Campaign Middle East - June 2022

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May 30, 2022



May 30, 2022


Tales & Heads wins Stellantis Middle East’s communications account Automaker and mobility provider Stellantis has awarded Tales & Heads, the UAEheadquartered marketing and communications agency, its Middle East communications brief following a competitive pitch. Tales & Heads will manage corporate communications for Stellantis Middle East in addition to consumer and stakeholder communication campaigns for its iconic automotive brands – Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Citroën, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Opel, Peugeot and Ram. The brief will support the automaker as it builds on its successful global product and technology offensive set out in the company’s Dare Forward 2030 Strategy, launched in March 2022. Over the next 12 months, Stellantis Middle East will also continue its network expansion and invest in community-rooted activations and launches across regional markets. Reham El Didi, head of corporate communications Middle East at Stellantis, said: “One year on from Stellantis’ inception following the merger Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the PSA Group, our focus is on continuing to establish our corporate brand while celebrating our collective 300-year automotive heritage. “Not only are we launching fresh products and supporting our beloved models like Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392, Dodge Charger, Peugeot 3008, Ram TRX and Abarth 595, we’re also building our low-emission and electric vehicle momentum. Stellantis is making investments of more than €30bn by 2025 in electrification and software strategies – fueling our ambition to become a

sustainable mobility tech company and the leading player in premium customer experience. Achieving this ambition relies on working with partners who share our belief in leveraging brand storytelling and building on our community heritage, which is why we chose Tales & Heads.” Margaret Flanagan, co-founder at Tales & Heads, said: “When we set up Tales & Heads just over a year ago, we made a commitment to work with progressive and forward-thinking brands and

businesses. Stellantis not only has a stellar portfolio of some of the world’s most loved and legendary automotive marques but is also committed to investing in sustainable technologies and making a positive impact wherever it operates. We look forward to working together with Stellantis to create integrated campaigns that are driven by insight, connecting with audiences across the region in ways that are culturally relevant, human and memorable.”

Acer Middle East appoints Gambit

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MAGDI YACOUB FOUNDATION LONESOME TRAVELLER A musical tribute that follows a 12-year-old child on his difficult journey to undergo heart surgery a thousand kilometres away from home. Though accompanied by his parents, this is a journey he must take alone in spirit. Leaving behind friends who love him, as they bid him goodbye with a modern rendition of the Egyptian classic ‘Ya Mesafer Wahdak’” (translation: Lonesome Traveller) by legendary composer Mohamed Abd el Wahab. Lonesome Traveller was created by Tarek Nour Advertising and directed by Mohamed El Zayat through Kay Oh Productions.

Acer Middle East has appointed Gambit Communications for both its public relations and social media remits in the region, following a multiple-agency tender. Acer has tasked the Dubai-born independent communications agency with managing its communications in the region and reinforcing its brand commitment to enable a world where hardware, software and services will fuse with one another to open up new possibilities for consumers and businesses alike, breaking barriers between people and technology. The decision builds on a successful last few months for Gambit, in which they were triple Agency of the Year winners, having been named Medium Agency of the Year at the PRCA Regional Awards, and Homegrown Agency of the Year and Small Agency of the Year at the MEPRA Awards.


May 30, 2022

ABG appoints Ipsos for UAE cross-media measurement The Advertising Business Group (ABG) has appointed research firm Ipsos, to spearhead the UAE crossmedia measurement project, as of June 5, 2022. The media audience measurement project will provide holistic and transparent advertising and content performance measurement in the advertising and media industry in the UAE. Rooted in the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) blueprint and guidelines on building the next generation of the cross-platform measurement system, the United Arab Emirates is one of the first countries in the world to embrace this next generation of audience measurement standards. Ipsos’ winning proposal promises to be one of the most cutting-edge systems using their personal meter, MediaCell, to measure linear and digital TV and Aqilliz’s Blockchain technology and Federated Data Processing to ensure privacycompliant measurement. The UAE population is unique in the world. The country’s media landscape is equally so. It is demographically fragmented (more than 100 nationalities) and ranks high in terms of its maturity in

digital advancement. Cross-cultural TV content, a high penetration of digital platforms, and high penetration of SVOD and OTT are all factors that add complexity to the job and require robust mechanisms of measurement to be in place. “This is extremely important for the UAE, the industry and Ipsos, as it is one of the biggest media projects in MENA. This project saw life because the advertisers, publishers and media agencies sat together under the umbrella of the ABG to work on a project that follows the WFA guidelines, and that will put the UAE among the first pioneering countries to launch such a futuristic project. Choosing Ipsos means that the investment made by Ipsos on MediaCell, the personal meters technology, to measure TV, OTT and digital, paid off in our region, and will open the door to other countries to follow, and also means that the open-minded and collaborative position of Ipsos to work and collaborate with technology companies like Aquiliz to present the

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best solution to the market was the right thing to be done,” said Elie Aoun, Ipsos Media CEO in MENA. “Aqilliz is extremely delighted and proud to be partnering with Ipsos in this path-breaking initiative that sets the standard for a truly neutral cross-media measurement solution,” said Gowthaman Ragothaman, founding CEO of Aqilliz. The Cross Media Project was initiated in late 2019 with an ambition to provide holistic and transparent advertising and content performance measurement in the advertising and media industry in the UAE. The project has been managed by an expert committee (Cross-Media Committee) consisting of Ibrahim Kadiri from Google, Tony Evans from Facebook, Olivier Sage from MBC, Walid Yared from Choueiri Group, Shadi Kandil from MCN/IPG Media Brands, Ravi Rao from Group M,

Omar Katerji from Ferrero, and Amine Sadek from P&G. The committee was led by Asad ur Rehman of Unilever. The committee also now has enriched representation from Amazon, Snap Inc, Nestle, and TikTok (Byte Dance). The project had deep engagement with the Abu Dhabi Media Company. The committee was assisted by Nishe & Co, an independent auditing firm that helped ensure and certify that the process of vendor appointment was run with full industry consensus and transparency. The committee was also assisted by Houda Kousa from Archers, an independent consulting firm. The Joint Industry Consortium comprises industry leaders from all major advertising agencies, Media and Broadcasting platforms, and advertisers.

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Globally acclaimed comedian and actor Kevin Hart has been officially appointed as the first ‘chief island officer’ of Yas Island Abu Dhabi in a trailer video published on the destination’s social media platforms. In the trailer, Hart is seen cruising around Yas Island in a white Ferrari and keeps his fans guessing as to how he plans to ‘Hartify’ the Island. He suggests something big is coming and asks the viewers to keep a lookout.

For Sputnik Floyd, producing a tourism ad for Ras Al Khaimah, one of the UAE’s seven emirates, couldn’t be more of the same old horizontal format or the tired cliché of a postcard paradise ad. Promoting this destination in a fresh and different way and reaching both Middle Eastern and international target markets had to go beyond the traditional tropes. The campaign is based on real user behaviour with a vertical video, where it shows an influencer marketing approach where multiple influencers are not just sharing their content or talking about it, but living the experience and sharing it as it happens.

Creative agency Momentum Dubai Media buyer Initiative UAE Production house Dejavu Dubai PR agency Four Communications

Agency Sputnik Floyd

May 30, 2022

Leo Burnett appoints VMLY&R’s Kalpesh Patankar as UAE CCO After 13 years with VMLY&R in Dubai, Kalpesh Patankar has taken up the mantle of chief creative officer at Leo Burnett UAE. Patankar has consistently ranked among the world’s most creative and effective leaders, and over the past 13 years his work has helped to elevate the MENA region to one of the most celebrated hubs for creativity in the world. “As one of the most influential creatives in the Middle East, Kalpesh’s appointment signals our commitment to investing in creativity and keeping it at the heart of one of our most iconic agency brands. He joins Leo Burnett as CCO, but his role will involve all disciplines across Publicis Groupe, using the Power of One to deliver relevant, end-to-end creative solutions for our clients,” said Bassel Kakish, CEO of Publicis Groupe Middle East & Turkey. In 2018, Patankar was named among the top 10 Global Agency Leaders by AdWeek. Under his leadership as chief creative officer, VMLY&R MENA was consistently named among the top creative agencies in the world, winning MEA Agency of the Decade at Cannes Lions in 2020. He has many firsts to his name, winning the region’s first double Cannes Lions Gold, the region’s first Yellow Pencil, and a

Kalpesh Patankar is the new chief creative officer at Leo Burnett UAE.

record haul of 13 Lions in 2013. Patankar said: “When I was first considering this role, I was drawn by the diversity of Leo Burnett’s client portfolio and the Groupe’s integrated model. It feels like a place where everyone comes together to collaborate for one purpose: making work that shines for our clients. The scale of the Groupe, the formidable roster of local, regional and global clients, the untapped potential of the

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region – there is so much opportunity that Leo Burnett and Publicis Groupe’s ‘Power of One’ structure offers, and I’m here for it.” Patankar has hit the ground running, playing a driving role in the pitch for e& (formerly Etisalat Group), which appointed Publicis Groupe as its creative partner in April. The Groupe will provide creative services for all e& business pillars in support of their transformation journey.


Emirates Woman relaunches site Leading contemporary luxury lifestyle and fashion publication Emirates Woman has launched the 2.0 version of its website. Emirates Woman, which is part of Campaign Middle East’s parent Motivate Media Group, delivers high-end fashion, beauty, luxe lifestyle and travel as well as in-depth local and global features. The new look of the website is in line with the rebrand of the print magazine in February 2020, which led to growth in global luxury brands partnering with the title across all platforms. The new website is in both Arabic and English. Two additions to the digital platform include ‘The Hero Buys’, which features dedicated, curated must-have pieces to shop, and ‘The Most Incredible Women We Know’, which champions the female leaders in the region and globally with whom the brand has close relationships. Amy Sessions, editor and associate publisher of Emirates Woman and Emirates Man, said: “I am beyond proud of what the team produce across all platforms on a daily basis. Aligning digital with print in terms of aesthetics was important, as the quality of the content has been aligned since the team came together in February 2020 – and now the look and feel match the tone of voice.”

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Throughout time, the Lego brand has been famous for its vast range of car builds. Every year the brand launches very cool new sets that cater to the passion of various car lovers. So, when the brand launched the new vehicles from Lego City, Lego Speed Champions, Lego Technic, Lego Creator, Lego Friends and Lego Duplo, the creative team behind this campaign could feel their brains working at the same speed as the cars themselves. The concept created, ‘Brick the Rules, gives kids the freedom to build and play with a great deal of imagination.

The Lebanese Transparency Association – No Corruption is rolling out a new currency in Lebanon called the Lollar – Currency of Corruption. The campaign is an act of protest against Lebanon’s crippling economic crisis, which has seen the Lebanese lira lose more than 90 per cent of its value since 2019. The mock currency raises awareness of the fact that millions of American dollars deposited with Lebanese banks can now only be withdrawn in local currency, making them as worthless as ‘lollars’ (Lebanese dollars) – a term coined in 2019 by financial expert Dan Azzi.

Agency Grey Group Dubai & Grey Group Singapore Executive creative directors Pablo Maldonado and Aaron Phua Creative directors Rubin Fernando and Odile Riachi Film company Asteroide

Agency Leo Burnett, Publicis Communications ME Chief creative officer, Publicis Communications Mohammed Bahmishan Executive creative director, Leo Burnett Mohammed Sehly


May 30, 2022


Will Elon Musk’s ownership of Twitter be good for advertisers?

May 30, 2022


Kseniya Tkachenko

Associate media director, Havas Media Middle East


Elon Musk is a controversial figure, and we wouldn’t expect less from him when it comes to a Twitter deal: from an astonishing initial offer to recent tweets about the deal being “temporarily on hold” and maintaining that he’s “still committed”, sowing new chaos in the market. With that rocky start, we can expect the Twitter and Musk partnership to have a huge effect on advertising, and not a positive one at first. From doubts about how ‘freedom of speech’ will affect brand safety to speculations about subscription-based membership, it’s only natural that some brands will be reluctant to go all-in, possibly taking a silent spectator seat instead. However, I believe Musk will bring innovation, fresh ideas and faster product development to Twitter, eventually doing everyone a favour by shaking up the industry and encouraging changes for advertisers and users. We now see more brands taking a leap of faith and joining Twitter. Something tells me this is the right thing to do.

Muhammad Talha

Senior digital strategist, Viola Communications


A painful but necessary ‘yes’. I believe Musk will make advertising on the platform tougher (more difficult from a creative and spending point of view), but I look at it as a good thing because, honestly, the world needs fewer but better ads. If advertising were expensive and ad formats were restricted to the truly ‘conversational’ ones, it would be good for users and advertisers will be forced to create better content and try harder with targeting. Also, Musk is focusing on removing bots and spam and that’s great for advertising too, Less money wasted through spam impressions.

Yves-Michel Gabay Managing director, Gamned MEA


At the date I’m writing this comment, Mr. Musk has put on hold his takeover operation on Twitter, to get more clarity on the number of fake accounts. However, if Elon Musk decides to pursue his acquisition, yes, I think it could be beneficial for advertisers. Because Mr. Musk, as a well-known businessman, will most probably push the management to offer more advertising possibilities and monetisation levers on Twitter. I’m thinking about new formats, new segmentations, new opportunities (opening seats to third party players and agencies). The only concern we could anticipate at this stage is the ‘editorial’ moderation policy to guarantee a good environment for advertisers.

Chantal Harmouche Account director, Isobar


Elon Musk’s initiative to diversify monetisation with his proposed subscription model might not be the greatest news for advertisers. Moreover, his free speech policy might be alarming for a lot of brands that wouldn’t want to associate with harmful content. On the other hand, although open-sourcing the algorithm without the data might not mean much to everyone, it will help in building audience trust. That, in addition to his fight against bots, and the faster product developments that should take place with his vision if this privatisation does take place, is what I think advertisers can look forward to.


May 30, 2022

Ginny Kemp-Taylor

Head of marcomms and operations, VMLY&R Commerce MENA


Given the exchange of ownership is still yet to take place, it’s hard to predict how Musk’s ownership will change the platform. But what we do know is that Musk, even when launching Tesla, wasn’t focused on the advertising strategy as much as he was the product (although clever PR was key to its launch). And it’s clear from initial reports that his approach is the same. I don’t believe Musk’s adoption of the ‘Town Square’ is because of his plans to generate more ad revenue. His focus will first and foremost be the product and the experience for a consumer, with brands and advertisers coming as an afterthought. But what this means, if reports are to be believed, is that the platform will open into a world of free speech, more politics and less moderation, which in turn could make advertisers more vulnerable. My advice: err on the side of caution and consider a more conservative platform strategy – but only time will tell.

Pascal Khazzoum Head of social, Fusion5


Twitter has undergone minimal changes to the functionality of the platform since its launch. While focusing on platform core functionality, it was hesitant in launching drastic new features. This is where Elon Musk’s ownership of Twitter will be beneficial. He is a genius risk-taker, who will speed up product development, innovatio, and the functionality of the platform for both users and advertisers. Elon Musk elaborated on the importance of ‘free Speech’, but it’s unclear how drastic the changes eventually are going to effect the platform, but no doubt it will remain a trusted safe environment. I believe Elon Musk is Twitter’s chance to evolve, grow and improve its financials.

Riya Vatnani

Group account director, Cicero & Bernay Communication Consultancy


Elon Musk’s rebellious nature as an entrepreneur may just be what Twitter needs to rekindle its financial sustainability, which has been stifled commercially over the past several years. I anticipate the company will undergo major overhauls in terms of utility and internal operations alike, under the overseeing eye of a hard-activated user. Things can only get better for Twitter, and the resulting changes to its modus operandi will herald a renewed, more advertiser-friendly platform, whose financial structure has, to date, still not reflected its prominent influence on communication.

Abdallah Safieddine

Managing director, Mindshare UAE


It is no easy task predicting Mr. Musk’s actions or, at the time of answering this question, whether the deal will go through. We do expect the new ownership to make a mark on business strategy and innovations. It remains to be assessed whether these changes will have a positive or negative impact on user growth, time spent and overall brand suitability. While advertisers could benefit from his innovative approach and his plans to limit bots’ traffic, we need to ensure regular risk assessments of reach estimates, brand suitability and safety. There are a number of questions yet to be answered and we’re closely monitoring the situation with Twitter to take the right actions once we have more clarity.

May 30, 2022


Rizvi Riaz

Commercial director, Boopin


If Elon decides to loosen content moderation policies, he puts Twitter ad dollars at risk. I stay cautioned that this approach could turn Twitter into a ‘mainstream Gab’, the alternate micro-blogging site that’s known to host far right and extremist users, some of whom were banned from Twitter. Brands are becoming more conscious of their adjacency to risky content or disinformation, so they may take their dollars to other channels with greater safety measures in place. On the other hand, Elon brings with him significant cachet. Premium national consumer brands, however, may be worried about what the content looks like with fewer regulations, and at the same time he has made his distaste for traditional advertising clear. Efforts to expand Twitter’s revenue streams, in features like its Blue subscription offering, commerce functionalities and Spaces audio rooms, are still unproven. Musk may choose to prioritise more experimental bets and has expressed interest in putting a bigger focus on subscription concepts like Blue, as reported in The Wall Street Journal. However, ironically, brands could benefit as Musk’s acquisition may improve Twitter’s advertising offering. There will undoubtedly be increased financial pressure on the new owners to further evolve the advertising solutions so that they can command higher rates — maybe with new more immersive ad experiences — while maintaining a brand-safe environment.

Natasha Van As

Head of sales, The TechVantage


Yes, in a nutshell. There will be question marks around brand safety and context, but we should see a boost in genuine user engagement, and a culling of ‘bot’ accounts, which has recently come to light in the acquisition process. Musk’s approach can also open doors to a wider marketing portfolio (including next gen e-commerce), as well as a significant step in the adoption of crypto via the platform. Fuelled by Musk’s ambition and out-of-the-box thinking, could we see Twitter becoming the predominant communication channel in Web 3.0? Just maybe.

Brittany Wickerson

Global head of media, Socialize


We know that Musk believes in building products that drive customers to sell it themselves. Their product love means that they act as brand advocates, building awareness and desire, without investing in paid advertising. Despite his early plan to only charge a subscription for some users, I expect that we’ll see Twitter move to a more subscription-based model, reducing reliance on advertising revenue. This means that brands will need to focus more on how they use the platform to engage with that community, while adapting to changes that will make the platform more compelling, exclusive and ‘the place to be’.

Vijay Simon

Chief innovation officer, YouExperience


At the time of writing this piece, Elon Musk had just slammed the brakes on his Twitter acquisition. His reason: bot pop. Elon and several other thought leaders have gone on record stating – and providing proof from their million-plus follower counts – that Twitter is rife with bots. In fact, nearly half of President Joe Biden’s Twitter followers are fake. On a Twitter spat with the platform CEO Parag Agarwal, Elon brought up the bot issue with a piercing question: “How do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money?” Elon is demanding that Twitter comes clean and rids itself of bots. Now, that’s good news for advertisers because they can be sure that their communication assets are now being viewed by actual humans and not a set of algo.


May 30, 2022



SAE Institute’s Kyra Macalma is the winner of the Dubai Lynx Student Cover Competition. Here’s who else did well. By Campaign editor Austyn Allison



ot only does the winner of the Dubai Lynx Student Cover Competition deserve a round of applause, but Kyra Elisha Sanchez Macalma from the SAE Institute Dubai gave us a big hand as well [cue: tumbleweed]. Close the magazine for a moment to see the front cover and admire her design (01). It was the winning entry in a competition organised by Dubai Lynx to create a work of art fit for the cover of Campaign’s Audio & Radio Guide 2022. Macalma faced some stiff competition, and there was ‘healthy debate’ between the judges (luckily over Zoom, so no fists were thrown) as we argued for our favourites. But after much discussion our decision was unanimous. Second place in the competition went to Justin Afuang, also from SAE Institute (02), and third place to Miriam Al Lakis from the Lebanese American University (03). There were two shortlisted runners up: Hiba Nawar from the Académie Libanaise des Beaux Arts (04); and Setareh Ghavami from the American University in Dubai (05). Congratulations to all the winners, and thank you to everyone who took part. Thanks also to my fellow judges: Fadi Yaish, CEO and chief creative officer of And Us; Yasmina Boustani, associate creative director at Impact BBDO; and Elie Abou Saleh, vice-president of Anghami.



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May 30, 2022

KINGS OF THE BBDO named best regional network as Campaign Agency of the Year Global Awards are announced

WORLD SELECTED WINNERS BEST NETWORK (MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA) Gold: BBDO MEA Silver: Havas Middle East Bronze: PHD MEA Shortlisted: TBWA; Weber Shandwick MENAT


AE shops have won in several categories in the Campaign Global Agency of the Year Awards 2021, announced across two virtual ceremonies today on May 11. The Middle East and Africa Best Network was BBDO MEA (pictured– from left, Syed Azeem Afzal, Dani Richa, Samantha Stuart-Palmer), with Havas Middle East taking Silver, PHD MEA winning Bronze and both Weber Shandwick MENAT and TBWA shortlisted. Dubai-based Lightblue was shortlisted as Brand Experience Agency Of The Year. Denmark’s &Co claimed the coveted Creative Agency of the Year prize. The shop beat Zulu Alpha Kilo from Canada and the UK’s Uncommon Creative Studio in the hotly contested category. Ogilvy was named Campaign’s Global Network of the Year, fending off competition from Havas Creative and Wavemaker. Global Media Agency of the Year went to Manning Gottlieb OMD and the agency’s managing partner, head of planning, Emma Withington, took Media Planning Leader of the Year. Campaign named Alex Myers, CEO and founder at Manifest, Agency Leader (Creative) of the Year and Agency Growth Leader went to Naomi Troni, global chief marketing and growth officer, Wunderman Thompson, UK. New Business Development Team of the Year

went to MediaCom and Mindshare took Corporate Communications/Marketing Team of the Year. Global Brand Experience Agency of the Year went to Imagination and Impero won Integrated Marketing Agency of the Year. Performance Marketing Agency of the Year went to Journey Further. Gideon Spanier, UK editor-in-chief at Campaign, said: “Campaign’s global Agency of the Year Awards recognise and celebrate the best agencies – and the brilliant people working within them. “The winners are chosen by a select group of marketers, the people in a position to hire shops and authorise budgets. “It is a real achievement to win one of these awards, and this year they recognise industryleading business and executives working across four continents, from established names to a new breed of businesses and talent.” Now in their third year, the global awards are judged by a panel of global and regional chief marketing officers. Winners of the media, creative and digital network categories in Campaign’s regional Agency of the Year schemes in Asia-Pacific, the US and UK are automatically put through to the awards but other networks can enter, too. Campaign Middle East will soon be announcing a regional Agency of the Year scheme for the MENA region.

GLOBAL NETWORK OF THE YEAR Gold: Ogilvy Silver: Havas Creative Bronze: Wavemaker CREATIVE AGENCY OF THE YEAR Gold: &Co. / NoA, Denmark Silver: Zulu Alpha Kilo, Canada Bronze: Uncommon Creative Studio, UK MEDIA AGENCY OF THE YEAR Gold: MG OMD, UK Silver: MediaCom, Australia Bronze: UM, Malaysia INDEPENDENT AGENCY OF THE YEAR Gold: Rethink, Canada Silver: Amplify, UK Bronze: Zulu Alpha Kilo, Canada PR AGENCY OF THE YEAR Gold: FleishmanHillard, US Silver: Weber Shandwick, US Bronze: Material, Japan SOCIAL MEDIA AGENCY OF THE YEAR Gold: Media.Monks, Netherlands Silver: We are Social, UK Bronze: M&C Saatchi, Indonesia Find the full list of winners at



May 30, 2022

Beyond transformational Viola is digitising the OOH industry, one LED screen at a time


he digitalisation of our industry is now an accepted reality. However, calling it ‘transformational’ does an injustice to the processes that have been completely revolutionised to get us to this point. Technological advances are taking place at an incredible rate and amazing innovations are making a huge difference to how we, as the marketing interface between companies and their clients, can exploit this new technology to have a far-reaching effect. Let’s face it, we would be guilty of sleeping on the job if we failed to recognise, or at least investigate, the tremendous opportunities that digitalisation can bring to the table. While organisations and governments around the world have a digitalisation imperative that is bringing about a change in the way we interact with the world online at a personal level, we are at the sharp end of an industry that has always been highly visible in the public domain, a media for the masses specifically designed to introduce product to customer, and in the most efficient, charismatic and appealing way. Which is why Viola Outdoor has recently announced a breakthrough advance in the field of outdoor advertising in the capital with the imminent launch of its digital outdoor LED screens and bridge banner display concepts. Viola’s long-term presence on the highways and byways of Abu Dhabi has already established the company as the perfect partner to lead the digital evolution of outdoor advertising, having been the principal advertising concessionaire on the main outdoor platforms in Abu Dhabi since 2003, and as such possessing the experience and knowledge necessary to take outdoor marketing to its next phase. The DOOH LED screens will feature several unique technical designs, and will fit in with Viola Communications’ existing strategic locations across Abu Dhabi, including downtown and along the city’s high-visibility roads and major arteries, opening the doors to a new era of partnerships between Viola, a locally grown industry leader, and its clients. We will be introducing these dynamic new media display screens at appropriate sites across the city and are really excited by the prospects that this form of advertising can offer, including

“The screens will feature several unique technical designs, and will fit in with Viola Communications’ existing strategic locations across Abu Dhabi.” interactivity for pedestrians. These displays will totally transform the very infrastructure of media platforms across the city. For Viola, this is not just another project; it is company philosophy. But it’s important to note that digital OOH will not replace the existing traditional formats in the short term, for which there is still a lot of demand. However, we are in the process of creating a mass communication structure that will be ready, willing and able to adapt to any change in the future, changes that digitalisation will facilitate at the touch of a button, literally. We are introducing smart network solutions that add a sophisticated backbone to the complex system of connectivity, which benefits both

advertiser and audience in equal parts. For example, our Totem.Lights are two-sided and will have an interactive element to them, enabling residents, visitors and tourists to get instant information based on their location, and the booking process for advertisers will be digitised and securely accessible on-line, enabling content to be displayed on screens instantly for optimum viewability. Viola’s unique digital products provide a vast range of marketing options that actively support the capital city’s commitment to digital transformation, reinforced by the capability of embedding creativity and style in their applications coupled with high visibility, enabling a better targeted reach for customers and a more refined experience for the general public. Currently, posters on billboards are printed and then manually changed according to customer specs, but digital displays provide the ability to bypass this process and directly change any image, whether static or animated, video or graphic, instantly and remotely; adding speed, adaptability, sustainability, environmental friendliness and the extra dimensions of immediacy and safety to the process. Digitisation offers clients the opportunity to invest in a range of marketing possibilities, whether multiple versions of a single campaign across the city, multiple campaigns run on a single unit across the Viola Digital Out of Home products, or a mix and match campaign that combines a full range of options, and we are very excited about how these city-wide smart screens will help Viola highlight the future. By introducing this transformative technology in Abu Dhabi, Viola Communications is actively contributing to the digital evolution taking place in the UAE, in full alignment with future government policy for the next 50 years and in support of the technology-driven aspirations of our holding company, the Multiply Group, in a quest to invest in and empower tech-based, scalable businesses that demonstrate healthy growth and have the potential for disrupting their industries. If the future is digital, then Viola is the future.

By Ammar Sharaf, Founder, Boardmember and CEO of Viola Communications




May 30, 2022

When was the last time you started something new? Al Masaood’s Marwa Kaabour explains how the conglomerate’s Ibda’a campaign encouraged people to act on Ramadan resolutions


uring one of the peak seasons for business, countless companies in our region spend long months developing Ramadan campaigns that befit the holy occasion. For many businesses, Ramadan is one time of the year that cannot be overlooked. But what do you do if you are on the corporate side and do not interact with customers directly? This is how we at Al Masaood decided to connect on a deep level with our external and internal communities and celebrate with them the values and spirit of the month.


For our campaign, a primary insight was that Ramadan is a time for introspection as people tend to focus less on life distractions and luxuries, and concentrate more on emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing. For many, Ramadan is the ideal time to reset, revitalise our relationship with ourselves, and perhaps start a resolution that we’ve been keeping the back burner.


This process led us to the simple verb ‘Ibda’a’, the Arabic equivalent of ‘start something new’. After a brainstorming session, we identified common goals or actions that many of us have long wanted to start. Split into four main areas – physical health, financial freedom, setting & achieving goals, and practicing mindfulness and spirituality – these goals formed the pillars of our content.


For the campaign’s master artwork, we recreated our corporate logo in 3D with a visual texture reflecting the moon’s surface – connecting with Ramadan being a lunar month. Modern calligraphy was used to compose the campaign logo,

showing thin lines phasing into thicker strokes replicating the moon changing from crescent to full moon. We also drew a connection with the year 2022 being expected to make history, as the UAE and other countries plan new lunar missions.


Ramadan is a time for gatherings and spending quality time with friends and family. One common practice is the ‘Ramadan majlis’. To keep our campaign spirit alive, we hosted a virtual Ramadan majlis featuring authors and motivational speakers on topics related to our four pillars. The interactive sessions saw direct

“Ramadan is the ideal time to reset, revitalise our relationship with ourselves, and perhaps start a resolution.” engagement, live Q&As, and polls between the speakers and attendees. Physical health: To highlight our first pillar, we hosted motivational speaker and author Omar Al-Duri, who spoke about connecting our minds and bodies and resetting our mindsets to achieve better mental and physical health. Our second speaker on this topic was Dr. Hanan Selim, a healthcare specialist and international author who is also known as ‘the pharmacist of the future’. Dr. Hanan shared some hacks to achieve holistic wellbeing by connecting our bodies and minds in everything we do.

Financial freedom: Tackling a stress point for many, we hosted Dr. Omar Fisher, a renowned financial expert, innovator and author, who threw a new light on defining the value of money and wealth, being financially savvy and finding the best route for future investments. The power of setting goals & achieving them:

Many of us have goals and resolutions sitting there untouched. Saahil Mehta, an author, passionate mountaineer and our majlis guest, highlighted the importance of decluttering our mind, body, relationships and material things in order to break free of any self-imposed limitations to achieving our goals. Mindfulness and spirituality: In the last 10 days of Ramadan, as many looked to intensify their spiritual activities, we hosted coach and mentor Arsalan Al Hashimi to discuss mindfulness and spirituality. Arsalan introduced his methodology to help us achieve mental clarity and successfully transform from chronic stress to joy.


The campaign was carried on social platforms and managed by social media consultancy Digital Farm. Our content featured daily stories to keep followers engaged and involved, and to share our goal to start and spread positive change.


The campaign also included a CSR side through our collaboration with the Emirates Red Crescent, where Al Masaood employees got an opportunity to volunteer in their ‘Break the Fast’ initiative. Our campaign Ibda’a – through its internal and external activities – was an inspiration that changed many goals and sparked resolutions into a wide ripple of positive change.


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May 30, 2022

Leading beyond Covid-19 Channel 4 Radio Network’s management describe how they have built back after the pandemic


ith Covid-19 restrictions being lifted, the FM radio business, as well as its solutions and digital components, is poised for rapid expansion beyond pre-pandemic levels. We at Channel 4 Radio Network designed a pandemic strategy that included a range of specialised programmes and podcasts. Our motive was to entertain and uplift our listeners, which aided our network’s dynamic programming and boosted our network time spent listening (TSL). Our intellectual properties (IPs) are the finest entertainment attractions, and Channel 4 Radio Network has been a pioneer in this business. For us, the greatest radio promotions are more than promotions – they create topics of discussion, hence we develop network IPs and individual station-wide recall-builder campaigns that will help us boost our brand awareness. Our goal is to improve and remain relevant to our audience by providing unique and hyperlocal programming on both

“Our goal is to improve and remain relevant to our audience by providing unique and hyperlocal programming.”

radio and internet platforms. According to a March 2022 survey by Ipsos, we are the UAE’s leading radio network, with 3.9 million daily listeners across four radio stations. We have a large on-air audience, a high level of credibility and a compelling value proposition for advertisers. Another area of concentration is talent development, which allows us to leverage radio jockeys (RJs) as a crucial marketing tool while remaining competitive in the ever-changing UAE market. Our RJs have become important to the listeners, brands and marketers. Advertisers today are looking for innovative strategies to successfully deliver their message to their target audiences. The increasingly immersive nature of the listenership experience is anticipated to draw more advertisers to invest in radio, from branded collaborations to digital and programmatic audio advertising. We have a deep understanding of brand advertising needs and are constantly striving to provide our clients with new solutions. Ad spending in most industries revived as business sentiments improved as a result of various international sporting events, product launches and in-person entertainment experiences, which gave the industry a much-needed boost. Channel 4 Radio Network had more than 25 per cent market share in 2021. While established lines of business such as promo selling continued strong and regained lost ground, a slew of digital initiatives complemented them and saw significant growth. The winter season in the UAE, Expo 2022 and the month of Ramadan provided joy and optimism, which was reflected in the company’s success, with the ad volume growing 15 per cent year over year in 2021 and maintaining a lion’s share of the volume. The UAE’s media and entertainment industry has demonstrated amazing resilience, and radio advertising’s opportunities will continue to strengthen for the next few quarters.

By Mohammed Jundi, Network Sales Director at Channel 4 Radio Network


OUR PROGRAMMING DIRECTORS SHARE THEIR STATION TALES THAT HAVE HELPED THEM MAINTAIN THEIR LEADERSHIP. Naheed Jumani, Programming Head of 89.1 Radio 4 Our marquee properties have grown significantly over the years. We have always set new records with Win A Life, Wheel of Fortune, Home For Eid, and 50K Celebrity Voices, and have witnessed increase in participation year-on-year that highlights the impact and the power of this medium.

Philippe Riachy, Programming Head of 107.8 Al Rabia FM Rather than merely being a radio station, we regard ourselves as audio entertainment. We develop audio content that broadcasts on FM digitally, and through social media. Users have flocked to Al Rabia’s short and snackable content, making us the UAE’s first and quickest radio station to reach 1 million followers across all platforms. Arabic podcasts too have a lot of potential for growth in the region, and we’ve already witnessed 460,000 downloads since inception.

Vysakh Somarajan, Programming Head of 101.3 Gold FM The demand for music has been surpassed by the need for radio content. There is a lot of change going on, and brands are looking for radio station like ours to lead the way. Their preference is apparent for Gold FM, which serves a broader purpose.

Chris Bovaird, Programming Head of 104.8 Channel 4 FM RJs are credible influencers; people believe in them and have a lot of faith in them. We focus on engaging with brands through our RJ influencers, and we create RJ identities that go beyond radio for a wider reach. We have a series of activities focused on the RJs’ characters and important market and consumer insights to help them expand their reach across media channels.

Ritesh Bhadresha, Research Head at Channel 4 Radio Network A global study conducted in 2022, ‘Exploring The Brand Benefits of Trust and Companionship in Audio’ found that consumers perceive radio and podcast personalities as highly relatable, trustworthy and authentic. 55 per cent of participants said they listen to commercials more often on radio and in podcasts than through any other medium. 53 per cent found radio and podcast advertisements to be more relevant than on any other medium. Radio listeners are 129 per cent more likely than listeners of other audio platforms to say they listen ‘to be entertained’. Radio hosts are seen as some of the most relatable and trusted influencers, when compared with other vertical such as TV and social. 71 per cent of podcast listeners and 79 per cent of heavy podcast listeners say that podcasts ‘educate/teach me something new’. These research pointers will benefit marketers since they extend to advertising, product suggestions and the larger radio and podcast communities. Radio stations have a high perception of authenticity and connectedness to the communities they serve. Advertisers must use these insights to increase brand affiliation and favourability, as well as drive purchase in audio contexts.



May 30, 2022


n the past couple of years, podcasting has been gaining considerable momentum and a rise in popularity in the GCC and MENA regions. The bullish growth in listenership is expected to sustain its rise throughout the upcoming years, with an estimated increase of 20-40 per cent year-on-year. In 2021 alone, we’ve witnessed a huge growth of podcast users making podcasting the next big thing in our media arsenal. Based on recent statistical studies conducted by The Guardian, the global monthly podcast listener figures are forecast to reach a staggering 1.85 billion in 2023, a figure that will simply make podcasting the most significant storytelling medium of the century in the media industry. STATE OF PODCASTING IN THE REGION The number of listeners to audio podcasting in the region has been on an upwards trajectory. Looking at the most recent numbers issued by Internal Logs, there is a 50 per cent year-on-year (YoY) growth of podcast audience within the MENA and GCC regions, averaging an additional 10 million and 7.5 million listeners respectively every year. With a median weekly listening period of 5 to 7 hours, the highest audience observed so far in these locations is in KSA, with an estimate of more than 5 million listeners, followed by the UAE at approximately 1.3 million listeners. It is also worth noting that in KSA, almost one in every four women is an

‘‘THE MAIN ENHANCEMENTS PODCASTERS WILL FOCUS ON WILL BE BINAURAL, SOCIAL AND GEOFENCED AUDIO.” active podcast user. It is evident that people have a lot to say, and the audience loves hearing it. Within the region, the podcast space is also getting more organised and structured. With major players like Next Broadcast, Rising Giants, Anghami and others, the future of the industry in the region looks promising. STATE OF ARABIC PODCASTING IN THE REGION Taking a deeper look into the state of Arabic content in the region, most podcasts are still interview-based. This is reflected through the leading podcast genre in the region being ‘Social & Culture’, which currently includes eight out of 10 podcasts in the top 10 chart in KSA. Although interviews work, they might

not always be the most attractive way of storytelling. The way I see it, Arab civilisation is based on storytelling; it’s in our DNA, and this in itself allows for huge potential growth in the podcast industry, specifically for Arab listeners. Storytelling elevates podcasts into more interactive, dynamic, engaging and entertaining encounters for the listeners. Listeners are attracted to podcasts due to their unmatched ability to story-tell. While there are pockets of podcasts capturing the Arab Youth – with great examples of brands collaborating on more engaging and youthful miniseries – the current quality of Arabic story-based podcasts has not yet reached its full potential in terms of content production, but is set to improve based on the current growth and quality trajectory. ADVERTISING WITH PODCASTS With the consistent growth in listener usage and podcast providers, it is evident that this medium can be used as a major tool for advertising. There are several ways of marketing through podcasts, ranging from standard advertising forms such as pre/mid-roll, to host announcements and mentions. From a more creative point of view, a podcast and its storytelling capacity can allow for advertisements through a more integrated approach, making the product part of the entire narrative. A recent example of this is GMC’s product integration with Finyal Media. Brands are already sponsoring some of the region’s top Arabic podcasts, and the results are paying off. The main innovative enhancement that podcasters will focus on will be audio – binaural audio, social audio and geofenced audio. Similar to the enrichments witnessed in video and pixel quality over the past decade, audio is on the brink of dramatic tech and format changes, which will eventually drive audio podcast creators to tell even greater stories in new, immersive ways. HOW DO WE MEASURE SUCCESS? From the saying ‘you cannot manage what you cannot measure’, it is important we also understand the metrics used in the podcast industry and the impact they have on media and advertising. Other than the common metrics used (downloads and indirect approaches such as offer codes, custom URLs, web hits, etc.), developing brand lift studies allows for measuring the uplift of the podcast on your brand. Within the past couple of years, the medium has proven to excel in engagement, positive recall and positive brand sentiment. This result has created a new stream for brand marketing and advertisements, where brands have now started to harness the power of podcast marketing through making their own podcasts or collaborating with existing ones as guests and through ad sponsorships. WHAT SHOULD BRANDS DO? Audio content provides the medium that allows us to get the information and entertainment we are pursuing, while also providing the convenience of multitasking.


PROMISING Surfing a wave of popularity, Arabic podcasts are getting a promotion, writes Carat’s Tarek Nemer

Knowing this, industry experts expect podcasting to grow significantly in the upcoming years as on-demand audio popularity increases and becomes more and more mainstream. Emotionally intelligent brands should develop an audio strategy, giving themselves a distinctive voice and sound (while remembering to listen too). Find ways to reach key audiences with new advertising and content channels. There’s never been a better time to investigate the opportunities within the latest creative technologies, such as voice-response advertising. From a media planning perspective, it is fundamental for us to work with content creators to ensure we have a seamless integration between the brand and the content, and similarly between the content and the users through the podcasting identity. Regardless of the current challenges that podcasters are facing, the future seems bright. With targeted efforts towards creating higher quality content and more creative ways to generate revenues, there will always be a story to be told. By TAREK NEMER, senior media planner, Carat UAE


May 30, 2022


The Impact of Radio: Messaging that works Jacques Touma, Commercial Senior Manager at MBC Media Solutions (MMS)



Radio has historically been able to connect with listeners’ emotions in a way that other platforms may not. Realising this, brands are leveraging the emotional connection radio has with listeners to build relationships that are based on emotion and mutual understanding, to ultimately achieve long-term brand loyalty and advocacy. Radio broadcasting’s mood-enhancing effects extend into the ad break, supporting positive emotional engagement with brands and advertisers. At MMS, we help brands build powerful emotional connections through various integration levels, such as content development & curation, on air digital and social integrations, on ground activations, sonic branding and much more.


In today’s day and age, listeners now have a greater amount of choice, from the type of shows they want to listen to, to the platform they choose to listen from. They are constantly looking for content that resonates with them and that they can engage with. It’s everchanging and it’s a constant evolution, and to cater to this, MBC GROUP launched its MBC Mood app to diversify its offerings to them and be present in various platforms to best suit their preferences. In addition to radio and the MBC Mood app, they can also tune into MBC GROUP content through internet-enabled car dashboards, apps, smart watches, smart TVs and smart speakers.


Due to its reach, relevance and emotional capability, radio is an audio format that is not overlooked for its inexpensiveness, yet huge effectiveness. Radio has proven to still be amongst the most consumed commercial audio channels and is still growing as the years go by. Since 2021, live radio reach has increased by 4 per cent among all adults and is still the highest consumed commercial audio format by about 76 per cent (compared with podcasts at 11 per cent). Our research has shown the effectiveness of radio campaigns in increasing ad awareness (+55 per cent), trust of brand (+62 per cent), relevance (+42 per cent) and brand consideration (+31 per cent). Audio remains an integral part of the daily media consumption habits of consumers and has a distinctive advantage of being able to reach consumers in their cars and while they are engaging in daily activities.



We have adapted in many ways. In addition to giving listeners the choice to tune in from multiple platforms, we’ve ensured that these platforms provide liner audio and video streams of our content and on-demand podcast content. We also give listeners the ability to interact with radio shows in real time via the app, enabling them to send text messages, photos and voice notes. It is also

“Radio is most effective for brands when seamlessly integrated across all platforms. Audio engagement proves to deliver results when strategically embedded in your overall marketing strategy.” important to highlight that radio doesn’t just create audio content, it also creates and enables us to share engaging digital and social media content on our app and on social media platforms, where customers can interact with us and be connected even while they are not listening.


Radio is the oldest thriving free-to-air commercial media in history, and this is for a good reason: Radio works. It is most effective for brands when integrated across all platforms, allowing them to leverage the millions of listeners who tune into MBC Group radio channels in the most seamless way possible and, most importantly, in a brand-safe environment. Depending on their objectives, investing in radio can help them build relevance and trust, as radio-advertised brands feel more relevant and are much more trusted by radio listeners. It can also boost awareness and consideration as listeners are on average 55 per cent more aware of companies that advertise on radio and 18 per cent more likely to consider them when purchasing. It can

also increase online response as investing in radio solutions can boost brand browsing by an average of 58 per cent. Results are immediate, with more than half of responses generated within 24 hours of hearing the ad.


The same is definitely true for radio as well. If we look at top performing shows during Ramadan 2022, like Al Hakiba on MBC FM, which received a total of 329,000 calls with 10,960 average daily calls, and Salli Siyamak on Panorama FM, which received 82,000 calls with an average of 2,730 a day, we will find that it is evident that the Holy Month is also a great time to reach audiences on radio.


May 30, 2022


Podcasting is taking off, and the more people listen the more they want to listen. Ipsos’ Ziad Issa looks over the numbers


here is no denying that podcasting, which was once considered as a niche industry, is now gaining a lot of traction worldwide and is acquiring popularity rapidly in the MENA region. With the media sector in the Gulf area ushering in a new age of content creation, it is establishing more channels for content creators and media organisations to communicate with their audiences. Realising the potency of podcasts in the media industry, Ipsos conducted research looking into the listenership and usage behaviour of this prominent channel in Saudi Arabia and the UAE during the last year. Results of this research study have shown that about seven out of 10 internet users have listened to podcasts at least once during a year in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, further proving the unstoppable growth of podcasts in both markets. The breakthrough of podcasts was further proven by the insights collected from the research, where results showcased that podcast listeners in KSA and the UAE are highly engaged, as more than 40 per cent of podcast listeners have said they listen to podcasts at least once a week. Podcast listeners like to devote specific fractions of their day to podcast episodes. They enjoy listening to their favourite podcasts alone and mostly in the night-time. Early morning hours are also very common hours for listeners to access podcast content. The evolvement of podcast penetration

‘‘SEVEN OUT OF 10 WHO LISTEN TO PODCASTS IN SAUDI LISTEN TO MORE NOW THAN WHEN THEY FIRST STARTED.” seems to be only heading upwards, as seven out of 10 people who listen to podcasts in Saudi Arabia have stated that they listen to more podcasts now than when they first started, which opens many opportunities for advertisers to start capitalising on this medium as a way to reach consumers. The major factor behind the rapid growth of on-demand audio is due to the explosion in high-quality content, as publishers started producing more engaging series and episodes, and offer a variety of genres for the listeners to choose from. With that in mind, the study’s results indicated that genre preferences completely vary per market. For example, in the UAE, ‘Comedy’ podcasts are the most preferred and listened to (52 per cent). This is followed by Health and Science and News and Current Affairs. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia listeners are mainly into health-related

podcasts (47 per cent), followed by Comedy and Sports. The exponential growth of podcasting embraces a wide range of brands to provide podcast content on their platforms, with streaming sites such as Spotify and Anghami competing to acquire the largest number of podcast broadcasters and ensure exclusivity. Additionally, the boom in the podcasting industry has resulted in many content creators and broadcasters creating their own podcast series, which consequently made it harder for podcast publishers to catch the ears and interests of listeners due to the large number of players. According to another Ipsos study done previously in KSA, trialling new podcasts is mostly driven by social media posts and word-of-mouth recommendations from listeners’ friends and family. Results further indicated that podcast listeners are mostly motivated to try a new podcast from the episode or series description (56 per cent) and the artwork used for the series (43 per cent). In conclusion, it is noticeable that podcasts have manifested itself as both a viable media channel and an effective marketing one. As the field continues to grow, so will the opportunities for broadcasters and content creators. So, what is next for podcasting? How will emerging technologies such as smart speakers, speech recognition and other innovations change the landscape for podcasts? Only time will tell. By ZIAD ISSA, Chief Client Officer, Ipsos in MENA

What motivates you to listen to a new podcast?

Source: OTT and Content Streaming Research, Ipsos, 2020

May 30, 2022


TBWA\Raad’s Simon Raffaghello says that while technology has transformed the industry, a good radio ad is still just that. And so is a bad one


verything must have ‘legs’ and ‘scalability’ and ‘stickiness’ and be holistic. It must be approved by a Himalayan-thick multiverse of blue-sky thinkers. And then you get AED 300 to pull it all off. Except radio ads. Nobody cares about radio. Art directors don’t care. Client servicing doesn’t care. Clients don’t really care. The audience really doesn’t care. And, sadly, neither do copywriters. But therein lies the beauty – the opportunity. Everyone can come up with an idea, but not everyone can write a good radio ad. And so the challenge begins. I’ve seen portfolios with award-winning, tres ‘scalable’ digital platforms with neon stripes going across the page that belch ‘look at me (please)’, but, come on, is there anything more Monica Bellucci or Adam Driver than a beautifully written radio ad? I have been asked to write a piece about the future of radio (or ‘audio’, as Cannes puts it).

But I’m here to tell you that the future of radio differs little from its past – nothing will ever be able to replace a good idea. Not even quinoa. The future of creativity in (all forms of) ads will remain founded on the same principles it has always been: connection, the element of surprise and reward. We are conditioned to believe that bells and whistles will give an ad more meaning, more dimension. But all it really does is provide a place for inconsequentialness to hide. Simplicity is the hardest thing of all, especially in our line of work. Radio provides no hiding place for lack of originality or thought. Innovation, production and the Morgan Freemansounding VO will raise some eyebrows, but they will never turn a bad idea into a good one. One that provokes a reaction. You’ll always remember your grandparents’ bedtime stories. You may not remember the content, or the fact that they probably fell asleep before you did, but you’ll never forget the way those moments made


you feel. A brand that evokes a feeling is no longer just a brand, it’s a part of one’s life. And radio can be emotive, just like any other medium. Arguably, some of the world’s most ‘sticky’ marketing creativity is in the annals of radio. The more we divide creativity the more diluted it becomes. We redefine then sub-categorise everything so we can place a price tag on it and turn it into cash money. We come up with new terms so that we can create hype. But you can’t do this with radio. It is what it is. Radio is ugly. It is hard work, not sexy and nobody cares about it. But what makes it resilient is that no amount of surgery can make it less so. It’s elemental. It’s just the writer and the audience. It’s the only medium that could still work after a matrix meltdown. (Freddie was singing about analogue gaga, by the way.) And it’s the truest test of a writer’s capabilities. Being able to write and craft a radio ad reveals a lot about a person’s creativity – their understanding of people as well as the art of selling. It’s imperative we accept and cherish the value of creativity in all its forms. Good ideas are good ideas, regardless of medium. And bad ones are just that. This is probably the only page that mentions radio ads in this edition. Digital advertising spend accounts for more than two-thirds of global adspend. I understand why the focus is on redefining, repositioning and repackaging the digital space. I know you can’t do this with radio, and this is why it’s been left to rot. But this is the only modern revolution that cannot be televised. So, writers, the next time you get a brief with radio as an afterthought, treat it like an afterthought. Do the activation first, ‘coz that might get you a medal (which gets you the opportunity to spend time making-thenposting-then-self-liking an ad just to promote the fact that you’re doing your job. Do not forget to mention how humble you are, twice). Then, 10 minutes before the client pres, write the radio ad. Quickly, mind. It will be terrible. But that’s great. ‘Coz, when compared to yours, mine will sound and feel even better. By SIMON RAFFAGHELLO, head of copy at TBWA\RAAD




May 30, 2022

Sound – very much switched on

Social media, gaming and the pandemic are just some factors behind the rise in music and sound as a means of connecting with consumers, writes Nadeen El Hadidi


n today’s age of fast-paced visual media stimulation, it’s difficult to miss people crouched over their phones. Have you also noticed the increasing number of individuals wearing headphones? Today, more people are tuning in to music and audio than ever before, enabling ample opportunities for your brand to be heard at scale. The increased popularity of streaming services, digital audio, voice messaging and technological advancements means that ‘sound off’ is being overtaken by a sound that is very much ‘on’. Music has played a vital role in revolutionising a wide range of modern technologies, including gaming consoles, smartphones and social networks. Its influence is expected to surge even further in the 2020s as part of a broader wave of digital audio innovation. This article aims to define the fundamental elements of music within the context of advertising and its interaction with consumers to highlight a few promising outcomes. Digitisation encourages a more audio-centric environment allowing brands to forge deeper connections with their audiences through sound. Due to the overstimulation of visual media experienced by turning from one screen to another, reaching out to audiences through the additional experience of sound is a crucial milestone to implement. Accordingly, ensuring that you are heard by your audience is key. Recent studies across multiple fields have highlighted the importance of music in marketing and its influence on behaviour. Music aids the efficiency of communications across the commercial landscape, and understanding its significance across different forms of communications appears to necessitate an understanding of how, when, and why music works. With technological advancements, sonic branding (such as jingles and audio slogans) has taken an entirely new turn and shows greater effectiveness when combined with other elements which create memorable brand associations. From analogue to digital audio, strong, distinctive sounds featured in your ads should be played across all touchpoints. Sonic branding can be realised through various assets, like the “Krrrrrr” effect that ATM Machines generate while dispensing cash, the customised sound

when you turn on your car, or that heart-warming chime before the PA boarding announcement at the airport. Endless possibilities for getting your brand heard are currently on the rise, and staying ahead of the game could be remarkably beneficial. Audio streaming platforms offer the best possible quality for targeting audiences, making room for better engagement and connections. Each streaming platform has a distinguishing feature that draws users in and turns them into loyal followers eager to pay for the service. For instance, 55 per cent of Anghami users praised the user-friendly experience along with personalised recommendations suggested to them based on their Musical DNA. This indicates what users are most interested in when selecting their favourite channel. The way we shape our daily reality and how we consume entertainment have evolved, and audio streaming apps are gaining popularity. Anghami, a major platform in the MENA region that hosts both Arabic and English audio content, was featured in 40 per cent of conversations specifically addressing audio streaming brands, followed by YouTube, Soundcloud and Spotify. Anghami’s accessibility and userfriendliness have given it a competitive edge in the market. Audio listeners devote their undivided attention, but the content must be creative enough to attract and maintain engagement. Content marketing is a force to be reckoned with. Incorporating music into audio commercials magnifies their impact and provides brands with an opportunity to stand out from the competition by adopting unconventional approaches toward greater recognition, stronger ad recall, and perhaps even more sales. Music allows for powerful storytelling, enabling brands to transcend creative benchmarks. Covid-19 has had a substantial influence on MENA media spending patterns. While revenues from on-ground advertising declined, digital audio, despite the pandemic, continued to grow. Covid-19 and its repercussions propelled the future forward, as consumers increasingly took control of their media consumption. In 2020, Anghami reported a 25 per cent increase in listeners vs. 2019. The pandemic led to Ramadan adverts becoming more creative, with brands attempting to overcome the stagnancy

“Whether your communication is focused on audience interest, location or time, you want to build an authentic connection with customers.” they endured in 2020. Failing to do so makes it far more difficult to connect emotionally with your audience. Over the past few Ramadan seasons, triggering emotions became a key priority for any commercial piece of content. As the world experienced adversity and limited social interaction, and families struggled to come together physically, brands seized the opportunity to remind users of the warmth and cosiness that would come once everyone was reunited. While some brands leveraged emotion, others were inspired to cater to audiences by offering practical tips on dealing with quarantine and the activities in which they could partake during the lockdown. By Nadeen El-Hadidi, Media Manager l MEMS, Egypt


May 30, 2022

saw an opportunity due to its growing popularity, including powerhouses such as the likes of Twitter, Facebook, and Spotify that jumped into the fray and developed their own versions of audioonly venues. Clubhouse has since revealed huge live audiences with Oprah Winfrey events. TikTok unveiled many partnerships for brands. Twitter Spaces announced a ‘record-and-tweet’ option. Facebook’s Live Audio and Spotify’s Greenroom were also launched. Even Amazon has been rumoured to be launching a live audio service. Diversifying this further, voice chat has been popular in gaming for decades, allowing players to communicate in-game, and the phenomenon has spread to external platforms such as Discord, which has evolved into a comprehensive voice chat and streaming platform. Besides global platforms, there are region-based platforms in the Middle East, and social audio has kept its popularity. 1.5 million downloads out of 10 million globally of the Clubhouse app during the first half of 2021 were in the Gulf, Israel and Lebanon, according to the analytics firm Sensor Tower. Sango is a social audio platform that was built for the Middle East and North Africa region, while Yalla is a Chinese-founded audio message app that has been popular in the region since 2016, headquartered in Dubai. The social media platforms that use audio as their primary channel of communication are described as the ‘Goldilocks medium’ by Jeremiah Owyang, a tech analyst and investor. He stated that, “Text is not enough; video conferencing is too much; social audio is just right.” Therefore, there are numerous benefits for companies to use audio to generate engagement because it is truly mobile, comfortable to consume and allows for multitasking while listening, resulting in attention spans that are often longer than other forms of digital content.

EVERYBODY IS LISTENING All ears are on the rise of social audio, writes UM’s Irem Limnili Angun


ocial audio has been one of the hottest topics of 2021, and it will only continue to grow in 2022. This term is not an entirely new phenomenon; however, it is set to muscle into one of the hottest spaces in media. Clubhouse hit the scene at the very right time in 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic kept people around the world at home trying to avoid videoconferencing fatigue but starved for human connection. The Clubhouse app was invitation-only back then, but it grew slowly and steadily over time. As a result, other platforms that already had established audiences

WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR BRANDS? Over the upcoming months, social audio will be a battleground for brands as it is going to be part of the content strategies in 2022. This isn’t a passing fad but a consistent, lasting trend that’s here to stay. Social audio is redefining engagement methods and brandcommunity relationships. It’s not only about prospective partnerships and sponsorships; aside from that, marketers can use social audio to communicate effectively. There is great opportunity for several use cases around social audio, including thought leadership, influencer marketing, branded chats, social listening, virtual events, and so on. However, instead of plunging in headfirst, marketers should tread carefully and focus on conducting experiments.

CREATING BONDS Social audio platforms are among the most intimate venues for businesses to meet with communities, forge bonds and establish long-term relationships. Remember that, like social media communities, social audio communities

‘‘THE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS THAT USE AUDIO AS THEIR PRIMARY CHANNEL OF COMMUNICATION ARE DESCRIBED AS THE ‘GOLDILOCKS MEDIUM’.” will appreciate a corporation that is open to dialogue and adds value to the community. So, inviting significant opinion leaders, celebrities, influencers and specialists to participate in the discussions can be beneficial to creating a local content strategy and contributing value to the community where your audiences matter. Audio can help you build closer relationships with your customers and humanise your brand. PRODUCT RELEASES & ANNOUNCEMENTS The latest updates and product releases can be shared, and even Q&A sessions can be organised in a more conversational and intimate way. Adding to this, social audio platforms are great places to encourage user-generated content by starting a dialogue and creating conversations to drive user engagement. Take Oreo on Twitter Spaces. There were 13,500 people in this Space alone who learned about the two new flavours of Oreo coming in 2022. This not only generated further buzz for the brand but drove both engagement and organic seeding opportunities. Sounds very tasty. MARKET RESEARCH Moreover, social audio could be an alternative and easy way to conduct quick market research to better understand consumer behaviours and motivations by encouraging the community to start generating discussions about your brand or product, as consumers have always had an appetite to share their thoughts, feelings and personal experiences to be heard and understood. By IREM LIMNILI ANGUN, associate director of strategy, UM Qatar

May 30, 2022


here’s no doubt that podcasting is a convenient and worthwhile medium of entertainment and expression. Listeners can tune in anywhere: on their way to work, at home and while cooking or getting ready for the day. In the UAE alone, there are about 1.5 million regular podcast listeners. This means excellent exposure for ideas to be shared, individuals to be informed and products, services and events to be promoted. This article will identify certain legal pitfalls that podcast producers, and brands partnering with podcast producers, need to be aware of when developing podcasts. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND PUBLICITY RIGHTS Like most polished pieces of marketable content, podcasts usually contain an amalgamation of various rights belonging to different entities. This may include intellectual property (IP) rights in the intro and outro music, scripts, artwork, and excerpts used in the podcast. It may also include publicity and privacy rights of individuals featuring in the podcast (including those individuals discussed or referenced in the podcast). IP rights Intellectual property is a bumble of rights. The most notable rights relevant to podcasts are trademarks (the name of the podcast), which require registration to be protectable, and copyright (any literary, musical or dramatic works). The position under the UAE copyright law is that, by default, the author owns the IP rights in copyright. Therefore, it is fundamental that the podcast producer either creates and therefore owns the copyright, or otherwise has an exclusive or non-exclusive right to use it. For this, the podcast producer and/or brands need a written agreement to assign or license the copyright to the podcast producer from the author. The typical industry position is that if it is created specifically for the podcast, the podcast producer should own it. If it is a separate piece of IP (such as a song used in the intro and outro), a licence is required. Publicity and privacy To protect an individual’s rights to privacy and safeguard their publicity, ensure all individuals who feature on the podcast sign a short release prior to going on air. This should give the podcast producer (and any distributors) the broad right to publish and display an individual’s image, likeness,

voice, etc. for the purposes of promoting and distributing the podcast. CONTENT RESTRICTIONS There are certain themes, topics and activities that are prohibited under UAE law. For example, content should not: criticise any rules of the Emirates or harm the interests of the UAE; instigate criminal activity; disgrace, defame or infringe on an individual’s private life; or contain false news. Contractually, producers must ensure



individuals featuring on the podcast are complying with standards. If something goes wrong with the podcast, the producer must also ensure it has the contractual right to take the podcast down. The most efficient way for this to be tracked is to include a short guide for all individuals who feature on the podcast, which contains all kinds of prohibited topics that should not be discussed. One risk with this, however, is that individuals may over-censor themselves out of caution, which is not ideal – the podcast should still be informative and entertaining. Industry professionals usually ensure that prohibited or offensive activities are not promoted (even if such things are discussed). There are severe penalties for breaches of these laws, and content can also be blocked. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that the risk of penalties for prohibited content is lower if the content is produced overseas. INFLUENCERS AND ADVERTISING LAWS It is very common for podcast producers to use influencers to feature on the podcast (and also common for influencers to host their own podcasts). However, influencers should ensure they are complying with advertising laws. For example, influencers should ensure they do not advertise alcoholic beverages. Also, if influencers are promoting products and services within certain categories such as healthcare, real estate, crypto and educational institutions, they should be aware of complying with specific advertising laws. TAKE AWAY When producing a podcast, or using one to promote your brand, it is important to be clear on the legal pitfalls from start to finish. Ensuring IP is cleared and content is acceptable are two major ones. So, given the above, when should podcast producers turn to a lawyer? The obvious answer is when they run into trouble (a defamation claim, infringement claim or violation of a UAE law), but by then it is usually too late – they are in legal trouble and/or they have sustained reputational damage. Therefore, it is helpful to follow the tips above, ensure everything is in writing or ensure a lawyer is engaged at the outset to cover off the most important points. That way, creativity and execution have the main focus. By CHARLOTTE SUTCLIFFE, associate, Al Tamimi & Company

PODCASTS AND THE LAW Al Tamimi’s Charlotte Sutcliffe explains what podcasters, brands and guests need to know to keep out of legal trouble


May 30, 2022


May 30, 2022

Streaming ahead Choueiri Group’s Mathieu Yarak and WARC’s Ashik Ashokan weigh up the strengths of streaming platforms and how they fit into the radio and audio landscape



seated cultural truths that consumers can associate with and embed them in your content.

WHERE DO AUDIO STREAMING PLATFORMS STAND platforms have seen a meteoric rise over IN COMPARISON TO RADIO? the past few years. Yet a few naturally AA: Radio is still an important tool in stand out to both creators and the arsenal of advertising marketers for three reasons. platforms in many parts of the Firstly, the size of the user world. Most radio networks base is a crucial have also started operating consideration. The larger like digital audio platforms – the base, the wider the net offering marketing support for capturing the minds and new content formats for and hearts of listeners. advertisers. Therefore, the Secondly, they look for lines between radio and digital measurement systems on the audio have increasingly become part of the audio platforms. blurred. However, the key standout These play an important role in helping advertisers understand the Ashik Ashokan for audio streaming platforms is the ability to consume content success of their audio campaigns. on-demand and a wider selection of Being able to understand content. These two reasons engagement rates and other explain the rise of digital audio metrics is necessary for platforms even as they start marketers to optimise their charging a premium. In many campaigns. Thirdly, brand markets, we are starting to see safety is something that listenership on digital marketers are learning not platforms far exceed the ones to overlook. In recent times, on the radio. Generally, this is we have seen the industry skewed towards younger shy away from ad platforms if audiences as well. With emerging there is a risk of their formats like podcasts becoming a hit campaigns coming in the way of Mathieu Yarak amongst the masses, digital audio inappropriate content. An audio platforms seem to be a shinier platform that provides a safe option for marketers. Nevertheless, it is consumption environment is crucial both always important to weigh channels for brands and their audiences. according to the presence of your target IN TERMS OF CREATIVITY, WHAT ARE THE BEST audience, suitable formats, and your PRACTICES WHEN USING AUDIO? success metrics. Mathieu Yarak: the pandemic accelerated the AA: The lack of visual stimuli on audio platforms can be a blessing to marketers. consumption and adoption of music Listeners are more actively tuned in and streaming platforms. Played on demand audio has a proven track record of striking and based on your mood and the activity more resonance with the emotive you are doing. However, it played a connection. The primary step to creativity reversed role for radio in its traditional on audio platforms is to lean in with form. But that does not mean radio is storytelling and emotion. From primitive phased out. Both music streaming and man to the modern-day city dweller, the radio have found their place in the common thread is a fascination with time-of-day consumption of listeners and stories. Human beings love to connect with generations. Music streaming nowadays is each other through stories and emotions; consumed continuously across the day, at a marketers should not forget this universal high level of time spent and frequency, insight. When creating content, take a across different devices, and with different more emotional approach than a peak times. Radio peaks in two major day functional one. Steer away from describing times, with less frequency of listenership just the operational benefits of a product. and time spent. At the same time, music Start building a bond with your consumer streaming platforms offer a wider range of with a narrative around how the product advertising formats and activation for makes them feel. Also, look for deepadvertisers to use when addressing their

audiences, along with the rise of podcasts that we are seeing in our region, and that offers a new venue for marketers. Each platform attracts different generations.


doomed. The changes that are happening in our industry and the rise of privacy concerns pushed us to look for different solutions where you can transact media while keeping the privacy of your users at the heart of it. Cleanroom concepts emerged and became the safe haven for advertisers and music streaming platforms to connect and activate their first-party data. These cleanrooms work as vaults for both parties where first-party data is pushed from both sides in a neutral place, matched (usually on hashed emails), and pushed back towards the music streaming platform to activate. None of the parties has visibility of any of the others’ first-party data. Once done, the music

“With emerging formats like podcasts becoming a hit amongst the masses, digital audio platforms seem to be a shinier option for marketers.” streaming platform can uncover a lot of insights about the common users (anonymously). Their behaviour throughout the day, the mood, the music genre they consume, the activities done, and many more, and start building valuable segments/audiences for the advertisers to first enhance their audience composition, and second create relevant creatives that address each of the segments, moving towards precision marketing at scale.

By Mathieu Yarak, Group Senior Director, Data & Insights, Choueiri Group, and Ashik Ashokan, Advisory Lead, WARC




May 30, 2022

Abu Dhabi Radio

Al Khaleejiya 100.9

FREQUENCY: 98.4 FM WEBSITE: PARENT COMPANY: Abu Dhabi Media LAUNCHED : 1969 LANGUAGE : Arabic BROADCAST LICENCE LESSOR: Abu Dhabi Authorities FORMAT: Sports, heritage, current affairs

PARENT COMPANY: Arabian Radio Network HEADQUARTERED: Dubai FOUNDED: 2002 FORMAT: Arabic language, playing the biggest Khaleeji hit music MEDIA REP: Amiral Farid: PRIME TIME SHOW: Oxygen with Auhood (hosted by Auhood AlKhawlani)

Beat 97.8 Abu Dhabi Classic FM FREQUENCY: Abu Dhabi: 91.6; Dubai 87.9; Al Ain 105.2 WEBSITE: PARENT COMPANY: Abu Dhabi Media MEDIA REP: Khushbu Thakkar:; +971 50 616 5073 LAUNCHED: 2010 LANGUAGE: English LOCATION OF MAST: Abu Dhabi BROADCAST LICENCE LESSOR: Abu Dhabi Media FORMAT: Classical music DEMOGRAPHICS: All English-speaking listeners, with a skew towards Western expats; affluent social economic classes A & B; aged 35 and older; male and female

FREQUENCY: 97.8 OWNERSHIP: A joint venture between Fun Asia Network and Channel 2 Group Corporation. HEADQUARTERED: Dubai FOUNDED: 2020 LANGUAGE: English FORMAT: Dance contemporary hit radio MEDIA REP: Sunny Ahuja: +971 55 674 4028 +971 4 581 7000 LOCATION OF MAST: Umm Al Quwain BROADCAST LICENCE LESSOR: UBN LISTENERS DEMOGRAPHICS: Male and Female 18- 35 FLAGSHIP PROGRAMMES: Beauty and the Beat, Beat the Drive RATE CARD: Available on request Business details

Big 106.2 Al Arabiya 99 PARENT COMPANY: Arabian Radio Network HEADQUARTERED: Dubai FOUNDED: 2001 FORMAT: Arabic language, playing hit music from across the Arab region MEDIA REP: Amiral Farid: PRIME TIME SHOW: Exit 99 (hosted by Heba , Wael and Rafat)

Al Oula Radio FREQUENCY: 107.4 MEDIA REP: MEMS (Choueiri Group) LAUNCHED: 2014 LANGUAGE: Emirati Arabic Parent company Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center FORMAT: Patriotic and traditional radio station that airs Emirati content Listener demographics: 69.8% Males and 30.2 % Females (58.9% are males and females aged from 15 to 34) Prime time shows: Sabah Al Oula (Salem Mohammad); Radio Al bayt (Samah Al Abbar); Lil Shabab Rai (Amal Al Mullah); Hayyak Fi Bladi (Shirina Salem)

FREQUENCY: 106.2 OWNERSHIP: A joint venture between Fun Asia Network and Channel 2 Group Corporation. HEAD QUARTERED: Dubai FOUNDED: 2017 MEDIA REP: Sunny Ahuja: +971 55 674 4028 +971 4 581 7000 LANGUAGE: Hindi FORMAT: Bollywood CHR LOCATION OF MAST: Umm Al Quwain BROADCAST LICENCE LESSOR: UBN LISTENERS DEMOGRAPHICS: Male and female 18- 38 FLAGSHIP PROGRAMMES: Big Breakfast, Big Chill, Big Drive

104.8 Channel 4 PARENT COMPANY: Ajman Independent Studio HEAD OFFICE: Ajman FOUNDED: 1997 MEDIA REP: Mohammed Jundi, network sales director: +971 4 567 0444; LANGUAGE: English FORMAT: CHR (Contemporary Hit Radio) LOCATION OF MAST: Ajman BROADCAST LICENCE LESSOR: Ajman Government LISTENERS DEMOGRAPHICS: 18-40 age group FLAGSHIP PROGRAMMES: Breakfast with JJ & Nimi; Evenings with Eve


May 30, 2022

City 1016

Dubai Quran

PARENT COMPANY: Arabian Radio Network HEADQUARTERED: Dubai FOUNDED: 2002 LANGUAGE: Hindi & English FORMAT: Bollywood music MEDIA REP: Amiral Farid PRIME TIME SHOW: Breakfast No.1 (hosted by Parikshit & Sid)

FREQUENCY: 91.4 LANGUAGE: Arabic FORMAT: Religious

Club FM 99.6 FREQUENCY: 99.6 WEBSITE: PARENT COMPANY: Mathrubhumi Printing and Publishing Company MEDIA REP: P S Srikumar, general manager, GCC: +971 52 999 3442; LAUNCHED: June 2016 LANGUAGE: Malyalam BROADCAST LICENCE LESSOR: Fujairah Media FORMAT: Entertainment, information, news, songs and creative campaigns DEMOGRAPHICS: 21-45 years old

Dubai Radio FREQUENCY : 93.0 PARENT COMPANY: DMI LAUNCHED: 2014 fm/ MEDIA REP:; +971 4 454 5454 LANGUAGE:Arabic FORMAT: Entertainment, UAE radio station that offers Pan-Arab and Khaleeji content and music LISTENER DEMOGRAPHIC: 52.3% males and 47.7% females PRIME TIME SHOWS: Restart (Fatima Abed Al Rahman); Sikat AL Salama( Mouhamad Al Owessi)

Emarat FM FREQUENCY: Abu Dhabi 95.8 FM; Al Ain 94.9 FM; Dubai and Sharjah 97.1 FM WEBSITE: PARENT COMPANY: Abu Dhabi Media LAUNCHED: 1986 LANGUAGE: Arabic BROADCAST LICENCE LESSOR: Abu Dhabi Authorities FORMAT: Social, Health

Dubai 92 PARENT COMPANY: Arabian Radio Network HEADQUARTERED: Dubai FOUNDED: 1971 LANGUAGE: English FORMAT: Hits from the 80s to now MEDIA REP: Amiral Farid PRIME TIME SHOW: The Big Breakfast, with Jono & Nats

Dubai Eye 103.8 PARENT COMPANY: Arabian Radio Network HEADQUARTERED: Dubai FOUNDED: 2004 LANGUAGE:English FORMAT: News & information MEDIA REP: Amiral Farid PRIME TIME SHOW : The Business Breakfast (hosted by Brandy Scott, Richard Dean and Tom Urquhart)

Flowers 94.7 FM FREQUENCY: 94.7 WEBSITE: PARENT COMPANY: Flowers International Group LAUNCHED: May 2017 LANGUAGE: Malayalam and English BROADCAST LICENCE LESSOR: Dolphin Recording Studios DEMOGRAPHICS: Men and women; aged 25 to 45

Fujairah FM FREQUENCY: 92.6 LANGUAGE: Arabic




May 30, 2022

101.3 Gold FM

Kadak FM

PARENT COMPANY: Ajman Independent Studio HEAD OFFICE: Ajman FOUNDED: 2010 LANGUAGE: Malayalam FORMAT: Malayalam Music & Entertainment LOCATION OF MAST: Ajman BROADCAST LICENCE LESSOR: Ajman Government LISTENERS DEMOGRAPHICS: 18-40 MEDIA REP: Mohammed Jundi, network sales director: +971 4 567 0444; FLAGSHIP PROGRAMMES: Morning Drive with Samira & Vysakh; Sunset Drive with Meera Nandan

FREQUENCY: 97.3 FM (Abu Dhabi); 88.8 FM (Dubai); 95.6 FM (Al Ain) WEBSITE : PARENT COMPANY: Abu Dhabi Media LAUNCHED: Rebranded to Kadak in 2020; previously Mirchi FM LANGUAGE:Hindi BROADCAST LICENCE LESSOR: Abu Dhabi Authorities FORMAT: Latest trends, strong Bollywood connect

Hit 96.7 PARENT COMPANY: Arabian Radio Network HEADQUARTERED: Dubai FOUNDED: 2004 LANGUAGE: Malayalam FORMAT: The biggest Malayalam hits MEDIA REP: Amiral Farid PRIME TIME SHOW: The Big Breakfast Club (hosted by movie star Nyla, Arfaz & Jean)

Luv 107.1 FREQUENCY: 107.1 PARENT COMPANY: A joint venture between Fun Asia Network and Channel 2 Group Corporation. HEADQUARTERED: Dubai FOUNDED: 2020 MEDIA REP: Sunny Ahuja: +971 55 674 4028 +971 4 581 7000 LANGUAGE: English FORMAT: Hot adult contemporary LOCATION OF MAST: Umm Al Quwain BROADCAST LICENCE LESSOR: UBN LISTENERS DEMOGRAPHICS: Male and female 25-45 FLAGSHIP PROGRAMMES: Luv@Breakfast, Luv the Drive.


Head of company: Abdulla Mohammad Al Murad Founded: 1997 Headquartered: Ajman Stations in network 104.8 Channel 4 (English) 107.8 Al Rabia (Arabic) 101.3 Gold FM (Malayalam) 89.1 Radio 4 (Hindi) +971 4 567 0444

Mohammed Jundi

Naheed Jumani

Network Sales Director at Channel 4 Radio Network

Programming Head of 89.1 Radio 4

Philippe Riachy

Vysakh Somarajan

Programming Head of 107.8 Al Rabia FM

Programming Head of 101.3 Gold FM

Chris Bovaird

Ritesh Bhadresha

Programming Head of 104.8 Channel 4 FM

Research Head at Channel 4 Radio Network

The UAE’s first FM radio network with four radio stations reaching out to 3.9 million weekly listeners (Ipsos, March 2022) in English, Arabic, Malayalam and Hindi – offering contemporary hit music and all-round entertainment – seven days a week for more than two decades to the UAE. Now also entertaining people through social media and podcasts. SERVICES: 360-degree client solutions; branded content ; best advertising packages on air and on digital platforms



May 30, 2022



Panorama FM


PARENT COMPANY: MBC Group HEADQUARTERED: Dubai FOUNDED: 1991 MEDIA REP: MBC Media Solutions:; +971 4 391 9999 LANGUAGE: Arabic REACH: KSA BROADCAST LICENCE LESSOR: GCAM LISTENER DEMOGRAPHICS: Saudis and Pan-Arab residents aged 15-45 FLAGSHIP PROGRAMMES: Ahla Sabah, Swaga Time, Huda Wa Huna

Pulse 95 Radio Mirchi 1024 FM PARENT COMPANY: Dolphin Recording Studio HEADQUARTERED: Dubai FOUNDED: 2011 LANGUAGE: Hindi FORMAT: CHR LOCATION OF MAST: Ras Al Khaimah BROADCAST LICENCE LESSOR: Government of Ras Al Khaimah

PARENT COMPANY: Sharjah Broadcasting Authority HEAD OFFICE: Sharjah FOUNDED: 2018 WEBSITE: +971 6 501 1355; +971 6 501 1111; LANGUAGE: English FORMAT: Light talk-radio station with acoustic music covers LOCATION OF MAST: Sharjah BROADCAST LICENCE LESSOR: Sharjah Government DEMOGRAPHICS: Native and non-native English-speaking; cultured mature professionals and middle-class family-oriented individuals; male and female; aged 25-45


Quran Kareem FM


FREQUENCY: Dubai 88.2; Al Ain 88.6; Abu Dhabi 98.1 WEBSITE: PARENT COMPANY: Abu Dhabi Media LAUNCHED: 1979 LANGUAGE: Arabic BROADCAST LICENCE LESSOR: Abu Dhabi Authorities FORMAT: Religious

Noor Dubai FM. FREQUENCY: 93.9 in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Northern Emirates; 102.9 in Al Ain) PARENT COMPANY: DMI MEDIA REP: +971 4 454 5454 LAUNCHED: 2009 LANGUAGE: Arabic FORMAT: Social, health, sports. LISTENER DEMOGRAPHICS: 58.4% Males and 41.6% Females (35.7% aged from 25 to 34 and 15.9% from 15-24, 35-44 26.6% and 21.8% 45+). PRIME TIME SHOWS: Al Bath al Mubasher (Rashed Al Kharji ‘Abou Omar’); Al Salfa Wa Ma Fiha (Ahmed Al Ketbi ); Rouhak Ryiadyia (Kifah Al Kaabi)

Radio 1 FREQUENCY: 104.1 (Dubai); 100.5 (Abu Dhabi) WEBSITE: PARENT COMPANY: Abu Dhabi Media LAUNCHED: 2017 (moved to Abu Dhabi Media) LANGUAGE: English BROADCAST LICENCE LESSOR: Abu Dhabi Authorities FORMAT: Latest trends, music and celebrity news

Radio 2 Pearl Radio FREQUENCY: 102 WEBSITE: LANGUAGE: English FORMAT: Shows for parents and children

FREQUENCY: 99.3 (Dubai); 106 (Abu Dhabi) WEBSITE: PARENT COMPANY: Abu Dhabi Media LAUNCHED: 2017 (Moved to ADM ) LANGUAGE: English BROADCAST LICENCE LESSOR: Abu Dhabi Authorities FORMAT: Feel-good music, lifestyle


May 30, 2022

89.1 Radio 4

Radio Shoma 93.4

PARENT COMPANY: Ajman Independent Studio HEAD OFFICE: Ajman FOUNDED: 1999 MEDIA REP: Mohammed Jundi, network sales director: +971 4 567 0444; LANGUAGE: Hindi FORMAT: Bollywood music station LOCATION OF MAST: Ajman BROADCAST LICENCE LESSOR: Ajman Government LISTENERS DEMOGRAPHICS: 18-40 FLAGSHIP PROGRAMMES: Kickstart with Arpit & Bhairavi; Most Wanted with Abhijeet

PARENT COMPANY: Arabian Radio Network HEADQUARTERED: Dubai FOUNDED: 2011 LANGUAGE: Farsi FORMAT: The biggest Persian hit music MEDIA REP: Amiral Farid PRIME TIME SHOW: Sobh-e-Shoma baa Hannan (live with Hannan)

Radio Zain 103.2 107.8 Radio Al Rabia PARENT COMPANY: Ajman Independent Studio LLC HEAD OFFICE: Ajman FOUNDED: 2000 MEDIA REP: Mohammed Jundi, network sales director: +971 4 567 0444; LANGUAGE: Arabic FORMAT: Arabic music & entertainment LOCATION OF MAST: Ajman BROADCAST LICENCE LESSOR: Ajman Government LISTENER DEMOGRAPHICS: 18-40 FLAGSHIP PROGRAMMES: Al Rabia Wal Nas with Abu Rashid; Sabah Al Khaire Ya Emarat with Rakelle and Jad

PARENT COMPANY: Ajman Independent Studio WEBSITE: HEAD OFFICE: Ajman FOUNDED: 2020 LANGUAGE: Arabic FORMAT: Golden-era Arabic music LOCATION OF MAST: Ajman BROADCAST LICENCE LESSOR: Ajman Government LISTENER DEMOGRAPHICS: Male and female; aged 35+ MEDIA REP: Mohammed Jundi, network sales director:; +971 4 567 0444


Radio Asia 94.7 FM PARENT COMPANY: Dolphin Recording Studio HEADQUARTERED: Dubai FOUNDED: 1995 LANGUAGE: Malayalam FORMAT: CHR LOCATION OF MAST: Ras Al Khaimah BROADCAST LICENCE LESSOR: Government of Ras Al Khaimah

RAK Holy Quran FREQUENCY: 87.6 LANGUAGE: Arabic FORMAT: Religious

Sharjah Radio Radio Sawa FREQUENCY: 90.5 LANGUAGE: Arabic

FREQUENCY: 94.4 WEBSITE: PARENT COMPANY: Sharjah Broadcasting Authority HEAD OFFICE: Sharjah, UAE FOUNDED: 1972 (re-launched in 2000) FORMAT: Arabic LOCATION OF MAST: Al-Khan, Sharjah BROADCAST LICENSE LESSOR: Sharjah Government DEMOGRAPHICS: Emiratis and Arab expats



May 30, 2022



Ownership: A joint venture between Fun Asia Network and Channel 2 Group Corporation. Stations: Beat 97.8, Big 106.2, Luv 107.1, Talk 100.3 Headquartered: Dallas and Dubai Founded: 2020 +971 55 674 4028 (Sunny Ahuja, business head) Fun Asia Network in partnership with Channel 2 group corporation is the fastest growing media network and entertainment provider in the region. Fun Asia offers a wide array of entertainment solutions from film distribution to events and radio vision, offering businesses a comprehensive platform to reach their desired audiences. The Fun Asia Network has a global reach of more than 15 million people and can be found online, via terrestrial radio, smartphone apps and online streaming platforms. SERVICES: Production film/TV and radio; dubbing/subtitling; post-production


SUNNY AHUJA Head of business, Fun Asia Network

Sunny Ahuja

Sabita Rajesh

Head of Business

Sales Director

Digby Taylor

Gaurav Khurana

Programming Director

Network Marketing Head


Radio draws attention to a well-curated digital, print or on-ground campaign. It adds the ‘I’ element, the interactivity, information, intrigue and imagination.



It’s unbelievable how advertisers and brands have evolved through the years; it’s not about ad inventory but inspiring creative campaigns. Experiential marketing through the airwaves has become the primary ask for any brand.


Entertainment being a core element, we’ve realised that the listeners want to be intrigued and inspired. We created the talk platform that now has people expanding their knowledge as well. What if one could tune in and give a job interview live on radio? We’ve been able to cater to every category of content through unique channels under the FunAsia banner

We have created radio stations that cater to the needs of an audience when it comes to business, sports and valuebased entertainment, and catered to businesses that want a bang for their buck. We have created content that cannot be compared to any station in the country. It is unique, it’s got the mass appeal element and is accessible on FM and online.


While you already take pride in highlighting your brand through its well curated themes, its time you give it the voice it needs through uncluttered, distraction-free infotainment and especially through news and entertainment of sports. Imagine your brand name resonating through the masses through the biggest tournaments like IPL, the World Cup and much more.


May 30, 2022


Sharjah Quran

FREQUENCY: 102.7 WEBSITE: PARENT COMPANY: Sharjah Broadcasting Authority HEAD OFFICE: Sharjah, UAE YEAR FOUNDED: 2012 FORMAT: Arabic LOCATION OF MASTS: Halwan, Al-Abar, Sharjah BROADCAST LICENCE LESSOR: Sharjah Government DEMOGRAPHICS: Muslims; Arabs and non-Arabs

LANGUAGE: Hindi/English FORMAT: Talk, sport, business HEADQUARTERED: Dubai LOCATION OF MAST: Umm Al Quwain BROADCAST LICENCE LESSOR: UBN +971 4 581 7000 LISTENERS DEMOGRAPHICS: South Asian male and female 18-45 FLAGSHIP PROGRAMMES: Talk Breakfast, Talk Wellness, Talk Business, TSB (Talk, Sport & Business) and Live Sporting Action MEDIA REP: Sunny Ahuja: +971 55 674 4028:

Sky News Arabia FREQUENCY: 90.3 LANGUAGE: Arabic FORMAT: News

89.4 Tamil FM Radio PARENT COMPANY: Aaren World Media & Advertising HEAD OFFICE: Dubai FOUNDED: 2015; LANGUAGE: Tamil LOCATION OF MAST: Dubai BROADCAST LICENCE LESSOR: RAK Broadcasting Authority

Star FM FREQUENCY: Abu Dhabi 92.4 FM; Al Ain 100.1 FM; Dubai 99.9 FM WEBSITE: PARENT COMPANY: Abu Dhabi Media LAUNCHED: 2009 LANGUAGE: Arabic BROADCAST LICENCE LESSOR: Abu Dhabi Authorities FORMAT: Latest updates, music and celebrity news

Tag 91.1 PARENT COMPANY: Arabian Radio Network HEADQUARTERED: Dubai FOUNDED: 2013 LANGUAGE: Tagalog and English FORMAT: Filipino hit music MEDIA REP: Amiral Farid PRIME TIME SHOW: Tag Gising Na (hosted by Bluebird and Keri Belle)

Virgin Radio Dubai 104.4 PARENT COMPANY: Arabian Radio Network HEADQUARTERED: Dubai FOUNDED: 2008 LANGUAGE: English FORMAT: The biggest global hit music MEDIA REP: Amiral Farid: PRIME TIME SHOW: The Kris Fade Show (hosted by Kris Fade, Priti Malek, Big Rossi)

Zayed FM Talk 100.3 FREQUENCY: 100.3 OWNERSHIP: A joint venture between Fun Asia Network and Channel 2 Group Corporation. HEADQUARTERED: Dubai FOUNDED: 2021

FREQUENCY: 97.6 LANGUAGE: Arabic FORMAT: Religious

May 30, 2022


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

THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED TARIQ AL SHARABI Managing Director of Cicero & Bernay Communication Consultancy

The success of a business depends on two factors: a vision to guide its members and the happiness of its employees. When one or both falters, unforeseen challenges may arise that will impact the bottom line and the overall performance of a company.

Earlier this month, the food gig economy faced a number of slowdowns and operational mishaps as delivery riders decried their terms of employment. This is not a matter that should be taken lightly, especially in a post-pandemic world that is still heavily dependent on food deliveries. Companies should be conscious of the conditions of their workers, whether hired in-house or through third-party agencies, and not await vocal feedback and criticism from the internet to fix their ways. Why appoint CEOs and other C-level members if people on Twitter are going to help you run a business? Though riders’ demands were met fairly quickly, such outcries are evidence of growing frustration given the lack of any line of communication with senior and executive members. Perhaps another major culprit is the fact that riders are being compensated per delivery that they fulfil, which compels them to drive faster, resulting in an uptick in road accidents. Here’s a sobering data point: according to figures released by Dubai Police, in the first two months of A machine whose cogs are not oiled will eventually cease operating, no matter its size. The well-being of employees must be prioritised to ensure the day-to-day operations of any business, not just those within the gig economy. Source: Gulf News




Sealing the deal


Fashion Disaster

Social media mentions of Vaseline exploded 32% in early February from a year earlier, driven largely by TikTok videos about ‘slugging,’ which is a term that makes an analogy between the trail a slug leaves behind and using petroleum jelly to seal skin overnight. Capitalising on this renewed interest, Unilever, which owns the brand, seeded and stoked the trend through paid social campaigns, creating a viral sensation.

When it comes to online campaigns, there is only one rule: go big or go home. catchy name, flooded social media when it asked around 100 influencers to post Instagram Stories about its face mask simultaneously. The aim was to intrigue followers in order to generate curiosity, and the result was over 1.7 million impressions

It’s unfathomable how some marketing faux pas are still taking place. Beauty and fashion entrepreneur Kate Spade committed suicide by hanging in 2018. How did the agency handling the brand’s communication decide to promote an upcoming event at one of its stores? ‘Come hang with Kate Spade.’ Can you hear the collective face palms from anyone with a modicum of understanding of marketing?


May 30, 2022




Twitter gamifies privacy Gaurav Khurana is network marketing head at Fun Asia Network


port on radio might at first seem a strange choice to have live commentary. It’s a visual medium, right? Well, yes, and no at the same time. Sport is action- and results-driven. It’s all about the moment, so missing a boundary or goal can be the difference for a fan between win and loss, and to live the game a fan must be part of it, to have witnessed the action.

While traditional TV media finds it difficult to retain audiences, sport has the ‘balls’ to grow on live radio and offer instant gratification.

FM radio is an instantaneous medium. It captures the moment as it happens, and as most people consume their radio listening in-car on their commutes to and from work, having continuous coverage of tournaments like the IPL cricket and EPL football makes a big difference for sports fans who miss out on the day and night action because of being at work.

For advertisers, it means a focused audience of sports fans on FM radio, that for the most part is captive in their vehicles and easy to reach. While traditional TV finds it difficult to retain audiences, sport has the ‘balls’ to grow in this market on live radio and offer instant gratification to fans who live on the edge, demanding results from their favourite team. With the rising cost of subscriptions, and pay-to-view never a cheap option, free-to-air FM sportcasting is a great alternative for fans and advertisers alike. Creating theatre of the mind is the key to getting sport radio right, and the best people at it are those who have played the game at some stage. Their descriptive words and passion for the game are what brings any match to life. So, what is the future of sport and radio? Well, as any football commentator will tell you, it’s an end-to- end game, a match of two halves.

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 Directors Clarkwin Cruz, Sheila Deocareza 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.

Twitter has simplified its privacy policy and introduced a game to make it easier to understand. Twitter Data Dash is the platform’s new privacy policy video game. Twitter Data Dash guides people through some of the more complicated concepts of the privacy policy, helping people learn how to safely navigate the Twitterverse and discover the tools that put them in the driver’s seat when it comes to their data. Through Twitter Data Dash, Twitter is introducing a fun and interactive way to learn about a topic that has historically been anything but. The game aims to encourage more people around the world to take charge of their personal information on the service and maybe even have a little fun in the process. Transparency is core to the platform’s approach and it wants to help people understand the information it collects, how the information is used, and the controls at people’s disposal. Twitter is also working on reimagined privacy iconography – visual symbols that represent core settings related to security and privacy across the service. Just as the magnifying glass is a widely recognised icon indicating a search function, the platform’s goal is to propose standardised privacy icons for privacy settings and controls recognisable on Twitter and elsewhere globally. Through research and conversations with stakeholders, Twitter learned that those who have used or seen the privacy settings feel more in control of their privacy on Twitter and that there was more that could be done to make settings and controls easier to understand.

May 30, 2022


That sounds good to me


ook at our cover. Isn’t it great. Now turn to page 10 to see who designed it: the winner of the Dubai Lynx Student Cover Competition. I love how it incorporates an old-school radio dial into our masthead. This is our annual Audio and Radio Guide. Not long ago it used to be all about radio, but we have widened its scope in recent years. That’s not to say it doesn’t contain plenty of information and insight into radio. It’s got an invaluable channel-listing guide, perfect for planners, on page 28. And on page 21, TBWA’s Simon Raffaghello gives his cynical take on the purity of radio advertising. But this issue also looks at other forms of audio, including social (did you hear our Twitter Spaces Ramadan series?) and even touches on voice assistants. (I recently bought some smart bulbs and connected my Alexa to speakers. Now I can ask my smart home to turn the living room lights to red and blast Dr. Alban’s greatest hits at any time.) There’s a lot to read here about podcasts, and one of our writers points out that they are about to change gear. There’s nothing new in the podcastswill-boom narrative – we’ve been in a post-Serial renaissance since before lockdown – but not only is the number (I was going to say volume) of podcasts going up; the technology behind them is improving too. Audio is becoming more high-definition both in terms of recording and listening – just like digital cameras and televisions did all those years ago, but with sound instead of vision. With better technology comes better sound, and skilled audio creatives can do more with that. The popularity of ASMR is tribute to this, and we are hearing more sophisticated soundscaping where it feels like we are in the same space as whoever or whatever we are hearing, rather than listening in from afar. It is easy to write this off with a line about how tech will always get better, but a good idea is still crucial. That’s utterly true. But technological improvements can shape the world. Think about what a difference

high-definition front-facing cameras on smart phones have made – to society, and not just photography. Also look back and remember what the advent of high-quality vocal mics meant from the 1920s onwards. They let soft vocals be heard over loud bands, which paved the way for Crooners such as Bing Crosby, Bobby Darin and Frank Sinatra, and then to rock and roll and onwards to pop. Before that, listening to music Editor meant hearing it live or on a gramophone. Record players were expensive, and the recording @maustyn equipment that produced discs was best suited for orchestral pieces. This meant the closest the world had to ‘mainstream’ music was classical recordings listened to by the world’s wealthy. Improved vocal mics let a new breed of musicians record not just their instruments but their voices as well. They didn’t have to shout to be heard; they could be up-close and intimate with the listener, singing into your ear just for you. And they were broadcast over radio. Now everyone around the world, rich or poor, could hear jazz and blues and Bing and Frank and more. Technology allows creativity to flourish and to find an audience. And marketing will forever piggyback on great creativity, borrowing its technology and its culture in equal measure. Good ideas will always be the best ideas, but in the world of audio they sound even better when you can hear them clearly.


Why the first brief is wrong and lazy R



Dave Trott is the author of The Power of Ignorance, Creative Blindness and How to Cure It, Creative Mischief, Predatory Thinking and One Plus One Equals Three

ecently I saw a post from someone called Annie. She said: “Every time I have a programming question and I really need help, I post it on Reddit and then log into another account and reply to it with an obscenely incorrect answer. “People don’t care about helping others, but they love correcting others. “Works 100 per cent of the time.” This is very smart on Annie’s part, but it turns out Annie is using Cunningham’s Law. This was coined by Steven McGeady in 2010 and states: “The best way to get the right answer on the internet is not to ask a question, it’s to post the wrong answer.” McGeady says he learned this from Ward Cunningham, the inventor of Wiki. But Cunningham wasn’t talking specifically about the internet; his advice was more general: “People are quicker to correct a wrong idea than to answer a question.” For us, this is very interesting. Bill Bernbach says, in the communications business: “Our proper area of study is simple, timeless, human truths.” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a student of human nature – it’s what gives his detective, Sherlock Holmes, an advantage over others. In The Adventure of the

Blue Carbuncle, Holmes needs information from a salesman. The salesman refuses to help, so Holmes makes a bet with him that is clearly incorrect: “I’m always ready to back my opinion on a matter of fowls, and I have a fiver on it that the bird I ate is country bred.” “Well, then, you’ve lost your fiver, for it’s town bred,” snapped the salesman. “It’s nothing of the kind.” “D’you think you know more about fowls than I, who have handled them ever since I was a nipper? I tell you, all those birds that went to the Alpha were town bred.” “You’ll never persuade me to believe that.” “Will you bet, then?” “It’s merely taking your money, for I know that I am right. But I’ll have a sovereign on with you, just to teach you not to be obstinate.” The salesman chuckled grimly. “Bring me the books, Bill,” said he. (The salesman opens the books he previously refused to open. Holmes inspects them, gets all the information he needs, then surrenders the sovereign.) Later, Holmes explains to Watson. “When you see a man with whiskers of that cut and the ‘Pink ’Un’ protruding out of his pocket, you can always draw him by a bet,” said Holmes. “I daresay that if I had

put £100 down in front of him, that man would not have given me such complete information as was drawn from him by the idea that he was doing me on a wager.” Holmes sums up the simple, timeless human truth: “People don’t like telling you things, but they love to contradict you.” The people who couldn’t, or wouldn’t, help you do the job will always tell you what’s wrong with it after it’s done. For instance, the people who write the brief and can spot exactly what you should have put in the ad once you present the finished work. Their suggestions weren’t written in the brief where they would have been helpful before you did the work. But after you’ve done the work, they are keen to say exactly what’s wrong with it, and a new brief is issued. Because it’s more interesting to crit someone else’s work than to put in the effort to do the job properly in the first place. That’s why it’s important for creatives to question the brief before starting work on it. Robin Wight used to say: “Creatives should tug at the brief like a dog pulling at a piece of cloth. If it holds, it’s good. If it comes apart, it isn’t.”


May 30, 2022

Mercedes Benz… “It felt like a wonderful adventure.” (AY)

MG Motor… “Great production, clever casting and directing, but quite a predictable story.” (AY)

UAE Government Media Office… “We witness again the importance of a culturally driven insight research.” (SR)

Expo2020… “This series came very close, capturing the aspects that made Expo special.” (AY)

Reebok… “It was and still is the best way to address greatness.” (SR)

May 30, 2022


Private View AMR YOUNIS


Editorial creative director, Socialize

Creative director, Boomerang Communication

MERCEDES BENZ (1) I am a sucker for branded content, and this one has an actual organic brand role that is intrinsic to the creative work – beautifully shot and directed, with an emotionally fuelled passion, wonderful storytelling, and portraying a pillar of our culture in an appealing and engaging format. It didn’t feel like a history lesson, it felt like a wonderful adventure.

MERCEDES BENZ (1) If there is an industry in which creativity hasn’t contributed that much throughout the years, it’s the car industry. And even at its best levels, the campaign is almost always centred around the car, which makes this campaign even more impressive since it addressed a cultural aspect and in a very creative way. The creative work is very impressive, and the insight is very strong. indeed. Who better to illustrate “the best part of the ride is the ability to stop” than a pilot who happens also to represent all of his passengers. On the other hand, we have a cultural insight that only Muslims could relate to, one that says that technology has erased a whole part of the Pilgrimage experience: the journey to it.

MG MOTOR (2) Great production, clever casting and directing, but quite a predictable story, another features-focused narrative with an over-the-top exaggeration that you can expect from a car ad. It had its funny moments with the contrasting scenes of status quo and the adrenaline eye candy, but it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before. UAE GOVERNMENT MEDIA OFFICE (3) The true definition of flipping a narrative, with a cryptic viral teaser that hits the nail on the head when it comes to local relevance, with a great social execution and a wonderful curiosity-inducing story. This concept taps into the highest forms of status to support a beautiful cause. The only downside is that it only works perfectly in English, but not as much in Arabic. EXPO2020 (4) Expo was one of the most difficult events to explain. I personally worked on Expo and always struggled to explain it to my friends. This series, however, came very close, capturing the aspects that made Expo special in a creative and authentic way that evokes emotions, creates a sense of pride and spotlights the angles of Expo that some might have missed. REEBOK (5) It’s tricky for sports brands; this is yet another example of a working formula redone again. An inspirational sport film with beautiful empowering scenes and a determined narrator who sounds convinced. While it is beautifully edited and put together, it is not memorable, fresh or brand own-able. Some say if it’s not broken don’t fix it; I say it’s time for a new one altogether.

MG MOTOR (2) Egyptian agencies speak fluent humour, and it has proven to be an effective way to capture their audience. Choosing it to illustrate the car’s advantages is an interesting, original way to a certain extent, in comparison to the classic and very function- and design-centred automobile ads. UAE GOVERNMENT MEDIA OFFICE (3) Being an impact- and engagement-driven creative myself, seeing such campaigns always reminds me of the changemaking potential of creativity. We witness again the importance of a cultural-driven insight research; it may look like the ‘noticed plates to fill unnoticed plates’ idea could work in all Anglo-Saxon communities, but it is only in Dubai that car plates generate communication and content matter because of how UAE citizens perceive the numbers on car plates. EXPO2020 (4) It is true that it is a common creative approach, but what is interesting is the successful transmission of emotion in an authentic way. It is very inviting; it makes you want to be part of the experience, and that is the whole purpose of the series. REEBOK (5) I remember the first time I saw Reebok’s “Life is not a spectator sport” and being very impressed with it. It was and still is the best way to address greatness. And to see it highlighting MENA region women who successfully represented that signature is very relatable in a context where women need that invitation. So, I would say it is a well-done ‘revisited insight’ execution.

Mercedes Benz

Title: Road to Mecca Agencies: Leo Burnett and Publicis Emil Dubai

MG Motor

Title: Everything and Nothing Like an SUV Creative agency: DDB Egypt Directors: Hamba & Doss Production company: The Talkies

UAE Government Media Office

Title: Empty Plates Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi – Publicis Groupe


Title: The Making of a New World Agency: Memac Ogilvy Chief creative officer: Till Hohmann Production house: Joy Films Director: Malcolm Green Cast: Peyman Al Awadhi and DJ Bliss


Title: Life is Not a Spectator Sport Agency: Impact BBDO Dubai Creative director: Johannes De Beer Producer: Alexandre Bianchin


May 30, 2022

The Spin The Spin does like it when we get a little attention. And we are pretty sure our office coffee machine is flirting with us. Our spotter sent us this photo from a recent event in Dubai where the organisers had made the progressive move of adding speakers’ preferred pronouns to the agenda. But we are unsure if Jurgen Hoogerboord’s is a typo or not, and we wouldn’t know how to address hism to ask for clarification. It’s a common problem of communications professionals to find ways to reference certain bodily issues without, well, mentioning them directly, so we were impressed to be sent not one but two different approaches to visual euphemism this month.

Appointments Atteline has promoted BIANCA RILEY to group director. Riley was previously an account director at the Dubai-headquartered PR agency. She was awarded the Rising Star award in 2021 with the PRCA MENA and was appointed as the chair of its NextGen Committee. Dentsu MENA has announced the appointment of ALEX JENA as head of strategy and product, responsible for developing Dentsu’s corporate strategy and go-to-market strategic execution, integrating capabilities

across Dentsu’s three service lines – media, creative and CX. SEVGI GUR has joined Property Finder as chief marketing officer and is responsible for the company’s brand communication and marketing strategy. Gur has extensive experience in marketing, having worked for some of the fastest-growing consumer brands in the world. As a former vice-president of marketing at OSN, she played a key role in driving subscriber growth in the region. GERRY BLAKSLEY has joined GTV Media Group as its creative director. He is known for his work on Jetman, Fittest in Dubai and

We’re on Top of the World for Emirates. Blaksley has made his name in regional production with spectacular films in and about Dubai, receiving global attention and helping promote the city as one of the top destinations in the world. Brazen MENA has bolstered its team with the promotion of ALEXIA LAWRENCE-JONES to director and KHYATI MEGCHIANI to account manager. LawrenceJones, previously client services director, will now head up the day-to-day running of the

agency in her newly formed role. Megchiani is a rising superstar in the industry, already noted as one to watch. She joined Brazen MENA after experience in a global network agency. Project management expert, customer relations leader, and digital strategist ABDULELAH AL-NAHARI has been appointed as the director of business development of Fusion5 media agency. A Saudi national, Al-Nahari will drive internal and external strategy development for the agency.



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