Campaign 28th November 2021

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November 28, 2021




November 28, 2021


Middle East’s first consultancy dedicated to workplace culture launches in the UAE The first consultancy of its kind in the region, dedicated solely to workplace culture, has launched today in the UAE, founded by locally based entrepreneur sisters Lucy and Camilla d’Abo. The new venture – Together – aims to inspire brands to “make culture their superpower” and transform organisations by bringing together leaders and employees to achieve an aligned, effective and engaged workforce while addressing the growing demands of the future of work. Central to the business offering, Together will look to establish itself as the go-to advisory for CEOs and company directors to help achieve business performance through culture, driving purpose and delivering successful organisational people results. Services will include strategic planning, culture transformation, internal communications, values and behaviours, people development and managing change for future purpose. The company is the brainchild of CEO Lucy d’Abo, who has been providing professional consulting services to clients and businesses

across the Middle East, Africa and Europe since 1998. Her first business, Dabo & Co, which she co-founded with her sister, Camilla d’Abo, was the leading independent communications agency in the Middle East, and was subsequently acquired by the world’s largest PR agency, Edelman, in 2015. With culture at the heart of its business strategy, key achievements for Dabo & Co included awards in the UAE Great Place to Work Index and achieving second place in Human Capital by the Dubai government SME 100. Also joining the business is John Hague, a leading expert in the field of learning and development and employee engagement, having lived in the UK and UAE with more than 15 years of experience running multifaceted programmes for all operation levels with some of the world’s leading brands. The Together full-time team is supported with senior advisory, both locally and globally, with depth of experience and industry specialisms including non-executive directors Camilla d’Abo and Chris Shaw.

Together’s team: Lucy and Camilla d’Abo and John Hague

SRMG appoints SMC as rep

OREO #TREATFAILS This Halloween, Oreo celebrated every cake fail or #TreatFails, hilariously embarrassing attempts at cakes that look nothing like the baker intended. This is the campaign the brand and Saatchi & Saatchi Dubai have released to promote Oreo’s cake recipes. The premise? “While your cake may look like a nightmare, rest assured it’ll taste great,” says Gautam Wadher, ECD at Saatchi & Saatchi Dubai. “Cake fails are a part of pop culture. With this Halloween campaign, we’re making sure Oreo celebrates every baker even if they are a beginner who creates tasty nightmares. Albeit only for the scariest day of the year.”

The Saudi Research and Media Group (SRMG) has appointed the Saudi Media Company (SMC), as its exclusive media representative. Based on the agreement, SMC will handle commercial advertising sales for all SRMG brands and platforms, including audio-visual, print and digital, effective November 8, 2021. This partnership will strengthen SRMG’s position as a leading premium content provider, publisher and broadcaster by providing a wider reach and new opportunities to trailblazing brands and advertisers across markets. Driven by a newly appointed executive team and listed on the Tadawul Saudi Stock Exchange in Riyadh, SRMG is focused on delivering original, exclusive and premium content to consumers through digital and social platforms, as well as strengthening its cable and satellite reach.


November 28, 2021

Campaign calls for Global Agency of the Year entries from Middle East Campaign Middle East is proud to bring the global brand’s Agency of the Year awards to the region, with a call to entries for the global tier of the scheme. Campaign’s Agency of the Year – Globals (AOTYG), recognises that you don’t have to be global in scale to be world class in stature; these awards are open to agencies of all sizes, anywhere in the world, be it a single shop in Dubai, an agency with multiple offices across the Middle East or a fully networked agency with a truly global spread of employees. If you think the achievements of your agency make you the best in the world, we’d love to see you enter. Crucially, these awards do not focus on the creative output of an agency, but reward outstanding business performance, agency culture and individual leadership. There will be awards for Best Network Middle East and Africa as well as Best Global Network. Individual agency offices will be rewarded on an international level by discipline: Brand Experience Agency, Consultancy, Creative Agency, Customer Engagement Agency, Digital Innovation Agency, Independent Agency, In-House

Agency and Media Agency. There are categories for the best people, staff engagement and initiatives, and top clients and partners. AOTYG entries are judged entirely by a worldwide panel of senior brand marketers and our judging process is audited by PwC to ensure that it adheres strictly to advertised entry criteria and follows due process. We are calling for entries to the Global Agency of the Year, the winners of which will be announced in April. The early bird deadline for entries is January 27, 2022 and the final deadline is on February 10. The shortlist will be announced in March 2022. Austyn Allison, editor of Campaign Middle East, said: “The MENA region has some of the best talent in the world, and has been picking up global grands prix at international awards shows. We are a competitive region and a proud one and quite rightly like to celebrate our achievements. Inviting MENA agencies to take part Campaign’s Global Agency of the Year means our home-grown talent will be able to show the world just how good we are on an international scale, and I’m looking forwards to seeing who will be the first agency in the region to

The awards will allow MENA agencies to compete on a global playing field

be the best in the world.” An upcoming MENA Agency of the Year Awards, in line with Campaign Middle East’s sister titles in Asia Pacific, the US and the UK, will be launched next year. These awards too will be audited by PwC. We are offering all agencies across the Middle East the opportunity to

enter AOTYG this year at a special rate of $500 per entry, discounted from the standard price of $952. Simply use the code GLOBAL500U when entering to claim your discount. Please visit to enter and for further information.



As McCann London and Joy Films create the latest campaign for Neom, the place that’s ‘made to change is here’. The creative idea from McCann London positions the Saudi megacity as a change-maker that will inspire the world as it reimagines a healthier, more responsible, efficient, sustainable and balanced way of life, starting from a blank canvas. The story of Neom’s multi-sector development goes much deeper than just a sustainable city, and into creating, acting and living the optimism and inventiveness in accelerating human life and experience, defining a new era of a modern world. The campaign explores symbolism and metaphors to represent the change Neom will be bringing to its various sectors.

Continuing to build on its contributions to help reduce our impact on the environment, Adidas is uniting people through sport to create change by inviting the city of Dubai to ‘Race for the Deserts’ on November 27. The event aims to raise awareness of the threat of plastic pollution in our deserts while supporting the nation’s vision for a more sustainable future. It stars French football legend Zinedine Zidane and multiple Adidas brand ambassadors, including Raha Moharrak, Walid Yari and Baraa El Sabbagh, as well as Adidas running coaches George Crew, Elizabeth Thompson and Lucy Murt. The campaign encourages people to sign up on the Adidas app.

Agency McCann London Production company Joy Films Executive director of marketing Anthony Ward Creative directors Brad Reilly and Alex van Rensburg Director Dave Meyers

Agency Havas Middle East

November 28, 2021

ABG, IAB GCC and TAG launch new standards to fight criminal activity The Advertising Business Group (ABG) and Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) GCC have partnered with the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) – a cross-industry self-regulatory initiative to fight criminal activity and promote brand safety in the digital advertising supply chain – to launch TAG’s international standards in the GCC region of the Middle East. The standards launched at a webinar on November 17. Companies in the region are encouraged to get involved and play their part in tackling criminal activity and promoting a more brand-safe environment for advertisers. Many international businesses are already applying the requirements in the region. TAG’s Certified Against Fraud standard is having a significant impact on reducing ad fraud across the world. In the USA, key markets in Europe and many markets in the Asia-Pacific region ad fraud rates are more than 90 per cent lower when advertisers use TAG certified distribution channels compared with industry averages. Subject to TAG’s working processes, independent validation of the anti-fraud standard will be mandatory for businesses operating in the GCC region. Self-attestation will not be an option and

The ABG and IAB are working with TAG to tackle fraud and brand safety issues

international businesses that wish to apply their existing TAG certifications in the GCC region will need to ensure their compliance is independently validated. In addition to TAG’s Certified Against Fraud programme, companies will be able to minimise the risk of ad misplacement via TAG’s Brand Safety certification (which, from 1 January 2022, includes specific anti-piracy requirements, replacing

TAG’s stand-alone standard to combat ad-supported piracy) and tackle the issue of ‘malvertising’ via TAG’s Certified Against Malware standard. Companies will also be able to work together to combat threats to the digital advertising supply chain via TAG’s Threat Sharing Exchange. Elda Choucair, CEO of media group OMG, said: “As digital investments continue to grow, so does the need for increased brand safety.”


Meta spend up 33.32 per cent Emplifi has released its ‘State of Social Media and CX’ report for Q3 2021, offering key insights on social media ad spend, organic social media brand efforts, and customer experience trends. According to the most recent data, ad spend on Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram in the Middle East increased 33.32 per cent year-over-year (YoY) during Q3, and by 7.38 per cent between Q2 and Q3. While global ad spend on Facebook and Instagram grew 43.4 per cent YoY during the Q3 of 2021, fuelled by a 10.5 per cent growth in Q2 and Q3. Emplifi’s report includes both paid and organic social media data findings, covering cost per click, click-through rate and distribution of ad spend by placement. The report looks at brand engagement based on hashtags, post types, influencer marketing numbers and brand response times on Facebook. In the Middle East, brand spending on Facebook’s News Feed was 21.48 percentage points higher than spending on Instagram’s News Feed. The increase in Facebook ad investment by marketers represents a clear sign of the times, with ad spend connected to the accommodation industry experiencing 94 per cent growth year-over-year.



To celebrate UAE’s golden jubilee, Century Financial has created a film that documents real people from all walks of life and what the UAE means to them as a result of the vision that started in 1972. The campaign invites the UAE populace to express and share what the UAE means for them, their family and community, and how the UAE has been a catalyst in their lives. The top 50 heartfelt messages stand a chance to win prizes. Running until November 29, 2021 on Century Financial’s social media platforms, the initiative will culminate with a tree plantation setting a path for a better and greener future for all.

In support of Friends of Cancer Patients’ initiatives, Havas Middle East developed dance moves to the Village People’s famous ‘YMCA’ song, turning it into ‘Your Mammary Check Action’. The Havas team discovered similarities between the moves of catchy 70s anthem and adapted them to create #YMCASelfCheck, an easy and fun self-check dance – supervised by a medical expert from FoCP – showing people how to perform selfexamination through the four letters in the song’s title. Influencer and entrepreneur Logina Salah was the first of many to support the #YMCASelfCheck dance, posting her video on various platforms. Other influencers joined the cause, generating more than 2.5 million impressions and reaching a potential combined audience of 6 million followers.

Agency Twisted Creative Century marketing team Sharad V K (marketing director,) Asmita Das Kar (digital marketing manager) Creatives Malesh Ponnusamy, Neha Choudary

Agency Havas Middle East


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DISRUPTIVE INFLUENCE TBWA’s global CEO, Troy Ruhanen, tells Austyn Allison why his network is revising its core philosophy


roy Ruhanan, the CEO of Omnicom creative network TBWA Worldwide, says that 2022 is going to be “a turning point for creative to come back with real energy”. Not just for his agency but for the industry as a whole. He says: “There’s too much work that looks too similar right now. So it’s an opportunity for brands to step out of their comfort zone, either in the forms and mediums that they’re using, or the innovations that they’re making. Even the established ones are going to have to break through.” Ruhanen was in the region recently to visit TBWA\Raad, the regional network of the group. Ruhanen says TBWA’s work at the moment is “good”, but he wants to see greater aspirations for the quality of the creative. The industry must remove its crutches and generate “positive envy” within agencies and clients alike. When the industry is in what Ruhanen calls “a sea of mediocrity”, no one is holding up “shining torches” to show their partners and competitors how much better the work can be. As part of its roadmap to a creative renaissance, TBWA has begun to reinvent Disruption. That’s Disruption with a capital D, the agency’s philosophy since its chairman Jean-Marie Dru introduced the concept back in 1992. The concept involves changing a marketplace by upending traditional conventions. Disruption has served TBWA well. Agencies need a philosophy, says Ruhanen, who also mentions “A truth well told” at McCann and BBDO’s “The work, the work, the work” as examples that “are very clearly articulated, and then you build a methodology underneath.” However, he laments that many other networks have lost their way and find it hard

to explain what they stand for. Ruhanen explains the sort of conventions TBWA seeks to overturn: “If I said to you, ‘Picture a health care ad,’ right now, you would probably picture a couple walking down the beach with a Labrador running around in the background.” But what do you do to counter the norm? The answer isn’t as simple as just swapping out cliched imagery. Ruhanen says: “What we’re trying to say is don’t break the convention just in execution; break the convention in business strategy as well, and do that much earlier in the process.” It’s this desire to tackle the cause not the symptoms of ordinariness that has led to an internal upgrade at the agency. Since the start of Covid-19, Disruption has been reimagined at TBWA as ‘Disruption X’. The onset of the pandemic in March 2020 was the spur to start changing. It moved the industry “back in time in a good way,” says Ruhanen. He explains that, “Instead of being felt to be the creative partner to a client, we became again much more of a business partner to our clients.” This gave the creative industry permission to make more of an impact “upstream”, edging away from the marketing departments of client brands and into their board rooms. By May of last year the modules that make up Disruption X were laid out, and companywide training began at the start of 2021. TBWA is working towards a goal common to many agencies in recent years: competing with consultancies such as Accenture, Deloitte and McKinsey to become more of a business transformation partner and less of a creative execution partner to clients. Ruhanen admits that TBWA competes with consultancies, but says the agency is focused on different outcomes. Its end goal is solutions, and solving problems fast so it can move on to the next challenge. By comparison, a consultancy will often have done its job well if it entrenches itself within its client’s ongoing operations. “Our industry is driven to complete,” says Ruhanen. “You should only amplify if you have a really strong core platform,” he says. “If you don’t have a strong brand and a strong message, you’re only adding to your own clutter by doing a whole bunch of different things. But if you’ve got a really strong brand platform and then you’re able to extend that into great new territories, then it really puts that added gloss on to the brand in many

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ways.” This could apply to TBWA itself just as much as it is sound advice for clients. Transformation became essential as soon as it was evident a pandemic would sweep across the world. When TBWA strategists were examining World Economic Forum data on how economies have recovered after a crisis, they saw a marked difference between cities that stayed the same and ones that changed. “Those that rebuilt themselves in the shape that they were previously in had a slower recovery than those who used that moment of crisis to go to new places; they saw more exponential growth,” says Ruhanen. It stood to reason that this could be applied to other economic structures, including businesses and, yes, ad agencies. Creativity is still at the core of TBWA, and Ruhanen has the numbers to prove it. Within the global network, those units that perform best are the ones that spend more on their creative capabilities. “Invariably, there is about a 10 to 12 per cent difference between the combined strategy and creative payroll of our best 10 and the bottom 10,” he says. “The ones who perform the best have had more dollars spent on strategy and creativity than those who have maybe more of a service culture.” Ruhanen is proud of TBWA’s strength in strategy and planning. He says, “It needs to be more strategic because of Disruption.” As TBWA shifts away from being primarily a traditional ad agency and expands into other aspects of its clients’ business, experiences will become at least as important as straight brand messaging. Ruhanen sees potential in pop-up experiences, a middle ground between one- or two-day activations and multi-year leases. “There’s a shorter window in there, which is abandoned retail space, pop-up spaces,” he says. “You can go and create pop-up experiences for two or three months and it becomes a richer, deeper kind of brand statement and more like a living outdoor experience. Then you digitise and carry the content further.” E-commerce consultancy will also continue to grow within agencies. Everyone became aware of it during Covid, but most clients’ digital sales strategies need a lot of honing. This is another chance for TBWA to move up the value chain. “Covid in many ways made [clients] realise how much their digital ecosystem is not connected,” says Ruhanen. “[Before Covid] they were probably thinking they were fine. But how many of them have you heard say, ‘We’ve really got to work on our e-comm strategy’? We hear that repeatedly. Covid really shone a light for many clients to see their digital ecosystem is not in order, it is not connected and actually doesn’t drive to a commercial outcome as much as it probably should.” The Middle East is ripe for growth, particularly Saudi Arabia. Ruhanen calls the region “a bubble of cool optimism” and is encouraged by its can-do attitude. “I live in America, and I still think the American Dream is there,” he says. “But I think it’s become much more a Middle Eastern and an Asian dream now, in the world and the optimism and the belief that you can create.”


X MARKS THE SPOT TBWA’s chief strategy officer Agathe Guerrier explains Disruption X



o-date, Disruption X hasn’t been discussed much outside TBWA itself, says the network’s global chief strategy officer Agathe Guerrier, speaking from her base in Los Angeles. She describes the new philosophy as an operating system upgrade like you might get on your iPhone (Apple is one of TBWA’s clients). Fundamentally, we continue to be about Disruption. And that’s what we want people to know us for,” she says. “Disruption X was very much an internal refresh of the way we talk about Disruption and, more importantly, the way we practise it.” TBWA has what it calls its ‘road map’, which is represented in its offices by a square, a triangle and a circle. (The design is reminiscent of the Korean TV drama Squid Game, but Guerrier says TBWA got there first.) The square represents ‘Convention’, which is transformed by the triangle’s ‘Disruption’ to help reach the circle, the client’s ‘Vision’ for the future. Across the global network, all agencies had the roadmap, but the way they interpreted it was inconsistent. Guerrier refers to “a semantic slip”. The modernisation of Disruption should help align different parts of TBWA, but Guerrier insists it is not prescriptive. The modules can be addressed in any order, and don’t all have to be used. Their main purpose is to drive new ways of thinking about client problems. The modules are: 1. Brand economics. This lays out “the growth foundations of the brand,” says Guerrier. 2. Disruptive demand map. This is where TBWA pushes against the

conventions of marketing the client’s category, an attempt to find somewhere no one else has thought of, as a “white space for growth”. 3. Disruption directions. These are when the agency “crystalises the brand platform”. It is one of the modules where Disruption X dives deeper than mere Disruption. Guerrier asks: “If this is not just a messaging platform, but really a behavioural platform for the brand, and the business and the company, what are the behavioural pillars through which this is going to come to life?” 4. Disruptive experience map. If modules 1 to 3 have been building up ideas about the brand, 4 to 6 are where the ideas come to life as experiences. The Disruptive Experience Map should be a single piece of paper that outlines a brand’s different touchpoints – what it means to different people at different times. All its experiences, from packaging to small print to the website, are then given roles as the planning team decides if those roles should be incremental or disruptive to people’s perceptions of the brand. 5. Experience economics. This module looks in more depth at the brand’s different touchpoints that were laid out in module 4. It proposes KPIs for those experiences, goals, plans for when they go better or worse than anticipated, how and how often they will be tracked, and other specifics. 6. Dynamic value creation. This module, says Guerrier, “zooms back out of experience and looks at the optimisation of the entire system”. It is “basically a giant effectiveness model”. Guerrier downplays any illusion that Disruption X might be a panacea for all marketing worries. She maintains it is neither finished nor “a silver bullet”, but she says it already drives new thinking within TBWA and its clients. Combined with the network’s strong – and growing – intelligence, data and knowledge resources, it is bringing different ideas and value to the market.



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ith the new rules and lockdowns during the height of the pandemic, there was a digital acceleration that pushed people to buy online and stay safe at home. As people have started going back to physical stores, however, they are now looking for the convenience of digital plus the experiential aspect of physical. Customers are asking for hybrid shopping. There are many examples on how retailers had to adapt to the new demands. The shopping, property and leisure company Majid Al Futtaim is one retailer that has embraced this digital acceleration and innovated to provide its customers with hybrid experiences within physical stores. One example is the Lego store that recently opened in Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates. Fahed Ghanim, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle, says the Danish toy company’s outlet falls firmly into the ‘concept store’ category. It has a gigantic working model of Ski Dubai, and another of a small town – with a giant magnifying glass so visitors can see the details. There is a photo booth, and customers can make their own Lego figurines from a massive range of plastic body parts. The store has Lego kits on the shelves, but if you don’t feel like buying them on the spot and taking them home with you, you can scan the items’ QR codes to buy them online. The store will deliver to Dubai addresses within two hours. Ghanim says: “The future of commerce is omnichannel, as customers want to see the classic model evolve; it is not only digital, nor bricks-and-mortar. This is part of our evolution.” He says online and offline channels each have their own customer journey and experience. E-commerce represents an opportunity for growth in both channels, as it is now possible to understand customers better to give them memorable experiences. “We are pushing the boundaries in innovation,” he says. Another example of how the retailer has implemented digital aspects within the classic brick-and-mortar format is the Carrefour City+ shop. Customers in this convenience store, also in Mall of the Emirates, use only their mobile device to complete a transaction with the use of the Carrefour app. There is no cashier, but a network of cameras and a backbone of artificial intelligence means you are charged automatically when you leave the shop. The World of Fashion event saw fashion experts discuss styles and trends at a custom-

BEST OF BOTH As retail returns transformed by Covid, Sofia Serrano looks at how Mall of the Emirates is embracing hybrid shopping

made booth in the mall’s main atrium. The physical audience was encouraged to get digital by ordering any of the garments discussed through the ‘Digital Concierge’ section of the Mall of the Emirates app, and have the pieces delivered to their door. The same service also offers personal shopping advice and assistance. Michelle Walsh, senior director of marketing and communications for Majid Al Futtaim Shopping Malls, says: “Customers’ behaviours have changed drastically in the last two years because of the pandemic.” She adds: “As Majid Al Futtaim, we adapted and have been working on delivering a seamless omnichannel experience, so that means we want to give people the opportunity to shop if



they want to do so online in digital, or if they want to do so in our mall in the physical environment. If they want to be online while in the physical environment, that’s also something that we want to cater for.” Majid Al Futtaim has enhanced its customer experience with the launch of two VIP lounges. The 9 calls itself a “luxury private members’ club” and offers services such as a barber shop, tailor, personal shopping, meeting rooms and a restaurant. A second lounge will open soon. “The marketing used by Majid Al Futtaim aims to go beyond the traditional strategies and implement the use of advanced analytics and data from the customers, allowing the mall to offer more personalised experiences in order to achieve higher customer satisfaction,” says Walsh. Hussein Moosa, director of Mall of the Emirates, says the retail landscape has come a long way since the mall opened in 2005. “Today the demand of the customers is really high, and it is our duty to supply, in terms of more experiential concepts in the mall,” he says. “The customer journey has completely evolved from just a buying behaviour to an entertainment, food-and-beverage, experiential behaviour. The malls need the experiential element to stay competitive, such as The 9 lounge, Carrefour City+ and other experiences like Ski Dubai, as well as F&B.” Today shoppers have a wide variety of choices. Moosa says, “The customer is the king and the ultimate decision maker. In this context e-commerce has grown but there are experiential elements that cannot be replaced. … Our purpose is to create great moments for everyone every day.”


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W Group, Led by Hypermedia to Spearhead OOH Media Technology 2021: A year of high-tech milestones


gainst all the odds, this year has been dotted with great achievements for W Group in general and all its subsidiaries specifically. Several sturdy partnerships blossomed into great deliverables, from major exhibitions and trade shows to experiential activations and optimisation of media assets. The partnership that Hypermedia signed with Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority granted the Out-of-Home media mogul investment and management rights of the Dubai Metro outdoor advertising, which includes all 53 Metro stations, seven Route 2020 stations including Expo Station, and 125 trains. As a result of this strategic partnership, several renowned brands gained exclusive naming rights of several metro stations. Mashreq Bank was granted the naming rights of Sheikh Zayed Road’s Barsha station. The strategic location is in close proximity to the bank’s customers and will enable Dubai Metro’s commuters to enjoy a high-end digital banking experience. Landmark, the leading retail group in the region, signed a strategic partnership agreement for the naming rights of two Metro stations for its brands Centrepoint and Max Fashion in Al-Rashidiya and Al-Jaffiliya. Sobha Realty, the real-estate giant, landed the naming rights of what was once named the Dubai Marina Metro Station. In addition, Hypermedia renewed its Metro station naming rights agreement with Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, communities, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. The successful partnership between the two parties yielded the renewal of MAF’s two stations’ naming rights, Mall of the Emirates (MOE) and Deira City Centre (DCC), for the upcoming 10 years. Hypermedia’s other milestone was the digitisation of its ‘Digi-Tableau’ spread over 12 bridges along the Sheikh Zayed Road, the main artery that goes through the city of Dubai. By taking a series of steps to further press forward in its growth plans, W Group has finalised most of the digitisation phase of all of Hypermedia’s assets. Following that, the group, with the support of DigitAll, one of the leading digital and transformation consultants in the Middle East, will be fully immersed in programmatic advertising. Alongside Hypermedia, DigitAll – through its ‘media tech’ solutions (DOOH and programmatic) – will allow advertisers to join the game from all around the globe by democratising the

The Iconic Art (metro station wrap) is a key media asset for advertisers to boost their brands.

OOH business, hence, allowing those with small budgets to test and see the impact of their campaign. “What ‘media tech’ will provide advertisers with is a full integration of OOH combined with the smart technologies in order for brands to run more effective and targeted campaigns,” said W Group Chief Operating Officer Phillip Matta. “With this cutting-edge technology, advertisers will be able to integrate OOH to their very agile, omni-channel communication approach. They will be able to deliver relevant content on our screens to their passing-by target audience, or adapt campaigns according to the result of their A-B testing of the campaign’s performance, or any other variable that may be relevant, such as the weather, time of day, sales progress, etc.” The entire experience was carried out on Route 2020 Metro Station, which was equipped with the most high-end, smartsolution-packed, interactive screens to create a full journey for the commuters visiting the world’s biggest event.

Experiential journeys

Another front that W Group has been spearheading is experiential marketing. It has been creating full experiential journeys for clients, chief among which is Dubai Internet City (DIC), during its participation at Gitex 2021 Dubai. W Group, through its entities, conceptualised, built and created an entire high-tech engaging experience for visitors to the pavilion. From state-of-the-art activations to cutting-edge technology that was on display around the pavilion floor, the aim was to showcase Dubai for the tech hub that it is and for the advancements it has pioneered in many tech ventures. W Group, by association, was acting within its core DNA because it aims to be positioned as the leading media tech company in the region. Subsequently, it has always operated by a code where it invests in its human power, its strongest asset, and its macro vision aligned with the wise leadership of the UAE. The OOH market is a very competitive one, and W Group aspires to always lead with new innovations, technologies and expansion plans around the entire region. In the words of Habib Wehbi, W Group’s chairman and CEO, “the United Arab Emirates is the land of equal opportunities, and if you dare to have the ambition and passion to follow through and grind away at your dreams, you will eventually land exactly where you aspire to be.”

DigitAll has finalized most of the digitization phase of all of Hypermedia’s media assets.



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We asked: Has experience become more important than convenience in digital commerce?

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Emad Raja

Digital marketing & social media specialist, Active DMC The convenience offered through digital commerce is the main reason it’s a fiercely competitive market, and businesses will go to great lengths to ensure they stay ahead of the curve. Though convenience is the backbone of digital commerce, in this new competitive digital era, the experience outweighs the convenience. Yes, there is no doubt that convenience plays a big role in influencing and attracting customers and bringing them to the door, but the inconvenience of the experience could just as swiftly drive them away. Whilst some might value convenience and speed over quality and control, it’s not enough to attract, engage and retain your customers. Today, customers expect a seamless experience from start to finish.

Mauricio Sanaiote

Creative director, VMLYR Commerce Actually, convenience is the result of the sum of the factors that make the consumer’s experience: omni-channel presence, easy-to-use interface, clear information, personalisation, simple checkout, security, efficient service, transparent and agile delivery process, simplified return/exchange process, effective customer service and support – all of this perfectly combined with seamless, clear brand positioning and communications that define its purpose in the lives of the consumers. If your business fails in any of these, there is lack of convenience. Therefore, it is impossible to dissociate experience from convenience, both being crucial and inseparable factors.


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Aref Yahia

Head of retail and e-commerce, TikTok Global Business solutions, METAP In a digital-native society where more than 3 billion people worldwide are connected to the internet via their mobile phones, convenience is now engrained in the fabric of our culture. Consumers are now used to having everything at the click of a button, whether it’s their laundry being picked up and dropped off to their doors or the latest trainers the minute they are released. For this reason, competition among brands is fierce. What could have previously been considered as convenient has now become standard. Consumers today have bigger asks and expectations from brands, beyond transactions. They are looking for a meaningful communication and validation for their purchase. Shoppers today connect with brands on a deeper level. They are looking for relevance, empathy, engagement and joy, which is everything we believe in at TikTok. While convenience has become a given for brands that want to survive in their digital commerce, the experience they offer is what will make them thrive.

Richard Nicoll

Chief strategy & capability officer at Liquid – Shopper Marketing & Ecommerce For online shoppers a combination of factors such as quality, convenience, range, safety and value is what leads to purchase. In the past year, e-commerce has become a brand-building channel, especially in FMCG. We see that things have got more competitive. Hence, e-commerce marketplaces are stepping up their game when it comes to brand-building functionality. Take Amazon, for example; we’ve gone from the basics, pack shot and product descriptions, to helpful product education, inspiration and brand-building via a brand’s own stores embedded into the platform. So, in a nutshell, I’d say, e-commerce has gone from a channel simply to buy, to a place to have a convenient shopping experience.

Serge Selwan El Khoury Associate director, digital integration & delivery, Isobar Both are equally important. Brands should always focus on a customer-centred design throughout the funnel. From discovery down to purchase, with convenience being at the heart of this strategic thinking as it remains one of the most important components for a positive customer experience. For a good e-commerce experience we need to look at the following: speed, convenience, consistency and friendliness, with the aim of making our approach more human and creating a connection between the brand and the online audience.

Floriane Kawkabani

Associate director, luxury, beauty, retail, Digital Media Services It shouldn’t be one or the other, as they complement each other. Convenience enables experience; remember, e-commerce is what got us through the pandemic. Experience can be defined in different ways, depending on the product. Luxury is focused on the experience and how to translate the retail journey to e-commerce. Convenience comes with services and great customer experiences. While experience is still a struggle for some categories (perfume and make-up, etc.), consumers still purchase beauty products online out of convenience once they are loyal to them. Experience brings consumers closer to brands, while convenience is the long-term result of loyalty.

November 28, 2021


Abdur Rehman Tahir

Senior performance manager, Fusion5 Experience is more important than convenience in digital commerce. The steady growth of technology has elevated the extent of the user journey. Businesses are moving to experience-led platforms, and a good experience keeps the customers happy and satisfied. A bad experience can leave a lasting impression on how we feel about the brand and we might well be reluctant to do business with it in the future. Studies found that nearly three-quarters of customers switch to a competitor brand after one bad experience. Good customer experience increases retention and satisfaction rates and results in higher order rates and a higher return on spending.

Abdallah Abou Hamdan,

Integrated Strategy Manager, Boopin Experience and convenience are equally vital in digital commerce. They are major pillars for success as digitalisation and e-commerce continues to grow tremendously. With high competition and a wide variety of choices, convenience could be the main key to converting consumers as shoppers become more time-sensitive. Maintaining a decent level of convenience is not enough alone; experience is also essential and should not be undervalued. Nowadays consumers can easily and quickly share their experience, which in turn will influence other consumers’ overall decisions. Concisely, brands should score high on convenience to elevate customer experience and secure endurance.

Mazen Jawad

President, Horizon Holdings It’s a shoppers’ choice. While shopping usually takes place on a spectrum that spreads between the store and home, the shopper is the one who decides of the importance of the product being purchased and whether it’s preferred as an automated purchase or a personal one. Most shoppers would prefer convenience when buying household products, for example, especially when it comes to the cleaning and personal care segments. Nevertheless, experiential can still play a positive role within convenience whenever the shopper may be interacting with an online/hybrid activation that sprinkles a touch of an emotion on those high-speed shopping habits. On the other side, high-touch categories such as automotive, furniture and fashion, where a retail experience is needed to action and augment the transaction, is when experiential becomes core and may start with an online experience that finishes in-store, or vice versa.


November 28, 2021


November 28, 2021


The TAM project heralds a new era for TV and video advertising and programming in the kingdom


he television market in KSA has long been the giant of the MENA media landscape. With a population of just under 35 million people, it is the largest viewing audience in the GCC and a country of self-confessed content lovers. Not only is the population large, but the youth of the population (two-thirds of the Saudi population is under 35) makes it an extremely commercially attractive audience to reach. KSA is a critical market for advertisers and a key focus for both campaign buys and creative execution. Media agencies and media owners have joined their voices with advertisers to call for more accountable, transparent, industry-led partnerships and initiatives to drive growth, leading to the formation of the Media Rating Company (MRC). Driven by the goals of Vision 2030 and a call from the industry for greater transparency and accountability, the MRC has announced the launch of Television Audience Measurement (TAM) in KSA in 2022, as Phase I of its initiatives. Nielsen is the data supplier chosen to partner with the MRC. Recent years have brought both challenges and opportunities across the media landscape globally. With the rise of new platforms and technology, audiences have continued to fragment and the need to measure them, wherever they are consuming content, has become ever more important. This is as true in KSA as it is anywhere. “Media budgets in all industries and in all markets have always been under pressure,” says Abdullah Alotaibi, head of corporate communications and PR at Saudi-based dairy giant Almarai. “With today’s connected world, audiences are more fragmented than ever. This adds to the pressure on marketers and communication specialists to optimise their budgets. To do so they need the right tools”. The MRC has been established to provide the media industry with robust, high-quality, goldstandard measurement data, consequently contributing to growth opportunities for all stakeholders involved, as we know from international market experience. The MRC is licensed by the General Commission for Audiovisual Media (GCAM). Bandar Al Mashhadi has been appointed as CEO of the newly established MRC. “I have a fundamental responsibility to listen and act on industry needs,” he says. “The MRC’s projects and initiatives will reflect back to the industry what they tell us they want, how they want to plan and buy media and how they want to understand content consumption, platforms and audiences.” To keep listening to and reflecting back industry needs, the MRC requires strong industry governance. This is done through the Industry Board, led by GCAM and made up of the most senior, influential leaders from media agencies, advertisers and broadcasters in the region. All the key players are represented; every organisational type has a voice and is invited to share in the collaboration, led by the MRC in order to bring to the industry a TAM system that is built to reflect their needs. Al Mashhadi says: “All key organisations should have a voice, from media owners to advertisers to media agencies. The Industry Board plays a key role in how the MRC plans our projects, advising

and consulting on initiatives and activities to ensure fair decision-making and transparency.” As the MRC develops and builds its projects, the executional decisions that drive the eventual data outputs are made by the end users. Today, the Industry Board and the MRC are supported by a Technical Committee, made up of the most experienced research and analytical minds from across the local media landscape. This smart team is engaged and active weekly, advising both the Board and the MRC on methodology and outcomes. “As an agency we are very excited to contribute to the success of the KSA TAM,” says Shadi Kandil, CEO of Mediabrands. “We are gearing up to upskill our teams to deal with the advanced nature of the data that will flow from the KSA TAM project, as we move from active to passive measurement and reporting on a per-minute basis. This provides us with unlimited opportunities to optimise campaign plans and derive higher efficiencies that will eventually drive better business results. This puts the spotlight on advanced skills in delivering efficiencies and not just relying on commercial muscles to achieve targets.” Kandil continues: “The importance of the KSA TAM is that it comes at a momentous time. The fact that it has the full support of the industry stakeholders, representing the media, the agencies and the advertisers, with the solid backing of the Saudi government, lends credibility and endorsement to the findings. This is crucial, as trust is a key factor in making use of the findings to make informed business and future investment decisions. The argument is not just about the health of the advertising industry but also the economy at large – as advertising expenditure is known to be a key contributor to GDP across the globe. Here in this region, we have long suffered from low per-capita advertising spend. It is our hope that the KSA TAM will act as a key lever to bring back confidence in measurement and accountability of advertising investments in driving business growth.” MRC has commissioned Nielsen Media to build the TAM service for Saudi Arabia. In its first phase, this service will bring robust, high-quality measurement of all linear TV viewing, all TV content streamed through a TV set, and census measurement of TV content viewed through linear and digital content providers, apps and players. It will be the first time audiences from these three sources will be combined to provide a holistic understanding of total audience engagement with TV content. In phase II, the service will broaden out to include individual mapping of personal devices and wider video measurement, allowing for cross-platform video measurement and generation of unduplicated reach and frequency Nielsen Media KSA, a newly formed business entity in the kingdom, is well into the build-out for this project. The full KSA panel will be 2,000 homes representatively covering 24 cities across Saudi. There will be a beta launch of data from the first installed homes by Ramadan 2022, with the full panel ready by July 2022. MRC has been driving communication with the Industry Board and involving the TechCom regularly in the decisions and progress of this exciting project for several months now, and will continue to do so. The education of the wider


“ALL KEY ORGANISATIONS SHOULD HAVE A VOICE, FROM MEDIA OWNERS TO ADVERTISERS TO MEDIA AGENCIES.” industry about how to use this data to drive their own businesses is in process. “In the past 30 years there have been several attempts to implement a measurement system that provides a truly representative account of the viewing habits of the residents of Saudi Arabia, says Kandil. “The upside of this long wait is that with the KSA TAM we are getting an advanced measurement solution that utilises state-of-the art technology in data capturing and follows stringent best-in-class practices in collecting, reporting and auditing the measurement process”. “TAM will provide a layer of viewership patterns which will impact how we plan and invest in TV. With the sizeable investments into TV, this will allow us to tap into other potential variables, which in turn will unlock opportunities to optimise TV spend”, says Alotaibi. “TAM should remove bias and automate end-to-end measurement. It will bring in more reliable data, which is important for both advertisers and broadcasters. Such quality data will help broadcasters to up their game in content production and will provide advertisers a better ROI.” By SARAH MESSER, managing director, Nielsen Media MENAP


November 28, 2021

The launch of KSA TV Audience Measurement is an evolution you need to know about, writes Nielsen Media’s Sarah Messer



very business in the region is looking towards Saudi Arabia. As the kingdom decisively – and quickly – moves towards the all-encompassing Vision 2030 goals, eyes and minds that are not already actively engaged in the country are considering their next move. The country is changing at an unprecedented rate; politically, socially, culturally – every imaginable area is touched by the advancements. Across the Saudi media landscape, the drive for change is at the forefront. One of the objectives of Vision 2030 is to develop media industries and strengthen their competitiveness internationally. In my article for Campaign’s Saudi Report this June, I looked in detail at the investments and innovations that have been earmarked to drive the industry. They are significant. As the Ministry of Media builds Riyadh Media City in the coming years, bringing together local and foreign investment across creative, content and advertising businesses, so will the industry shift gear and fuel even more growth and innovation. The Saudi government is supportive of any initiatives that bring knowledge and investment into the kingdom. The Ministry of Media runs multiple academies across a variety of media specialisms, to ensure they are increasing the talent pool, skills base and opportunities for students entering the workforce. Nielsen is one of the companies supporting the development of the Saudi media ‘brains trust’. At the start of this year we set up a local company, Nielsen Media KSA; by the end of this year, Nielsen will have employed more than 60 people, the majority of whom are Saudi Nationals or young people born and raised in Saudi. Nielsen is very proud to be the data supplier chosen to partner with the MRC in delivering this quantum leap in measurement to support the broadcast industry, as it takes this major step towards cementing its future in data-driven ad planning and content management. This first step will drive opportunities for everyone; it will challenge and change the way things have been done historically; and it will catapult the kingdom’s TV industry to a new level of growth. Audience measurement is the backbone of all media industries around the world. It is the trading platform by which the entire ecosystem functions, whether TV, digital,

radio, print or out-of-home. It is true that not all countries with measurement systems are covering all media types, but where measurement exists it is the very foundation of all planning, buying and selling, as well as providing the basis for informed decisions around programme strategy. I think it’s important to understand why. ‘Why now?’ is answered in the introduction to this article. There are other ‘whys’ for us to consider, though. If we look back at recent history, we can recall there have been other attempts to build audience measurement services in the region, which have failed. A good place to start then is: Why is this time different? To answer this question, we need to understand a core fundamental requirement of audience measurement. At the heart of any successful measurement system is the industry. When the industry aligns through an organised committee and agrees on how they want to plan and buy, then the right structure is in place for successful data adoption. Another ‘why’: Why will KSA TAM bring such enormous change to the broadcast industry? This is a question that you should ask of anyone working in an established TAM market where, on a daily basis, teams

LEAP of analysts and planners are digging into the overnight ratings data to understand their programme or campaign performance. Imagine a world where a broadcast content producer knows immediately the performance of the programme they have invested so much money in to air; where a scheduler can make strategic decisions about dayparts and days of the week based on granular audience understanding; where a media planner can use a wealth of metrics to determine and optimise against highly targeted audiences; where a buyer can negotiate prices based on robust minuteby-minute profiles and reach; where an advertiser can see clearly their target audience and know exactly how and when to get their messages in front of them. International advertisers demand accountability on this scale. It’s a game changer. The last ‘why’ I want to consider here could be considered controversial: Why should you care? Let’s be honest, change can be difficult and disruptive, right? There will be some within the industry who will resist change. I wish them good luck. Because things are changing. Things have been changing for a long time. Audiences have been fragmenting across screens and platforms for years, and the last 18 months of pandemic have been a catalyst for increased video consumption via digital screens. This is not a local phenomenon. At Nielsen, we have seen it in our measurement services around the world. It’s certainly not been to the detriment of TV and video consumption, however, as audiences are consuming more content than ever before; they’re spending more time with TV and video content, driven by more convenient ways to access it. TV is very far away from being a dying medium; as Nielsen, we can see from our 38 TAM services in other countries that TV is very much alive and kicking. The KSA broadcast industry understands that now, more than ever before, they need to be able to follow the audience and see what they’re consuming. They can only do that with strong, credible, transparent and robust TAM data. Part of Nielsen’s commitment, in partnership with the MRC, is to bring the industry with us, through education on how powerful this data will be and how it can support growth for the wider industry. The change isn’t coming; the change is already here. It’s time to embrace that change for the benefit of the entire media industry and in support of the goals of Vision 2030. By SARAH MESSER, managing director, Nielsen Media MENAP

November 28, 2021





November 28, 2021

IN PICTURES: MARCOMMS360 – PREDICTIONS 2022 Campaign hosted its flagship event, Marcomms360 – Predictions 2022, at Five Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. Speakers from a variety of companies and backgrounds addressed a packed ballroom, offering up their predictions for the year ahead and beyond. For more photos visit

November 28, 2021

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November 28, 2021


Campaign and TikTok for Business hosted marketers, agencies, other guests and at least one gate crasher at our first Industry Night in two years. Connections were made, debates raged and gossip was shared. And we took the opportunity to hand out mementos to the Marketing Game Changers named in our last issue. More photos on

November 28, 2021



November 28, 2021

THE NEW WORKWEEK: 20 PER CENT OFF? Active DMC’s Sawsan Ghanem explains the people and productivity at the heart of the move to a four day week


ovid-19 has affected so many things, so much of our lives and the way that we do, well, everything. And we know – even if it’s becoming a little tired – that how we work has been a point of discussion that has been accelerated by this pandemic. We love Zoom. It’s been an essential business and social tool for us throughout the last two years and we will continue to use it for all the amazing features it offers now and will in the future. But at Active DMC we were asking ourselves: How will we work in the future? What approach and format will we apply? What reasonably works in the region and the industry we work in? The objective throughout was to find a format that delivered the necessary productivity that the world of marketing and public relations demands and balance this with our team’s wellbeing and their work-life balance because this industry has been and is affected heavily due to the nature of what we do and the services we provide. The four-day week – to us – looked like the most attractive option. We felt that it worked in terms of staying operational when our clients were there, since a large majority of them are based overseas. It offered us the in-person attendance at the


By SAWSAN GHANEM, managing partner, Active DMC

office to retain and promote that sense of team spirit and collaboration that’s key to creativity as well as motivation, and it was more relevant for the region we work in, the present regulations around office space and visa allocations and the need for a trade licence for pretty much everything we do when working with any authority. You can’t escape the rent – at least for now. Our instinct was confirmed when we introduced this to our team, and since then we have all been working to this format and the benefits are certainly there, especially for team spirit and motivation. That’s been a great boost for us as an agency and it’s also been a huge factor when we are recruiting – and everyone is right now. There are lessons we have learned and are learning, and we knew this would be the case especially in the minutiae of mapping the present labour laws with the new working hours, leave calculations and other costs that aren’t directly associated with this. So, what we are doing now is

going through the process to balance our costs and benefits to ensure that we can stay the course. We are doing that in collaboration with our senior team so that we all understand the challenges as well as the benefits. Obviously, one key target audience was the clients, and they have not only been incredibly positive but they have also been supportive of the move, and we think they recognise that every organisation must evolve and review how they work and where they work as we move into this post-pandemic world. They are mostly in technology, and in most cases are helping their customers transform to a more mobile workforce, so they really get it. So, for any company thinking of doing this we would say it’s worth it. But… do the homework and maybe think about a trial period to allow time for any of the kinks to be worked out. Internal communications and a collaborative approach with your team are important and a commitment to the cause is necessary.


November 28, 2021

Purpose-driven marketing Heriot-Watt’s Paul Hopkinson examines the benefits and pitfalls


n an era when customers are often saturated by competing marketing communications messages and product offerings via multiple channels and media vehicles, often simultaneously, it has never been more important for organisations to find effective ways to cut through the noise and find a clear basis for differentiation. In recent years, buoyed by the growing climate crisis and environmental concerns among millennial customers and job seekers, businesses have been urged to look inwards and re-discover their sense of purpose. Being purpose-driven isn’t just about navel-gazing, however, and several surveys point to concrete business benefits. A recent Cone/Porter Novelli survey indicated that 66 per cent of consumers would shift from a product they typically buy to a new one from a purpose-driven company. Furthermore, Zeno’s 2020 global study stated that consumers are four to six times more likely to purchase from and champion purpose-driven companies. However, the research also shows that while 94 per cent of global consumers say they value companies with a strong sense of purpose, and are willing to reciprocate through brand loyalty, only 37 per cent believe today’s companies are working on their promise on this front. Accenture studies found 53 per cent of consumers who are dissatisfied with a brand’s words or actions on a socially relevant issue complain about it, with 47 per cent walking away and 17 per cent not coming back. In these times of digital-first and artificial-intelligence-driven targeted marketing, it is important to build a brand that resonates. While organisations often mention their wider social purpose, many fail to make concrete efforts to implement their aspirations and at worst their efforts are dismissed as ‘greenwashing’ or ‘white-washing’. It sounds obvious, but purpose is not something to which organisations can and should pay lip service. The leaders of organisations need to be able to have an honest dialogue with their stakeholders about the positive and negative societal, environmental and economic impacts of their business operations, throughout their supply chain. If an organisation is to be perceived as authentic, believable and sincere in its purpose to contribute to tackling global challenges, then it is important that staff throughout the business buy into this vision and are empowered to enact it. If internal stakeholders cohesively reflect company values and purpose, the organisation is on the right path. Employees are the backbone of any company, big or small, and beginning with them is equally important. Strengthening the company’s purpose over time, revisiting the core DNA, and developing it inclusively with all internal stakeholders is key and can be done through internal surveys and reports. The findings can then be used to further bond people among the siloed parts of the business, define strategies for customer outreach, encourage and nurture a diverse culture, and define and refine the core purpose in the business world. Implementing a purpose-driven strategy is imperative. An organisation’s purpose cannot be relegated to a CSR policy, department or function. All too often organisations’ CSR efforts play lip service to purpose by focusing on the need for compliance and the avoidance of harm rather than a fundamental desire to change society for the better or to stop being unsustainable. Purpose is an essential and

scalable, fundamental part of the business. Strategic CSR efforts complement the foundational purpose that lies at the core of the organisational strategy. Defining a company’s purpose through CSR will derail the efforts one needs to have an impactful, purpose-driven outlook, whereas scaling CSR and corporate philanthropy to purpose will uplift a company’s outlook in society and amongst the target audience. Purpose becomes an enduring commitment, while CSR initiatives can be added or removed according to wider global needs such as sustainability, climate change, natural disasters, medical emergency relief and others. From leading fashion brands shifting their production base to countries where labour is cheap and labour laws are more lax, to food and beverage industries being singled out for their treatment of delivery personnel, ‘cancel culture’ has risen to the fore. More so due to the now rapid propagation of information and news via social media. No company can get away with advocating policies or standards of behaviour that they themselves do not follow. Authenticity is therefore the order of the day. It is essential that firms are sincere in how they articulate their purpose and uphold it through their actions. There are many reasons – constitutional, moral, ideological – not to buy a brand based on the company’s actions. At best, this leads to brand avoidance or, at worst, damages the brand. So, it is important to not only stand for what you believe in but also have actions that showcase the purpose behind a company. Millennials, as potential employees or customers, have long been held to exhibit a strong bias towards ethically sound and purpose-driven organisations. However, the next generation of consumers, Gen Z, is expected to be even more inclined to support ethical and transparent businesses. A report by Fuse Marketing found brands that support social causes or are socially responsible are favoured most by the newest target consumer segment entering the market. 85 per cent of Gen-Z consumers are likely to trust socially responsible brands. 84 per cent are likely to buy their products, and 82 per cent will recommend that brand to their friends and family. Marketing with a practical, purpose-driven strategy is key in attracting this next generation of consumers and customers. A company’s work outside of manufacturing or services will be imperative in building brand loyalty, purchase and repurchase. Cultural awareness, diversity and inclusivity, ethnicity and sustainability concerns are often interwoven and present challenges that must be addressed if companies are to survive and thrive in today’s marketing context. A company’s purpose statement should not merely be a pledge that appears on company websites or annual reports. It should be a statement of intent that is actionable, achievable and speaks to the positive future societal, economic and environmental impact that the organisation intends to make. Every employee and every stakeholder must be well aware to make a greater impact on marketing strategies and to achieve set organisational goals. Purpose should be placed at the centre of marketing, core to driving the organisation’s growth and future.

“85 per cent of Gen-Z are likely to trust socially responsible brands. 84 per cent are likely to buy their products, and 82 per cent will recommend that brand to their friends and family.”

By Professor Paul Hopkinson, associate head of Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University Dubai and academic lead for Heriot-Watt Online.





November 28, 2021

Prism Digital’s Lovetto Nazareth examines how TikTok is revolutionising the way e-commerce will be done



he rise of TikTok is fascinating for a number of reasons. Who knew that the lip-syncing app would one day become the fastest growing social media platform in the world? With masses flocking to the platform, commoners and celebrities alike, TikTok is showing no signs of stopping any time soon. A few years back, people would argue whether the boom in TikTok’s popularity was sustainable or not, but the fast-paced video-driven platform has captured the market like no other social media platform could do. In the midst of its rapid growth and with a user penetration rate of 31 per cent in 2021, TikTok is no longer just a funky app for kids. It has become a money-making machine with unlimited opportunities for content creators and brands alike. A survey by Captiv8 revealed that more than two thirds of brands plan to launch a TikTok influencer marketing campaign. TikTok is now looking to venture into e-commerce as well, just like other social media platforms but with better aspirations and bigger prospects. Its recent partnership with Shopify to allow brands to sell directly through the app by giving them a shop-now option has been well received by its huge user base. Now the question is whether TikTok actually has what it takes to become an e-commerce hub or not. To evaluate that, we’ll have to dig deeper into its algorithm, its interface, the audience base and its offerings as a full-fledged e-commerce app. I believe the app has everything it takes to become a go-to e-commerce platform. In fact, I will go on to say that it has the potential to change the way e-commerce is done. The reason is that the typical e-commerce market is becoming overly saturated and people are showing signs of exasperation at being bombarded with well-knit advertising campaigns that they can’t actually connect with. THE RAW VIDEO FORMAT THAT PEOPLE CONNECT WITH Advertising campaigns are usually overly organised, showing perfection that people can’t relate to. However, it’s not the same with TikTok. Raw videos showing reality rule this platform and people are loving it. That’s why the connection between TikTok influencers and their followers is strong with a high level of trust. This could prove to be a transforming factor for other platforms as well because this is what people want from brands: to show reality with honesty and clarity. #TIKTOKMADEMEBUYIT You must have heard about this popular hashtag. It speaks volumes about TikTok’s influence over users’ buying behaviour. It has garnered more than 4 billion views with people sharing what they bought after seeing it on TikTok, sharing their experiences and interacting with each other. It is brewing a culture of interaction and collaboration, which in its true sense is the essence of the ‘traditional market’ that people loved. The market where people interacted, shared ideas, and made purchases. This concept was lost somewhere after contemporary commerce took over. People want that shopping experience – also known as community commerce – back, and

TikTok is offering exactly that. This would not only benefit TikTok in the long run but would force other platforms to amend their versions of the e-commerce experience. THE YOUNG AND EAGER USER BASE 60 per cent of TikTok users are between the ages of 16 to 20. That means TikTok is used by the generation that buys online the most. The platform managed to capture the segment of the market that is most active on social media and is more inclined to buy online. This gives TikTok a huge advantage. Moreover, younger generations love video; no other visual

‘‘THE PLATFORM CAPTURED THE SEGMENT THAT IS MOST ACTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND IS MORE INCLINED TO BUY ONLINE.” format can showcase a product better than video, and TikTok is made for videos. The combination of all these factors makes TikTok a perfect e-commerce platform. SEAMLESS ADS PLATFORM People are fed up with traditional ads because ads are disruptive, manipulative and unnatural. However, TikTok has changed that to some extent as well. The ad platform on TikTok is so organically integrated with content that viewers don’t even notice that they’re seeing an ad till the very end. TikTok ads are not about dragging people and forcing them to make a purchase. Ads on TikTok are so well merged with content that they become a part of the overall experience. This, as well, is soon going to affect other platforms as well because they will have to think of ways to make ads less disruptive and less annoying. AUGMENTED REALITY TikTok is planning to incorporate augmented reality to allow people to virtually test out products before even making the purchase. This can be a game-changer because even after so many years of continuous online buying, people are still concerned about the quality of products while buying online, and augmented reality can be an answer to that. Whether it is TikTok’s blending capabilities with other websites through APIs (application programming interfaces), in-stream shopping tools, seamless awareness to conversion loop, or TikTok’s live shopping feature, TikTok is doing everything to become the new e-commerce hub and is surely moving forward in the right direction. By LOVETTO NAZARETH, Director Prism Digital

November 28, 2021


rands and marketplaces: a marriage made in heaven, right? Let’s face it, they both need each other to survive. But working out how to navigate the new dynamics of selling on online marketplaces has been a dilemma for many marketing and sales directors in the past year. Retail has traditionally been exclusively the domain of trade marketers, but not anymore. Since the onset of the pandemic, the point of purchase has become the point of everything – especially for FMCG brands and previously siloed marketing functions, which have had to come together to combine skills to land their brand propositions in retail. This is especially true for those wanting to sell on multi-brand e-marketplaces such as Amazon, Noon and Instashop, among others. Partnership has always been at the core of successful shopper marketing at Liquid. When we talk partnership in commerce, we are referring to joint value creation. As shoppers continue their rapid online adoption, brands have had to react fast to chase sales. There are now very few categories left where shoppers are not exposed to online options and most new online shoppers have most likely first visited a multi-brand marketplace. However, in some ways it does feel a little like after the gold rush. If 2020 and 2021 were the years of a massive and sometimes hasty migration to online, then maybe 2022 will be the time for brands to adopt a more strategic approach to their e-commerce activities of working with agility, understanding and experience to establish new ‘joined-up’ marketing practices which seamlessly combine brand building, trade marketing and shopper marketing. Where to start? Firstly, the size of your brand doesn’t matter; the good news is that marketplace systems treat everybody the same. A listing is a listing, everyone is equal, but with smart planning some will become more equal than others. Logistics is a challenge. For those distributors used to shipping large volumes to customers, there’s the issue of having to supply products in much lower volumes. Of course, things are further complicated by the inevitable need to efficiently deal with returns (which are a much higher percentage when compared with offline), which all need to be reconciled and reported in real time. Brands’ sales teams and distributors need to be open-minded and ready to do things differently. In addition, it certainly helps to speak the same language – the right people with the right functional expertise talking to each other can fuel conversations that lead to success for brands entering the online retail space. It really matters now, because e-commerce has become a brand-building






‘‘E-COMMERCE HAS GONE FROM A CHANNEL TO SIMPLY BUY FROM TO A PLACE WHERE SHOPPERS CAN SEARCH FOR INFORMATION.” inspiration and brand-building via the brand’s own stores, fully embedded into their platform. E-commerce has gone from a channel to simply buy from to a place where shoppers can search for information and learn about the everyday products they need thanks to marketplaces. Sorry, Google, but it’s true. This is where joint value creation initiatives win because brands understand their categories better than anyone, trade marketers understand the channels in which they need to sell and marketplaces know their shoppers’ behaviour in real time. So, sharing insight can be a valuable game changer, going way beyond just the traditional transactional exchange. Yet, we believe to maximise opportunities brands need to be fully prepared. Here’s a simple checklist, which is great place to start: content, activation, ratings and reviews, search. Content is created to convert, providing a clear reason to buy and communicating to shoppers tangible benefits whilst overcoming shopper barriers, ideally created for commerce. Have an activation plan that inspires purchase. Promotional plans that make sense to both parties, and that bring innovation to a marketplace’s own calendar and functionality, whilst delivering a brand message. Ratings and reviews acquisition are important to enable peer-to-peer validation and provide reassurance before purchase. Finally, use search strategies that ensure products show up in the right place at the right stage of the path-topurchase. And in-platform budgets must be accounted and budgeted for. So, it’s time to get prepared, get the right expertise on your team and build the right partnerships inside and out, because it’s likely that online marketplaces will fuel brand growth for years to come.

THE POWER OF PARTNERSHIP Winning sales on e-commerce marketplaces with joined-up marketing. By Liquid Sachinn J Laala and Richard Nicoll

channel, especially in FMCG. However, things have become significantly more competitive, not just for brands but for marketplaces too. An example we can look to is the battle for shoppers in grocery aggregation in the UAE. That’s why we are seeing marketplaces stepping up their game when it comes to content and brand-building functionality. For example, at Amazon they’ve gone from providing the basics, pack shot and product descriptions, to providing helpful product education, opportunities for


By Sachinn J Laala, CEO, and Richard Nicoll, chief strategy and capability officer, Liquid



November 28, 2021

In the age of digital transformation, is luxury transforming digital? FLORIANE KAWKABANI, associate director, luxury, beauty and retail, DMS


y now it has been well established that the pandemic affected every aspect of our lives and changed our behaviour, preferences and priorities. Unable to physically interact with consumers, businesses had to rethink and re-strategise how to reach their customers in times of uncertainty. It is no secret that the pandemic accelerated the digital transformation of industries as they were reshaping their business models: e-commerce adaptation, delivery services and cloud kitchens, supply chains, digital acceleration, and the list goes on and on. The Covid-19 crisis accelerated the digitisation of customer interactions by several years, with the average share of customer interactions increasing by 59 per cent by July 2020 according to Mckinsey’s Covid Survey. One sector in particular that manoeuvred its way through the pandemic is the luxury industry. In the midst of it all, luxury has not only adapted but has also gained new consumers by elevating people’s understanding of digital and reshaping its entire industry by creating its own rules to manage through difficult times. The digital path to luxury is a long one, but it has already come a long way. So how did luxury go from being reluctant to join the digital world to setting the trend? LUXURY’S DIGITAL PIVOT First, a bit of retrospective on the evolution of luxury marketing over the past few years. Remember back in 2006, during the Devil wears Prada days, when print was at the core of every luxury brand’s media strategy? When luxury brands were still reluctant to make the shift to digital, as social was the evil new joiner and e-commerce was still considered to be another episode of Back to the future. Fast forward to 2013-2018 when consumers were younger and more tech savvy, and the number of digital touch points in the consumer decision making process were increasing year-on-year (According to McKinsey they tripled between 2014 to 2016). It was important for brands to follow their customers wherever they were (and we’ll get to develop on that


November 28, 2021

a bit later). This is where social media started gaining traction and brands started understanding its value as they were challenged to reach their future consumers and target more millennials and Gen Z. Yet a lot of brands were fighting the urge of going social and spending with digital publishers to make that digital shift. Their dilemma was between retaining the exclusivity of the high-end luxury experience or opening up to the world at large. Slowly but surely brands started riding the digital wave: display, video, digital content and influencers came into sharper focus and through digital, brands were able to measure growth and build on awareness. At that point they were still experimenting but the will to transition was there. In the region brands first approached publishers that had a solid editorial base and a strong understanding of luxury guidelines, such as OLN and Gheir, collaborating on editorial videos and big productions to localise content and be more relevant to the local consumer, and results were astonishing with millions of views reached and many videos reshared. If we were to compare the evolution of the luxury and media scene to a Netflix show it would be The Bold Type – the show that is basically an updated version of Devil wears Prada, where characters in a print magazine battle the shift to the new digital age and where a team of multicultural millennials thrive to make changes while still maintaining the old. POWER TO THE NEW GENERATION This show is the perfect example of how the fashion industry is moving forward. To reach Gen Z, brands began innovating and found digital to be the best way to reach newer audiences. In 2016, Cartier was the first to advertise on WeChat – the Chinese Instantmessaging platform – via influencers. Dior revived the ‘Saddle’ back in 2018 globally by launching a campaign on Instagram where models, celebrities and influencers were posting images sporting their Dior Saddle bag. Web searches for the bag were up 1000 per cent and generated massive store traffic. At the same time, audio came into play and brands began to associate themselves with music. For example, Burberry was one of the first brands that mastered bringing the two worlds together by supporting new talents. Alexander McQueen introduced playlists from his runway shows. Dior Beauty created a ‘Love’ playlist on Anghami to associate with Valentine’s Day. By linking themselves to music, brands were able to get up-close and personal with their audiences and keep them happy and engaged while gaining the ‘cool factor’ they had previously been missing. Gaming and NFTs also started becoming appealing to luxury brands, in their bid to attract new buyers. An example would be the Louis Vuitton x League of Legends World Championship Finals collaboration, and so on. The pandemic only accelerated these trends, as luxury brands were challenged to sell during dire circumstances, and without being able to extend the touch-and feel experience customers usually benefitted

‘‘While the shift to e-commerce was already planned, it was extended to complement the experience without losing luxury’s experience in leveraging all channels.”

from in store. Essentially, they were forced to innovate. This is where luxury’s own revolution started. While the shift to e-commerce was already planned, it was also extended to multiple services to complement the e-commerce experience without losing luxury’s unparalleled experience in leveraging all channels. Louis Vuitton hit record numbers in the first week of launching its new e-commerce site in the UAE; Tiffany introduced WhatsApp Business services; Chanel focused on its concierge service to continue reaching VIP clients during the pandemic. Some brands took it a step further by experimenting with AR, like Dior Perfume’s virtual store experience, which came up when no one could visit stores. It enabled users to virtually travel to their Champs-Elysees store for a unique retail experience. Every corner of the store can be seen and products on the shelves can be discovered through an information widget. It is so real, that you can almost smell every fragrance. Another example of digital creativity was Virgil Abloh’s Off-White all-digital fashion show in February 2021; where he launched the ‘Imaginary TV’ – a microsite to showcase his collection. Abloh also created an interface, sort of a digital remote control, where viewers can toggle through different channels and see artists, musicians and athletes riding skateboard and playing music, seamlessly wearing the brand. Abloh described it as “a way to connect with and generate” a global network, which brings together creativity while still invoking emotions. Luxury brands understood that there was no winning formula to gaining the trust of the new generation. Brands had to not only be real and relevant, but also reach consumers who now have a longer purchase journey. CONTEXT IS KEY As consumers are asking for ongoing novelties, millennials are leading the way and teaching older generations. The reality is that the customer experience will become the key driver and it won’t be a matter of digital touchpoints only, as the luxury sector is finding a way to balance between expanding to a unique digital presence while


still investing in a premium offline experience. With that in mind, capturing the user in real-time in the right mindset is what makes a difference. Millennials and Gen Z are used to online purchases, but still find pleasure in picking up an item from the store. Brands and publishers should work towards developing online and offline journeys simultaneously rather than one cannibalising the other. The purchase journey is no longer a funnel, and reaching users in the right context at any time is what will deliver ROI. Jamalouki is one of the first publishers that mastered the omnichannel approach, uniquely leveraging each platform to reach audiences differently. For its monthly cover, Jamalouki collaborates with brands and key opinion leaders launching first a digital cover on social, an interactive way to create a hype around the collaboration. A few days after, the digital cover is followed by the print release with a cover and the shoot using different creative. Throughout the month, a series of content pieces are launched on the website and Jamalouki’s social platforms – from a conceptual video to behind-the-scenes stories, to images catered for social only and different segments to highlight the collection. Each content piece is carefully curated to fit the audience and their behaviour on the platform to get better results, reaching users wherever they are. While other sectors focused primarily on conversions, luxury’s mantra remains brand-building, bridging awareness to performance. Luxury took the leap, by telling meaningful stories and becoming the first to innovate, test and adopt. The sector leveraged offline media to extend awareness to digital with impactful augmented reality executions and finally got up close on the ground through events. Brands are upping their game and the number of luxury events that are taking place across the GCC prove this point. From Armani bringing Coldplay’s Chris Martin for a mini concert, to Chanel having a cruise show repeat in Dubai with John Legend and Kungs as performers. This is the age of luxury. If the past year taught us anything, it is that people adapt, consumers evolve and behaviours change. Purchase habits are not set in stone. Luxury brands understood that it’s all about differentiation. Marketing strategies should be the perfect mix of digital connectivity while still going back to the traditional channels and mediums to create an immersive experience, which remains rooted in delivering heritage to the table. I WILL LEAVE YOU WITH THREE KEY TAKE-OUTS: The luxury consumer’s purchase journey is far from being linear. An omni-channel strategy might win you bigger gains. Brands need to acknowledge all customer touchpoints – online, offline and in-store – and adapt a unique experience to each. Go big if you want to get noticed. Print is still strong and digital empowers brands to individually tell their story and deliver a unique experience to customers.


November 28, 2021

CULTURALLY DISRUPTIVE COMMERCE VMLY&R Commerce’s Fabio Medeiro explores the relationship between culture, technology and creativity in digital commerce


his is not a piece on breakthrough technology, social selling, AI, AR or voice search for shopping. I’m not a technologist. I’m simply a very curious human being with lots of questions and probably not a lot of answers. But I’ll tell you what I do enjoy a lot: culture and human behaviour. So let’s talk about that. Culture and people, not technology alone, will mould commerce and how brands sell in the future. Big statement? Perhaps. But let’s talk. Technology is reshaping the world. How we live, how we work and, clearly, how we shop. Yet it’s how we adjust to it that truly matters. And in recent years the advancement of mobile phones and the easier access to data and internet connections have boosted e-commerce, enhancing and expanding the shopping experience. E-commerce hasn’t grown just because of its convenience and vast inventories. The likes of Amazon and Jumia understand consumers’ mindsets and their shopping behaviours in ways no high-street retailer has done before. The playing field is now limitless and completely focused on consumers’ needs and wants. Today, brands have started to understand that well. They are ceasing to be egotistical, self-centred animals with a lot to say, and starting to become humanised beings who listen and cater for how consumers behave. That means consumers’ lives and behaviours need to be at the centre of everything brands do to engage and sell. And it doesn’t have to be as deep as trying to answer the ‘Why do I need?’ question. That’s complicated (let me conveniently ignore that for now). It’s more about understanding what and when do I want it. Because, for areas such as FMCG, leisure or services, consumers more often than not know what they want and want it right now. Effectiveness and efficiency command the relationship. So, focusing on delivering the ‘what I

want, when I want’ will lead to more powerful propositions, making shopping more comfortable and easier. And isn’t that why agencies, exist? To make the relationship between consumers and brands easier? To help brands resonate and sell through creativity? Yes, I’m an agency guy. Now, back to technology and culture. Today, technology influences our everyday like never before, having a significant influence on how culture is shaped and behaviour evolves. Hence, we see technology being naturally added in all facets of culture including how we travel, how we consume and shop for food, how we participate in politics and, of course, how we produce and consume art. There’s no doubt technology has helped different cultures to reframe themselves and adapt to today’s world. It allowed nations and people to intermix. To learn from one another. And it seems like we indeed learned. Have you ever thought about how developing nations seem to have cracked the e-commerce basics for success even before the ‘e’ was added to the word commerce? And now the world is on board. For example, buying from a local retailer that knows exactly what you want has become data-driven CRM. Calling a local butcher for a quick meat delivery has turned into q-commerce. Having a credit line with a mom-and-pop shop to pay later is now a billion-dollar industry called BNPL (buy now, pay later). This last one is the latest true commerce disruptor, and one that could massively affect markets globally. Local cultural habits being legitimised and globalised by technology. Interesting, no? But now that technology is levelled


and accessible to most, how can the creative industry truly contribute to the advancement of commerce? Again, I’m not a man who has too many answers, but my gut tells me the focus should be on creating true valuable disruption at the intersection of culture and technology. Bringing positive tension to shopping moments. Unlike an interruption, disruption requires one to think, leading to a reaction that will pivot one’s behaviour in a tangible way. And, hopefully, trigger a connection or purchase. To wrap up this very long text, the acceleration of e-commerce has pushed businesses to adjust and adapt, converging the spheres of social media, e-commerce and advertising into one huge ecosystem. So, in this world where consumers want deeper relationships with brands, rethinking commerce and e-commerce experiences around technology, culture and creative disruption is a must to succeed. The key is to resonate, creating connections and providing consumers with a compelling reason to say, ‘I want that.’ Wait… now we’re getting into CX and shopping. A lot to say here as well, but let’s leave that for another conversation. When can we meet again? By FABIO MEDEIRO, strategy director, VMLY&R Commerce

November 28, 2021


hile it’s true that the Middle East was slow to adopt e-commerce, preferring to shop in stores than online, the pandemic has accelerated its adoption. Following various lockdowns, shoppers in the Middle East have come round to the convenience of e-commerce, while platforms have improved their usability and fulfilment. As a result, experts have been forced to adjust their estimates. Last year, the consultancy firm Kearney revised its predictions for the e-commerce market in the Gulf region from $21bn in 2020 to $24bn. By 2025, Kearney estimates, the market in this part of the Middle East will have doubled to $50bn per year. But there’s another opportunity on the horizon for brands and marketers looking to increase sales: social commerce. This next frontier builds on the success of e-commerce and promises to make social campaigns even more lucrative – and crucial to get right. #TIKTOKMADEMEBUYIT Brands already understand the power of social media when it comes to influencing sales. Particularly those who have been lucky enough to be part of the #tiktokmademebuyit phenomenon, whereby TikTokers share their latest purchase inspired by the platform. That tag now has more than 6 billion views on TikTok and an incredible 83 per cent of TikTok users say that trending content has driven them to make a purchase. Brands using influencer marketing also know how to engage and inspire potential customers, making meaningful connections with them. Last Eid, Vamp worked with department store Selfridges on an influencer marketing campaign. The authentic influencer content was transformed into Instagram ads to boost and better track conversions. We found a single influencer post was responsible for driving 141 customers to their e-commerce platform, which contributed £22,600 in sales. Social commerce gives marketers an opportunity to further close the gap between inspiration and purchase. Turning social browsers into buyers in a mere matter of taps, without ever leaving the social media app. If we can shorten that path to purchase, catering to those impatient customers with short attention spans, brands stand to see an even bigger sales lift. A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY The potential for brands to make sales off the back of a successful social campaign is huge, but particularly in the Middle East. Here in the UAE, 99 per cent of the population is on social media, one of the highest adoption rates in the world. Those users are spending an average of two hours and 55 minutes on social media every single day. Social commerce will help to turn this vast audience into shoppers with a smoother path to purchase, but that’s not the only benefit. Features such as augmented reality, where customers can virtually try on before they buy, and live-stream shopping, are upgrades within the social commerce space likely to be


IN THE MIDDLE EAST Tap into this lucrative market by building audience trust, advises Vamp’s head of Middle East Karl Mapstone.



popular among the Middle East’s digitally savvy consumers. HOW TO WIN THE S-COMMERCE RACE Instagram and TikTok have pioneered social commerce, and they’re continually finetuning it. Instagram’s new ‘drop’ feature, for instance, enables customers to participate in high-buzz, limited-stock releases from retailers – all without leaving the feed. The key to convincing social media users to impulse-buy a product is trust. Whether they’ve been thinking about a purchase for a while or have just discovered the product, their willingness to tap ‘buy’ depends on whether they believe the product will look or work the way the social media content suggests it will. Polished ads or sponsored content are popular solutions, although it’s not unusual for users to scroll right by them. Genuine reviews and organic recommendations also boost trust in a product, but there’s little brands can do to generate these besides delivering on their promises. The most effective approach is to work with influencers. Their endorsement of a product carries real sway among their followers, building that all-important trust. Brands can also fit influencers into their larger marketing strategy, leveraging the creative, thumb-stopping content they produce as advertisements on the social platform and beyond. Analysts predict that social commerce will grow at an astonishing 31.4 per cent compound annual growth rate until at least 2027. At that point, the global social commerce market will be worth an estimated $604.5bn. For brands that are looking for a piece of that success, now is the time to get started.


November 28, 2021


Brand New Galaxy’s Darko Bosiljčić looks at why it is important to watch the numbers


o marketing decision should be made without proper data analysis, as simple as that. It’s too important a topic to be ignored, while at the same time it is a complex environment to jump into, not knowing where to begin, how to advance or how to combine data and convert it into meaningful information. Today, data complexity has become an advertiser’s biggest challenge. Someone has rightly said, “Data is what you need to do analytics; insights are what you need to do business”. Here at Brand New Galaxy, we have unjumbled the complexity through a simplistic e-commerce data-management approach.

It might be useful to begin by understanding the data-source landscape and its benefits. The number of data sources in the e-commerce world are varied, but let’s cover some major ones. E-retailers Some e-retailers are more advanced than others in terms of collecting data and more open to sharing data. At this point, without doubt, Amazon is leading the way with brand analytics for deeper knowledge around on-platform shopper behaviour including search terms, repeat purchase or basket data. In addition, third party tools like SKAI (previously Kenshoo) provide share of voice analytics and advanced campaign reports. Amazon also keeps updating its data arsenal and, going by recent reports, may introduce brand metrics from spring 2022, which will allow benchmarking against peers in the category or measure shopper engagement rate, amongst other things. The amount of data might be overwhelming though, and you may need a doctorate in data science to make sense of it, but luckily data is also available through APIs (application programming interfaces). In other words, more digestible dashboards could be built for specific business objectives that simply filter out the noise. With Amazon, now available across three countries in our region, data learnings have been used by advertisers across other platforms that struggle with collecting and sharing e-commerce data. On the other side, we have new-age e-retailers and aggregators like Instashop and El Grocer in the UAE, and Hunger Station and Nana in KSA. These e-retailers are also interesting in the way they populate and share their data. For example, the importance of shopper purchase habits or media attribution. Then, we have others that are picking up gradually and finding ways to shape more advanced analytics products on data, and sooner or later will have to open their walled gardens, besides sharing basic post-campaign reports. Digital shelf-management tools These include Profitero, Edge, and Brand New Galaxy’s proprietary tool Synthrone. The story is pretty straight forward: regular data that one gets will focus on fundamentals of any e-commerce tracking across multiple e-retailers and markets. Is my product listed? If yes, is it in or out of stock? Is my content properly implemented? What is my share of search in a given category? How are my ratings and reviews? How do my prices compare with competitors? There is plenty of data out there, but we need to know when and what type of data we will

need. This is influenced largely by the advertiser’s data maturity curve and how equipped are they to use it. You also need to be sure that your organisation is equipped with talent that is going to digest data and create strategic action plans and naturally optimise operational excellence in a way that they can react faster to market dynamics. Regardless of the mix of analytical data matrix and where an organisation starts the journey, the real power of analytics is in actionable conclusions that comes in few forms. The main benefits of real-time data tracking are speed of knowledge and opportunity to react fast in given circumstance (e.g. optimising a campaign in case you are out of stock, or the competition is running promotion that can kill your product sales). Post-action analysis is great for lessons learned and overall future-planning of actions. And specific targeting is specific tactical analysis that should target one segment of the e-commerce ecosystem (such as a basket suggester, or cross-sell and up-sell analysis). At BNG we would advise to follow best practices based on actual learnings from some of the big spenders in our region on e-commerce. 1. DISCOVER. Create product segments (based on product performance, market trends, and competitors’ activities) and prepare further recommendations adjusted to a specific group of products. 2. IMPLEMENT. Execute recommendations. 3. MONITOR. Track the performance of your products over time with the support of custombuilt dashboards. Define your main competitors and KPIs (listing position, search visibility, prices, sales, conversion, traffic, content completeness, share of voice, and others). Create automated notifications when urgent actions are required (e.g. the launch of a new product by competitors requires an aggressive advertising strategy targeted on specific keywords); 4.MEASURE. Measure the isolated effect of the implemented changes. Check whether your products have achieved the benchmarks for predetermined KPIs. Rearrange the strategy to the changing market and competitors’ strategies when needed. Despite the multiplicity and complexity of data sources, a structured framework around data collection, data analysis and insight generation can go a long way in generating meaningful business impact. At the end of the day, it’s all about connecting the dots.

DARKO BOSILJČIĆ, business operations director, Brand New Galaxy MEA

November 28, 2021

WITH YOU ALL THE WAY Digital maturity comes with personalisation at scale, writes Emakina’s Victor Madueno


igitalisation has revolutionised businesses across the world. Within that, real-time customer engagement will be the key focus point for the majority of CMOs. In fact, we’re now facing a ‘personalise or perish’ kind of world, where we expect brands to tailor their content to us at all times. According to SmarterHQ, 72 per cent of consumers say they now only engage with marketing messages that are personalised and tailored to their interests. The same report highlights that 80 per cent of those who classify themselves as frequent shoppers say they only shop with brands who personalise their customer experiences. And to top it off, 70 per cent of the pickiest segment of them all, millennials, say they are increasingly frustrated with brands sending them irrelevant and impersonal marketing content. Consumers have spoken – and it is pretty clear that personalisation dramatically influences sales and brand loyalty. Data-led, individualised experiences are therefore key to driving long-term growth.

BUT WHAT EXACTLY IS PERSONALISATION AT SCALE? Simply put, it’s the ability to speak to a million customers, one at a time. Using data, AI and machine learning, brands can engage with their audiences on a personal level by delivering tailor-made experiences, messages and offers across their entire customer journey. Even better, thanks to data, brands can start predicting and foreseeing customer needs. We’ve always talked about ‘good marketing’ being a campaign that is delivered at the ‘right place, right time’. With the rise of data and customer data platforms (CDPs), brands are now geared up to take this ‘right place, right time’ to extremes through personalised content. As a brand personalises its customers’ journeys, it leads to growth and improvement in the customer experience. FROM CAMPAIGN-FOCUS TO CUSTOMER-FOCUS Long gone are the days when marketers could rely solely on campaigns. Today, the traditional roles of customer engagement have to change in order for brands to reap the benefits of hyperpersonalisation. A campaign-centric approach will only ever address the ‘right here, right now’ relationship between a brand and a consumer. Additionally, campaigns are more often than not time-sensitive and are used at specific moments throughout the year, like the holiday season for example. A customercentric approach will serve a much longer purpose and will often be ‘always on’. With personalisation comes the understanding of the lifetime value of a customer, where she sits within the journey, and what next best actions the brand can take to enrich the customer’s experience – and this is throughout the full 365 days of the year. With multiple touch points for customer engagement in today’s omnichannel retail world, and with enormous volumes of data at our disposal, how both are leveraged to redefine the customer experience makes all the difference. THE POWER OF DATA, DECISION AND DISTRIBUTION The first step for any brand to start the personalisation process is to draw on the power of its data to gain real insights on itd customer preferences, aspirations, interests and needs. But this is by no means a simple task, since many organisations’ data continues to sit in department silos that operate totally independently. Proper use of data suggests having an integrated approach, with a unified model of data analytics and CEOs, CTOs and CIOs working in unison. This requires brands to invest in robust CDPs that can store, analyse and track all of the transactional, behavioural and aspirational data reeling in. A CDP must be agile and part of the brand’s larger digital ecosystem in order to drive individual customer targeting and personalisation.


The second step is to have automated decision-making protocols, which will help track customer insights in real time and drive action. It is crucial for companies today to realise that the marketing function is a ‘live entity’, as opposed to one that must operate within the rigid structures of a year-end plan. The third important step is to ensure you have a content distribution system that is primed to be always-on and responsive, providing hyper-personalised content across all the different channels of customer engagement. A ROBUST PERSONALISATION-ATSCALE STRATEGY In short, an organisation needs a personalisation-at-scale strategy that can draw on multiple data points simultaneously, an organisational culture that works seamlessly as one entity, and a creative, digital-first content approach


that is focused on what is relevant to their customers. Robotic content that instantly comes through as chat-bot-driven will hardly add to the customers’ experience and low-quality content will drive them further away. The content must therefore be tested regularly, its tonality redefined to engage your customers in a manner that builds trust and loyalty. All this means organisations must invest in a strong personalisation strategy that takes into consideration the business prospects both short-term and long-term. In an intensely competitive environment, with customers that have multiple choices to explore, you only get one opportunity to win them over. And if you can do that through a clearly structured personalisation approach, you also stand to retain them and build loyalty. Let’s remove all awkward moments with our customers; don’t let your business meet your customer for the first time every time. By VICTOR MADUENO, client service director at Emakina MENA


November 28, 2021

By VISHAL BADIANI, creative strategy lead for MENA at Snap


ost businesses today are spending a great deal of time and money making their businesses work in the digital world we live in. They have mobile apps, or at least mobile-friendly web pages. Up-to-date pricing and stock availability. Reliable delivery and returns policies. They may even have reviews and loyalty programmes. Unfortunately, I’m here to tell you this isn’t enough. These table stakes are enough to compete. To play the game. But if you want to win, especially in a region like MENA, where you have some of the most mobile-savvy shoppers anywhere in the world, the digital experience cannot simply be transactional. Businesses must think about how they build their brands online, and acknowledge that consumers now demand to discover, evaluate and trial products and services online – not just purchase. It’s part of a trend many refer to as the ‘convenience economy’, and it’s not going away. It all comes back to building customer experiences that offer people ways to actually enjoy shopping. Like in a physical retail environment, online shoppers want to see what products look like in their own environment or on their own bodies. They want to be able to quickly and easily find out more information about where products are sourced and the inspiration behind the brand. They also want to be able to share this shopping experience with friends, on mobile, any time and from anywhere. As a result, creating an e-commerce journey that is immersive and engaging is what will set tomorrow’s leaders apart from the pack. This is where augmented reality (AR) comes in as the next big digital disruptor for all businesses looking to grow their share of online sales.

CREATIVITY AND CONVERSION This year alone, there’s been a swell of new research into the impact of AR across the e-commerce funnel. Many consumers already value AR in the shopping experience, and more will grow to expect it in the days ahead. In one global study, we found that more than half of consumers actively search for AR experiences – a high number for the nascent technology. More than three in four believe AR technology will play a role in how people shop in the next five years. We’ve also found that AR delivers almost twice the levels of visual attention compared with non-AR equivalents. Locally, the business opportunity is all the more substantial. Almost all of the Gen Z and millennial population in Saudi Arabia and the UAE are anticipated to be frequent AR users by 2025. The potential of AR in retail specifically will only grow in the next decade. Around three in four consumers in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, for example, say that they can successfully identify AR when they see it, and nearly four in five expect and desire to use AR as a practical ‘tool’ in their everyday lives. Interacting with products that have AR experiences has thus been found to lead to a 94 per cent higher conversion rate. Seeing this potential, our teams at Snap and our partners across the region are making it easier, faster and more efficient to develop quality AR campaigns that support e-commerce business and brand goals. Through the continued expansion of Snap’s Lens Studio and the release of new resources such as the Snap Global Creator Hub, it’s never been easier for businesses to build their products in 3D and serve these products as AR experiences to the right shoppers, at the right time. With years of research and development investment focused on AR, Snap has also been able to ensure the highest fidelity and quality AR experiences for brands. This has been essential to creating truly immersive, interactive and memorable experiences. Today, the use of AR can facilitate virtual try-ons, catalogue browsing, showrooming and much more. Just this autumn, the launch of a new global creative studio for branded AR – Arcadia – further underscores the investments being made in this ecosystem, delivering impactful experiences that are platform-agnostic and can live across platforms, web and app-based AR environments. Looking at things holistically, it’s clear that e-commerce in MENA still has plenty of headroom for growth. Meanwhile, consumers have shown that they are eager for more immersive and engaging online shopping experiences – and will reward brands that offer these. The myth that AR is little more than dog ears and rainbow stickers has evaporated as consumer-first marketers and agencies realise the use cases for AR across retail segments. It is no longer about if you should be thinking about AR in your e-commerce strategy; it’s about how.



E-commerce evolves to deliver a meaningful, mobile-first retail experience through augmented reality, writes Snap’s Vishal Badiani


November 28, 2021


By REHAM MUFLEH, general manager, Horizon FCB Dubai

Horizon FCB’s Reham Mufleh explains how her agency and DHL Express put the digits into digital commerce to showcase the transportation service’s e-commerce platform

A ‘‘We created the idea of the finger-tapping action and recreated an American shopping street diorama in perfect miniature form, and made an actual finger the ‘face’ of the DHL e-shop experience.’’

ccording to McKinsey, 10 years of e-commerce adoption was compressed into three months during the pandemic, and the options were infinite. How about creating, designing and launching your own e-commerce platform? DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa had launched its DHL Africa e-shop in 2019 to promote online shopping and provide shipping solutions to African countries where some websites might not have been delivering. The e-commerce service connected online shoppers from 34 African countries with more than 200 UK and US shopping sites by integrating the existing online retail and brokerage platforms developed by ‘MallForAfrica’ and DHL Express’s global logistics network. It shipped direct orders from those international retailers to the buyers across the network. Following the success of the Africa launch, DHL MENA decided to launch the same product in North Africa and later on in the GCC markets. From $26.9bn in 2018, the estimated e-commerce sales in MENA were expected to reach $48.6bn by 2022, with a growth of 19.8 per cent in 2020 alone during the pandemic. The objective of the DHL MENA e-shop was to provide a shopping solution for our region, open a world of retail opportunities from the USA and the UK; and create a B2C e-commerce platform that allowed shoppers to browse and shop for their favorite brands from America, their top shopping destination, with the tap of a finger. It’s so fast and convenient it’s like you’re actually shopping in an US neighborhood. DHL was offering a great advantage for our region, where 66 per cent of online shoppers in the Middle East purchase from businesses outside the region. The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt make up 80 per cent of MENA’s e-commerce market. Therefore, we started with the North African launch that targeted the Egyptian and Moroccan markets using a solid local insight to build our creativity around humour in their daily lives. Later on, we chose a different approach for the GCC markets based on another insight: simplicity. And how do you bring simplicity creatively into e-commerce? We created the idea of the finger-tapping action and recreated an American shopping

street diorama in perfect miniature form, and made an actual finger the ‘face’ of the DHL e-shop experience. The campaign was launched with one main film that focused on fashion and beauty, the biggest segment in e-commerce. Then we developed three personalised and targeted films showing different shopping situations that spoke to different needs: mums with children, sports enthusiasts and automotive aficionados. Bringing together data, creativity and technology to form the needed equilibrium was essential to have the perfect launch for the new DHL e-shop app. Offering desired shopping experiences – always with a tap of a finger. In partnership with a director with extensive stop-motion experience, an actual architect, a civil engineer and a graphic designer, all based in Toronto, the film was planned and managed remotely from Dubai with precision, creativity and fun. When it came to the filming, it was essential to showcase every hand-made detail. To achieve this, for example, the team researched American streets to make the landscape as authentic as possible. Moreover, all the elements on set were hand-made and to add an extra touch of realism, lampposts, drain covers and fire hydrants were all 3D-printed. Attention was paid to every detail, including the smoke coming from the grates, the animated billboards, the green-screen skyline. We even designed graffiti through the alleyways, allowing the viewer to enjoy the diversity, the action and the reality of the street. The addition of 2D animation and personalised sound effects created an extra dimension, as they transformed the fingers into unique characters. The result was a beautifully crafted series of films, banners and posts that captured the imagination of shoppers and encouraged them to take action, download the app, tap and shop. The campaign was a great success, delivered its KPIs and was one of the most engaging campaigns that DHL had experienced in MENA. Most importantly, the personalised targeting was also very new to the company, since this was the first time that DHL MENA targeted consumers versus the traditional B2B approach. Hence the success was notable in learning and sales. The finger-tapping campaign that was created and launched for Saudi Arabia exceeded the total traffic to the site that Africa previously garnered in two years – in just three weeks. Never finished, and following the success of the DHL e-shop campaign, more enriching experiences are being designed for the consumer in the MENA region.



November 28, 2021

PARTY PLANNING Twitter’s Benjamin Ampen examines using the festive season to reinforce client loyalty in e-commerce


s the festive sales season approaches, several brands are prepping their e-commerce businesses to keep up with strong consumer demand forecasts. People are seeking to reconnect with their loved ones with celebrations that may compensate for those dampened by Covid-19 restrictions in 2020. Despite indications of accelerated spending throughout Q4, brands still face unique challenges in the wake of the pandemic. They need to consider digital and marketing strategies to engage with consumers during the festive season in order to create lasting connections. The shift in retailer, supplier and shopper behaviour caused by the pandemic has notably led to increased competition, which will be evident during the last quarter of the year. Covid-19 accelerated digital transformation and led to a surge in e-commerce as companies scrambled to maintain customers. The corresponding increases in online traffic also provided an opportunity for brands to engage with audiences through digital marketing. Even after restrictions were lifted, consumers continue to see convenience as a priority when it comes to online shopping, thus reinforcing e-commerce and digital marketing activities as a priority for brands. As the festive season approaches, we have received clear signals that brands will increase their ongoing ad spend and push additional promotional campaigns online. This is starting early this year as brands are incentivising early shopping with attractive promotions to hedge against shipping delays that are exacerbated by pressured supply chains. An earlier sales season coupled with a more crowded digital marketing space means that brands need to define efficient media and marketing strategies. Brands need to keep their marketing focused to stand out and keep costs efficient. By reaching out to an individual with a message that strikes a chord at the right time on the right platform, brands can attain both of these objectives. This is the perfect time for connecting with prospects and to create deeper connections with customers. Brands can tailor the online experience to better target consumers looking to buy gifts for friends and family. There is also a strong

‘‘DESPITE ACCELERATED SPENDING THROUGHOUT Q4, BRANDS STILL FACE UNIQUE CHALLENGES IN THE WAKE OF THE PANDEMIC.” emotional correlation with the shopping experience during the festivities that can reinforce customer loyalty. It is especially important, therefore, to create a forum where brands and consumers can interact, such as leveraging social commerce to be distinct. A recent Twitter Insight survey with audiences in Saudi Arabia found that 33 per cent of respondents already use Twitter as their first go-to place to research products, and 37 per cent use it to learn about sales promotions and offers. In light of this information, Twitter has developed several solutions to reach new audiences to drive conversations, loyalty and curious customers towards their products. With app installs and app re-engagement campaigns, existing users can preview, install or open apps directly from their timelines with Tweets that are optimised for the mobile marketplace. Retailers who rely on their app to drive conversations can now directly engage and rely on their app to drive conversions. Twitter’s Carousel features

multiple images and videos in a single ad, allowing marketers to seamlessly transition through various products, highlight specific features or tell a brand story. Carousels are highly customisable so that marketers can drive the right actions for their audience. Looking ahead with product innovation, in the context of social commerce, Twitter seeks to seamlessly blend advertising and discussions between brands and consumers by launching its new Shop Module, a dedicated space at the top of business’ profiles to showcase their products. People can select a product from a carousel to learn more and purchase seamlessly in an in-app browser. The Shop Module presents an opportunity to showcase product versions in a dedicated space above the fold, marking a space with high visibility and impact that targets the right person. This helps develop a brand’s official presence with dedicated pages linked to a Professional Profile to centralise interactions with users – and directs clear calls to action to shop in the most relevant place. The product is currently in the pilot phase in the USA. During the festive sales season, this is a game-changer because it attracts highly engaged users with an innovative, high-impact ad placement to create a space where brands and users can easily interact. Twitter also offers several ad solutions to identify which profiles will perform the best and optimises targeting for the highest impact. An integrated strategy reinforces other e-commerceoriented solutions, making it a powerhouse for brands looking to develop their e-commerce footprint. By BENJAMIN AMPEN, managing director MENA, Twitter

November 28, 2021


THE FUTURE SHOPPER IS HERE, NOW Wunderman Thompson’s Faysal Abdul Malak delves into recent e-commerce research from the agency


n the past, we defined e-commerce as an online purchase enabler which was transactional and functionally led. Today it is an integral part of the whole customer experience, which defines a brand’s essence. Moving forward, it will continue to expand and evolve to become even more entrenched in our day-to-day lives. Now, more than ever, things are changing at an incredibly fast pace and brands are trying to keep up. I recall, not long ago in 2014, we were helping clients put business cases behind developing an e-commerce platform and having to justify such an investment, with discussions centred on the technical aspects, along with debates about whether consumers will even engage with an online purchase transaction. Fast-forward to today, and we are designing the whole customer experience and commerce sits at the centre of that journey, which is not linear anymore. This experience is what defines a brand. It truly dictates whether the brand will grow or be left behind. ‘Brand loyalty’ has shifted to ‘experience loyalty’. If we look at some of the findings from our recent in-depth study conducted in the UAE and other global markets, one can see how this holds true. Innovative omnichannel shopping

experiences are what shoppers crave, and they will not shop with businesses that don’t meet their expectations. 73 per cent say retailers need to get better at giving them the products, services and experiences they expect. 64 per cent prefer to shop with brands that have both an online and offline presence. Consumers are hungry for digitally advanced ways of shopping, and businesses need to think outside the box about how to sell in an omnichannel environment that includes voice, contactless tech and even gaming. 66 per cent wish brands and retailers would be more digitally innovative Marketplaces are doing it better through inspiration, search and transaction, and they’re successfully diversifying their offering. 42 per cent of all online spending is via marketplaces such as Amazon. 50 per cent find their inspiration in marketplaces; 47 per cent from search engines; 32 per cent on social. Despite marketplaces dominating, D2C still has an important role to play – but there’s work to do. 70 per cent wish brands and retailers offered services similar to Amazon Prime. 15 per cent of all online shoppers said they were more likely to buy directly from the brand they wanted. 49 per cent said they are worried about Amazon dominating the retail landscape.

Brands need to focus on the customer experience above all else by having a unified omnichannel strategy that makes full use of the latest tech and tools. Every touchpoint of the customer journey, including brick-and-mortar stores, has a role to play in complementing each other rather than competing. And even though Amazon does it better, consumers prefer to engage directly with brands – so the opportunity is growing. Keep exploring and building new partnerships while still driving your brand’s own unique offer. Think of it like a puzzle, with each piece having a role to play and coming together to form the bigger picture. I believe the next few years will be both exciting and bright for brands. Just think of all the possibilities for brands in the virtual world and the role of commerce. The combination of creativity, tech and data will enable them to be even more relevant in consumers’ day to day lives. And marketers need to capitalise on this by getting ahead of the game rather than continuing to do more of the same. Drive inspiration, be relevant and continue to push the boundaries while maintaining a cohesive approach. After all, the future shopper is here now. FAYSAL ABDUL MALAK, managing director, Wunderman Thompson


November 28, 2021


OMG’s Karim ElGohary lays out a roadmap to engage with online consumers


ENA consumers are amongst the most digitally connected in the world, with 99 per cent mobile penetration, 3.5 hours a day on average spent online and interaction with more than eight social media platforms during any given month. So how can we best influence consumers from the online discovery phase through to transaction to drive business results? Here are dive key ways to connect discovery with transaction.


WINNING IN SEARCH ON AMAZON As an online business, if you’re not leveraging Amazon to sell products then you’re not just missing out on the opportunity to profit through sales but also limiting your access to a wealth of data. Each month more than 215 million users access Amazon globally to discover and purchase new products, and this number increases with key seasonal events such as Cyber Month. Amazon is the window to your brand as more than 60 per cent of product discovery now begins on Amazon globally, so it’s essential to be present to be considered in the path to purchase.


FACEBOOK COLLABORATIVE ADS AND SHOPS This performance-marketing format enables brands who don’t have their own e-commerceenabled website to activate prospecting and remarketing campaigns in collaboration with leading retailers in the region like Noon and Mumzworld. This solution enables brands to target audiences on Instagram and Facebook and drive them seamlessly to the point of purchase. Brands can engage with audiences who have browsed their product catalogue or pages, added their item to a basket or purchased. Now brands can even target audiences who visited the total category within the retailer environment to focus on building engagement and sales from new shoppers. If you have your own e-commerce-enabled platform you can scale awareness of your offering on Facebook Shops and Instagram shopping, tapping into the 60 per cent of global users who discover new brands and products through social. Facebook Shops provides brands with the opportunity to stand out visually in users’ newsfeeds and helps drive conversions with successful targeting through to the point of purchase.


LIVE SHOPPING VIA SNAPCHAT AND TIKTOK China is a proof case for the success of live shopping, which resulted in a CAGR of more than 280 per cent between 2017 and 2020 to reach an estimated $171bn in 2020. Live shopping is when a brand leverages live streaming solutions to highlight its product range, new product releases or limited-time offers, encouraging action towards a purchase. Social platforms such as Snapchat and TikTok are taking charge in this domain by experimenting with their platforms’ capabilities to attract users by offering a much-shortened shopper journey. Snapchat just recently announced its Creator Marketplace, which allows brands to connect with influencers and hosts to create product-focused augmented content and experiences for its users. Users access their favourite influencers’ stories and posts and through Screenshop can identify the products that their influencers are using without having the influencer mention it, thus removing any friction within the user’s shopping journey. TikTok has been testing pilots with retailers, primarily in the US, when it comes to live-stream

shopping, and the results seem to show great promise. How it works is that TikTok will host a virtual event (livestream) where products will be displayed, allowing users the opportunity to purchase through the stream seamlessly. Walmart is the only large-scale retailer in the US that TikTok has partnered with, with the collaboration netting seven times the number of predicted views. It grew Walmart’s following by 25 per cent and resulted in a total of two events being hosted by the retailer.


CONVERSATIONAL COMMERCE Conversational commerce leverages communication channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Live Chat solutions to engage with consumers on a personal level and drive them through the funnel to purchase using AI or chatbot-powered tools and trained customer service agents. Conversational commerce can be integrated on a reactive basis supporting consumer queries on product queries, shopping experience, customer service and general brand enquiries, alongside a proactive basis by triggering conversations with website visitors to encourage conversion to purchase with shopper incentives and product recommendations. Just look at Facebook’s collaboration with L’Oréal. The platform saw great success with L’Oréal Malaysia during a 12-hour virtual beauty festival on Facebook Live using conversational commerce to engage and convert purchases. The results were outstanding, with more than a month of sales achieved in 24 hours.


BUY-IT-NOW MEDIA FORMATS Shoppable media formats are set to become the fastest growing advertising category, with growth of 40 per cent in 2020. Shoppable media formats enable users to engage directly with the display or video advertisement and seamlessly add the advertised products to baskets, reducing friction in the path to purchase. Adimo has a range of solutions to optimise your communications from discovery to purchase. Businesses that optimised their path to purchase or integrated shopability into media formats have seen an increase in conversion rates by as much as 42 per cent. Now is the time to invest in unlocking communication plans that clearly link discovery through to purchase to unlock incremental sales growth online in 2022. By KARIM ELGOHARY, e-commerce executive at OMG Transact eCommerce MENA

November 28, 2021




he definition of social commerce, once simply understood as the entire shopping experience taking place on a social media platform, has become a little complicated. As the lines between social and digital blur, industry confusion has been exacerbated by the limited uptake of adoption. Even during the pandemic, outside of China and the US, less than 30 per cent of internet users globally have made a purchase on a social platform in 2021 (according to eMarketer), while Instagram Checkout is available to fewer than 30 global brands. This uncertainty has caused brands to focus all their efforts and resources on building out robust, standalone e-commerce experiences instead of prioritising and investing in bringing their brand and products to life on social. But there are a number of indicators suggesting that this is the wrong move. While I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be a site that consumers can visit to gain more detailed information or to transact, the importance of social media in the customer journey is rapidly

SOCIALLY AWKWARD increasing. Brands need to rapidly adjust to meet this growing demand, to focus energy and expertise on social media as the primary driver of online sales. There is evidence to suggest that the more they do it, the more effective they’ll be at addressing changing consumer needs in the long run. The first indicator is the shift from the return-on-advertising-spend-measured conversion campaigns to purchases made as a result of influencers and creators with clout, that produce more entertaining and unique content and build demand for products faster than ever before. The obvious example is #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, where influencers and users on TikTok are driving massive sales for products based on rudimentary demos and authentic reviews. This idea of community commerce, where social media users are exposed to products through other users, can not only drive sales but also increase retention and loyalty through shared interests and values. This makes e-commerce more about conversations, about buying into the brands you love, instead of just transactions. The second is how the experience of shopping is changing. The pandemic accelerated innovation in this area, but we’re seeing increased demand for more interactive and streamlined experiences that allow potential customers to get

We Are Social’s Brittany Wickerson explains why, despite a slow start, a social commerce strategy needs to be your new e-commerce plan

closer to brands and products. Livestream shopping and shoppable video create more personalised and engaging experiences. Unlike the home shopping networks of the past, these new experiences are augmented with trusted reviews from influencers and communities that help to move more people along the journey even faster. We also know that apps like WeChat have built and scaled a native e-commerce ecosystem and that TikTok is looking to make major investments in expanding its shopping experience to match that. In China, nearly 50 per cent of people buy through social apps and, with further innovation, we could expect to see similar adoption in other markets. The third driver is Gen Z and their shopping preferences. Social is a key channel to reach and convert this generation, but they can see through the hard sell. Polished product shots and detailed views aren’t as compelling as short videos showing the product in use, user-generated content or reviews from

people they already trust. Brands must invest in social-first creative that bridges the gap between culture and commerce, that can be deployed across platforms, localised by market, at scale. For brands that still don’t believe me, consider this: The competitor set is changing. You are now competing with super, socially savvy Gen Zer’s who can set up a Shopify page, an Alibaba account and a TikTok profile in minutes. They are promoting and selling popular products as a side gig without investing in brand campaigns and excessive retargeting. More and different types of competitors are leveraging social media to launch their own products and services. Brands that look awkward, inauthentic or out of place on social media will see detrimental effects to their preference and loyalty, never mind their return on ad spend. Also consider the not-too-distant future, when digital goods will increase in value over physical, offline products and services. As our online identity becomes increasingly more important and we start buying and selling products in, say, the metaverse, we will see traditional e-commerce become outdated as users flock to platforms and sellers who operate directly in their universe. By BRITTANY WICKERSON, global head of media, We Are Social


November 28, 2021

BUILDING UP AND BREAKING THROUGH By Kamesha Milton, director, Nielsen Media MENA

Connection is a building block of trust in advertising, writes Nielsen Media’s Kamesha Milton


‘‘While personal connection is a key trust factor for consumers globally, it is most important to those in the Middle East when compared with the other regions measured.’’

he most expensive thing in the world is trust – it can take years to earn, and just seconds to lose, and forever to repair. In fact, any long-lasting relationship must begin with trust – if there is no trust, there is no relationship that can stand up to time and adversity. The same stands true for brands and advertising. Trust must be established between shopper and brand to get a curious buyer to take the leap, engage and then purchase you. If their experience is positive, a relationship is formed, and trust will build. So often marketers are seeking new ways to grab consumer attention and start building that relationship. How can this be done? With all the fragmentation, noise and just plain old brand choices the question of “How do you break through?” gets harder and harder to answer. Or does it? According to the Nielsen Media global ‘Trust in Advertising’ study, conducted in September 2021, the answer is as new as it is old: Good relationships have a personal connection. While personal connection is a key trust factor for consumers globally, it is most important to those in the Middle East when compared with the other regions measured. The global survey is designed to understand global consumer attitudes around advertising. The 2021 study sampled more than 40,000 people across 56 countries, who were asked to share their trust in various forms of advertising across a variety of categories including food and beverage, finance, fashion, beauty and technology, amongst others. A key measure captured the level of trust that consumers have for advertising in each of the various categories covered. The theme of increased trust through connection is visible across both earned and owned media types. The number one form of trusted advertising globally is word-of-mouth or recommendations by family or friends. In the current study, this form of (earned) advertising was trusted completely or somewhat trusted by nine out of 10 people – this is significant. Additionally, the second most trusted type was (owned) advertising in the form of branded websites with eight in 10 people trusting them completely or somewhat. These are notable global increases when comparing these same trust factors with the previous Trust in Advertising study performed in 2015. The more traditional forms of media advertising – TV, radio, newspaper and OOH – all managed positive trust levels of 69 per cent or more, while the lowest trust levels were seen by text ads on mobile with 15 per cent of participants globally not

trusting that form of advertising at all. When it comes to Middle East consumers, the advertising they most trust by far is when they learn of products or services from others. KSA and Egypt consumers particularly stand out in this regard. Age does play a role in the forms of advertising most trusted. Globally, the younger generations trust word-of-mouth recommendations most, with the Silent Gen (65+) and Boomers (50-64) having some of the highest percentages of those who do not trust any form of advertising at all. Another essential consideration when examining consumer relationships with advertising is resonance. Messaging is clearly a key consideration with any form of advertising. After all, what is the point of designing an ad that resonates with absolutely no one? This examination of brand messaging produced interesting results globally. While humorous messages resonated most with those in Central and Eastern Europe, consumers in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America were most moved by advertising that dealt with genuine and family situations. In the Middle East, consumers are not impressed by athletes or animals, according to the study. These types of ads resonate the least. People want the advertising to be relatable and familiar, and marketers would be smart to creatively make room for real life and family situations for optimal resonance. Trust is needed before taking a risk. There is risk in brand relationships like in any other relationship. Is there risk in buying that H&M shirt over choosing one from Centrepoint? What is the risk in deciding which toothbrush brand to use? Of course, some purchase choices are low risk, but many others can be high risk. It matters what airline you fly with. How about where you buy your coffee, or the cup the hot liquid is delivered in? Trust exists in all these relationships. Trust is easily overlooked by consumers; it shouldn’t be by marketers. It goes without saying that fundamentally the product needs to be good quality and meet a need or else it will not generate the interest that gets people talking to their friends, their friends’ friends and that family member that trusts what they trust. What we can learn from the Nielsen Trust in Advertising study about consumers, especially the Middle East consumer, is connection comes first. Connect with them through their relationships. Connect with them through what they care about.




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November 28, 2021



ampaign’s Digital Essays are a good chance to take the pulse of the industry’s futurists. The articles in the coming pages gives us an indication of what is weighing on some top-notch tech minds. This collection of writings is an annual staple of the magazine, but it has changed over the more-than 10 years we have been publishing it. A decade ago it was a look at the fastest changing part of the agency ecosystem, and that’s why we launched it. But now there is a subtle shift: digital is not only interesting because it is fast-moving, but it is now vitally important because it perhaps the biggest driver of change within marketing and advertising. For a while I had worried that our essays migh become outdated. I recently spoke to the founder of a new consultancy who echoed something I have thought for a long time: the rise of the digital function within agencies is similar to the rise of the television department in the Mad Men days. He argued that digital departments are becoming outdated. Like that special room you had in your house for your first computer, or that your parents had for their telephone. Today everything is digital, so why box it away. I still agree with him, but it’s siloed digital departments that could become outdated. Digital as a function, as a specialism and as a driver of growth and transformation is only gathering momentum. Innovations elsewhere in the advertising industry usually have ‘digital’ in them somewhere. Out-of-home is transforming... into digital out-of-home. Television is changing rapidly… thanks to its amplification on digital platforms across screens of all sizes. And PR? One word: influencers. So here you will find essays on television, on social media, on programmatic advertising, on measurement, on mobile and more. They cover a wide range of topics, all through the lens of digital. As well as sharing their current concerns and passions with us, the writers look ahead. My personal prediction, based on experience, is that few forecasts will come about exactly as they are laid out here. But that’s not the point. The point is to look at where we are today, at what is coming, and at how it all fits together. These essays are here to inform us about today and to spur us to think differently about tomorrow. Because one thing that is unarguable is that the future will continue to be shaped by digital.






By Vittorio Barraja, senior director, biddable media at PHD UAE

49 OUR PATH TOWARDS HOLISTIC MEASUREMENT By Bassam Rizk, head of data intelligence at MMS


51 YOUR REWARDS PROGRAMME: JUST POINTS OR DIFFERENTIATED BRAND EXPERIENCES? By Saira Mehdi, director, Epsilon MEA, and Ashish Sinha, managing director, Epsilon India, APAC & MEA


55 RETHINKING OUR REALITY: MARKETERS JOIN THE METAVERSE By Elie Haber, co-founder and managing partner, Fusion5


Natasha Van As, head of sales, The TechVantage

59 MERGING THE REALMS OF HUMANS AND TECHNOLOGY By Toseef butt, head of performance, Boopin


62 DECODING YOUR POST-PANDEMIC CUSTOMER, ONE TREND AT A TIME By Irfan Mirza, head of digital transformation and integrated media, Team Red Dot

63 ADVERTISING 2022: CREATIVELY NAVIGATING YOUR DIGITAL JOURNEY By Ali Soudah, head of client experience at Team Red Dot


By Nour Abou Alwan-Lagier, chief executive, consultancy , CX and design at Mirum, a Wunderman Thompson company


By Steve de Lange, senior creative lead, and us


69 DEMOCRATISING DIGITAL ADVERTISING WITH FIRST- PARTY COOKIES AND RETAIL MEDIA By Gulrez Alam, chief investment and strategy officer, ArabyAds

November 28, 2021




ocial media. This could mean a million and one things depending on who you speak to, but the one thing that it cannot seem to escape is controversy. Whether it’s accountability in the wake of the Capitol riots, disruption to traditional media outlets or addressing the safety of younger users, social media has been a magnet for criticism and interrogation. However, the controversy surrounding social media in the past few years has done nothing to curtail its growth. With TikTok hitting 1 billion monthly active users, Twitch revenue crossing $2bn and Meta claiming ownership of four of the top six apps globally, it’s safe to say that the broad category we’ve labelled as ‘social media’ is only continuing to expand. eMarketer reports a continued increase in time spent online in 2021, with no decline in usage reported for any of the major social platforms. In fact, we have seen new entrants to the field grow at an unprecedented pace. This should come as no surprise. Successful players in the space are recognising that whatever we do online, it’s more engaging when you add a layer of human interaction. The smartest advertisers are the ones who are recognising that fact and taking advantage of the new opportunities presented. So, in planning your social media investment, what do you need to do? LET’S NOT TALK ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA: Forget the concept of ‘social media’ as a portion of your ‘digital’ budget, and plan around your consumer. The ways that people interact with an influencer on Twitch, or share movie trailers and video essays on YouTube, could not be more different. It’s time to think about consumer mindsets. Are you looking for deep engagement in a lean-forward environment with users that are in the mindset to discover new things? Turn to Twitter or Facebook feeds. Are you looking to build brand recall with users who are in the mood for TV-style lean-back entertainment? Check out Snapchat Discover or YouTube. Consider what mental state you want your consumers in (and please, let’s stop repurposing the same TVC for both YouTube bumpers and Facebook lead-gen ads).

LOOK TO HOLISTIC MEASUREMENT: Given the overwhelming narrative of digital measurability, we’ve come to expect that we can map every dollar of spend to the bottom line. Tools like store visitation and offline conversions claim to bridge the gap between digital and physical presence. Realistically, most of these solutions are indicative at best, with quite significant blind spots. Taking this data as fact can lead marketers down the wrong path entirely. So what’s the solution? Look to marketing mix modelling, which has long been one of the best ways to measure impact of media on revenue, and brand lift studies, which are an essential tool in understanding the building of a brand. What they have in common is the ability to view social media as part of a greater whole and its impact on a digital generation. BUILD BEYOND THE PLATFORM: While it is tempting to believe that the big tech players know best, the reality is that there are a number of bright start-ups and established businesses who have found ways to improve

on what the Pages and Zuckerbergs of the world have built. It’s worth exploring some of the options that companies like, 4C, Skai and others have to offer. In a lot of cases, these companies will provide specialised solutions that can help to massively improve performance or provide a different perspective. One great example of this is attention measurement as a replacement for video views – 2-second and 3-second video views have long been one of the most controversial metrics in digital media. Attention measurement bridges that gap by looking at factors outside of just continuous view time to understand just how much impact your video advertising is having. This is a great example of a step that digital media needs to be taking in order to build robust yet flexible measurement frameworks. In short, while social media may be drawing the wrong kind of attention in some circles, its growth has not been dampened at all. In fact, doors have even opened for new entrants in what many assumed to be a saturated market, and the digital platforms that we have labelled as social media have grown to take over more and more of our day-to-day lives. Good digital marketers will be finding ways to leverage the measurement capabilities of social platforms in order to drive solid return on investment. Great digital marketers will recognise that social media as a concept is too all-encompassing to be useful – it is integrated into every aspect of our lives, deserving much more of our attention than just a simple label.


November 28, 2021


A DIGITAL LANDSCAPE SHIFT By VITTORIO BARRAJA, senior director, biddable media at PHD UAE


ot long ago I was reading an eye-catching LinkedIn post from an old colleague of mine that highlighted three truisms of marketing: the basic concepts come from ancient civilisation; the discipline was born around the end of the year 800; the competencies are reshuffled every 10 years. The first two points helped to highlight the third, which shows just how quickly things are now changing. It’s hard to disagree with that, especially looking at the digital landscape of the last few years; do you remember the first display banner ever published online? The medal goes to AT&T, publishing a black banner on in 1994, bearing the words, “Have you ever clicked your mouse right here? You will.” The mind boggles to remember that the click-through rate (percentage of clicks over served ads) was above 45 per cent. This experiment proved the capabilities of generating brand awareness and driving interest (traffic was still a new and overlooked metric).

Today, digital services have multiplied, diversified and specialised. Global spending on digital advertising has been growing between 3 per cent and 11 per cent year-on-year. Across social media, video, search (paid and organic), affiliates etc. there are now full multiple-funnel solutions for all industries looking to connect with their consumers across the new and emerging touchpoints. As a result, the single person that launched a banner in 1994 is replaced by an army of highly skilled technical specialists. Fast-forward 25 years and it is increasingly evident that digital can power a business in multiple ways, far beyond the humble banner or even traditional media or marketing functions. But this comes with its own set of challenges. Mostly in actual network costs and talents. Compared with planning and activating traditional media, digital marketing and transformation initiatives tend to be more work-intensive; the daily interactions and tasks required to ensure campaigns are launched and constantly optimised in such a fast-paced environment are significant. The required skillsets have become more and more technical. And in many cases, the line between marketers and data scientists are blurred. When done well, data and technology merge to create the best-in-class user experience, designed to engage with people at all possible levels and power business transformation and growth. As a result, media agencies are required to be more knowledgeable and agile than ever. And the change in working habits, accelerated by Covid-19, has helped to further develop decentralised and remote working as effective ways to reach previously untapped talents and skillsets. The legacy approach of having an entire team in one place is not only now debatable but also challenged from a financial standpoint by clients looking to optimise costs. So, with access to global talent pools at the other end of a video call, remote

offices (both off- and nearshore) and increasing reality, freelancers and the new agile skill sets they offer have never been as important as they are now. At PHD, ‘Shift’ is our focus. As an industry, it is important that we try and get ahead of the change – and stop just responding to it. To think longer-term. To start building the future, today. The simple truth is we keep reinventing and questioning ourselves. Not a single day passes without adding something new into the mix. In our latest publication, titled Shift, we have explored the impact of these new challenges in the digital space on our talent. What are the skillsets of the future? Where will they be based? How will they be identified, developed, and empowered to succeed for our clients and their businesses? We identified four cultural habits that are essential for answering these questions: 1. Hire for tomorrow (increase diversity, opening the filter on the talent acquisition process). 2. Encourage greater understanding of innate strengths (enable people to get into optimal swim lanes). 3. Set people free (empowered people empower people; develop a culture of empowerment and coaching). 4. Become a learning institution (that also happens to be a business). Einstein is reputed to have said: “Learning is experience. Everything else is just information.” In such a decentralised world, connected but so disconnected at the same time, it’s imperative to protect and nurture the company’s culture, this is where becoming a learning institution is an absolute must: a culture is the sum total of thousands of small learnings, applied on a daily basis. Or, as Steve Jobs said, “Innovation is the ability see change as an opportunity – not a threat.” To learn more about PHD’s publication Shift, visit

November 28, 2021


V has transitioned from a broadcastonly medium to a multiplatform video market through the growth of streaming and connected platforms. Yet data silos across broadcast and digital still exist, and the future ecosystem is still in development. One thing is for sure: we are on the cusp of some of the most exciting opportunities for growth and innovation that our industry has seen in a very long time. As we look towards the future, we can see addressable audiences that can be activated across the entire ecosystem; we see the need to lay the foundation for transparent media planning, campaign management and data buying. Finally, we need to create a system that aggregates data from multiple areas, enabling us to enhance our marketing campaigns’ effectiveness. This journey is currently under way as the speed of our industry’s evolution is changing in real-time; it will undoubtedly require focus and collaboration to deliver. Globally, it would be fair to say that measuring campaigns across linear and digital channels has not been solved, since these are very different ecosystems. However, it is technically solvable and would require high levels of collaboration across key industry players. Linear television distribution provides an uninterrupted and broadcast content stream, not relying on data bandwidth fluctuations and processing power; this means that linear TV is here to stay. So, to achieve accurate cross-channel measurement, we first need to understand that measuring the unduplicated

indeed a performance channel in its own right if used and measured correctly. Cross-channel attribution is only the start to what will soon evolve into sales-level ROI-based attribution. This will be done across our brands’ digital and physical sales channels through system and data integrations at a consumer identity level. From a technical perspective, we need to develop processes and standards like ad-IDs across platforms and integrations between centralised systems that allow a layer of orchestration across multiple channels. Once completed, we would enable addressable audiences across channels and devices with end-to-end measurement. MMS is already partnering with platforms that can tie together the numerous technology and system integrations associated with each inventory pool. As a start, TV people meter data is coming to our region. With that come many opportunities that will benefit the regional advertising ecosystem. Primarily, we would set the groundwork to provide the ability to unify linear TV to digital advertising in a probabilistic method that would achieve unified reach at scale. Data from different platforms mapped together will require new industry standards. The future will require data-stitching and identity resolution between TV platforms, VOD services, customer databases and third-party datasets. In addition, first-party customer relationship management (CRM) advertiser data will play a vital role in the cookieless future as data matching will occur with VOD


reach and frequency of campaigns across different inventory pools is the end goal. Which brand would not want to plan, buy and evaluate campaigns in an integrated way? As TV continues to engage ad dollars directly into a high-reach, premium, brand-safe environment, the digital ecosystem has several layers that advertisers must navigate to achieve the same goal. We believe it is imperative to make it easier to transact across different pools of video inventory — linear, VOD, OTT and digital. TV’s evolution is to integrate with our digital channels and move further down the funnel, making clients aware of added opportunities in TV before defaulting additional investment to the various sizeable digital video platforms. The end goal is to show that TV is not only an awareness driver but



publisher data. Utilising encryption will ensure customer data remains private, protected and fully anonymous while enabling marketers to measure the intersection between their target audience and media owner audiences. We will close the loop and understand true ROI across the entire advertising investment, across all sales channels, not just the digital ones. The past decade has seen a shift in media buying and selling, moving away from broad demographic targeting to more defined audience segments based on interest, intent, CRM data and advanced data modelling. While probabilistic identity matching methodologies dominate the MENA region, deterministic audience measurement is certainly taking off as various marketing technologies mature. There remains to be a big focus on privacy, data protection, programmatic and automated marketing. The main priority for the market at present has been measurement and data, as you can only manage what you measure. Our clients are looking to demonstrate value from media buys, which means attribution and outcomes measurement. TV can deliver on this requirement. Soon enough, addressable audiences will be available not only on VOD platforms but also on linear TV. For products like TV-to-digital attribution on MBC GROUP channels, clients can determine the uplift in digital visitation, registration and sales for their TV and VOD investments. Footfall attribution is a product that would allow us to understand how many VOD viewers ended up in our brands’ physical locations. Advertiser-to-publisher CRM matching will continue to develop using a decentralised approach, ultimately leading to unmatched performance marketing and measurement. The future holds a lot of promise as we aim to solve the industry’s most significant technical challenges.


November 28, 2021


he fragmentation of today’s marketing solutions is a definite challenge for brands. It is no secret that customers are tuning out from conventional advertising as they hold power when it comes to which ads they interact with, which puts pressure on brands to transform the way they market, from pushing media to building relationships. Nowadays, brand marketers have to manage an average of 23 channels. They regularly resort to reach and retargeting using distracting advertising, and too often, their actions don’t match their professed values. As many of these brands have been accustomed to working with different agencies for their creativity, media, data, technology and other scopes, bringing everything together through a one-stop-shop kind of agency is becoming an absolute necessity as it helps brands generate tons of efficiencies by navigating the complexed marketing ecosystem on their behalf. The irony is that although we live in the connected age, people feel more isolated and disconnected than ever before – and the fast evolution of technology has played a significant role in this. Personal devices (or, as I like to call them, the natural extension of our arms) are not only killing off our ‘boredom’, they are increasing our stress levels and adding to the loneliness factor. The constant access to information they provide causes a collective anxiety, and screen time is not really freeing our minds. Instead, it is locking down our opportunities to connect creatively. Nowadays, the audience demands meaning over distraction, and knowing what people want requires a different type of relationship with brands. 70 per cent of us expect contextualised engagements based on previous interactions, and 63 per cent believe brands should recognise us across touchpoints. Traditionally, media and customer relationship management (CRM) are held at arm’s length, although both disciplines share the same fundamental goal, which is to create interest amongst the unconvinced and urgency amongst the engaged. Hence, there is a need for a solution built across a diverse set of capabilities that enables us to identify better insights, make stronger connections and drive critical business outcomes. Being wired for marketing transformation offers brands access to all digital marketing solutions to transform their marketing ecosystems within today’s fast-paced action. And, as we connect media with data and technology while creating experiences, our key focus should always be on a single customer view to maximise customer lifetime value. If done right by syncing data, technology, and strategy, CRM can add

‘‘WITHOUT THE PROPER TECHNOLOGY SETUP, BRANDS ARE LOSING OUT ON OPPORTUNITIES FOR CUSTOMER RETENTION AND GROWTH.” experiences, ensuring that the right technology infrastructure is expertly set up to drive better efficiencies from various marketing operations. After all, things like website/app design and development, UX and UI, tech stacking, tagging, and much more are essentials for a seamless customer experience. This is why modern marketing challenges require a different type of


depth to the consumer relationship through better interactions. It is more than just analysing customers and personalising communication; CRM assesses what you have to work with and identifies the gaps to get a robust 360-degree view of the customer. CRM stitches together the data sources and applies knowledge to build a robust picture of the customer, acting on what you know about them to make strong brand-to-customer (B2C) connections. Personalisation at scale is another game-changer in the modern digital world. A common problem we are witnessing is the disconnect in customer experience, primarily due to different tech stacks from various providers. Without the proper technology setup, brands are losing out on opportunities for customer retention and growth. Our role is to integrate these technologies to provide better end-to-end customer

solution, one that brings together diverse capabilities by connecting media with data and technology while creating experiences that help brands win in the moment that truly counts. The customerfirst approach should always be built on a data-driven understanding of real-world consumer behaviours, helping connect brands with consumers in meaningful ways by enabling necessary actions and providing the content most likely to engage. At Digitas, I have witnessed first-hand the marketing transformation of many global, regional, and local brands. This transformation wouldn’t have been possible without the full commitment of our clients, who courageously embraced change across various organisational layers. From our side, we provide a fully integrated infrastructure that works with the speed and scrappiness of start-ups, always listening and always optimising.

November 28, 2021



onsumers today know they deserve more than ever before when it comes to expecting superior experiences from brands. Customers want to be recognised, want to be nurtured, want to be heard and want to be pampered. If they trust a brand enough, they are willing to hand over personal data and information, just so they may be treated as special. On the other side, as marketers, we seek customers who will love us, customers who will trust us, customers who will be our advocates and customers who will make us part of their lives. Therefore, the easiest place to start is with customers who have whispered their secrets to us; from the data they’ve shared, always knowingly, always willingly, knowing we protect their privacy. EXCHANGE OF DATA, INSIGHTS, AND ENGAGEMENT Loyalty marketing is a strategic aspect of celebrating customers, akin to a dialogue since it involves a two-way flow of data, insights and the need to engage. It is the tangible, measurable and beyond measurable relationship that customers want their

favourite brands to cultivate with them. It is where customers allow a brand a place on their tables, in their homes, in their hearts. They do that because they’ve received from brands true value in exchange for their data they’ve shared. When well understood, data unravels stories that people willingly share with brands, in the hope of getting far more in return. An effective loyalty solution must gather the data trail of what customers share and allow marketers to give back what they seek. In turn, this helps brands turn customer loyalty into table stakes that set a high bar on what customers should expect from brands. BUILDING A LOYALTY PROGRAMME THAT DELIVERS Behind the visible glamour of brand and customer relationships lies a myriad of complex processes. This is the world where data, designed by technology, feeds into the brand experience we seek to create and comes alive. Understanding our customers as individuals is crucial. For instance, data can help brands understand how a frequent but


low-value buyer is just as valuable as a less frequent but high-value buyer. Which customers do we need to focus on to retain them for the long term? Who should we reward for staying years with our brand? Essentially, it’s about marketers being as empowered and enabled as they’ve always wanted – allowing them to focus on the outcome, while experts manage the process of driving that outcome. Achieving this is no mean feat, however. While companies often invest in technology platforms that help them get the initial traction on building customer loyalty, they often find the benefits plateauing over time if they are not augmented by the right services that can help them get the most from the solution in terms of using the platform optimally and leveraging the data to get powerful and actionable customer insights. So, how do you know if your loyalty programme is truly equipped to deliver adequate insights, engagement and experiences as a value exchange for your customer’s trust in you? You can selfevaluate by asking yourself these questions: 1. Does your solution enable you to measure customer emotions and incorporate them into strategic frameworks? 2. Are you equipped with the means to capture qualitative and quantitative customer insights through tools such as benchmarking, customer segmentation, behavioural analytics, churn/ retention models, predictive models, look-alike modelling, and dashboards to visualise the data easily? 3. Does your solution allow you to proactively bring partners to the table and create alignment to ensure successful results that improve your loyalty capabilities? 4. Do you have access to predictive analytics and AI to help anticipate consumer behaviour and create personalised, context-specific offers in real-time for loyal customers? 5. Does the solution come with data-backed frameworks and methodologies to help brands connect customer motivations and needs to business objectives? 6. Do you have the ability to collect all kinds of data from your best customers, including coveted zeroparty preference and interest data to support frictionless personalised experiences? 7. Are you equipped to analyse satisfaction scores or sentiment as a proxy for emotion and calculate an emotional loyalty score at the individual and brand level? 8. Is your solution rooted in privacy to ensure customer data is protected? 9. Do you have access to built-in recommendations and nudges to help you make smarter moves, faster? A competent technology solution that combines the right technology solution powered by expertise in customer insights and services can help deliver most of these asks. And finally, it is useful to keep in mind that loyalty is a function of three magical ingredients: the experiences we curate, the emotions we evoke and the memories we leave behind.


November 28, 2021

Michel Malkoun

Richard Dunmall


ubai-based Choueiri Group’s Media Dome division has partnered with international adtech player MiQ. Michel Malkoun, Choueiri Group’s chief growth officer, and Richard Dunmall, global president of MiQ, discuss why this is the right time and place to move forward. HOW WILL MEDIA DOME’S STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP WITH MIQ BENEFIT BRANDS AND ADVERTISING AGENCIES IN THE MENA REGION? PLEASE TELL US HOW THIS PARTNERSHIP WILL DELIVER A POWERFUL DIGITAL PROPOSITION. Michel Malkoun: With everything moving towards automation and most screens becoming digital, consumer behaviour is compelling media to tag along. There is a clear need in the MENA market to elevate the way we trade and transition from two screens (desktop and mobile) to a multi-screen or omnichannel approach. This is the marketgap MiQ can fill. This partnership stands to elevate our game in many ways, with MiQ adding value to four key solutions. First, we have the advanced TV approach (YouTube, premium CTV/OTT and premium publishers’ video). Here’s one example of how we aim to elevate operating standards: With MiQ’s direct API integration with YouTube, we can gain insights into performance metrics at the individual video level. By placing MIQ’s advanced pixel on clients’ websites, we can create more customised targeting strategies for YouTube and discover, for example, which trends outside of video content might influence the number of likes, shares, video duration, views and subscriber counts, etc. Then, there is MiQ Performance that helps gain data-led performance forecasts, high

MEDIA DOME PARTNERS WITH MIQ potential optimisations and KPI outcomes, as well as predict audience targeting, predict context, audio programmatic, DMP/CRM activation and contextual sequencing. In addition, MiQ Time & Place helps gain consumer journey and real time conquesting strategies. By connecting various API partnerships, MiQ can ensure media delivery to the right person at the right time, based on real-world offline moments. And the last key vertical is MiQ High Impact Branding, with access to this creative suite showcasing awardwinning solutions (high-impact creative, mobile, chat bots, DOOH and video).

successful media activation and outcomes for our partners. Our approach is to be fully partneragnostic, meaning we are able to take a broader view of what drives these behaviours, how consumers interact with devices/screens, and what real-world signals create shifts in those behavioural patterns. We aim to demystify the jargon and focus instead on understanding the unique challenges our partners face, helping not only to solve media challenges but importantly also to solve broader business challenges.

WHAT WERE THE MAJOR FACTORS, BUSINESS NEEDS OR MUTUAL GOALS DRIVING MEDIA DOME TO PARTNER WITH MIQ? WHAT ARE THE JOINT INTENTIONS MOVING FORWARD AND WHAT CAN THE MARKET LOOK FORWARD TO? Michel Malkoun: For more than 10 years, MiQ has partnered with agencies and marketers to deliver business-changing results through better connected marketing. This, combined with our 50-plus years of expertise in the local market and our focus on the sacred client, agency and publisher relationship, enabled us to make a quick call on partnering together. Today, MiQ extends more than a billion daily programmatic opportunities (display, native, video across categories) covering a diverse inventory which is brought together by activating global DSP partnerships, PMP deals with local publishers and supply partners to instantly connect with the multi-language UAE audience and large expat demographic. It’s a mobile-first approach, using curated data partners and products built only for the MENA market. It is also the first partnership of its kind with the largest telecom companies in MENA, licensing their direct mobile contract data. This will allow agencies to leverage MiQ’s precision targeting capabilities across markets worldwide, along with its product roadmap, including diversification across new programmatic channels such as DOOH and CTV.

WHY THE MIDDLE EAST AND WHY NOW? Richard Dunmall: MENA has, for a long time, been a market that wants to challenge the status quo in terms of user behaviour, and in recent years the digital landscape has evolved dramatically. More recently, the media landscape has evolved at pace with the shift away from more traditional media sources, and with that comes the opportunity for programmatic to drive rapid digital growth, not just via desktop and mobile but also via new programmatic channels such as connected TV/advanced TV and DOOH. As such, now is the right time to set up our MENA office locally, and in our Choueiri Group partnership we have found the perfect blend of local market understanding and future media capabilities. MiQ is ideally placed to bring our wealth of experience in this space to support advertisers to connect all these new data signals more efficiently and drive new ways of connecting their overall media objectives. We are doing this by building out a locally based team of specialists that have the wealth of experience and operational support from our multiple global hubs. At the heart of everything we do is our data specialism, where more than 200 data scientists, engineers and analysts work tirelessly with the local markets to solve problems our partners face, while continuously challenging ourselves to build new technology to keep us ahead of the market. We believe MENA will be one of the fastest growing programmatic markets globally. Our experts will support the many brands that plan to adapt how they approach media activation over the coming months and years to retain and advance their competitive edge.

WHAT DOES MIQ BRING TO THE MIDDLE EAST? Richard Dunmall: MiQ is the leading independent programmatic specialist globally, delivering solutions to more than 1,000 advertisers per month from our 18 offices in 10 markets. We use data signals to better understand user behaviour and trends, which ultimately ensures more

November 28, 2021


arketers were forced to react to constantly changing user dynamics over the last 18 months of the pandemic. And while this was a challenging time for everyone, those who managed to react effectively benefited massively. The world is slowly going back to normal, which means that marketers have to continue to look at the trends in programmatic that may drive user behaviours. With the world going predominantly digital, the advertiser focus should continue to move towards digital formats. The pandemic accelerated digital adoption among marketers, where we saw a significant amount of traditional ad dollars flowing to digital streams. In 2020, while traditional ad spending dipped by as much as 16 per cent, digital advertising outperformed its original prediction, growing by 12 per cent in 2020 followed by a 20 per cent growth this year. Among digital advertising, programmatic continued to emerge as a leader with close to seven out of 10 dollars being spent programmatically globally, a trend we only see growing next year. TRENDS IN ONLINE CONNECT CONSUMPTION We saw an explosion in online audiences across the globe over the past 12 months, with an additional 330 million users connecting to the internet. With growing audiences and active engagements, online content consumption jumped up during the early phase of the pandemic. While content consumption normalised in 2021 (although it is still higher than pre-pandemic levels), an increased interest across categories like news, education, online shopping and entertainment domains is still high. This shows lasting changes in user interactions. Marketers take note, these shifts in focus indicate massive opportunities that are already being seen in the travel and entertainment sector.


moderately cheaper, although that didn’t necessarily translate into increased ROI. A few reasons for this were the dip in quality metrics associated with the incremental inventories (viewability dipped, completion rates suffered) and a general content overload, which put stress on user engagements and consequently cost-peracquisition (CPA) goals. This was fixed and we are now closer to exceeding the prepandemic levels across different supply types across the globe.

platform because of the cord-cutting trend and new streaming services by major players. Not only did we see a growth in the CTV landscape in terms of active households, but the demographics of audiences transformed. We saw increased CTV adoption and engagement among older audiences. While linear TV still remains in the plans for marketers, we are seeing a transition with CTV being part of the media plans for seven in 10 marketers for 2021. The growth in CTV engagement was supplemented by an increase in secondscreen opportunities (over four connected devices per CTV household in the US) offering marketers the opportunity to develop connected marketing approaches through one-one retargeting solutions.

MOBILE, CONNECTED TV AND VIDEO TRENDS Mobile usage fell slightly during the early parts of the pandemic, but returned with a bang in 2021 with mobile gaming, social networking and in-app shopping seeing massive increases. But what were the biggest winners? Connected television and online video. And we are confident this will continue in 2022. Online video viewership went past 3 billion in 2021 as it continued to outpace the display and traditional advertising landscape in both engagement and advertiser interest. YouTube continued a solid push from 2020 among both agencies and marketers globally. Connected TV (CTV) emerged as the fastest-growing video advertising

THE DOOH RETURN? People are starting to leave their homes so we see the slow return to offline advertising, especially digital out-ofhome (DOOH). There is a renewed focus on developing a truly omnichannel reach. Identifying partners and building analytical and reporting capabilities to identify, activate and optimise based on opportunities across platforms will be a key challenge for marketers and agencies engaged across different service levels.


COOKIE-LESS FUTURE With Google’s decision to phase out third-party cookies by the end of 2022, marketers will continue to focus on identifying privacy-first identity solutions that help them achieve scale without compromising on performance considerations. A continued focus on making the most out of first-party data integrations and optimising supply paths will remain key conversation themes among media partners. MEASUREMENT IS TOP PRIORITY Revisiting the existing measurement and attribution paradigms were on the top of the list for marketers and agencies in 2021, something that will continue next year. Marketers are moving away from traditional metrics and will devise metrics that help them track business outcomes more effectively. Incrementality measurement and focus on an attention-based economy are some popular themes doing turns in conversations today, with niche and more personalised approaches like sales uplift also being considered by marketers.

INVENTORY TRENDS The increased programmatic inventory opportunities during the early phases of the pandemic caused the inventory to become


November 28, 2021




hat seemed incomprehensible even a few weeks ago is beginning to become a little more concrete in our minds – well, as concrete as possible given the virtual, Matrix-like thing that the metaverse is. Making our heads spin, one-by-one big brands are announcing their whole-hearted venture into the metaverse. Most notably, Facebook just changed its name and branding to Meta in preparation to lead in immersive technologies. Microsoft just announced Microsoft Mesh, launching in 2022, which has mixed-reality capabilities and allows people in different physical locations to join shared holographic experiences. To encourage customer loyalty and demonstrate their digital creativity, McDonald’s gave away NFTs to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the McRib. Nike ‘just did it’ and filed a patent for virtual clothing. The patent protects its marks on digital products, including “downloadable virtual goods”. To illustrate how real this is (pun intended), Photoshop is gearing up to launch a ‘prepare as NFT’ option. Adobe is also working on an anti-theft feature called Content Credentials for NFT art. SO HOW WILL THIS AFFECT MARKETING AGENCIES AND HOW THEY OPERATE? Simply put, the metaverse is an online, 3D, virtual space connecting users in all aspects

of their lives. It promises to merge the physical world with new technologies that will transform how people entertain themselves, interact with others, shop and engage in regular activities. The industry agrees that conventional online and offline advertising methods in physical stores, on billboards and other traditional advertising channels will take a back seat. Even traditional digital marketing will not cut it against exciting immersive experiences – exactly what the metaverse will provide for advertisers. The key difference with traditional advertising spaces is that this space is more grassroots, led by communities, each with its unique voice, experience, and interests. Every brand and organisation will want a metaverse strategy and marketers will need metaverse-related skills to support their businesses. Getting into the metaverse, agencies will need to ramp up on hiring tech-related specialists, digital content creators and digital community managers. Facebook is planning to create 10,000 new jobs to build the metaverse, including highly specialised engineers. Agencies will need to source experts in augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, virtual event managers – even digital fashion designers to dress the avatars. A metaverse marketer will need to have their finger on the pulse of a fast and ever-changing internet culture and imagine brand stories in 3D. Brands will be building ‘worlds’ and marketers will need to figure out how to get their audiences to find and explore those worlds in the metaverse. Agencies will need to source creative talent who can devise strategies that will bridge between real-life brands and their audience in virtual spaces. To buy billboard real estate or brand visibility, marketers will need to get on platforms like Discord and insert themselves into games like Minecraft, Roblox and Fortnite. Gucci recently sold a virtual handbag on the Roblox platform for $4,115. Balenciaga dropped their fall 2021 collection in Fortnite in Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow, a closed gaming environment. Luxury beauty brand Clinique launched its first NFT in a social media competition that offered entrants a chance to win NFTs for one of its flagship products. We envisage that professional blockchain trend-spotters have

never been as important as they are now and will be in the future. Digital marketers must also become tech-savvy and be kept informed of the latest tech innovations, including understanding the potential of the metaverse. Marketing needs to connect and build on what a brand represents in the real world in parallel with what it will do in the metaverse. Rather than an afterthought, a metaverse strategy will become part of the genesis of an idea. THE METAVERSE WILL NOT BE BUILT OVERNIGHT For those of us still wrapping our heads around the whole idea of a metaverse, it’s a little comforting to remember that the internet took 40 years to build and it’s still evolving. The metaverse is not one product or one platform that any one company can own or build alone. Some estimate it will take 10-15 years to build the metaverse and, like the internet, it will always be a moving target as new technologies develop. This means that there’s no better time to experiment and create new ways of existing in the metaverse. Dubai recently hosted the World Blockchain Summit, in which 1,500 experts took part. MetaDubai, is building a virtual version of Dubai with blockchain, which will have a complete digital economic system and decentralised governance. Viewfin, a blockchain research and development firm with corporate offices in Toronto and Shanghai, announced a metaverse cooperation project with the government of Dubai. Metaverse enthusiasts can also connect with other fans in Dubai’s own Metaverse Blockchain Meetup Group. While new skill sets and competencies are needed in the metaverse, the goal will remain the same: attract the attention of customers, deepen the relationship with the brand and inspire users to make transactions. Media agencies will continue to guide strategies on building touchpoints to connect real-world traditional media, digital communication and the metaverse. Meta means ‘beyond’ in Greek. To the team at Fusion5, metaverse means preparing for products, services, and trends beyond what we imagine today in a space that makes anything we imagine possible. See you in the metaverse.

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November 28, 2021


ith the TV landscape evolving significantly over the last decade and a further 27 per cent decrease in cable subscriptions throughout 2021, viewing habits have changed drastically, with the pandemic only further accelerating the shift in how audiences consume content. According to Innovid, the number of cord-cutters and cord-nevers will climb to 44 per cent by 2023. Connected TV (CTV) is a prominent achiever in this category, with the particularly exciting observation that the share of video-impressions consumption on CTV was at par with mobile in 2020 at 42 per cent and desktop at 16 per cent. It’s a strong indication that CTV will garner the largest share by the end of 2021. Nearly 80 per cent of people in the GCC own a smart TV at home, allowing consumers plenty of options across CTV and OTT content as an attractive alternative to traditional linear television. Globally, while CTV viewing increased by 81 per cent, the Gulf is still a young market with a tremendous potential for CTV adoption by consumers. There is no doubt that CTV has been cemented as a integral part of the omni-channel marketing mix. While the


need for the platform is clear, marketers are still struggling to understanding this relatively new ecosystem. A closer look at this growing channel might help to unlock the mysteries of CTV. Why CTV is growing rapidly The major reasons for CTV’s constant growth can be attributed to accessible internet content at affordable prices whilst spoiling consumers with plentiful options, making CTV the world’s fastest growing OTT market. Combined with factors such as the decrease in prices of data, affordable smart TVs and the availability of devices combine to make it easier, cheaper and more convenient for people to access internet-based content. What is CTV and how does it differ from OTT? OTT means you are accessing content ‘over the top’ of infrastructure providers. If you’re buying bandwidth from one provider like Du but subscribing to Netflix, you’re going ‘over-the-top’ of the provider that provided you the bandwidth. You’re using the bandwidth provider as an access layer, not as the main way of accessing content. CTV is the device by which you access content – because, of course, a physical device is needed to consume the content. Content is being streamed into an internet-connected app on a smart TV, dongle or gaming console. For example, an Amazon Fire stick plugged into a smart TV. USPs for CTV If one were to look at the brand impact of CTV in comparison to traditional TV or online video, CTV leads across critical metrics such as incremental reach, cost effectiveness, ad unit quality, interaction amongst highly engaged users and more time spent, giving brands the ability to earn more of the viewer’s time, which increases brand awareness and opportunities for conversions. It’s no surprise then that brands are starting to embrace CTV as well, with $1 in every $10 of


programmatic video ad dollars currently going to the platform Opportunities for brands It’s exciting to watch leading advertisers adopt CTV advertising as a critical new addition to their media mix, and even more than this, seeing the opportunities CTV presents for advertisers: New-age media for reaching users with unparallel reach across millennials and Gen Z users. Co-viewing TV content and multiscreen audience reach, creating digital footprint among TV viewers. Data accuracy and multi-attribution measurements. The three main ways to track campaign performance on CTV are directly through the DSP, via a thirdparty ad server and through a measurement provider. With 90 per cent of audiences using their mobile devices while watching TV, CTV cross-screen advertising ability not only massively increases brand impact but also enables brands to orchestrate personalised messages, promoting positive experiences across the user journey. With a cookieless world fast approaching, contextual targeting will become essential. CTV allows brands to place ads based on content that it will appear next to or even look for context in terms of audiences – for example, targeting a user based on their consumption patterns. The ability to leverage first- and third-party data. Using first-party data is an effective bottom-funnel tactic to convert users who previously showed interest in a brand, or to increase the lifetime value of an existing customer whilst third-party data is typically provided in segment, consisting of users that match specific demographic or behavioural criteria. Rightly so, some believe that CTV is the future of advertising. You can start by realising that OTT services and CTV devices are everywhere, and then consider that the adoption of streaming services are continuing to grow rapidly. CTV ad spend in the US is predicted to exceed $19bn by the end of 2024, with markets all over the globe following similar growth patterns. I predict 2022 will be a transformative year for brands across GCC, which will leverage this everevolving eco system that gives marketers the creative opportunity to authentically drive visual stories, resonate with their audiences and create emotional connections all whilst staying relevant.

November 28, 2021


echnology already plays a critical role in all our lives. In this article I’ll be talking about the immediate and long-term impact technology will have on our lives, while predicting how artificial intelligence (AI) may affect society and advertisers in the future. THE INTERNET OF THINGS (IOT) – CAN ADVERTISERS DISRUPT THE MEDIA STATUS QUO? Here’s a crazy statistic: the global smarthome penetration rate is 2021 is 12.2 per cent. That’s an astonishing number, which continues to grow at an exponential rate year-on-year. The usage of home assistants (such as Nest, which is owned by Google and can be controlled via its Home devices) is one of the key drivers of this change. A lot of research has been conducted over the years, which indicates Alexa is more

Humanity could be on the cusp of entering a terrifying new reality where our digital life is worth more to us than our physical life. This will, of course, not happen overnight; however, we have already witnessed the gradual change in behaviour over the last 20 years or so. We’ve already seen existing iterations of the metaverse in gaming environments with the likes of PUBG, Fortnite and GTA. GTA is arguably the closest thing to the metaverse, where users can purchase food, homes and cars and maintain the health and fitness of their characters (or avatars even). Zuckerberg announced the development of GTA: San Andreas earlier this month for the Oculus Quest 2. One can only imagine that this will be the test run prior to Zuckerberg embarking on his journey to creating the metaverse. We are already in a state where if you were to ask a lot of people “What matters more


It will be interesting to see if planting non-branded digital assets for users to own in the digital world will have an impact on real-world purchase intent or behaviour. Although I’m sure there will eventually be an opportunity for brands to introduce their own assets into the digital world for avatars to flaunt, that will be the more interesting statistic I’d like to see. The meaning of online vs offline sales will be redefined. You may even be able to purchase real-world items in the virtual world or maybe even go to a drive-in cinema to watch the latest Universal production. The possibilities are endless. Right now, we focus about 50 per cent of our attention on digital screens and it’s likely that this will rise to more than 90 per cent in 15 or 20 years from now, maybe even sooner.


likely to recommend an Amazon Prime product when a brand name isn’t specified – here lies one example of power being given to the advertiser. I believe it is only a matter of time before other advertisers become the new SSP (sales-side platform). Let’s think about home appliances. Some manufactures are advancing their AI capabilities, which can now notify you when certain ingredients in your fridge have run out. You can probably see where I’m about to go with this. Is it only a matter of time before the likes of Amazon start to develop their own smart appliance, powered by their existing plethora of e-com user data? How long before a brand like Samsung launches or integrates with an SSP, enabling FMCG brands to bid against which product the fridge will recommend? Thus, shifting the status quo in favour of the ‘advertiser’ – Samsung. With the appetite for smart homes growing, could it also be having a subconscious impact on how we accept other aspects of technology to rule and integrate within our lives? EVERYTHING IS GOING DIGITAL Your friends, your identity and now even your assets with crypto currencies. Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of creating a ‘metaverse’ capitalises on these existing behaviours. This triggers some food for thought as to how close we are to the acceptance of such an immersive environment/experience and the opportunities for advertisers that lie within.

– what you look like in real life or what you look like on Instagram?” it would be a hard pill to swallow. Online status slowly starts to mean more than your real-life status. Some would even argue that NFTs (nonfungible tokens) are the new Rolex. I think it’s only a matter of time before NFTs are triggered by AR – bringing your digital assets into the real world. How ‘cool’ would that be? How long before NFTs are introduced into digital open worlds as the importance of online status continues to increase? Pretty sad, if you ask me. However, this would provide a huge opportunity for advertisers – imagine owning a one-of-akind pair of Nikes that only your avatar can wear? Impressive. THE SINGULARITY Some of you may have heard of this term but for those who haven’t, ‘The Singularity’ is the moment where artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence. Right now, Zuckerberg’s vision of a metaverse consists of everyone having avatars and living in a digital world. Imagine how much more information we will start to reveal about ourselves to Meta. Instead of algorithms predicting which products we may be interested in purchasing in the real world (based on content we interact with), what if we start to utilise these products in the metaverse? Could this be a more deterministic way of establishing an ‘in-market’ audience?



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November 28, 2021


visit in a physical store; purchase of a product in a physical store.

By YVES-MICHEL GABAY, managing director MEA, Gamned


ttribution and contribution marketing tools are part of the programmatic terms one needs to understand. A lot of advertisers only consider post-click conversions. However, this is a very short-sighted position as they are missing out on a lot of insights to improve their conversion funnel. The most advanced advertisers who use a data-driven marketing and attribution strategy are getting considerable benefits from those tools: up to 30 per cent in cost savings and 20 per cent in revenue growth. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF ATTRIBUTION/CONTRIBUTION TOOLS? These marketing tools allow advertisers to measure the way each of their marketing levers contributes to events on their website. These events can be a visit or a conversion (lead generation or product purchase) according to one or several attribution models. ‘Marketing lever’ refers to the different budget lines of one’s media mix, like search, social, display, retargeting, affiliation or emailing. For instance, a lever like display is very diversified, both in terms of formats (native ads, IAB, wrapping) and marketing goals (awareness, acquisition, performance, customer retention). To make relevant decisions, advertisers need to have the most comprehensive vision possible of their media mix and its resulting interactions. Moreover, the sum of interactions corresponds to a conversion path. Interactions are associated with an event, more commonly called ‘conversion’. There are different types of conversions: online conversion (website visit, online purchase, subscription);


IT’S IMPORTANT TO DIFFERENTIATE ‘ATTRIBUTION’ AND ‘CONTRIBUTION’ Attribution This tool attributes an event (a visit or a transaction) to a unique lever. It’s a binary marketing tool. One lever is responsible for a transaction, or it is not. Historically, tools (such as Google Analytics) attribute the event to the lever that generated the last click. We can then talk about ‘last click attribution’. Contribution This tool attributes a weight of contribution to each of the levers that were involved in the conversion path. It then considers there is not only one unique cause to the conversion; it’s the accumulation of the different marketing levers that has generated this conversion. WHICH ATTRIBUTION AND CONTRIBUTION MARKETING TOOLS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE MARKET? Here is a list of the major attribution tools: Easyence, Google Analytics, AT Internet, Eulerian Technologies, Commanders Act and Wizaly. Adservers like Google Campaign Manager, Sizmek, or Weborama can also make attribution between marketing levers (tools measuring contribution can also measure attribution). Bear in mind that attribution and contribution tools are not natively integrated into demand-side platforms (DSPs). Therefore, tracking elements from these platforms need to be integrated in order to measure the performance of programmatic campaigns. Then a trading desk will have to juggle between the monitoring on its platform and the performance observed on such a tool. This will have to be done according to the attribution model that was set up. Depending on the model, attribution can vary greatly. Advertisers must pay for these tools and cost depends on their complexity, website traffic and volume of events to be analysed.


HOW ARE ATTRIBUTION AND CONTRIBUTION TOOLS CATEGORISED? There are three kinds of attribution and contribution tools: First, attribution tools that only consider ‘click’ events, (Google Analytics and AT Internet). Those tools are the most widespread, with GA being free for advertisers. Second, attribution tools that integrate ‘touches’ (all of the interactions with a lever, whether it is through a click or exposition). Those tools can measure the performance of levers whose business model is based upon impressions, such as display, social or affiliation. Lastly, pure contribution tools that can be added on top of an attribution tool. (Easyence can analyse all the conversion paths of a website, to establish a custom-made model). This model aims at analysing the contribution of each lever as appropriately as possible, depending on the advertiser’s goals. It helps rationalise budgets between those different levers. WHAT ARE THE MAIN ATTRIBUTION AND CONTRIBUTION MODELS? Many models exist. They’re either attribution models (the attribution of a conversion to a unique interaction), like the ‘last click’ model, or contribution models (which consider that several interactions have been useful to the conversion), like the ‘U model’. Given the increasing complexity of digital marketing, the attribution model is increasingly challenged. Indeed, it does not consider the impact of other interactions along the conversion path. It is therefore mandatory to look at contribution models. An interesting distinction to be considered in these models is the notion of ‘prior’ versus ‘post’. ‘Prior’ models (called rule-based) imply a bias in the analysis. This bias is linked to the person who chooses the attribution model. Thus, it will inevitably put forward one actor in the media mix compared to another. The ‘post’ model (or statistical model), on the other hand, eliminates this bias. Statistical models focus their analysis on a past period of the campaign by using different theories (Markov, Shapley, linear regression). They highlight the optimal conversion paths to achieve maximum conversions. The digital ecosystem is complex and technical, and it’s essential to understand it deeply – this is the reason why you need certified experts in this domain. They can assist advertisers to choose and better exploit these tools to optimise their campaigns. This is what we do at Gamned.


November 28, 2021


his is the first rule of business: the customer is king. So, when it came to the pandemic, nothing changed. Except, everything did. The customer ruled the roost and continued to dictate the direction in which businesses moved forward. Let me take you through the key digital trends influenced by customers in the postpandemic world.

By IRFAN MIRZA, head of digital transformation and integrated media, Team Red Dot

THE E-COMMERCE RENAISSANCE It’s common knowledge that e-commerce grew by leaps and bounds during the pandemic. Businesses saw it as a window of opportunity to expand their business globally by engaging a much larger, retail-hungry audience. But to what extent did e-commerce grow? A whopping 33.6 per cent in 2020 to a total of approximately $800bn, and that’s not all. The industry is expected to grow another 13.7 per cent by the end of 2021, reaching approximately $908bn. What propelled this growth? The convenience of online shopping. Businesses were forced to have flexible return/exchange policies to become top preferences among their customers. Moreover, during the lockdown their mere online presence was a bonus to their business. While young shoppers took to the internet to continue their shopping sprees, older shoppers got used to the idea of shopping for groceries and other essentials online. Drastic improvements in technology. Tools like virtual and augmented reality made shopping online not just comfortable but reliable. Technology helped build trust among shoppers by offering a real-time experience of the product before purchase. Acclimatisation to Amazon. Amazon created a marketplace of millions in the pandemic. The surge in online shoppers also resulted in the surge of online vendors. For customers, Amazon’s Prime membership promising one-day delivery was the ultimate draw. It catered to their urgency and in turn promoted its efficiency online. Social e-commerce. If shopping online was not already easy, social media marketplaces made in-app shopping quick and simple. Click-to-buy image carousels and quick checkouts saw an increase in shoppers on social media – so much so that social commerce is expected to drive $604bn in sales by 2027. Introduction of small and local businesses online. You snooze, you lose. The pandemic pushed small and medium local businesses out of their comfort zones and into online retail. They turned to platforms like Shopify, Etsy and Wix to be their business lifelines. In a span of two months, we were commissioned to set up e-commerce websites for three key players in the luxury jewellery and retail sector. The sentiment to support local vendors grew in the minds of the customers. This helped small retailers not only survive but also thrive during Covid-19. EDUCATION AND THE FUTURE OF LEARNING Covid-19 has proven to be the best teacher. For years schools and colleges

‘‘ON SOCIAL MEDIA THE HONEST OPINIONS OF INDIVIDUALS HAVE PROVEN TO BE MORE VALUABLE THAN PAID PROMOTIONS BY CELEBRITIES.” have been trying to digitise their processes with the hope of taking the learning experience to the online realm. The pandemic has forced people to be more creative with their learning styles by offering interactive and highly engaging learning environments like virtual tours and lectures, virtual museums and libraries and more. Even pre-pandemic there were signs of high growth and adoption in education technology with global edtech investments reaching $18.66bn in 2019. This is projected to reach $350bn by 2025. THE RISE OF THE MICRO-INFLUENCER Micro-influencer marketing is the newest kid on the block. It has, in a very short span, proven to be as effective as, if not more effective than, the celebrity influencer campaigns. The lockdown and social distancing have created a void of human connections in the lives of the customers. So, on social media, the honest opinions of individuals with smaller followings have proven to be more valuable to customers than paid promotions by celebrities. These smaller, niche experts connect on a deeper level with their followers and generate greater engagement, deliver more conversions and are more cost-effective for businesses. THE ART OF RECREATION The pandemic sent the UAE staycation culture into overdrive. It also saw the rise of fitness enthusiasts, cycling communities, trekking groups, etc. Now more than ever, fitness and meditation challenges have gained popularity. The stress on mindfulness and work-life balance, after the introduction of work-from-home, has resulted in an exponential increase – of up to 30 per cent – in the download of fitness and meditation apps and a 33 per cent increase in hotel bookings for staycations. According to a report by Million Insights, the global ‘athleisure’ market is projected to reach an astonishing $517.5bn by the year 2025. Motivational speakers on YouTube and social media too have experienced an exponential increase in subscribers in the pandemic. CONCLUSION Covid-19 has pushed companies over the technology tipping point to create a digital kingdom that is dynamic, diverse and brimming with opportunities. Blink and you will be left behind.

November 28, 2021




e creative, they say. Engage users, they say. Relate to the audience, they say. But, have you ever thought about the things that they don’t say? The things that they imply? A journey of a creative brief from idea to execution now takes a more diverted route as compared to the creative expressway of the early 2000s. Journey with me. I’ll be your guide on this read. FIRST STOP: What’s the brief? What are the deliverables? Where’s the budget? The brief: show us how creative you can or cannot get. The deliverables: we want a banner but can explore options (or better, make it viral). The budgets: let’s not go there. SECOND STOP: The brief now reaches the creative conundrum where, if an idea is born, it’s required to fit into the stereotypes of the Gen Z advertising world. What does that mean? Is it a digital-first idea? If it’s a film, can it be cut down to tiny 10-seconders and still have meaning, still be engaging, still have enough time for the product window, still be understood if played on mute? Talking about film, should it be a monologue or simple animation? Will the audience skip the ad regardless? Is it shareable? Will the public relate to it enough to share it on their feed? Does it have enough keywords? Can the creative be targeted and retargeted to the right audience? What about Social Media? Can we run a campaign there? Contests perhaps? Oh, reels, I forgot about reels. Find the song that’s trending, find something the brand can do with it, fit it with the campaign thought, shoot it, edit it, filter it, post it. What about basic hygiene? Do we have banners, AdWords, carousels, targeted posts, etc. sorted? THIRD STOP: Now that we’ve checked all the digital boxes, and no matter how much we believe that #DigitalRocks, we still need to test the legitimacy of the idea through the lens of the KV (that’s the key visual, in case that got lost on any of you). FOURTH STOP: Here’s where the FOMO creeps in. If campaign management wasn’t

enough, let’s add people management to the mix. We’re talking about influencers here. They are the last 60 degrees in a 360-degree campaign. FIFTH STOP: Analytics, ROI, new subscribers, likes, followers. Now imagine a pie chart. Fill it with the categories I just mentioned, present it to the client. Now forget about getting a pat on your back, just hope he gives you a nod and keeps the retainer going. SIXTH STOP: Artificial intelligence. As the name suggests, it’s the only kind of intelligence that’s giving both creative and business people a run for their money. So, what do we do now? Keep up. Or at least try. While we are yet to feed our creatives

to software for approvals, we must try to stay ahead of the curve, and still find ways to maximise the return on the clients’ budgets while creating work that is impactful, effective and rewarding. So, what’s the way forward you may ask? Instead of fighting the system, here’s what I think we should do. Disrupt the thought process Beginning ideation around the most challenging digital ad units can actually open doors that we would not have naturally explored. Let’s start by disrupting the creative process and ditching the ancient film-first-digital-later formula. No matter how bizarre it sounds, let the media plan be the starting point for your big idea. It seems challenging, but being boxed in a small size can actually help you discover great ideas. Be truly ‘Integrated’ Collaborating at the start of every brief is essential. This ensures everyone has the overarching purpose in sight and each person understands their role as a contributor to the brand story clearly. Brand custodians should ensure that the briefs always remain consistent with the brand’s personality. Customising digital ads for various consumer touchpoints with varied content and messages will generate affinity for the brand. Seek consistency Strive for consistency of voice and brand story across all channels and consumer touchpoints. Adopt a more pragmatic approach while challenging KPIs. Optimise performance within each individual channel to tell a single emotional brand story In the end… It might seem a bit overwhelming at first, given the short time frame for each campaign. Combining forces early in the process to collectively challenge the norms, instead of merely ticking boxes, helps deliver remarkable results. Pushing the threshold of creativity by being more receptive to change and most importantly, believing that ‘digital is not the enemy but the enabler’ will help us do what we love more effectively.

November 28, 2021


nly a few years back, having a dedicated customer experience team in a company would have been uncommon, to say the least – rare, to be more exact. But I trust you would agree that today, CX has become the buzzword in almost every company’s corporate strategy. It is both fascinating and heartwarming to see this shift and adoption of customer-centricity to ensure that business propositions meet the voice of customers. In fact, it is exciting to see so many organisations and brands start to adopt a bottom-up approach to re-engineer their processes and bring delightful customer experiences to life. CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE – THE BRAND EXPERIENCE OF TODAY Nowadays, every product is delivered through a holistic experience – from packaging to print ads, website or mobile app, all the way to the check-out experience and customer service. However, the approach of brands and organisations remains marketing-oriented rather than customer-focused. Today’s customers are increasingly resistant to coercive marketing when they have access to nearly all the information on the planet at their fingertips. Their expectations have changed. They have become ‘liquid’ expectations, a concept coined by Shelley Evenson of Fjord. Customers expect the same level and quality of service regardless of the channel, medium or industry. This applies both regionally and globally. As one of those customers myself, when I swipe through my smartphone, I ask, “Why can’t my passport renewal be more like my experience with Deliveroo? Why can’t my doctor have the same on-demand service experience as Uber?” I am sure you ask yourselves the same questions.

‘‘MEANINGFUL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE DESIGN IS ALSO AN EFFECTIVE WAY TO GROW YOUR BRAND’S BOTTOM LINE.’’ Simply put, as customers we have developed a sense of entitlement because we now have the choice. A choice that we thrive to align with our personal values through meaningful experiences. I suppose this is because, like everyone else, we are all easing out of a 16-month lockdown that made us just stop and think. Today, customers value what matters to them, and Sherine Kazim, Wunderman Thompson’s chief experience officer, frames this shift of values from the functional values (prices, sensory apparel and variety) to emotional values (wellness, safety, convenience, and control). We just want to lead better lives. In order to stay relevant to their customers, brands should inject purpose and empathy into what they do. By placing customers at the centre of the brand experience, they move away from creating a consumer experience to creating a human experience. That is how brands achieve great CX design. That’s essentially how and why CX is becoming the new brand experience.


CX AND SERVICE DESIGN: ATTENDING TO THE NEW ‘LIQUID’ EXPECTATIONS OF CUSTOMERS TODAY By NOUR ABOU ALWAN-LAGIER, chief executive, consultancy , CX and design at Mirum a Wunderman Thompson company

SERVICE DESIGN: EXPOSING THE BREADTHS AND DEPTHS OF CX As brands use CX to keep customers engaged through impactful and meaningful interactions, they find themselves forced to internally shift their culture and undertake organisational restructuring to nurture that customer-centric mindset. Crafting a beautiful customer journey map renders a meaningful brand experience. But it is not enough. It needs to be supported by service planning to ensure the proper delivery of that experience. Service planning impacts everything in an organisation – from employees to infrastructure and processes – and that’s the service design practice. Service design looks at how well-designed the supporting service proposition of a customer experience is, across three dimensions – people, process and props. It maps and shapes these dimensions to align closely and adapt to the end-to-end customer journey. Consequently, these dimensions no longer exist in silos, nor are they organised around products. They become aligned around a customer journey of engagement, conversion, and purchase. The next buzzword is undoubtedly service design – the activity of aligning the 3Ps (people, process and props) to deliver on the meaningful experience. The outcome of service design is a design blueprint that exposes the breadth and depth of an experience and supports and produces the stages where the journey takes place. Service design examines every touchpoint in the omni-channel journey to determine solutions for how to organise people, support infrastructures, integrate services and present communications. WHAT’S IN IT FOR THE BRANDS? Is customer experience and service design yet another expectation and another expensive endeavour for brands? Great customer experience design with a well-planned service design injects purpose and empathy into what your brand says and does. But here’s the best part: meaningful customer experience design is an effective way to also grow your brand’s bottom line. If customers are happy and delighted with their buying experience, they will become loyal

advocates for your brand and help you expand your market share. Along the way, service design will also create efficiencies, and some cost savings too. In essence, combining customer experience and service design brings about brand growth. Being part of a team in a company that is part creative, part consultancy and part technology, we strive to be the growth catalysts for ambitious brands. I am thankful that through the years our clients have continuously testified to how customercentric methodologies have helped their organisations craft interconnected ecosystems of products and services, building customer loyalty and generating better results.



November 28, 2021


RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE By STEVE DE LANGE, senior creative lead, and us



t takes something more than intelligence to act intelligently.” When Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote those words in 1866 in his seminal Crime and Punishment, there was no big data, there were no complex marketing algorithms, performancebased marketing or artificial intelligences desperately crunching the numbers on each and every piece of work some poor, beleaguered creative offered up to the social media gods. Cholera, dysentery and rampant syphilis notwithstanding, these were simpler times. I’ve no doubt that the pages of this volume are littered with digital technologists singing the praises of our new robot overlords. You can’t throw a bronze Effie these days without hitting some marketeer giddily espousing the virtues of the metaverse, the blockchain or any volume of exponentially multiplying technical gobbledygook. Look, I get it. Technology is good. The future, even. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Tesla makes great cars, but I still prefer my vehicles fitted with internal combustion engines that run on dinosaur bones. I should caveat this by saying that I’m not some luddite waxing nostalgic about the ‘golden days’ of advertising. No doubt Benedictine monks railed against Gutenberg’s printing press, typesetters railed against design software and long-form copywriters railed against the advent of Twitter. Times change, and so must we. But, as a creative, I can’t help but feel like we’re engaging in some kind of Faustian bargain with social media networks and search engines. We chase rapidly waning attention spans across a turbulent ocean of content in a rubber dinghy designed by Mark Zuckerberg and propelled by Big Data. It’s not that I’m saying that technology doesn’t work. Of course it works. If it didn’t work we wouldn’t be using it. If anything, it’s working a little too well. A million spreadsheets can’t be wrong and the numbers don’t lie. Numbers tell me to engage my viewer in three seconds or less. Numbers tell me the best way to maximise engagement on social is to find

an influencer with a comically large rear-end to sashay provocatively across the frame. Numbers tell me the average person on social will not read a caption over 125 characters, that frequency is more important than creativity and that my copy would benefit from the liberal use of emoticons. The numbers might not be lying. But I doubt they’d be any fun at parties. And, not to sound like an ornery middle-aged creative, but I am overwhelmed with the urge to tell big data to get off my lawn. But I digress. In our digital age, what does it mean to act intelligently? Do we cower in the face of seismic change, bend the knee and allow the algorithm to lead us to some digital utopia where the clicks are abundant and the views flow like honey? In a word, yes. The alternative is irrelevance, to be hoisted by our own proverbial petards. And the history of advertising is unironically littered with the corpses of creatives who refused to embrace the new and improved. But, at the time of writing, creativity is still firmly within the dominium of the human mind. A hundred billion neurons have weighed up whether that billboard needs a hashtag and have responded in the negative, marketing statistics be damned.


The best creative might be informed by the numbers, but it cannot be dictated to by them. Technology might set the rules, but it’s up to human minds to break them. Our superpower as creatives isn’t that we think rationally, but that we don’t. Like truffle pigs, we root around the roots of the tree of life and dig up little nuggets of beauty, emotion or irreverence that might connect and engage with our audiences in a meaningful way. For the moment, Big Tech only tells us where to dig. The golden age of advertising isn’t behind us. Meat is meat, man (and woman) must eat and there’s a two-for-one special at that fast food place you love that you simply cannot afford to ignore. And by gosh, if I can get Kim Kardashian to post a picture of herself eating that burger to her 236 million followers I’d be a fool not to. I’m under no illusions that big data is coming for my job. I for one welcome our new robot overlords. But to paraphrase Charlton Heston, the super-intelligent general artificial intelligence of the future will have to pry my pencil out of my cold, dead fingers.


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November 28, 2021


s we are nearing the end of third-party cookie tracking, retailers globally are gradually turning themselves into big media companies. The breadth of first-party data retailers have access to, and the increasing dependence of brands on this data to reach out to their audience, has propelled them to the pole position to become the heavyweights in the digital advertising space. As a result, Amazon, Walmart and other retailers are set to give stiff competition to Google and Facebook, who have dominated this space for so long. Let’s look at some numbers to understand the growing clout of retail media. In 2020, Amazon generated more than $14bn in revenue from retail media, making it the leader in this space, followed by Walmart. In the United States alone, eMarketer predicts that retail media advertising will increase by around 28 per cent year-on-year to reach

‘‘THE ABILITY TO MONETISE DATA HAS HELPED THE GIANTS TO MITIGATE THE HIGH COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH ONLINE SHOPPING.’’ $23.92bn in 2021. According to global management consulting firm BCG, big retailers are already racing towards a $100bn high-margin annual revenue prize in retail media. While for many brands retail media is solving their first-party data problem, for retailers it is the source of an additional revenue stream in the already thin-margin e-commerce business. The ability to monetise data through advertisements has vastly helped the e-commerce giants to mitigate the high costs associated with online shopping like free delivery, easy return, heavy discounts and other expenses, while maintaining top-notch customer service. BRANDS BENEFITTING FROM RETAILERS’ FIRST-PARTY DATA First-party data is data that any website or app collects from its audience and is critical in understanding consumer behaviour,



segments and trends, and delivering tailor-made offers to customers. It is regarded as the most valuable, relevant and accurate data and gives these businesses a competitive advantage as they have exclusive ownership of it. Moreover, the privacy concern stays minimal because it is user initiated and accepted. Retailers know any brand’s customers better than the brand itself. They have access to data on the consumer’s interests, purchase behaviour, brand preferences, shopping frequency and much more, which is a gold mine for the brands trying to tap the potential of these customers’ interests. Moreover, what makes it lucrative for brands to increase their digital advertising budgets on retail media is the subsequent change in the consumer shopping journey. Shoppers have increasingly started searching for products on marketplaces. A recent survey found that nearly one-third of consumers in developed markets start their online shopping searches on marketplaces instead of search engines. Furthermore, while any search engine can track what the user is searching for, the products and services they are interested in, it cannot determine the consumers’ intent to buy. It will not have the data of whether the user purchased what they were searching for or any other similar information. On the other hand, retailers know exactly what the shopper was searching for on their platform, what they have bought, what items they could have purchased, their spending propensity, and every minute detail about their entire consumption pattern. THE NEED FOR MORE RETAIL MEDIA NETWORKS In my opinion, the concentration of digital ad spending with a couple of tech giants is not an ideal scenario for the future of the advertising world as it gives an undue advantage to such platforms to dictate terms and win them monikers like ‘necessary evil’ in industry parlance. In the absence of third-party cookie tracking, brands will continuously look at ways to increase their partnership with retail media networks because they provide brands with highly personalised targeting capabilities, and effective ways to measure the ROI on their spending. Furthermore, the flexibility of tracking down the spending to the stock-keeping unit (SKU) level has added to the growing popularity of retail media among digital brand marketers. In the coming years, we will see a lot of big retailers across the globe and in the MENA region coming up with their own retail media networks and democratising the digital advertising space. Our retail media platform, Ritelo, is helping retailers or marketplaces in the MENA region by offering this technology to build a custom retail marketing platform that can help them create a scalable brandfunded media business. Many retailers I have spoken to in the recent past believe that retail media will disrupt the marketing and advertising outlook going ahead, and it will only benefit from all the uncertainty surrounding the future of data privacy and security.


November 28, 2021

Beyond billboards Saudi focus

OOH in Saudi is more than megacoms and unipoles, writes Bassmat’s Abdulrahman Saud


he impact of out-of-home (OOH) marketing on the Saudi market today is considered phenomenal, and we are seeing significant, continued growth in this area of the business. With the aim of raising awareness of their brands and products, various advertisers are setting foot in this field and are using brand new ways to captivate their target audience. Today it’s not enough to only be on the small screen; it is more important than ever to have your message exist everywhere. In this day and age that means producing 360-degree campaigns, which include having a presence ‘IRL’ – in real life – as well. An important point to note is that OOH creative has been evolving ever since it first started, and continues to adapt new creative techniques, which makes it a perfect choice for the government initiatives and tech food delivery companies , fintech and other categories. From my own perspective, the Saudi market is one of the key players in OOH marketing, since there are still many unused mediums, such as public transport advertising in trains, Riyadh underground metro stations and new airports. One more unused gem is the ability to reach youth and families in the new Riyadh gathering spots such as Boulevard, UWalk and Riyadh Front, in addition to Jeddah’s outdoor malls and corniche, and new cities such as Neom, the Red Sea Project and Al Qiddiya. This kind of medium will enrich advertisement diversity in terms of the ability to target the right audiences, whether broadly or as a niche. However, there has been a bump in the road for the makers and pioneers of media suppliers up until today, which is measuring the views and the impact of the ad. Nevertheless, there is promising potential with the rapid development of technologies that assist in measuring audience activity, improving views reports and monitoring interest.

‘‘Today it’s not enough to only be on the small screen; it is more important than ever to have your message exist everywhere.”


In alignment with the kingdom’s 2030 Vision, the Saudi market has the opportunity to develop this aspect of marketing by keeping pace with the latest technologies and installing them in new locations. This means replacing the billboards that rely on printing with digital ones in order to contribute to preserving the environment. This will lead the current industry to become a thriving media sector that is in harmony with the civil component of cities and society, blending in organically, and being more environmentally sustainable and aesthetically pleasing to the audience. Two important factors will pave the way to the success of an outdoor advertising campaign. Previously you would have to identify the right creative agency to produce the relevant content, then look for the media-buying house; however, if you can have a one-stop shop with both services then you will ensure that they right message is being advertised in the right medium, platform or format, which will ensure a better impact. Choosing the two factors cautiously will lead to campaign success, since they will result in building creative content that suits the movement on roads, and choosing the appropriate size and network of spread for geographical coverage. To conclude, we have to understand media values that will feed the brand to the right audience. I advise all marketers around the region to evolve and consider the strength and potential of OOH marketing, and to explore new and creative ways to deliver a clear message with a big impact. Understanding the potential of OOH will help unleash marketers’ minds to shape the future for this medium. After all, we are the creators of the future.

November 28, 2021


Saudi focus

Meeting the

challenge Hashtag’s Najma Alsharif asks whether brands in Saudi should be on TikTok


he attention of a generation goes to a platform that gets them best, and so far TikTok seems to hit the sweet spot, reflected in its massive growth. TikTok took the world by storm and is the fastest platform to reach 1 billion active users in no time, with more than 2 billion downloads now making TikTok a prominent social platform globally, existing in 154 countries and more than 75 languages. The Saudi audience was part of this growth; however, we still don’t see Saudi brands taking advantage of the amazing organic reach this platform offers. The platform gained traction in Saudi Arabia during March and April 2020 with 11 million active users during the Covid-19 lockdown. Global TikTok users tend to be aged between 16 and 29; we find that the majority of Saudi Arabian population are youth, which helped the platform to spread quickly and it now has 15 million active users out of 28 million overall active social media users in Saudi. TikTok was able to reach this many users based on the concept it provides and the challenges trending on it, which allowed some Saudi brands to jump on the trends and present their products and services with creative TikTok video content that the audience could relate to. These brands included STC, Almarai, Noon and Jarir Bookstore. TikTok is becoming the content leader in Saudi Arabia, where you can see TikTok video content overflowing to all other platforms as it enables its

audience to get creative and express themselves and the topics they’re interested in. The Saudi audience is producing content around some key topics, mostly memes and comedy videos. These generated 13 billion views when positive, humorous, and fun content were a necessity in our daily lives. Another popular theme is cooking and food. During the Holy Month of Ramadan in 2020, which most families spent apart during lockdown, TikTok was one the platforms that brought families closer together to share their iftar and suhoor meals and healthy recipes through short videos, accumulating 7 billion views on this topic. The most viewed content, though, in Saudi is diaries and vlogs, which have been viewed 35 billion times. It comes as no surprise, as this topic includes original content published by users and demonstrates creativity in making videos, storytelling and shared interests. This has led to many Saudi influencers emerging through TikTok, which is one of the major launchpads for influencers in the world. So, is it worth it for your brand to be on TikTok? The Saudi audience has split opinions about the platform – between those pro or against. Our verdict is that this platform has grown out of its roots to reach other platforms, and even if you’re not an active user, TikTok content will still reach you on other platforms. That is why we believe it is worth your time and investment. However, getting the right content on TikTok can be challenging; you will need to listen and

By NAJMA ALSHARIF, account manager, Hashtag Social Media Agency

observe what content is circulating on the platform and then create the right formula around your brand to bring it to life and have your brand persona interact with the audience and spark a conversation. TikTok loves UGC (user-generated content) and this organic content poses a challenge to brands aiming to have an always-on presence and maintain their tone of voice. Additionally, for better reach on TikTok you will need a creative challenge with an incentive to get the audience to participate, pair your campaign with the right influencers, prepare the right media plan, and use humour and memes that are trending and that your audience can relate to. Last but not least, pick the right music to go with the challenge. Music plays a big role in making your challenge easily identified among your audience, and hence can hugely contribute to the virality of your brand challenge. Even if we look at advertising rates, we can see TikTok’s rates may be greatly preferential in comparison to other platforms In conclusion, TikTok has a huge audience base in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries. Therefore it holds infinite potential for you to grow your brand and to reach your audience on one of their favourite platforms by shedding rigid, formal communication and getting real and unconventionally fun with them by providing them with original, creative, relatable and humorous content that can go beyond the podium and sit among the crowds.


November 28, 2021

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

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


TikTok took the world by storm and, at this point, requires no introduction. However, though it has always been at the forefront of contemporary marketing tools, there are a couple of points that you should keep in mind before planning your future campaign on the platform. TikTok’s self-service advertising tools only publish audience-reach data for users 18 years and above, even though the same tools allow advertisers to target adverts to users aged 13 and above. Additionally, the company’s tools only publish potential reach data for a selection of countries, and, as a result, figures published in these tools may not reflect the platform’s total global advertising audience. By all means, if you are a content creator, push your creativity to the limit. But, if you are helping grow a brand on the medium, even a deceptively casual platform like TikTok comes with a thick binder of processes and pro tips.


The population in the UAE that uses the internet


of all 18+ users worldwide reachable via TikTok


TikTok’s global rank among downloaded apps

Source: Datareportal

825 million

The number of 18+ users worldwide that can be reached on TikTok

1 billion

Number of 13+ TikTok users globally





Keeping Tiks on climate change

Meta, please

UN Climate Change has launched a brand-new social media campaign across most major platforms to help bring into focus the effects of climate change on our planet and to educate its followers about past and upcoming global conferences such as COP26. Even TikTok is in on the trend by promoting the campaign and #ClimateAction on its Discover tab.

Facebooks rebrand was far from smooth, but Zuckerberg’s introduction of Meta through customised cookies was represemted via a half-bitten cookie that prompted some users to point out its resemblance to Apple’s logo. One funny take came from a commentor who stated: “Let me know when you make MetaBurgers, then I'll come over.”

The future is livestreaming, and Pinterest has jumped on the wagon to empower its e-commerce efforts with a series onlive shopping through Pinterest TV. New episodes will be uploaded daily, except on weekends, and Pinterest TV will allow users to interact and engage with hosts during the live sessions.

November 28, 2021


Appointments Following the recent announcement by the General Commission for Audiovisual Media, that the Media Ratings Company has commissioned Nielsen to build a TV Audience Measurement (TAM) service in Saudi Arabia, Nielsen has announced the appointment of CHRISTINE ISSHAK as senior client partner for this project. She was one of Campaign’s Faces to Watch in 2019. FullStop has appointed AMR WAGIH MERGAWI – aka ‘Wigo’ – to the role of executive creative director. He joins from Wunderman Thompson KSA, where he has worked for more than 14 years. Mergawi has been tasked with growing the creative services into a regional and a global powerhouse while working across accounts in both Saudi and Egypt offices. Electriclimefilms has announced that LAYAL MOOTI has been promoted to production manager in its Dubai office. Mooti has been an integral and important part of the Electriclimefilms team in the Middle East. she has risen swiftly through the ranks in just two years, starting as a production assistant, moving to production coordinator and recently being promoted to production manager. Akama Holding has announced the promotion of OBEIDA DANHACH to CEO of its unit Mediaquest. At the company since 2007, she was until now its publisher in charge of Marie Claire’s regional editions, Haya, Buro ME 24/7 and the Arab Luxury World conference, among other media brands.

Danhach takes over from Alexandre Hawari, who relinquishes this position to focus on his role as CEO of Akama Holding. Independent agency Team Red Dot has announced the appointment of RICKSON LUCAS to the role of director of strategic partnerships. Raksha Khimji, managing director, said: “I am currently expanding the team across all divisions, and wanted to ensure that our director of strategic partnerships truly understood clients’ marketing requirements, along with their pain points – and the intricacies involved in getting the message, medium and monies right to successfully execute 360-degree campaigns that walked the talk. With his years of media sales and creative solutions experience across every vertical, Rickson seemed to be crafted for this role.” Grey Group has announced the appointment of SARAH TROMBETTA as the chief client officer, Procter & Gamble, Asia, Middle East & Africa (AMEA). Trombetta will be part of WPP/ Grey’s P&G Global Leadership Team, working with Nirvik Singh (president international and global COO, Grey Group) and Debby Reiner (president, Grey Global clients and business leadership for P&G, WPP). Trombetta will be in charge of establishing the strategic direction of the P&G business across key regions, leading the integrated strategies and creative ambitions for its brands to build on Grey’s strength as a high performing partner. Sitecore has announced the appointment of its new regional vice-president, GONCALO MATEUS, at the CX Live event in Dubai. Mateus joins Sitecore with more than 10 years

of experience in the martech and adtech space, having held leadership roles with one of the world’s largest software solutions providers. Mateus also spoke on a panel at CX Live in a dedicated session where he addressed how digital hubs transform the customer journey and retain to them with effective communication strategies. TishTash has appointed GEORGINA SCOTT as PR director. She joins TishTash with more than eight years of agency experience in the UK and the UAE. Scott will work on TishTash’s lifestyle and luxury brands including Hotel Indigo, Conrad Hotels, Comicon and Mapyr. YLOVA HAMDAN has been promoted to account director at Tishtash. She joined the firm four years ago, leading on many of the agency’s key beauty and regional accounts including Lifestyle, Sukin, Note Cosmetics, Zoflora, Multiplex, Mustela, Herbal Essentials, Aldo and Muji. MARWA MOHAMED has been promoted to account manager at TishTash. Since joining as a graduate five years ago, Mohamed has gone from strength to strength in her career with a real focus on beauty and wellness brands. November sees her promoted to account manager handling brands including The Body Shop, Neal’s Yard and Bath & Body Works.


November 28, 2021




Workplace to integrate with Teams By Debsena Chakraborty, general manager, MENA, mFilterIt


e are all aware that the pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of businesses and increased digital consumer consumption. With the global digital advertising and marketing ecosystem set to become a $780bn economy, businesses are increasingly leveraging digital advertising as a tool to reach their potential target audience. However, they are often neglecting or unaware about a bigger threat looming on their marketing budgets: ad fraud. Ad fraud is why return on advertising spend refuses to improve, acquisition costs are on the rise, and this ends up costing marketers thousands of dollars on a daily basis. The cumulative damage done by ad fraud is even more if the overall value chain is taken into consideration. The unfortunate truth is that many aspects of digital marketing have been pervaded with fraud. The ad-fraud economy is now one of the biggest markets for organised crime, worth a staggering $50bn. In 2020, digital media accounted for 70 per cent of spending on MENA ad space, and meanwhile online ad fraud has risen by 46 per cent in the MENA region since the beginning of the pandemic. This clearly highlights a potent challenge that brands have been reeling under. Brands have large budgets allocated to digital spend and it becomes imperative for marketers to ensure that every dollar spent yields returns by maximising real engagement. Fraudulent activities such as click-spamming, domain spoofing and fake installs can manipulate a campaign, which directly affects the advertiser’s ability to generate return on investment. Fraudsters have an army of bots at their disposal to infiltrate campaigns and eat away the budgets that would otherwise be used to target human users. As the digital world battles this complex phenomenon of ad fraud, there have been constant advancements in technological tools that build solutions to deter these fraudsters from masquerading behind the digital screens. The recent announcement (see page 5) that the Advertising Business Group (ABG) and Interactive Advertising Buereau (IAB) GCC have partnered to launch Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) international standards in the GCC is welcome news to all marketers. TAG is having a significant impact on reducing ad fraud across the world in the USA, Europe and many markets in the Asia-Pacific region. This could save companies millions of dollars in advertising spend. Despite knowing that ad fraud is very real, for many in the industry implementing strategies to combat the issue is an abstract concept. It is imperative that brands take responsibility for their own online safety – to safeguard their precious digital spends from fraudsters who are waiting to pocket ad spends – and deploy solutions to tackle this ever-evolving issue. A close examination of fraud in real-time will help marketers and advertisers optimise conversions, reduce cost and drive real human engagement. MFilterIt takes pride in being a TAG verified member, where our technologies weed out attacks on advertising campaigns and ensure that every dollar spent is every dollar earned. Ad fraud is a menace, and the ecosystem needs to come together to fight this battle as one single entity and simultaneously anticipate where it may arise next.

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.

Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, has announced a partnership with Microsoft that will allow customers to integrate Meta’s Workplace enterprise social network software with Microsoft Teams. The integration gives customers access to Workplace content inside the Teams app. Likewise, users can view Teams video meetings in the Workplace app. The partnership between Meta and Microsoft brings together two rivals that compete in the enterprise communication software market. Workplace and Teams, however, do not have complete overlap. Whereas Workplace is focused on broad, company-wide connections, Teams is focused on instantaneous communication between workers and their direct colleagues. This integration had been requested by customers including Vodafone and Accenture, Meta’s head of Workplace, Ujjwal Singh, told CNBC. “The way our customers end up using it is customers use the complementary features, not the competing features,” Singh said. “There are customers that are just Workplace shops, and then there are customers that are just Teams shops. This is really for those customers that use both.” The partnership could prove most beneficial to Meta. Its Workplace service drastically lags behind its competitors in terms of users. Workplace announced in May it hit 7 million paid subscribers. Microsoft in July announced that its Teams product now has 250 million monthly active users. Salesforce-owned Slack no longer breaks out user figures, but the company said it had 12 million daily active users in September 2019, the last time it reported that statistic. Slack’s number of paying customers increased nearly 39 per cent year-over-year in June 2021 to 169,000. Microsoft also offers Yammer, enterprise social network software that competes more directly with Meta’s Workplace service. In August, Microsoft said Yammer’s usage had doubled year-over-year, with “tens of millions of monthly active users.” Although Workplace has integrations with Microsoft’s Office 365, SharePoint, Azure Active Directory, OneDrive and now Teams, there is no integration with Yammer, Singh said.

November 28, 2021


New ways of thinking


iven that a lot of this issue is given over to e-commerce, I have spent a lot of the past couple of weeks reading, editing and proofing articles about how well marketers are able to target their existing and potential customers. So I was intrigued when I got a pop-up notification on my phone from a big-name retail app I regularly use, informing me it had special discounts tailored for me this shopping season. I clicked the link and was proffered a giant box of nappies. I don’t have any kids, and let’s just say it’s been a while since I’ve needed diapers myself. There is an awful lot of potential for e-commerce, as you will read many times elsewhere in this issue, but many marketers need to start walking the walk in a lot of areas. My colleague Sofia Serrano was more lucky in her visits to Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates, where she found multiple examples of ‘hybrid shopping’ (see page 8) – from interactive displays at the new Lego store to a branch of Carrefour where you can walk out without paying, your purchases billed to your app using AI. The pop-up experiences TBWA Worldwide CEO Troy Ruhanen discussed with me (page 6) are sort of hybrid as well. Cool, fly-by-night brands open funky temporary stores in abandoned retail spaces, and their customers share their experiences on social media. Pop-up activations might sound a little 15-years-ago, but Ruhanen says they didn’t reach their potential last time around because “you didn’t get to activate that content, that experience, either during or after it”. The magic comes from the collision of activations and social media. Social amplification of all sorts of advertising and marketing – from experiential to out-of-home ought to mean a golden age for creativity. Campaigns that would once have been seen by only a few people – either because they had insufficient media spend behind them or, in the case of location-specific work, because people simply weren’t there – no longer

live and die by the eyeballs they catch. What matters is that those people who do see the work think it is good enough to share. And their followers share it too. That’s yet another reason that I wrote in my introduction to our Digital Essays (page 43) that digital is essential to every aspect of our industry today. But Ruhanen says that rather than creativity blooming, it has come off the boil. Perhaps Covid-19 has made creatives timid, and without “shining Editor torches” showing how much better the work can get, agencies and clients don’t have much to aim for above the usual. @maustyn That’s why TBWA is disrupting ‘Disruption’, its core philosophy. There is a framework of six modules to help generate convention-breaking ideas not just for advertising but for deeper business transformation. The network’s chief strategy officer, Agathe Guerrier, says that although the modules offer a clear formula, they are far from being a strict format to follow. Rather, they can be looked at independently, and a couple of their strengths are to show prospective clients that TBWA has a well-conceived philosophy, and to they prompt marketers on both the client and agency side to think about their challenges differently. Our annual Marcomms360 – Predictions 2022 event did the same, offering new perspectives and prompting debate. You can see the photos on page 18, and watch out for the videos coming soon to our website. While you’re waiting, do you want to buy a jumbo pack of Pampers?


Leaders need followers I



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

n 1099, Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar led his troops out of Valencia against the besieging Moors. His troops were greatly outnumbered, starving and sick, but the sight of Diaz de Vivar on his horse gave them the courage to fight like demons. They won an amazing victory against overwhelming odds – Diaz de Vivar’s presence was that inspirational. What they didn’t know was that he was dead at the time. Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar was known as El Cid. His wife had her servants dress his corpse in armour and tie it on to his horse. Just the sight of their leader helped his troops do the impossible. A leader, a flag, a symbol can have that effect. In 1944 on D-Day, Bill Millin marched up the beach playing the bagpipes. One of the commandos, Tom Duncan, said: “It made us feel proud, it reminded us what we were fighting for.” It gave the troops the energy and belief to fight their way off the beach. Throughout history, having a symbol to follow made people feel part of a greater whole. For the French Foreign Legion, it was a wooden hand, nowadays kept in a glass box. The hand belonged to Captain Jean Danjou – he led

65 men against 3,000 Mexican soldiers, only five legionnaires survived. His prosthetic hand was the Legion’s most revered possession and always had pride of place at special occasions and parades. Having a leader, or a flag or symbol, that unites and motivates everyone is therefore how the best advertising works. Without the agreement, and ownership, of everyone involved, it’s a damp squib. It takes the entire company to adopt the campaign: to repeat it, spread it, have fun with it, and use it – that’s what makes it go viral. Everyone from marketing, to management, to the sales force, to retailers, to receptionists, to delivery drivers. The first modern example of this was Avis. Their campaign admitted they were smaller than Hertz, the market leader, so they said Hertz could afford to be lazy whereas Avis couldn’t. That’s why the Avis campaign was: WE TRY HARDER. That line made the staff feel proud – they wanted to wear it on badges and T-shirts, they wanted to demonstrate it everywhere, from cleaning the cars to smiling at customers. That’s why it’s still the most

remembered advertising of the 20th century. The same thinking was true of Apple’s THINK DIFFERENT campaign. They didn’t just run it once, Steve Jobs made that the theme of every speech and every product launch. It made everyone in the company feel proud because it said they were different to other companies and, consequently, so were their customers. I saw the same thing when I was at BMP – John Webster wrote a campaign to sell milk: WATCH OUT THERE’S A HUMPHREY ABOUT. The campaign was so loved by the people who delivered milk that, all over the country, milkmen decorated their floats with the name HUMPHREY and images from the campaign. Which made children, and consequently their mums, join in with it. That’s how the best advertising works: PAID-FOR media triggers OWNED media, which triggers EARNED media. That’s how clients can make advertising go viral – the ads won’t do all the work on their own, they’re just the start point. They’re the flag, the symbol, that the entire company needs to gather round and follow.


November 28, 2021

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism… ‘It’s beautifully shot as a full-length film.’ (AP)

Dubai Tourism… ‘Reeks of money, lacks depth, but I guess it’s fun.’ (AS)

Peugeot… ‘This is a great concept and certainly a message clearly needed in the UAE.’ (AS)

Ikea… ‘Love it! Cultural relevancy and unexpected for Ikea ad.’ (AP).

Barakat… ‘This is purposeful advertising and much needed in this region.’ (AS)

November 28, 2021




Marketing director, Audi Volkswagen Middle East

CEO and founder Shakespeare Communications

RAS AL KHAIMAH TOURISM (1) Overall, I found it flat. Yes, its beautifully shot as a fulllength film. I hope there are further cuts to fit the interests of the different target groups – adventurers within the UAE, adventurers outside the UAE, people interested in sustainability, etc. Also, it would be great if we could see names of places during the video to help inspire people to search further. For me it really lacked showcasing that this is RAK and what’s truly unique to this area versus other destinations in the UAE.

RAS AL KHAIMAH TOURISM (1) Ras Al Khaimah’s tourism authority has long been giving brand Dubai a run for its money. There have been multiple initiatives (the UAE’s highest concert on Jebel Jais) and the Guinness World Records they broke for New Year’s Eve last year for most unmanned aerial vehicle, for launching fireworks simultaneously, and the longest fireworks waterfall. They’ve already announced that they are aiming to break more records this year. The advert sets out to position RAK as a destination you can live in, to attract diverse young visitors who love nature and adventure. It succeeds, it makes me want to jump in my Jeep and head to the mangroves, mountains, red desert or RAK city. The casting is appropriate, but I think they could have chosen music that was still right for the audience but had more of an Arabic flavour.

DUBAI TOURISM (2) These small miniseries are really good. They’re expensive and well-made, but fully serve the purpose. Everything I saw so far makes me smile – cool teasers that keep the audience interested. Nice use of Dubai landmarks within the shoots and smart getting high-profile names to assist in the sharability of the ad and PR. PEUGEOT (3) Impactful and to the point. Relevant for the audience and for this moment. We commend Peugeot for doing activations to improve driver safety. IKEA (4) Love it! Cultural relevancy and unexpected for an Ikea ad. The shooting, the styling, the short-form content that gets to the point but also keeps you interested with the effects within the video. I particularly loved the music; it’s a nice break from other styles which would act as a disruptor. BARAKAT (5) For this short form, we get the message across with the tagline, but I believe could have been executed in a more creative and engaging way so audience can memorise the ad.

DUBAI TOURISM (2) Each emirate has a clear tourism strategy (as I am well aware, since I have studied for all tourism licences in the UAE). The latest campaign from Dubai Tourism reeks of money, lacks depth, but I guess it’s fun and well produced. Over produced? Couldn’t Dubai Tourism champion the talent we have here to create content for the world? Because of its very nature – being a global campaign – it smacks of being everything for everyone. PEUGEOT (3) This is a great concept and certainly a message clearly needed in the UAE – to disconnect your phone while you drive. The cast delivery wasn’t convincing to me. Is this because, following the pandemic, there’s a lack of acting talent in the country? The script worked, but if I came across this ad too much on You Tube, I’d definitely be pressing ‘skip’. IKEA (4) This is clever. Nearly every home store ad traditionally showcases what they’re selling, packing in lots of information in a short time to the point of being irritating. Yet Leo Burnett knows the brand recognition strength of Ikea. The message is clear: chuck out the chintz and re-decorate with a massive discount. It’s probably all the prompting anyone needs who realises they need to update their home environment. I like it. I’d like to see it developed; I’d love to see more of them rolled out. BARAKAT (5) This is purposeful advertising and much needed in this region, with diabetes being prevalent here. The ad is simple, short and encourages the viewer to use the label and to push the content to go viral with the use of a hashtag.

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Title: Live the Destination Creative agency: Sputnik Floyd Creative Marketing agency: Beautiful Destinations PR agency: Asda’a BCW

Dubai Tourism

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


Agency: Science and Sunshine Production house: Sensa Digital


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


Agency: Havas Middle East


November 28, 2021

The Spin There are some brand associations that just seem obvious: Coca-Cola and friendship; Land Rover and adventure; Pot Noodles and slovenliness. But we’re not sure about the Krispy-Kremes-and-fitness connection. This invite to a “Doughnut Run”, where participants run 10km and eat a doughnut at every click, sparked some debate amongst The Spin and our colleagues. First, do a doughnut and a kilometre cancel each other out? And second, would it be humanly possible to run 100km and eat 100 doughnuts within 100 hours? We’re asking the questions that matter here, folks. There’s nothing like a customer endorsement to make a brand look good. But The Spin’s advice is that if you are going to turn a tweet into an Instagram post, perhaps use someone who exists. We scoured Twitter and the web for any sign of Jamie Brown, aka @jdog22034 and found no sign of the roastmaster. A Scottish friend sent The Spin this photo from a supermarket in the UK. Now, if you’ve never tried a Chocolate Orange you should; it’s one of the greatest sweet treats ever invented. But that’s not what drew our attention to this offer. Terry’s chocolate what, now?


VidCon Abu Dhabi 2021

FUTR World

December 3-6, 2021 ADNEC, Abu Dhabi

December 9-11, 2021 Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi

VidCon Abu Dhabi is a celebration of online video. It gathers over 100 influential content creators, including Supercar Blondie, Ian Hexoc (aka Smosh), Keemokazi, Noor Stars and more. The event takes place during four days of live music performances, parties, panels, gaming activities, meet-andgreets and more at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. To enter, participants must be vaccinated and have green status on Alhosn App.

Three days of exclusive music, food, immersive experiences, drops, giveaways, talks and much more – in three parts. FUTR Summit, on December 9, is focused on fresh thinking and innovation within retail, marketing and commerce. The gathering will bring together leaders from brands, retailers, corporates, shopping malls and e-commerce to create a melting pot of ideas and tools for businesses to succeed with the modern customer. FUTR Festival brings a world-class line up of progressive music artists across multiple genres. FUTR Live creates immersive experiences, showcases, exclusive product launches, giveaways and talks.

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To find out more:

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