Sunil John, founder and CEO of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, the region’s leading public relations consultancy, has been awarded the “SABRE Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement ”, the first person from the Middle East to be honoured with this prestigious global award.
The SABRE Awards, which are presented by The Holmes Group, a leading global public relations publishing organisation, acknowledged John’s position at the “forefront of change” in helping to move the region’s PR industry “beyond product publicity and special events to encompass the full range of corporate reputation management and branding functions, digital and social media, and more”.
“Sunil John is a prime example of pioneering leadership that has not only helped ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller to become the leading WPP PR consultancy in the region, but also has taken the PR sector to new heights. This award is testament to all of the hard work that he and his team have done and the partnerships the agency has with its blue-chip clients,” said Joseph Ghossoub, Chairman and CEO of MENACOM, the parent company of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller.
John’s nomination follows shortly after the announcement that the agency has been shortlisted for four EMEA SABRE Awards in various categories. The nominations, which are due to be announced on May 20 in London, include its work with Emaar Properties’ Downtown Dubai New Year’s Eve Gala and the Vogue Fashion Dubai Experience, Nestlé Middle East’s Kit Kat Comedy Break and the regional rollout of Ford Middle East’s Global CSR Campaign, Warriors in Pink.
In October 2013, ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller was presented with nine awards at the International Business Awards 2013, including the prestigious Gold Stevie for the Public Relations Agency of the Year in the Middle East and Africa.
In the 15-years since John founded ASDA’A – which takes its name from the Arabic word for echoes – he has set a new benchmark for the PR sector. Between 1999 and 2008, ASDA’A operated as an independent firm, growing its operations across the Middle East and North Africa. In 2008, WPP acquired a majority stake in its parent company, MENACOM, forming a partnership between ASDA’A and Burson-Marsteller. The firm currently employs over 150 people across the Middle East and North Africa and has a presence in 19 countries through 11 owned offices and 10 affiliates.
John is also the driving force behind the thought leadership platform, the annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey, which is now in its sixth edition. Much before the events of the Arab Spring, the Arab Youth Survey sought to gauge the sentiments of the region’s youth, and their overwhelming desire for better jobs and personal dignity, and their views on democracy.
As part of the horizontal expansion of the ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller offering, the agency recently launched the firm’s research associate, PSB Middle East. The firm, which has been providing research-based advice for winning political, corporate and marketing campaigns for over 30 years, conducts the field research and analysis of the annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey.
John is the only PR professional in the Top 20 rankings of the Arabian Business Indian Power List 2012 and 2013. He also chaired the 20th Public Relations World Congress held in Dubai in March 2012, attended by 500 delegates from 28 countries.