Serviceplan Group Middle East

The Diary

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. Enjoy!

  • The irony!

    I’m working on strategic directions for our clients day in and day out, but when it comes to time management, even with just my daily commute to work from Marina to d3, my own strategy lets me down every time.

  • But then again, there’s nothing a good ‘cuppa coffee can’t fix.

    So yes, my day literally starts with a grind! First order of the day is to scoop a good amount of coffee beans – specialty coffee beans, mind you – for hand grinding in my trusty Hario, then for brewing in my 6-cup Chemex. Then, and only then, can the day start.

Frances Bonifacio
Director Strategic Planning

  • Nothing of my day is fixed, really.

    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.

  • Oh, but the rudeness of me.

    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.

  • I’m one of the pioneers of Serviceplan in Dubai.

    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.

  • My passions outside of work relate to my passions at work.

    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?!

Shahbaz Ahmed
Head of Activations, Mediaplus Espresso

  • For the last couple of weeks, I have been commuting between Dubai and Abu Dhabi for the opening of the highly anticipated Marriott Hotel Al Forsan in Abu Dhabi.

  • It has been a very busy 2 months, for myself and the Mediaplus Espresso team but I live for the adrenaline of seeing a project come to life. We have been working with Marriot to create all the branding for the new 5 Star hotel – this ranges from menu layouts to event opening. For me there is no greater sense of pride than seeing months of hard work become a reality.

  • 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.

  • Please roll out the red carpet. I’m Merna, Digital Account Executive at Serviceplan Middle East.

    I started out at Serviceplan Middle East as an intern doing all the “fun stuff” that interns do – opening jobs, creating quotations and so forth and after 6 months I become a Digital Account Executive. While the day to day tasks of opening jobs and creating quotations have not disappeared, I have been able to be work on some really exciting campaigns. Right now am finalizing the M digital campaign for BMW Regional. I have been working closely with our creative team from concept to implementation and am really excited about the video banners we have created for this campaign.

Merna Girgis
Junior Account Executive Digital

  • This time of the month also means putting together the monthly marketing newsletters for the BMW importers within the region.

    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.

  • Outside of banners, websites and EDMs I am the proud mother of Ouzzo – a Yorkshire terrier, wife, clean freak and food lover.

    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.

  • While no day is the same at Serviceplan Middle East,

    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!

Anoop Asok
User Interface Designer

  • The all-new BMW 5 Series has been following me for the past few weeks.

    Not literally, of course. I’m a User Interface (UI) Designer at Serviceplan Middle East. And I’ve been creating all kinds of digital ads for the new BMW model. Web banners – expandable, static, animated, rich media… You name it. For some people, it might sound boring, but I really like my job. Especially when you have interesting clients to work on.

  • Last December BMW invited me and two colleagues to Munich where we had a digital POS training.

    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.

  • Currently, I also work quite a lot on Danone.

    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

  • On October 18th this year, my brother Aneesh is getting married in India.

    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!

Folarin Akinmade & Cristiano Signore 
Junior Copywriter & Junior Art Director

  • Meet Folarin our junior copywriter from London, England. Cristiano our junior art director from San Carlos de Bariloche, Patagonia (the place in Argentina, not the outdoor clothing brand).

    They have opinions, which they will be sharing regularly in our newsletter. So we thought ahead of their “Who cares what they say” debut, we’d let you get to know them a little better…

Folarin Akinmade, Junior Copywriter

Cristiano Signore, Junior Art Director

  • Settling into life in Dubai

    was relatively easy. No matter the underlying character of a city, globalisation ensures that there is always something familiar to soften the blow of finding one’s self in a new place. Life at Serviceplan, however is something else entirely. The only constant is that every day is different. Which is exactly the reason I got into advertising, so it’s all worked out quite well for me.

  • The past few weeks

    have been a flurry of activity, with most of my time taken up with the MINI Go With Your Gut campaign, which has been an incredible example of user-generated content, with people submitting stories of times they went with their gut.

  • Inspired by all of the amazing stories,

    I finally decided to venture out into the music scene of Dubai, and signed up to Freshly Ground Sounds. I had a successful first performance with them, at Toil & Tinker’s Christmas pop-up special. As well as getting a chance to play in public again, I saw some incredible art, and spoke to some very talented illustrators and artists.

  • All in all, things are going swimmingly.

  • At first I was a bit skeptical

    about moving to d3. I had finally gotten used to the local cuisine in media city when they announced the move! But then I remembered that moving to a new place meant new experiences, culinary and otherwise. Anyone who knows me, and my family knows that we love new experiences, and so I decided to take a bite out of every experience d3 had to offer (literally).

  • I haven’t been disappointed.

  • There some fantastic restaurants

    in d3 and every week, there’s some new event happening. Just the other day, I was exposed to urban culture in Dubai at the Sole DXB event, where I was lucky enough to catch a set from BJ the Chicago Kid.

  • Since we’re all very busy

    at the end of the year, it has been great having these events to recharge and get inspired. I’m ready to kick off the new year with a bang!

Thanks guys! Be sure to check out “Who cares what they say” in our newsletter.

Mohannad Alseman
Account Manager

  • Hi! I am Mohannad,

    Account Manager at Serviceplan Middle East. My daily mantra is simple – YOLO, you only live once. I am all about making the most of life. You can usually find me dancing, munching on Cinnabon, at the beach or trying out new cuisines or restaurants because food is life!

  • 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.”


Rubie Grace Garcia
Social Media Executive

Rubie Grace Garcia
Social Media Executive

  • Hello friends, followers and colleagues!

    I’m happy I was selected to kick off our new series  “Serviceplan Middle East Diaries”. And since I’m working in the social media department it kind of does make sense, no?

  • I’m Rubie

    from Manila, Philippines. I spent my early years in Egypt and Cuba before I settled in my home country. I recently (or should I say accidently) moved to Dubai early this year. I came to visit my friends and ended up getting a job offer at SPME. Quite lucky, right?

  • Working at SPME

    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.

  • Outside of work,

    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.

  • What do I miss about the Philippines?

    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. ♥



The whole idea kicked off with our newsletter in September 2016. The slot was usually reserved for our ‘Talk’ with guests, friends or clients. But we decided to feature someone from among our own ranks that time because we are growing and like to introduce some of our colleagues to you.
Rami Hmadeh, Managing Director, Serviceplan Middle East, first shared his thoughts with the world. And many more are up to follow.