Global sports entertainment behemoth WWE recently descended on Saudi Arabia, and Seven was front and centre of the media and PR campaign for this incredible event.
A team of staff from our UAE and KSA offices were on the ground in Jeddah and ran the campaign for Super Showdown 19 – one of the Kingdom’s most anticipated sporting events of 2019 – and the results were truly world-class.
Saudi WWE fans are incredibly well versed in the narratives and personalities of their favourite Superstars, and we tailored the activities and output to deliver exactly that to press and influencers, resulting in huge levels of coverage and media footprint.
One of Seven Media’s key strengths is understanding the nuances of the local GCC markets and using that knowledge to successfully activate major global brands in the region. This was never more relevant than during these three-days in Jeddah and we made WWE ‘pop’ like never before.
Through a mix of press events, one-on-one interviews with Saudi WWE Superstar Mansoor, fun photo opps and heart-warming CSR stories, the whole Eid weekend saw WWE placed at the heart of every news and sport story running across top tier broadcast, print, online and influencer channels in KSA, and beyond.
By Gregg Fray, Co-Owner
People often talk about ‘work-life balance’. The notion of working hard from 9-5 then switching off completely is appealing in theory, but – as a hands-on owner of the region’s biggest independent PR agency and a busy video production studio – in practice it’s all but impossible.
In order to service clients, manage 85 staff and keep producing cutting-edge media content in a 24/7 news environment, I’ve opted for the alternative approach of ‘work-life integration’. So I’m writing this somewhere in the sky over Iraq on a flight to the UK I boarded at 7am at Dubai Airport.
I find it much easier to accept that my work is an intrinsic part of my waking hours, no matter where in the world I am. Through my iPhone – pretty much my single tool of the trade – I’m able to stay connected, make decisions, review content and execute on the fly. I only have an out of office auto reply on my emails to make clear I’m not in the UAE for meetings; for calls, What’s App messages, emails and social media I’m pretty much always available.
People argue it’s not healthy to never switch off, but I find it’s comforting to know I’m always on top of things … or better still, a few steps ahead.
Working on a plane allows head space to think with no other distractions (in the last couple of hours I’ve been through a PR strategy, contributed to a new business proposal, given feedback on two pieces of video content and started writing a speech I’ll be delivering at an event two weeks from now), but even upon landing I’ll be responsive.
Those who know me will know I travel a lot for business and family reasons. And by always being connected, my mind is settled in the knowledge that I don’t have work piling up behind me while I travel. Of course, it helps to enjoy your work if you employ this lifestyle choice. It also helps to have great department heads and staff you trust to deliver.
But luckily for me, being at the helm of Seven Media and Seven Studios is something I’m more than happy to build in to my routine even when I’m not in the office.
The end of the football season put Seven right in the middle of some major global sporting stories – combining live and reactive social media with big interviews and features.
With Manchester City FC winning an unprecedented three trophies in one season we had teams in both the UK and the Middle East covering all the action.
On the final day of the season the social media team in Dubai provided live updates on the game – followed by reaction from fans throughout MENA.
Arabic football fans are hugely active on social media and we needed to get involved in that conversation as much as possible, a major challenge when the thoughts and opinions are so fast and furious.
With Manchester City then winning the FA Cup at Wembley, the celebrations moved back to Manchester for a street parade which we once again reported from as we joined the thousands of fans lining the city streets.
These days the sporting season never really stops with summer competitions now on the Seven Media agenda, giving the PR and social media in Dubai teams the chance to “stay in shape” until it all starts again in August.
The launch of the incredible Coca-Cola Arena Dubai is the perfect example of a modern PR campaign that ticks all the boxes when it comes to communication in the region.
From a classic media launch event with print, digital radio and TV reporting live to ongoing social media influencer buzz – it showed that if the story is powerful enough it can run for weeks.
The Seven team were right at the heart of the launch and emerged with a really positive outlook on the state of the media landscape in 2019.
The quality and scale of breaking news reporting was first class, in-depth features looked at the impact of the arena on the local and regional economy and the crossover into entertainment media went global.
Social media content was also brilliant – with influencers at the launch delivering live reports and a range of innovative communication techniques.
There are some who worry about media in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the Middle East but if this integrated PR and social media campaign proved anything it is that we are really in a state of progress – you just need to look a little deeper into what is really happening.
Seven Media is a leading PR and social media agency in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, offering both standalone social media campaigns and fully integrated PR and social media campaigns, as well as Seven Studios, the most creative and bold video production team in the region.
The rise of digital and the decline of print media is nothing new – but the effect it is having on the GCC media landscape is evolving on almost a monthly basis.
In the past a classic PR campaign in Dubai and Abu Dhabi would cover the major media platforms in the two cities with a nod to generating coverage in key markets such as Saudi Arabia.
But is that really how people consume stories these days?
Increasingly, people in Dubai will take in elements of local media, dip into stories from across the GCC and also consume all sorts of information on social media. The same applies to the large markets right across the GCC.
The challenge in Middle East PR, more than ever, is taking a story and knowing as accurately as possible who the target market is and what the touchpoint for that story will be.
Content and a good old-fashioned strong story will always be at the heart of what a PR agency does, but everyone has to avoid speaking to either the wrong people, or in the worst case scenario nobody at all.
At Seven that is a challenge we take on and solve daily – and as ever the proof is always in the positive effect your PR campaign has on the bottom line.
When the Middle East media industry one day looks back on 2017 they will see a story unravel over twelve months that can be summed up in one word: change.
From the digital transformation on Arabic and English daily newspapers to PR agencies needing to be more integrated than ever before, those involved in communications across every sector have been in a state of constant evolution.
So as 2017 draws to an end and those controlling both the creative briefs and the budget look to 2018, where does PR sit?
Without a doubt, the line between great coverage and social media buzz is gone, merging into one integrated campaign that needs to deliver each and every week in the modern media age.
As one of the best Dubai PR agencies, Seven has always been a results-driven agency and as time has passed we have seen, in the main, potential partners understand that approach.
The welcoming of that mantra is also spreading across the GCC as media and all those involved in it go all out to be ahead of the game.
Where will PR be in another 12 months? Video production will move more to the heart of every campaign and social media will continue to gain more power. But at Seven we still see a story that delivers results being the key. And long may that continue.
Seven Media are the experts at integrated PR in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.