Twenty-three years ago, a small staffing agency in Alexandria, VA opened its doors with a clear purpose in mind: ensure that the most important connection, that final 1-to-1 moment between a brand and a consumer, would forever be remembered as personable, genuine, informed.

Fast forward 23 years (and at the risk of sounding downright cynical), I think it would be fair to say that evolving into an award-winning, full service brand engagement agency with expansion plans wouldn’t be on the mind. Perhaps our expansion efforts would take us to LA, New York or Boston. But Dubai? No way. And yet here we are.

So why Dubai? What do we have that is different to the countless other agencies in the region, most of whom belong to the five big global media groups? Apart from being unapologetically opportunistic with our choice of location, our “why” can be summed up in two words: data and experience, both of which we brought to life in spades at our launch event earlier this December.

On a beautiful night, in an up-and-coming area of Dubai known as Alserkal, surrounded by gourmet chocolatiers, uber trendy vegetarian restaurants and art galleries, RedPeg Middle East took over INKED, the region’s foremost arts hub, and officially declared itself open for business.

The premise of our launch theme, “Dream,” allowed all 250 guests to open their minds and allow their senses to wander, discovering the joy of the unknown. No branding, no sales messages, no long speeches (apart from a couple of welcome ones). Just pure engagement, networking, and indulging in delicious, hand-crafted hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, artfully created by Chef Hadrien Villedieu.

And from the moment the first Einvite went out, we ensured each interaction was a two-way experience:

  • Evite invitation, complete with our bespoke algorithm designed to capture crucial data regarding guests’ likes and interests, based on seemingly unconnected questions;
  • we tempted taste buds and tricked the mind into tasting a “stone” from the edible forest;
  • we brought D.C. and the UAE together via our hand dipped cake pops reminiscent of our respective national flowers;
  • we invited wary guests to place their hands into the immersive hidden wall and be rewarded with a fresh mocktail;
  • we asked guests to select the flower that best represented what their business dreams were and add their answer to the Tree of Life, watching it “bloom” as each new flower was added throughout the course of the evening (another data touchpoint that elicited live updates).

Now for the data part. Thanks to the info we collected pre-launch and on the night, we were able to identify the must-haves that brands are asking for, as well as provide each guest a personalized chocolate bar as a thank you gift, selected as a result of their answers to our algorithm.

“Events are typically one-off passive displays of information. For our launch, we produced a unique, immersive, interactive customer experience that really engaged people and left a lasting impact,” said Brad Nierenberg, RedPeg CEO.

“Our process is a marriage of creativity and data enabling us to create brand experiences that always lead to tangible business results, said newly appointed RedPeg Middle East Managing Director, Ghada El-Kari. “We believe that deeper engagement leads to better sales.”

In less than one year from our first “should we or shouldn’t we” conversation, we can proudly say “we did it”. Beyond being excited for the future and proud of what we achieved on the night, we’re delighted with the enthusiastic response from our guests.

“Congrats on executing such a creative, enjoyable and successful launch event last night. Jon and I really enjoyed meeting your team, and your brand.” 
– Patrick Pierce, VP Marketing Etihad Airways

“HUGE congratulations on the launch of Red Peg Middle East!!! Thanks for the invite last night – it was a brilliant evening and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and networking.”

Alasdair Hall-Jones, Head of Global The Marketing Society

“…we truly enjoyed the “highly sensorial” experience at the RedPeg launch event.”  – Tolga Sezer, Chief Executive Officer Masafi

Curious to know where the next stop will be for RedPeg? Stay tuned…2019 is going to be quite a year.