January 15, 2021

Campaign Spotlight: Ads for Rosewood Hotels Hope to Convey ‘A Sense of Place’

The company, Rosewood Hotels and Resorts, is introducing a campaign that carries the theme, “A sense of place,” which is complemented with another phrase, “A true journey never ends.” The budget for the campaign — including print and digital ads, online video and a redesigned Web site — is estimated at $8 million.

The campaign presents striking shots in a “living canvas” style by a Danish photographer, Anders Overgaard, of interesting and unusual things to do in cities where Rosewood has properties. For instance, one image, titled “Getting Lost in the Moment,” depicts a Temazcal ritual at the Rosewood Mayakoba in Riviera Maya, Mexico.

A second ad, titled “Behind the Magic Curtain,” shows a couple in formal wear backstage at a ballet in New York, where the Carlyle is a Rosewood hotel. A third ad, titled “Hitting All the Right Notes,” features guests enjoying a pianist at the Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle.

Other experiences that are highlighted in the campaign include sailing a dhow and riding bicycles in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where Rosewood has one hotel and intends to open a second, in 2015; and getting fitted for a dress and taking a calligraphy master class in Beijing, where Rosewood is to open a hotel early next year.

The campaign arrives as the company proceeds with expansion plans that involve doubling the number of properties under the Rosewood brand umbrella within five years. In the short term, in addition to the new hotel in Beijing, a Rosewood hotel is scheduled to open in London next month.

Beyond that, the company has proposed opening seven additional hotels, in markets like Bali, Indonesia; Chongquing, China; Nassau, the Bahamas; and Phukut, Thailand.

The campaign is being created for Rosewood by AgencySacks in New York, which specializes in advertising aimed at consumers at the upper end of the market; its slogan is, “We influence the affluent.” The Web site redesign is being handled by the Hong Kong office of Isobar, which is part of the Dentsu Aegis Network division of Dentsu.

AgencySacks has been working for Rosewood since 2004 and was kept on after the company changed hands in 2011, when the previous owners sold to New World Hospitality, a unit of New World China Land, for $800 million.

Rosewood is “a very-well-recognized brand,” says Sonia Cheng, chief executive of the company, which has offices in Dallas and Hong Kong. “We saw the opportunity to take it to the next level and expand Rosewood aggressively.”

The campaign is intended to be part of efforts to “completely revamp” Rosewood “from a brand identity front,” she adds, to “keep up with what luxury travelers are looking for.”

The campaign theme represents “a strong philosophy,” Ms. Cheng says, that gives the brand “a more modern look and approach.”

“What Rosewood has right now is special,” she adds. “We want to make it as ‘un-hotel’ as possible.”

By that, Ms. Cheng explains, she means that she wants to distinguish Rosewood from lodging chains that, as they grow bigger, “focus on quantity” rather than quality and make staying at each property “a cookie-cutter experience.”

Rosewood, by comparison, tries to make each hotel “individualized,” she says, and let each have “its own personality that embodies local culture.”

“What luxury travelers are looking for is not extravagance, but experience,” she adds.

A campaign for Loews Hotels and Resorts, introduced in July, also seeks to portray staying at each property as a unique experience. The Loews campaign, which carries the theme “The room you need,” is created by the Catch New York agency.

After Ms. Cheng came to Rosewood following the change in ownership, a brand consultant and graphic designer, Robert Louey, “helped us with the direction” of the makeover, she says. Then AgencySacks was brought in to work on a new campaign.

In many instances after a company changes hands, one of the first things the new owner does is look for a new agency. In this instance, Ms. Cheng says, she wanted to keep AgencySacks because “they know Rosewood inside out.”

“It was a smart choice to make,” she adds.

Introducing “A sense of place” as the new theme for Rosewood speaks to the desire to “create experiences for the guests,” Ms. Cheng says, in a “living canvas” approach.

As part of that, the company is bringing experts it calls “curators” to the hotels, she adds, “and give the inside scoop on each location to the guests.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/23/business/media/ads-for-rosewood-hotels-hope-to-convey-a-sense-of-place.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Hamas Closes News Media Outlets

The offices belonged to the Al Arabiya news channel, which is based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and to Maan, a Palestinian news agency based in Bethlehem, West Bank.

Hamas also shut down a local production company called Lens because it had provided broadcast services to I24 News, a new channel based in Israel that broadcasts in Arabic, English and French.

Ismail Jaber, Hamas’s attorney general, said his office had received complaints that Al Arabiya and Maan had “spread rumors and fabricated news” and had provided information that “threaten the social peace and harm the Palestinian people and their resistance.”

He added the closings were temporary, without explaining further.

The move came after Al Arabiya and Maan both reported that some leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt had fled to Gaza after the military ousted President Mohamed Morsi this month. The reports attributed the information to Israeli news media reports and unidentified sources, saying that six Brotherhood leaders were directing pro-Morsi activities in Egypt from a hotel room in Gaza City.

Hamas, which won elections in 2006 and took full control of Gaza in 2007, is an offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood movement.

In the wake of the ouster of Mr. Morsi, tensions between the Egyptian military and Hamas have been growing. Egyptian military officials have told state news media that scores of Hamas fighters and snipers have been making their way into Egypt to battle the anti-Morsi demonstrators, and newspaper columnists have accused Hamas of interfering in Egypt’s affairs.

Meanwhile, an employee of Lens said the Hamas-run government’s media office told the company that it was violating a January government decision to bar Palestinian journalists in Gaza from working with or providing services to Israeli news organizations and broadcasters.

The employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the director of the Government Media Office told him that I24 News was a hostile Zionist channel. About an hour later, the police headed for the Lens office and closed it, based on an order from the attorney general.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/26/world/middleeast/hamas-closes-news-media-outlets.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Occidental Chairman Irani Agrees to Leave Company

The decision, announced at the company’s annual meeting, was the climax of a brutal boardroom struggle between Mr. Irani and Stephen I. Chazen, the chief executive during the last two years, over leadership and direction of the company. Earlier this week, the Occidental board bowed to investor pressure by announcing that Mr. Chazen would continue to serve in his position through the end of 2014 and help find a successor.

The company announced that Edward P. Djererjian, a former ambassador in the Middle East who has served as an independent director since 1996, will assume the role of independent chairman of the board, and that former Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham will become the independent vice chairmen. Both were elected by the board.

Mr. Irani has been chairman of Occidental since 1990, and many observers of the company believed he had been maneuvering to remove Mr. Chazen and retake the post of chief executive. He did not attend the shareholder meeting, held in Santa Monica, Calif.

Mr. Irani, 78, took over the Los Angeles-based company from Armand Hammer and stretched its reach across the Middle East, including Iraq, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. But he angered many investors by rewarding himself and some of his most senior executives with pay packages that were outsize even by the generous standards of large oil companies. Shareholders forced him to step down as chief executive two years ago.

Mr. Irani will be eligible for a severance payment of $38 million, which includes a life insurance payout, and additional annual payments of more than $2 million.

In recent years, Mr. Chazen tried to turn the company’s focus toward domestic oil fields to take advantage of the shale oil boom, but the financial results of his approach did not satisfy Mr. Irani. Occidental’s stock price has lagged those of competitors.

The shareholders had voted against Mr. Irani’s retention as chairman by more than 3 to 1.

“This means Chazen is really in charge until his time is up next year,” said Philip H. Weiss, a senior energy analyst at Argus Research. “This ends the battle at the top and clears a path for new leadership.”

In another sign of change, Aziz D. Syriani, the lead independent director, submitted his resignation. Mr. Syriani is the chief executive of the Olayan Group, a global trading and investment company, who received stock and cash worth $879,000 last year as an Occidental board member.

The developments were welcomed by activist investors who wanted Mr. Irani to retire.

“I am happy and cautiously optimistic but the devil’s in the details,” said Steven Romick, a managing partner of First Pacific Advisors and overseer of the $11 billion FPA Crescent fund, who attended the annual meeting. He said he hoped the company would now restructure its compensation policies for the board and senior management, and he was open to the possibility that Mr. Chazen might stay in his position longer.

Mr. Chazen is 66, two years younger than the new retirement age set for the chief executive just this week by the board.

Mr. Romick added, drawing a clear distinction with Mr. Irani’s direction, “My preference would be to be very circumspect about the Middle East.”

In February, Occidental surprised investors when it announced that it was creating a search committee to replace Mr. Chazen as chief executive. Fear spread among some investors that Mr. Irani was trying to put off his retirement and even return to his old post as chief executive. That stirred a revolt by the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and other shareholder activists who came out in favor of Mr. Chazen. They were supported by many Wall Street analysts who have complained that the company under Mr. Irani was often secretive.

Mr. Chazen, who previously served as chief financial officer, won the support of many investors because he was viewed as a smart allocator of capital and efficient manager of new projects.

Institutional Shareholder Services, the influential proxy adviser, had recommended that shareholders refuse to re-elect Mr. Irani or Mr. Syriani.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/04/business/occidental-chairman-irani-agrees-to-leave-company.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Secret Desert Force Set Up by Blackwater’s Founder

The Colombians had entered the United Arab Emirates posing as construction workers. In fact, they were soldiers for a secret American-led mercenary army being built by Erik Prince, the billionaire founder of Blackwater Worldwide, with $529 million from the oil-soaked sheikdom.

Mr. Prince, who resettled here last year after his security business faced mounting legal problems in the United States, was hired by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi to put together an 800-member battalion of foreign troops for the U.A.E., according to former employees on the project, American officials and corporate documents obtained by The New York Times.

The force is intended to conduct special operations missions inside and outside the country, defend oil pipelines and skyscrapers from terrorist attacks and put down internal revolts, the documents show. Such troops could be deployed if the Emirates faced unrest or were challenged by pro-democracy demonstrations in its crowded labor camps or democracy protests like those sweeping the Arab world this year.

The U.A.E.’s rulers, viewing their own military as inadequate, also hope that the troops could blunt the regional aggression of Iran, the country’s biggest foe, the former employees said. The training camp, located on a sprawling Emirati base called Zayed Military City, is hidden behind concrete walls laced with barbed wire. Photographs show rows of identical yellow temporary buildings, used for barracks and mess halls, and a motor pool, which houses Humvees and fuel trucks. The Colombians, along with South African and other foreign troops, are trained by retired American soldiers and veterans of the German and British special operations units and the French Foreign Legion, according to the former employees and American officials.

In outsourcing critical parts of their defense to mercenaries — the soldiers of choice for medieval kings, Italian Renaissance dukes and African dictators — the Emiratis have begun a new era in the boom in wartime contracting that began after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. And by relying on a force largely created by Americans, they have introduced a volatile element in an already combustible region where the United States is widely viewed with suspicion.

The United Arab Emirates — an autocracy with the sheen of a progressive, modern state — are closely allied with the United States, and American officials indicated that the battalion program had some support in Washington.

“The gulf countries, and the U.A.E. in particular, don’t have a lot of military experience. It would make sense if they looked outside their borders for help,” said one Obama administration official who knew of the operation. “They might want to show that they are not to be messed with.”

Still, it is not clear whether the project has the United States’ official blessing. Legal experts and government officials said some of those involved with the battalion might be breaking federal laws that prohibit American citizens from training foreign troops if they did not secure a license from the State Department.

Mark C. Toner, a spokesman for the department, would not confirm whether Mr. Prince’s company had obtained such a license, but he said the department was investigating to see if the training effort was in violation of American laws. Mr. Toner pointed out that Blackwater (which renamed itself Xe Services ) paid $42 million in fines last year for training foreign troops in Jordan and other countries over the years.

The U.A.E.’s ambassador to Washington, Yousef al-Otaiba, declined to comment for this article. A spokesman for Mr. Prince also did not comment.

For Mr. Prince, the foreign battalion is a bold attempt at reinvention. He is hoping to build an empire in the desert, far from the trial lawyers, Congressional investigators and Justice Department officials he is convinced worked in league to portray Blackwater as reckless. He sold the company last year, but in April, a federal appeals court reopened the case against four Blackwater guards accused of killing 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in 2007.

Mark Mazzetti reported from Abu Dhabi and Washington, and Emily B. Hager from New York. Jenny Carolina González and Simon Romero contributed reporting from Bogotá, Colombia. Kitty Bennett contributed research from Washington.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=8a7efe6008b5b1d296d5c4185a83b698