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ASDA'A Burson Marsteller - Media Relations Campaign

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Company: ASDA'A Burson Marsteller, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Company Description: Over the last 15 years, ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller has earned its reputation as the Middle East’s leading public relations consultancy and the benchmark of PR practice in the region. The company’s growing list of prestigious clients and high-profile industry awards reflect this position. ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, a WPP company, has 11 wholly owned offices and reaches into 18 Middle East nations.
Nomination Category: Corporate Communications, Investor Relations, & Public Relations Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Communications or PR Campaign of the Year - Media Relations

Nomination Title: Global Education & Skills Forum and Global Teacher Prize 2017

Tell the story about this nominated campaign since 1 January 2016 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms.


The Global Education & Skills Forum (GESF), an initiative of the Varkey Foundation – the philanthropic arm of GEMS Education – is a global platform for collaboration, problem solving and shaping new ways for education. The event hosts the annual US$1 million Global Teacher Prize (GTP), set up to recognise one teacher from schools across the world who has made an outstanding contribution within the field.

This year, GESF brought together current and former world leaders, education ministers, leading business figures and NGO heads to address the challenges of education, equity and employment for all. Regarded as the ‘Davos of education’, this year’s conference debated the theme, “How to make real global citizens.”


Given the importance of the education sector accorded by all governments in the Middle East, the agency sought to leverage GESF’s importance in the calendar of education events through effective media relations, and reached out to key media including CNN Middle East, BBC Middle East, Sky News Arabia TV, all the major dailies, magazines and online news portals and wire services, including Associated Press, AFP and Reuters, to generate maximum coverage. A key element was to generate profiles of the shortlisted teachers, as well as stories around the topics debated at the forum, through strategic pre-arranged interviews.


The values of global citizenship and inclusivity, and the potential of big data to transform education set the tone for the opening of the fifth GESF, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

First, the agency provided exclusive features and interview opportunities with the shortlisted top 10 GTP teachers, and generated stories about topics discussed and debated by GESF speakers and celebrities including Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor, adventurer Bear Grylls and sports legends Brian Lara and Dwight York, who supported the event at a gala dinner. The agency also engaged lifestyle media at a red-carpet event which garnered great support and the widespread coverage ensured that teachers got their due share of the spotlight.

On-site, ASDA’A B-M managed the full press office, hosting over 120 local and regional media, pre-arranging over 30 broadcast and print interviews with identified spokespeople and facilitating over 88 local and regional interviews on ground in addition to assisting with over 60 international media interviews.

The agency drove significant coverage towards the opening assembly, attended by over 2,000 delegates from 140 nations who witnessed emotionally charged moments as Sa’a and Rachel, kidnapped girl students shared stories of the atrocities suffered under the Boko Haram militants.

A total of 27 press releases were drafted and disseminated pre-and during the event covering different sessions including the GTP. The agency team on-ground of over 20 staff in rotation also provided key support reporting for the opening and closing plenaries, debate sessions and press briefings with Arabic and English writers covering each session.


The GESF and GTP coverage appeared on the front page of all major English and Arabic daily publications across the Middle East region generating over 642 hits, reaching 254 million people with a perceived editorial value of US$6.01 million, and 19 front page stories.

The success of the coverage saw a quantum increase of 35 per cent in hits compared to the 2016 event – which equated to a 36 per cent increase in PR value, 12 per cent increase in reach., 9% increase in print, 69% increase in online and 89% increase in broadcast coverage.

Internationally, where the PR was handled by Varkey Foundation’s UK based agency, the story garnered over 3,000 hits and was the major story in many international dailies including the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Guardian, International Herald Tribune, etc. mainly due to the engagement of newswires in Dubai by ASDA’A B-M.

In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) of the chief features and results of this nominated PR program since the beginning of 2016 (up to 150 words).


-Using the attraction of current and former world leaders, education ministers and NGO heads
-Strategic communications approach to engage Associated Press (TV, photography and newswire) and other newswires through embargoed interviews
-A teaser media advisory to create curiosity and gain media attendance for the forum sessions
-Over 2,000 delegates from over 140 nations attended the forum and close to 200 media covered the event
-Achieving positive coverage of the GESF and GTP in the regional and international media, enabling successful dialogue and discussion in the media around the education sector