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October 31, 2021




October 31, 2021

Wissam Najjar takes on group COO role as Chadi Farhat leaves OMG Chadi Farhat, chief investment officer of Omnicom Media Group MENA, will be leaving the company at the end of the year to pursue new opportunities. Effective immediately, Wissam Najjar, currently chief operating officer of OMD MENA, will now take on the role of COO at OMG MENA. Reporting to Elda Choucair, OMG MENA’s CEO, Najjar will maintain his leadership of the Saudi market and will expand his operational role to oversee the group’s investment function. Farhat and Najjar will work closely to ensure a smooth transition.


Chadi Farhat, chief investment Officer of Omnicom Media Group MENA (left) and Wissam Najjar, chief operating officer of OMD MENA

Farhat joined Omnicom Group as media director of Impact BBDO in Lebanon in 2001, moving to Media Direction OMD Beirut in 2003. He became its general manager in 2007 and five years later joined Omnicom Media Group in Dubai to head the investment function. Farhat was promoted to chief investment officer in 2018. In this role, he brought significant value to clients, forged key partnerships, engineered innovative sponsorship opportunities and created efficient and seamless collaborative processes with partners and digital platforms.

Wissam Najjar has been with the OMD network for 18 years, he was promoted to COO for MENA in 2019. Najjar has proved instrumental in spreading OMD’s culture and strength across all the offices he’s opened and managed. He’s led the expansion of the network across MENA, including Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq and Jordan, and solidified the relationships with local and regional business partners. Najjar joined OMD in a media buying role and rose through the ranks. Today, he’s ensuring the network delivers a consistently best-in-class product across all its markets, through the

optimal combination of talent, technology and resources for the benefit of both local and regional clients. As COO of OMG MENA, he will combine his operational expertise and trading experience to work with the CEO and chief digital officer in transforming the investment function at OMG MENA. “Chadi has been a formidable and effective leader, managing internal and external relationships to align all stakeholders on the same agenda,” said Elie Khouri, chairman of OMG.

Fusion5 wins De’Longhi Group

RAS AL KHAIMAH TOURISM LIVE THE DESTINATION The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority has revealed a new identity with a new vision and strategy to portray Ras Al Khaimah as a place ‘live the destination’, with the aim of appealing to a more diverse and younger audience, including eco and adventure tourists. The creatives behind the campaign include Sputnik Floyd Creative, Beautiful Destinations and Asda’a BCW. Alka Winter, vice-president of destination marketing and communications, said the new visual identity inspired the ‘RAKashida’ logo, which takes from the ‘kashida’ concept in Arabic calligraphy – a line that connects letters to form a word, just like RAKashida connects different worlds and people.

Fusion5 has been awarded the media planning and buying for De’Longhi Group. De’Longhi Group is one of the world’s leading players in the small domestic appliance sector dedicated to the world of coffee, cooking, air conditioning and home care. Kenwood is a leading brand that has designed and manufactured cuttingedge, stylish and efficient kitchen appliances since 1947. Fusion5 will offer its spectrum of services on a regional level, servicing all the client’s requirement pertaining to media planning and buying. Johnny Khazzoum, co-founder and managing director of Fusion5, said: “We are immensely proud to be the selected media agency, which validates our strong strategic and performance-driven culture.” Fusion5’s win of the account coincides with Brad Pitt being assigned as the global ambassador for De’Longhi.


October 31, 2021

Campaign announces Marcomms360 – Predictions 2022 By Sofia Serrano Campaign is pleased to announce the latest edition of our flagship Marcomms 360 conference. Marcomms 360 – Predictions 2022 will take place in Dubai on November 11, 2021 at FIVE Palm Jumeirah, Dubai from 12pm to 6pm. It is a free event, but guests need to register at, under the ‘Marcomms360’ tab. Seating will be limited due to Covid restrictions, so the event will be open to confirmed guests only. After a tough year of endless webinars and sitting at home, it is time for the industry to get together once more and share insights into what last year taught marketers and what we must do to be ready for whatever 2022 has in store. Campaign is bringing together leading minds in regional media, marketing and communications to shine light on plans for next year’s strategies. Our agenda for this year’s Marcomms360 – Predictions 2022 is crafted to bring inspiration, vision and clarity on the next 12 months for the industry. This year we are back in-person for next year’s predictions, with a hybrid format that includes online lives

treaming, where industry leaders will present their outlooks for specific areas of media, marketing and advertising for the year to come. The sessions will be succinct and to-the-point and there will be room for questions and mingling, with Covid-19 safety measure implemented. Campaign’s Marcomms360 conference consists of intensive – but interesting and entertaining – talks in a half-day event focusing on the media, marketing and communications industry. Now in its fifth year, it will help professionals anticipate and navigate the year ahead. As well as providing excellent networking opportunities, the schedule features regional insights and keynotes from leaders within the industry and related fields. The conference is supported by Gold Sponsors ArabyAds, Snap Inc, Nabd, Huawei Ads, Publicis Groupe, MBC Media Solutions, Al Masaood and mFilterIt. The event is presented by Motivate Media Group. Speakers include Gulrez Alam from ArabyAds, Aimee Peters from Mashreq Bank, Kashmala Khan from Huawei Ads, Rayan El Hajjar from MBC Media Solutions, Amer Chehab


NOV 11, 2021 VENUE:


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Marcomms360 will take place on November 11 at FIVE Palm Jumeirah.

from Snap, Nazar Daniyel from Deloitte, Racha Makarem from Starcom, Elias Bassil from TikTok for Business METAP, Marwa Kaabour from Al Masaood, Milica Smudja from Landmark Leisure, Shams Al-Attar from Nabd, Kalika Tripathi from Visa, marketing consultant Shyam Sunder, Amit Relan from

mFilterIt, Ziad Khammar from DMS and more. Save the date this coming November 11 for power-packed talks with the heads of leading companies in the MENA region. Please visit marcomms360 for more details.



Dubai Tourism has launched the latest trailer as part of its Dubai Presents series of blockbuster videos starring Jessica Alba and Zac Efron. Set against a thrilling music score, ‘Dubai: A Riveting Mystery’ sees the duo journey across the city on a mysterious quest. In keeping with the adventure thriller genre, the trailer features a series of action-packed sequences and plenty of twists and turns showcased against recognisable cityscapes – from the alleyways of Al Seef and the glittering skyline of Downtown Dubai to the desert dunes. The trailer celebrates a city that continues to embrace and celebrate its past, as it continues on its journey to the future.

Peugeot has launched its new campaign titled “Disconnect before you drive”, aimed at identifying distractions motorists face on the road. The French automotive manufacturer is embarking on its second road safety campaign, which has been launched following a study conducted by Peugeot showing that more than a third of drivers conduct meetings and conference calls whilst driving. The campaign was developed in collaboration with YouGov to identify distractions motorists face on the road. The results showed that more than 70 per cent of motorists in the UAE and KSA use video conferencing platforms while driving and 65 per cent of drivers conduct calls with their videos on.

Agency Mother Director of photography Nicolas Karakatsanis Executive producer John Lowe Director Craig Gillespie Production house MJZ Productions and Stoked Films

Agency Science and Sunshine Production house Sensa digital

October 31, 2021

Asda’a BCW unveils the latest results of the agency’s annual Arab Youth Survey Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, ongoing conflicts and record economic decline, most young Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) believe their best days lie ahead of them. This is one of the top findings of the 13th Annual Asda’a BCW Arab Youth Survey, released by Asda’a BCW, which revealed the resilience and hopefulness of young Arab men and women across the region, but also their growing frustrations about increasing unemployment, access to quality higher education and rising living expenses. Now in its 13th year, the largest study of MENA’s largest demographic, its 200 million-plus youth, polled 3,400 Arab citizens aged between 18 and 24 in 50 cities and territories in 17 countries from June 6-30, 2021. The survey was conducted for Asda’a BCW by PSB Insights, amongst a cohort equally split between men and women. Other findings of the survey show there is increased optimism in young Arabs with nearly half (48 per cent) saying they ‘will lead a better life than their parents’, as well as increased trust in the government with nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of young Arabs saying their voice matters to their country’s leadership. Other findings reveal the

The survey has found ‘resilience and hopefulness’ among young Arabs

UAE as the country most young Arabs want to live in. “Over the past 13 years, the findings of our annual Arab Youth Survey have provided a fascinating window into the hopes, fears and aspirations of the generation that will shape the future of MENA, a region of great importance to the prosperity, security and well-being of the entire world,” said Donna Imperato, Global CEO, BCW.

“As one of the region’s largest communications consultancies, with a rich heritage stretching back 21 years, Asda’a BCW has been committed to giving young Arab men and women in MENA a voice through our annual Arab Youth Survey,” said Sunil John, president, MENA, BCW and founder of Asda’a BCW. To know more about the findings on this year’s Arab Youth Survey, log on to


Multiply Group acquires Viola Multiply Group, a diversified company and a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi-listed International Holdings Company (IHC), has taken full ownership of UAE marketing and communications firm Viola Communications. Syed Basar Shueb, CEO, managing director and board member of IHC, said: “IHC is building scale across all of our portfolio companies and enhancing their capabilities to become national champions in their industries. Multiply Group is growing into a major player, with ambitions to expand its holdings and sector investments further both in the UAE and across the world.” Viola Communications was established in 2001 and has grown into one of the largest marketing firms in Abu Dhabi, with offices also in Dubai and Cairo. It provides integrated marketing solutions across advertising, public relations, events and production services, complementing Multiply Group’s legacy in marketing and digital strategy. Multiply Group has recently made investments in Emirates Driving Company and jointventure Omorfia Group, which oversees local beauty giants Tips & Toes, Bedashing, Jazz Lounge Spa and Ben Suhail Distribution.



Leo Burnett Saudi Arabia’s latest campaign for Ikea uses a kitsch style and is crafted to promote Ikea’s biggest annual sale in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The campaign features classic Saudi homes filled with floral prints, framed tapestries, chipped vases and worn-out furniture. There’s a garish floral living room, an outgrown bedroom, a dining room for daily boring dinners, and in each setting the inhabitants have literally become part of the furniture. The campaign is a playful reminder that when you own things for too long, you can begin to feel as dreary and worn out as the objects around you.

UAE-born fresh juice maker Barakat joined forces with its creative and social agency Havas Middle East to raise awareness about the importance of reading the back labels on products to discover what goes into the food and drinks consumers buy. As part of the #ReadTheLabel campaign, Barakat and its agency removed all text, images and even the logo from front labels of the brand’s juice bottles -despite both front and back labels listing the same information, as Barakat products actually are all-natural. This left the most important facts – the ingredients and nutritional table on the back – to encourage people to read labels and become more discerning about nutrition. Barakat labels confirm its products are made from 100 per cent fresh fruits and vegetables that are juiced daily, contain no additives or preservatives and are completely unprocessed.

Agency Leo Burnett Saudi Arabia Chief creative officer: Mohammed Bahmishan Creative director Mohammed Sehly Managing director Samir Antoun Photographer Ahmed Othman Production Nojara Productions, Prodigious Middle East



















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October 31, 2021



W Kekst CNC’s Ben Curson asks if existing emergency action plans are still fit for purpose post-pandemic

hen a crisis strikes, planning and preparation have always been of paramount importance in mitigating damage. Traditionally, a heavy, printed crisis manual will be taken out of the cupboard and dusted down, and established protocols defining roles and responsibilities of the crisis management team will be rolled out. Some manuals will contain forensic detail, carefully mapped stakeholders and a library of pre-drafted collateral tailored to every conceivable crisis scenario. Others are found on selected desktops in various states of repair. Whatever the format or state of these manuals, until now they offered peace of mind and a sense of defensive readiness. That legacy comfort may now be misplaced as the vast majority were written prior to 2020 and the impact of Covid-19 on all of our lives. No longer is it straightforward to hastily assemble the crisis team in a designated ‘war room’ at a moment’s notice. Fast, informed and accurate decision-making requires immediate input from the crisis team and, ideally, a process that is well known and understood by all participants through regular rehearsal. Virtual work has permanently affected how companies operate and how teams communicate, and clearly now the logistical principles on which your crisis management protocols were founded may no longer be fit for purpose. Furthermore, some threats have been amplified since the beginning of 2020. For example, the uptick in cyber-attacks, triggered by the sudden shift to remote working. According to Mohamed Hamad Al Kuwaiti, head of cyber security for the UAE Government, who was quoted recently in a CNBC article, the UAE has seen “at least a 250 per cent increase in cyberattacks [in 2020] as the pandemic forced organisations around the world to reconsider how and where they work, and hackers and malicious actors took advantage of increased digital adoption”. Such an increase calls for a review in how companies prepare for cyberattacks and the accompanying risk to their reputation. At Kekst CNC, we understood the challenges many firms faced in managing a crisis well before

the pandemic. Several years ago, we introduced an online platform called the Situation Room, which provides immersive, real-time and bespoke crisis training that stress-tests plans and teams. In a digital world, containing a crisis within a market is impossible and the structure of many companies requires crisis management execution from several locations. We know companies now need to be even more flexible and have adapted our Situation Room accordingly. Now, we can offer training entirely remotely or as a hybrid that fully reflects the current pandemic circumstance (and a likely post-Covid norm) where some people are on-site and others are in multiple remote locations. Remote working brings with it an increased organisational vulnerability, given the dispersed network of employees, and therefore the challenges that presents for swift, efficient employee communication. An effective crisis communication strategy is only as good as its team members. It is built on a foundation of trust and synchronicity that could be handled more easily in person but needs to work just as smoothly remotely. Whilst we are all now very used to video calls, they have their limitations, especially in a crisis. This has forced teams to reframe how they communicate and behave behind a screen. The world has changed and, unless crisis management keeps pace, the heavy investment already made (in many cases) in crisis management protocols may be rendered useless. By the same token, a sober acceptance of this fact now will allow companies to make the necessary changes, hopefully well ahead of a crisis emerging. Revisit your risk audit to identify new threats. Update your crisis manual for a hybrid world and ensure it is digitally available. Familiarise crisis management teams with it and undertake simulation exercises to stress test both the process and how your teams apply it in practice. Preparing now will put organisations around a rapidly evolving world in good stead for handling future crises and emerging from them strongly. By BEN CURSON, partner, Kekst CNC


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A person, place or idea that is better than awesome.

abu dhabi






October 31, 2021

MENA’S LOERIES WINS At the annual Loeries Awards, held in Cape Town, South Africa, and celebrating the best work from Africa and the Middle East, the MENA region did well. Havas Middle East’s Liquid Billboard for Adidas picked up the OOH Grand Prix, and the UAE Media Office’s work with MullenLowe and TBWA\RAAD also picked up a number of prizes. Among the other Gold-winning agencies from the Middle East and North Africa region were FP7 McCann and Serviceplan Middle East. Find the full list of winners at – where you can also see the amazing work from Africa that this region was competing against – and read more about local agencies at Here are the winners from the MENA region.

Liquid Billboard Client: Adidas Agency: Havas Middle East Loeries: Grand Prix (OOH – Outdoor Media); Gold (PR & Media Communication Campaign); 2 x Silver (Live Activations; Integrated Campaign); Craft Certificate (OOH Crafts – Art Direction); Bronze (Media Innovation – Single Medium)

October 31, 2021

Shift+K+F+C Client: KFC Arabia Agency: TBWA\RAAD Loeries: Gold (Digital – Applications, Games & Interactive Tools); 2 x Bronze (Integrated Campaign; Graphic Design – General Design)

Double Moon Client: UAE Government Media Office Agency: MullenLowe MENA; UAE Government Media Office Loeries: Gold (Media Innovation – Single Medium); Craft Gold (OOH Crafts – Use of Technology); 2 x Silver (PR & Media Communication Campaign; OOH – Ambient)

#FirstArabicCountdown Client: UAE Government Media Office Agency: TBWA\RAAD; UAE Government Media Office Loeries: Gold (Integrated Campaign); Bronze (Live Events)

Lego News Rebuilt Client: Lego Saudi Stores Agency: Havas Middle East Loeries: Gold (Tactical Use of Print); Bronze (Media Innovation – Single Medium)



October 31, 2021

Adaptive LED Headlights Client: Mini Agency: Serviceplan Middle East Loeries: Campaign Craft Gold (OOH Crafts – Art Direction); Campaign Silver (OOH – Outdoor Media)

Astronomical Sales Client: Mastercard Agency: FP7 McCann MENAT Loeries: Gold (Effective Creativity)

Hebrew Card Client: Abu Dhabi Investment Office Agency: TBWA\RAAD Loeries: Silver (Media Innovation – Single Medium)

Blood Unity Client: Donner Sang Compter Agency: FP7 McCann MENAT Loeries: Silver (Effective Creativity)

October 31, 2021

A Dad’s Job Client: Home Centre Agency: FP7 McCann MENAT Loeries: 2 x Bronze (PR & Media Communication Campaign; Film – TV & Cinema Commercials – Up To 90s)

As Far As We Go Client: Almosafar Agency: FP7 McCann MENAT Loeries: Bronze (Effective Creativity)

Peace Camo Client: The Lebanese Army Agency: TBWA\RAAD Loeries: Silver (Design – Fabric Design)

Distant Neighbours Client: Tecom Group Agency: Serviceplan Middle East Loeries: Bronze (Digital – Social Media)

Martian Stamp Client: UAE Government Media Office Agency: TBWA\RAAD; UAE Government Media Office Loeries: Bronze (PR & Media Communication Campaign)

ProtectSet Offline Hour Client: Pizza Hut Agency: M&C Saatchi UAE Loeries: Craft Certificate (Digital Crafts – Use of Technology); Bronze (Digital – Website or Microsite)

Client: Mobily Agency: MullenLowe MENA Loeries: Bronze (PR & Media Communication Design)

Rooftop Farms Client: Knorr Egypt Agency: FP7 McCann MENAT Loeries: Bronze (OOH – Outdoor Media)

Traditional Virginity Test Client: MALI Agency: TBWA/RAAD Loeries: Bronze (Integrated Campaign)

XXX Parental Control Client: Connect Agency: TBWA\RAAD Loeries: Campaign Bronze (Print – Print Advertising)

#SoundOfResilience Client: Baalbeck International Festival Agency: Impact BBDO Loeries: Silver (Live Events)



October 31, 2021

NFTs are the NBT Blockchain technology promises new ways to build brand equity and more, writes Fusion5’s Johnny Khazzoum By Johnny Khazzoum, Managing, Partner Fusion5


n NFT (non-fungible token) is an asset that you’ll own completely but will never be able to hold in your hand, and it’s the Next Big Thing in marketing. Imagine this: you spend $560,000 on an image of a newspaper column from The New York Times that becomes entirely yours and no one else’s but you can never hold, and you don’t own the rights to the actual words in the column. Some people might call that crazy. But that’s just what Dubai-based 3F Music did this March. The digital asset was the NYT’s first venture into crypto art, aspiring artists and culture makers. Today, digital marketing which saw the sale at auction of the rights to a picture of uses intermediaries such as Google and Facebook that columnist Kevin Roose’s article entitled ‘Buy this Column on control the space between advertisers and users. Blockchain Blockchain!’ about non-fungible tokens, aka NFTs. Roose then technology has the potential to disrupt marketing as we donated the proceeds to the NYT’s Neediest Cases Fund. know it by eliminating the digital ‘middleman’. Soon after the purchase, 3F Music tweeted, “Social If you’re an artist or creative, NFTs give you a way to sell experiment or otherwise, the publicity around this piece only work that there might not be a market for and reach clients adds value to it. So, I’d call it a wise move.” that you might not otherwise reach. If you’re a buyer and The move also boosted 3F Music’s brand equity. The firm collector, you can access, support or invest in an has now not only raised its profile by investing in other extraordinary assortment of artists and cultural producers digital artefacts, such as an image of a Byzantine shield by whose work you believe will have potential. Lebanese artist Kristel Bechara, but may now be considered If you’re a marketer, you need digital assets to be a a pioneer in its industry for investing a whopping part of the NFT metaverse and there’s a massive $257,914 in an image of the multiverse. opportunity to create original NFTs around In a recent TED talk, Kayvon Tehranian, your brands that will build precious CEO and founder of Foundation, a platform cultural capital. For instance, Coca-Cola that allows creators to use blockchain to has already launched a successful NFT. monetise their work and form Coca-Cola’s NFT is based on creative connections with collectors, said, “NFTs A non-fungible token (NFT) is a unique storytelling where real-life blurs with are not a scam, NFTs are not a fad. In digital asset that acts as a certificate of the metaverse and Coca-Cola is the fact, NFTs are the building blocks of the ownership for virtual or physical assets such “magic between all of it”. Proceeds from internet of the future.” as photos, videos, Tweets, etc. Each NFT the four-day auction of collectibles to This seems to be the consensus across represents a one-of-a-kind cryptographic commemorate International Friendship industry experts and blockchain item that cannot be interchanged with Day on July 30 were donated to Special entrepreneurs, and investors are ready to another and is maintained in a digital Olympics International. put their cryptocurrency where their ledger called the blockchain. mouth is. Digital luxury So, what does a decentralised model look like marketplace UNXD and blockchain network for marketers? Polygon announced the launch of a $10m fund Blockchains are already transforming the mediato invest in flagship NFT brands and creators. The buying process by bypassing the dominant search engines and UNXD Culture Fund will help creators commercialise and costly social media analytics through which targeted create (or ‘mint’) NFT collections. advertising is made possible. Blockchain offers the potential to To give you a sense of just how much volume is being access public big data to gain insight into consumer trends. generated by NFTs, digital analytics firm DappRadar, which Armed with more streamlined data sources directly from tracks NFT data on various platforms, reported that the total the blockchain and a deeper understanding of individual market generated in 2020 was $95m. By the end of Q2 2021, consumer trends, advertisers and media-buying specialists that figure stood at $2.5bn. can focus their resources on direct distribution. We wouldn’t What’s the point of NFTs and what does it mean for marketers? be surprised to see a surge in demand in our region for So what if people are selling art and culture-making content blockchain analysts. at insane floor prices? What is the point and how do NFTs Being at the forefront of the industry, we are tremendously affect marketers and advertisers? committed to enriching our clients’ projects and we are With blockchain technologies like cryptocurrencies especially excited about exploring the NFT space with disrupting and decentralising the relationship between users our clientele. The sky – or should I say the metasphere? – is and traditional banking, NFTs are doing the same for the limit.




October 31, 2021

INDUSTRY FORUM: E X P O 2 02 0 E D I T I O N Compiled by Sofia Serrano


We asked the people in charge of promoting a variety of pavilions at Expo 2020 Dubai:

* How are you getting people to your pavilion? * How will you measure your success? * How are you aligning to the Expo’s themes?

October 31, 2021

HE Khalfan Mohamed Al Mazrouei Director-general of the UAE Pavilion

The pavilion takes visitors through the epic journey of transformation and growth of the UAE in an audio-visual sensory experience. At the pavilion all holders of Expo 2020 tickets will have seamless access through the Expo Smart Queue system. The system will give guests easy access through 15-minute time slots, and the ability to reschedule in case you would like to attend another event. We continuously monitor the daily capacities and review staff and guest satisfaction. Furthermore, we measure the non-interrupted experience of visitors through the monitoring of assets. We also keep a close eye on our social media impact; we measure the reach of our posts and keep evolving our approach to ensure reach. Our stories talk about people from all walks of life and backgrounds who had many dreams that were realised when they connected with likeminded people who contributed their story. These stories woven together provide the visitor with a glimpse into a future that is being created as they walk through the pavilion. Every visitor has an opportunity to achieve their own dream and be part of the UAE story.

Lenka Marsalkova

Marketing and communications manager, Czech Republic Pavilion The pavilion itself is the first thing that gets the attention of visitors, thanks to the cloud made of steel capillaries that shades the garden. It’s the largest hand-shaped steel sculpture in the world – we are talking about 17 tons and 9 kilometres of steel. If we provide an opportunity for Czech companies that we present in the pavilion to develop their business activities after the Expo ends, and visitors leave the pavilion with a new experience – whether in the form of new knowledge and self-education, or just with a pleasant feeling from the visit – our mission at the Expo will be successful. We are located in the Sustainability Zone and fit perfectly into this theme. We not only showcase technologies that present sustainability, but we also use them in practice. A perfect example of this is the technological core of the pavilion – the ‘SAWER’ system, which produces water from the air using only solar energy and can create an oasis in the desert. We use the water produced by the SAWER to irrigate the garden around the national pavilion.

Isabella R. Jesemann

Managing director, Baden-Württemberg Pavilion We rely on a range of different communication measures. The focus, however, is on press relations to promote the Baden-Württemberg House both in Germany and in Dubai and to attract international visitors on-site. In addition to collecting data on visitor numbers, delegation and media visits, we measure the reach of our social media posts, communication and marketing activities, and publish detailed reports on them. The Baden-Württemberg House is showcasing topics and solutions for all major Expo themes. Mobility is one of the flagship industries of our region. The bicycle, the automobile and the electric air taxi (on display as a 1:3 model in the Baden-Württemberg House) have all been invented in our federal state. Most of our exhibits also cover sustainability in a variety of forms, with our federal state being a pioneer in efficiency and green technologies in fields such as cycle-based bioeconomy, zero-emission mobility and clean energies. Last, but not least, the topic of opportunity also plays an important role for our pavilion. After all, we are the only region (among more than 190 nations) that has seized the opportunity to participate in Expo and to present our federal state to the world.



October 31, 2021

Kasititorn Pooparadai

Senior executive vice-president of Digital Economy Promotion Agency, director Thailand Pavilion The Thailand Pavilion attracts all visitors at the first sight of its flower façade and golden arch. The immersive journey through Thai mobility offers them exceptional experiences including amazing exhibitions, special events, cute mascots, daily attractions, dances, live light shows, souvenirs and, last but not least, Thai food. The visitors’ impressions and appreciation of our pavilion is an instant goal. In the meantime, developing trust and confidence among participating countries to promote Thailand’s investment, medical care and tourism are also expected. Thailand welcomes all visitors with our hospitality and connects with the world through digital technology and innovation showcasing Thailand’s strength and potential in becoming a regional mobility hub.

Nicolas Bideau

Head of presence, Switzerland Pavilion The Swiss pavilion’s exterior serves as an eye-catcher with its red carpet and mirrored façade. Inside, it offers visitors a unique encounter with Switzerland that appeals to all senses: a walk through a sea of fog. Then we leave the eternal Switzerland to present a lesser-known Switzerland, that of industry and innovation. And we end on a high note, with the opportunity to treat ourselves to a Swiss coffee and chocolate. Providing that memorable experience is the only way to ensure a long-term impact on the visitors. If they remember our pavilion in 10 years’ time, then we have done our job. Of course, we also hope to generate more tourist nights in Switzerland, business opportunities for our partners and exchanges with the region for our universities. We are bringing Swiss universities, start-ups and innovative companies to showcase their research and inventions through temporary exhibits and presentations in line with the Expo theme weeks.

Daniel van Otterdijk

Senior vice-president, chief communications officer, DP World Flow Pavilion Located at the Opportunity District, visitors can come to the DP World Flow Pavilion by parking at the Opportunity parking and taking the shuttle bus to the Sun Plaza. Alternatively, the Expo has dedicated a series of visitor trains from the Opportunity arrival plaza for visitors to hop on. Visitors can also grab a Careem bike to reach the DP World Flow Pavilion. We took a bold decision to announce our refreshed brand at the Expo 2020, hoping to inspire people to understand how trade is a lifeline that affects our everyday lives. The DP World Flow Pavilion has been designed around the theme of ‘making trade flow’, where visitors will be able to understand commerce movements around the world using innovative technologies, and how this drives global economies. Our idea of success is to be able to inform people about the shifting sands that continue to change logistics and supply chains and how DP World continues to play an integral role through the use of tech and data to find smarter ways to move goods around the world. We’ve designed the DP World Flow Pavilion with four main galleries – Mobility, Connectivity, Opportunity and Sustainability – all of which are designed to take our visitors on a journey that showcases how we move goods around the world, while also aligning with the Expo’s themes.

Lara Maggiore

Marketing manager, Italy Pavilion The Italy Pavilion is off to a great start, attracting up to 10,000 visitors per day. Our theme, ‘Beauty Connects People’, is capturing visitors from all corners of the planet wanting to experience a fascinating journey into Italian beauty: from arts to cutting-edge technology, from circular economy to sustainability, from AI to innovation. The 3D replica of Michelangelo’s David sculpture is a revelation in the region, together with a never-seen-before cultural programme of 400 events. To promote this exceptional offering, we have put in place co-marketing initiatives with more than 100 partners and sponsors, with international and local tour operators as well as a strong media relations strategy.

October 31, 2021

Nisreen Masri

Media and communications manager, USA Pavilion We’re using all available channels to attract visitors to the USA Pavilion – primarily on @usaexpo2020 on all platforms and www., Expo’s daily press briefing and all media outlets. We aim to delight guests and share our American story. The USA Pavilion theme, ‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of the Future’, aligns with Expo 2020’s theme, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. The USA has always been and continues to be the leader in innovation and mobility, and we tell the story of how freedom and inclusivity pave the way for a better future for all.

Anna Drozd

PR manager, Polish Investment and Trade Agency, Poland Pavilion Being the part of Expo 2020 Dubai, Poland presents creativity as its national feature, which gives the country its economic, scientific, cultural, and social success. The narrative in the Polish Pavilion is divided into five sections that share a common motif: ‘Poland. Creativity inspired by nature’. A visit starts at the ‘Polish Table’, where our guests are warmly welcomed by our amazing guides – students from Polish universities. The social media campaign, ongoing cooperation with journalists as well as the pavilion’s architecture with unique kinetic sculpture, our hospitality and smile – that’s how we encourage people to visit our pavilion.


Shabana Unni

Communications manager, The Netherlands Pavilion Imagine creating 800 litres of water from dry air daily and using that same water for irrigation and drinking purposes within the pavilion. Our story itself is very fascinating and automatically creates a sense of curiosity and attraction. We are creating a self-sustaining miniature ecosystem that can harvest its own water, energy and food. Together with the communications team in The Hague, Netherlands, we have developed a concrete 360-degree communications strategy that truly aids in conveying our message to the targeted audience (business partners, government organisations, knowledge institutions and daily visitors) in the Netherlands, Gulf region and beyond. We have an array of partners and sponsors who also contribute to promoting the pavilion through their channels. Every small step and recognition are part of our achievement and success. We won the Best Sustainable Construction Award at the Big 5 Impact Awards this year and were also declared as one of the finalists in the Gulf Sustainability Awards. We also have a line-up of programming events at the pavilion, with the business lounge and auditorium already booked for more than 150 events related to these three core sectors. Our website and social media channels help us track information on click-rates, areas of interest, etc. All these and more add up to our qualitative and quantitative methods of measuring success. The Netherlands Pavilion is all about sustainability, which is also one of the three main overarching themes of Expo 2020 Dubai. Our legacy is to leave a footprint of our ‘expertise in sustainable solutions’ that can change the world for a better future.

Kevin Partridge

Head of communications, Department for International Trade (DIT), UK Pavilion We’ve encouraged visiting the UK Pavilion, in person and online (as the first participant with a virtual tour), through a variety of high-quality, engaging multimedia content. Across owned, earned and paid channels our targeted messages have reached specific audiences across Expo 2020, the UAE, Gulf region, UK and internationally to showcase the UK’s unique pavilion and programme. We are measuring success through tracking online activity, visits, words contributed to our Pavilion’s Collective Message and surveys through Ipsos Mori to determine the impact with our audiences. Our theme, ‘Innovating for a shared future’, shows how we’re all connected and through collaboration we can develop new ways to approach the global challenges Expo 2020 is exploring.


October 31, 2021

Erik Linquier

Chairman of Cofrex, commissioner general, France Pavilion The France Pavilion has invested considerably to ensure that the visitors’ experience is suitable for all audiences: first for young audiences and families with a treasure hunt on the esplanade by Sépand Danesh, and various artistic proposals such as Neil Beloufa, so that children can discover France at their own pace. We are also organising workshops, conferences, and panel discussions several days a month for adults, students and children in the fields of biodiversity, space, cities, climate, etc. Our entire agenda is available on our website. Finally, the France Pavilion is associated with partners who promote France outside the World Expo site, notably with JCDecaux in Dubai and Mediatransports in France, and all its media partners such as France Médias Monde, Radio France and TV5Monde. The success of our participation is measured on different criteria: first on the attendance and especially on the satisfaction of visitors. The France Pavilion echoes the theme of the Expo in all its event programming: for six months, we will highlight French solutions, innovations and ideas that accompany progress and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mustafa Shamseldin

Chief marketing officer, Africa, Middle East and North Africa, PepsiCo Pavilion With 2 billion Expo 2020 Dubai branded PepsiCo products across Africa, the Middle East and Asia, digital and social media campaigns, global PR plans, and highlights on Expo 2020 Dubai’s website and visitor guide, we are set to draw crowds to our pavilions and AI-powered stores, ‘Pepsi Go’. We measure our success through multiple factors. First is footfall to our pavilions, sales and revenues, consumer feedback, and share of voice online and in media. Second is its impact on our brands, the awareness behind our ‘Pep+’ goals, and our end-to-end strategic transformation, putting sustainability at the centre of how the business will create shared value and growth. ‘The Drop’ promotes good water stewardship, emphasising Expo 2020 Dubai’s commitment to sustainability. ‘The Bolt’ ties in with the mobility theme, showcasing how science and innovation inspire performance and active lifestyles. ‘The Plus’ outlines how we can create positive change, in line with the opportunity theme.

Angie Mahran

Director of marketing and public relations, Egypt Pavilion One of our main marketing strategy objectives was to raise awareness about the Egypt pavilion’s main attractions and the different seminars given by professionals in several sectors. We relied mainly on social media and our website to promote our pavilion’s story and main slogan ‘Legacy Empowering Future’. Our plan by utilising those platforms was to take the users through true journeys in Egypt past, present and future by creating different type of content that would engage the users and drive them to visit the pavilion and explore more about Egypt. We also launched PR campaigns before and after the official start of Expo 2020 to raise awareness about the pavilion’s main attractions, and we relied on the content generated by different visitors on social media expressing their experience inside the pavilion. Our success is measured by the number of happy visitors that share their positive experience and generate positive word-ofmouth, the number of attendees to our seminars and the volume of organic coverage we receive from media outlets. We align with the Expo theme by showcasing Egypt’s solid future vision and projects in different sectors and promoting the 100+ seminars being held inside the pavilion by professionals from different industries discussing the various types of developments Egypt is undertaking for a better future.

October 31, 2021


ave you ever wondered what happens to the giant artworks that you see on the billboards on your way home? Apparently, a majority of the PVC (polyvinyl chloride, commonly known as vinyl or, in the outdoor advertising industry, ‘flex’), the plastic material the artwork is printed on, ends up in landfills. Unfortunately, this is still the reality for most flex after it has completed its duty of advertising a product. On the bright side, not all out-of-home (OOH) companies are letting this material go to waste. Footprint Outdoor Advertising is proud of changing the game and taking a sustainable approach. Campaign recently watched the disassembly of one of Footprint’s billboards on Dubai’s Hessa street. Disassembly can take from four to six hours, depending on the complexity of the artwork (some have extra elements like 3D extensions; the artwork we saw taken down featured ‘real’ lights on a car). Billboards are usually dismantled at night to avoid disruptions on traffic and offer the workers better working conditions when the weather is hot. Hoardings have different measurements but generally need to be of considerable size to be viewed by passers-by. The one we visited measures 10m by 90m, or 900 square metres, which is more than three tennis courts put together. That is a lot of plastic that could be destined for landfills each time an OOH ad is changed. Kashif Merchant, managing partner at Footprint, says his company began recycling flex in 2018, the UAE’s Year of Zayed. The first billboard Footprint recycled was on Sheikh Zayed road, near Nakheel Metro station. It bore the image of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and a collage of pictures, the work of thousands of students from the UAE who participated in the Emirates Environmental Group’s annual environmental artwork competition. The flex was flown to Italy where it was transformed into 200 high-end bags. The bags were sold at a price of AED 1,000 each and the profits sent to three special needs schools in the UAE – Al Noor Training Centre for Children with Special Needs, Dubai Autism Centre and Senses Dubai. The project primarily had an emphasis on a social cause, but it started a new sustainable approach for the company. Ever since this project took place in 2018, Footprint has continued to recycle its flex to create products including backpacks, wallets, shoes and bags. Now they are made in the UAE, setting an example for how outdoor companies can contribute to a greener economy. “Start investing in scrapping your used flex; it doesn’t cost a lot of money and would barely be visible on your bottom line, and would instead add value to your signage and company,” says Merchant. As sustainability becomes more central to marketing messages, so the industry is starting to look inward at its own practices. Consumers are looking closer at the production and sourcing of what they buy, and brands are looking to make their whole supply chain and advertising strategy more sustainable. If your brand is recyclable and eco-friendly, why not complete the chain with a billboard that can live on in your wardrobe?

A SECOND LIFE FOR BILLBOARDS Sofia Serrano discovers that not all vinyl from Dubai’s hoardings end up in landfill. You might be wearing an old ad right now




October 31, 2021

How to Reduce Ad Fatigue & Keep Consumers Engaged Ad-Lib Digital’s Janira Hernandez offers some advice on reducing ad fatigue and keeping consumers engaged


d fatigue is real and consumers are over it. We have all experienced the nuisances when browsing the internet or scrolling through our social platforms, only to come across that same ad you keep seeing everywhere over and over again. Eventually, you stop noticing this ad and as a result, all the hard work and media spend invested by the brand goes to waste. Ad fatigue has become one of the biggest pain points for many brands. We live in a world where our attention spans are constantly changing and keeping any consumer’s interest becomes an increasing challenge for marketers. When you overexpose an audience to a certain ad, you begin to see a drop in user engagement and performance over time. This also means the relevance of your ad will decrease as well. Setting a high frequency of ad exposure is a sure way to find a decline in consumer interest; however, brands and agencies can also observe the beginning stages of ad fatigue by monitoring certain triggers such as lower click-through rates, less engagement and fewer impressions. Network algorithms are designed to show relevant content to your audiences, and if consumers are not clicking on or engaging with your ad then they will likely not be exposed to this content in the future, reducing impression volumes.

“Combat ad fatigue by personalising your creatives and tailoring them specifically to your audiences.”

Test and learn: Monitor the different creative variations you are rotating, and carry out mid-flight optimisations for the most successful output. Testing what works and what does not allows you to combat ad fatigue by refreshing creatives every three or four weeks and putting out the right content for your audiences. Creative insights that surface from this strategy will guide you on the next batch of creatives to publish. Audience check: A/B testing your audiences can also help reduce ad fatigue by targeting the most valuable consumers. You can also exclude any users who have already engaged with your ads, ensuring you are reaching a wider pool of potential customers. Personalisation through dynamic ads: Combat ad fatigue by personalising your creatives and tailoring them specifically to your audiences. Showing customised content based on behaviour, information, services and items they have previously shown interest in will help drive campaign performance and reduce fatigue.

The above solutions do require a lot of time, collaboration, monitoring and a high volume of creatives to be produced, which can be expensive and time consuming. However, you can now achieve this through’s scalable creative production in a short turnaround time. The tech solution allows you to collaborate with internal By Janira Hernandez, teams and agencies to drive all Head of MEA, Ad-Lib Digital communication in one place. As a result, this makes digital The platform uses creative concepts advertising much more expensive for that contain fixed and flexible elements, brands and less effective for consumers. using artificial intelligence to expand to hundreds of The best way to avoid ad fatigue and get the most ROI from on-brand formats and messages and easily make changes to your digital ad spend is by following the below: Ad frequency: As mentioned before, a sure way to lose your creatives in order to reduce ad fatigue. Our unique audience is by setting a high frequency. Make sure to always integrations to DV360, Facebook and Youtube allow new aim for the lowest ad frequency when setting up your digital and refreshed creatives to be pushed out across all channels campaigns or enabling a frequency cap on creatives. As the and our reporting dashboard will highlight creative insights saying goes, less is more here. that will help drive in-flight optimisations. Rotate, rotate, rotate: Successful campaigns tend to have No matter what type of business you run, keeping multiple ads rotating, allowing audiences to see different consumers engaged and reducing digital ad fatigue requires a messages, imagery or overall concepts. Working with a strategic approach. Using tools such as can help you dynamic content optimisation (DCO) partner such as Ad-Lib. effectively execute your digital ad spend and increase brand io will facilitate the production of having many different awareness, user engagement and overall campaign delivery. creative variations displayed to audiences based on their behaviour or targeting and break up the monotony of To find out more about Ad-Lib, reach out to viewing the same ad on repeat. or visit the website at

October 31, 2021



Welcome to the third edition of our annual Marketing Game Changers, which aims to recognise and celebrate those client-side marketing leaders whose actions and insights have made the greatest impact on their brands, their industries and the region’s marketing community over the past 12 months – a time of transition and change as we moved out of lockdown and into the new normal. The list profiles the men and women we feel have shaped our industry in many ways, and offers insights into what they do, how they do it, why they do it and what it means for the rest of us. Congratulations to all the 2021 Game Changers.



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October 31, 2021


BILAL ADHAM Chief marketing officer, Batelco years in current position: 2.5 years with company: 2.5 size of department: 22 previous jobs:

• Head of group digital, Landmark Group – Dubai & India • Head of digital marketing, Jack Wills – UK • Digital transformation consultant, Accenture recent campaigns:

• Stay-at-Home Heroes • Fastest & Largest 5G Network • Fiber 1 Gbps


Fadi Yaish, CEO and chief creative officer

and us

Bilal has revolutionised not only the Batelco branding but the Batelco brand itself. He’s used data-driven models to humanise a corporate behemoth and transformed it into a consumercentric brand that not only enhanced the way the brand is perceived but also greatly improved its top and bottom lines. We have worked together for two years, and our greatest collaborations aren’t the things you see but the things you don’t. We’ve worked tirelessly with Bilal and his team to make the Batelco brand experience simpler, seamless and more intuitive to its customers and helped to craft everyday communications and platforms that have redefined their marketing and business objectives. Bilal is wise, transparent and patient and does not suffer fools lightly. He is a consummate professional and a team player. He works harder than anyone and he has without a doubt the finest, most immaculate coif of hair that we have ever seen. Working with Bilal has demonstrated without a shadow of a doubt the importance and utility of data-driven metrics to inform and guide the creative process as a whole. Where these kinds of inputs may once upon a time have been seen as impediments to the creative process, we’ve learned that they can provide a framework that can be foundational, inspirational and transformative. We will continue to work with Bilal and his team to enhance and grow the Batelco brand with work that will transform their brand, their business and their bottom line.


hat is your objective in your current role? To champion the customer, elevate the Batelco brand and use data and creativity effectively to drive and grow our business.

Do you have a guiding principle? Data is your friend. Real-world data empowers marketing and lets it realise its potential as a growth driver. Marketing and business strategy are one and the same.

RAPID FIRE What are you working on? Balancing a toddler and newborn. Who are you following? Scott Stratten.

How do you make agency relationships work? Ultimately the things that makes an agency relationship work are the same things that make a regular relationship work – trust, honesty and clarity. It’s not ‘me versus you’; it’s ‘us versus the problem’.

What are you craving? Hummingbird cupcakes. They don’t have a branch in Bahrain.

What work do you wish you had done? I’m a huge fan of the Colin Kaepernick Nike ad. Its message, its timing and its delivery were superb and it took a lot of courage for a brand to put that out there.

Who are you hiding from? My wife.

Who inspires you professionally? My colleagues and the many great marketing professionals I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with. I have a genuine passion for my field, particularly harnessing data and leveraging technology. What is the biggest challenge in marketing at the moment? We’re all collectively girding our loins for the inevitable death of the cookie, but that’s neither here nor there. I think marketers are still grappling to find a way to quantify the value and power of brand-building. My background was very much performance-marketing-based, where everything can be boiled down to real world data. But how do you assign a number to an emotion or sentiment? There are models that try to, but ultimately these intangibles tend to fall by the wayside, and I think that’s a shame. What is the next big opportunity in marketing? Marketing has a tendency to eat its own tail. Privacy is once again taking precedence, which means engagement and customer-centricity are more important than ever. If we really want to know our customers we’re all going to have to collectively dig a little deeper and start interacting with our customers, not just transacting.

What are you playing? When I get the chance, Assasins Creed Valhalla. What are you listening to? Drive Forever – Russian Remix. It’s great workout music. What are you reading? Bite your Bullet by my friend Vijay Luhar. What are you watching? Squid Game. What is your good habit? 5am starts. What is your bad habit? Giving my daughter sweets. I can’t say no to her.

What can we expect to see from you and your brand in the next year? The last 12 months saw us building a solid foundation. Now it’s time to build. We’re engineering a consistent, holistic customer experience working with trusted partners to collectively build a brand that delivers better business results year on year.

RE CENT ACHIEVEMENT S Over the last year, we’ve completely reimagined the Batelco brand experience to create a leaner, faster, more digitally focused enterprise that focuses not only on customer acquisition but customer retention too. A complete brand refresh empowered us to reclaim top-of-mind awareness amongst our customer base across our mobile and broadband categories. By overhauling the Batelco website, app and kiosk experience, we’ve tripled digital transactions over a 12-month period. Thanks to a data-driven retargeting and customer value management programme, app usage has seen a substantial increase resulting in more revenue and cost efficiencies for the business. In tandem we’re also proud of significantly improving our customer satisfaction and net promoter scores through comprehensive enhancements throughout the customer experience accompanied by a store refresh across all branches. Finally, we developed a proprietary in-house sentiment analysis tailored to cater for the nuances in Bahraini dialects that provides actionable insights to help grow our business.


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October 31, 2021


BADR BOURJI Marketing director, Yas Island years in position: 1.5

years with company: 1.5

previous jobs: Business lead, Momentum

MENA; account management at Ogilvy.

recent campaigns

Stayin’ on Yas was our blockbuster campaign of the year. Not only was it the most engaging campaign in the destination’s history, it’s also cemented itself as one of the most popular and successful campaigns in the UAE and beyond. It’s not very often that you see the people across different age categories and from different parts the world raving about a campaign and vibing with it like they did with this one. We also launched the first Toy Talks series, where we used toys as spokespeople in a quirky and light-hearted way as part of our Kids Go Free summer promotion. For the last 18 months during the pandemic, it has been an everyday struggle to keep kids busy and parents had to improvise entertainment alternatives. But among all these struggles, a group of unsung heroes carried a chunk of that burden. It wasn’t just parents or teachers, it’s the toys that were overused and much abused.


Raphael Nassoura, executive creative director Dubai, Momentum

Badr is a great example of a client working as an agency partner. He always works closely with us to push the work forward from both a creative and a strategic perspective. He’s constantly looking for bold ways to innovate and take creative risks to push the brand to new spaces. We’ve worked with Badr on both the agency and client side for well over seven years. We have a lot to be proud of when it comes to our collaborations with Badr and the team at Yas Island as a whole, but Stayin’ on Yas is the one we feel most proud about. Badr is a rare breed of marketer. He knows how to manage projects flawlessly, adapt to difficult scenarios on the fly, and connect the dots on the bigger picture while still looking after the details. His appetite for big, bold, creative ideas and his drive to constantly push the envelope are always an inspiration. He’s a blast to work with. He can show you how to find the right balance between the business and creative challenges while constantly challenging convention.


hat is your objective in your current role? Translating our leadership’s ambition and courageous vision to make Yas Island Abu Dhabi one of the world’s top destinations for entertainment, leisure and business. It is my responsibility alongside our wider teams to share the same bold attitude and to make sure that it reflects in marketing the same way it is reflected in destination planning and development. Do you have a guiding principle? The only limits that exist are the limits you outline to yourself. Find them, know them, push them and define what limits to respect and when. How do you make agency relationships work? We invest in relationships, empower proactivity and foster the creativity of the collective. Agency output is an extension of our ambitions, objectives, decisions and work ethic, after-all. We go upwards or downhill together. There is not just one party that is individually responsible for success or failure and the entire ecosystem needs to work cohesively together, otherwise we will be held hostage by the weakest denominator. Make relationships less transactional and more personal, more fluid. We listen to each other, challenge each other and mutually agree on what’s best for the business. Don’t try to micromanage agencies, boss them around, outsmart them or build more complex processes around a naturally process-resistant mind-set. We all work towards common goals, and agencies deserve the same amount of credit in the work as we do. Make sure you have the right set of talent and give them their space to do their magic. What work do you wish you had done? I have come across a lot of inspiring work over the years, but to be honest there isn’t a single piece that comes to mind for me to say, ‘I wish I had done it’. Good work inspires me as a marketer to think bigger and do better. Who inspires you professionally? Elon Musk. What is the biggest challenge in marketing at the moment? The fast-paced digital and social transformation that requires organisations to be more agile and as selective as ever. The marketing landscape has changed drastically from where it was years ago with new trends, disciplines, platforms, touchpoints, formats and consumer behaviours among many other developments. These changes need to be considered and accommodated in real-time, otherwise marketers will be in a position where they’re constantly trying to catch the train.

RAPID FIRE What are you working on? Growing Yas Island brand love in 2022 and beyond. Who are you following? Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. What are you craving? Travel. What are you hiding from? Negativity. What are you playing? If I was asked 15+ years ago, it would’ve been football. What are you listening to? 90s R&B; never gets old. What are you reading? The Wall Street Journal. What are you watching? Stock market charts. What is your good habit? Perseverance. What is your bad habit? Lifestyle. From gorging on burgers, pizzas and desserts to not giving myself enough personal time to rejuvenate or exercise in the process.

What is the next big opportunity in marketing? Gaming. There are more than 3.2 billion gamers globally from all races, genders and ages, but it is still not a space that is fully exploited by brands. Automation and data-driven marketing are the present topics that will also no longer be optional; they will become means for survival, and early adopters have already been reaping great rewards. What can we expect to see from you and your brand in the next year? We expect to build further on our foundations that have made us successful in 2021. 2022 is shaping up to be a landmark year for Yas Island, saturated with incredible new attractions including the first ever WB-themed hotel that will be opening its doors as early as next month, and the famous Ibiza Beach Club Café del Mar, which will debut at Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island, in addition to SeaWorld Abu Dhabi. While we cannot give too much away, we are also looking forward to hosting global personalities such as Kevin Hart on Yas Island.

KEY RE CENT ACHIEVEMENT ACHIEVEMENT S S Despite the travel restrictions and border closures during the pandemic that affected the entire leisure landscape, Yas Island’s brand buzz and ad awareness scores have witnessed significant increases, making us among the top performers in the industry. Over the last four months alone, our domestic online revenue and conversion rates have also witnessed double- and triple-digit increases, surpassing pre-pandemic levels during the same periods in 2019.


October 31, 2021

Senior vice-president, marketing, Visa CEMEA additional positions: Board

member, The Marketing Society years in current position: 5 years with company: 7 size of department: 73 previous jobs

• P&G for 10 years (left as associate MD) • HSBC for 10 years (left as head of marketing for MENA) recent campaigns

We’ve just relaunched our brand campaign last month; and our activation of our Olympics sponsorship.

RECENT ACHIEVEMENTS Growing my team by 25 per cent across the region and building a truly connected and collaborative organisation, all done remotely.


hat is your objective in your current role? Today I see my primary role as that of supporting, developing and nurturing growth in as many of my team and beyond as possible, and doing so with empathy. Do you have a guiding principle? I have principles and I’m not afraid to defend them. I am always direct, open and fair. How do you make agency relationships work? By giving them the space and trust to do what we initially brought them in to do. They are partners, not service providers. I expect them to have a voice and be able to use it. What work do you wish you had done? Honestly, in the 30 years I’ve been working, and across the varied industries and brands I’ve been part of, I’ve been lucky to dabble in most things. One thing I would like to – and intend to – do more of, however, is marketing with a higher purpose. Who inspires you professionally? Al Kelly, Visa CEO, a direct but genuine, passionate, values-driven leader who showcases the human side of a business leader better than anyone I’ve ever met at his level. What is the biggest challenge in marketing at the moment? How to gain and maintain brand loyalty with an upcoming consumer group that is very unforgiving. What is the next big opportunity in marketing? I wish I had a crystal ball. However, I believe if brands don’t step up and deliver beyond the rational and functional aspects of their brand they will find it tougher to engage. People need to experience the value (and the values) of the brand in a way that makes them feel something meaningful. If you crack that consistently you might actually find some semblance of brand loyalty.

RAPID FIRE What are you working on? All of the above. Who are you following? People who make me laugh. What are you craving? Pecan pie. Who are you hiding from? My gym instructor. What are you playing? Golf Rival. What are you listening to? Most things from Defected Records. What are you reading? Pillars of the Earth. What are you watching? Ted Lasso. What is your good habit? Loyalty. What is your bad habit? Insomnia.

What can we expect to see from you and your brand in the next year? Our multi-year brand evolution, where phase one has just gone live and will be expanding across the region over the coming quarter.



Joyce Hallak, Visa CEMEA client lead at Starcom and general manager,

Starcom Levant

Mohammed is one of the most strategic marketers I’ve had the opportunity to work with; his leadership of the CEMEA marketing team, who lead brand and marketing activities across 90 markets, is driving the growth of Visa not just as a credit card company but as a network connecting everyone everywhere. The biggest collaboration with Mohammed in the past few months was around the brand relaunch, Meet Visa, and it’s been quite exciting being part of this

journey; it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for agency teams to work on the reintroduction of one of the most iconic brands in the world. The UAE is one of the first markets globally to launch the brand evolution and Mohammed has been instrumental in guiding the rollout of this reintroduction across creative and media. As a leader, he is a very approachable person with an amazing sense of humour; he has a passion for guiding, growing and pushing forward all people working with him, which makes the agency an extension of his team and elevates the collaboration and partnership spirit. With this inclusive spirit, we simply work and deliver as one Visa team.

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October 31, 2021

October 31, 2021

Group head of marketing and corporate communication at Al Masaood Group of Companies (Nissan, Infiniti, Renault, MTU, Volvo Penta, Leroy-Somyer, Bridgestone and B2B brands in power, logistics and construction) PREVIOUS JOBS:

• Director of marketing and communication at Al Hilal Bank • Regional account director at Impact BBDO YEARS IN CURRENT POSITION: 4 YEARS IN COMPANY: 4


Simon Ashwin, chief digital & client officer, Middle East & Africa, Cheil

Marwa is a trailblazer and has taken it upon herself to change the course of corporate communications and elevate the practice to a level where it appeals to both segments: B2B and B2C. This approach has resulted in achieving efficiencies and synergies in communications. What personally appeals to me is her collaborative spirit and cutting across agency-client silos to make each member working on the brand feel like a part of the same team. I have worked with Marwa for 18 months, and I’m most proud of Al Masaood’s 50-year anniversary film, which also coincides with the UAE’s 50 years. It tells the story of the company’s progress in a documentary style, very smartly including all the business units and a story of progress narrated by an Emirati protagonist. Marwa is resilient with a twinge of tenacity, which is much needed to make things happen within a large entity such as Al Masaood. We witnessed this first-hand during a three-day shoot. I learned from her that one should know when to drop the brush. Marwa chose to reduce the number of shots in the film to ensure that the end product isn’t too complex for the end consumer to understand, although we had the budget and the time to shoot more.


o you have a guiding principle? The future belongs to the curious and those who are not afraid to explore. Do not limit yourself to one field in the world of marcomms. Be courageous enough to go out there and experiment with new thoughts and ideas. How do you make agency relationships work? Both parties need to take ownership of their roles. Clients must learn to brief comprehensively and ahead of time. Team members on the client side have to adopt a collaborative approach and provide timely feedback. On the other side, the agency needs to continue delivering fresh and unique ideas that work within the client’s business model. What work do you wish you had done? Cheetos ‘Cant Touch This’ Superbowl ad in 2020 with MC Hammer, as well as Dunkin’ Donuts’ IPO listing day branding stunt, when the logo of the NASDAQ was changed to ‘NASDDAQ’, with the DD representing Dunkin’ Donuts. Who inspires you professionally? I am inspired by marketing and leadership professionals who produce literature in the field, such as Seth Godin, Simon Sinek, Jessica Gioglio, Alex Singleton and Marlyee Sachs. What is the biggest challenge in marketing at the moment? In the automotive sector, the lines have been completely blurred between marketing and communication practices. With data being abundant, the challenge remains on how to best utilise the data you have across both functions. Additionally, the pandemic awoke the B2B marketers in the industrial sector (such as power and construction) to the risk of being heavily dependent on roadshows and exhibitions. What is the next big opportunity in marketing? Business transformation. The role of marketers is becoming increasingly complex and given added responsibilities. The mandate today for marketers is nothing less than fundamental business transformation as B2B businesses become solution providers, B2C businesses become more digital and many SMEs go public. The field has become more intertwined with other functions and is critical to any transformation. What can we expect to see from you and your brand in the next year? On the family-brand side, Al Masaood is launching a massive campaign that celebrates its 50th anniversary with the UAE’s 50th. The campaign will be holistic and will have an activation extension to it. Apart from the content and media side, the campaign will carry multiple CSR initiatives. On the automotive side, we are soon celebrating the Nissan Patrol’s 70th anniversary in Abu Dhabi. Al Masaood will be launching a suite of new leading international brands from Asia in the logistics, tyres and commercial vehicle segments. The Group’s construction arm has gone through a complete revamp and will launch the region’s largest modular construction facility offering prefab building solutions such as ready-made plug-and-play units that are completely sustainable and 3D printed. On the personal side, I am publishing a book dedicated to all marketers in the region. It serves as a guide to navigate your way through the multiple disciplines of marketing and communications. The book is an accumulation of my more than 20 years in the field.


RAPID FIRE What are you working on? 2022 annual marketing plans and budgets for 18 global brands. Who are you following? HH Mohammed Bin Zayed, Warren Buffet, Joe Dispenza, Vishin Lakhiani and Oprah Winfrey. What are you craving? Debate nights and mountain hikes. What are you hiding from? Unnecessary meetings. What are you playing? Jigsaw puzzles with my kids. What are you listening to? This Jungian Life podcast. What are you reading? I’ve just re-read Anna Karenina and The 48 Laws of Power. What are you watching? I’ve been off TV for 18 months, I’ve consumed more than 50 Audible titles and read 24 books instead. What is your good habit? I am member of the 5am club. What is your bad habit? Failing to quit sugar, carbs and caramel popcorn.

KEY ACHIEVEMENT S Developed Al Masaood’s brand strategy and first communication department. Introduced marketing and communication service-level agreements, policies and process structures customised for a matrix organisation. Created an in-house creative and production arm as well as internal CSR cross-functional team for the Group. Launched Project Wiqaya, Al Masaood’s response to Covid-19. Led all communications during Covid-19 including crisis

communications, consumer communication, quarantine communication, reopening plans and digital initiatives. Designed a holistic internal comms strategy to continue motivating a population of 2,400 employees during the long and strict lockdown months. Won several awards, including: Best Automotive Brand in UAE , Best Corporate Blog, Best Employer Brand and internally Best Leader and Best Support team Awards.



October 31, 2021

October 31, 2021


TRIXIE LOHMIRMAND Executive vice-president, Dubai World Trade Centre additional positions

• The Marketing Society, vice-chair of the board • Nord Anglia School Dubai, advisory council member • US Mobile Marketing Association, board member • Singapore Business Council (UAE), vice-president • UFI Global Exhibitions Association, MEA board director years in current position: 4 years in company: 16 size of department: 200 recent campaigns

• Restart Dubai – global restart of largescale events, the first in the world.


Tara Bakshi, Creative director and founder, OKOKU

In the past 12 months, Trixie, leading her team at Dubai World Trade Centre, has brought back events to the world and made a definite impact. Her vast knowledge of the market and her in-depth understanding of trends make her a rarity in the industry and put her right in the top bracket. She is extremely creative, always thinks out of the box and keeps the customer and their requirements in mind. Her ability to pivot when necessary and her continuous pushing the boundaries make her a leader in her field. Trixie’s bold achievements made Dubai the global reference. Trixie has been our client for the past five years. Working alongside her has taught me a lot. She’s been a real inspiration for my team and me. I am most proud of Gitex2020 – we worked hard, we met deadlines and did a good job together of bringing the spotlight back to events after the pandemic. We have propelled Gitex to the biggest tech show and Gitex Future Stars is now one of the top three largest startup events in the world. She has the ability to juggle a dozen things and not compromise on quality. Her eye for detail and storytelling is impeccable. Trixie led the creative conceptualisation and launch of the Emirates’ largest lifestyle events, Dubai Fitness Challenge and Dubai Food Festival, and we had chance to collaborate on not just International business but also large-scale public events with enduring impact on the country. I have learned to always push the boundaries, never compromise on the calibre of work delivered to clients and always give a project my full attention. Trixie teaches you to make every task a priority, to give it your 100 per cent – no matter how big or small the project.


hat is your objective in your current role? I lead in the strategic and creative development of international business and consumer events. My team and I are set on creating meaningful products and building them to last, generating significant economic impact on Dubai, UAE and the region. I want us to move fast from good to great. Do you have a guiding principle? Nothing is ever the right decision. Make it your best one. Trust your intuition; data and numbers don’t always add up. Own any challenge that’s given to you; ask for them. These are the best opportunities to be outstanding. How do you make agency relationships work? Get real on expectations and alignment. Agencies own the technical competence but you are the subject-matter expert. You know your customers best. Dare to challenge. What works for another one of their clients may not be for you. Proposals may be great on their own technical merits, but do they align with your concept and purpose? More real, less fluff. What work do you wish you had done? Celebrating the contribution of hardworking and committed people who actually make things happen for many businesses. Many are under-rated because they are too busy getting the work done. It’s the CNN Heroes inspiration on another measure. Who inspires you professionally? HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the leader of Dubai. He is tireless, limitless, fearless yet real. Every famous motivational quote he’s ever said is backed up by bold and tangible manifestations. In spite of his largerthan-life presence, he’d taken time to exchange greetings with me and even extend personal appreciation on a few occasions. In his world, I’m of no significance. Yet he remembered and took time. That’s truly humbling. What is the biggest challenge in marketing at the moment? Marketing that doesn’t sell. That’s my nemesis right now. Marketers and agencies are not thinking enough for commercial people. There are many wonderful feel-good marketing campaigns but if they don’t drive sales and are not supporting the commercial team, they are meaningless. And big impact does not always equate to big spend.

RAPID FIRE What are you working on? Breaking traditions. Who are you following? Emma Raducanu. What are you craving? Netflix. Who are you hiding from? Kids. They won’t let me out to go to work. What are you playing? Mind games. What are you listening to? Beethoven EDM remixed. What are you reading? My kids’ Science You Can Eat. What are you watching? Falsa Identidad. I binge on cartels. What is your good habit? Not texting colleagues before 7am. What is your bad habit? Forgeting that I shouldn’t text before 7am.

What is the next big opportunity in marketing? Marketing has always been a bridesmaid to commercial in many organisations. With the surge in big data and the sophistication in decoding consumer behaviour, the revolution of marketing is propelling the function into leadership opportunities like never before. This is the watershed opportunity for marketers to seize. What can we expect to see from you and your brand in the next year? Creating more purposeful events with influential strategic impetus, generating significant impact for businesses, societies and economies. We continue to transform our existing product portfolio to be ranked amongst the best in the world. We don’t imagine possibilities for our stakeholders; we make things happen for them. We are proud to be supporting the UAE Projects of the 50.

RE CENT ACHIEVEMENT S Leading Dubai as the first city in the world to restart large-scale in-person international events, hosting 120,000 participants from 162 countries. Hosting the only in-person tech show in the world, Gitex Global 2020, at the height of the pandemic, successfully securing the participation and support of the most influential tech brands in the world. Setting the local and global benchmark and reference for health and safety protocols in live events.


October 31, 2021

AIMEE PETERS Group head of marketing and communications, Mashreq Bank additional positions

• Mum • Part-time gardener

years in current position: 1.5 years in company: 1.5

size of department: 35+ previous jobs

With HSBC for 10 years: started as head of comms for commercial banking, MENA; then global head of campaigns for the commercial bank in London; then shifted to the marketing world, to become global head of marketing strategy, global banking and markets; and finally (briefly) global head of marketing strategy, wholesale corporates. recent campaigns

The team has done a great job in driving earned coverage of our digital capabilities and direction; we’ve seen a massive shift in the tone and frequency of coverage we’ve achieved. On the marketing side, we had a really impactful Eid campaign with digital Eiditya just after we onboarded Sweetwater, our first foray together. There has been some great work from the team driving partnerships with Baskin-Robbins and, most recently, Dunkin’ Donuts – people like sweet treats; who knew?

RE CENT ACHIEVEMENT S Mainly internal, to be honest. The initial task was to pull together a group function out of a number of teams spread out across the bank, taking lots of talented individuals doing great work and fitting them together into a new structure. Together we’ve worked out new ways of working, identifying some really interesting ‘leaps’ we can do as a team to drive creative ideation and delivery, to collectively build brand awareness and love in 2022. It’s their work, not mine, but I’m very proud of them as a team.


hat is your goal in your current role? To help people understand that Mashreq is truly a customercentric, digitally fluent bank, and to listen and learn when they disagree. Do you have a guiding principle? Never stop learning. How do you make agency relationships work? Honesty and open conversations. What work do you wish you had done? Nike. Who inspires you professionally? My friends. I know so many hard working, dedicated, creative people. No big names, just really solid humans who are doing great work and being great people at the same time. What is the biggest challenge in marketing at the moment? Maintaining enough focus on brand as we continue to pick up speed in delivery, across more and more channels, to customers who are bombarded with more and more messages. What is the next big opportunity in marketing? The ‘whys’ aren’t changing, it’s just the ‘hows’. Keeping sight of that and navigating all of the new platforms in an authentic way, will be the key. What can we expect to see from you and your brand in the next year? Hopefully, you’ll see us popping up in places that you haven’t seen banks before. We’ll be in all the usual places, but we’ve got some interesting ideas of new ways to start conversations. Watch this space.


Tom Alexander Gray, executive director, Sweetwater MEA Aimee has consistently been the central conduit driving fundamental change in the brand’s narrative in an industry sector traditionally slow to transform. Her ability to engage stakeholders at all levels and bring them with her on the journey has been extremely impressive to watch and be part of. She is always looking at the bigger picture and usually several steps ahead of most. She has been the catalyst behind fundamentally changing the way Mashreq sees itself, its staff and, most importantly, its customers. I have worked with Aimee for the last eight months and I am most proud of the central brand story work, where Aimee has worked tirelessly in bringing diverse stakeholders together and, more importantly, keeping them engaged along the entire journey, often out of their comfort zones. Aimee is an intensely strategic thinker. She is wonderfully empathetic to the needs of all around her. She listens to all points of view but has an arrow-like precision when it comes to delivering on campaign goals. I have learned from Aimee the ability to really bring diverse minds with her on her journeys of change and, equally importantly, to make those minds feel completely engaged with the process. She works tirelessly behind the scenes to make these mind-melding moments happen. We are now in pre-production for our public launch of our new brand narrative. I’m very excited to see what everyone thinks.

RAPID FIRE What are you working on? Brand love. Who are you following? Real people: nano influencers, community leaders, opinionated individuals. What are you craving? An afternoon on the ocean. Work gets in the way of sailing. What are you hiding from? The gym. What are you playing? Games with my kids. Our current favourite is re-enacting ‘Magic Claw’ from Bluey. What are you listening to? Spotify daily mixes: Bedouine, Emmy the Great, Arlo Park and other chilled tunes. Often interrupted by the dulcet tones of Big Block Sing Song. If you have kids, I highly recommend their Greatest Hits. What are you reading? Most recently I loved Klara & The Sun by Ishiguro. What are you watching? Bake Off and Taskmaster. What is your good habit? Drinking water What is your bad habit? Sitting at my desk too much and not wandering around more.

October 31, 2021



October 31, 2021

October 31, 2021

Marketing Director, DHL Express Middle East and North Africa years in current position: 2

years with current company: 10 previous jobs: Prior to DHL I

worked at Memac Ogilvy & Mather for six years, and before that at a local events and PR agency. recent campaigns: DHL MENA

eShop app.


hat is your goal in your current role? My goal is to grow the role of marketing for our brand across the region. This region is very unique in how it shares a language and a culture. I think this provides some great opportunities for brands across MENA. Do you have a guiding principle? We do; it is an internal elaborate strategy that we all collectively work towards. How do you make agency relationships work? Honestly, I believe in the good brief. I don’t think there is anything that beats that yet. I try my best to provide as good a brief as possible. But I also don’t like a clientagency kind of relationship. I prefer partnerships; I prefer us to be in it together. What work do you wish you had done? There is a lot of really good work out there that you always wish you were part of. But I think we have a good plan for the future. Who inspires you professionally? When I started at the agency, I had a manager who was a great inspiration. She was very generous with her knowledge and very patient with young talent.

RECENT ACHIEVEMENTS Launched a new product, developed a regional restructure, worked on developing a customer programme that takes into account all touchpoints.

What is the biggest challenge in marketing at the moment? I think that one of the biggest challenges is how to reach the right type of audience and grab their attention. Today it is quite important to get your targeting right because the mediums available today provide you with the luxury of doing that. I say it is a challenge, but it is also a great opportunity, because you also learn insights and get real data.


RAPID FIRE Who are you following? Every Little Thing podcast. What are you craving? Sushi. What are you hiding from? Social responsibilities. What are you playing? Oddworld. What are you listening to? Reggae. What are you reading? The Laws of Human Nature. What are you watching? Comedies. What is your good habit? I’m detailed. What is your bad habit? I’m impatient.

What can we expect to see from you and your brand in the next year? I think we will have a good marketing year next year. I also think you will see us actively reaching out to consumers and not just businesses. I think next year is going to be good for us.



Reham Mufleh, general manager, Horizon

image to reflect a more innovative and comprehensive offering. Najwa is the person who is championing this change while holding on to the brand equity and its values. She singlehandedly manages and coordinates between all marketing efforts from the centre, liaising with teams in the different markets to ensure the brand’s objectives and KPIs are achieved. The collaboration I am most proud of is the launch of the DHL eShop app in the region. Specifically, how we revealed it through different insights for the North African markets, and the GCC ones later on. The product is an e-commerce platform that allows shoppers to browse and shop for their favourite brands from the USA in an easy and convenient way. We developed a unique and humorous approach to tackle the North African market and another creative approach for GCC shoppers to bring the simplicity of online shopping to life through the tap of a finger.

FCB Dubai

Najwa leads the business bravely, which happens to be one of our core values at Horizon FCB. We have worked together since June 2020 when we started working with DHL as a lead agency for the MENA markets. When there is a professional who champions change, transformation and innovation, and who is strategic in her thinking yet brave in her approach, I believe she should be on the Game Changers list. Prior to 2020, DHL was generally perceived as offering courier services only, while in reality the brand has so much to offer that is yet to be unveiled in the MENA region. When we first started working with DHL in 2020, we learned that the client wants to change this perception and reposition the brand

Together with the client, we created the perfect equilibrium, bringing data, creative and technology together to drive awareness and action, and exciting people to download and use the app. Najwa is a very reasonable, straightforward and fair client. She works with her agency as a strategic partner, which is very empowering and motivating. She is hands-on, yet she gives the creative freedom to the team to produce work that stands out, shines and delivers results. With every project working with Najwa, we learn more and more about the world of DHL and its offerings. Like us, DHL is a Never Finished company, rich in innovative and relevant products and services that bring joy and excitement to our lives. Next we are working on a new, exciting product to be launched in a couple of GCC markets soon. We aim to have a long-term relationship with Najwa and DHL, so hopefully more and more is yet to come.


October 31, 2021

October 31, 2021

Head of marketing for Home Centre (MENA) years in current position: 2.5

years with company: 2.5 size of department: 11 previous jobs

• Group account director, BPG • Senior account director, Menacom (Partnership) • Head of creative strategy and content, Idea Spice Design recent campaigns

• Launch of the brand’s 25th anniversary campaign and customer proposition. • Launch of a campaign to reinforce the brand’s proposition around product quality and durability. • Launch of the Ramadan collection 2021, ‘Better Together’. • Launch of modular solutions, ‘Infinite Possibilities’. • Campaign to drive the brand’s strong value-proposition, ‘Incredibly Affordable’. • A category campaign for sleep solutions, ‘Take back bedtime’. • ‘Start…’, a unique campaign to kick-start 2021 with more positive energy and strong call-to-action to get going with the new normal and not put life on hold any more. AGENCY REFERENCE

Tahaab Rais, regional head of strategy and truth central MENAT at FP7 McCann

Home Centre is profitable. Home Centre is performing. Home Centre’s brand visibility and reputation and creative credentials have grown in the past two years. And it has won more awards globally than any other retailer from the region in the past year. Credit for that goes to Sid’s trust, his leadership and his creatively-driven marketing approach. Among all of the above achievements, the biggest one in my books has been the way he navigated the tricky idea we had around ‘A Dad’s Job’, focusing on single mums. His absolute trust in us to do the idea in a way that would resonate, his presence on the shoot, his guidance throughout the campaign and his unending support for the cause showed me a marketer who knew what it takes for a brand to succeed in today’s world. And the fact that the work has won the first Grand Prix for the region at WARC’s Global Awards for Effectiveness and Jay Chiat’s Strategy Awards is the biggest recognition for a brand out here and the biggest nod to Sid’s ability as a marketer.


hat is your objective in your current role? Over the last 36 months Home Centre has revamped its business model quite dramatically, from sourcing strategy down to product design, merchandising principles and customer segmentation. My role has been to take the lead on how marketing effectively communicates all these changes to our customers, how we guide and build a favourable perception in the minds of consumers and stay top-of-mind. Do you have a guiding principle? Don’t lose sight of the big picture, but ‘God is in the details’. Consumers today are savvier than they have ever been. Brands have to fight hard for share of mind and wallet and, while as marketers and advertisers we might take what we do more seriously than the next person, I think subliminally we notice the little details, the softer differences among brands. How do you make agency relationships work? By truly collaborating. As a brand team, we’re deeply entrenched in the process and don’t shy away from getting our hands dirty along with our agency partners. Having spent more than 18 years on the agency side across creative and account management roles, I understand the agency process and challenges. I believe that kind of perspective helps me ensure my team puts together more strategic briefs for our agency partners. As the brand team, the buck stops with us. Our agencies would only be able to deliver great work if the inputs we give them are pertinent and the objectives are clear. It also helps that my happy place is when I’m smack in the middle of the creative process; it’s where I thrive, so I try to get my team excited enough to dive right in. While most agencies might view this approach as a tad forward, I think they eventually appreciate an actively engaged client. What work do you wish you had done? Campaigns like Always’ ‘#likeagirl’, P&G’s ‘Thank you mom’ and pretty much every campaign by Dove are based on such solid human truths. Simple truths that span cultural differences. Nike’s ‘Dream Crazy’, for how bold a move it was. A brand that took a stand against all odds. Coke’s ‘Open Happiness’, for how they consistently activated that brand platform across the globe, keeping it relevant to each market. Who inspires you professionally? Not ‘who’ as much as ‘what’ and that would be: ‘There’s always a better way of doing things.’ What is the biggest challenge in marketing at the moment? The high level of fragmentation in channels, messaging and expectation of hyper-customisation is a daunting task. What is the next big opportunity in marketing? Mining and making sense of the stacks of data that organisations are sitting on will continue to yield more efficient and targeted ways of reaching out. However, I still firmly believe that sticking to the basics of telling a compelling story is key. The formats may change, but we are still emotional beings who instinctively react to emotional triggers. So, identify your brand persona and work from there. Make meaningful connections and the rest will follow.


RAPID FIRE What are you working on? The big reveal for Home Centre. Who are you following? James Smith (for abrasive truth bombs and general bad-assery). What are you craving? A get-away. What are you hiding from? My gym routine. What are you playing? Not yet, but I want to check out Padel tennis. What are you listening to? A lot… from Pressure Machine by The Killers and indie singersongwriters to Senjutsu by Iron Maiden (and then some). What are you reading? Shoe Dog (it’s an old one, but do you see a pattern here?). What are you watching? Ted Lasso (I recommend it as essential viewing for the times). What is your good habit? I’m optimistic and a little relentless. What is your bad habit? I’ve been known, at times, to rely a little too much on my optimism.

RE CENT ACHIEVEMENT S Ensured the brand came across as empathetic during the pandemic. A trusted partner that our customers could count on for content that was meaningful, relevant and helpful in a period when most of us were spending more time at home than ever before. Took a unique approach to Ramadan (in a pandemic year) while highlighting our exclusive collaboration with Lebanese-American designer Farah Mehri. Launched a campaign to highlight Home Centre’s modular solutions programmes. Currently involved in planning and execution of the 25th anniversary milestone, followed by a big reveal for the brand. Reinforced our stand on normalising the narrative around single mothers in the region.



October 31, 2021

MAI YOUSSEF Corporate communications and marketing services director – Middle East, Turkey and Central and North Africa, Canon

What is your objective in your current role? To build and retain talent and bring in new skills that will enable us to achieve our future communication goals, supported by a network of highly skilled partner agencies.

RAPID FIRE Who are you working on? Transforming communications, in line with the changing landscape

years in current position: 13

Do you have a guiding principle? Always do the right thing, accept new challenges and risks, and be accountable.

size of department: 13

How do you make agency relationships work? By working as partners. To me our agencies are our consultants, and we work very closely and collaboratively to ensure we achieve the company’s goals

Who are you following? I follow specific topics that interest me, not necessarily certain people.

Who inspires you professionally? Women leaders who were and are able to break through and achieve success through creating a positive impact on society.

What are you craving? More sleep.

years with current company: 13 previous jobs

• Vice-president marketing and corporate communications, Islamic Finance Co Market ing communications specialist, Xerox Egypt • Credit and marketing specialist, Orix Leasing recent campaigns

• ‘Women who Empower’: a programme to support women-owned creative brands. • ‘Trailblazers’: Canon’s video series featured a local singer, adventurer and chef. • ‘Aktashif’: Canon Middle East launched its second season of Aktashif to empower the next generation of creatives across the region.

RE CENT ACHIEVEMENT S Canon partnered with Dubai Expo 2020 as the official printing and imaging provider. It is the first time a world Expo has one provider for both printing and imaging together. Canon also launched a major brand campaign aligned with Expo themes and campaign pillars.

What is the biggest challenge in marketing at the moment? Marketers are under more pressure than ever to demonstrate a return on investment for their campaigns, and there is a rapid change in the communications landscape, with a rise of new tools and technology, every day. Campaign tactics have to be creative, build brand loyalty, cut through and deliver measurable results, fast. There are a lot of elements to consider, while keeping up with the challenges of a rapidly and constantly evolving communications landscape. What is the next big opportunity in marketing? Gaming is the next big opportunity, in my opinion. The pandemic has accelerated the digital shift with streaming services and gaming both soaring in awareness and participation. However, gaming is still in its infancy stage, and lacks a proven track record of its effectiveness as a communication tool, to add to the marketing mix. What can we expect to see from you and your brand in the next year? We are launching a brand campaign to coincide with our participation in Expo 2020. The campaign aims to bring Canon’s brand purpose, ‘Imaging to transform our world’ and our brand characters of ‘Visionary’, ‘Innovative’ and ‘Bold’ to life by creating stories to amplify our onsite activity and message to a wider audience. The campaign will also help increase audiences’ understanding of Canon’s vision for the future and the breadth of the Canon Group portfolio, to help people reimagine and push the boundaries of what is possible through imaging.

What are you hiding from? Nothing. What are you playing? Starting golf. What are you listening to? Podcasts. What are you reading? AI and metaverse marketing articles and blogs. What are you watching? At the moment, Expo 2020 TV. What is your good habit? Yoga practice. What is your bad habit? Skipping breakfast.


Zaib Shadani,managing director, Shadani Consulting Mai is someone who loves to challenge convention and push the boundaries of creativity. The last 12 months are a testament to that, with the launch of so many diverse and unique campaigns, including the ‘Trailblazers’ series, where we interview iconic and pioneering individuals from the Middle East and give them a platform to shine; the ‘Women Who Empower’ campaign, which supports women in the creative fields; and most recently Canon’s participation at Dubai Expo 2020. For the first time in Expo history, Canon is the single provider for printing and imaging solutions, and it is no small feat to oversee the PR and marketing around Canon’s presence at Expo 2020. The Shadani Consulting team and I have been working with Mai and Canon for more than a year, and

it’s been an incredible experience from the start. Mai is open to ideas and creative discourse, and always encouraging us to push boundaries. The Trailblazers series has to be top of my list of things I’m proud of. It’s a project that we conceptualised with Canon as a way to promote visual storytelling and offer insight into the incredible talent that can be found in the Middle East. To be part of a project from initial ideation to final execution is very exciting; we shot, directed and edited the interviews with in-house capabilities and I couldn’t be prouder of the final series. Mai is both fearless and creative. She is very knowledgeable about marketing and her industry, but it’s her willingness to take chances on new ideas that really sets her apart. She’s got a strong vision and a clear road map on how to get there. It’s very motivating to work with someone who is so passionate and committed to ensuring a superior level of communication and storytelling.

From her I’ve learned how to offer a 360-degree solution that covers all touch points – and Mai also reminds us to elevate every Canon campaign by offering something new or that’s never been done before. Mai is someone who encourages disruption and making people sit up and take notice, so in all our campaigns we strive to be unique and always have multiple layers of opportunity for further engagement, be it via digital outreach, experiential marketing or something else. We are currently working on the next instalment of the Trailblazers series and are interviewing and filming inspirational individuals from the Middle East. This campaign offers an opportunity to highlight changemakers who have challenged stereotypes and altered the face of their industries and it’s Canon’s way of perpetuating a culture that celebrates the importance of being visionary, innovative and bold. I cannot wait for you to see the incredible line-up of interviewees that we have coming up.

October 31, 2021



October 31, 2021

Saudi focus

The soft force of Saudi creativity Why marketing agencies in Saudi Arabia must hire more women

‘‘Female participation in the workforce rose to 33 per cent at the end of 2020, from 19 per cent in 2016.” for Statistics. This participation rate will further increase, given equal access to higher education locally and globally. More Saudi women are graduating than ever before, even exceeding the graduation rates of their male counterparts.

By GHASSAN KASSABJI, chief growth officer, Extend


audi women are today more engaged in society, government and business. They are also taking on more creative roles than ever before, a testament to how times are changing in Saudi Arabia. A key Vision 2030 objective is to increase women’s participation in the workforce to 30 per cent. Saudi Arabia achieved this objective in 2020; female participation in the kingdom’s workforce rose to 33 per cent at the end of 2020, from 19 per cent in 2016, according to data from the General Authority

Here are four reasons marketing agencies (and any organisations) in Saudi Arabia must take hiring women very seriously: WOMEN ELEVATE CREATIVITY Studies show that the presence of differing perspectives can increase overall team knowledge. When a team lacks diversity and tackles a brief, odds are they will have a generally homogenous outlook on the brief and will come up with repetitive concepts. On the other hand, when teams include people of different backgrounds, genders and abilities, there are different opinions, resulting in more opportunities to develop creative and innovative solutions. Women also tend to place a higher value on work-life balance and purpose, and their outlook can provide a contrast to the more industry-centric men on the

team. So, if you are struggling with fresh ideas, hiring more women is the first step toward innovation. WOMEN ARE EXCEPTIONAL LEADERS In a Gallup study, female leaders scored higher than men in taking initiatives and self-development. And while most of the results were comparable, employees reported higher engagement when they worked under a female supervisor versus a male supervisor. Female leadership has been proven to foster a positive work environment and boost morale within the workplace. DIVERSITY INCREASES PRODUCTIVITY According to research conducted by YouGov, about 52 per cent of recruiters in Saudi Arabia believe that gender diversity leads to higher productivity. About 40 per cent also believe that diversity in the workplace cultivates a culture of creativity. The research surveyed 300 Saudi women and 300 recruiters. EMPATHY IMPROVES WORK ENVIRONMENT Women are typically more focused on individuals and their needs because they can relate through empathy and appreciation for others. They have a greater willingness to communicate and receive feedback and thus contribute to solving disputes easily. This will ensure the work environment is empowering and more dynamic. There’s no denying it: Saudi women are a cultural power coming through with full force in the region. The recent years are an indication that a creative renaissance is well underway, and Saudi women are at the heart of it.

October 31, 2021


Saudi focus

Jarir and Adidas top Saudi retail rankings


ouGov’s Retail Rankings 2021 reveals that Jarir and Adidas are the retail brands perceived as delivering best against their brand promise on key brand healthrelated metrics, according to residents of Saudi Arabia. The brands in YouGov Retail Rankings were ranked based on their ‘Index’ score, which YouGov explains is “a measure of overall brand health calculated by taking the average of Impression, Quality, Value, Satisfaction, Recommend and Reputation over a period of 12 months”.

YouGov’s Retail Rankings 2021 reveal the brands that enjoy the best brand health among the Saudi Arabian public



Brand Name



Brand Name




































Under Armer



Al Othaim









New Balance



Lulu Hypermarket












Chart shows the brands with the highest average Index score between 1 September 2020 and 31 August 2021

SPORTSWEAR & APPAREL The ‘Sports & Apparel’ category rankings feature Adidas as the top brand. The brand’s 50th anniversary collaboration with prominent women and its strong messaging around women’s empowerment may have resonated with the public, strengthening its position among consumers in the country. Another global sportswear brand,

Nike, is placed second (36.8) in the list, followed by Sketchers (31.3), Puma (22.7) and Reebok (14.5) occupying the third, fourth and fifth place respectively. Finally, completing the top 10 list for KSA for Sportswear & Apparel category are Under Armour (7.4), Fila (6.4), New Balance (5.0), Asics (4.0) and Canada’s yoga-inspired, athletic apparel company Lululemon (2.4).

Chart shows the brands with the highest average Index score between 1 September 2020 and 31 August 2021

RETAILERS Under the ‘Retailers’ category, KSA bookstore retail chain Jarir takes the top spot and emerges as the healthiest brand with an Index score of +35.4. The top 10 list is dominated by regional brands, with the exception of Ikea (28.8). Saudi’s popular grocery retailer Panda is placed in third (26.3), followed by eXtra in fourth (26.2), Al-Nahdi in

fifth (25.1), Al Othaim in seventh (22.5), and SACO in the eighth (22.2) place. Centrepoint – the region’s largest fashion chain appears in the list in sixth (23.7), and Middle East’s popular retail brands Lulu Hypermarket (19.5) and Danube (19.1) take the ninth and 10th places.


October 31, 2021


s a homegrown Saudi PR and marketing communications agency, W7Worldwide recognised that the public relations industry in the country and wider MENA region needs to engage in public relations about its own profession. Not many can explain what people in public relations actually do. As active participants in the profession, we decided that we want to educate the market to help bring about a shift in perception of our industry in the region and globally. Public relations people constantly need to explain that we don’t do advertising, we don’t pay journalists to write stories for our clients, and PR does not stand for ‘promotion’. Our agency as a team has produced a number of campaigns to dispel the most common myths about PR with informative blog articles and explainer videos. In a nutshell, yes, we promote our clients, but unlike advertisers we persuade external or internal audiences via unpaid or earned methods. Whether it’s traditional media,

about a client, brand, or issue. It appears in the editorial section of a magazine, newspaper, TV, or website, rather than the paid media sections where advertising messages appear. Therefore, the story has more credibility because it was independently verified by a trusted third party. Advertising is always a company paying to endorse itself, and consequently has less credibility than PR. CREATING MEDIA COVERAGE It is important to understand how the media operates and how to gain their attention with an original news story or on the back of the external news agenda. There are two forms of PR: proactive and reactive Proactive PR, creating your own news story, is the most common form of public relations. It involves storytelling and most of the time comes in the form of press releases to announce something new, such as a new product or service, a new appointment, a new market, a new business plan, merger,

arsenal, as this supports both proactive and reactive PR efforts. Powerful media relationships mean a news announcement is more likely to gain coverage and the journalist will come to the client for comment on external events. Strategic communications is gaining ground and importance among organisations and companies in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East to engage with today’s digitally empowered stakeholders. As an independent, multi-award-winning local agency, W7Worldwide proactively engages in elevating the PR and communications profession in the kingdom, the GCC and MENA region and internationally. We are the first agency to have created an educational PR campaign in both Arabic and English to build a better understanding of our profession and dispel the most common myths, and you can find more on our website at

What exactly is PR? Saudi focus

W7Worldwide’s Abdulrahman Inayat uses some proactive public relations to generate a bit of earned coverage here – and explains what that means

social media or speaking engagements, industry awards, or other channels, we communicate with relevant and well researched target audiences through trusted, not paid, media coverage. PR is all about persuasion and convincing the target audience to promote a concept, purchase a product, support a good cause or recognise accomplishments and industry leadership. Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organisations and their publics. The PR practitioner will analyse the organisation, identify the positive messages, build a key message plan, and then translate those messages into stories around the business. When there is bad news, they will produce an effective, robust response and mitigate potential reputational damage. PUBLIC RELATIONS VS ADVERTISING Advertising is paid media; public relations is earned media. As Helen Woodward, the first female advertising executive in the US, famously said as early as 1938: “Advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for.” This means PR practitioners convince journalists or editors to write a positive story

annual report, award win, or something of this nature. Other methods of making news include by-lined articles written for an industry publication, opinion-editorials, social media (blog posts, Tweets, photos, videos, etc.), content marketing and more. The other method of generating media coverage is to pick up on a story in the news and respond. This form of reactive PR is an effective tool to establish authority and an industry voice. The PR practitioner monitors the external news agenda to identify opportunities, such as a significant move in the stock market, the introduction of new laws or policies, the economic effects of an event like the current pandemic, industry sector issues, etc. For breaking news, journalists often need an expert to comment as the event occurs, via a phone interview, videoconference, live video interview or e-mail. Journalists usually contact their established list of experts who they know and trust. A good PR professional will know when and how to reach out to offer meaningful expert insight that will gain their clients valuable media attention. They will also understand how to insert a business into a trend, usually leading to feature stories about the client. Effective media relations is the most important tool in the PR practitioner’s

By ABDULRAHMAN INAYAT, co-founder and director of W7Worldwide

October 31, 2021


MATTER OF FACT News, views & trends from across the spectrum

TARIQ AL-SHARABI Managing Director of Cicero & Bernay Communication Consultancy


THE GAME THAT CHANGED THE WORLD Squid Game is a tour de force that caught the world off-guard with its standout performances and distinct art style that resonated with viewers. However, such feats are almost never based on luck. The showrunners understood the market and ensured that Squid Game ticked as many boxes as possible for viewers. Was this success predicted? Probably not, but the resulting memes and pop culture references have earned the show a chapter in entertainment history.

Beneath its saturated tones and exceptional acting, marketers have a lot to take away from Squid Game, chief of which is the power of word-of-mouth that generated a sense of FOMO, inspiring the right amount of peer pressure among anyone who spent a fraction of time online. We all wanted to be part of that conversation and feel satisfied in understanding every viral joke and meme; the show created a community that audiences wanted to be a part of. This notion is severely underrated and itsimpact is continuously being overlooked by communication professionals. Squid Game is now effectively a case study about how an unlikely show, which studios and TV networks rejected for almost 10 years, is now the cultural phenomenon no one expected it to be. Though there is no direct path towards garnering success of this magnitude, is it any coincidence that audiences have been demanding more diversity, that K-pop has been witnessing an astounding rise over the past few years, that people love watching reality-TV contests, and that dark shows are usually associated with muted undertones and strong contrasts between light and dark? Netflix’s runaway success set out to break the standards of contemporary TV shows of its nature, and in doing so delivered exactly what audiences today are looking for without trying too hard or over-marketing itself. Mediums are constantly evolving, and if there was one lesson to pick up from the show’s unprecedented sensation — it is currently Netflix’s biggest show ever — it is that sometimes taking a risk, no matter how calculated it may be, is the only way forward.

7,800% Spike in sales of white Slip-On Vans since the show’s premiere.

$900m Estimated value of the show.

62% Increase in red boiler-suit searches.

83 million people who completed the show in the first 23 days.

Source: Bloomberg




Customers first

An opening ceremony

In a unique twist on automobile rollouts, Tata Motors gave customers first-hand access to its all-new Punch well before the media was able to review and test it. This may not sound radical, but this is the first time a car was tested by customers first, granting the brand the much sought-after elements of trust and transparency.

A 3,000-strong audience inside Al Wasl Plaza, music from some of the most influential artists on the planet, more than 3,000 lighting fixtures, 1,000 speakers, 1,300 costumes and buckets of passion and emotion from every one of the 1,000-plus participating performers and volunteers. The magnificence of the Expo 2020 opening ceremony cannot possibly be described in words. You need to see it to believe it.

These shoes were not made for laughing Timing is what makes a joke. However, though people have all the time in the world to tweet a funny line, it’s a wonder how they still fail to deliver it. Case in point, In 2013, popular shoe brand Kenneth Cole threw itself in the fire by using international military conflicts as a backdrop to its puns to sell shoes. The brand was later forced to apologise. #NoSurprise. Insensitivity will lose you more than just the audience you gained through relevance.


October 31, 2021


Ramsey Naja




Ramsey Naja is regional

executive creative director henever I watch tennis, I can’t help but feel it is made for at DDB Middle East. these times: no proximity, no contact. It’s sport with built@geminisnake in social distancing, a bit like fencing on Zoom. It also has all the ingredients to please a refined audience: grace and power, politeness and ambition, elegance and grunt, as well as a totally incomprehensible scoring system. To top it all, professional tennis has recently added a new, er, string to its racket – and to sports in general: mental health. Yup, mental health. You would have thought that being paid enormous sums of money to play a game you’re brilliant at would not be terribly taxing on stress levels, but no. Players are pulling out of tournaments, citing MH issues. The press is up in arms, and the phrase “something needs to be done” is being brandished right, left and centre. By the looks of it, tennis is no place for snowflakes. And neither is advertising. If anything, most of us would look upon those ATP circuit players with the kind of dismissive disdain that trench veterans reserve for military drone operators. Because for us in adland mental health trouble is no longer just a concern; it is our private global warming crisis – invisible, intangible, affects us all and will eventually reduce us to insignificance. Everywhere you look – and employee happiness surveys can go hang – the issue is overwhelming in its magnitude, and shockingly unaddressed. Whether reflected in footnotes that bemoan the lack of “work/life balance” (a stupid, misguided and flawed measure if ever there was one), staff turnover, increased absenteeism, or a general malaise amongst agency personnel, this is a problem that is growing exponentially. Worse, it is affecting the entire industry’s ability to attract great talent, not to mention losing existing talent altogether. And, contrary to common wisdom, this is not an HR issue but a profound structural one that runs across the entire ecosystem, and no amount of free yoga classes and treehugging outings will undo the damage it has already caused, and which it will continue to cause unless a significant change occurs. You don’t have to be a genius to work out the reason behind it: it’s in the client-agency contracts. More work, more hours, more pressure, less money, fewer people and an unhealthy obsession with trendy fads that relegate ideas, quality of output and persuasive intelligence to a distant second place, behind flashy technology and the ability to spy on people. Tennis – and other sports’ – coaches and managers are now prioritising their players’ mental wellbeing over schedules and lucrative appearance opportunities, and for good reason. It’s called vested interest. Clients and agencies would do well to take a leaf from their book. If you want your players to serve (sorry) you well, you want to make sure they are in the right state of mind.

In adland mental health trouble is no longer just a concern; it is our private global warming crisis – invisible, intangible, affects us all and will reduce us to insignificance.

Motivate Media Group Head Office: 34th Floor, Media One Tower, Dubai Media City, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 4 427 3000, Email: 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: London: Motivate Publishing Ltd, Acre House, 11/15 William Road, London NW1 3ER. 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 Clarkwin Cruz Junior Designer Thokchom Remy ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES Tel: +971 4 427 3000 Chief Commercial Officer Anthony Milne Publisher Nadeem Ahmed Quraishi (+971 50 6453365) 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.

TikTok For Business launchesThe Shop The Shop is now open #ForYou. The Shop is a creative solution initiated by TikTok in the METAP region, providing platformspecific creative services that aim to educate and inspire clients to start thinking Tiktok first. It also works on elevating clients’ creative game by working with incredible Creative Partners (TikTok lists 9:16, Hogarth, Shakr Inc., The Source, Shuttlerock, AndCo., Perfomante, Yoke, Genero, Tactical and LPS) to make their existing content a better fit. TikTok says: “The Shop is redefining the e-commerce game by working with Shakr Inc on customising native Dynamic Showcase Ads templates in a well-tailored production process that allows advertisers to be more relevant and appeal to more people by offering the most creative content, at scale.” Does your brand already have a concept or an idea (and some creative assets) but is unsure if they’re a good fit for TikTok? Then The Shop’s your answer, says TikTok. The video-sharing platform’s dedicated team will work with creative partners to repurpose existing content to fit TikTok just right – from respecting the platform’s safe zones to including the right music and impactful calls to action to resonate well with your audience. TikTok For Business says it can help you “ideate and work with creative partners and micro creators to direct small-scale content production”. Like a true shopping experience, you must not leave The Shop empty-handed, says TikTok. It will share a digital ‘receipt’ that can allow you to get a clearer understanding of its best practices and the creative approach that TikTok has personalised specifically for you. Learn about The Shop and more about TikTok For Business at www.Tiktokfor. business.

October 31, 2021


Where are the Power Women?


he previous issue of Campaign was bundled with our MENA Power List. It was a supplement where we offered heads – and only heads – of network agencies and holding groups, and of major media owners and reps, the chance to write an essay next to their profile. Everyone on the List was a man. It is a list of 17 talented men who wield power and influence in the brand communications business. No one has suggested any of these men individually should be replaced by a woman, but seeing a list of only men at the top of the industry has drawn attention the lack of balance. We did actively reach out to the few women who do head up international companies in the industry. Their agencies declined or were unable to take part. When I mentioned the lack of women in my introduction to the List, I called it a shame and an embarrassment to the industry. Our Power List upset people. I share their dismay. It is unbalanced and lacks diversity, but I don’t think the list is unrepresentative; the problem is that it is too representative – it shows the top tier of the industry as it is, not as it ought to be. We didn’t set out to make a point with the List, but it has sparked important conversations. We could have put a lot more women on the List – by expanding our criteria to allow in other senior management, among whom there are plenty of women. But while that would have looked better superficially, it would paper over the issue of there being only men at the very top. The strongest reason for doing this is that young women entering the industry could be understandably disheartened at seeing there is no one like them running international agencies. (There are some amazing femalerun independent agencies, but I often wonder if at least some of those have been started by women who hit a glass ceiling and had to move outside the global networks to fulfil their potential.) I’m glad Campaign has sparked conversation, and I hope things will get

better, but as one person said on a LinkedIn thread about the List, hope doesn’t equate to change. Some people have got in touch to ask: How can we get more women on to the list? There are two ways: change the criteria or change the industry. The first option is the easy one and is not without merit, but only the second addresses the fundamental issue. As individuals we can call attention to the lack of women at the top. As a Editor magazine, Campaign can give voice to this and continue to highlight women at all levels of the business. But where @maustyn opinion whispers, money can shout. If enough clients said they would only work with agencies, media, platforms and other partners headed by women, those organisations would likely follow the dollar. They would be financially incentivised to promote some of their excellent and capable women who have waited in the wings for too long. It would be less drastic but still at least a step in the right direction if every client pledged to invite at least one female-led agency to every pitch they run. (Production houses did this some years back, calling it ‘Free the Bid’.) I don’t know if these are the only answers, the best answers, or even good answers. But they are alternatives to just hoping things will get better. I’m looking forward to seeing people’s thoughts, and at Campaign we will try to echo and contribute to this vital conversations and champion the many amazing women out there.


Talking into a mirror I



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

n 1985, Sting released the track Russians. It was the height of the Cold War and the song summed up nuclear hysteria. It began with an ominous intro by Prokofiev, and then the main chorus was: “I hope the Russians love their children, too.” One of the lines was: “Mr Khrushchev said: ‘We will bury you.’” This was a famous quote that had fuelled the dread of nuclear war for 30 years. The only problem was, it was a misquote, in as much as it wasn’t what Khrushchev meant. In 1956, Khrushchev was addressing Western diplomats and he used the phrase: “My vas pokhronim.” This was translated by his personal translator, Viktor Sukhodrev, as: “We will bury you.” This phrase was extracted from that speech and headlined across Western media for the next three decades – it showed Russia just wanted to rain nuclear missiles down on us. This is a perfect example of trying to communicate while living in separate bubbles. Khrushchev lived in the bubble of Communism – for him, the struggle wasn’t between countries, the struggle was between ideologies, between the workers and the

ruling classes. That was the world Khrushchev lived in – he naturally assumed the entire world was as familiar with the works of Karl Marx as everyone in the USSR was. That everyone knew the famous quote from the Communist Manifesto: “The proletariat is the undertaker (gravedigger) of capitalism.” Khrushchev wasn’t referring to the East versus the West, he was referring to the working class versus the ruling class. He was referencing the phrase: “Workers of the world unite, oppose our common enemy.” But, of course, that wasn’t how it was heard by people in the West, who never read the Communist Manifesto, and it wasn’t how it was used by newspapers in need of a headline. Khrushchev himself recognised the misunderstanding when it was too late. In 1963, in Yugoslavia, he said: “I once said ‘We will bury you’ and I got into trouble with it. Of course, we will not bury you with a shovel. Your own working class will bury you.” Khrushchev’s complete sentence was: “Whether you like it or not, we are on the right side of history. We will bury you.” In 2018, New York Times translator Mark Polizzotti said that while the words may have been translated exactly, the sense was

misleading. What would have been more accurate was the phrase: “We will outlast you.” That’s something we should learn – a translator’s job is not just to literally take one set of words and simply pass them on. A translator’s job should be to understand the two different sets of circumstances, different sets of experiences, of expectations, of meanings. To translate one meaning into the other. Sukhodrev was recognised as one of the best interpreters; as he was dying, he summed up his career: “They formulated it. I just interpreted it.” But everyone recognises that, in that case, he got it wrong. He literally translated the exact words, but he didn’t interpret the meaning. His mistake poured fuel on a situation that could have led to war. What we do, thankfully, couldn’t lead to anything like that. But we should learn from Sukhodrev. Learn that we are useless unless we can empathise with the state of mind of the person receiving our communication. It’s not just our job to speak correctly, it’s our job to make sure we’re heard correctly.


October 31, 2021

DTCM… ‘It does admirably well in capturing the atmosphere of a live gig.’ (NT)

Galaxy… ‘Something that I can always get behind.’ (FA)

Emirates… ‘A trailer full of whimsy, excitement, innovation and a splash of Chris Hemsworth.’ (FA)

DHL… ‘This is very well crafted and executed.’ (NT)

UAE Government Media Office… ‘A beautifully crafted series.’ (FA)

October 31, 2021




Creative, TikTok Creative Lab

Senior producer, a.k.a Media

DAVID GUETTA AND DTCM (1) What a new take on raising awareness and donations for a cause. From a technical perspective, this is not an easy feat to pull off on one of the world’s most iconic landmarks without a hitch – so kudos to the team. I remember it definitely made a buzz. I would have loved to see them take it further by harnessing the power of the live capability to have a more interactive and fun way to donate.

DAVID GUETTA AND DTCM (1) This dramatic film does admirably well in capturing the atmosphere of a live gig, with some incredible technology and effects at play. When it was released back in February, I think needless to say everyone agreed it’s a fantastic initiative. Of course, even given the incredible location and effects, events such as this won’t ever replace a live concert – but at least it gave us all a glimpse of life in light of new normal. Interesting to note that the YouTube recording has achieved more than 26 million views – surely that underlines its success? The Unicef fundraising link is down, which is a shame as people are still clearly going to watch the event, which holds lasting appeal.

GALAXY (2) An anthem made by women for women is something that I can always get behind. I appreciate that they uplifted the voice of up-and-coming Khaleeji artist Zena Emad. Music plays a big role in culture and can help infiltrate the message of choice within our communities to hopefully resonate and make a change. I could see this building even further, going from anthem to action, through a branded hashtag challenge on TikTok where women can celebrate their choices every day. EMIRATES (3) For the past few years, we have all been anticipating this global event in our city, unable to imagine what it truly will be like, and finally I think this brings it to life. A trailer full of whimsy, excitement, innovation and a splash of Chris Hemsworth. Personally, I love the rendition of Pure Imagination, as it carries a familiar tone to what is an outof-this-world event. DHL (4) This definitely stands out from the montages of real people doing real things and takes a playful direction on shopping online. I could see this being pushed past main street USA, taking us to an even more unfamiliar, colourful online shopping world. Even more, I think this character would live happily on TikTok taking us through their online shopping adventures and the rollercoaster of emotions that come with it. UAE GOVERNMENT MEDIA OFFICE (5) A beautifully crafted series that tells the stories of diverse culture creators that form our community. The main film is a long piece of content that feels short thanks to the engaging way it weaves all the stories together in a very human manner. It just goes to show that there are no rules when it comes to duration, if you are able to keep people entertained in the story. Would love to see each of the creators take to TikTok to show their process in shaping the next 50 years of the UAE.

GALAXY (2) This light, breezy and catchy feel-good campaign seems to be aimed at young girls who are about to start living their life to the fullest. The cast and the mood hit the right pitch, and the look and feel are pitched well, I think. The mix of various talents and situations is nice and fits the audience. I think it is a great job and will resonate with the audience Galaxy is talking to. It’s a gentle, fairly inoffensive campaign, but some might say a little cliched. EMIRATES (3) Needless to say, on this globally positioned campaign, the production value is world-class. I love that it’s based around kids and how they see the world, while exploring the opportunities Expo 2020 gives to exploring different cultures. The feel we get from the music, visuals and talents is absolutely uplifting. I would love this piece with or without Chris Hemsworth. While he clearly holds broad appeal and would attract a wide audience, this film is not about him, rather the emotions Expo can evoke. DHL (4) Something like e-shopping is hard to convey in a film; at least, it’s tough to create an emotional connection. This is very well crafted and executed. This work stands out in our market. The idea is lovely, the detail – like the smoke, animated billboard and the alleyway graffiti (blink and you’ll miss them) show wonderful attention to this piece. The execution makes it all come together beautifully. UAE GOVERNMENT MEDIA OFFICE (5) With such clean execution, I feel that this type of documentary has been overdone. While we can praise talents for their achievement and tell their stories, I think there have been so many done before that it gets repetitive, and this, unfortunately, doesn’t stand out from the crowd.

David Guetta and DTCM Title: United At Home DXB Production house: Create Production


Title: #IChoose Partner: Anghami Agency: Code 8


Title: Chris Hemsworth at the World’s Greatest Show Director: Robert Stromberg Visual effects and production: MPC (Moving Picture Company)


Title: DHL eSHOP App Agency: Horizon FCB Production house: Fuelcontent

UAE Government Media Office

Title: It’s Possible Agency: Virtue International, part of the Vice Media Group


October 31, 2021

The Spin We’re not too sure what ‘NonceBlox’ is. But anyone familiar with UK prison slang (don’t ask; it was a long time ago, and we’ve gone straight now) probably isn’t putting their trust in it. Much of the talk about Apple’s iOS recently has revolved around the removal of ad tracking. People don’t want their phones to know too much about them. The Spin is terrified after the latest update to our iPhone that it knows something really important that we don’t. When we clicked on this article from about trouble on a plane, The Spin was disappointed to find out that the people detained were more wannabe terrorists than wannabe octopuses. The Spin wonders: Was the lady pictured really the first to stir up resentment in Africa? Winnie Mandela was known to cause problems. And don’t get us started on Cleopatra.

Appointments Shopper marketing agency Liquid Retail has appointed former Publicis and Saatchi & Saatchi finance director KRISTINE VARMA as its new EMEA director of finance and operations. She had held the position of regional finance director for eight years at Saatchi & Saatchi. NADIM NACHAWATI has joined Socialieyez as an associate director to oversee all social media strategy. He joins from WOW Social, where he was head of social. Katch International has announced PETRA BOUTRY SPANKO will become regional director to support and oversee operations in the UAE. Spanko moved to the region from

Prague 11 years ago to join Elle Arabia. Fusion5 has announced the appointment of GHIDA ISMAIL as director of planning and product development. In a statement she said, “I recently moved to Dubai and I’m loving it and I’m thrilled to be joining a young and dynamic agency like Fusion5.” Gambit Communications has announced two new hires. CRYSTAL TANIOS joins as junior account manager on the social media team, bolstering Gambit’s digital credentials with her background at multinational agencies including Leo Burnett and TBWA. DANA ALOMAR has joined the Dubai-based PR agency as junior account executive.

A journalism graduate from the American University of Sharjah with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and a minor in history, Alomar has completed internships on the media side with Esquire Middle East, Zawya and Sharjah24 News. FutureTech has announced the promotion of HALA LABABIDI to director of digital solutions to support its growth and expansion. Earlier this year Hala was listed as one of Campaign’s Digital Faces to watch in 2021, which showcases the best and brightest talents aged 30 and under. Boye Balogun, the CEO of FutureTech, said: “She is a future leader who takes on new challenges within the organisation and she is not only a face to watch but one of the future leaders of the industry.”

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