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Sun 8 Jan 2006 04:00 AM

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Agencies form micro-network

Lebanon’s SpiderMonkey and Dubai’s Tonic Communications have joined forces to create what they claim is the region’s first creative micro-network.

Lebanon’s SpiderMonkey and Dubai’s Tonic Communications have joined forces to create what they claim is the region’s first creative micro-network.

The agencies will share research material, planning tools and creative resources, as well as pitching jointly for new regional business.

The move comes after SpiderMonkey split away from its affiliation with WPP’s Red Cell following a decision by the international agency to concentrate on key markets in the US and Europe.

SpiderMonkey will manage the Levant and North Africa out of Beirut, while Tonic Communications, which was the first Middle East agency to win a Cannes Gold Lion for creative, will handle the Gulf states from Dubai.

Arnaud Verchère, managing partner at Tonic Communications Dubai, told Campaign that the idea behind the partnership was to create two centres of excellence in the region to boost creativity and introduce best practice.

He said: “We realised that they [SpiderMonkey] were very similar to us in the way they approach doing business. The more we looked at each other the more we realised that we have the same DNA. SpiderMonkey is like a soul mate for Tonic. We found a mirror approach to strategic planning and the same undying belief that creativity is the only way to make communication truly effective.”

Although no financial agreement between the two agencies has taken place, Verchère said it was possible once the relationship had developed. “The door is open for a future exchange of equities two or three years down the line, depending on how it goes,” said Verchère.

Joe Ayoub, CEO at SpiderMonkey, said: “I firmly believe that the association between SpiderMonkey and Tonic is the first real new trend in marketing and communication in the Middle East in a long time.

“It will be the first strategic and creative micro-network in the region. Its philosophy entails a fresh approach to clients and innovative modus operandi. Micro-networks are creative and strategic, light-footed and sharp.”

Ironically, SpiderMonkey lost its WPP affiliation when Red Cell decided to go the micro-network route itself, renamed itself United and ditched most of its offices around the world, including the one in Beirut.

Verchère said there were no immediate plans to add other agencies to the micro-network but did not rule out bringing others in if they added “value and strategic development”.

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