Powerful Social Experiences

A network of international experts that foster and manage customer engagement and experiences, CELS’ aim is to create valuable social experiences through a set of well-designed products and services. Here, RLI speaks with the Founder & CEO Alessandro Gaffuri to discuss some of the company’s key projects and what the future holds.

CELS believe that shopping centres are the heart and soul of communities and social havens for all people. Its purpose is to go beyond shopping occasions to create powerful social experiences that engage consumers through a full range of services and customised solutions.


The business provides a 360-degree solution and experiential marketing through the following CELS Group’s Business Units:

CELS Events

This is not your usual event agency; they instead conceptualise and produce original format events and manage all the elements of an event, from storytelling to performers and set-ups, with the result being outstanding creative experiences that stimulate social sharing.

CELS Digital

They integrate touchpoints and effective digital campaigns that incorporate touch screens, kiosks, games and applications.

AFKAR Lighting

This company’s lighting set-ups are produced with the aim of taking you away from reality to tell you a story. The company crafts lighting experiences that strengthen bonds with the community, and they specialise in creating original festive lighting, handcrafted decorations and multimedia setups.

Creative Productions

The team at Creative Productions is a dynamic team of experts within event management, whose core strengths include creativity and technical expertise in the fabrication of exhibition stands, POS kiosks, stage backdrops and Styrofoam and fiberglass props.

VIAFONE Technologies

What sets this company apart from the crowd is its driving passion for developing innovative customer experience and engagement technologies, constantly raising standards with evolving technologies like Artificial Intelligence and machine learning-based chatbots.


This is an Italian-based design studio specialising in realising brand guidelines, graphic design, creative direction and publishing. “All of our marketing efforts are built around increasing the brand’s bond with the community,” explains Alessandro Gaffuri, Founder & CEO of CELS. “We pride ourselves in creating memorable experiences for the entire family that create loyal consumers.” The company began life back in 2013 with just two employees, and they only worked in the décor and digital services, with a few activations and some loyalty programs. In 2018 the company has expanded to become a 360-degree solution agency with 40 employees.

“We invest in business units like Viafone and Creative Productions which leverage our services and allows for a comprehensive plan for our clients,” explains Gaffuri. CELS currently operate in Milano, Dubai, Doha, Kuwait City, Jeddah and London, with plans to expand work in the near future to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. So what are the key projects for CELS at the moment? “We are currently launching the Chatbot solution for retailers and malls and we are launching a long-term annual solution to market malls all year long. Our selling point is our strategy; we offer a holistic approach that covers all the points needed to successfully market products.”

Recent completions from the Group include the event at Lagoona Mall in Doha for the FIFA World Cup 2018, where the goal was to create a multi-faceted event with live games, competitions, a grandstand, sport themed decoration, a 20-person international entertainer crew, and VIP pods to watch the action unfold in private with family and friends. Each year the company develops magical and unique creations that inspire the region in the Holy month of Ramadan. No matter the project, CELS strictly aims for quality in its design, without compromising the importance of heritage and culture. “Our key point of difference is our ability to offer clients a one-stop-shop for all their needs; we take a project from A to Z. The most important investment we have made is to our team to help support our valued clients,” says Gaffuri.

Over the coming year, investment into Artificial Intelligence and loyalty programs is high on the agenda, and they also aim to replace all apps with a chat bot solution which can be used for customer service, payment and for information, decreasing the number of staff requests meaning a more efficient use of staff time. “We are also bringing licensed cartoon characters into the mix and we want to bring custom shows to tour the GCC, and globally,” Gaffuri explains. Maintaining relationships with its clients is pivotal to CELS, so they ensure each client has a dedicated account manager that is in constant communication with them, and they regularly follow-up and listen closely to their needs and help them clearly identify their objectives. So what lies ahead for the company and what does Gaffuri perceive to be the greatest challenge? “Competition in the UAE is always making us search for the newest trends and this has pushed our success. We have also set new standards and created events that are leading the industry because of their intricate approach. The greatest challenge is to implement new technology. Many companies can be reluctant to what is new, so we make sure we highlight the efficiency and cost effectiveness of new technologies to help companies make the decision to replace their outdated technology with new and improved solutions,” he concludes.