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March 28, 2021







March 28, 2021


Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing names Wunderman Thompson as creative partner Wunderman Thompson Dubai has been named by the Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM) as its campaign creative partner for the next three years. The award concludes a worldwide pitch conducted in the last quarter of 2020. Wunderman Thompson’s Dubai office, which will lead the business, led the pitch with the support of six offices across its global network. Wunderman Thompson will now be in charge of driving DTCM’s campaign strategy and communications through DTCM’s international marketing ecosystem, including digital, TV, print, and social. Nassib Boueri, CEO at Wunderman Thompson MENA, said: “Nothing compares to working with a great team, an ambitious client, and promoting one of the world’s most sought after destinations. We could not be prouder of our people, our network and the continued partnership with Dubai tourism, and we look forward to creating outstanding work to drive the DTCM business and brand.” The appointment arrives at a key period for the tourism industry. Dubai, always popular with travellers, continues to be a highly sought after destination as post-Covid travel increases, and is preparing to host Expo 2020 in October.

The win comes as post-Covid travel is picking up, and as Dubai prepares to host Expo 2020

Lynx announces virtual awards

PIZZA HUT EATERTAINMENT As the contents of Pizza Hut’s new Cheesy Bites Box are extremely versatile to eat, M&C Saatchi conceptualised and brought to life a campaign that invites consumers to bring out their inner child and really ‘play’ with their food. The campaign kicked off with 40-, 15- and 6-second online videos featuring the brand’s magnetic ambassador, Tareq Al Harbi. They are set to a uniquely composed Arabic and English fusion track that informs the consumer of all the wonderful, tactile ways they can truly enjoy and experience the meal. In-store and OOH assets accompanied the video to drive sales through multiple touchpoints.

The Dubai Lynx International Festival of Creativity has announced a virtual awards show for 2021. It will take place on 7 April at 7pm Dubai time. The Dubai Lynx Awards celebrate the best work in the MENA region, recognising, nurturing and setting the standard for brilliant creative work. The Lynx has also released its shortlists across all 19 categories. From more than 2,400 entries, 544 pieces of work have been shortlisted and will now compete to be awarded MENA’s most prestigious branded communications accolade. Both the 2020 and 2021 work is being judged by a diverse group of 81 global experts and leaders, which for the first time has 50 per cent female representation. The UAE is currently leading the shortlists followed by Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Find out more about how to see the ceremony at: www.dubailynx.com.


March 28, 2021

Dubai-based Palestinians Farah Nabulsi and Hind Shoufani’s The Present nominated for an Oscar Dubai-based Palestinian filmmakers Farah Nabulsi and Hind Shoufani have been thrown into the Oscars’ spotlight after their film, The Present, was nominated for an Academy Award. Directed by Nabulsi, who co-wrote the film with Shoufani, The Present has been nominated in the live-action short category. It tells the story of Yusef (played by Saleh Bakri) who sets out with his young daughter, Yasmine (Mariam Kanj), to buy a wedding gift for his wife (Mariam Basha). A simple task that, during the course of a single day, highlights the ugly reality of occupation. Shot on location in the West Bank by Nabulsi and cinematographer Benoît Chamaillard, the film was produced by Ossama Bawardi of Philistine Films and has already picked up a BAFTA nomination. “I never believed this simple, powerful story would travel to the Oscars, gaining lots of traction along the way,” said Shoufani, who also edited the film. “It’s amazing what a small group of determined people can do and I’m happy that the intense stories of my people are being recognised.” The Present has already won a number of accolades around the world, including the audience award at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival. The winners of the 93rd Academy Awards will be announced on April 26.

The Present was shot on location in the West Bank



In celebration of World Poetry Day this March 21, Four Seasons Resorts Seychelles partnered with poet Alisha Patel to share travel inspiration through poetry ahead of the reopening of the Seychelles borders to all countries (apart from South Africa) on March 25. Patel was born and raised in India and is now Dubai-based. Her work has received international acclaim, particularly through her development as an ‘Instapoet’ over the past year. “In April last year, I decided to start sharing inspirational poetry that could help us keep things in some sort of perspective during the pandemic. In these unprecedented times, I wanted to document my thoughts through poetry, in a way that could inspire others and on a channel that people could easily engage with,” said Patel. “More than anything, hope is an underlying theme in my work, and over the past year it has been the one trait needed by most of us.”

On the occasion of Emirati Children’s Day V4 Good and VIP Films created a film for the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention. The film portrays children assuming the roles of health workers, treating mainly adults (and conducting life-saving surgery on a teddy bear) at a hospital. The film ends with the line: “Take a good look at us; we are the future.” Agency V4 Good Production house VIP Films V4 Good founder & creative chairwoman Vidya Manmohan Executive producer Martha Nassar Director Henri Bargés

March 28, 2021

Motivate Media Group launches new content services arm, Motivate Create Motivate Media Group, Campaign Middle East’s publisher, has launched a new arm, Motivate Create. Through partnerships and in-house, Motivate Create will offer video services, photography, animation, streaming and studio and equipment rentals across the region. Motivate Create offers clients content and tools across social, print, video and digital to cover wide industry sectors. Boasting decades of industry knowledge, Create’s video team comprises the best of international and local talent capable of bringing brand visions to life. From event coverage to high-end production its services include creative content design and multi-platform solutions. The crew has extensive knowledge working for some of the most iconic global brands to produce deftly edited and sophisticated content to propel the creative goals of brands. A smooth production pipeline and experienced animation team allows broad versatility for producing narrative, character, VFX, animation and motion graphics. The result is a go-to resource for large and small animation projects alike. The business need for streaming has never been stronger and Create can provide a one-off or permanent streaming set-up. It can supply secure, tailor-made technology

The new division offers clients content and tools across social, print, video and digital

solutions from live event coverage to video-hosting platforms. Create also manages fully equipped state-of-the-art studios catering to various production requirements. They are located across the UAE and make creating professional and engaging content easy and accessible,

with an in-house team of experts to assist clients. Motivate Create runs an equipment rental model that allows clients to get their hands on the best gear in the market at competitive prices. To find out more about Motivate Create, visit www.motivatecreate.com.


Heriot-Watt to offers master’s scholarship to one winner from Campaign’s Faces to Watch Heriot-Watt University Dubai has partnered with Campaign Middle East this year for Campaign’s annual Agency Faces to Watch list, offering a chance to win one full scholarship and four partial scholarships to a Master’s degree in Digital Marketing at its Edinburgh Business School to the brightest and best young talent aged 30 and under working in creative, media, digital and PR agencies in the MENA region. Heriot-Watt University’s Dubai Campus is a satellite campus of Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University. Established in 2005, it was the first campus of an overseas university to open in Dubai International Academic City. Heriot-Watt University Dubai offers an extensive range of research-informed degree programmes in a global study environment, with strong links to business and industry. Find out how to enter for free at www.campaignme.com.



The past year has been tough on all of us, but more so on mothers who have been incredible at juggling between work, home and life in general. Leading F&B company, Agthia Group went all-out to celebrate Mother’s Day with a heart-warming campaign. In the video, shared on their social media pages, Agthia surprised mothers shopping at Lulu Hypermarket by paying for their bill at the checkout counter and presented them with a personalised Mother’s Day package with Agthia products along with a message thanking them for their dedication, love, care and affection. After all, it is the little gestures that get the biggest smiles.

In response to International Women’s Day 2021 #ChooseToChallenge, Tena, the worldwide leader in incontinence products, has launched a regional campaign to remove the stigma associated with menopause and suggest a new phrase in place of the term ‘Age of Despair’. ‘Age of Despair’ has been used to describe menopause over generations, and Tena’s survey has revealed that an overwhelming majority of women would prefer a new and more positive phrase to define this physical and psychological stage of a woman’s life. The campaign has seen thousands of women joining the campaign to offer suggestions, igniting conversation online around age positivity for women. The agency was Impact BBDO.

Agency Quill Communications Account director Hanadi Shurrab Script Nishath Nizar & Ahmed Salem Videography and edits Jaymee Castillo and Kevin Mibzar


March 28, 2021



The front page of this issue of Campaign was designed by the winner of a Dubai Lynx student competition. Austyn Allison assesses the entries


ampaign collaborated with the Dubai Lynx to run a competition for students, one that would see their work used in the real world. The brief was to design a cover for this issue, highlighting our Know Your Platform Guide. You’ve already seen the winner. Jad Zock’s entry is the cover of this issue of Campaign Middle East (with a few tweaks). We asked for a cover that “encapsulates how social media continues to move creativity forward”. It needed to be “inspiring and reflective of the MENA region”. The brief was open to students from around the region and judged by a panel consisting of: Vidya Manmohan, the founder and creative chairwoman of V4 Advertising and ex-executive creative director of Grey Dubai; Rafael Augusto, the executive creative director of Leo Burnett Dubai and Publicis ME; and myself, Campaign Middle East’s editor. Each of us approached the judging from a different angle. What I was looking for was something that would tell a bit of a story. The Know Your Platform Guide is about letting agencies and clients know what is new on the best-known social platforms. It reminds advertisers of all the things they can do with social media. The guide catalogues what new features the platforms have introduced over the last year and what they will offer in the year ahead. It also contains insight and analysis by industry experts and… well, you’re holding it now. A good magazine cover needs to be eye-catching enough to get people’s attention so they take it from a rack in a bookshop, pick it up from a waiting room table or steal it from a colleague’s desk. It must promise great things inside. It needs to indicate to a potential reader why this issue will be relevant to them. It must do all this in the blink of an eye. The best entries did this, the worst ones didn’t, and a lot fell in between. A number of entries felt too involved and interactive, with QR codes leading to websites that would have been expensive to develop and would have asked the wrong sort of commitment from readers. We couldn’t punish the entries too much for trying, though. It’s always – I’m told – a good idea for creatives to push the brief, to offer more than the

client has asked for. That’s one of the jobs of a good creative; it is likely to bring in more work and revenue for the agency, and it takes the client’s idea and makes it better. So I judged the covers on the strength of the design alone. There were some great designs to see. Some were striking in their own right but didn’t answer the brief; some were spot-on with the brief, but lacked a little oomph. The best were great looking and did exactly what we were looking for in a cover. The three judges scored all the entries alone, and then we came together to debate a shortlist. If you have never had the chance to discuss commissioned work with real live working senior creatives, I encourage you to walk into your nearest ECD’s office right now and ask them what they think of an ad you love or hate. You will learn a lot, as I did. My mind changed frequently as we debated the shortlist. I’d feel comfortable about a cover until Vidya asked, “Couldn’t this have been better adapted for the region?” or Raphael would describe something as “on the verge of cliché”, and I’d revise my opinion. Then the conversation would swing to, “but look how universal it is” and “this familiar imagery is a great shorthand,” and I’d be spurred to another rethink. By the end of the session we had looked at all the artworks from a lot of different angles. And we were pretty much in agreement on who should stand on the winners’ podium. You can see here who won, who came second and third, and who were runners-up. The story behind this story is that of the entries that didn’t quite make the cut. The other covers ranged from average to great, and I would say that the main differentiator was how well the students stuck to the brief and considered the final use of their design: to be on the front of this magazine. There’s some great talent out there, and some great designers. I’m expecting to see great things from all our entrants as they emerge from academia and enter the industry. Keep an eye out for them on stage at the Lynx in coming years. Well done to our winners, thanks to our judges, and keep up the good work all you students. You are the future of the industry.

Runner up: Enas Al Awoud, SAE Institute Dubai

Runner up: Nabil Houari, Lebanese American University

March 28, 2021

Runner up: Shweta Maurya, SAE Institute Dubai

Runner up: Gaelle Majdalani, LAU

First place: Jad Zock, Lebanese American University

Runner up: Rita Azar, Lebanese American University

Second place: Safia Almansoori, Zayed University

Third place: Ghiwa Abi Khalil, Lebanese American University



March 28, 2021


Data, dynamism and differentiation are essential to out-ofhome’s transformation, says IQdata’s Dimitri Metaxas


ike every other medium, outdoor advertising needs an audience to thrive but, unlike other media, it lost nearly 80 per cent of its traffic to Covid-19 restrictions. While movement across major regional cities has largely rebounded, the near-term regional out-of-home (OOH) industry prospects remain tense. Some companies have closed down while others scramble to manage cashflows, sometimes fighting bruising price wars. The contrast between the situations of the outdoor media industry and its digital media peers couldn’t be starker. While digital continues its inexorable growth, the region’s outdoor media is still looking for its much-needed inflection point. Digital is well past this, thanks to data-driven audience measurement, audience profiling and advertising performance. The region’s OOH sector is, however, still lacking a common audience measurement currency to unlock its own transformation. One reason for the absence of consensus is that the sector is fragmented, commoditised and price-volatile. Another is that a common audience measurement currency that puts all media suppliers on an equal footing can benefit buyers at the expense of sellers. Industry-wide media measurement may solve issues, but often also brings new ones, causing further disruption to an already challenging environment. What the market needs is a way to stimulate demand and bring logic and evidence in the pricing of traditional, static OOH sites, which represent over 95 per cent of the region’s outdoor inventory. The industry’s digital transformation will begin when OOH media owners quantify their audiences, analyse their advertising performance and ultimately optimise their pricing. This journey starts with harnessing existing data.

‘‘The industry’s digital transformation will begin when OOH media owners quantify their audiences, analyse their advertising performance and optimise their pricing.’’

MORE OOH, NOT LESS At around 10 per cent, the share of OOH in brands’ media investments pales in comparison with digital channels, which now claim the majority of ad dollars in MENA. Advertisers have increasingly relied on them as they demonstrate their performance with greater accountability and transparency. The pandemic only accelerated this trend. To increase their share, outdoor media companies must play to their unique strengths and transform the way they market their inventory. Instead of selling space, time or even eyeballs (traffic), they need to provide both universal media-buying metrics and clearly defined target audiences. This means richer demographic, behavioural, interest and other audience attributes, as well as enhanced media performance data. This is made possible by the collection, at scale, of GPS

location signals from active mobile device movements around OOH sites and beyond. With this information, outdoor media companies can better differentiate, elevate the sales process and redefine the relationship with buyers, firmly embedding the medium into more sophisticated media practices. Tracking mobile devices anonymously across outdoor locations and other relevant points of interest (POIs), such as places of residence, work and other lifestyle activities, they can paint an accurate profile of people exposed to each OOH site. Mining their own data to analyse the audience of each site, outdoor media companies can differentiate their offering and help media buyers to select locations more precisely for their campaigns. Thanks to a much more precise site evaluation based on anonymised smartphone data, pioneering OOH companies have already won new or bigger budgets here in the GCC. FROM STATIC TO DYNAMIC WITH DATA Using data for more than measurement, OOH companies can further integrate the medium into modern marketing. Brands can use the information from the devices detected in the vicinity of their outdoor locations to retarget them online. Combining this with other attributes, marketers can define and reach custom audiences, based on lifestyles or behaviours. With this, the place of outdoor in the conversion funnel, attribution model and media plans can only improve. This data also makes dynamic pricing possible. Each site can be priced for each campaign based on its performance with a given audience or based on dynamic demand forecasts. Digital media grew with similar dynamic pricing techniques. Several OOH companies have already transitioned to data with our GeoPlace OOH audience measurement, profiling and targeting solution and are busy exploring these data-driven opportunities. Because it is accessible and requires no hardware installation, it helps transform all outdoor media owners, be they large or small. As traffic and demand for inventory are returning to pre-lockdown levels, now is the time to propel the medium forward. The transformation of OOH will see it moving away from price volatility to dynamic pricing, from static to dynamic audiences, and from a one-size-fits-all approach to precise targeting and retargeting. The outdoor medium will become different, not just from what it was before but also meeting different expectations every time. Some are already investing in its future and are reaping the benefits. There’s still plenty of life in the world’s first advertising medium.

You can’t compare an orange with an apple. The same is true when it comes to marketplaces. Invest for the long term. Find the right audiences to target. Achieve results over time.

We Make Programmatic Simple For you www.mmpww.com




March 28, 2021

Can training save the world?

From pitching to presenting to partnerships, marketers can be helped to adapt to the industry’s new realities, writes Nick Clements


he pandemic has made it more challenging than ever for marketers and their agency partners to navigate through rapid change and uncertainty. The realities of the world behind walls, the feast-or-famine polarising of different sectors and fast-evolving consumer habits mean that long-term planning is harder than ever. Brands are under scrutiny like never before, not only to respond at speed but also to do (and be seen to do) the ‘right thing’ as consumers increasingly use their moral compass to guide purchase decisions. In the teeth of recession, marketing strategies are being redefined and many budgets slashed. The new conundrum reminds us of the old observation that stopping advertising to save money is like stopping a clock to save time, and as ever those brands that do continue to spend are likely to come out stronger. But for many the outlook is bleak, with intense pressure to generate short-term sales and revenue, and restrictions on consumer movement in many major markets expected well into 2021 and beyond. And whilst the ‘at home’ lifestyle creates many problems, it also remains a driver of change and has offered new opportunities for brands who can become a welcome part of our lockdown lives, with online retail and media the most obvious big winners. In all of this, clients have looked to their agencies to respond quickly and innovatively, and the relationship with the agency as a trusted partner has never been more important. So, how have agencies responded? A recent Drum survey of international marketers found that 83 per cent of brands feel well supported by their agency partners, although 90 per cent had changed their strategies, with more than 61 per cent declaring that what they need from agencies has also changed. In turn, many agencies have been quick to recognise that what’s ‘good for the goose is good for the gander’, looking at ways to equip their teams through training. For instance, Andrew Robertson of BBDO made his position very clear last year when he emphasised the group’s continued commitment to upskilling by putting in place a new digital training programme across the global network, which was successfully completed by more than half of all employees. WPP’s Mark Read also restated

the group’s determination to “train our people in the skills they need for the future”. Beyond the multinational group schemes, individual agencies generally take their own approach to development training. On the broader front, diversity and inclusion and wellness are still big themes, of course, but in the area of specialist skills, four pillars are as familiar as they are perennially important.

1. Presentation skills and storytelling. This is still top of the list for most agency heads. The need to structure, articulate and deliver the narrative around creative and media ideas remains as critical as ever. The shift to doing

“Clients have looked to their agencies to respond quickly and innovatively, and the relationship with the agency has never been more important.” By Nick Clements, CEO Ampersand and member of The Marketing Society UAE

this mostly online means not only mastering the sometimes-recalcitrant technology (“can you see my screen?”) but, more demandingly, finding new ways to engage with an audience easily distracted by the dog or the kids, and too often with the camera off. 2. Pitching. New business remains the engine of growth for agencies. Pitch preparation and delivery, often stressful and exhilarating in equal measure, are even more so remotely and virtually, and there is an increased interest in training needs around ‘the winning pitch’. Some familiar rules hold good, but clarity on the shape of the pitch, and absolute commitment to dates and rules of engagement have become even more important. Using the right platforms well allows easier all-agency pitch briefing sessions, and virtual private meeting rooms for breakout chats are a boon. But with the opportunities for pitch ‘theatre’ much reduced, casting the smallest, tightest, teams to best tell the story (with the fewest possible slides) is crucial, and strength of the ideas and work are paramount. 3. Collaboration. The collaborative creative process can be messy, and without the stimulus of face-to-face interaction, there is an even greater need for frameworks and processes that simultaneously empower individuals and build team rapport. Managing ‘constructive chaos’ across disciplines, cultures and even countries is not a new challenge, but it is certainly more significant with today’s constraints. 4. Managing client-agency relationships. Even those most comfortable with the worlds of Tinder and Bumble know that forging and nourishing meaningful relationships effectively can be tricky at the best of times. Creating the environment to strengthen ties, developing skills to understand perceptions (and therefore realities) and deploying tools to measure them continues to be the difference between a rich, ongoing partnership and the frustrations that can lead to a re-pitch. So, can training save the world? Absolutely not. For that we need global health-led solutions, smart political leadership and so much more. Can training allow agency folk to hone their skills and disciplines to deliver even more effective creative and media ideas to help brands rebuild better societies and economies? Absolutely yes.

OPPORTUNITY TO WIN A HERIOT-WATT SCHOLARSHIP IN CAMPAIGN’S AGENCY FACES TO WATCH! Campaign Middle East has partnered with Heriot-Watt University Dubai this year for Campaign’s annual Agency Faces to Watch list, offering you a chance to win a scholarship for a Master’s degree in Digital Marketing at Edinburgh Business School. The awards are open to the brightest and best young talent aged 30 and under working in Creative, Media, Digital and PR agencies in the MENA region.


• One full scholarship. To apply, please submit a 500 word essay on how a Master’s in Digital Marketing will help your career in marketing. • 4 x 30% scholarships to the winner of each category (4 categories – Creative, Media, Digital and PR).


Visit campaignme.com/call-for-nominations-campaignsagency-faces-to-watch-2021/ and fill in all your details to be nominated for Faces to Watch.



December 20, 2020



December 20, 2020


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Ramadan 2021


March 28, 2021

HOPE, HOME AND HOSPITALITY Anghami’s Sabine Oneissy lists five things to keep in mind while planning for Ramadan this year


or the second year in a row, Ramadan is taking place in the shadow of the pandemic. While restrictions are more lenient this year, Covid-19 is still a big part of our reality. As brands, adopting a consumer-centric approach is how we become more relevant to our users’ day-to-day life. To better understand our MENA consumers this Ramadan, we launched a survey on Anghami, conducted by our partners at Choueiri Group. We’re sharing some of the insights and learnings to help you with your planning: 1. This year more than ever, Ramadan is perceived as a month of hope Covid-19 challenges and restrictions are still affecting our lives and habits. Just like everyone else, our local community is affected by those restrictions. Despite all this, 64 per cent of our Anghami community is looking forward to Ramadan as it brings them a lot of hope. This is why, this year more than ever, hopeful and positive messaging is needed during the holy season to support the community throughout their journey.

2. MENA consumers expect Ramadan to be as “normal” as possible – make sure your ads relate to their lifestyle and concerns Last year, Ramadan was coupled with a state of confusion. Everything was closed, even mosques. People were not allowed to go out even to visit family and friends. Ramadan suddenly had a different meaning. Today, for the second year in a row, the Muslim community will have to spend the Holy Month of Ramadan together yet apart. Our MENA community is aware of the challenges, and is planning on taking all the needed precautions to be able to live Ramadan as normally as possible – while being socially responsible 52 per cent are expecting to have family gatherings and to visit friends and relatives (with restrictions). 48 per cent expect to live Ramadan rituals with restrictions (prayers in mosques, going out, gatherings, etc.).

25 per cent will be taking high precautions even if there are no restrictions. 3. Ramadan 2021 is happening at home – make sure your brand is invited While going out is part of the Ramadan lifestyle, MENA consumers will favour staying safe at home as much as possible this year (86 per cent will stay at home or go out once a week only). Cooking will happen at home 96 per cent of our Anghami community will be buying groceries, food and drinks products – which is 56 per cent higher than the usual; 36 per cent said they never order food during Ramadan. Gatherings for Iftar and Suhoor will happen at home 46 per cent are planning on inviting people over for Iftar or Suhoor; 64 per cent said they will go out, but to a family member’s house.

Entertainment from home For eight years now we’ve been catering for our MENA community. One thing is clear: when it comes to entertainment and spirituality, each person finds their own balance and chooses to live Ramadan in their own way. This is why we give our users the freedom to adapt their Anghami experience in the best way to suit their lifestyle: focus on spirituality alone, on entertainment alone, or a mix of both. Whether they want to listen to spiritual content or entertaining content, audio is with them throughout the day. According to the survey, while listening our users are: 59 per cent using social media; 41 per cent working out; 34 per cent cooking; 27 per cent gathering with friends and family; 25 per cent driving; 19 per cent shopping; 16 per cent other. Watching series is one of our users’ favourite activities Ramadan TV series soundtracks are some of users’ most streamed content. In fact, 70 per cent of series soundtracks made it to charts during ramadan 2020. 71 per cent use video-on-demand platforms during Ramadan. 56 per cent plan on subscribing to Netflix, 41 per cent to Shahid. Many shop online, from home While they love shopping in physical stores, our users plan on buying some products online. 53 per cent will be shopping in physical stores; 35 per cent will be shopping online; 12 per cent will be shopping both online and in physical stores. 4. Outings, shopping and staycations are part of Ramadan/Eid planning – keep your brand top-of-mind. Last year, MENA consumers were hesitant to spend and go out; however, they do plan on shopping and going out this year. 81 per cent plan on going to shopping malls while respecting the restrictions. 63 per cent take care of their beauty during Ramadan and said that they will be buying beauty products this year: 84 per cent skin care; 63 per cent hair care; 51 per cent perfume; 33 per cent lipstick and eye makeup; 22 per cent face makeup. 48 per cent plan on going out to restaurants from time to time. 59 per cent of them would pick a fast-food restaurant. 79 per cent consider going on Eid staycations, while respecting the restrictions. 5. All brands can be relevant during Ramadan Relevant communication always strikes the right tone for users when targeted at the right time. It’s also important to adapt your communication strategy to each platform to make the users’ ad experience more relevant and engaging. Understanding your audience is the first step for an effective communication strategy. We hope these insights and learnings will help you with your Ramadan planning. You can find our full report online.

By Sabine Oneissy, ad product manager, Anghami

March 28, 2021


BACK ON TRACK Reprise’s Riddhi Dasgupta analyses the data from last year’s Ramadan and predictions for 2021


he much-awaited Ramadan 2021 is predicted to be similar to the Ramadans of old, with marketers looking forward to investing once again in media. Despite slowly returning to normal life, people have adapted to the new normal. Reprise has evaluated past years’ trends on consumer sentiment and purchase behaviour and will be shedding some light on media ad spends and what to expect from 2021. CONSUMER SENTIMENTS During the pandemic, consumer sentiments hovered around extreme cautiousness towards personal finances owing to potential job cuts and salary reductions. As a result, people have started prioritising needs over their wants, resulting in the purchasing of essential products only. Also, consumers have started showing keen interest in discounted products and have started to become more price sensitive in their purchase decisions. A study from YouGov clearly distinguished the consumer sentiments and buzz over the two markets, KSA and UAE, by categories. Sentiments around the categories pertaining to hygiene (Dettol), telecom (STC) and everyday essentials (Johnson’s, Lifebuoy, Close-up, Lipton-Yellow, etc.) saw a predominant buzz in the region, as well as on the travel/airlines (Emirates) category with ease of restrictions during Ramadan. PURCHASE BEHAVIOUR Last year consumers found an alternative to their regular offline shopping in online websites and apps, further fuelling the region’s e-commerce industry. During Ramadan 2020, both UAE and KSA consumers spent less on apparel, shoes and accessories, and gifts. Post-lockdown they were willing to spend more on them. Even with the easing of restrictions, studies from Choueiri Group, Snapchat and Twitter on Ramadan 2020 found: 40 per cent in UAE and 39 per cent in KSA have shown their motivation and preferences to shop in-store for immediate purchases. Seven out of 10 people spent less during Ramadan 2020 compared with previous years in KSA. More than 50 per cent of Snapchatters in KSA purchased their cosmetics and beauty products online, while one in three purchased them in-store. Snapchatters’ interests during Ramadan were mostly for food and groceries, along with household products and appliances, and less for automobiles and travel. With 45 per cent of Twitter users claiming

they would spend more during Ramadan, 36 per cent still consider discounts and promotions as a factor in their shopping. MEDIA AD SPENDS As lockdown measures were introduced, advertisers rolled back their advertising investments immediately. Offline ad spends declined as much as 66 per cent compared with 2019, with a 43 per cent decline in TV. A quick year-on-year comparison of 2019 and 2020 from Reprise suggests:


While other advertisers were holding on their budgets owing to Covid-19, the telecom and chocolate sectors leveraged the opportunity of pandemic Ramadan. These spends were driven mostly by STC & Ferrero, respectively, in TV. The car category, previously a top spender, was hard hit during the pandemic and declined by 35 per cent (online). The top advertisers were GM, Toyota and Nissan. Face care (online) declined 60 per cent; servicing companies declined 52 per cent. Baby products such as diapers increased by 2,711 per cent (online); computer and accessories increased by 738 per cent (online). The Covid-19 lockdown had caused a historical drop in oil prices. In several countries this affected the advertising industry as linear ad volumes declined by 17 per cent, with digital growing by 4 per cent in the region. SO WHAT’S NEXT? Brands can continue to engage with audiences online, especially during Ramadan, as people still rely on social apps to discover brands, products and services. It is important to have a healthy media mix, as balance between short-term gains and long-term objective is key to designing a successful marketing strategy. In-store shopping habits are expected to return this Ramadan, while product research and discovery will predominantly remain online. Brands should adopt both: outdoor and in-store to capture higher footfall, and digital media for product discovery. With a lot of Ramadan production put on hold in 2020 and work-from-home still being voluntary, TV consumption is bound to increase this Ramadan as the occasion remains a key month for most advertisers who are currently active on media. This year, with fewer restrictions and the Covid-19 vaccine being administered, ad spending is expected to recover with all media platforms being accessible. Brands will be enticed into refocusing their linear media (TV, radio and outdoor) activities. Shifting budgets to online had been a quick fix for some brands to maintain salience levels last year. Magna Global estimates KSA and UAE will grow by 20 per cent and 11 per cent respectively. However, with the huge financial impact of Covid-19, consumers are more than likely to remain price-sensitive and discountoriented through 2021.

By Riddhi Dasgupta, data science and analytics director, Reprise

RAMADAN 2021 WHAT TO EXPECT THIS YEAR? Choueiri Group’s Associate Research Manager Yasmine Rohban analyses the similarities and differences between this year’s Ramadan and last year’s, drawing on the Group’s latest research


an you tell us more about why and how the research study behind the infographic opposite was conducted?

Ramadan has always been the perfect opportunity for brands to connect with their consumers. But in the face of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, many brands are uncertain about what to expect this year. As part of Choueiri Group’s ongoing efforts to support our clients with consumer insights and empower data-driven decisions, we designed a survey targeting Arab consumers across key markets and managed to achieve a total sample of 1,900 in KSA, 500 in the UAE, and 1,900 in Egypt. In this research we explore how consumers feel about the current situation and how they are responding to the crisis. We also investigate their plans relating to different Ramadan activities, and dig deeper into the categories they plan on buying this Ramadan, and how (online vs. offline). Insights uncovered in this survey will help brands to identify consumer sentiments, pinpoint emerging shopping behaviours and create strategies to seize this calendar opportunity, which is the biggest festive season in the region.

How are people currently responding to the crisis, a year into the pandemic?

Amidst a global crisis that is not in their control, people experience mixed emotions. Adjusting to radical changes over short periods is also never easy. It is no surprise then that 47 per cent of Arab consumers report difficulties coping with the ‘new life’. But, despite acute challenges, they remain upbeat with 71 per cent expressing positivity about the future. This prevailing sense of optimism mirrors what we recorded earlier during the pandemic in a similar survey that we conducted last Ramadan. However, in a comparison of Ramadan 2021 and Ramadan 2020 findings, a pronounced change has been recorded across countries. While anxiety is easing, and confidence slowly returning, the pandemic’s dragging-on has led to a drop in optimism. Pandemic fatigue is also kicking in, with monotony leading to exhaustion (Tired has increased by 14 per cent). The outbreak has also made it harder to

socialise, rendering increases in loneliness (up by 13 per cent from last Ramadan). This divergence from positive/ worried to less positive/ tired and lonely is making people eager to resume life as they knew it.

How are people planning to live out this Ramadan?

Holding a special place in Muslim hearts, Ramadan is an inherently emotional time, marked by gratitude, prayer and family moments. The season delivers hope and is therefore a very welcomed occasion, especially amidst the pandemic. With this being the second Ramadan to have fallen under the pandemic’s watch, there is a lot less uncertainty over how this year’s Holy Month

“With this being the second Ramadan under the pandemic’s watch, there is a lot less uncertainty over how this year’s Holy Month will shape up.” will shape up, especially the restrictions people will have to abide by. On average, 52 per cent of Arab consumers expect Ramadan rituals and activities to be possible this year with certain measures. This is especially true for social activities including visiting friends and family, as well as public outings (praying in mosques, and visiting shopping centres and restaurants). What is interesting is that a large majority (59 per cent on average) believe they will be able to plan Eid vacations within the country. Yet people do not expect to travel abroad for Eid, denoting a cautious avoidance of any high-risk activity.

How are shopping behaviours and consumer spending habits being affected? Ramadan is synonymous with increased

spending, but the pandemic has radically altered the environment. Priorities have shifted and consumers are going through different adaptation stages, which affect their purchase decisions. Earlier they were surviving the crisis by limiting their purchases to essentials only. Today they are learning to live with the reality of Covid-19. Consumers are now beginning to feel that they need to bounce back and buy more than just groceries and household supplies. More people are considering buying Eid gifts, and, compared with the previous Ramadan, the purchase intent is significantly higher across non-essentials. One example is clothing: 31 per cent will increase their spends on Apparel, Shoes and Accessories (up from 8 per cent last Ramadan). The research also reveals that despite a growing familiarity with the hybrid retail experience (both online and in-store), consumers prefer to visit physical stores for shopping during Ramadan, as this activity is highly associated with this festive season, given the mood that the offline experience offers.

How will this Ramadan differ and what advice would you give to brands?

As the pandemic wears on, consumers are feeling the need to resume activities and live normally again. Still mindful of their spending and prioritising needs over wants (purchasing essentials), a returning sense of confidence as well as weariness is driving-up their intention to purchase. Being at the centre of a global crisis that is disrupting our present and shaping our future, I believe it is essential for brands to swiftly adapt and reflect on consumer insights that can help them understand where audiences stand. I also think there is a higher expectation for brands to accommodate the needs of consumers during this uncertainty, where consumer purchase behaviour and spending habits are continuously changing as a means of adaptation.

Note: The comprehensive report from CG Research titled “Ramadan 2021 – What to Expect this Year?” is available on campaignme.com.


March 28, 2021



March 28, 2021


SHOULD I STAY (IN) OR SHOULD I GO (OUT)? Is it time for creatives to dust off those come-together campaigns they have been keeping since last year? Impact BBDO’s Rani Amayri confronts the contradictory challenges presented by Ramadan 2021

veryone awaits Ramadan to watch those charming commercials inviting us to have big gatherings and come closer. But we all experienced a Ramadan unlike any other last year. As marketers, the pandemic made us confused and contradictory with what we want to communicate with the audience. For the first time in the entire history of Ramadan communications, we told people to be apart, keep social distancing and stay home. We all expected things to get better by Eid Al Fitr (the one right after Ramadan), and we left our beautiful, celebratory concepts in the drawers, and ended up running ‘stay-at-home’ campaigns. Shortly after Ramadan started, we realised that we should keep those concepts hidden for longer, and we all hoped to take them out to public in Eid Al Adha (70 days after Ramadan’s end), but it was just another disappointment. And here we go again. Next Ramadan is around the corner, and we all have a pile of briefs for various brands that the clients want to be part of the Holy Month. But the dilemma still exists, as everyone wants something different to stand out and make a statement, but no one has any idea about what to say, exactly. In fact, it’s more challenging this year, because people are waiting to live Ramadan vibes again, but the pandemic is not over. So we cannot tell people to come together, or to stay at home, and those ‘beautiful togetherness’ ideas are still hidden in our drawers. As marketing people, we share the same enthusiasm with our clients to be part of Ramadan’s culture and produce memorable, engaging and real communications that reflect the current situation in neutral ways, keeping in mind production challenges, travel restraints, shoots and budgets cuts. But, as always, more opportunities arise with these challenges, as people now have more time at home, hence, more time to spend on their phones, tablets, TVs and other channels, which leads to more chances of engagement. So, although habits have changed a bit nowadays in Ramadan, the spirit of it remains valid and people are even more eager to feel the vibe again as they miss the culture of this annual event, which was literally cancelled because of the pandemic. Moreover, the difficulties we face with shooting films and budgets restraints also open the door for new and fresh executions we didn’t consider before, like animations, motion graphics and digital and social activations. This also encourages us to think more about social than before and transform the conventional methods of advertising during Ramadan into more snackable content and communications. So, we can now produce more executions during Ramadan instead of having one repetitive communication. Eventually, this works

‘‘THE DILEMMA STILL EXISTS, AS EVERYONE WANTS SOMETHING DIFFERENT TO STAND OUT AND MAKE A STATEMENT, BUT NO ONE HAS ANY IDEA ABOUT WHAT TO SAY, EXACTLY.” better in answering the change of our consumers’ behaviour and habits from the beginning of Ramadan till the end. Additionally, we have to admit the role of influencers as well, and give them more room to be part of our Ramadan entertainment routine. We say “Ramadan Kareem”, which means the season is generous with everything it gives, and this includes the ways we can approach it and advertise for it. After all, everything is changing around us rapidly, and Ramadan is not an exception. Some habits might change but the essence, the vibes and the spiritual side of it will always remain the same, and we can always build on that.

By Rani Amayri, creative director, Impact BBDO

March 28, 2021

THREE WAYS BRANDS CAN DRIVE RAMADAN SALES ON SOCIAL MEDIA Ramadan begins in April, but planning your social strategy should begin early, advises Vamp’s Tariq Shalabi


he changes in our day-to-day and purchasing behaviour throughout Ramadan create a number of sales opportunities for brands. From planning food for family gatherings to buying new clothes for social occasions, buying luxury goods and booking travel, there are usually uplifts across a number of verticals. With everyone focused on eating – or not eating – food and cooking are key areas of interest. In the month before Ramadan, 33 per cent of people in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt said there would be an increase in their grocery shopping, according to research from Facebook and Kantar. 24 per cent also buy household appliances during this time. Fashion is important during Ramadan too. Brands create special Ramadan collections and even in 2020, when celebrations were disrupted by the pandemic, Islamic goods and fashion items remained high on Ramadan shoppers’ lists. So how can brands make the most of this opportunity and connect with their customers through social media?

1. UNDERSTAND YOUR AUDIENCE – AND THEIR CHALLENGES Ramadan 2021 is the second to take place in the shadow of the pandemic, making the traditional family gatherings and shopping trips that are so synonymous with the celebration difficult. Understanding these restrictions and how they affect your customers will help you to deliver sensitive and relevant content. Consider what your audience wants to hear from you. For many brands, the clues are in the data. Google says that YouTube cooking videos increase one month before Ramadan, peaking 30 per cent higher than average in

the first week of the Holy Month. With continuing restrictions, online content and virtual events will be even more important – in providing both connections and entertainment. Prove you understand your customers with content formats and themes that add value to their lives. And don’t overlook the obvious. Your customers may well be hungry or sleep deprived. Use clear calls to action that make it easy and point them in the right direction. 2. TELL AN INCLUSIVE STORY You can personalise your marketing campaigns further by engaging Muslim influencers. Storytelling is the most authentic way to prove you understand the intricacies of Ramadan, and influencers are expert storytellers. They will be able to share your products with their audiences using their own experiences and expertise. Vamp’s platform has connected brands with influencers for a number of Ramadanfocused campaigns that prove their versatility. Dole Food Company used influencers to raise awareness of its products as a healthy treat for the family during the Ramadan and Eid period. Beauty brand Laneige took a similar approach, using influencers to share its Ramadan kits through high-quality images and videos that went out to a social audience of more than 1 million. Influencers are also a great way for brands to generate engaging video content. TikTok asked Vamp creators to share their Ramadan moments and drive their followers to the platform in a campaign that generated almost 99,000 clicks. Meanwhile, Honor invited creators to live-broadcast on their Instagram account to showcase the 9X phone, Magic Watch and Earbuds.


This persuasive and relatable content helps brands effectively break through to their customers during a time in which they are inundated by content. 3. ADOPT SOCIAL COMMERCE During Ramadan, people spend even more time on social media. Facebook’s managing director for the Middle East and North Africa, Ramez Shehadi, has said “consumption and time spent on our platforms increases” during this time. Later nights and more downtime mean there’s a 5 per cent increased use of Facebook’s platforms. It may sound small, but that translates to nearly 58 million additional hours. Instagram also reported 16 million uses of the word “Ramadan” on its platform during the 2019 celebration. Your customers will be using social media for connections and entertainment – but also for product discovery and shopping. Make the most of this captive audience by adopting social commerce features that drive your customers to shop, the moment inspiration strikes. Try tagging shoppable products in your feed posts and Stories with shoppable tags, and give your customers the option to make an on-the-spot purchase. Or, if you’re already investing in influencer content, consider boosting it. Boosted posts allow you to target influencer content at your customers with precision and add a clear call to action, driving them directly to an e-commerce site.

By Tariq Shalabi, partnerships manager – influencer marketing, Vamp



March 28, 2021

Pepsi pays a musical tribute to Saudi Arabia The brand created an integrated campaign around the song Hay Hal Sot by megastar Hussain Al Jassmi that proudly chronicles the Kingdom’s spirit


epsi has long been known for its connections with music, an association perfectly in tune with the brand’s ability to unify artistic expression and youth culture. It has used music as a platform and passion point for more than half a century, and has previously partnered with iconic artists and legacies across the globe and in the region. Music can bring us together even when we’re socially distanced. In its recent Hay Hal Sot campaign, Pepsi set its sights on one of the most important demographic groups in the region: Saudi youth. Pepsi wanted to celebrate the region’s diverse talent and rich culture, bringing people together to experience the musical canvas of Saudi Arabia. It wanted a campaign that could help push the limits of creativity and create connections between the brand, artistic expression and youth culture. To make this connection, Pepsi and Dubai-based independent agency Face to Face teamed up with Arab megastar Hussain Al Jassmi to create a campaign celebrating the beauty, nature and traditions of Saudi Arabia. The campaign was based around a new song, Hay Hal Sot, composed by Al Jassmi and written by Saudi poet Prince Badr Bin Abdul Mohsin. The song itself led people to a 90-second film, which featured appearances from the youth canvas of today such as Cosmicat, the first female Saudi DJ; music composer Nadia Dandachi; actress Mila Al Zahrani; Reem Al Aboud, the first e-Prix Formula driver championship; and violinist Abdelrahman Badr. The scale of the campaign would have been a challenge even under normal circumstances, but the need for social distancing and Covid-19 safety protocols presented extra hurdles. It was shot on location and celebrates Saudi’s diverse talent and rich culture. The campaign helped bring people together to experience the musical canvas of Saudi Arabia, combining the old and new beats of the Kingdom.

The campaign’s creativity didn’t stop at the creation of the song and the video. The media itself was designed to pull in as many people as possible to the ‘grand moment’ of the song’s launch. Facebook worked together with Pepsi and its partners to amplify the campaign. Facebook’s Creative Shop helped the Pepsi team with mobile-first ideas to elevate the campaign by leveraging consumer behaviour insights on Facebook and Instagram. The Creative Shop team were part of multiple brainstorming sessions. They shared mobile production practices and media recommendations. A media roadblock strategy meant that the song and TV film premiered across major Pan-Arab television channels, digital platforms and radio stations concurrently. On 21 January it aired on MBC 1, MBC 2, MBC 4, MBC Drama, MBC Action, MBC Max, MBC Bollywood, Rotana Cinema, Rotana Khaleejia, MBC FM, Panorama FM and Mix FM, as well as Shahid, Koora, Sabq, Hawaworld, Mawdoo3 and Arabia.net. As well as the media roadblock, the song and the film, the campaign’s holistic marketing plan also included interactive packaging, a consumer promotion, disruptive in-store messaging, partnerships, PR and activations. Pepsi also rolled out limitededition cans featuring scannable QR codes in partnership with regional music streaming service Anghami. The campaign generated support and love from all around the region, particularly among Saudi youth. In the first week the song garnered more than 2 million views on Pepsi’s social channels. There were 193 media clippings across the region, driving an estimated reach of more than 198 million. Music is free to travel even when people cannot. The song and the campaign invited people to experience the old and new beat of the Kingdom and create smile-worthy moments from the comfort of their own homes.

“ In the first week the song garnered more than 2 million views on social channels. There were 193 media clippings, driving an estimated reach of more than 198 million.”


March 28, 2021


Akash Nemani, Client Partner, CPG, Beauty & Luxury, MENA at Facebook “The main objective of this campaign was to find an angle that resonates with the youth to reach them and engage with them at scale. Music plays an integral role among the youth, and PepsiCo built on this to celebrate the region’s diverse talent and rich culture. On one hand, this successful campaign reiterates that Facebook is where youth connect to discover content that inspires them and where brands can reach them at scale; and on the other hand, it also confirms the importance of digitalfirst content. We were very happy to see Pepsi leveraging digital-first ideas and developing fit-for-mobile content to build this strong connection between the brand and youth culture on Facebook.”

Mustafa Shamseldin, Chief Marketing Officer Africa, Middle East & South Asia at PepsiCo “As a brand, Pepsi has always been passionate about pushing the limits of creativity and making people smile. This campaign celebrates the power that music has in bringing people together. Having Hussain Al Jassmi and Prince Badr Bin Abdul Mohsin lend us their vision allowed us to build an authentic cultural experience – elevating storytelling and allowing us to bring a vision to life that was not only enjoyable but also empowering. Ultimately, for me the biggest takeaway is that an authentically told story will always resonate.”

Austyn Allison, Editor at Campaign Middle East “The first thing I liked about this campaign is that it’s a catchy tune, pure and simple. The video itself is full of energy and really highlights the changing and progressive face of modern Saudi Arabia. This is a campaign that would have looked very different even two or three years ago, and it’s impressive that Pepsi has capitalised on the sense of progress, excitement and optimism that is pulsing from the kingdom right now. That they have managed to do this in a digital-first, multi-channel campaign involving a lot of people working within Covid-19 safety boundaries is even more impressive. But the message is spot-on for these challenging times: music can bring us together even when we are apart.”


March 28, 2021


It might be tempting to focus on efficiency at the sharp end of the marketing funnel, writes PHD’s Daniel Shepherd. But it would be a mistake to ignore the crucial tradition of storytelling


ovid has done strange things to our perception of time. Like an old bike wheel, bent out of shape, time has ceased to roll gently forward – rather slowing down and speeding up at random. Days in lockdown lasted aeons, months passed in a blur. Quarterly milestones came and went while Zoom quizzes back home with family went on for what felt like a lifetime. Nevertheless, four hundred years ago unequivocally seems like a long time in the past. Even Myspace wasn’t around then. And the dollar, let alone Bitcoin were distant, unimaginable concepts when Tahir Shah wrote, “stories are a communal currency of humanity”, in Arabian Nights. But this currency has even older origins. And even greater contemporary relevance. Hakawati speaks to the ancient Arabic art of storytelling. It enjoys a renewed focus during Ramadan as this millenniaold oral tradition takes centre stage with the Hakawati (storyteller) sharing stories in person or, increasingly, though AV content just before the daily fast is broken at Iftar. Brands have connected with Hakawati as a content opportunity in the last few years but, like all good stories, this takes on an even deeper meaning today. Ramadan this year promises to mark a partial return to normality as the vaccine boost is felt and the economy shows signs of recovery. And yet, much of last year’s strangeness will remain, as friends and families continue to meet, greet and break bread, not in person with a warm embrace and familial smile, but through screens. A Think With Google piece revealed 2020 to be the most connected Ramadan to date, and 2021 is set to continue this trend. Yet while many of the traditional Ramadan rituals will be shrouded in technology and modernity, one ongoing

‘‘BRANDS HAVE CONNECTED WITH HAKAWATI IN THE LAST FEW YEARS BUT THIS TAKES ON AN EVEN DEEPER MEANING TODAY.” global trend, born of lockdown, sees people reaching for the traditions and crafts of old – baking banana bread and sourdough on monumental scales, doing jigsaws and, yes, embracing good old-fashioned storytelling. For us at PHD, the greatest brands are the greatest storytellers and they are shot through with the common DNA of challengers. They believe in prioritising attitude over audience, understanding the rules and then breaking them, and effectiveness over efficiency. These three approaches form the building blocks of great brands. As the ancient and the modern blend this Ramadan, more than ever before, it’s a lesson that brands would do well to take heed of. Because whilst hugely emotional stories, based on universal themes of sacrifice, generosity and empathy, unfold, it is the perfect time for brands to rediscover their storytelling magic and reconnect with consumers in meaningful ways. Online and offline should be false distinctions so long as brands are telling their stories inclusively and at scale. Binet and Field’s 60:40 rule, indicating the split between brand and lower-funnel investment, is a constant truth, but if ever

there was a time to focus attention on brand-building, it is now. Ramadan represents an opportunity to tell big, bold stories that resonate and connect culturally while investing in brand equity to outflank the competition. Brands that failed to protect their brand investment in 2009, after the financial crash, took four years to regain their previous brand equity, and it cost them six times the original investment they cut. Understandable as the decision may have been at the time, armed with this information it just looks like plain bad economics. It’s understandable that the temptation may be to revert immediately to the offer-led comms that had become a Ramadan staple, as much as different flavoured knafeh, and try to claw back 2020’s lost sales, but this would, in isolation, be wrong. Efficiency can feel like an obligation for marketers when times are tough and, whilst it is important, it’s critical to remember that it is a contributor to overall effectiveness, not its equal. Sharpening the lower funnel to take full advantage of seasonal buying habits is crucial but as a complement to, not instead of, building brand equity that will pay back in the long term, well after the Eid decorations are back in their boxes. Take the time this Ramadan to reflect. How can you most effectively drive business results in the Holy Month and beyond? How are you behaving meaningfully at the most meaningful time of the year to your consumers? It’s time for brands to channel the spirit of the Hakawati and value the emotional over the rational, empathy over engagement and the inclusive over the excluded.

By Daniel Shepherd, head of strategy and specialised services, PHD UAE

March 28, 2021



DRAWING MILLIONS OF VIEWERS YEAR ON YEAR The holy month of Ramadan has always been a high content consumption period that brands can leverage. Viewership during this period increases by 23% on a household level vs. non-Ramadan months, as families gather to watch the hugely popular Ramadan line-up on the MBC channels. This trend continues throughout the month with an average of almost 70% retention from the first episode until the final one across the popular program genres. Reaching more than 14.6 Million individuals in KSA, 4.7 Million in UAE, Kuwait & Qatar, and 11.4 Million in Iraq, this is a great period for brands to benefit from high exposure, captive viewership and engaged audiences.

TV is a major part of the family experience during Ramadan



(5.1 Million Daily)

(12.3 Million Daily)

million households watch TV during Ramadan in KSA Total Universe 6.1 Million


spent watching TV on a daily basis per household


share of household audience time for MBC GROUP

Shahid is a Ramadan staple

million users on Shahid during Ramadan


That tune in to our channels year on year


of households vs. previous Ramadan


of households individuals vs. previous Ramadan




Total Universe 19.3 Million


With a captive audience especially on MBC Channels


million individuals watch TV during Ramadan in KSA


spent watching Shahid content during Ramadan

Our impact goes beyond our platforms


billion video views during Ramadan across social platforms



million engagements during Ramadan across social platforms


March 28, 2021

ALTERNATIVE VIEWS OTTs are changing what Arabs watch during Ramadan, writes Starzplay’s Hamad Malik


n the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, Ramadan has typically seen increased TV consumption and a visible shift in viewership towards the Arabic content that free-to-air (FTA) platforms offer. While these trends are still consistent, the rapid growth of overthe-top (OTT) platforms across the region has transformed the consumers’ viewing preferences as well as content consumption trends. Period dramas, religious and cookery shows and comedy satires that FTAs produce will continue to be popular in the region for some time to come. However, OTTs in the region have long realised that in the Arabic content space they need to innovate to cater to changing consumer preferences. The role OTTs play during Ramadan is to offer ‘alternate programming’ to those young Arab families whose viewing habits are very different from their parents’ back in the 1990s and early 2000s.

‘‘WHILE CONVENTIONALLY FAMILIES WATCHED TRADITIONAL PROGRAMMING, THIS TREND HAS CHANGED.” While conventionally during Ramadan families watched traditional programming, this trend has changed over the last few years. Today, families in the region are open to watching Western content, and OTT players are also offering diverse content choices that families can watch together. In Ramadan 2020, Starzplay partnered with Disney to present a family movie every day with Arabic dubbing. The experiment was a hit with about 34 per cent of the minutes consumed on Starzplay during Ramadan driven by the family-friendly, Arabic-dubbed Disney movies.

Ramadan is a month of family bonding, celebrations with friends and the perfect time when friends and families get together to enjoy the traditional Iftar and Suhoor. 2020, however, was an unprecedented year due the Covid-19 pandemic. With social distancing restrictions and limitations on public gatherings, Ramadan was not celebrated the way it used to be. With a lot of concerning news and uncertainty in the air, MENA viewers turned to OTT viewing more than ever with an increased interest in Western comedy. We observed that more than 56 per cent of minutes consumed in Ramadan 2020 were around comedy box-sets as families and individuals escaped from the ongoing global situation. Comedy has long been popular in the region, however the increased shift towards Western comedy consumption during Ramadan is another indicator of the changing customer preferences. On the Arabic content side as well, there has been a shift in viewership patterns. Within the Arabic content bucket, there was a rise of (dubbed) Turkish content consumption with 58 per cent of viewers watching Turkish dramas over traditional content. An encouraging trend that we observed was that three months after Ramadan, 73 per cent of the Arabic viewers, continued to watch Turkish content for the rest of the year. Based on the trends observed in 2020, what we experienced last year will continue and be amplified this Ramadan. The lifestyle, educational background and value-system adjustments happening in our societies will continue to affect how and what type of content is consumed generally and also in Ramadan. The younger and discerning families and individuals are driving the trend of consuming alternate programmes on OTTs in the region. In 2021, I expect that consumption of family Western content will continue to grow. Industry players need to identify the right formula to present compelling content to these Arab families who are willing to watch new and diversified content in addition to traditional Arabic dramas. These families still want to sit together, huddle around the TV in their living rooms and watch something together. However, what they watch is very different from what was being consumed 15 or 20 years back. The content needs to be family-centric, suitable to be watched with young or teenaged children and can be a mix of Western and Arabic drama.

Another trend on the rise and expected to become more evident in Ramadan 2021 is that people do not want to commit to watching dramas that go on for 25 to 30 days. They want to consume content that does not require such extensive commitment of time. This is how the uplift in consumption of Western comedy shows can be explained. Besides the need to watch light-hearted content that provides an escape from reality, which continues to be full of uncertainty, a lot of Western comedies can be consumed in 30 to 60 minutes without committing yourself extensively. OTTs are changing the way content is consumed in the region based on the viewing habits of young, tech-savvy and more informed viewers, and this Ramadan we expect to see new trends as the world continues to battle on from the aftermath of the pandemic.

By Hamad Malik, chief marketing officer at Starzplay

March 28, 2021


his year, Ramadan traditions are evolving in response to the exceptional circumstances we are all experiencing. With the current restrictions on gatherings and the cancelling of permits for Iftar tents in countries including the UAE, the way we traditionally celebrated Ramadan is going to be different. Yet human connections and our traditional shared Ramadan values remain the same – no matter the circumstances. With this in mind, Snapchat will provide the community with ways to stay connected and share Ramadan values in a virtual environment. Snapchatters claim that they will spend 30 per cent more time on their social and communication apps this Ramadan compared with last year. We also anticipate that six in 10 will watch more video content to learn about specific products or services, and almost seven in 10 will rely on social apps to discover and buy new products and services. That’s an enormous amount of attention when you consider the platform’s monthly addressable reach of 67 million unique users in MENA. Brands are also an important part of our community’s consumer culture. For those brands looking to truly connect with their audiences through the region’s most popular ‘digital majlis’ this Ramadan, I’d encourage them to connect in a meaningful way through our three main pillars: camera, communication and content.

UNLEASH MEANINGFUL CREATIVITY VIA THE CAMERA Snapchat has become an ideal place to “gather” and experience Ramadan, even while apart. 44 per cent of Snapchatters say that they send more Snaps to friends and family during Ramadan as they are looking for ways to use the camera to stay connected, sharing what they’re doing and expressing how they’re feeling. Brands can meet consumers where they are and establish a meaningful connection through the Snap Camera. In particular, its native augmented reality (AR) capabilities are an innovative way to own the moment. For example, while Ramadan 2020 was different from any other year and despite physical social distancing, Vimto’s ambitions remained the same: “being a core part of sweet togetherness and connections amongst loved ones”. Post its campaign, the soft drink brand saw an overall uplift in perception score by 16 percentage points, of which 6.7 points of contribution were driven by Snapchat. One in three Snapchatters in Saudi Arabia, for example, say they use AR Lenses and Filters more during Ramadan than other months of the year. Additionally, brands need to ensure their creative assets highlight the values of Ramadan to create a feel-good factor for the community, encouraging Snapchatters to express and connect. TAKE PART IN THEIR CONVERSATIONS Snapchatters in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait opened Snapchat 41 times a day and spent 77 minutes daily on the app on average during Ramadan in 2020, which was a 20 per cent increase compared to the year before. This is clearly the space to be for brands that



Snap’s Farimah Moeini looks at how mobile apps such as Snapchat can bring people closer during Ramadan By Farimah Moeini, business solutions lead, Middle East at Snap Inc

want high engagement, not just to push a message to their audiences but also to foster meaningful conversations around Ramadan values and a sense of community. Brands can take advantage of the platform’s Story Ads, for example, to develop branded and episodic editorial that encourages communication and active participation. In fact, we have found that over 60 per cent say that using Snapchat is a smart way for brands to reach someone like them. Nearly the same percentage pays more attention to brands and products when they see them on Snapchat, and half say that they use the app to learn about things they intend to purchase – especially if it’s something recommended by family or friends. With Snapchat dynamic targeting, brands can cater to certain audience segments with specific interests and drive engagement in an automated way. SHARE YOUR MEANINGFUL BRAND STORIES ON THE MOST POPULAR MOBILE TV The way people watch content has evolved tremendously in recent years. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, more people watched video

content on Discover every day than any of the top 10 TV channels, both before and during Covid-19. On Snap’s Discover platform, there is a huge spike in content consumption revolving around food, fashion, entertainment and other lifestyle-related themes. During Ramadan, this consumption increases as people are fasting and they have more free time. Through Snapchat, brands can provide engaged audiences with their branded content. Vertical Snap Ads and commercials are both video formats that are seamlessly placed between Discover content. This is a clear opportunity to associate your brand with meaningful stories that demonstrate you understand your audience; what inspires them, what makes them laugh and what leads them to purchase. Many of our premium content partners – from Rotana Media Group to MBC, Saudi Broadcasting Authority, Sky News Arabia, Uturn Entertainment, and others – are rapidly migrating to full-screen, sound-on, premium content on mobile, and can help make the traditional viewing experience much more immersive. Ultimately, brands need to understand their audiences have adopted new ways of communication and connection, especially during Ramadan. Their media consumption, engagement on social platforms and purchase journey have changed a lot in the last year. We look forward to partnering with our brands and bringing more meaningful ways to connect with our community through the camera, communication and content this Ramadan.



January 26, 2020

Last year social media led global news agendas, becoming more central to consumers and brands, writes Austyn Allison


year ago we launched the first edition of this guide at the start of the pandemic, and it turned out to be incredibly relevant. One of the primary changes Covid-19 wrought on society is that it has made people spend even more time online. Social platforms have long been an important way with keeping in touch with friends and relatives, and in 2020 for many they became the primary means of communication. For some they were the only one. Much of last year’s news played out on social media. Platforms didn’t only support the headlines, they wrote them. From Donald Trump’s use of and removal from networks to Captain Tom’s fundraising to the #BlackLivesMatter conversation played out as much on our screens as in our streets, there was no news story that didn’t feature a platform. Where consumers go, brands follow. Sometimes they follow a little too closely, which is another topic that was seldom out of our news feeds. But social media is still young in the overall scheme of things and we are all – consumers, brands, regulators and platforms – finding our feet as we shape this ecosystem together. Social media was already evolving fast, and the global impact


of coronavirus accelerated this many times over. So this year’s Know Your Platform Guide is far from a reprint of last year’s. The platforms listed here have all introduced new features. They have adapted fast to help their customers communicate and express themselves more freely and creatively. They have introduced checks and balances to address cyberbullying, fake news and hate speech. They have developed new tools for brands to reach their customers where they are, and to offer them what they want and need – from different forms of content and advertising to e-commerce and in-app shopping. There are newcomers to the market. Clubhouse may not yet have an office in the Middle East, but it is picking up users and share of voice (literally, given its audio-only format). And Twitch is potentially on the verge of breaking out of the gameosphere and becoming mainstream. TikTok is continuing its meteoric rise, while the established platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat are becoming more sophisticated while staying relevant. There’s something out there for everyone with a mobile phone. And each mobile phone provides a gateway for brands to truly connect through these social platforms.

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multiple interests including music, tech, gaming, fashion, sports and food.


BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT THE PLATFORM? That it hosts Arabic content only. WHAT CAN YOU DO BEST FOR BRANDS? We offer them an environment where users are engaged and focused. Whether on or off the screen, brands access users’ ears when the users are emotionally uplifted, making them more receptive.

Founded: 2012 Headquartered: Abu Dhabi Regional head: Elie Abou Saleh Number of users: More than 70 million registered users globally User location: 29 per cent GCC; 21 per cent Levant; 42 per cent North Africa; 8 per cent rest of world DESCRIPTION Anghami, is the leading music streaming service in the Middle East, giving users access to a wide variety of Arabic and international songs, playlists for every mood and a diverse collection of podcasts USER DEMOGRAPHICS Our audiences are quite unique. More than 60 per cent of our users in the region are loyal to the platform. While we cater for different music personas, our core audience is MENA’s Gen Zs. Our users are driven by local values and prioritise their families and friends. They are young, ambitious and tech savvy. They have


WHAT ARE THE KPIs BRANDS LOOK FOR ON YOUR PLATFORM? Brand love, ad recall, purchase intent, engagement, store visits, leads. WHAT NEW FEATURES HAVE YOU LAUNCHED IN THE LAST YEAR? 2020 allowed us to build and roll out our own ad tool. Through that, brands now can tap into the full potential of our data to create audience matches, lookalike audiences and automated lead collection. They can track instore visits and more all through personalised audio. WHAT NEW FEATURES CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE NEXT YEAR? More solutions are being built to get artists closer to their fans and engage with them. Live interactions through voice, live concerts and much more. DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING SPECIAL PLANNED FOR RAMADAN? We’ve always adopted a user-centric approach during Ramadan, adapting the platform to cater for the holy season. Stay on the lookout for our podcasts being created.



We’re a feel-good platform. People come to us to feel better. It takes 30 seconds to make you feel happy, joyful, nostalgic and much more. That experience by itself would translate what Anghami is all about.

Elie Habib

Heavy focus on targeting, with no focus on the story being told and how it’s adapted. Anghami gives brands access to users’ ears; they need to speak to their hearts.

Edy Maroun

Elie Abou Saleh

Choucri Khairallah


Audio production is affordable. Brands should take advantage of that to be relevant to moments at which people are exposed to their story. Experiment more with your messages – be fun.


Think long-term, plan short-term. That forces a brand to adapt to the situation while still being focused on their end goal.

Hossam Al Gamal



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Ramez Shehadi

Year founded: 2004 (regional offices: 2012) Parent company: Facebook Inc. Regional head: Ramez Shehadi, managing director for Middle

Managing director for Middle East and North Africa

East and North Africa Global HQ: Menlo Park, California Regional HQ: Dubai

Number of users worldwide: 3.3 billion people use

Facebook Inc. platforms every month (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or Messenger). DESCRIPTION: We build technologies to give people the power to connect with friends and family, find communities and grow businesses. WHAT DO PEOPLE BEST KNOW YOU AS? A social networking website where users can post comments, share photographs and post links to news or other interesting content on the web, chat live, and watch short-form video.

Fares Akkad Director of media partnerships for growth markets (APAC, LATAM, MEA), news

BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT THE PLATFORM? Facebook’s business model. Facebook is for everyone all over the world, that’s why it is free to use. Our business model puts people first. We make money in the same way newspapers and TV stations have been doing for decades: we charge advertisers to show people ads that are relevant. WHAT CAN YOU DO BEST FOR BRANDS? Facebook offers advertising solutions for every level of expertise. Brands can create and run campaigns using simple self-service tools and track their performance with easy-to-read reports.

Weera Saad Director of Creative Shop for Middle East and Africa

WHAT IS THE PRIMARY MEDIA ON YOUR PLATFORM? Video, pictures. WHAT KPIS DO BRANDS LOOK FOR ON YOUR PLATFORM? Incremental sales; app installs; purchase; brand awareness; message delivery; purchase intent improvement WHAT NEW FEATURES HAVE YOU LAUNCHED IN THE LAST YEAR? Availability of Facebook Shops, which we launched during the pandemic, to make it easy for any business to set up their own online store for customers to access on both Facebook and Instagram and through our ecosystem to gain a payment gateway, logistics, a myriad of communication and creative advertising tools and services. DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING SPECIAL PLANNED FOR RAMADAN? Stay tuned to find out about this year’s plans.

Terry Kane Marketing director for Middle East and Africa

March 28, 2021

Founded: 1998 Parent company: Google Global HQ: Mountain View, California DESCRIPTION Google’s mission is to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT THE PLATFORM? Misconception: Majority of users in MENA search in English. Fact: Most users in MENA search for information in Arabic and prefer to communicate in the same language.  WHAT CAN YOU DO BEST FOR BRANDS? Helping advertisers and businesses drive


awareness and conversions for their products and services. WHAT ARE THE KPIS BRANDS LOOK FOR ON YOUR PLATFORM? Many KPIs depending on each brand’s objectives including impressions, CTR, conversion rate, etc. WHAT NEW FEATURES HAVE YOU LAUNCHED IN THE LAST YEAR? Market Finder was launched last year in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. It’s a tool that provides tailored recommendations and resources for businesses to help reach more customers around the world. Recently, we also offered free access to the Google Shopping tab to retailers in MENA so they can list their products and connect with more customers.


WHAT NEW FEATURES CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE NEXT YEAR? Search continues to evolve as people look for and consume information in new and different ways, but Google’s focus remains the same – to make the world’s information accessible and useful to everyone. Google will continue to bring the latest AI innovation to improve language understanding in Search, making results more relevant and helpful for people around the world.   DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING SPECIAL PLANNED FOR RAMADAN? Aside from our Ramadan special guide for advertisers on Think with Google, we’re launching a social media campaign to help everyone experience more of Ramadan with product features.


Google Search is a gateway used by billions of people every day and will lead you to the ever-growing universe of information out there on the web. Through Google Search, we aim to connect you with that piece of information you need as quickly as possible. Whether that’s finding your next training to grow your skills, your next purchase or your next fun activity, it all starts with a search query.


Today’s consumer has a lot more information and choice online. This is why it’s important to leverage available tools to consistently monitor and analyse the performance of your ads, and test them in advance (for example, with A/B testing).


Adapting with agility is the key to staying connected with customers and giving them the support they need during this pandemic. I would like to see more brands benefitting from Dynamic Search Ads, for example, allowing them to automatically capture new, relevant Search queries outside of their existing keyword list and helping them test various ad formats and content to deliver effective results.


One of the relatable trends driven by the pandemic is the acceleration in digital adoption and especially e-commerce, fuelled by necessity. According to the latest study commissioned by Google and conducted by Kantar, we found that 90 per cent of shoppers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt search online before making any purchase decisions. It’s very important for businesses to continue being helpful to their consumers and meet them where they are during these challenging times.


March 28, 2021


A wide misconception is that Instagram is a place where people feel pressure to be perfect. While social comparison is something that happens both online and offline, we don’t want Instagram to be a competition but a place where people can come to express themselves and have a voice. We want people to feel good about the time they spent on Instagram. We want everyone to use it to have a positive and meaningful experience.


Year founded: 2010 (regional offices: 2012) Parent company: Facebook Inc. Regional head: Ramez Shehadi, Managing Director for Middle East and North Africa, Facebook Global HQ: Menlo Park, California Regional HQ: Dubai Number of users worldwide: 3.3 billion people use Facebook Inc. platforms every month (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or Messenger). DESCRIPTION

Instagram is about bringing you closer to the people and things you love. We want Instagram to be a place where people can be inspired every day. We foster a safe and inclusive community where people can express themselves, feel closer to anyone they care about and turn a passion into a living.


Instagram is an expression platform, it’s where people come to express themselves authentically, easily, and creatively through photos and videos.

We want to help organisations of all sizes make growing their businesses easier. We want to make it more convenient for people to buy, easier for businesses to sell, and more secure for everyone. Instagram offers advertising solutions for every level of expertise. Brands can create and run campaigns using simple self-service tools and track their performance with easy-toread reports.


Photos and videos.



Ramez Shehadi Managing director for Middle East and North Africa

Fares Akkad Director of media partnerships for growth markets (APAC, LATAM, MEA), news

Incremental sales; app installs; purchase; brand awareness; message delivery; purchase intent improvement.


Availability of Instagram Shop, an in-app shopping destination where people can discover products and brands they love from across Instagram, giving marketers a better way to connect with users and help them discover products they love. With the Shop tab, we made it easy to get inspired by creators, shop on Instagram, and support small businesses.

Weera Saad Director of Creative Shop for Middle East and Africa

DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING SPECIAL PLANNED FOR RAMADAN? Stay tuned to find out more about the exciting campaign we have lined up. Terry Kane Marketing director for Middle East and Africa


campaignme.com/directory Contact nadeem@motivate.ae for more details.


March 28, 2021

VIEWPOINT to enter the workforce, career-builders, boomers, freelancers or CXOs, they are on LinkedIn to be productive and successful.

Parent company: Microsoft Year founded: 2003 (regional offices: 2012) Regional head: Ziad Rahhal, Head of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions MENA Global HQ: Sunnyvale, California Regional HQ: Dubai Number of users worldwide: 740 million+ across 200 countries Regional users: 37 million+ in MENA; 4 million+ in UAE DESCRIPTION LinkedIn connects the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful, and transforms the ways companies hire, market and sell. Our vision is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce through the ongoing development of the world’s first Economic Graph. USER DEMOGRAPHICS Our members are professionals looking to connect, develop and find opportunities. We are seeing that they are spending more and more time on the platform to consume and engage with professional content that will help them create opportunities for themselves and their communities – whether they are fresh graduates looking LEADERSHIP PANEL

Ziad Rahhal Head of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions MENA

Diana Daou Head of client solutions management MENA


BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT THE PLATFORM That it’s purely a job and B2B platform. In reality it is a platform where members consume professional and relevant content from their industry and/or interests, to learn and upgrade their skills. From an advertising lens, this is a platform where both B2B and high-end consideration B2C advertisers target premium professional audiences through a full funnel marketing approach, in a brand-safe environment. WHAT CAN YOU DO BEST FOR BRANDS? We allow brands to implement a fullfunnel marketing strategy in a brandsafe environment. From awareness to consideration and conversion, from brandbuilding to sales, a complete ad experience within the safest and most trusted environment in the digital ecosystem. WHAT KPIS DO BRANDS LOOK FOR? Beyond the usual metrics (CPM, CPC, etc.) and engagement rates, brands are looking for a full-funnel marketing approach, consolidating awareness and consideration (reach, share of voice, brand uplift, website analytics) with pure performance through high relevance and quality of leads. Our customers also love our unique reporting capabilities in terms of industry, job position, education level, etc. WHAT NEW FEATURES HAVE YOU LAUNCHED IN THE LAST YEAR? We have launched many product enhancements in the past 12 months. The most notable has been Live Events, which we fast-tracked in order to allow businesses to have an alternative to physical events in light of the Covid-19 limitations. The results have been astounding with more than 21 million members attending virtual events in 2020. WHAT NEW FEATURES CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE NEXT YEAR? LinkedIn Product Pages will be a new tab on LinkedIn Pages, alongside “Home,” “Jobs,” “Life,” etc., and will allow organisations to list products of their choosing and offer details including product descriptions, media (videos, images), customers and reviews. DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING SPECIAL PLANNED FOR RAMADAN? We will feature stories of LinkedIn members who leaned into their professional network on LinkedIn to transition through the pandemic and find opportunities in order to demonstrate the power of the LinkedIn community and showcase how our members help each other to find economic opportunities and success.


LinkedIn is a purpose-driven company. We create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce. Whether this is landing a new job, delivering quality leads to your business or learning new skills that will help you master your craft, there are few more fulfilling aspects to one’s job than making a positive impact on the world.


Some customers use LinkedIn as a thought leadership platform, while others see it as a lead generation platform. Both are seeing excellent results, but both are not getting the maximum impact on their investment. LinkedIn is a full-funnel platform; this is the secret recipe of the ultimate success marketing on LinkedIn.


Aside from focusing on top or lower funnel, I would like brands to spend more time in the consideration phase. Giving back to the potential customers through sharing insights, research, and white papers, keeping the conversation going and filling the gap between awareness and sales metrics.


As a business, the biggest learning is how much value LinkedIn drives for professionals worldwide. As of January 2021, content shared on the platform was up by 39 per cent year-on-year. That speaks volumes about the role we play in connecting the world’s professionals. At a personal level, I have been inspired by the resilience and goodness that humankind can show in the face of adversity. We have all seen friends, colleagues, and even brands step up and offer support to their communities.

Experience the very best of

with all the latest news, reviews and activites to help you discover what the Kingdom has to offer

WhatsOnSaudiArabia.com whatsonksa


March 28, 2021

dive deeper into understanding the audience they are reaching, their media consumption, engagement, and purchase journey. This allows brands to achieve reach, positively affects brand metrics and drives conversion. WHAT NEW FEATURES HAVE YOU LAUNCHED IN THE LAST YEAR? Snap introduced Snap Focus, a tool that enables advertisers to learn the ins and outs of Snapchat advertising. Snap also announced Lens Studio 3.2, an update to its AR creation tool that lets any creator or developer build their own Lenses and publish them directly.

Founded: 2011 (regional offices: 2016) Parent company: Snap Inc. Regional head: Hussein Freijeh Global HQ: Santa Monica, California Regional HQ: Dubai Number of users worldwide: 265 million daily active users (Q4 2020). Regional users: Snapchat reaches 18 million users in Saudi Arabia. Our monthly addressable reach in the MENA region has grown to 67 million monthly unique Snapchatters. DESCRIPTION: Snap is a camera company. We believe that reinventing the camera represents Snap’s greatest opportunity to improve the way people live and communicate through visual self-expression and storytelling. USER DEMOGRAPHIC: Snapchat has a wide reach in terms of demographics. People who joined Snap five years ago, for example, retain at a very high level five years later, so the community’s age demographics are widening. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, Snapchat reaches 90 per cent of 13-34 year olds. In the UAE, Snapchat reaches more than one in three 18-34 year olds. BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT THE PLATFORM? The biggest misconception is often that Snapchat is for teens only. Snapchat is popular among multiple demographics in the region and has high engagement across various ages, in part because people recognise Snap’s full value proposition – whether in communication, entertainment, commerce or elsewhere. WHAT CAN YOU DO BEST FOR BRANDS? Today Snapchat offers brands in MENA a scaled audience, unparalleled innovation and data-driven performance. There are more opportunities for partners than ever before, whether large or small, across any sector. WHAT ARE THE KPIS BRANDS LOOK FOR ON YOUR PLATFORM? Snap provides advertisers with proven tools and performance solutions to enable them to

WHAT NEW FEATURES CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE NEXT YEAR? Snap will launch Business Profiles. Brands will have their own permanent home on Snapchat. It will provide additional, organic value for businesses to easily multiply the impact of their AR, video, and commerce efforts on Snap. Spotlight will also make its debut in the Middle East as a video entertainment platform for consumers to discover the world of Snapchat in one place and see perspectives from across our community. DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING SPECIAL PLANNED FOR RAMADAN? Snapchat will provide the community with even more ways to stay connected and share Ramadan values in a virtual environment. This will be done through special seasonal content, new AR Lenses, and much more.


and unduplicated millennial and Gen Z audience.




Our camera will continue to play a transformative role in how people experience the world around them, combining what they see in the real world with all that’s available to them in the digital world. We designed Snapchat from day one as a closed and curated platform – and built our app to focus on real friends and vetted content, rather than an open news feed with misinformation. Snapchat also offers brands one of the most effective ways to engage with a large, growing, unique

What we hear too often is that AR is used just for fun. Today, AR offers both utility and entertainment to users and brands. Through the power of AR, brands have experienced exceptional levels of engagement and ROI.


Snap encourages brands to take on holistic campaigns to maximise the platform’s full potential. Snap is pioneering the future of mobile marketing, from vertical video to augmented reality, and is delivering ROI for businesses of all sizes through sophisticated measurement, ranking, and optimisation capabilities.


We’ve learned that people began to care a lot more about the quality of their relationships after the pandemic. People now want to invest their time and energy in meaningful connection, and Snapchat is made for that. This shift will ultimately influence consumer behaviours and how they connect with brands.


March 28, 2021

Three tips for a successful Ramadan campaign Keep it relevant, personal and useful, says Janira Hernandez


amadan is known as a time for celebrating and sharing with family and friends, a time to pause and reflect, and a time for prayer. For advertisers, Ramadan is recognised as the prime-time season to engage with audiences digitally, mainly due to the shift in consumers’ online behaviour during this time. Advertisers will increase media spend during this period but still face challenges in reaching users effectively. The real solution is to keep an agile approach in order to stand out. With the start of the Holy Month only a few weeks away, most brands have already begun preparing for their online activity while others are just getting started. We’ve put together three simple tips to help you achieve a successful Ramadan campaign.


There is an increased focus on social values during Ramadan. Consumers have high expectations of what their favourite brands are communicating. From products to offers to charitable acts, the stakes are higher during Ramadan. Additionally, other brands, whether in your same vertical or different, are asking the same question: How can I stand out and be relevant? While staying in theme by showing visuals of lanterns, stars, crescent moons and the peaceful “Ramadan Mubarak” is helpful, it’s not enough. The first thing to consider is your audience data. Analyse who your audiences actually are and where their interests lie. Then make your marketing relevant by incorporating these insights into your ads. Your content should be reflective of your key audiences and should tie in relevant Ramadan moments such as familyfocused, sharing moments, meals and reflection. For example, if your brand sells tea products and a key audience is ‘fashionistas’ you can incorporate your brand’s positioning and product by showing a group of friends wearing appropriate trendy attire and enjoying your tea product during Iftar or Suhoor.

video content on YouTube, there is a higher likelihood of interest and engagement if they see an ad communicating “Impress your guests with the perfect Iftar recipe”. Brands with multi-market targeting should also take the time to structure campaign messaging properly. For example, for those observing, the time to break fast for the evening meal (Iftar) and the morning meal (Suhoor) change every day and are different for every city. Your ads targeting audiences in Dubai will be different from those in Cairo, therefore tailoring your personalised messaging to respective markets will be more effective.


Ads that are relevant and personal help drive higher consumer engagement, but ads that are also useful tend to complete the full journey to making an ad memorable for consumers. Timing is everything. During Ramadan, the most consistent daily questions are around what time prayer, Iftar and Suhoor are. Why not use this insight to make your ad memorable? By using dynamic ads you can incorporate unique elements such as a live countdown that shows the time until breaking fast at Iftar or simply surfacing on the creative what the exact time for Suhoor is on that day. You can also plan to schedule your ads to reach the right audience at the right time. If you are a restaurant or delivery service, there are key times that your messaging should be amplified during Ramadan. Similarly, brands should be respectful of Ramadan and mindful of certain messages throughout the day.


Aside from having relevant ads, make sure you are customising your messaging to speak to your audiences in the right channels. Whether it’s Facebook or YouTube, engaging your audience with the right message at the right time is key. The use of dynamic templates can help brands scale their ads by producing multiple variations of messaging. Whether your communication is focused on audience interest, location or time, you want to build an authentic connection with customers. If a foodie is consuming


Brands have an opportunity to build a lasting relationship with their consumers and deliver a successful Ramadan campaign. The best way to make use of these three tips is to plan ahead and creatively incorporate your own audience insights to your Ramadan ads. It may be useful to phase out your campaign activity to reach consumers during the pre-Ramadan excitement phase, during the actual Holy Month, and the days approaching Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Additionally, you can work with platforms such as Ad-Lib.io to help create dynamic Ramadan templates and scale creatives to the right audiences at the right time across multiple markets. As technology progresses, creating new strategies for advertisers is becoming easier by using the right tools to efficiently help reach your brand’s goals.

“Whether your communication is focused on audience interest, location or time, you want to build an authentic connection with customers.” By Janira Hernandez, Head of Client Services MEA, Ad-Lib Digital



March 28, 2021

WHAT NEW FEATURES CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE NEXT YEAR? A lot more of what people have told us they like. More engaging, experiential formats, and more innovative commerce solutions for brands and creators alike. DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING SPECIAL PLANNED FOR RAMADAN? We will be the place to be this Ramadan. Community events, fresh content, shopping events, competitions, we’ve got it all



Founded: 2012 (regional offices: 2019) Parent company: ByteDance Regional head: Shant Oknayan, general manager Global HQ: Los Angeles Regional HQ: Dubai Number of users worldwide: A lot. We were the most downloaded app for 11 out of the last 13 months. Number of users regionally: We can’t tell you that right now, but get in touch, let’s talk, and guaranteed you will be surprised. User demographic: Highly educated entertainment seekers and higher-income early adopters. The demographic mix is very similar to overall country demographics in this region. DESCRIPTION: TikTok is the leading destination for shortform mobile video. Our mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy. BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT THE PLATFORM? That we are a dance app for teens.

Zadi Hobeika Head of GCC Sales


Spend 5 minutes on TikTok.com/ business/inspiration, then just 20 minutes on TikTok and you’ll understand how the content and user experience drive results.

Scott Thwaites Head of gaming & new markets

We’re pretty new, so there aren’t any real clichés yet, but please stop posting content from other platforms; it doesn’t work here.


Waseem Afzal Head of ecosystem partnerships

WHAT CAN YOU DO BEST FOR BRANDS? TikTok enables brands to capture and convert joy into awareness, engagement and purchase intent. WHAT ARE THE KPIS BRANDS LOOK FOR ON YOUR PLATFORM? Recall, engagement, virality, purchase intent and sales conversion. WHAT NEW FEATURES HAVE YOU LAUNCHED IN THE LAST YEAR? Branded Effect, the hyper-viral, ARfilter-supported version of the Hashtag Challenge. Lead Generation Cards, DPA and In App Web Pages. More products that touch more objectives.


Taking risks, being a bit tongue-incheek, engaging in a two-way conversation. Our platform is meant to enable people and brands to be their true selves. If you don’t know where to start, talk to us; we have some very talented people who can help you be your best, most TikToky self.


Rana Barakat Head of SMB

We learned that there is such a thing as too much information, and it got to the point where people needed to be able to drown out the noise of the everyday, so they came to TikTok, the last sunny corner of the internet.

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Brand: UAE Government Media Office

What was the challenge/brief?

logo of the UAE. The sign became a symbol for UAE pride and for our campaign. A call to action was included to seamlessly add our campaign’s ingested music track for TikTokers to use while shooting at the location of the attraction.

To get the residents of the UAE to explore locally during a time of restricted travel internationally. Spurring domestic tourism and helping the Emirate’s tourism sector.

What were the key features of the platform that aided its success?

Platform: TikTok

Creative Agency: TikTok Creative Lab Media agency: OMD

What was the insight that led to the campaign? People trust people, not ads.

Describe the campaign. The aim was to encourage TikTok users to participate in revealing their favorite hidden gems in the UAE through a Hashtag Challenge. We created the 7. A sign based on one of TikTok’s well-known gestures that resembles the number 7 in Arabic (for 7 Emirates) as well as the

We launched the campaign with a Hashtag Challenge (HTC) for 6 days, driving users to the HTC page where they can add their own content. Next, we created Auction In-feed Ads with a dedicated H5 page and drove the auction traffic to it to highlight the best creator content. We also embedded CTA buttons on the H5 page leading back to the HTC page so users can continue to engage with our campaign.

The Emirates

What was the client’s response?

The participation and view numbers we have seen on TikTok to date are a real testament to how active the TikTok community in the UAE is and how willing they are to come together to create, share and engage.

Khaled Rashed AlShehhi, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications at the UAE Government Media Office.

What were the measurements of the campaign’s success? The campaign launched across multiple platforms and landed on TikTok on the 5th of January 2021. It has been a major success with over 8.7K pieces of user-generated videos under the hashtag #WorldsCoolestWinter and 13.5M views in just the first 6 days. To date, the campaign has accumulated over 70 million views.


March 28, 2021

Founded: 2006 (regional offices: 2015) Regional head: Benjamin Ampen, managing director, Twitter MENA Global HQ: San Francisco Regional HQ: Dubai Number of users worldwide: 192 million monetisable daily active users LEADERSHIP PANEL


Twitter is what’s happening in the world and what people are talking about right now, from breaking news and entertainment to sports and everyday interests. USER DEMOGRAPHIC

Benjamin Ampen Managing director

While we can’t disclose demographic figures, recent research in Saudi Arabia shows that video content preferences vary based on gender. Men primarily watch football (68 per cent), auto (60 per cent) and sports (56 per cent) content, while women primarily watch content around beauty (73 per cent), fashion (71 per cent) and food (54 per cent). BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT THE PLATFORM?

Antoine Caironi Head of revenue, multi sectors

What separates Twitter from other social media platforms is the rawness of its conversations – they’re messy, intense, inspiring, shocking and moving. In recognition of this, we launched a brand expression in January that views our brand as imperfect, while keeping our logo. Our creatives now include layering, throwing paint on photos, scratching out words, and a new expressive typography called Chirp. This work is now reflected across our videos, posters, presentations, GIFs and banners.


Similar to our position last year, Twitter is the best place to launch something new and connect with what’s happening.

Samantha Billingham Head of revenue, branding sector


Our strategy of providing advertisers full-funnel solutions hasn’t changed, starting with performance ads. For example, mobile app promotion is a top priority. At the other end of the funnel, advertisers can benefit from Twitter to fulfil reach and awareness objectives. Last but not least, something unique to Twitter is the ability to take part in specific conversations (share of conversations) relevant to their audiences. WHAT NEW FEATURES HAVE YOU LAUNCHED IN THE LAST YEAR?

Rabih Khoury Head of agency development

Advertisers now have more control over the conversations they start on Twitter, with the recent introduction of conversation settings for ads. Before they post, whether that’s a promoted or organic Tweet, brands can choose who can reply with three options: 1) everyone 2) only people they follow, or 3) only people they mention. WHAT NEW FEATURES CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE NEXT YEAR?

Stephanie Terroir Head of Next

Late last year, Twitter started testing a live audio feature called Spaces to give people another way to join the conversation. Once ended, Spaces are no longer live or available publicly on the platform. While currently in test mode, anyone can join a Space but only a limited group is able to create Spaces.


I’d start by asking what topics are of interest to them and would point them straight to those conversations on Twitter, where they can discover new perspectives and learn more. Regardless of how long people use the app, our goal is to provide them with personalised content about the topics they care about.

WHAT DO YOU SEE TOO OFTEN? WHAT HAVE BECOME THE CAMPAIGN CLICHÉS ON YOUR PLATFORM? In line with our position last year, it’s important for advertisers to keep in mind that people spend time on each digital platform with a different purpose. For instance, research has shown that Twitter is where people are in a discovery (versus consumption) mindset. These insights should be the starting point of campaign strategies.


Similar to what we shared last year, it’s important to follow creative best practices, especially when it comes to video. The creative should be short and focused to grab attention quickly, it should have strong visuals to make it easy to process the message, and clear and persistent branding should be included throughout the ad.


The importance of human connection was placed at the forefront, with Twitter witnessing monetisable daily active users (mDAU) grow 27 per cent year-over-year in Q4. In turn, rather than pause brand communication, marketers were agile and quick to respond to evolving consumers in real time. From an internal standpoint, the wellbeing of our teams has been imperative to running our business during such a period.


March 28, 2021

Easy to follow From Covid authenticity to computer-generated accounts to the rise of TikTok, Adsense’s Pamela Al Khawly examines the influencer landscape


h, influencers. Whether you love them or hate them, there’s no denying that they have massive power in bringing brand exposure and awareness to us all. Also, they’re here to stay, it seems, at least for a while. Influencers have become a major part of everyday marketing strategies because of their loyal online followings. One thing is for sure: influencers have a following for a reason. Their content is appealing to their fan base, and in some instances they are so trusted and well-liked that followers do what they’re meant to do; they follow them blindly. That said, the dynamics have changed quite a bit since the start of the pandemic. As an era changed before our very eyes, brands needed to adjust their strategies and tweak their marketing approach. Some influencers were proactive and played well into the situation’s sensitivity, leading to big rises in followers. By contrast, others were subject to backlash for being tone-deaf to the situation and flaunting lavish lifestyles, ignoring the fact that people were affected in many different ways. Those that thrived during the pandemic were the ones that grabbed the opportunity to create content in their own homes. Seemingly, the content that drove traffic, earned followers and was a good opportunity for brand partnerships and product placements included DIY, cooking short videos, stay-inside routines, online fitness sessions, lockdown tips and fashion advice.

“Creators started getting their family members involved, which created an emotional and a human side to TikTok. Viewers felt closer than ever to creators as they were invited into their homes.” By Pamela Al Khawly, Social Media Director, Adsense

Brands have started asking influencers to do more with less and industry leaders were looking to use their creativity and crowd-pleasing skills to bring content to life – to make it more genuinely engaging. At the beginning of the outbreak, I was tasked with working on an online fashion luxury platform. Our objective was to shift the strategy completely and adapt to changes. To do this, we sent influencers fashion items to wear at home, showcase on their platforms and encourage their followers to stay safe in style. The activation was also supported by a branded face mask as a Snap Lens. Live Q&As on social channels were also successful ways to engage with viewers and get brand recognition. As a result, reach and engagement skyrocketed, as well as awareness and online purchases. The future of influencers? They’re not going anywhere; however, the credibility of many leaves much to be desired. I strongly recommend watching a documentary on HBO called Fake Famous. Watch it; I know you want to. It’s a very interesting social experiment. I won’t add any spoilers, I will just say that it’s an eye-opener on the world of ‘influencers’. We’re also witnessing a rise in CGI (computer-generated influencers). I really don’t know how I feel about that. However, they’re said to be the next big thing. A few examples to check out on Instagram are @lilmiquela, who has 3 million followers, @bermudaisbae and @shudu.gram. It’s a risk-free, controversy-free option as they can be shaped (by brands) into any promotional capacity, which is quite scary as it could lead to jobs being taken from real models and individuals. On a not-so-different note, it’s interesting to see how Covid-19 played a big role in the rise of TikTok. We saw an exponential wave of young adults as new content creators on an app that was previously very much governed by Gen Z. The short-form, video-sharing platform morphed into a bonding tool. Creators started getting their family

members involved, which I think created an emotional and a human side to TikTok. Viewers felt closer than ever to creators as they were invited into their homes, albeit virtually, and even met their family members. Reports show that in 2019, millennials barely used the video-sharing channel, with just 3 per cent using it regularly. Early in the coronavirus outbreak, this number went up to 19 per cent. From the perspective of brands, most of them are still hesitant about venturing into the world of TikTok. For most, it’s not something they’ve ever considered. However, the recent rise in popularity demands the attention of brands wanting to leverage social media interaction. Having a presence on TikTok has now become an essential element of modern marketing strategies. Instagram has noticed and launched its own ‘Reels tool. On a personal level, when it comes to influencers, my go-to platform is YouTube. I like to call YouTube influencers genuine “content creators” because they put a great deal of time and effort (some taking months of research and hours of editing) into their posts. The result? I don’t think twice about following them and engaging with their content.



March 28, 2021

Year founded: 2005 (acquired by Google in 2006) Parent company: Google Global HQ: San Bruno, California Number of users worldwide: Over 2 billion monthly logged-in users globally Number of users regionally: In August of last year, YouTube reached over 7 million individuals in the UAE and around 20 million in Saudi Arabia (ages 18+) with an average watch time of 70 minutes per day in the UAE and 55 minutes in the kingdom. DESCRIPTION Our mission is to give everyone a voice and show them the world. We believe that everyone


deserves to have a voice, and that the world is a better place when we listen, share and build community through our stories. BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT THE PLATFORM? Misconception: Businesses can produce one TVC/video ad to place on YouTube and be able to reach different audiences and markets. Fact: Brands need to start applying personalisation in their communication as the audiences of today expect messages relevant to their passions or, even better, to their tension points. They expect brands to be relevant to them and take into account their needs. WHAT CAN YOU DO BEST FOR BRANDS? With YouTube, businesses and advertisers can understand the interests of their audiences in order to deliver engaging ads in the right

format, and at the right time. WHAT ARE THE KPIS BRANDS LOOK FOR ON YOUR PLATFORM? There are many KPIs depending on each brand’s objective, including watch time, engagement, total impressions, conversions, etc. WHAT NEW FEATURES HAVE YOU LAUNCHED IN THE LAST YEAR? Last year, we launched audio ads on YouTube to help brands expand their reach and grow awareness on the platform. DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING SPECIAL PLANNED FOR RAMADAN? We recently published a series of Ramadan exclusive insights on Think with Google, where we share major shifts in consumer behaviour during the Holy Month and what they mean for marketers.


One of the most inspiring aspects about YouTube is the creative ingenuity of its creators’ community. From making the biggest candy floss in the world, to raising money through a livestream for refugees, or telling the stories of total strangers, there’s a creative spark that drives such relatable content. This makes YouTube the place where people can help make a difference, engage or learn.


We are still seeing many traditional TVCs, adopting the linear storytelling format instead of digital-first assets.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE BRANDS DOING MORE OF ON YOUR PLATFORM? Developing user-first, digital-first and non-linear storytelling ads that follow our best practices, given that the impact on the ROI would be much higher. It would be great to see brands creating more assets with custom creativity to benefit from the full-funnel suite of products and the targeting options we have.


The pandemic has accelerated the shift to digital adoption, and many changes have emerged last year and are likely to stay with us for the years ahead. As an example, I expect to see more popular events transition towards the online space (think livestreams). Additionally, we saw that people were extremely resilient throughout this period and were able to use online tools to foster a sense of community in an impactful manner.

March 28, 2021


JOINING THE CLUB Horizontal Digital’s Robert McGovern introduces social media newcomer Clubhouse and explores the possibilities the platform presents to advertisers

content on the platform at the moment tends to lean heavily on the US tech and investment scene – users went wild when Elon Musk hosted an impromptu interview with Vlad Tenev, CEO of trading app Robinhood, during the recent GameStop stock saga. Despite this, as the user base continues to grow and diversify, it’s not hard to imagine how the content on the platform might evolve with more space dedicated to topics such as sports, cooking, health, art, culture, politics, you name it. Users have grown from just 2,000 last June to more than 10 million by March this year, although the app is still only available on iPhone for the time being.


he audio-based social networking app Clubhouse has exploded on to the social media scene over the last few months on a wave of hype originating from a host of technology enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and investors from Silicon Valley. The app is a kind of cross between radio and podcasts, combining the live nature of broadcast radio with the topical discoverability and subscription of podcasts. Users can create “rooms” to host a talk themselves or have a chat with others. Their followers, or anyone who is interested, can listen and even join in with the discussion if the moderator allows. It’s not unlike the virtual Zoom panels that we’ve all become so accustomed to over the last year, but with a social layer on top. Users are notified when someone they follow starts a room, and they are presented with a feed of talks that are taking place right now on topics that they find interesting. It has the feel of walking around at a conference and being able to duck into and out of a bunch of interesting talks. Moderators can also create “clubs”, which are akin to Facebook Groups where regular meetups can be scheduled and accepted in advance. Rooms tend to have a very open, conversational feel and, while there is an opportunity to join in with many discussions (not unlike a radio phone-in show), many users admit to listening passively in the background while doing something else.

‘‘CHATS ARE NOT RECORDED AND CAN’T BE LISTENED TO AFTER THEY FINISH, WHICH GIVES THEM A SENSE OF URGENCY AND FOMO.” Chats are not recorded and can’t be listened to after they finish, which gives them a sense of urgency and FOMO – join in now or forever miss out on what was said. To create a sense of exclusivity (and presumably to avoid the Fail Whale crashes that plagued Twitter in its early days), new members can only sign-up to Clubhouse if invited by a current user. Each user has two invites to share. The app’s ephemeral nature has helped create an engaged user base and the invite-only sign-up process has only added to the curiosity. As most of this recent buzz has been fuelled by a burst of activity in Silicon Valley, the

ADVERTISING ON CLUBHOUSE Clubhouse currently does not host any advertising on the platform, but that doesn’t mean that savvy brands can’t get involved. Burger King’s parent company, Restaurant Brands International (RBI), hosted an hour-long “Open Kitchen” chat with customers the day after reporting its 2020 earnings results in February. CEO José Cil, CMO Fernando Machado and some other executives spoke about the company’s sustainability work and Burger King’s new loyalty program, and they have plans to continue the chats every two weeks. But there are other ways for advertisers to join in the buzz too. Similar to the way that sponsoring podcasts and webinars currently works, brands can sponsor rooms and get the host to read out a short sponsored message or shout-out during a call, maybe along with some kind of special offer for listeners. Alternatively, brands can sponsor a room or club and have their brand name included in the title of the event so it stands out as users browse through their feed. Some topicspecific clubs are starting to gain a significant following and there could be opportunities for paid guest spots where brand representatives would get a chance to speak to their followers. While it may feel like there are already enough social media platforms out there, if history has taught us anything it’s that there always seems to be room for one more. The recent explosive popularity of Clubhouse suggests that this concept has legs. Twitter has recently announced a copycat product called Spaces, and Facebook is also reportedly working on something similar. First-mover advantage can be a real asset when it comes to new channels, so brands in the region should start thinking about how they might use a platform like this to get in front of their customers.

By Robert McGovern, digital strategist at Horizontal Digital



March 28, 2021

or most gamers, the ritual of watching others play began at childhood, with many of us forced to observe from the sidelines while our controller-hogging siblings monopolised the household console. Today, however, the broadcast of video games, among other categories, has become something of a social phenomenon, with more than 1.9 billion hours of Twitch content watched in December alone. To understand the incredible rise and success of Twitch, as well as how marketers, can tap into this network, we need to take a closer look at what glues people to screens and streams. Since its reconception in 2011, when it rebranded from Justin.TV to Twitch.TV, Twitch has become a home for streamers, gamers and esports fanatics, giving an already engaged and passionate community a new way to showcase their skills, personalities and, for many, their brands. Once Twitch became a monetised platform, streamers were able to turn their lifelong passions into lucrative online careers, giving rise to

‘‘TWITCH HAS COME A LONG WAY, BUT ONLY IN THE LAST YEAR HAS THE PLATFORM SKYROCKETED TO RECORD-BREAKING HEIGHTS.” many of the success stories we find on the platform today, and a new breed of influencer. There’s no denying that Twitch has come a long way since its inception, but only in the last year has the platform skyrocketed to record-breaking heights. Roughly 7 million streamers went live every month, nearly twice as many as the prior year, serving upwards of 2 million viewers at any given time of day. But why the sudden rise in popularity?

SOMETHING’S TWITCHING Socialize’s Peter Mazloumian examines the growth and potential of game-streaming platform Twitch

For starters, Covid-19 made gamers out of most of us. With a new-found abundance of time, many of us dusted off those consoles we were too busy to play and rediscovered our love for video games. Recent studies show that 90.9 per cent of internet users in KSA play games (on any device), whilst gaming sales in America rose by almost 37 per cent in the span of only a year, with some mobile games recording upwards of a 50 per cent increase in profit compared with the year before. Grossly popular games became even more popular, while new, more obscure ones reached success overnight. Needless to say, the value and reach that gaming is currently offering has attracted a lot of attention from brands trying to get their share of the limelight. Agencies have created specialised agency units (our own is SLZ Gamez) to offer expertise and guidance in the social gaming space, giving rise to the creative opportunities that are ever-emerging from the gaming category. To get you started, here are our three rules of play when entering the world of Twitch: RULE #1 – Read the room The first thing that needs to be stressed is that gamers are not easily fooled. They are the protective underdogs of their community. For a brand to step into their territory, a certain ritual of passage needs to be considered. We are, after all, playing on their turf, so we need to be playing by their rules – respecting the sanctity of their space while offering more than selfserving product placements. We should rather use our time on Twitch to create a positive impact on the community. RULE #2 – Not any ad will do To resonate with gamers, it’s of the utmost importance that we think like gamers. Resizing a TVC and adapting it to suit one of Twitch’s many ad formats will never be enough to truly connect with this incredibly passionate community. The creative needs to be crafted with the spirit of gaming at its core, born from a fundamental truth that gamers can connect with, executed in a way that feels bespoke to the platform, as well as the community within. RULE #3 – Play like a streamer The best campaigns that we have seen emerge from the Twitch platform are ones that leveraged the native tools of the platform to enrich the content of the streamers themselves: bringing a gaming character to life before their very eyes, ‘raiding’ the streams of smaller channels for a good cause or even just creating custom emotes that facilitate interactive discussion in the comments section. It’s of paramount importance that we remember this is a broadcasting platform above all else, allowing brands to enter the lives of gamers simply by playing alongside them.

By Peter Mazloumian, head of copy at Socialize








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March 28, 2021


News, views & trends from across the spectrum





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March 28, 2021





Vidya Manmohan Founder & creative chairwoman, V4 Good vidya@v4good.com

he Ramadan lantern, the crescent moon and many other Arabic props make their appearance in every piece of communication during Ramadan. We even turn the Holy Month into a month-long shopping festival with dealer offers, discounts and much more. Is this the true essence of Ramadan? How did we get here? Looking back, I can confess that the Holy Month used to feel quite different. People were more concerned and caring of one another. I used to feel the warmth in the ice cold jellab that my friend’s mom made us. There were night souks then also. But they were filled with unforgettable experiences. There were brands then. And there are brands now. Back then, brands didn’t have to fight for attention. Today, every second monitors user journeys and number of eyeballs met. We fix strategies on-the-go and test reactions through relevant creative. We can proudly say that we’ve nailed the art of advertising and marketing, through listening tools and technology. But can we claim that every brand is communicating what matters to people? I’m not sure if people are making brands behave in this manner or brands are creating a new breed of consumers. Haven’t we all seen a lot of brands change their tone of voice and approach just in time for Ramadan? I’m of the opinion that people are people whether it’s Ramadan or not. We cannot be creating Ramadanspecific campaigns that don’t fit a brand’s DNA and then go back the old ways right after. It is very important for brands to define their purpose and build a relationship based on that – consistently and effectively. One focus area that I feel is often missed is the children. Why is it that everyone’s attention goes to the fasting community? There is a huge opportunity for toy brands and children’s brands to engage and create real value by helping raise a generation that’s more grounded than we are. I’m sure the pandemic has helped us all realise that there is a lot more to Ramadan than what meets the eye, and I’m hopeful that Ramadan of 2021 will show us a different side of people, brands and marketing. One that serves a bigger purpose. One that genuinely brings out the values of Ramadan and encourages people to follow them. Here’s to a brighter and more valuable Ramadan to all.

There is a huge opportunity for children’s brands to engage and create real value by helping raise a generation that’s more grounded than we are.

Motivate Media Group Head Office: 34th Floor, Media One Tower, Dubai Media City, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 4 427 3000, Email: motivate@motivate.ae Dubai Media City: SD 2-94, 2nd Floor, Building 2, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 4 390 3550, Fax: +971 4 390 4845 Abu Dhabi: Motivate Advertising, Marketing & Publishing, PO Box 43072, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Tel: +971 2 677 2005, Fax: +971 2 677 0124, Email: motivate-adh@motivate.ae London: Motivate Publishing Ltd, Acre House, 11/15 William Road, London NW1 3ER. motivateuk@motivate.ae www.motivatemedia.com EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Obaid Humaid Al Tayer Managing Partner and Group Editor Ian Fairservice Senior Editor Austyn Allison Junior Reporter Sofia Serrano DESIGN Art Director Sheila Deocareza Junior Designer Thokchom Remy ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES Tel: +971 4 427 3000 Chief Commercial Officer Anthony Milne Publisher Nadeem Ahmed Quraishi (+971 50 6453365) Group Marketing Manager Anusha Azees PRODUCTION General Manager S. Sunil Kumar Assistant Production Manager Binu Purandaran HAYMARKET MEDIA GROUP Chairman Kevin Costello Managing Director Jane Macken

The publishers regret that they cannot accept liability for error or omissions contained in this publication, however caused. The opinions and views contained in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. Readers are advised to seek specialist advice before acting on information contained in this publication which is provided for general use and may not be appropriate for the readers’ particular circumstances. The ownership of trademarks is acknowledged. No part of this publication or any part of the contents thereof may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the permission of the publishers in writing. An exemption is hereby granted for extracts used for the purpose of fair review. Campaign Middle East includes material reproduced from the UK Edition (and other editions) of Campaign, which is the copyright of Haymarket. Campaign is a trademark of Haymarket and is used under licence. The views and opinions expressed within this magazine are not necessarily those of Haymarket Magazines Limited or those of its contributors.

Instagram rolls out Reels in MENA Instagram has launched its short-form video-sharing feature, Reels, in the Middle East. The feature is a new way for the platform’s community of creators, users and businesses in MENA to create and discover short, entertaining videos. The news follows the introduction of Music on Instagram Stories earlier in March. Reels, which has been rolled out in phases across the globe, enlivens expression and storytelling on Instagram with music and soundtracks to complement short videos. Users can film and edit up to 30-second multiclip videos with audio, effects, and new creative tools. Making Reels is intuitive and in line with processes already in place for Stories. Creators can film videos directly on Reels or upload saved videos from the camera roll, and edit them with creative tools including adding audio, AR effects, alignment (for costume changes, for example), smoothing effects and more. In addition to sharing to the Reels tab, users also can share videos directly to the feed. A new Reels tab will be then added to the user’s profile, where all their Reels will live. Reels can also be shared with friends via Stories and DM. If the account is public, non-followers can also watch the reel. The Reels tab is a separate, dedicated space for people to discover the videos. It’s a stage to share creative work with the world, have a chance to break out and find a new audience.

March 28, 2021


The social climbing frame


ampaign managed to hit a couple of social media landmarks this month. Not only have we now tweeted 5,000 times but we also got ourselves a blue tick on Instagram. That puts us on a par with the New York Times and Kim Kardashian. If you head over to the ‘Gram and honour us with your follow we’ll soon be as influential too. This issue contains the Know Your Platform Guide. We launched it last year in a rush to fill the pages left empty when Dubai Lynx was cancelled, and it turned out to be a big hit, helping remind advertisers what the different social platforms can do for them. This year is just as useful since social media has changed a lot during the pandemic and there are a lot of innovative new features that brands can use to engage their customers. There are new social platforms emerging too. I’m sure there are plenty that haven’t yet reached my ears, but I was flattered when I got asked to join the invitation-only Clubhouse. I’ve even used it, or at least joined a room and then put my phone on silent while I watched TV. There were only five of us in the ‘audience’, a friend was ‘on stage’ and I was certain she’d notice if I tried to sneak out. Every social platform comes with unique opportunities for social faux pas. It might need to become a little less Silicon Valley before everyone can feel at home there. At the moment it’s very tech bro/cryptocurrency/NFT/ Elon Musk, which is great for people with “entrepreneur,” “serial founder” or “futurist” on their business cards but can be overwhelming for the rest of us. It will be interesting to see how marketers use Clubhouse. Burger King is among the brands that have turned up on the platform for a chat in an official capacity. Has anyone from this region? I know there are some marketing groups from the Middle East on there already, and I can see potential for some distanced late-night Suhoors on the platform. In this issue we also have our Ramadan guide. Opinions differ on where this year’s Holy Month will sit on the scale of ‘normal’ to ‘2020’, or whether it will

be something altogether different. Social media will undoubtedly have a big part to play in the celebrations. Distancing and restrictions are still in place around the world, and families are still separated by travel bans, quarantine, isolation and simple, sensible caution. So there will be a lot of Zoom Iftars and a lot of sharing of good wishes and general conversation across social platforms. We are all becoming hybrid beings, Editor existing offline and online through the media we consume and the ways austyn.allison@motivate.ae we communicate with one another. @maustyn Advertisers have known this for years, and have long been ahead of the game with multi-channel media strategies. Consumers are catching up. Our next issue will have our Agency Faces to Watch list in it, where we highlight the industry’s young talent aged 30 and under. Time is running out to enter, so make sure you put your name in the hat on our website. This year we have a sponsor, Heriot-Watt University Dubai, which is offering a full scholarship to a master’s degree in digital marketing to one of our Faces, and four more 30 per cent scholarships. I’m genuinely excited at this, and very grateful to Heriot-Watt for helping support the next generation of leaders. Two things that make me proudest of Campaign (besides picking up blue ticks, of course) are championing young talent and helping raise the quality of the work the industry does. This sponsorship will do both, and that’s something to post about.


Everything has value if you look M



Dave Trott is the author of Creative Mischief, Predatory Thinking and One Plus One Equals Three

y mum and dad never agreed on the best way to make a cup of tea. Mum always put the milk in first, Dad always put it in second. My art director, Gordon Smith, and I had the same problem. Gordon insisted on putting the milk in first, I say it makes more sense to put it in second. My wife agrees with Gordon, but George Orwell is on my side – he wrote a famous article about why milk should go in second. Ronald Fisher was a mathematician working at Rothamsted Experimental Station in Hertfordshire, in 1920. He offered to make his colleague, biologist Muriel Bristol, a cup of tea. She watched him make it and said: “Stop.” Fisher asked what the problem was. She said: “You’re putting the milk in first, I don’t like it that way.” Fisher said she was being ridiculous – it’s a matter of simple thermodynamics: liquid A added to liquid B is exactly the same as adding liquid B to liquid A, the order is irrelevant. She insisted it wasn’t and she could taste the difference. As they were both scientists, there was only one logical way to test her assertion. Scientists gathered round as Fisher made eight cups of tea,

identical in every way except one. In four of the cups the milk was added first, in the other four it was added second. As a blind test, Bristol had no way of knowing which was which. But everyone watched as, one after the other, she identified immediately from taste alone which cup of tea was which. And she was correct eight times out of eight. Her point was proved, but Fisher wasn’t convinced and it bothered him. Logically it made no sense, as a mathematician there must be a formula for it. There was truth in numbers, so he began to devise equations. What was the chance of pure luck? What was the possibility of mistakes? What if he used a larger sample size? What if he added random variations? Without realising it, he had moved on from simply analysing a tea-test into devising the correct way to run tests to arrive at a more accurate statistical analysis. And Fisher didn’t realise he was inventing the Null Hypothesis, which became the bedrock of the science of statistical analysis. In 1925, he published Statistical Methods for Research Workers, which is still the foundation work on statistics taught in universities today.

Anders Hald called Fisher “a genius who almost singlehandedly created the foundations for modern statistical science”. Richard Dawkins called him “the greatest biologist since Darwin”. I don’t understand a word about the science of statistics or anything Fisher’s written. But I do know that inspiration will come from the unlikeliest places, even making a cup of tea, so we should look where we don’t expect it to be. George Lucas didn’t think he was founding a multibillion-dollar empire when he began making a science fiction B-movie. Andy Warhol didn’t think he was creating an art movement when he silk-screened the soup that was all he could afford to eat. Steve Jobs didn’t think he was revolutionising computers when he bunked into typography classes without paying. Quentin Tarantino didn’t think he was changing cinema when he was working in a video store watching bad foreign films. You never know where an idea is coming from, because ideas are new combinations. And it’s no good looking in lectures or books or art galleries for inspiration. They are just places where the creativity has been predigested for you to look at.


March 28, 2021

The Spin Is it just us or does this depiction of Lawsonia Inermis, the henna plant, look like a gigantic mosquito? It’s now been eight years since The Spin saw, snapped and saved some of the most obnoxiously smug copy we have read. It was at a now-long-closed restaurant in Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach Residence, but Facebook reminds us of this annually so we can share the world’s most obnoxious restaurateur, Stephan, with the world. The act of fasting through Ramadan is traditionally a way for those of us who are more fortunate to feel solidarity with those who can’t afford to eat well. It helps us appreciate what we have, by going without food through the day and then being grateful that we have the means to break our fasts at sunset. So the Spin feels this company offering the opportunity to experience “Iftar in the Sky”, billed as “the most expensive Ramadan experience” (AED 66,000, thanks for asking) might be missing the spirit of the season a little.


Dubai Lynx

Cannes Lions

April 7, 2021 Online

June 21-25, 2021 Cannes, France and online

Dubai Lynx 2021 will take place online, on April 7 at 7pm, Dubai time, when the awards will be announced for both 2020 and 2021. A second edition of the popular Lynx Live content-led virtual event will take place later in the year, and the Dubai Lynx team say they are hopeful the live element of the Festival will return in March 2022.

This year, Cannes Lions is back as a digital-first festival. This means that the physical festival will have a significant digital component, allowing organisers to run Cannes Lions as a hybrid event with outstanding live and on-demand content and experiences. The Lions will be awarded in June, when the juries will award work from across two years. Organisers say they are still hopeful they can bring the industry together, in part, in Cannes this year, and are monitoring the developments and announcements that may affect the running of the festival.

To find out more and (virtually) attend: dubailynx.com

To find out more: www.canneslions.com


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Campaign 28th March 2021  

Ramadan Guide 2021

Campaign 28th March 2021  

Ramadan Guide 2021