Mint MENA started as a humble production consultancy in 2010 with a vision of extracting the TV producer resources from agencies to cut their overheads and drive efficiencies from a central pool of producers serving multiple agencies. With Dolly Saidy at the helm, the agency quickly transformed, over the next four years, from mere production services to a creative consultancy. Saidy brought with her almost ten years of production expertise having worked at MBC and MCN.
In 2017, her husband Joseph Makhoul, previously general manager of MullenLowe MENA joined her, further refreshing the consultancy – both in terms of its own branding and its external services.
Mint MENA now offers:
- Production consultancy and cost negotiation
- Creative services consultancy and fee negotiation
- Content producer services
- Content ideation
The agency/consultancy has worked with agencies including J. Walter Thompson, DDB, and Impact BBDO; and with clients such as Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, Mobily, and Coca-Cola.
It has also won the “The Most Effective Independent Agency in the MEA” award by the Effie Index for three consecutive years starting in 2015.
And yet, any news of Mint MENA – including its existence – remains rather hushed. Saidy and Makhoul have been quietly working behind the scenes on campaigns – such as Unilever’s Forsaty challenge – that are better known than the agency.
So, we caught up with the duo to ask them what really sets them apart and what Mint MENA is all about.
So, what does Mint MENA do and whom are you catering to?
Our core offering at Mint MENA is creating value by driving efficiency for advertisers in the area of creative services and AV production – something that is in demand now more than ever. We aim to keep AV production costs and agencies fees commercially viable and transparent.
For marketers, our services are a very efficient way to do a reality check. We’re committed to driving out unnecessary costs without compromising the creative/production values or the message but rather making the advertising product efficient, economical and yet extraordinary.
For the procurement department, we are the natural partners. We endeavor to find savings that may not be apparent and may be overlooked and in our experience, every proposal has room for savings. Crafting a smart, efficient workflow coupled with our vast supplier network that we can benchmark against thousands of projects.
For big consulting firms, we understand that the needs of brands have changed dramatically requiring one to be involved in the entire business. Our services and knowledge are available as a complement to the existing offering within the production landscape.
And finally, for agencies, having been in their shoes, we understand the unique challenges. Satisfying the clients’ needs is a critical part of building the business, reputation, and the opportunity for future projects.
We see ourselves as a collaboration hub that supports both clients and agencies collectively or separately.
Where exactly do you think you add value?
Today’s climate requires both clients and agencies to work efficiently; advertiser’s budgets are being continuously scrutinized and cautiously spent with ROI being the key factor. Agencies cannot expect their clients’ fees to remain intact and yet they need to retain a factor of profitability. Our value is in our ability to ensure that projects maintain their creative integrity and quality while extracting cost efficiencies.
Tell us a bit about how Mint MENA started…
Mint MENA’s journey began in 2010 after the global recession. Our initial focus was providing external TV producer services to agencies from a central pool of talent. This helped agencies cut their costs while tapping into our services only when needed rather than bearing costly unnecessary overhead that may not be utilized efficiently.
We widened our offering in 2014 to provide production consultancy support to advertisers with an aim to achieve measurable savings. We have been successful in building great partnerships with The Coca-Cola Company and Mars Wrigley confectionary to name a few covering their needs across the Middle East and Africa. Recently, we expanded our consultancy services to cover all creative services; whether it’s identifying the right creative partner or negotiating production costs and creative fees. Our objective remains centered around driving efficiency for advertisers while working hand in hand with their agencies to deliver great work.
What would you say sets the agency apart from other such agencies and consultancies?
Having held leadership roles on the agency side, we have a solid understanding of the client and agency world backed with 20 years of experience working with some of the most respected marketers in the region.
Unlike cost controllers, we are with our clients every step of the way from inception to realization. Furthermore, what sets us apart in our market is our established presence, reputation and proven track record. Our uniqueness is that we are one of the very few companies in and from the region who provide this service. We understand and know the region and its markets more than anyone else.