Ad-industry legend Mike Abel adds market research to his focus

By our African Marketing Confederation News Team | 2024

Abel becomes Non-Executive Chair of ‘innovative and disruptive Dublin-based research agency, while continuing in existing role.

South African advertising industry legend, Mike Abel, has taken up a role as Non-Executive Chair of an Irish-based market research company. He will, however, continue to be Executive Chair of the M&C Saatchi Group in his home country. 


The ad industry veteran says his interest has been piqued by Sens, which provides market research insights through a technology lens. The agency combines research with behavioural science and artificial intelligence (AI). 

Mike Abel. Photo via LinkedIn

In an article published in South Africa’s Business Day newspaper, Abel says that after 35 years in the marketing and communications industry, he found the Sens approach to be “something distinctly fresh and profoundly interesting”. 


“The great disrupter in this industry is blending AI with the latest technology in data, behavioural science and behavioural economics, and then adding facial recognition and psychological assessment tools,” he is quoted as saying in the Business Day article.  


“Seamlessly blend these together, and back them with an extraordinary human team of proven researchers, engineers and business advisers, and you end up with something that can add exponential value to decision-makers when it comes to clients, customers and employees.” 


Abel believes the Sens tech-based approach enables critical interviewee non-verbal cues to be assessed – and researcher, human or avatar, can dig a little deeper to get to the nub of the real sentiment or emotion. 


Critical interviewee non-verbal cues 


In a statement published on its website, Sens emphasises that the appointment of Abel does not affect his role as Executive Chairman of M&C Saatchi Group South Africa, the business he founded 14 years ago. 


“Abel, whose non-executive chairmanship is siloed from the day-to-day operations of Sens, will bring vision, a global network and experience, clarity, and innovation to the business, which is already producing outstanding results for blue chip clients and is ready for the next phase of its growth,” the statement reads. 


Abel is the regional head and founder of the M&C Saatchi Group on the African continent. The group comprises M&C Saatchi Abel (Cape Town and Johannesburg), Razor PR, Levergy, Connect media and Dalmatian advertising. 


He also serves on the M&C Saatchi Plc global Executive Leadership Team. He is also Patron of The Street Store, which claims to be “the world’s first rent-free, premises-free, free pop-up clothing store for those in need”. 

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.