Communicate speak to Sustainability Lead at OMG MENA about supporting partner charities
6 May 2020

This interview was originally published on Communicate Online.


As part of the company’s COVID-19 relief efforts, Omnicom Media Group MENA joins forces with regional media owners in the Middle East- to provide complimentary media space to its long-standing partner charities. With their support, the NPO’s – Dubai Cares, Gulf for Good, and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) will be able to reach a larger audience with their call to action campaigns. Communicate spoke with Alanna Turpin, Sustainability Lead at Omnicom Media Group MENA, to understand more about the purpose behind the initiative and what they hope to achieve.


What is the purpose behind these initiatives?

Part of my role at Omnicom Media Group is working with charities and non-profits to support them in achieving their mission. Sometimes this can mean organizing volunteering opportunities or charity trips for our employees, or it could be fundraising or donating. Since the start of COVID-19, we’ve had to cancel most of our plans for the year. It’s fair to say that the majority of people on this planet are wondering how they can be part of the solution, so it’s only natural that we, as the media industry, want to do what we do best. We know how to amplify the response to the fundraising campaigns of our partners, which ensures the continuity of their much-needed critical relief efforts. Usually, there is no media budget assigned to these campaigns.

At a time when donation budgets are either being frozen entirely or are allocated to pure COVID-19 relief, our partner charities and non-profits around the world need us more than ever. One of my favorite quotes is “Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean”. This couldn’t be more true right now. Every little bit helps.

How were the other media partners selected?

Our investment team reached out to our key media partners and asked if they were able to work with us on the initiative. We have been humbled by the support we’ve received so far, and are now being contacted by more and more media suppliers since the launch of our campaign.

How were the charity partners selected?

All three have been our partners for many years and we have been supporting them in different ways. We have planned media campaigns for Dubai Cares, to promote many of their fundraising initiatives over the years, pro bono of course. We have partnered with Gulf for Good for four charity challenges in Africa and Asia. With them, our employees have trekked to Kilimanjaro, Everest Base Camp, cycled from Vietnam to Cambodia and the latest being to cross the Mongolian desert by horse, bike, and foot. Last year, we raised around AED530,000 which, after costs, were distributed between an orphanage in Mongolia and MSF’s rehabilitation hospital in Amman. We have given regular advice to MSF on their marketing strategy and had planned to fundraise for them again this year, by cycling the seven Emirates with Gulf for Good. Unfortunately, this is now called into question.

It is only fitting that we continue to work with our partners to help them help others during a time when they need us the most.

How is OMG and the other media partners providing support? Can you explain the process?

Essentially OMG is the aggregator of all the free media space being supplied. Once media partners offer us their available inventory, we divide it equally between our charities. Our teams at OMD are also working on the creative development for MSF and Gulf for Good, which will be launched upon completion across multiple platforms, and share all the necessary post-campaign reports.

What do you hope to achieve from this initiative?

Our ultimate aim is for our partners to reach their fundraising goals. For Dubai Cares, it is to ensure educational support to 40,000 UAE low-income students. For Gulf for Good, it is to provide assistance to 2,000 children across Nepal, Uganda, Peru, Tanzania, and Lebanon. Médecins Sans Frontiéres (MSF) are directly involved in working with health authorities to contribute towards the prevention of COVID-19 as well as tackling the outbreak.

The wide exposure they will receive during this campaign will also help with their longer-term sustainability as the awareness levels in the region will increase.

Stay in the know

Sign up
Successfully subscribed! Thank you!