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January 2017

  • Above: Yasmeen Hamdan performing live in Bahrain as part of the French Week 2017 programme

It’s over now and we can’t help feeling a bit sad that it is. It’s been ten months in the making: ten months of intense committee meetings, discussions, planning, brainstorming, negotiating, organizing: dozens of sponsors; dozens of promotion partners; musicians; artists; speakers; Michelin star chef, superstar shoe designer; concerts, events, gala diners; malls; hotels; restaurants; retailers; coordination; speeches; business forums; website; receptions; ticket sales; buskers; logistics; social media; venues; data-base management; competitions; seating plans; movie premiere; scheduling; protocol; prizes; exhibitions; press conferences; interviews; budgeting; catering; branding; payment gateways – you name it! 🎤🎨🎻

Behind it all, a handful of Bahrain-based French business people, plus the Alliance Française management team, all working hand in hand with H.E. Bernard Regnault-Fabre, French Ambassador to the Kingdom and his brilliant crew 🇫🇷. One mammoth island-wide event: the So French 2017 French Week – under the kind patronage of H.H. Shaikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

And of course, in addition to being a core part of the organizing committee – we were delighted and honoured to be put in charge of all matters relating to marketing and communication: branding, PR, media partnerships, photo, video, advertising, online bookings and sales, events branding, and whatever else...

Ten absolutely hectic months; hundreds of emails per day, meeting after meeting, gazillions of brand collaterals, crazy deadlines (nothing unusual there…) and the most brilliant PR & communication team assembled for the task: François, Violette, Faezeh, Louise, Anisha, Kawther, Nadine, Deena, Summer, Rawan, Phil. Great job, everyone! We did it! 👏🏻

Et voilà!... 💋


December 2016

  • Above: Keith Reinhard (third from left) with team celebrating winning the McDonald's account in 1971

Referred to as “the last of the Mad Men” – advertising legend and hall-of-famer Keith Reinhard is no small fry 🌟. Global Chairman & CEO of DDB Worldwide for 18 years (now Chairman Emeritus) – he turned Bill Bernbach’s talent, vision and creative revolution into not only one of the top global agency networks – but also into the most creative one, all the while building the strongest of corporate cultures. Indeed, we are well placed to know that thanks to Keith, DDB feels a lot more like a family than a global corporation, and that creativity, humanity and respect always run deep in our veins.

And so, we were obviously delighted when our client, Al Muhaidib Group, asked us to see if we could arrange for Keith to come over to Bahrain as the keynote speaker at their annual executive management conference. An email later and he had agreed! 🎉😍

Fair to say that this was Keith’s second visit to our shores 🏝: indeed, he had spent a week here exactly 20 years earlier, conducting a memorable four-day creative seminar for our MEA agencies’ creative directors – an experience he always seemed to recalls with much fondness.

  • Above: Keith Reinhard with H.H. The Amir Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, and with H.R.H. Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the Prime Minister, during his first visit to Bahrain back in 1997

Needless to say, his presentation was mind-blowing, and hosting him once again – 20 years on – a real treat (again). The next day we drove to our client’s headquarters in Dammam, where he made another, completely different but equally amazing presentation – this time to the Group’s marketing teams. This was followed by a great VIP tour of the soon-to-be-opened Ithra Cultural Center in Dhahran (thanks Aramco/Ithra team for the wonderful welcome, and Al Muhaidid CCD for setting this up).

We’re proud to add that Keith was not the only speaker we arranged for the event: Peter Willats, globally acclaimed “Lean Management” guru was one of our guests too, as were Malin Nyman and Karen Hèden, a brilliant leadership coaching duo 👩🏻‍🤝‍👩🏼 from Sweden.

It was a pleasure and an honour to work with such amazing people. Thank you! And thanks to Al Muhaidib Group of course, for organizing such a great event every year, and for entrusting us, year on year, with recommending, sourcing and commissioning such high-level speakers.


April 2016

A number of you will remember Åsa Lodjquist (now Åsa Tönne) as one of our brilliant former Client Servicing Directors. Although she left Bahrain and our agency quite some years ago to resettle back home in Sweden 🇸🇪, we have remained great friends ever since. Case in hand, she has organized quite a few opportunities for Francois to come over to Sweden for joint public speaking or coaching gigs with her 👯‍♀️.

But this one was a bit more of a biggie: after PeO Axelsson, organizer of Sweden’s Annual Marketing Directors' Conference (Marknadscheferna) invited her to speak at the event, Åsa then talked him into having François as the ‘inspirational’ keynote speaker. (OMG! 😱)

Here’s how the briefing phone call went:

PeO: “We want you to be the keynote speaker. We’ll also run a feature article on you in our high-circulation marketing magazine. We want you on the cover.”

Francois (a bit stunned): “Er… I see. And what would you like me to talk about?”

PeO: “Anything you like, that could interest and inspire Marketing Directors.”

Francois (still a bit stunned): “I see… er… And how controversial can I be?”

PeO: “As controversial as you like; this is Sweden: we are open to anything! Our keynote speaker last year was heavy-metal band Iron Maiden’s lead singer Bruce Dickinson, so you see…”

(Bruce Dickinson? Seriously? No less?… Pretty tough act to follow, no? 😰...)

Åsa’s presentation was great. And Francois’? Well, since he was given a free rein, he indulged and spoke of the lack of ethics in business, of a subjugating system, of the fickleness of truth, and of course of what he coined a decade ago as “the Warrior’s Paradigm” – our logical, linear, competitive world orchestrated by ego, power, money – and of the emergence of its potential antipodal one, his “Mermaids' Paradigm” – a feminine/plural one, based on intuition, harmony, collaboration, sustainability and the likes. And you know what? Gotta love the Swedes: it went really, really well! Pfew!...

François and Åsa went on to repeat their presentations (slightly tweaked) two days later at an unrelated conference in Stockholm, under the title “Yes to the Power of No”.

So “tack” to you: Åsa, PeO, Magnus – for the friendship, the hospitality and kindness, as well as for yet again another memorable time in Sweden!



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