing our culture?, how award winning communication is created and presentation skills.

Finally, on Day 3, team members were broken into several groups and required to develop syndicated case studies comprising an integrated communications plan for a financial services company and a retail business. An eminent jury that included Bob Gilbreath; Vatche Keverian, CEO, JWT GCC & Chief Client Officer, JWT, MENA; Kenny Powar, President - APAC and EMEA, Possible Worldwide; and Avi Bhojani, adjudged the best case study.

Throughout the three days, a series of entertainment activities were also held, the main of which was The iBPG 2011 YouTube Video Awards – in line with the focus on the Digital Age. For months leading up to the workshop, participants were encouraged to create and promote videos that could go viral and culminated with an Oscar-like award night that saw the most viewed and most liked ones awarded in style. In all, 38 entries were received; five of them received over 20,000 views/hits together, with the winning entrant having 8,350 hits.

BPG Group is one of the region's larger marketing solutions consultancies and part of the WPP network. With offices and affiliate partners across the GCC, North Africa, Levant, and Iraq, the group is made up of Strategic Business Units that offer a wide range of marketing and communications solutions including advertising, activation, public relations, branding and design, public advocacy, media asset management, healthcare marketing, digital marketing, and strategy consulting.

About BPG Group
BPG Group, headquartered in Dubai, is one of the larger marketing solutions groups in the Middle East. It caters to a wide range of international and regional clients in the Middle East and North Africa. The group has offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Jeddah, Doha, Baghdad and Beirut.

The Group has over 250 employees and is made up of specialist SBUs covering the disciplines of advertising, activation, public relations, branding and design, public advocacy, media asset management, healthcare marketing and digital marketing. The SBUs work together to deliver integrated marketing solutions for clients and have been involved in some of the biggest marketing communication initiatives ever undertaken in the Middle East, including Dubai Shopping Festival, Dubai Summer Surprises, the 15th Asian Games Doha 2006, launch of H&M, among others.

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Ashutosh Gupta

Ayman AlSaleh  

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