one final question to our guest speaker,
“What does a real Harley Davidson actually sound like?”
asked one the delegates at the recent Middlesex University Marketing Master class.
Moments later Steve Beattie, General Manager of Harley Davidson of the UAE, made sure that the entire audience in the packed brand new, state-of-the-art 100 seat “business class” Middlesex Oasis Theatre, knew and that would never forget!
This was one of many highlights in what can only be described as a truly unique and inspirational event at Middlesex University, Dubai.
The “Simply the Best!” concept, a master class in marketing best practice, was the brain-child of Dr. Alun Epps, Associate Professor in Marketing, Programme Leader for the Masters of Arts in Marketing Communications (MAMC) and Research Committee Chair at Middlesex University Dubai’s Knowledge Village Campus. “It all started at an appraisal when my line manager suggested that we get more industry involvement on the MAMC”, states Dr. Alun. “I sat down with my colleague Dr. John Sutton and we devised a “dream-team” of some of the finest marketing minds in the Middle East and the most iconic brands on the planet to invite to this show-case of raw marketing talent”.
The common theme of the day was “passion” and the bar was set high when FP7′s Managing Director, Sasan Saiedi and Associate Planning and Insights Director, Tahaab Rais took to the stage. FP7 is the leading advertising agency network in the Middle East and North Africa region and the two senior executives shared decades of experience at the cutting edge of advertising and marketing promotion. At one point, our over-dependence on technology was demonstrated when each delegate was asked to exchange their mobile phone with the person next to them for 15 minutes. This put much of the “by invitation only” audience that included, past Middlesex students, academics, as well as marketing practioners well outside of their comfort zones!
The “and now for something completely different” role was played by Daniel Hutmacher, Managing Director of Chocolat, who lovingly create “by hand” the first Swiss designer chocolates in the UAE. Daniel demonstrated how you do not have to be a global brand with a thousands of staff to be “Simply the Best” in a B2B niche market. After the presentation, delegates were invited to sample Chocolat’s produce. Comments such as “not of this earth”, “simply divine” and “this is so naughty, it should be made illegal!” could be heard outside the theatre.
During the lavish banquet lunch, and in preparation for his impassioned talk on iconic branding (the original social network) Steve Beattie of Harley Davidson, brought in the flag-ship of his fleet, a mighty Electro-Glide custom in red, as quietly and discretely as he possibly could. Delegates, newly enrolled Middlesex students and staff alike, stood in awe and took endless photos as the majestic machine was given the red carpet treatment to take centre stage in the Oasis Theatre.
Simon Chapman of GMASCO, the Gulf’s most diverse full service communications, marketing and advertising agency closed the day with an insightful and engaging session on how some of the leading Japanese automotive brands retain their place in the hearts and minds of the consumers. Sponsorship of some of the UAE’s sporting and cultural events featured significantly in the in-depth behind the scenes look at the impressive array of marketing communication tools at the agency’s disposal.
Professor Raed Awamleh, Director of the Middlesex University Dubai Campus summed up the event by saying that “Simply the Best! is an appropriate title for what has happened here today. This has been a real opportunity for Middlesex University Dubai to engage with its wider stakeholder community”. He added that “Dr. Alun’s enthusiasm for these events is quite contagious and my only hope is that he does not ride off into the sunset on a Harley!”