Online dominated by two firms, says Proximity GM

Just two agencies in Dubai offer a realistic choice for clients in search of interactive services, says the general manager of Impact Proximity.

Kieran O'Sullivan told Campaign that Impact Proximity - along with rival agency Flip Media - dominated the interactive sphere, and that even Flip Media did not represent a creative threat.

The fighting talk comes amid a recruitment drive at the agency, which has recently seen the appointment of a creative director and an integrated director.

The agency, which is part of the BBDO Worldwide network, is also on the hunt to find senior level art directors and copywriters to boost its creative offering.

"I think that there are two agencies on the scene," said O'Sullivan. "Flip are a competitor. But will they challenge us creatively? No. However, they are there on the quality of the product."

O'Sullivan said he wanted the agency to have won a major international award by this time next year and that BBDO bosses were looking for the new team to capture "cornerstone" accounts.

The agency already looks after several blue-chip companies, including ADCB, Air Miles, DaimlerChrysler, Du, Emirates, Hilton, Pepsi, Shell, Showtime and Masterfoods.

"The senior management are looking for creative excellence and for the team to drive this business forward in terms of capturing cornerstone business," O'Sullivan said. "We want to win international awards and lift the level of creativity here to international standards - we need to take things up to the next level."

A key part of the agency's expansion drive comes in the form of new hire Sebastian Puhze, who has joined the agency as creative director.

Previously Puhze has worked in Germany, the US and, most recently China, where he was creative director for Emporio Asia.

"What I like about Impact Proximity is that they see the quality of their creative work in international terms," he said. "Creating ideas of global excellence is a challenge any creative person would die for."

Nick Whetham, meanwhile, has joined as the agency as integrated director.

He comes to Impact Proximity from Sydney, where he worked at Wunderman, Clemenger Proximity and MJW Hakuhodo.

"We have a number of strong individuals, but what we have lacked is a cohesive team approach," O'Sullivan added. "Sebastian has won lots of awards and we're looking to him to drive the creative team and challenge them every step of the way. Nick will look after the CRM side and brings expertise to both our above and below-the-line work."

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