Serviceplan Group Middle East
We’re calling it the Serviceplan Group Middle East Diary: Every week, one of our team members will be sharing what’s currently going on in her or his life at Serviceplan Middle East.
I contemplated working in London after university, it’s a good three-and-a-half-hour journey so I thought that’s a big enough of an adventure. However come graduation I found myself sat on a plane heading to work 85 miles from the equator in Singapore. After making great friends, learning the odd bit of Singlish, and tucking into some great Asian food – you can pass me a bowl of Ramen or a steamer of Dim Sum any day of the week – I found myself on another journey to the Middle East.
Which all leads to my day to day work; designing ways of telling our clients stories through engaging experiences. Connecting with people and taking them on a journey, experiencing the good and not so-good, yet all producing the desired story which people will share and remember. Finding the right method or journey to communicate the story is all part of the fun.
I am also involved in quite a few activations for clients from the Middle East to South East Asia. This is what I love about my work, the endless variety of experiences and the people you meet along the way. This includes presenting to a Sultan on his front porch in a full suit and 32 degree heat and accepting an award from a President for a project telling the stories of people separated by distance yet united through photography.
Yet another chance to share the weekly stories of my first week of driving in Dubai (with a steering wheel on the wrong side of the car) to a random man offering a falcon to my best friend in the middle of the desert!
I am really looking forward to the next journey…
I have no routine as I have to keep myself flexible for both scheduled and unscheduled meetings – from briefings to debriefs, and from brainstorming sessions to grilling sessions. Positioning brands as well as planning physical and virtual consumer engagements is honestly not a walk in the park. It usually involves a lot of ground work and digging to uncover insights to define strategic directions, only to be challenged and compelled to rework the groundwork all over again.
Of course, let me introduce myself: I am Frances Bonifacio – an accidental yet passionate strategist inside and outside of work! I was a communications pioneer with three of the biggest car brands in the market before I stumbled upon my passion for strategy and insighting. My career in marketing and communications began in the Philippines, and some 8 years ago, the door to the Middle East was opened with the establishment of Serviceplan Middle East.
Along with the other “seniors,” I’ve helped define the working processes and the current “collaborative” atmosphere in the agency. Right now I am focused on a couple of big pitches, while helping creatives shape Ramadan campaigns for our highly discriminating clients. Ramadan is a critical season for the region, so we start the planning phase a few months early.
If you don’t see me buried in a sea of books, you’re more than welcome to challenge me to a strategy board game (Dominion Intrigue, ftw!) Hanging out with my 19 year old son is another joy of mine. We share a lot of similar interests including photography and binging Netflix. I have yet to get him excited over analogue or old-school film photography, though.
Anyone in the office will tell you how much I enjoy my coffee and you will always see me with a coffee mug. Lucky for me this region now has a burgeoning range of specialy coffee-shops which means my weekends are spent trying the newest third place concept in town.
Talking about coffee – who took my coffee muuuuuuuuuuuuug?!
Originally, from Pakistan, I have been in Dubai for the last 16 years. Back then, I lived in Gardens and I could see the beach from my balcony – there weren’t as many tall buildings then! I came to Dubai with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to open their Middle East office. I worked there for several years before joining Espresso, which went on to become Mediaplus Espresso, a part of the Serviceplan Group Middle East late 2016.
One of our teams more luxurious activations is our on-going work on the VIP terminal at Dubai South – which offers VIP customers a seamless travel experience. We have created a unique space to maximize and revolutionize the customer experience by offering luxury product placements, experiential advertising, discreet promotions, limited editions, bespoke and specially curated products.
Right now we are busy with a new coffee house concept called “Lavender House of Coffee” as well as an exciting new lifestyle hotel in Downtown Dubai which is part of the Marriot brand – Renaissance Downtown Hotel set to open this summer.
As the Head of Activations, I am heavily involved in each step of a project – from creating an identity for each activation, naming, collateral and execution. I am constantly on the go, including weekends as a lot of activations take place then, which at the same time doesn’t leave much down time for me..
…but I love the endless adrenaline of getting a job done.
The newsletter is a way of providing the importers with the latest information from Regional Office and highlighting any exciting upcoming events in the region – right now it’s all about the launch of the all-new BMW 5 Series, which most of the agency has been working tirelessly on for the last couple of weeks.
I have recently returned from another amazing culinary adventure in Italy My brother lives there so I go there every year but this time my family flew in from Egypt for a great big delicious Christmas. The cold weather didn’t stop us from exploring the beauty of Italy either and I would definitely recommend going to Como – so much beauty and history all in one place.
what excites me the most about what I do is creating something from scratch, the endless creative ideas and constant innovation. I‘ve always wanted work in advertising. It’s been a year and 4 months now and I come every day to work looking forward to a new project and learn from my amazing managers, creatives and all at Serviceplan Middle East.
Oh, I forgot to send a report. Bye!
It was the first time for me to travel outside of the UAE – apart from my trips to Kerala (India), where I’m from. I loved it – the food, the people, the weather… Unfortunately, it didn’t snow when I was there. But it was really cold. We spent most of the time at the main BMW office tower, but we had time in the evening to visit the Christmas market and nice restaurants.
It’s a brand I can relate to – I’ve got a 3-year old daughter, Janki. I’m reading a lot about the different stages of children’s development while I’m working on their nutrition and grow-up milk jobs. I’m glad that my wife is taking care of our daughter. 😉 But when I’m at home, I do like to play a lot with Janki. Together with my wife we like to explore new places on the weekends. Even though we’ve been in Dubai for 9 years now it’s never getting boring. And in case I do get bored I still have my Playstation. My wife keeps telling me to stop playing – but this is how I relax from work, I’m a techy after all. J
Many of my SPME colleagues know him. I’d like to invite the whole agency to join the celebration – it would be really great to see them all at my home.
Colleagues, if you read this –
come visit me in India!
Thanks guys! Be sure to check out “Who cares what they say” in our newsletter.
When I’m not bringing joy and fabulousness to those around me, I work on the Rolls-Royce account. As the account manager, I am the link between the client and the agency, mainly the creative department.
Right now, things are a little mad as we are preparing for the opening of a really extraordinary new Rolls-Royce Showroom, launch events for a brand-new Rolls-Royce model as well as campaigns for existing models.
When I know my seniors are happy with my performance. That always fills me with a sense of satisfaction and pride in what I do.
My headphones for sure – I can’t live without music; it always keeps me going, and dancing. Right now am very into James Blunt, Ed Sheeran and Norah Jones. Creatively I am also inspired by fashion and art and I do a bit of sketching in my spare time.
I leave you with some wise words from Kahlil Gibran “Work is love made visible.”
is one crazy and amazing ride. I get to work on a lot of fun and exciting jobs – currently my team and I are preparing a really cool activity for MINI. But since social media is a fast moving media the deadlines are often tight. Thank God I work with a great team! Being part of the social media means I should always be on my toes, so the pressure is really on.
Right now I am busy with various social media campaigns for October. Many people underestimate the job we’re doing. We’re not just posting random photos and content. All content plans are worked out down to the smallest detail and in advance. But of course, we still have to keep them flexible enough so we can refer to current events if needed.
So it’s a busy time for me. I would not be able to survive without my laptop, phone and my collection of toys from Kinder Surprise eggs that take up a bit of space on my desk.
aside from the cliché answer “God, family, and friends”, I easily get inspired by kind people, happy environment, and bucket lists. Right now my bucket list includes skydiving, parasailing, hiking, and other outdoor adventures. I just need the Dubai weather to cool down a bit before I head out and tick off my list.
Well, everyone back home of course! And oh, street food and beaches. So I really can’t wait to get a ticket to Manila! For now, I shall explore the beauty of Dubai. ♥