Campaign Middle East - Saudi Arabia Report 2022

Page 1


Saudi Arabia REPORT 2022



Saudi٬s agile 360˚ agency A local Saudi independent agency is creating and activating some of the world's most agile brands. Get to the heart of your brand. Communicate your story, value, and ultimately your reason for being and take it across channels, audiences, and categories. Lets take your brand story to the next level. Just say hi.

Essense Research & insights Brand strategy Brand identity Story Campaigns Content creation Social media Brand launch Experience Media buying Digital development Brand activation User experience

May 30, 2022





elcome to our second annual Saudi Arabia Guide. When we put the first of these supplements together a year ago it came as no surprise that people had a lot to say about the Kingdom. What blew me away, though, was how many Saudi evangelists there are throughout the industry, both in-country and in the wider region. And not only are there a lot of people ready to talk about KSA, but there is a lot to say about it. We’ve asked some of the same people to write for us this year, and added some new names into the mix. Many of our returning writers have pointed out how much things have changed in only 12 months, and that now comes as no shick. Given how much the Kingdom has transformed over the past five years, it makes sense that even a matter of months can see attitudes change and industries boom. The writers here discuss a wide range of topics. They look at the state of Saudi society, particularly its youth and its women, and how changing social attitudes and institutional change are locked in a self-perpetuating crescendo. They look at social media in the Kingdom. While contributors may differ in their evaluation of which platform leads the field, it is a universally held understanding that the Kingdom is all about the apps. A young population with high mobile internet penetration means the rest of the world can take lessons from Saudi youth when it comes to digital engagement. Two of our writers focus specifically on gaming, which is not only popular among Saudi citizens and residents, but is also seeing big investment from public bodies. E-commerce too has been accelerated by the pandemic and is continuing to boom, with last-mile delivery and customer experience improving rapidly, albeit off a low base. While we have here only teased some of the great Saudi campaigns we’ve seen, I’d encourage you to go to our website,, and click on The Work section, where you can see some of the fantastic campaigns that are being made for and in the Kingdom. And if this paper magazine and our digital online presence don’t sate your appetite for all things Saudi, we are preparing to host our first event in Riyadh. It will be held on June 14, 2022, and you can register for it on our website. At you will also be able to see who we are signing up with for speaking and support. I’m personally very excited to go to the Kingdom for my first time (and sorry I haven’t much sooner), and to see first-hand what all the hype is about. We want to bring together as many of the agencies and clients who are driving the Kingdom’s industry. See you there. And in the meantime, enjoy this guide.

A VIABLE ALTERNATIVE Mohamed Al Ayed, president and CEO, Traccs


HOPE COMES TO THE FORE Sunil John, President – MENA, BCW and Founder of ASDA’A BCW




LEARN AND ANTICIPATE Antoine Caironi, Head of Revenue – MENA, Twitter





Saira Mehdi, sales director, Epsilon Hind Hassan, content & media lead, Assembly


LEARNING FROM THE NUMBERS Ailidh Smylie, head of strategy, Socialize


NURTURING YOUR PEOPLE AND CORPORATE CULTURE Abdulrahman Inayat, director & co-founder, W7Worldwide


SYNERGY IN SAUDI ARABIA Ankur Jalan, group manager, marketing science MENA at Snap Inc. and Nadeem Ibrahim, head of digital at UM Saudi Arabia


CHANGING TIDES Jad Saab, general manager Starcom KSA


STRIKING THE RIGHT NOTE Julien Anati, business director, DMS-Anghami, KSA


IT’S IN THE GAME Dan Qayyum, GM, The MediaVantage & The SportVantage





Abdulelah Al Nahari, business development director, Saudi Arabia, Fusion 5 Julie Larguier, media director, Carat KSA


THE SAUDI PLAYBOOK Mohammed Tayem, founder & CEO, Entourage


READY. SAUDI. GROW Stefanie Cunningham, general manager – e-commerce, OMG Transact


LOCALISE TO FIT IN Rola Omar Hashem, senior account executive, Hashtag Social Media Agency


JUST THE JOB Sanjana Bhosale, senior consultant, MBR Headhunters


THE MAJOR THEMES Abdulrahman Inayat , co-founder and director of W7Worldwide





SAUDI AGENCY DIRECTORY Saudi agencies listed



CULTURE, CONTENT, CREATIVITY A snapshot of work from the Kingdom

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 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.




Campaign ME

May 30, 2022


A viable alternative Value, impact, ambition, boldness, leadership and excellence form the DNA of a new communications era in Saudi Arabia, says Traccs’ Mohamed Al Ayed


aving been deeply involved in Saudi Arabia’s communications industry for more than three decades, I have witnessed the remarkable changes shaping the sector first-hand; from modest beginnings to global recognition, trial-and-error entries in the industry to the building of a robust indigenous ecosystem, and the sporadic, reactive approach of the early years giving way to a well-organised, structured offering that goes beyond the basic services. Communications in the Kingdom have not only become strategic and valuable, but also truly transformed into a ‘viable’ industry powered by value, impact, ambition, boldness, leadership and excellence. These are exciting times for Saudi Arabia. In last year’s Campaign Saudi Arabia Report 2021, I spoke in detail about how Vision 2030 is propelling our industry toward a period of unprecedented growth when communications are calibrated, interests aligned and future progress is charted. That was exactly 12 months ago, and continuous advances have been made since then on key initiatives including the Revitalize Historic Jeddah project, the Aseer Regional Development project, The Rig, and Jeddah Central Development project, among others.

‘‘Today our approach to communications needs to be bold, calculated and uninhibited.”

Whether new or old, recurring, or one-off, these programmes, projects and initiatives require a new standard of communication that is built around three essential components: advisory, to set the strategic framework, positioning, and direction; content, to shape the story and narrative; and finally training and media coaching to ensure the right messages are delivered in a clear, direct and impactful way.

We refer to this dynamic approach as ‘ACT’, which brings together advisory, content and training in a highly effective synergy. This is what today’s market requires, and the future of any communicator – whether a seeker (client) or provider (practitioner, agency, advisor) – will hinge on their ability to embrace this holistic approach. With value and impact high on the agenda as critical strands of the viable DNA, ambition remains equally important as it

inspires a drive for success that is continuously fuelled by passion and determination. If we were to assess the communications playing field in Saudi Arabia just a decade ago, the word ‘bold’ would not have immediately come to mind. The psyche and framework of communications at that time did not require boldness, but rather a steady state of activity. Today, as our country continues to make significant strides locally, regionally and internationally, our approach to communications needs to be bold, calculated and uninhibited. It must demonstrate flair and panache, and we are seeing this every day across all platforms. In the years ahead, communications will remain central to driving the Kingdom’s progress, with a single important differentiator – it is now steered by a new breed of talent, under the leadership of a generation of experts with vast experience from the private sector. As a source of excellence, knowledge is a key enabler of the Kingdom’s transformation. Effective and impactful communications are essential in sharing the knowledge that inspires excellence. Ultimately, our industry has a central role to play not only in sharing Saudi Arabia’s remarkable story with the world, but also in accelerating the Kingdom’s journey towards a prosperous future. Final food for thought: As we embrace this bold new era, we must ACT as a catalyst for the next stage of the Saudi communications industry’s growth and development. With value, impact, ambition, boldness, leadership and excellence as our ingredients, we have the perfect recipe for success. By MOHAMED AL AYED, president and CEO, Traccs


May 30, 2022


audi Arabia is driving a transformational growth story backed by investments of $3.2 trillion by 2030. As the increase in oil price contributed to exceptional growth in government revenue and a record budgetary surplus of $15.3bn in the first quarter of this year, the Kingdom also recorded another remarkable milestone: Saudi Aramco overtook Apple Inc as the world’s most valuable company with a market capitalisation of $2.43 trillion in May – a phenomenal achievement from the region. The economic clout of the Kingdom could not have been stronger, with the Public Investment Fund, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, building an incredible portfolio of 50 companies in 13 sectors to create more than 500,000 jobs with more than $600bn worth of assets under management. At the heart of these inspiring successes from Saudi Arabia are its young people. An estimated 22 million people in the Kingdom, or two-thirds of its population, are below the age of 30. Satisfying such a large constituency of ambitious young men and women is an immense responsibility. HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman alluded to this fact himself when he observed: “The dreams of men in Saudi Arabia are so many. I try to

‘‘The dreams of men in Saudi Arabia are so many. I try to compete with them and their dreams, and they compete with mine.” compete with them and their dreams, and they compete with mine, to create a better Saudi Arabia.” Meeting the aspirations of his fellow citizens for a “better Saudi Arabia” runs through every aspect of the Saudi Vision 2030. Workforce nationalisation, diversification away from oil and gas, modernising local infrastructure – all the programmes and pledges that make up the Kingdom’s longdevelopment agenda have the needs of the youth at their core. This is particularly true of giga-projects such as Neom and The Red Sea Project, which will be at the forefront of Saudi Arabia’s drive to mitigate climate change and provide a sustainable future for its rapidly growing population. And while there will always be those, particularly in the West, who will quibble about Saudi Arabia’s sustained commitment to both transform its society and reduce its climate impact, the response so far from its young people is an enthusiastic thumbs up. According to our annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey, which last year polled 3,400 young men and women aged 18 to 24 in 17 Arab states, two-thirds of Saudi youth are

Hope comes to the fore

Sunil John says one of the findings of his agency’s ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey is that Saudi youth believe Vision 2030 will transform their future

future and value the quality of education they receive, most (66 per cent) still hope to secure a government job when they leave school or university, up from 41 per cent in 2019. While a quarter (23 per cent) of respondents would prefer a job in the private sector, relatively few are eager to strike out on their own as entrepreneurs or carry on the family business. Only 7 per cent said they wanted to either work for themselves or their families, down from just under a quarter who said this in 2020.

convinced they will lead a better life than their parents, making them more optimistic than any of their peers across MENA. OPTIMISTIC OUTLOOK A large share of the credit for this positive outlook must be attributed to Saudi Arabia’s leadership, with a staggering nine in 10 young Saudis saying they believed their voice mattered to their government. Moreover, 96 per cent said the authorities were putting in place the right policies to address the concerns of young people. Less than half of Arab youth in our overall study expressed the same level of confidence about the performance of their government. And almost all the Saudis we spoke to (98 per cent) believed the Vision 2030 strategy would be successful in securing the Kingdom’s economic future. GREEN SHOOTS They also applauded Saudi Arabia’s action on climate change and, in 50 per cent of cases, said they were even prepared to boycott a brand that damaged the environment. Three-quarters of respondents admitted to being concerned about climate change, the highest level of anxiety about global warming in the region. This illustrates the wisdom behind Saudi Arabia’s pledge to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2060. GOVERNMENT RELIANT However, not everything looks rosy. While more than half of young Saudis agree they are being well prepared for the workplace of the

A TECH-SAVVY GENERATION However, it would be wrong to interpret the preference of young Saudis for a career in the public sector as an inability to move with the times. Saudi youth are arguably the most tech-savvy in the region, not to mention some of the most enthusiastic users of social media. So much so, in fact, that nearly nine in 10 admit to finding it difficult to disconnect from their devices, a far higher proportion than in neighbouring GCC countries, North Africa and the Levant. More than half say they now shop online, while two-thirds rely on social media for news, compared with 46 per cent who said they get their news from TV, and just 9 per cent who prefer to read a newspaper. LASTING PERCEPTIONS While the findings of our annual Arab youth survey, now in its 14th year, can be interpreted in different ways, one conclusion is beyond doubt. Saudi youth, much like their peers across the MENA region, have changed for good. Perhaps the most compelling evidence of this is the fact that most Saudi youth now believe that men and women have the same rights and equal opportunities to progress. Not only that, 76 per cent of young women and more than two-thirds of young men (69 per cent) believe that the greatest help women can provide their families is to pursue a career. This is arguably the most counterintuitive finding of our annual research. Considering Saudi Arabia’s immense influence across the Arab world (80 per cent of respondents in our study said Saudi Arabia was the most influential country in MENA), it will likely have the greatest impact, both on attitudes within the region and on perceptions of it outside. By SUNIL JOHN, president – MENA, BCW and Founder of ASDA’A BCW

May 30, 2022




May 30, 2022

Untapped potential, impactful opportunities Saudi Arabia’s media and entertainment industry present unlocked opportunities for those who are agile and receptive to its developments, writes MMS’s Ahmed Al Sahhaf


ewarding opportunities await those who understand how to navigate Saudi Arabia’s thriving media and entertainment landscape. If we look at Saudi audiences, we will find media-savvy consumers who access content across various platforms. They are heavy TV consumers, recording a monthly reach of 84 per cent of the Saudi population in 2021 – and MBC Group accounts for 48.6 per cent of the TV audience share in the Kingdom according to MBC Group data. Saudi and MENA audiences are also enthusiastic consumers of OTT platforms. MBC Group’s OTT service, Shahid, has an average of 9.5 million unique users per month and 25 million during Ramadan in the MENA Region, while Shahid VIP totalled about 2.2 million subscribers in Ramadan 2022. Saudi & MENA audiences are always connected and have notable digital engagement across social media channels. MBC Group platforms alone record high engagement across their 645 accounts and more than 603.8 million followers.

and aligns with their values and culture. MBC Action’s Action Maa’ Waleed is a good example of this; the Saudi produced football series contributed to positioning the channel among the top 10 channels in the country. Series in the comedy and drama genres are also popular in Saudi Arabia. The same is true for OTT platforms, where regional shows like Natihat Al Sahab and Amina Haf top the charts in Ramadan.

CROSS-PLATFORM INTEGRATION This clearly indicates that viewers in the region, and Saudi in particular, are now engaging with

TAILORED OFFERINGS This all presents brands, SMEs and government in the Kingdom with valuable opportunities to

content across multiple platforms and devices, making it imperative for brands who want to amplify their reach to be present simultaneously across these platforms. MMS, the commercial arm of MBC Group, is no stranger to this. Since our inception, we’ve been delivering cross-platform solutions across MBC Group’s ecosystem and the brands that we represent, such as the Saudi Sports Company and Al Arabiya – enhancing the impact and reach of brand’s marketing efforts and ensuring that they connect with their customers regardless of the platform they’re on. We’ve seen this with shows like Min Share’ Al Haram Ela and localised international formats like The Voice and Top Chef, which garner high viewership on TV, Shahid and social media, providing brands with an opportunity to enhance their performance through expanded reach.

achieve their desired impact and return on ad investment. Over the past few years, logistics, telcos, consumer packaged goods and government entities have been big investors on TV. We also noticed local businesses and start-ups in the Kingdom gradually increase their TV presence, and we have been working closely with our clients in Saudi Arabia to provide them with solutions that are tailored to their individual needs. Believing that continuous innovation is key in this market, which is in a constant state of change, our teams across MMS offices in Riyadh, Dubai and Cairo strive to keep on innovating and developing various high-quality new formats across TV, Shahid, digital and radio, as well as flexible brand integration opportunities that push creative boundaries with 3D graphic technologies. MMS also continuously works on building partnerships to diversify its offerings to clients. Since its inception it has forged partnerships with Al Arabiya and the Saudi Sports Company, becoming the sole commercial representative of each. It also

RELATABLE CONTENT In addition to understanding how Saudi audiences view their content when planning campaigns and marketing strategies, it is also important to understand what they watch. TV and digital measurement tools indicate a clear preference amongst Saudi audiences towards local and regionally produced content that is relatable

HIGH IMPACT AND REACH IN RAMADAN Being present during Ramadan is also essential for brands that want to achieve high impact and reach. Studies have found that consumers in Saudi Arabia watch more TV during Ramadan than at any other time of the year. The same is true with OTT platforms, which record an increase that is 2.5 times higher than the average of remaining months of the year. This is due to the premium Arabic line-up airing on MBC Group channels during the Holy Month, which also contribute to driving advertising reach, especially during or right after Iftar.

‘‘MMS works continuously on building partnerships that diversify its offerings.” recently partnered with Snapchat and Twitter to make MBC Group’s premium content available on the platforms. UNLOCKING OPPORTUNITIES Saudi Arabia’s media and entertainment industry present unlocked opportunities for those who are agile and receptive to its developments. Saudi audiences are enthusiastic and heavy media consumers, who want relatable content that can be accessed across all platforms. This on its own presents clients with limitless possibilities to capture the attention of audiences and amplify their ads’ reach. Mass reach and high impact can also be achieved through high consumption periods like Ramadan, especially when leveraging the right type of content. We cannot forget the important role that data analytics have in planning for best marketing outcomes; therefore it is essential to keep investing in them and adopting the latest tools out there. MMS aims to continue providing solutions that help clients untap these opportunities through solutions that rely on content excellence, data-driven thinking and partnership-led solutions. By AHMED AL SAHHAF, CEO of MBC Media Solutions (MMS)


May 30, 2022


ver the past year we have witnessed human connection drive hyperconnectivity, exacerbated in the year that followed intermittent lockdowns across the globe. This has enabled brands in the region to capitalise on leveraging these communities at key points throughout the annual marketing calendar, both planned for and not. 2022 celebrated Founding Day, Ramadan and Jeddah Season, with Saudi National Day and the 2022 FIFA World Cup still to come, and in a year of significant cultural moments in Saudi Arabia, moments such as these are expected to drive conversations. Through these conversations, people on Twitter will continue to shape Saudi culture. But what does this mean for advertising, and for marketers in particular? It’s simple. More opportunities to drive impact for their brand by connecting with their audiences around breakthrough moments. Albeit with more planning to drive success. By looking at successful campaigns from past moments, we can better understand what’s likely to happen in the future.

believe it’s important for local brands to communicate on Twitter around the occasion, further highlighting the necessity for marketers and brands to connect with audiences around key cultural moments. Seasonal periods can also be leveraged as Connect moments. For example, summer is a key moment of the year for travel and

‘‘#FeminineArabic saw Twitter become the first platform to offer a new feminine language setting in Arabic.”

LEARN FROM THE PAST #SaudiFoundingDay. In February 2022, Saudi Arabia celebrated this key date for the first time, following its introduction announcement in January, yet, despite limited time to prepare for it, key brands jumped on the opportunity to connect with their audience on Twitter. For instance, @Saudi_Airlines took a unique approach when joining the conversation. The airline launched a hero video that celebrated the Saudi spirit, alongside a competition to drive engagement, reinforcing the brand’s patriotic message and tying into present day domestic flight offerings. The campaign generated over 3.8 million video views and thousands of retweets with heartfelt messages from the audiences across Twitter. Another extremely important Connect moment in Saudi Arabia, for the country, people and brands, was #SaudiNationalDay. Through an insights survey we discovered that 46 per cent of respondents believe National Day celebrations are more special on Twitter vs other platforms. 69 per cent

Learn and anticipate Twitter’s Antoine Caironi looks back and forwards to see what brands can take from the past and build on in the future on his social channel

tourism, and as the summer months approached, Saudi Tourism Authority (@VisitSaudiAR) identified an opportunity to re-ignite an appetite for travel, placing Saudi Arabia on the destination map. Through combined creative video content with Twitter’s Trend Takeover+, the campaign highlighted the country’s diverse landscapes and tourism offerings, generating 68 million impressions, 22 million video views and 350,000 clicks, and exceeding expectations with video views surpassing the benchmark by 83 per cent. Through Twitter, there is also an opportunity for brands to tap into the conversation during unforeseen cultural moments. A key example was Twitter’s #FeminineArabic campaign, which saw Twitter become the first platform to offer a new feminine language setting in Arabic. Mastercard Middle East and Africa (@MastercardMEA) built on the moment with its ‘Priceless’ proposition. Focused on Mastercard’s inclusion proposition, the brand launched a phased campaign that promoted its own inclusion narrative while including audiences within the conversation. By asking followers to share stories of how women in their lives have positively influenced them, as well as their favourite feminine Arabic words, the campaign garnered over 19.8 million Tweet impressions, 6.6 million video views and 309,000 engagements. ANTICIPATE THE FUTURE The outlook for the year ahead is centred around the need for brands to connect with cultural moments even earlier, and 2022 is expected to be a year unlike any other with a range of cultural moments yet to come. People are looking for brands to own key moments. This means engaging audiences before big moments are happening and not just on the day itself. (Also, this is more cost-efficient, which I am sure will resonate at a time where ROI is looked at closer than ever.) For example, Saudi National Day will take place on September 23, and we expect brands to start owning it as early as the second week of September, when conversations start to peak. This is particularly important for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which kicks off in the final quarter of the year and is guaranteed to be of interest across MENA. Since the start of 2022, the country has seen a rise in Tweets about football, highlighting an opportunity for marketers and brands to lead conversations surrounding the topic, tapping into fans across Saudi Arabia. In the lead up to the event, brands should take advantage of those leaned-in football audiences, mapping football-specific content in the months ahead to own the narrative and position themselves at the heart of World Cup conversations ahead of time. Culture plays an integral role in defining us as individuals. As a collective society, cultural dynamism has never been stronger in Saudi Arabia than today, unravelling compelling opportunities for brands and marketers, with Twitter at its core. So much remains to be done – Bring it on 2022. By ANTOINE CAIRONI, Head of Revenue – MENA, Twitter


May 30, 2022


Act like a Saudi, think like a local brand History, heritage and culture are just some of the elements successful marketers will incorporate into their Kingdom-specific strategies By BRENDAN WALSH, Head of Strategy, KSA, DMS


aving worked with strategic brands across the region over a number of years, 2022 steered me to a role focusing on our key clients in Saudi Arabia. The impact of Saudi’s Vision 2030 is real – from the bustling cafes of Tahlia to the freshly painted boardrooms at KAFD, it is clear the Kingdom is thriving. It is forgivable to compare Vision 2030 to a ‘gigatonic’ version of the gentrification we’re seeing in many urban areas across the globe. The possibilities of job creation, housing developments, improved amenities and public services have helped to inspire deteriorating communities for decades. However, some of the shortcomings associated with mismanaged urban renewal, including congestion, displacement, and the decay of cultural identity, could not be further from Saudi Arabia’s vision for the future. Capitalising on their rich history, heritage and culture, strategic location, and economic strength: the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has established the holistic blueprint to build a vital society, a thriving economy and an ambitious nation. To understand how media will play a role in the future of Saudi Arabia, we need to deeply understand the vision, and what this means for the people of Saudi. The vision is powered by social, economic, infrastructural, technological and environmental programmes to drive a better quality of life across the Kingdom. The benefits to society will mean

exceptional education, bigger opportunities, inclusivity, diversification and empowerment. The change has been dramatic since the transformation was rolled out in 2016 with the planned completion of the many gigaprojects being staggered into phases until 2030 and beyond. So how can brands maintain the momentum with this young and optimistic population, when there is still so much change on the horizon? Firstly, knowing an audience goes beyond their demographics and interests. It’s crucial to understand the relationships Saudis have with a brand, and what it represents to them. We know Saudi consumers are now demanding more brands that are ‘Saudised, experiential and different’. A meticulous always-on qualitative research strategy is key to helping brands understand the perceptions, motivations and opinions of their consumers, which will help build and optimise an engaging media strategy to improve both relevance and perception. To nurture a responsible and engaged culture, it is vital that Saudis feel inclusion. Information can create a sense of fellowship within society, and that content can range from inspirational to educational or entertainment. The local publishers and producers are going to be crucial in building a communications strategy that will truly resonate with Saudis. If we look at major digital portals in Saudi Arabia such as and, the editors and contributors are living the transformation within these cities. With millions of engaged and loyal audiences, these professionals can articulate stories that are relevant and meaningful. We are seeing more and more brands partnering with these publishers to develop authentic and trustworthy content. By combining the right balance of these local publishers with key social platforms, brands can deliver custom stories to multiple audiences at scale. To ensure content makes an impact, it needs to tap into what matters the most to these audiences. Saudis are extremely patriotic and it’s crucial for them to preserve what makes them unique – their people, hospitality, ancient history, striking landscapes and the arts. Beyond their six Unesco World Heritage Sites, several of their cultural practices have been recognised by Unesco as Intangible Cultural Heritage, including falconry, sadu weaving, traditional

drumming, dance, and poetry. Consider the inclusion of locations, themes, sounds and visuals to add a delicate cultural reference. Furthermore, Saudis resonate more with Arabic-first content, pressing further the need to ensure brand partners are communicating in a relevant dialect. With the Kingdom driving such a high demand for authentic Arabic content, we are seeing publishers like developing content studios specifically to address this growing demand. Beyond this, there is an opportunity to create accessible content supporting the enormous advancements Saudi is making in terms of innovation and the future. From cognitive cities to sustainability, Saudi’s Vision realisation

‘‘Local publishers and producers will be crucial in building a communications strategy that will truly resonate with Saudis.” programmes offer an exciting platform for informational content themes to address the interests of niche and broader audiences across Saudi and the entire region. The distribution of this content has possibilities far beyond individual portals, offering brands exclusive content that can thrive across multiple digital and social touchpoints, and potentially used to drive on-ground consumer engagement initiatives. In conclusion, Saudi Arabia is a nation to watch and offers enormous opportunities for both local and global brands. However, this is not a market to enter lightly; Saudis are not interested in generic brand communications. It is crucial you get to know your customers and speak to them in their language about topics close to their heart.


May 30, 2022

Coming back for more

Consumer loyalty today is driven by more than just vouchers and discounts, writes Epsilon’s Saira Mehdi


oyalty. A word that evokes emotion and brings to mind relationships where one is willing to go to great lengths to keep the other happy. Loyalty cannot be bought or sold with points, freebies and discounts alone, but needs to transcend the altar of emotions. It is all about ‘valuebased’ loyalty if it is going to last. Consumers will stick around when they have a good story to tell after an engagement with a brand. With Covid-19 and all its challenges came intense competition for a share of the customer’s heart and mind. As digital transformation leapfrogged across businesses, marketers gained access to a treasure trove of data. And customers began to consolidate their brand affinities to interact with fewer stores, delivery services and loyalty cards. Today more than ever, brands need to step up their game. Consumers in KSA are becoming tech-savvy and are hungry for what’s next – brands must make innovation more than a buzzword and ensure it drives business growth and real value to customers. Let’s talk for a moment about demographics. The average age across the GCC is 27 (Saudi Arabia is higher at 30), bang in the middle of the millennial bracket – reputed for having little or no brand loyalty. However, the Middle Eastern consumers themselves are an outlier here – with studies showing them to be significantly more loyal than their counterparts around the world. However, by the same token this segment and the market in general have high service expectations and are quite unforgiving when they feel ignored or poorly treated. One of the key reasons here is incomerelated entitlement. So how do we now redefine and reinvent our relationships with increasingly discerning customers? Brands that truly understand their customers are intuitive to customers’ aspirations, motivations and barriers. Mapping these intangibles to technology brings alive the entire customer journey, experience and channels. Finding a platform partner that delivers strategy as

well as the tech platform to anticipate a consumer’s needs, activating to deliver on those needs and finally measuring and optimising to ensure proof of performance is key.

By SAIRA MEHDI, sales director, Epsilon

THREE KEY LOYALTY TRENDS THAT WILL SHAPE 2022 When building or reimagining a loyalty marketing programme, there are three imperatives to ensure that your brand continues being an engagement magnet for your most important customers. BUILDING EMPATHY AND HUMAN CONNECTIONS Customers who feel an emotional connection to a brand are far more valuable. Loyalty programmes are a proxy for customers to connect with the brand. If brands can provide flexibility and compassion to customers as well as generosity and goodwill, they will find that customers will be more willing to engage with them, especially since customers are providing companies with personal data, which allows brands to establish and nurture a more intimate relationship with their customers. BOLSTERING BELIEF-DRIVEN BUYERS As consumers become more socially and politically engaged, brands have an opportunity to build loyalty with their customers. 2021 saw a rise of belief-driven buyers, customers who vote with their wallets, which will continue well into this year. With the needs of non-profit organisations skyrocketing, in part accelerated by the Covid-19 crisis, a Mintel report found that 46 per cent of consumers surveyed would like the option to donate their points or benefits to charities or others in need. This is even higher for Gen Zs and millennials, with an average of 60 per cent in agreement. Companies that set up programmes where customers can earn points for what they purchase, or where brands donate to certain causes that are near and dear to the heart of their customers, can help a brand to build a loyal customer base. Programmes such as these are a

testament to how building customer loyalty can benefit a brand if the right causes and mechanics are put in place. THE RISE OF GAMIFICATION More brands will use gamification this year to make their loyalty programmes more attractive and relevant to their customers. Gamification elevates the personalisation experience, providing consumers with incentives to purchase more frequently, buy more or use loyalty points for rewards. It plays off many aspects of human psychology including reward-seeking behaviour, natural competitiveness and the classic fear of missing out (FOMO). A Mintel trends report saw that as money became tighter for consumers with the ongoing pandemic, brands took to gamifying the discount process to provide consumers with a sense of control over their spending, as well as this being a fun and playful way to engage with them. Tying the discount or value proposition up with the key message of the campaign can reinforce that message while simultaneously providing value to the consumer. Gamification not only increases a brand’s share of wallet but also its share of life among its customers. Nike developed the Nike Run Club app, which tracks a user’s runs with data ranging from exercise duration up to the wear of their trainers. Through the app, Nike collects data about users’ chosen sports, activity levels and preferred styles, using that data to personalise experiences. Nike’s app uses a range of gamification features such as milestone unlocks, reward systems and leader boards. In 2020, Nike reported that its app saw download growth of over 45 per cent, compared with the average global increase of 10 per cent. Customer loyalty has never been more important than in today’s digital landscape, where it is the key to cultivating repeat purchases and engagement. In the long run, this sets us up for mutual success, and what could be better than an environment where brands and consumers thrive because of their relationship with each other.

May 30, 2022

Think different

Assembly’s Hind Hassan offers five content-related points to consider when entering the Saudi market

USE OF ‘CORRECT’ LANGUAGE The Arabic language is one of the most widely used in the world, spoken officially by 22 countries and by as many as 422 million people. However, none of these countries uses Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) in everyday life. Everyone grows up with a distinctive dialect. Localisation for digital marketing is not only about translating content into different languages; it is about understanding the message, the target and the brand. It’s about choosing the correct and relevant terms while maintaining creativity, epecially in a market like Saudi, where the Saudi consumer is highly sensitive about Arabic content, in terms of how relatable it is to their needs and culture. Throughout the years we’ve seen a lot of instances of campaigns that failed or had a negative impact on the brand because of the wrong tagline or the wrong messaging. It is crucial to be mindful of the specifics of the Saudi consumer as they are one of the most sophisticated and advanced audiences when it comes to content. DATA-INFORMED CONTENT Making the content relevant to your audience is key. Saudis are some of the biggest content consumers in the region. Therefore, tailoring content that matches

categories, especially for fashion retailers, need to be reconsidered. ‘Prom dresses’, ‘sweet 16’ or ‘homecoming’ won’t be searched for as much as ‘evening’, ‘simple’, ‘floral’, or ‘bridal dresses’. Users won’t relate much and will find it difficult to navigate the website, which will eventually affect the customer journey. SEASONAL MARKETING CALENDAR Consumers in Saudi respond quite well to promotions. Therefore, mapping out local events to align with all marketing efforts (such as national and religious holidays) is very important and a great potential marketing opportunity. It’s important to note upcoming events to be present and relevant and expand brand recognition in the market. Promoting an irrelevant occasion to the region can harm the brand and have a negative impact that will ultimately cause loss of money.


xpanding digitally to global markets has become a top priority for many brands over the past few years, and this trend has accelerated particularly over the last couple of years. As more of the world went online through Covid-19, brands were focused on bringing their products meaningfully into new markets filled with customers who were eager to spend. Entering the Saudi market has become a point of interest for many businesses, as it’s one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets in the world. Like any new market, it is important to get it right from the start. Countless brands will fall into the same trap of hoping to replicate successful business strategies that worked in other markets. This doesn’t apply, even within countries in the GCC, as each country has its own unique culture, dialect, consumer behaviours and habits. For brands looking to expand into the GCC, and specifically the Saudi market, there are a few key areas to consider.


their needs is crucial. In this era when we are driven by data, it is vital to understand the target audience and perform A/B testing on different forms of writing, whether it’s formal Arabic vs. spoken, English brand names vs. translated ones, or even as simple as testing out different calls to action. Content is not

only about ad copy, articles and blog posts. Testing out different forms of creative, whether images or videos, is also as important. Look into engagement metrics, view times and content interactions. Taking in all these learnings, automating, and exporting this data in an easy way to digest and make small adjustments over time will help you take more data-informed decisions on the best form of curated content for your target – whether it’s minor modifications to the first three seconds of a video, the colours used and the placement of your logo or the form of language you’re using with your audience. UNDERSTANDING SEARCH BEHAVIOURS AND THE EFFECTS ON WEBSITE STRUCTURE When searching in Arabic, people don’t usually go into details; the search terms are much more general, consisting of one or two words. English searches are more specific and include on average three to five words, which we call ‘long-tail keywords’. Moreover, fashion categories, for example, are much simpler in the region than they are in other non-Middle Eastern countries. For example, when searching for fashion product or items in Arabic it’s common to search by style and colour rather than occasion, cut or size. Therefore, website structure and

MEASUREMENTS AND CURRENCIES Something else that usually gets ignored is looking into what’s popular in terms of measurement, sizes and currencies in the target market. Brands need to either convert or provide a very clear size chart to make it easier for the users to shop. The Middle East represents a critical expansion opportunity for many brands, with digital acceleration alive and flourishing across the region. But it’s equally critical for brands to do the proper research to ensure they’re meeting Saudi consumers with a

‘‘Promoting an irrelevant occasion can harm the brand and have a negative impact that will ultimately cause loss of money.” relevant experience of their brands and products. Whether this means doing small tests or putting in the extra time and resources early on to gain significant learnings before launching more widely, it’s important to understand the nuances, and that consumer expectations will be different from other areas of the world. By HIND HASSAN, content & media lead, Assembly


May 30, 2022


etween 2021 and 2022, the number of social media users in Saudi Arabia grew by 5 per cent and the average amount of time per day spent using social media in the Kingdom increased by 18 minutes – to 3 hours 24 mins, the eighth highest usage rate in the world. When studying KSA’s unique data patterns and behaviours in light of key digital trends, we can see clear emerging changes that brands must consider. In-feed syllabuses: Social is being repurposed as a space for self-directed learning. Across the globe, social media users are more likely to say they’ve learned practical life skills from social platforms than university (57 per cent vs 51 per cent). In KSA, viewership of educational videos, specifically maths and science on YouTube, has increased by 200 per cent year on year, while 95 per cent of users have also watched DIY content on the platform. Ultimately, the way we communicate and absorb information has changed, driven by immersive content formats and a renewed appreciation for innovative learning solutions. From serious topics that develop life skills (understanding local law or crypto guides in Arabic) to lighter-hearted edutainment where people learn for leisure. It’s key for brands to know that learning journeys don’t necessarily end on social, but increasingly it’s where they are starting – and, importantly, where they’re nurtured. In Saudi Arabia we see a popular TikTok veterinarian @hamadokka.24 portray animals he takes care of in silly scenarios, yet his main goal is to promote animal wellness and the importance of protecting them. On a brand level, we’ve seen the likes of Nabta Health, a holistic healthcare service for women in the MENA region, creating bitesize, informative content that consumers can learn from in-feed and ultimately apply in their daily life. As only 18 per cent of internet users aged 16-64 in KSA report that a primary reason for using social is to find content from brands, there has to be a step-change in how brands impart knowledge to audiences from within their feeds, from a blended lens of the brands’ and consumers’ own priorities and beliefs. The vibe economy: The creation of moods and feelings has become a coveted creative skill. The rise of social video, combined with a heightened desire for connection post-pandemic, is seeing a new form of creativity move to the fore. TikTokers such as Iimeeto create humorous multisensory meme content that transcends generations, to depict the modern-day life of Saudi nationals. Home of Switz is a brand example where we’re seeing moments of audiovisual eloquence using aesthetics blended with product usage to create content that is compelling. The rise of platforms that allow for this visual exploration has increased, with a 16 per cent increase in penetration on Snapchat, and TikTok reporting 87.9 per cent of all adults aged 18+ being reached by TikTok ads in 2022. TikTok also reports that 70 per cent of Gen Z TikTok in KSA discover new brands on the platform, with 47 per cent immediately buying something they see, and 47 per cent also convincing someone to buy products they’ve seen on Tik Tok. Brands must harness digital media to curate a mood around products and services, collaborating with curators to assimilate into specific cores or communities.

Learning from the numbers Socialize’s Ailidh Smylie draws insight from We Are Social/HootSuite’s KSA Digital 2022 research report and We Are Social’s Think Forward 2022 report to explain key trends shaping the market in KSA

Prime-time platforms: Social has levelled up from its role as a ‘second screen’. In a fragmented entertainment landscape, social media has become the lynchpin of shared media consumption, with data from TikTok showing that 35 per cent of its users say they’ve watched less TV and streaming services since downloading the app. In KSA we are seeing a decrease of 15 per cent of consumer time spent watching television – from 4 hours 36 minutes per day in 2021 to 3 hours 35 minutes per day in 2022. When applying this trend in Saudi, it’s important to note that the country ranks eighth in the world for percentage of internet users who play ‘video games’ – at 91.4 per cent. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, this is coupled with a decrease in YouTube penetration, from 89.5 per cent of internet users aged 16-64 who reported using the platform

in 2021, to 79.7 per cent in 2022. From the Weeknd’s live performance in TikTok, to immersive storytelling formats being sprung from gaming channels on platforms like Twitch, the growing trend towards immersive, live content has made unmissable social content more commonplace. For brands to learn from this and apply this in the KSA market, they should look to collaborate with commentators on platforms where the nation is highly engaged like Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter (which boasts 72 per cent penetration in KSA, the highest in the world). Brands can also look to show up in social-first entertainment spaces, embedding characters into the metaverse or creating communities in nontraditional places that add to consumers’ online experiences. New materialists: People are investing in digital content and creativity. From NFTs to designer Fortnite skins, a growing number of people are seeing the value of digital goods and putting hard cash behind them, including the 33 per cent of Gen Zers who have invested in digital clothing. In the MENA region we’ve seen the emergence of The First Arabs - An NFT community building the ‘Arabverse’ to explore Arab culture and support non-profits. We’ve also seen people begin to understand the value attached to creators’ labours, with 35 per cent of social media users globally recognising ‘social media creator’ as a skilled profession, which rises to 47 per cent among Gen Z and young millennials (18-34). Digital ownership is being used to signal what you believe in, show people what you love, and give a shout out to the communities you’re a part of. There’s an opportunity for brands to explore how their products and services can translate into virtual worlds, in three key ways: 1. Brands can look to extend the physical ownership of their products into digital; 2. Brands should be showing up in digital environments relevant to their consumers; 3. Brands can collaborate with digital artists or social-first franchises to build digital credentials. As culture continuously moves at the speed of social, so too must brands and creators alike; working harder and better to make us laugh, move us and connect us. In unique markets such as Saudi Arabia, brands must look to their local communities to co-create experiences that add value to both sides, as our physical experiences and online worlds continue to blend. By AILIDH SMYLIE, head of strategy, Socialize


May 30, 2022


slam is a cornerstone of life in Saudi Arabia, including the corporate world. A company with a strong corporate culture that prioritises people will create an environment for growth, community, and mutual success. Employers need to build personal connections with employees that reinforce humanity, gratitude, and kinship. Companies with a great culture engage their people, cultivating a workplace that encourages participation and enables excellence to produce and grow. As I discussed recently in a panel discussion with international marketing leaders – Persistently Agile: The Key to High-Performance Marketing Lies with People, Not Projects – defining and establishing a strong company culture is an important step to any business from the outset, as it can pre-empt challenges further down the line. Saudi Arabian corporate culture is based on the most important social unit being the group, close family, extended family, extended relationships, including the workplace, to which loyalty and respect is due. Creating a productive, meaningful, and welcoming work environment gets the right people to join the team and keeps them motivated to perform. Company culture will encompass your goals, mission, values, and ethos.


‘‘Creating a productive, meaningful, and welcoming work environment gets the right people to join the team.” appreciation for their people with company events, annual gifts, volunteer opportunities, paid time off and recognition awards spotlighting team members who go above and beyond. Corporate social responsibility efforts during Ramadan have long been associated with an increase in charitable giving and volunteering in Saudi Arabia. Giving back to the community is one of the five pillars of Islam both as a religious duty and to secure the blessings associated with charity. Show

Nurturing your people and corporate culture

Company culture is the catalyst for better performance across the entire business, writes W7Worldwide Abdulrahman Inayat

When people feel supported by their company and team, their loyalty increases, which will have a positive effect on your business from the inside out. Customers who know that a business treats its people well will want to support that business. Happy employees will help companies build their reputation as important brand advocates. Company culture is the catalyst for better performance across the entire business when it supports better teamwork, space for feed-back, and a higher sense of satisfaction. The right corporate culture inspires people to bring out the best in each other, so striving for a respectful, thoughtful and human environment is vital. There are many creative ways for companies to recognise and show

your company cares about the community by supporting a cause your team is passionate about and where they can volunteer together, or offer to donate to a charitable organisation on your employees’ behalf. Engaging employees in the partnership with a chosen partner creates a common sense of purpose and motivation. Volunteering says a lot about a company’s sincerity. By doing good deeds without expecting anything in return, companies and their employees are able to express their community spirit. Company culture is what sets you apart from competitors, inspires the best talent and right people to join you, and enables an excellent environment in which everyone can grow. Creating a strong corporate culture

is halfway through for a company to demonstrate the value within its organisational ecosystem, and this includes the nurturing and appreciation of its employees. W7Worldwide has been producing award-winning, culture-changing corporate communications campaigns for leading Saudi and GCC brands.

ABDULRAHMAN INAYAT, Director & Co-Founder, W7Worldwide

May 30, 2022


persistent challenge faced by marketers in the ever-changing digital ecosystem is how various advertising platforms work together to drive incremental impact on business for advertisers. To answer this question in Saudi Arabia, UM and Snap Inc. partnered with Kantar to run multiple cross-media studies throughout the year 2021/22. This provided detailed insights into the incremental reach delivered by each platform across the media mix, as well as identifying various ‘synergies’ seen between the different platforms in delivering brand impact. The studies showed that leveraging a multi-platform strategy helped the campaigns reach close to 90 per cent of the target audience. The share of brand impact driven synergistically (two or more platforms delivering impact together) far exceeded the Kantar norms. This proves that in order to influence Saudi audiences, it is important to reach them on the right platforms with consistent messaging. Ankur Jalan, group manager, marketing science MENA at Snap Inc. and Nadeem Ibrahim, head of digital at UM Saudi Arabia explain more about the findings.

Synergy in Saudi Arabia

UM partnered with Snap Inc. and Kantar to understand the role of advertising platforms in the broader media mix

WHAT WAS THE ROLE OF SNAPCHAT IN THE MEDIA MIX AS UNCOVERED FROM THESE STUDIES? AJ: Snapchat is essential to any video plan in Saudi Arabia. It was identified as one of the largest and most efficient reach drivers in Saudi Arabia. Snapchat consistently drove incremental brand impact in synergy with other platforms. For STC, it delivered an incremental 13.9 per cent reach over TV during Ramadan in 2021 and half of

the campaign’s impact on STC’s sustainability perception. WHAT ARE THE KEY LEARNINGS AND ACTIONS YOU SEE THE UM TEAMS TAKING AS A RESULT OF THESE STUDIES? NI: Saudi as a market is atypical compared with the rest of the region. The insights from the Kantar studies have presented outcomes that will result in effective planning when TV is in the mix. The incremental benefit that Snapchat can drive to complement TV and YouTube is very exciting. It gives a new dimension for brands to execute – from AR to other traditional Snapchat formats. HOW CAN MARKETERS AND MEDIA PLANNERS BENEFIT FROM STUDIES LIKE THIS? AJ: Historically, media planning and measurement have been siloed for each platform. However, synergy across platforms plays a major role in communicating the message to the customer. Studies such as Kantar Cross Media are a step in the right direction in providing data points to the marketing community to help plan for this synergy. HOW DO YOU SEE THE ROLE OF UM IN PARTNERING WITH SNAPCHAT AND OTHER PLATFORMS TO EXPAND THIS OFFERING TO THE BROADER ECOSYSTEM? NI: I was amazed to get a deeper understanding of the synergistic outcomes between platforms and their impact across a range of different brand metrics. Although it

WHAT IS SYNERGY, WHY IS IT IMPORTANT AND HOW IS IT MEASURED? Ankur Jalan: For any multi-media campaign, each platform builds towards the overall impact. Media synergy creates value over and above that delivered by each individual platform. Therefore, optimising for synergy helps the advertiser generate more return on ad spend. The Kantar cross-media solution measures synergistic impact via Kantar’s proprietary methodology that identifies these synergies for every platform combination. HOW CAN MARKETERS IMPROVE THE SYNERGISTIC IMPACT OF THEIR CAMPAIGNS ACROSS MEDIA PLATFORMS? Nadeem Ibrahim: Very simple: Run more studies, whether it is through marketing mix modelling or cross-measurement studies to provide colour into the impact between media platforms. It enables brands to become really effective with their communication and unlocks a series of opportunities on how messages can be tailored to suit the format and platform.


Nadeem Ibrahim

‘‘It is important to reach Saudi audiences on the right platforms with consistent messaging.” may provide a more complex way of planning, there is an increasing need to provide effective outcomes for clients, which means not being across every platform for the sake of it. In this case, we see the role of Snapchat differ from other platforms, whether YouTube, TikTok or Meta. The fact we were able to quantify the outcome independently with Kantar is something we ask for all platforms to offer – be brave and bold.

Ankur Jalan

By ANKUR JALAN, group manager, marketing science MENA at Snap Inc. and NADEEM IBRAHIM, head of digital at UM Saudi Arabia


May 30, 2022

Turning tides

Saudi Arabia represents a unique opportunity for marketers to rethink how they speak to youth and women, writes Starcom’s Jad Saab


hange always begins with a small ripple. Give it enough time, support and nurturing, and this ripple will develop into a tidal wave. Yes, this statement might come across as somewhat dramatic, but in Saudi this is exactly how change started, and over the past three years we have seen these tidal waves in the form of cultural, societal and behavioural changes. The most widely acknowledged facet of this change has undoubtedly been the drive of empowering youth, and particularly women, in the Kingdom. Everyone around the world has either heard or discussed how the status of women in KSA has changed significantly over the past few years. From the right to drive to the fact that women are no longer required to be fully covered in public, and more recently the 2020 Saudi court decision allowing women to move out of their family home and live independently without a male guardian’s permission, everyone has had something to celebrate or propagate. Meanwhile, with these new reforms coming into play, KSA has become an open canvas for youth to freely express themselves and pursue what they love without worrying about social acceptance. A young female DJ, a female race driver, an astonishing young photographer, up-and-coming artists, etc. Many inspirational stories are arising from the Kingdom every day. Many talents are being nourished and, most importantly, young voices are rising to tell their story and, in doing so, are showing the world the true beauty of Saudi. Whilst this is all great news from a humanitarian perspective, it also poses immense potential for brands and marketers. Think about it: everywhere else in the world, the style of communication or basic marketing norms have long been established and there’s little left by way of innovation. But in Saudi, any celebration of what it is to be a woman or a young talent will come across as significantly innovative. This means our industry has a responsibility in not trivialising how we address this opportunity. A woman is not a second-grade individual, and we should at all costs avoid patronising her or ‘mansplaining’ things. We have the essence of decades of evolution in communicating to women, which we can use as the starting point for how we advertise to them in Saudi.

This should inherently be married to the pride a Saudi national feels in belonging to this great nation, and to celebrating the ever-evolving heritage.

‘‘KSA has become an open canvas for youth to freely express themselves and pursue what they love without worrying about social acceptance.”

Having worked in this market for a good portion of my career, before and during the transformation, I would say brands need to shift efforts into understanding how they can play into this changing narrative and capitalise on the evolving opportunities. It can be easily done if they simply connect, collaborate and convey. Connect: Understand who consumers are. And I don’t mean just collect their data signals to understand their behaviours. Understand who they really are as humans, their aspirations, their dreams, the message they want to convey to the world. Think of Airbnb and how it connects hosts across the globe. Collaborate: Instead of force-feeding brand values through borrowed voices of influencers or proxies, endorse them in real life for a stronger representation. Help them explore the value you bring to this world and share theirs. They have a story to tell, and we are the best story tellers. Help them narrate a story that is in line with their purpose and yours. Think of Red Bull and how it collaborates with cultures and athletes. Convey: Think beyond commercial delivery. Once you connect and collaborate with them, you will be able to tell authentic stories. Don’t think of them as an advertising channel; it is our social responsibility to help them convey their story to the whole world. Think of how P&G celebrates mothers every year. That tidal wave I mentioned earlier has started to take shape, and it’s happening fast. Saudi youth are driven, inspired and eager to embrace meaningful change. While it will be affecting everyone, women are huge proponents of this drive. They in particular want to prove something to themselves and to the world. So next time you’re thinking about your brand, think of the small acts that would empower these two groups and help them play a pivotal role in bridging the global perception chasm. Who knows, maybe your work will end up representing the new face of Saudi. By JAD SAAB, general manager Starcom KSA


May 30, 2022

Striking the right note

Vision, mindset and talent are coming together to elevate the Saudi music scene, writes Julien Anati


n December 1, 2021, and across three Arabian nights, thousands of Saudi youths skipped a beat by attending MDLBEAST, one of the largest musical events held in MENA and hosted in Riyadh. Only a couple of years ago, this would have sounded implausible, or even a chapter in Antoine Galland’s translation of One Thousand and One Nights, but ever since Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman announced the Kingdom’s vision for 2030, many tales have turned into realities. Giga ventures such as Neom, Diriyah, Six Flags, Al Ula, and The Red Sea Project, among others, reflect the leadership’s grand ambitions to build a new era of touristic and investment opportunities while hitting the right note with musical experiences at the heart of each venture. With an estimated population of 35 million, the Saudi music market is on the radar of the world’s music industry for good reason. It hasn’t yet reached saturation, so there’s still plenty of growth potential. The newly established Music Commission and its infrastructure represent the beginning of an exciting new era for the Saudi music sector and have identified the roadmap and initiatives required to build a powerhouse music industry across the Kingdom, which will enable the sector to thrive. Built on key pillars including education, production, performance, delivery and distribution, advocacy, licensing, and intellectual property rights, the strategy is set to support the growth of the kingdom’s music sector. With the relaxation of social norms in the Kingdom, music has become not just an integral part of daily life in KSA but a dynamic new economic sector, boosting MENA’s music market growth. This has led to numerous local and regional companies, such as Anghami, stepping into the driver’s seat. Such platforms have become crucial for the incubation of Saudi musical performers, enabling the supply of high-quality content to an industry hungry for new talent. Driving this colossal transformation is a youthful (more than 60 per cent of KSA’s 35 million population are under 30), highly connected population with high rates of music consumption and a robust presence of musical talents who have gone unrecognised for years and are now ready to showcase their true grit and pave the way forward for a new shift in the way that the Kingdom understands music. Much like other media, when it comes to listening, there was a shift from passive (AM/FM

the global stage. The alternative music scene, on the other hand, has yet to reach the level of popularity that electronic music enjoys in the Kingdom. The rock scene was buried so deep in the underground that its resurfacing is not as easy as people think. However, when the talent is there, the shift is inevitable. Saudi bands that started on YouTube now have a chance to showcase their music to the public and have access to a range of streaming platforms(Anghami, Deezer, Spotify, Apple Music, etc.), unlocking millions of listeners from across the world. With these three instruments (vision, mindset, and talent) playing in sync, the Saudi music scene is resonating with a new melody that inspires openness, pride, and endless opportunities. By JULIEN ANATI, Business Director DMS-Anghami/ KSA

and satellite radio) to active (streaming and podcasting), a trend which was fast-tracked by the pandemic and by young consumers who value the convenience of consumption over rigidity. This may also be due to the increase in smart devices, which could be good news for up-and-coming podcast talent. Music and online TV streaming witnessed the greatest surges in consumption this year.

‘‘With a population of 35 million, the Saudi music market is on the radar of the world’s music industry.” Combined, they represent nearly 50 per cent of the total increase in daily media time. Freed of the shackles of limited playlists that plague traditional media such as radio, music streaming is booming as consumers indulge in a dynamic musical experience. With music libraries growing daily – as is the case with Anghami, which recently added Rotana’s library of content to its pre-existing 50 million tracks – the growth momentum of music streaming is projected to increase over the next four years, most likely across key demographics, with less focus on youth and females, as podcasts take up a larger share of these audiences. For those aged 16–24, podcasts witnessed the largest increase in consumption last year. A younger and more diverse audience is one of the reasons why a broader range of advertisers is beginning to leverage podcasts for their campaigns. While the KSA music scene in the past was mostly limited to the Khaleeji genre, with plenty of venues catering to such events and concerts, a more recent understanding of music and live performances has brought about a shift, introducing various forms of genres into the mix. This led to the discovery of numerous hidden Saudi talents who took the country by storm and catapulted Saudi DJs and producers to



May 30, 2022

It’s in the game The MediaVantage’s Dan Qayyum says the Saudi e-sports scene is more varied than you might think, and rife with potential


he competitive video-gaming business has evolved from tiny gatherings of people playing for fun to professional athletes battling for millions of dollars in large arenas in just a few decades. Competitive multiplayer games now have hundreds of millions of players, and big e-sports championships now attract nearly as many live viewers as the Olympics. There are kids who have won millions of dollars, tournaments with more than 170,000 spectators, and streams with over 60 million views. To improve its public image, the Kingdom has added a new layer to its soft power strategy by focusing on the burgeoning e-sports market, aiming not only to be seen regionally as leading the charge for e-sport, but also to firmly establish itself as a global leader in the sports and gaming entertainment industries. Saudi Arabia has a desire to build a gaming infrastructure, through a combination of organic home-grown development, along with several mergers and acquisitions. PIF, the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, has formed the Savvy Gaming Group, which it has gone on to enrich through the purchase of ESL Gaming, FACEIT, and SNK, as well as significant investments into Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard, and Take-Two Interactive Software. Gaming has exploded in popularity in the Middle East and North Africa. According to a recent report by Boston Consulting Group, which has worked closely with the Saudi Crown Prince to raise his profile, gaming consumption in the country is expected to reach $6.8bn by 2030. The gaming and e-sports industry, it said, will provide “rich opportunities for players and governments alike” over the next decade, with significant revenue potential, high-quality job creation, various reputational benefits, and approximately 3 billion active participants – with Saudi Arabia poised to take a leading role on the global stage. Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Alswaha announced more than $6.4bn in Saudi investments in future technologies during a keynote talk at the 2022 LEAP tech show in Riyadh. Support for entrepreneurs, contributions to the expansion of the digital and cloud sector, and funding for esports and gaming – a fast growing business in the Kingdom – are all included in these investments. Who’s watching? There’s a common misconception that most e-sports viewers are teenage males living in their parents’ basements. However, this isn’t true. The e-sports viewer demographic is made up of 62 per cent men and 38 per cent women. Moreover, 33 per cent of the audience is between the ages of 16 and 24, 37 per cent is between the ages of 25 and 34, and

‘‘The Kingdom has added a new layer to its soft power strategy by focusing on the burgeoning e-sports market.”

30 per cent is over the age of 35. What’s more, most users earn an average wage and live with their partner or with their parents. As a result, the stereotypical view of gamers as we know it is challenged. The sheer number of them (more than 20 million gamers in Saudi Arabia) makes it a very attractive opportunity for marketers and brands. Establishing a brand within the e-sports universe As it becomes increasingly difficult to reach Generation Z, and with Instagram becoming more like Facebook in terms of ads and sponsored content, brands must step up their game. As a result, the digital world is an appealing place to be present in, as many young people spend time on platforms such as Twitch TV, YouTube and Mixer, among others. Brands that have gained a head start in this arena have evolved from purely sponsoring teams or partnering with solo streamers or e-sports influencers, to creating their own IPs and sponsoring entire tournaments. Zain and STC in Saudi Arabia, for example, have both launched their own gaming identities, tournament series, content series and gaming platforms. Historically, the region was known for large one-time tournaments that did not benefit the community long-term. Players would train for a one-time tournament and then have nothing to look forward to for the next six months or more. The Saudi Esports Federation, SAFEIS, has begun to address this by developing a calendar of more regular leagues and tournaments. They hosted month-long leagues for CS:GO, Dota 2 and Rainbow 6 between October and December of last year.

E-sports in the metaverse The e-sports community promotes innovation to increase engagement. However, as brands lose access to some of the younger consumers, the e-sports industry may see them shift their focus to the next generation of consumers. The industry’s advertising spend will drive brands to seek solutions that improve gaming, engagement and brand relations. For the millions of e-sports consumers and gamers around the world, as long as these players perceive greater value, any transitions that result from the investment will be smooth and seamless. With blockchain-enabled gaming within the metaverse, it is easier to bring together the added benefits of attending in-person e-sports events, such as player and fan engagement, socialising, and merchandise sales. By DAN QAYYUM, GM, The MediaVantage & The SportVantage


May 30, 2022


ve been keenly watching the sheer inventiveness and creativity that the Covid-19 pandemic has inspired. Amidst the chaos of quarantines, lockdowns, the isolation of travel restrictions and the anguish of children going to school remotely, I would never have imagined witnessing the birth of a digital revolution in the least likely places. We’ve seen a dramatic digital awakening from mom-and-pop shops to traditional government departments, and ironically we have a virus to thank for fast-tracking it. Saudi Arabia has been on the ‘digital wokeness’ watchlist of ICT pundits since the announcement of LEAP, a mega tech event, back in 2019. Saudi Arabia’s ICT sector is the region’s largest; it was ranked among the top 15 globally in 2019. With the backdrop of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 programme, the Government of Saudi Arabia is very serious about transforming its technology ecosystem to support its

marketers is that Saudi Arabia has a young demographic; 40 percent of the population is 24 years old or younger. It is reported that Saudis spend about 9 hours a day on digital and social media. Brand custodians understand that this is a go-digital-or-die situation. A recent Kearny report stated that the media sector has the potential to grow at compound annual growth rate of about 11 percent and reach SAR 34 billion. For advertisers and media agencies that serve the Saudi Arabian market, measuring, analysing, and interpreting a brand’s impact on digital platforms has become more critical than ever. To gratify their audiences and deliver meaningful connections, clients want to make decisions based on reliable data-led insights and see a competitive return on their investment. Our local clients have a rudimentary understanding of media planning, and while

A giga opportunity Fusion5’s Abdulelah Al Nahari looks at the state of Saudi media planning, and where it could go in the future

ambitious plans. Currently in its third stage, the National Strategy for Digital Transformation, which began in 2006, aims to make smart government a reality by 2024 – and it is getting there fast. In a 2021 report, Saudi Arabia was ranked second for digital competitiveness among G20 countries, right after China. The new edition of the Digital Riser Report found that countries at the top of the list are employing strong publicprivate partnerships to promote entrepreneurship and innovation. Smart governance will be pivotal in supporting planned giga projects like the Amaala, The Red Sea Project, Qiddiya and a smart city strategy that will transform municipal and residential sector services into digital services through smart technologies and IoT connectivity. New media-buying challenges The rapid evolution of the internet has fundamentally changed how Saudis interact with media. The vast majority of Saudi’s Generation Z have moved away from traditional media channels in favour of digital platforms. A well-known fact among

‘‘There is a opportunity for agencies to further centralise the work for Saudi Arabia inside the Kingdom.” they tend to be technical, some media companies offer their customers specialised media training sessions. Shifting the focus to integrating channel-specific media efforts into a holistic plan is the real challenge for media agencies. It may be evident by now that there is a tremendous opportunity for agencies to further centralise the work for Saudi Arabia inside the Kingdom. Media agencies with boots on the ground have the advantage of


collecting reliable data from various sources to support business intelligence decisions: well-crafted insights based on bespoke attribution models that measure the impact of each channel on the overall conversion probability. A successful media agency in Saudi Arabia will be required to have an integrated team with digital and mainstream media competence supported by a highly specialised digital performance unit. In the not-so-distant past, clients would bundle media purchases with specific events and request the desired number of views or impressions per product advertised. Post-pandemic, alongside new digital habits and experiences acquired over the past two years, consumers are also back to enjoying both out-of-home experiences and traditional media consumption. As the media buying industry evolves, clients will need expert analysis, strategic advice and a consultative approach to client servicing. Recent RFPs have included Saudi-specific media buying plans and tailored strategic approaches informed by savvy local understanding. Media agencies must have diverse skills and deep local knowledge to capitalise on media’s shift from linear distribution to a pan-global digital dialogue. Media agencies must be equipped to jump on board Saudi’s digitisation fast train and be prepared to provide services to both the private and government sectors. Clients will require local expertise to produce a best-inclass, locally relevant fulfilment of RFPs Fusion5 has been providing clients in Saudi Arabia a best-in-class service since 2017. The establishment of offices in Riyadh affirms our commitment to collaborate with local content creators, develop commercial ties and fulfil our responsibility to the Saudi community to hire and train local talent. We are very excited about the opportunity to contribute to Saudi Arabia’s growing global presence and look forward to building our clientele and making new connections. By ABDULELAH AL NAHARI, Business Development Director, Saudi Arabia, Fusion 5


May 30, 2022

The speed of light: Be part of the game Carat KSA’s Julie Larguier says that gaming has a special place in the heart of Saudis, and brands would be wise to take note


sk the Saudi population where they get their news, do their shopping, book an appointment, or even look for a job, and nine out of 10 will reply: on social media. Social media users in Saudi Arabia have been phenomenally increasing to reach 29 million people in 2022 – representing an astonishing 83 per cent of the population. Stupefying? Yes. Saudi Arabia has the largest social media market in the world. As fast-growing as the Vision 2030 project (which endorses a sustainable society, thriving economy and ambitious nation), social media offers the youth of the country opportunities to interact and connect. Add to this the pandemic and intermittent lockdowns, and it is no surprise that Saudi Arabia sees social numbers skyrocketing – and raising questions for marketers. What are the take-aways for brands? How do we engage with this social community? Which channels would be the most relevant? Do they have preferences?

HYPER-CONNECTION MEANS HUMAN CONNECTION Numbers speak for themselves; while there is a general increase across all social channels, the rising stars break through. Instagram’s user base is 28 million, being the second largest after YouTube. The adoption of short commercial formats has facilitated the shopping journey and ad recall. Snapchat is the number one choice. The

camera-first platform understands the desires of Saudi’s young population, providing a variety of content and ephemeral messaging with an emphasis on personal privacy. TikTok’s users are thrilled by the fun-to-watch type of content, feeling encouraged to post, test and try dance challenges. With 80 per cent of potential reach, TikTok seduces a lot of brands and investors, building on the affinity of entertainment and technology. The collaboration with Nasr eSports illustrates the ambition.

GAMING, THE NEW SOCIAL MEDIA Engagement, video streaming, communication, playing, connecting with the world, etc. Do you see where I am going? The intersect between gaming and social media is undeniable. Fueled by the region’s youth, gaming is in itself a community platform. And the ties are real: 60 per cent of Snapchatters have met new friends through playing videos or mobiles games. The Discover section ‘Arab Gaming’ reaches 35 million views on Twitter. READ THE ROOM Crafting for the gaming generation is not an easy game. When stepping on new soil, brands must understand and respect some existing gaming cultures, and go back in time. Raised amongst brothers, I was very familiar with Sega and Nintendo, which brings a lot of memories. Saudi Arabia holds on to these things more than others. Video games used to be very simple: turn left, right, press up, down, try to get a code from a friend. And very accessible, unlike other things in the Kingdom back in those days. Dear advertisers, your audience is nostalgic… but they are part of a new generation of gamers. Saudi Arabia is a nest of pro gamers. Since 2015, the country has witnessed new champs: In 2015, Abdulaziz Alshehri was the first Saudi to win the FIFA Interactive World Cup; in 2018, Mossad Aldossary was crowned FIFA eWorld Champion, and in 2029, he won first place in the 2019 FIFA Champion Cup. Think that women and gaming are incompatible? Well, think again. They are just as skilled and passionate and they have owned the platform strongly, achieving high ranks and attracting considerable viewership. Najd Fahd won the FISU eSports Challenge’s female tournament (FIFA20 competition) and became the first Saudi woman to win an e-football title in 2020. ‘MSdossary7’, ‘Meshael MR’, ‘Khalood25’ and ‘BanderitaX’ are gamers, they have engaging followers and they represent a target for brands. Having made their first steps on video platforms such as Twitch or YouTube, these autodidact personalities draw the attention of big brands as well as gaming publishers and streaming houses like STC, Benefit, Huawei, Ubisoft, Twitch and Activision.

PLAY IN THE POWERHOUSE OF THE KINGDOM To hit the spirit of gaming at its core, brands must also understand the gaming schemes. Recent investments in the esports and gaming industry are in line with the economic diversification plans brough by Vision 2030. The government is working hand-in-hand with the private sector to frame the gaming scene and Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud, President of the Saudi Esports Federation, himself a gamer, has set about transforming the burgeoning Saudi gaming and esports industry into a revenuegenerating machine. MBC, the giant broadcaster of the region, has announced an alliance with NEOM to create the first AAA games studio. The advertising offering is also being reshaped. Unity, the cross-platform game engine, has added gaming app ads across top gaming

‘‘When stepping on new soil, brands must understand and respect some existing gaming cultures, and go back in time.” platforms, mobile games and VR/AR content to its offering. Amazon partnered with MENATech, a GGTech Entertainment Group company, to launch Amazon University Esports, the first educational esports league for both the UAE and KSA. And Savvy Gaming Group purchased ESL (formerly known as Electronic Sports League). Business- wise, the Saudi gaming market hit $1bn in 2021 and is expected to reach $6.8bn by 2030, opening more doors for marketers. Culturally, gaming has become a mainstream culture. Kids, women and older generations are playing or watching major gaming sporting tournaments. Riyadh will host Gamers8 next summer, and I will not be surprised to see titles describing the event as ‘The gaming Super Bowl of the Middle East’. If you are questioning how to capitalise on this new phenomenon, the very fast-growing gaming culture of Saudi Arabia requires us travel a the speed of light. Some of you will not be able to catch up, that is OK; social media is still social. For the others, I look forward to connecting in one of these gaming interfaces or in Neom’s digital twin of the metaverse. By JULIE LARGUIER, media director, Carat KSA

May 30, 2022


The Saudi playbook

The Kingdom has changed, writes Entourage’s Mohammed Tayem, and brands must tell the right story to connect with a new generation of consumer


ive years back. if someone told you that K-pop bands were performing in Saudi, you might think that person was in another world. Today, if someone tells you that K-pop bands are coming to Saudi, you will ask why they haven’t performed in the Kingdom already. The Saudi scene has changed dramatically in the last few years as the Kingdom is being led by a visionary leader who believes in the power of influence. This changed the full Saudi spectrum towards using the power of media to facilitate behavioural changes of the Saudis and change international opinion about Saudis and the country. With the multiple social and economic transformations that the country is going through, keeping in line with vision 2030, media plays a pivotal role in the changing consumer behaviours and patterns. The Saudi youth today is educated, welltravelled, exposed to global entertainment, connects with people from different parts of the world, welcomes exotic experiences, and more importantly has created its own space in the global workforce, challenging the stereotypes and cliches. Saudi youths are now driving most of the big government entities and businesses towards success by international standards. The holistic changes in the country opened doors to multiple opportunities and varied experiences. Being a youth-dominated country heavily driven by media, the method of storytelling took Saudi into a wider range of engagements, leading to exponential economic growth. In the last five years, we have seen the Kingdom become a hub for global corporates and entities relocating to Riyadh or opening branch offices to influence the marketing trends and introduce global marketing channels and vehicles. From corporate to entertainment to social events, Saudis have entered the market aggressively, leading to heavy advertising campaigns offline and online. With the youth of the country driving demand further, the patterns of content consumption in the Kingdom have changed drastically, with most users now living online. These behaviour patterns open up a whole new paradigm for brands to connect with their audiences, tell their stories and drive engagement. Also, GDP, country ratings, country spending and revenue, and country brand equity all have been growing rapidly in the last five years due to the phenomenal changes brought about by the surge in demand and evolving consumption patterns of the Saudi people. Users in Saudi Arabia are now more connected than ever. More than 91 per cent of the Saudi population accesses the internet

over smart devices, which has led the market to quickly adapt and respond, with marketers using the new mediums creatively to drive brand messages and understand how this hyper-connected audience needs to be spoken to. Therefore, today, if you just run a digital campaign, the response to the campaign will be minimal; if you simply run an entertainment or even a corporate event, the response will be sub-par. In order to drive the right traffic and affect the audience across this new market with massive potential, you

‘‘The holistic changes in the country opened doors to multiple opportunities and varied experiences.” need to stand out. In order to stand out, you need to handle campaigns and events with a thought-provoking, strategised methodology, using only the right marketing vehicles to amplify reach across the relevant audience base. Every client, brand and event is different, requiring a customised strategy. You cannot employ the whole roster of marketing vehicles at your disposal, so selecting the right channel mix with the right content will make or break your campaign. Building emotional resonance is the key; that’s where storytelling becomes central to all your efforts. Previously, advertising agencies used to rely on TVCs and outdoor campaigns to influence behaviour or increase sales. With the previously mentioned fact that 91 per cent of people are consuming the internet over smart devices, digital advertising today can play a major role in delivering a message of awareness, especially since most digital media users in Saudi consume 92 per cent of the content at home and 66 per cent of that content is video content, putting storytelling

back at the heart of the campaign. You must tell stories that speak to the right audience, across all media touchpoints with the right adaptation, and stories that connect with your event audience to get them engaged with your stage content and screen content, building long-term connections to facilitate stronger relationships. The Saudi youth, unlike their global peers, have completely unique consumption patterns, which lead us to devise creative solutions. Wearing their culture and tradition with pride, the youth of the country want contemporary international experiences, want to be treated by brands like their international counterparts, and want to be spoken to in a language they resonate with. Stories with nuances of Saudi culture, bringing the fast-paced digital world alive, are where the magic is bound to happen. It’s all about storytelling. By MOHAMMED TAYEM, Founder & CEO, Entourage


May 30, 2022

Ready. Saudi. Grow The rapid growth of eCommerce in Saudi Arabia presents a wealth of opportunities, says Stefanie Cunningham


audi Arabia is a hot topic for e-commerce growth, with online sales projected to exceed SAR 50 billion by 2025, representing 13 per cent of revenues, up from a 9 per cent penetration today. The Kingdom’s online performance is continuously growing ahead of offline sales, driven by categories that over-index online, such as apparel, electronics and appliances. Saudi Arabia’s e-commerce development, operations and experiences may be lagging behind its UAE neighbour, but its population is more than three and a half times the size, making it the priority focus in the MENA region for most brands. Several factors are driving this e-commerce progression, firstly Vision 2030, which underpins the Saudi government’s infrastructure investment aimed at improving broadband and digital payments. Secondly, Covid-19 has had a lasting channel-switching impact on shopper behaviours. A study by Mastercard found 77 per cent of Saudi consumers are likely to shop more online since the onset of the pandemic. Alongside this, the consumer base in Saudi is young and digitally connected, with a high spending power and boasting one of the highest smartphone penetrations globally (97 per cent), social media engagement (3+ hours per day on average) and online spending power ($553 per user annually). Market dynamics also play into the hands of e-commerce, with Saudi’s low retail store penetration (0.25sq metres of leasable retail space per capita) outside of the main cities meaning online orders available 24/7 nationwide fill this offline retail void. The final strategic driver is linked to retailer investment in the region, Amazon flipped in 2020, and in turn improved the expectation of shopper experiences in terms of last-mile delivery, selection, loyalty benefits and customer services. Amazon raising the bar in e-commerce means competition has to follow suit, leading to a positive halo effect. Pure players like Nana and Quickmarket are already winning with last-mile speed. Delivering in

‘‘The Kingdom’s online performance is growing ahead of offline sales, driven by categories that over-index online, such as apparel, electronics and appliances.” under 40 minutes has helped the e-groceries vertical achieve growth in excess of 300 per cent in 2020. However, the market still presents some challenges that need to be considered when building strategies in the Kingdom. These include the lack of data accessibility and nascent ad-tech as most retailers haven’t yet developed retail media with meaningful targeting, optimisation or insights capabilities. Brands launching direct-to-consumer (DTC) e-commerce propositions are likely to face last-mile issues. The high percentage of cash on delivery and poor address infrastructure often lead to order cancellations that dilute an already tight profit and loss. Over the last few years, we’ve managed to navigate this exciting market and help our clients capitalise. We’ve found that four levers were particularly effective in driving growth: 1. Selecting the right e-commerce retail partners: The offline and online retail landscapes in Saudi Arabia are different. Pure players such as Amazon, Noon, Hungerstation and Nana dominate

in their respective areas. Brands must reassess their online partnerships and pressure traditional omnichannel retailers to activate their e-commerce capabilities, ensuring agreed offline visibility and incentives are applied online too. 2. Getting the e-commerce basics right: When more than 60 per cent of product searches globally start on Amazon, e-commerce is the window to your brand. To be discovered, your products must be live with optimised digital shelf content. Retail readiness audits and optimisation are essential to win in e-commerce. 3. Tap into retail media: Amazon’s demand-side platform (DSP) launched in Saudi in 2021, allowing brands selling and not selling on the platform, like automotive, to build video and display campaigns targeting rich first-party audiences. This is an essential media option to create awareness campaigns based on Saudi shopper behavioural data and to identify consumers in-market for your brand based on engagement with Amazon’s platforms (, IMBD, Twitch). These campaigns can drive seamlessly to the point of purchase either on Amazon or your own DTC store. 4. Local relevance & events: Saudi National Week in September, Ramadan and Cyber Month are key shopping events in the Kingdom. Ensuring e-commerce advertising budgets are paced with higher investment during these moments, as well as exclusive online discounts and forecast stock availability, will drive volume and revenues. The potential for growth in Saudi Arabia cannot be overstated and means the Kingdom should be the highest priority on all e-commerce strategic agendas in the MENA region. In this vast country, the playing field remains wide open for both brands and retailers to take their share of the rapidly rising demand from Saudi consumers. By STEFANIE CUNNINGHAM, General Manager – E-commerce of Omnicom Media Group MENA’s consultancy OMG Transact


May 30, 2022


Localise to fit in Hashtag’s Rola Hashem explains what localisation is, and how to do it right


e are living in the internet-age; globalisation is accelerating, and as a result cultures are converging. Trends are no longer confined to a specific country or region. Instead, global trends trickle down to every culture, as people are finding more and more things in common. However, a ‘one content for all’ strategy is still far from perfect. With the rise of globalisation, we also see a parallel rise in nationalism. While one could think the two terms conflict, the reality of the matter is different; the more similarities we have with one another, the more important our remaining differences become. Most nations and cultures maintain core sets of attributes that set them apart; uniqueness that lies within their people and how they live. In this article, we will cover the concept of ‘localisation’ within the context of social media marketing, and try to answer three key questions: What is localisation? Why is it important today? How do we localise?

addition to conceptualising an accurate image of the culture and values, we should also acknowledge their dos and don’ts, figure out how we can tap into their feelings of nostalgia, and keep an open eye for the latest trends surrounding them. A typical consequence of insufficient research is falling into the ‘wannabe’ traps. For instance, in the Saudi context, an awfully common trap that brands fall into is featuring a man with improperly fitted traditional headwear. Such incidents could backfire and create negative sentiments. Instead, brands should focus on nailing down the details to achieve natural ‘relatability’. Inducing feelings of nostalgia is also a very powerful way to achieve relatability, as you

What is localisation? It can be simplified and thought about in this way. Let us assume, a non-local is visiting Saudi for the first time. She will be exposed to the country’s language, food, music, people, decorations, sights, events and much more. Localisation is a collection of all these. It is the different aspects that make a culture, and it could range from habits to lifestyle. In social media marketing we localise by adapting and adjusting our content to match and relate to our audience’s cultural background. Why is localisation important? Living in a fast-paced world, we are exposed to hundreds of pieces of content every day. However, only a few resonate with us. These few must have touched us by being relatable, humorous, inspiring or emotional to still be meaningful and memorable. Let’s further clarify with an example: a video showcasing a kashta gathering with fire in the middle and authentic Saudi snacks being enjoyed. This content is more likely to resonate with the Saudi audience, as they would have already experienced it and collected memories of it. In contrast, we have a video showcasing camping scenery in the woods. The audience in this case would not relate as this isn’t a part of the culture and lifestyle of Saudis. Additionally, the content would be meaningless and the message would be lost. Here comes the value of content localisation, as it leads to positive association with the brand, the development of brand equity and an increase in engagement. Localisation helps brands fit in and be relatable to the markets they are serving. How to localise First and foremost, research, research, and research. It is critical that brands thoroughly understand the market and audience they are targeting. In

‘‘Living in a fast-paced world, we are exposed to hundreds of pieces of content every day. However, only a few resonate with us.”

prove to your audience that you not only understand their present state, but also their history. A key driver for engagement is being timely and up to date with what is trending. As your brand celebrates national holidays with its audience, or laughs at the latest TikTok trends with them, said audience will eventually feel that the brand is journeying through life alongside them, and that it understands them. At the end of the day, who wouldn’t want to engage with those who make them feel understood? Let us try and bring our three recommendations to life. Be timely in Ramadan and ask the audience about their age when they first fasted for Ramadan. Also, use the Saudi dialect and align the design with the usage of an old nostalgic popular Ramadan show. Let us be more practical. The next time you are planning for a social media campaign, try to replicate the following thought-process: Assume you are a chocolate store operating in Riyadh, planning to launch a social media campaign to promote a newly released chocolate box. First, start by building the context via relying on your understanding of the culture. Ask yourself: With what do Saudis typically enjoy chocolate? Saudi coffee. Where would they typically enjoy their cup of Saudi coffee? A friendly gathering at home. What would they be wearing in that context? Thobe for men, and Abaya for women. What unique elements are found in homes? Bukhoor, Saudi patterned objects. By following the above method, we can generate multiple content ideas that are inherently localised. For example, one could capture a photo of our star product (the chocolate box) placed on a table next to Saudi coffee dallah and cups. In the background, one could see the traditional bukhoor. The scene can be humanised and further localised by the inclusion of a local man grabbing a piece of chocolate, with his thobe apparent from the sleeve. A caption using proper Saudi dialect should also be used to complete the scene and tie the pieces together. To conclude, localisation is key for effective communication. Research, deep-dive and understand where your audience comes from, then adapt. With that, brands will be able to decrease the communication barrier and be more meaningful. By ROLA OMAR HASHEM, senior account executive, Hashtag Social Media Agency


May 30, 2022

industry qualifications, experience in both local and international agencies and strong industry skills As such, we have found demand to be highest for mid-to-senior-level professionals, ones who come with the relevant years of experience and who have the required capabilities to drive success. Job roles most in-demand include account directors, copy and content writers, art directors and digital marketers, who can contribute to the organisation’s bottom line from day one of being in the role. Six out of 10 jobs in KSA are digital focused. Salaries are at their highest for a long time, as there is a definitely shortage of talent. Employee retention is a key criteria these days. Recent research uncovered that salaries appear to be a core factor, with 48 per cent citing increased compensation as a good reason to consider a new job, and 50 per cent also saying that a salary increase would convince them to remain with their current employers. Overall, in KSA job seekers are in a stronger position to negotiate salaries and terms that benefit their ideal world of work. To an extent, the job seekers are in the driver’s seat in today’s hiring market, and should feel empowered to keep their options open while interviewing with potential new employers.

Just the job MBR’s Sanjana Bhosale lays out the prospects for those looking to make a move to the Kingdom as the next step in their career


ositivity within advertising, media and digital marketing agencies is sky-high in KSA with most of the advertising fraternity professionals feeling positive about the outlook for business this year. The majority of advertising and media agencies are planning to increase headcount in the coming months. The advertising job market in Saudi Arabia is bouncing back, big time. We are seeing the KSA market is booming, and multinationals as well as regional agencies are doing exceptionally. This has opened up huge employment opportunities. KSA has been a recognised economic force in the Middle East for the longest time. With almost 35 million inhabitants, it commands a strong presence in the retail market, which is why global brands flock there to establish a profitable presence.

Saudi Arabia is an emerging global powerhouse in digital, commerce and communication. KSA has been a recognised economic force in the Middle East for the longest time. With almost 35 million inhabitants, it commands a strong presence in the retail market, which is why global brands flock there to establish a profitable presence. However, the latest policy shifts have seen the Kingdom come centre-stage and welcome with open arms a new direction towards modernity, which in turn has given rise to a more technology-driven shift in the overall consumer landscape. The future is inevitable and is emerging in dynamic, mobile-first markets, with Saudi Arabia at the helm of this movement. Frankly speaking, the candidates most in-demand in Saudi Arabia include those with

That being said, it is also important to remain professional and be as communicative as possible. It is worth letting a company or recruiter know you’re interviewing with other companies, as it could move along your hiring process. Do not damage your reputation by ghosting the employer. We believe life is all about relationships. Relationships are about communication, and all communication is a two way process. MBR Recruitment has a staggering database of almost 80 per cent of the workforce currently engaged within the advertising, marketing and digital landscape, and has captured about 60 per cent of the market share when it comes to clients within the same field. By SANJANA BHOSALE, senior consultant, MBR Headhunters


May 30, 2022


The major themes W7Worldwide Abdulrahman Inayat examines trends shaping communications in 2022 in the Middle East


ublic relations will play a leading role as the economy needs to recover and we adjust to a changing world in 2022. Being able to tell your story to the right audience at the right time and in the right way puts communications at the forefront for all organisations. The pandemic has had a profound effect on the way companies operate and communicate with their publics and customers. W7Worldwide identified certain key themes Middle East communicators need to incorporate into their 2022 strategies. The urgent need to address climate change is now very much part of the Covid-19 recovery narrative, and companies that do not have a strategy in place that supports a sustainable future will be left behind. We cannot recover from the pandemic without addressing climate change and there is a coming together of the two agendas. Policy makers and governments are focused on building back better post Covid-19 by investing in a green and sustainable recovery. Playing host to the next two International Climate Conferences with COP27 and COP28 is significant for the Middle East as the world’s hottest, driest and most water-scarce region. In the next few years, the Middle East may prove to be a vital staging ground for the global battle against climate change and lead the way in the great energy transition. The eyes of the world will certainly be on the region. Sustainability – Without doubt the communications trend we predict to feature most prominently in 2022 in the MENA region will be sustainability. Increasing recognition of business’s role in building a fair and sustainable world has created the need for companies to demonstrate and evidence their sustainability credentials. Brand purpose – Alongside sustainability credentials, Middle East brands need to focus on their purpose with a strong CSR strategy. Communication is no longer about what you do and how you do it, but why you do it beyond making money. Corporate culture – More emphasis has had to be placed on nurturing corporate culture within the business to keep all stakeholders informed and on-side. Before Covid-19, CEOs often struggled to understand the value and business relevance of corporate culture. The crisis has shown us that a strong corporate culture ensures loyalty to the brand and company because the values resonate with employees, customers, and other target audiences. Hybrid working – Hybrid working is here to stay for both agencies and clients, so we need to create the infrastructure to tap into the benefits of working remotely. This includes effective internal communication and

‘‘We cannot recover from the pandemic without addressing climate change and there is a coming together of the two agendas.”

employee engagement. Successful hybrid working models provide a more flexible and agile way of operating. Equally, events have pivoted to hybrid formats, taking advantage of the fact that virtual access can significantly grow their audience reach and attendance. Digital – Digital technologies have transformed the way we communicate, learn and shop in the pandemic. Communicators must use digital to move towards customers and engage them directly with personalised content at multiple moments across the customer journey. The modern Middle East PR industry is now backed up by research, analytics and insights, delivering results for clients that hold their best anywhere around the globe. Localisation – Each country and region will recover from the pandemic at different rates and tackle climate change in different ways. What people experience is therefore not the same everywhere. For communicators, this means thinking and acting hyper-local when it comes to PR.

Humanity – Engaging on a human level is to make an emotional connection with your audience, creating a relationship that triggers responses such as mutual benefit, commitment, belief through social proof, respect for authority and simply being liked. To survive high-impact events, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, brands must connect on the human level. There are many ways a brand can embrace being human, this includes treating all customers with thoughtfulness and respect, and ensuring that employees are inspired and empowered. The Middle East leads the world in internet penetration, with digitally savvy consumers. This means customer-centricity, humanity and corporate social responsibility are no longer a strategic choice but a business survival technique. Regardless of industry sector, the end user now firmly holds the key to a brand’s relevance and reputation. As we are moving forward into 2022, successful leaders will need to communicate their message more than ever, to inspire, encourage, engage, and share their vision of a sustainable future. By ABDULRAHMAN INAYAT - CoFounder and Director of W7Worldwide



May 30, 2022


n-depth research by CARMA on the shift in media perception of Saudi Arabia, from 2020 until the first quarter of 2022, has revealed how Vision 2030 has now become the largest single contributor to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s global media coverage. As a result, the nation is now seen in a more positive light than it was 15 months prior. With one third of articles now talking about the Kingdom’s transformative vision in Q1 of 2022, compared with 19 per cent in 2020, it’s clear to see how changes implemented by the initiative are shifting perception. The major transformation in perception happened in 2021, with negative sentiment declining by 18 per cent and overall positive sentiment increasing by 9 per cent, compared with 2020. In the first quarter of 2022, negative coverage continued to decline, albeit shyly, and the exponential growth in positive coverage seen in 2021 was hampered by geopolitical factors. Overall, general references to economic affairs were the second largest contributor to mainstream media articles at 18 per cent, while oil and gas were third at 11 per cent and tourism and culture were at 10 per cent. Furthermore, according to CARMA’s research, the conversation is increasing around social changes taking place in the Kingdom (23 per cent), and key topics covered over the last year are as follows: Female empowerment Tourism Improved quality of life Moving beyond oil Digital infrastructure and transformation Human capital efficiency Intensifying diplomacy

‘‘The Kingdom’s overall positive share of coverage has increased from 2020 to 2021 from 66 per cent to 72 per cent.” “The Kingdom’s overall positive share of coverage has increased from 2020 to 2021 from 66 per cent to 72 per cent,” said Mazen Nahawi, CEO of CARMA. “The coverage analysed was across 30 major markets and more than 1,800 major international titles from broadcast, online and print media, including global majors like Bloomberg and The New York Times, using a combination of the latest in AI and human consulting and

Transformed perception Global media intelligence provider CARMA reveals how Vision 2030 has been the primary news-driver for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the last 15 months

expertise to identify prominent conversations and sentiments on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” Looking at the period between 2020 to 2021, another notable finding in the research was the significant decline in political issues from 42 per cent to 35 per cent; economic coverage increased from 39 per cent to 44 per cent and social issues increased from 19 per cent to 21 per cent. “Our research clearly shows that purposeled projects within Vision 2030 are clearly capturing the interest of global media,” explained Nahawi. “In the past, Saudi Arabia’s media coverage was heavily focused on oil and politics. This has clearly changed,

and we now see a diversity of social and economic projects not just taking the lead in overall coverage, but also in how the Kingdom’s reputation is being re-shaped across the world.” Nahawi expects Vision 2030 to continue playing a major role in Saudi Arabia’s future coverage: “While Vision 2030 media coverage now has grown by 74 per cent from 2020 until today, it still represents just 33 per cent of overall coverage: we see a lot of upside and expect this share to grow over -time.” For more information about CARMA International Ltd, its expert team and their work, visit

May 30, 2022

3Points Advertising

9SS Creative

Type of agency: Digital

Type of agency: Creative


It started with a spark of passion; an obsession to build brands and build our clients’ businesses. And so we started it, a revolution, a Saudi ad agency that dared to compete with the multinationals. Our start shaped the map of advertising in the region and an advertising history was made. You know you are a leader when others follow. Today, many young men and women are following the road that 3Points walked through in 1998. For us, it was the road less travelled.

Advisors 360 77 Media Holding Type of agency: Production house Established Feb 22, 2010 with very limited capital, 77 Media started as a one-man multimedia production house. Today, 77 Media has become a holding company with seven subsidiaries in the fields of communication, entertainment, and technology.

Type of agency: Marketing and communications Advisors 360 is a fully integrated marketing communications agency. With over 25 years’ experience, we offer you a diverse range of services including advertising, events, BTL, promotion, activation and design. Real solutions to real marketing issues. Down-to-earth, honest and hardworking communication solutions. We love our clients irrespective of the value of their project. We believe in building our business by building your business. It many sound cliched, but we take pride in the quality of our work, speed of service and the fact that we are available 24/7 for our clients.


May 30, 2022

Accelerate Online

Accenture Song

Type of agency: Creative

Type of agency: Creative

Accelerate Online provides its new age of consumers with digital and integrated marketing solutions. Through incorporating the various aspects of typical agencies, we are able to provide complete and comprehensive approaches to fit your marketing needs, while ensuring a strong brand image across various popular platforms.

Accenture Song (previously Accenture Interactive) is a new kind of partner for a new kind of client. We are designed from the ground up to empower clients to own Experience from start to finish. We believe that a great idea can transform an Experience, and a great Experience can transform lives. We are committed to helping design, build, communicate and run experiences that make peoples’ lives better, more productive, and more meaningful.

AGA-ADK Advertising and Marketing Founded: 1997 Offices: Beirut, Dubai (HQ), Jeddah, Riyadh Chairman: Roger Sahyoun Managing director: Fadi Tarabay Saudi office: Jeddah +966 12 606 2207


AGENCY BIO: Affiliated with ASATSU-DK (ADK), 3rd largest advertising network in Japan, AGA-ADK is a full-fledged communications agency in the MENA region. Known for its blend of memorable and effective ad campaigns that aim to deliver results. Using data to drive creative solutions, and with a content-first approach, the team focuses on creating relevance in communication in a world where individualisation and hyper-personalisation in advertising is taking lead in building consumer relations. SERVICES: Full marketing communication services, strategic planning, creative designs, consumer activation, production, branding and corporate identity, content planning and production. KEY CLIENTS: Al Fardan Group, Langnese, Bosch, Siemens, Toshiba, Abdul Jamil El Latif (ALJ), Hershey’s, Ahmed Abdulwahed Trading Co. (Kenwood)

Founded: 1994 (2010 MENA) Saudi office: Riyadh Managing Director MENA: Bassel Sawy AKQA is a full-service brand experience design agency with 35 studios globally. We exist to create a better future with our clients by working together to articulate a vision, unlock opportunities and solve problems. With this collaborative approach, we are able to deliver effective strategy, creative communications, digital and media services that capture the imagination. SERVICES: Creative Communication, Data & Media, Experience Design, Technology Solutions, Content Production, Brand Activation KEY CLIENTS: PIF, Aramco, Al Futtaim Automotive, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Louis Vuitton, Mondelez, Americana Group

Type of agency: Integrated Founded: 1976 Saudi offices: Riyadh, Jeddah +966 12 650 3100 Over the past 40 years, Al Afak for Advertising and Publicity has been pioneering in creative, and brand consultancy. The agency blazed a trail in the digital media market in the Kingdom, providing 360-degree marketing and communication services under one roof, in addition to media planning and buying.


Mazen Jawad

Tony Rouhana


Vice President Saudi Arabia

With more than 70 employees and main offices in Riyadh and Jeddah, Al Afak for Advertising’s continuous presence in the market geared the agency to work with local and multinational clients, as well as government agencies. The agency’s deeply rooted culture supports the empowerment of women and local talent. It was the first to initiate co-op training programmes with local universities to attract their potential stars. SERVICES: Integrated creative; brand consultancy; branding/identity journey planning; content creation/execution; BTL solutions; shopper marketing; experiential/activations; promotions; sponsorships; video/content production; social media management/ moderation; media planning & buying. KEY CLIENTS: Real Estate Development Fund, Basamh Industrial, Petromin, Thakher Makkah, Rubaiyat, Saudia Medical, Gulf Union Food Co. and Gulf General Insurance.

Mansour Al Hindi Business Director

Nayef Mujaes Senior Creative Director

May 30, 2022



Bold Agency

Type of agency: Event management Founded: 2005 Director: Faisal Al Abdali Saudi office: Jeddah

Type of agency: Creative Founded: 2012 Head of Company: Abeer Alessa Saudi office: Riyadh

ARC is the events management arm of TRACCS, the largest independent communications consultancy network in the MENA region, with extensive experience in exhibition stands, innovative installations and branding, and visual remodelling. ARC has catered to the event management needs of many clients, delivering tailored, brandcentric, and creative concepts and ideas. ARC’s full-service turnkey event solutions have inspired events that have delivered unprecedented outcomes and results for clients.

We partner with bold minds to build bold futures. Bold brands influence people and shape communities; we believe they live at the intersection of stories, culture and people. We call this the sweet spot and help our clients find it. SERVICES: Communication, Experience, Branding KEY CLIENTS: Alwaleed Philanthropies, Saudia Cargo

SERVICES: Events, conferences, and exhibitions



Type of agency: Digital

Type of agency: Digital

Archimedia is the region’s leader in audiovisual and automation technology. Since 2004 the company has prided itself on consistently delivering well engineered and brilliantly designed solutions for residential, corporate and marine projects. Equipped with a team of highly trained and certified professionals, Archimedia has received numerous international awards for utilising some of the industry’s finest brands to create award-winning, technology-enhanced environments. Archimedia are technology architects. We ensure that all your interactions with technology both at home and in the office are sleek, discreet, simple and responsive, enabling you to achieve what you want as easily as possible.

We apply our combined 50 years of experience and an uncanny understanding of the digital landscape to our clients’ most challenging projects. And we love every second of it. Our solutions create the kind of engagement that transforms a company’s brand, and a company’s industry into a cultural touchstone that people care about and want to be a part of. We’re fiercely proud of our work on websites, videos, branding, apps and any other medium to help our clients bring their ideas to the world.

Type of agency: Full-service Founded: 2018 Saudi headquarters: Riyadh Head of agency: Margery Kraus, Founder & Executive Chairman +966 11 484 7180


Jerome Leroux Managing Director

APCO Worldwide is an advisory and advocacy communications consultancy helping leading public and private sector organisations be catalysts for progress by navigating the challenges of today, acting with agility, anticipating social risk and building organisational reputations, relationships and solutions to succeed. APCO is proudly an independent and majority women-owned business. Most importantly, we are a trusted partner to our clients, who hire us to help them anticipate, plan, execute and secure their futures through our robust global expertise and astute advisory counsel, creative and impactful advocacy programmes and purposeful and effective communications. SERVICES: Integrated 360-degree communications; build, operate, transfer model; advisory; building advisory boards; media relations; creative services; stakeholder engagement; training and workshops; digital and social media; crisis communications

Liam Clarke Head of APCO Institute

KEY CLIENTS: Cruise Saudi, Qiddiya, Ministry of Economy and Planning, Diriyah Gate Development Authority, Ministry of Culture, Saudi Premium Residency Centre, Soudah Development Company, Public Investment Fund AWARDS: Gold Award Winner in 2021 for Best B2B Campaign for Cruise Saudi, 2022 Top 5 Best EMEA Networks to Work For

Faten AlMasri Chief Client Officer


May 30, 2022

and us Type of Agency: Advertising, Social, Content Production, Branding, Design, Media. Founded: 2018 WHO WE ARE: We are an independent creatively-led agency group. WHAT WE DO: We provide business growth solutions and expert services across the entire customer journey. HOW WE DO IT: We work side-by-side with our clients to solve their business problems or create business opportunities with creativity, technology and design. WHY WE DO IT: To give our clients a competitive advantage and help them address their bottom-line challenges and top-line growth objectives simultaneously. TECH PARTNERS: Meta, Tik Tok, Snap. SERVICES: Brand strategy; content and social strategy; advertising; social and influencer marketing; performance marketing; branding and design; digital and data product solutions; content development and productions; events and partnerships AWARDS : 2020 and 2021 Cannes Lions MENA Independent Agency of the Year; 2020 and 2021 One Show MENA Independent Agency of the Year; 2020 and 2021 Dubai Lynx MENA Independent Agency of the Year; Forbes 2021 Most Innovative Companies; Contagious 2021 World’s Best Creative.


May 30, 2022

Cheil KSA

Creative Blend

Type of agency: Creative

Type of agency: Creative

Cheil MEA is a leading 360-degree advertising agency regionally headquartered in Dubai, and with seven offices across the region. Its dedicated digital business provides full creative development and localisation (across channels such as social media, display and video), as well as e-commerce, CRM, media buying, and UX/UI design & development.

Integrating advertising, marketing and professionalism is the cornerstone of Creative Blend. As a Saudi-based agency serving the MENA region, Creative Blend utilises international standards, experience and ability to create innovative advertising solutions for our clients to give them a distinct advantage in their market niche. Our vision is to become the leading advertising agency in the MENA region and our team of experienced professionals strive to achieve that goal with every client we take on. Our creative minds provide an innovative look at advertising and create sustainable, results-oriented solutions that our clients can depend on. We think outside the box for our clients to provide them with the solutions they need for success. Creative Blend’s mission is to provide quality advertising services that integrate creativity with value designed to exceed our clients’ expectations. SERVICES: Branding, advertising, digital marketing, creativity, social media, print, public relations, events.


Creative Edge

Type of agency: Digital Businesses are always looking for solutions to reach their target audience. Let your messaging reach the right people using the digital marketing services we provide. SERVICES: Integrated campaigns, social media management, digital campaigns, email marketing, creative content, web design and e-commerce, brand management, digital production, influencer collaboration.

Type of agency: Media Since we set up in 2003, our team has grown internationally to over 150 dedicated employees, and we have offices in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dubai and London. Our core management team possess an unmatched knowledge of regional audiences, and brings world-class business and media expertise to every project. SERVICES: Media sales and consultancy, production, radio, digital media, sports.

Type of agency: PR Founded: 2000 Saudi office: Riyadh Head of company: Sunil John, President – MENA of BCW and Founder of ASDA’A BCW +966 59 240 1958 (Mohammed AlMaskati) ASDA’A BCW is the region’s leading PR consultancy, providing integrated communications services with 18 offices, including seven wholly-owned and 11 affiliates in 16 countries across MENA. Through its wholly-owned subsidiaries PSB Middle East (research and data) and Proof Communications (digital, social and design), ASDA’A BCW brings integrated and creative PR, digital and design solutions. KEY CLIENTS: The Red Sea Development Company, Mohammed bin Salman Foundation, Sports Boulevard Foundation – Riyadh, Amaala, Saudi Entertainment Ventures Company (SEVEN), Seera Group, Dar Al Arkan,

Ithra by Saudi Aramco, Projects supported by the Public Investment Fund, Etisalat (e&), ADNOC, Anghami, AstraZeneca, EmiratesNBD, Visa, GE, Nestle, Raytheon, Air Arabia, Huawei, DIFC, STARZPLAY, Snap, Petromin, and 3M, among others. SERVICES OFFERED: Consumer, Healthcare, Corporate, Enterprise & Technology, Financial, and Public Affairs communications; In-depth research and data analysis through PSB Middle East, a wholly-owned subsidiary; Digital, social and design services through Proof Communications, a wholly-owned subsidiary AWARDS: Global Agency of the Year 2020 at PRovoke Media Awards; Seven recognitions at the PRCA MENA Regional Awards 2022 including Gold for Best Integrated Campaign for the annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey; 2022 IN2 SABRE Gold winner for Thought Leadership in PR; Three Highly Commended recognitions for the integrated highly creative campaign #MoveForwardwithBayer in Saudi Arabia; Six honours at the MEPRA Awards 2021 .


Sunil John

Sameh Hamtini

President – MENA of BCW and Founder of ASDA’A BCW

Executive Vice President – Regional Operations

Stephen Worsley

Mohammed AlMaskati

Senior Vice President – Growth & Innovation

Vice President – Regional Operations, Saudi Arabia

May 30, 2022


Creative Formula SA

dentsu KSA

Type of agency: Creative

Type of agency: Full service Founded: 2007 Head of company: Ahmad Haider, managing director, dentsu KSA Saudi offices: Jeddah and Riyadh

We grow your brand through combining creative strategic solutions with outstanding design. From 2015 until today we have kept on empowering businesses through growthdriven strategies. With a diverse portfolio, we deliver customised innovative solutions that create value for your clients. SERVICES: Strategic planning, digital marketing, creative and branding, event planning and management, AV production.

Dentsu MENA is made up of six leadership brands - Carat, dentsu X, iProspect, Isobar, and Merkle, and supported by its specialist brands. Dentsu helps clients to win, keep and grow their best customers and achieve meaningful progress for their businesses. With best-in-class services and solutions in media, CRM, and creative, dentsu international operates in over 145 markets worldwide with more than 48,000 dedicated specialists. SERVICES: Media; creative; CXM KEY CLIENTS: Al Hokair Fashion Retail, Sadafco, Bupa Arabia, Microsoft, MasterCard, Dr. Samir Abbas Hospital, Mazda, Marina Home, Jarir Bookstore, Goody

The Creative Squad Type of agency: Creative We think deeply, we create stories, we activate experiences. Trusted by the world’s biggest brands, we transform small ideas into big strategies with thought-provoking creative solutions bringing brands and consumers together. SERVICES: Creative communication, research and development, campaign and brand strategy, concept development, conceptual designs, brand identity development, branding, brand packaging, design, brand consultation, social media content development, brand activation, shopper marketing, in store and in mall activations, digital and social media activations, event management, retail solutions, script writing and storyboarding, motion graphic and animation ads, TVC/ DVC development, radio ads, product photography, corporate documentaries, event coverage, campaign/ corporate animation reports.

Dice Marketing & Advertising Type of agency: Creative Founded: 2013 Saudi office: Riyadh Co-founder & managing director: Sari Kazma Dice Marketing & Advertising provides high-quality, cost-effective marketing solutions that always remain on-brand and come in on budget. We help exceptional brands grow. Our beliefs are that relationships come first and deliver the best results. Our clients receive exceptional, creative, and influential ideas for their campaigns and brand. SERVICES: Creative, digital services, social media management, events & activations, photography & videography KEY CLIENTS: HPI, HPE, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Accenture, Schneider Electric, Honeywell, Philips, Xiaomi,


Type of agency: Media Founded: 1990 Saudi office: Riyadh Heads of agency: Naguib Toihiri (Country Director KSA), Faisal Dean (Managing Director MENA), James Townsend (Global CEO) Website: Email:

Faisal Dean

Naguib Toihiri

Managing Director MENA

Country Director - KSA

Kinloch Magowan

Claire Letouzey-Romano

Assembly is made of the ingredients of the modern agency, bringing together data, talent and technology to deliver a connected set of solutions for media and more to the best brands on the planet. We’re home to more than 1,500 of the industry’s top talent, who bring unmatched global omnichannel media expertise and data, technology and business consulting capabilities that help brands find the change that fuels growth. Assembly is a proud member of Stagwell, the challenger network built to transform marketing. SERVICES: Digital media; SEO; content; data analytics; social media; influencer marketing; CRM KEY CLIENTS: Noon, Fawaz Alhokair, Alamar Foods (Dominos Pizza), Virgin Megastore, Landmark Group AWARDS: MENA Search Awards 2021 – Best Use of Social Media; MENA Search Awards 2020 – Best Large PPC Agency; MENA Search Awards – Best Search Software Tool

Regional Director MENA

Head of Operations and People MENA


May 30, 2022

Type of agency: Creative Agency, Digital Agency, Media Agency Founded: 2004 Head of company: Abdulrahman Saud | CEO Headquartered: Riyadh – SA Saudi office: Riyadh +966 11 465 5775


One of the leading marketing agencies designed to empower and motivate brands’ images with a different cultural sense, creative minds, bold connections and influence of the metaverse, and convey the rapid transformation of the marketing industry in the region, providing clients confidence in the middle of the brand story. We at Bassmat drive insightful local and international knowledge to contribute to building a high impact. SERVICES: Strategies & brands experience; creative; social media & digital PR; media buying; digital content; technology; marketing activation; analytics and data

Abdulrahman Saud

Hatem AlKherish



KEY CLIENTS: The Public Investment Fund ( PIF ), Ministry of Culture, Jaguar, Land Rover, Ministry of Tourism, Digital Government Authority , Expo 2020 Saudi pavilion, Saudi Tourism Authority, Ministry of Health, Naqua AWARDS: MEA Transform Awards – Best Use of Copy Style/Tone of Voice 2021; MEA Transform Awards - Best Brand Experience 2021; MEA Business Awards: Best Digital Marketing Agency 2021 - Saudi Arabia; MEA Business Awards: 360 Best Local Agency 2020; Arab Social Awards: Best Social Media Agency 2015



HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE SAUDI ADVERTISING INDUSTRY FROM 2021 TO 2022? With the current rapid development of the Kingdom’s entertainment and tourism businesses, the advertising industry in Saudi Arabia has gained more influence and complexity than before. Cinemas reopening, live concerts, and prominent events resulted in new media opportunities becoming available to advertisers. In the past few years, we have seen a positive change in government using communication to educate citizens and change public opinion. Government advertising spend has registered a noticeable growth, communicating Vision 2030 goals and how such transformation is going to affect people in Saudi Arabia. Riyadh city has recently become the regional hub for most of the multinational firms moving

their regional headquarters to Saudi Arabia. This will positively reflect on the private sector advertising spend in the coming years.


Saudi consumers’ buying decisions have changed a lot in the past few years, as well as their media consumption habits. Consumers now have more options to choose from and are constantly looking for the most convenient ways to buy a product or service. E-commerce has witnessed prime developments, and customers have become much smarter than before. Brands should be keeping up with how to attract and maintain them across different media touchpoints. Brands should work hard on understanding local consumers’ insights and build a strong communication strategy aligned with a local creative mindset to be able to click with modern local consumers. Brand smartness will show the ability to use localised content with relevancy and creativity that link its consumers with their culture while keeping the modern tone of communication.


A recent report has shown that the internet penetration rate in Saudi Arabia has attained 98.1

Marc Stevenson

Mazen Yasin

Creative Director

Account Director

per cent overall, with 100 per cent for the younger population, aged 20-29 years. Saudi consumers are expected to be moving towards more related and local digital content. Social media with platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, and Twitter will continue to grow in usage among younger generations. Tourism, cultural, and entertainment advertising investment is expected to grow significantly with the launch of new regional festivals and touristic projects. The governmental spending on those areas will show major growth to support several activity launches. The Saudi advertising market has opened the opportunity for international companies entering the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This will bring diverse, brilliant and creative minds to the local market and help evolve the overall industry.


Looking at a big advertising market like Saudi Arabia, challenges will always be on the table. With the growth in the advertising business, we expect more fierce competition from local, regional, and multinational players. Shrewd companies should keep their eyes open to the rapid demographic changes happening around us and the developments of consumer taste in consuming media to obtain the best practices. We at Bassmat are fully aware of the high competition in our market, and we know that the market will only welcome advanced agencies that have high international standards. Therefore, we took a major initiative in 2022, turning into a closed joint-stock company. Our confidence in the power we can exert and the capacities we can share helped us earn investors’ trust with major fundraising that will allow for future expansion.

May 30, 2022

Type of agency: Media lntelligence Founded: 1984 Heads of agency: Founder & Group CEO: Mazen Nahawi; Co-Managing Partner: Richard Bagnall Saudi headquarters: Riyadh +966 11 207 4400


Expertly helping PR and communications professionals demonstrate the value of their work, we work with both global and local organisations, across a diverse range of industries. We equip PR and communications professionals with the data, insights and context needed to make better informed business decisions. We aim to: empower the comms industry to be tech-informed and data-enabled; elevate ‘earned-first’ in the minds of all marketers; use our insights and data to make PR a core part of every marketing strategy; drive an ongoing increase in global PR investment


Mazen Nahawi

Richard Bagnall

Founder & Group CEO

Co-Managing Partner

Pauline Sorba-Kao

Sergio Monteiro

General Manager of People, Culture and Performance Management

Chief Technology Officer

Hassan Khatoun

Alexander Efthymiou

SERVICES: Media monitoring (online media, social media, print media, broadcast media, newsletters and alerts, executive briefings); PR measurement (media analysis report, PR measurement dashboards, social media analytics); consultancy & market research. KEY CLIENTS: Aramco, Sabic, Royal Commission for Al Ula AWARDS: PRCA APAC 2022: Measurement & Evaluation Award Winner; AMEC 2021 Gold Winners




The Saudi market has changed dramatically during the past few years. A strong economic recovery meant better budgets and improved payment terms against a backdrop of elevated strategic thinking and a completely different level of ambition, which inspires the entire Kingdom and its partners around the world. From a media intelligence point of view, the first major change is the demand from senior government and corporate leaders for genuine insights that combine technology and human intelligence – and not automated data, vanity metrics and poor commentary. The second major change is the growth in TikTok and Snapchat as the two main platforms that need to be monitored and analysed within the marketing communications ecosystem. Other platforms are important, but these two platforms are driving most meaningful engagement among young audiences and future leaders.


Saudi clients no longer want superficial top-line service; this means vanity metrics such as AVEs in PR or impressions numbers on social have now largely been discredited by the elite of the marcoms and PR industry in the kingdom. Serious leadership is demanding a far more integrated set of data across traditional, digital, social and search and then combining this with human intelligence to ascertain real meaning and deep insights.

Global Commercial Development

Director of Client Success


Taking the Kingdom’s message to the world. This has started, but there is a lot more to go. Too many people globally do not understand the country, its values or its future – and that is a missed opportunity for all.


Operationally, there remain some pockets of management that are stuck in the past and try to force agencies to work in a way that is not helpful to anyone. This includes micromanagement, driving teams too hard and not focusing on real value. Luckily, this is diminishing rapidly and a new generation of leadership understands the basic concepts of mutual interest and getting the best out of your partner through motivation and support, not vice versa. There also remain significant challenges around the collection of dues. This problem has also diminished but much more needs to be done. Without organisations being paid on time, their ability to serve the market will always be hamstrung, no matter how much goodwill there is on all sides.


Yes, we are focused on integrating media monitoring and analysis with opinion research, and using all forms of data from traditional, digital, social and search, to provide our clients with strategic insights that make a difference.


May 30, 2022

Type of agency: Digital Founded: 2010 Head of company: Saif Jarad Number of staff: 150 +966 55 070 1627 Chain Reaction is the region’s first digital performance marketing agency, and was the first Google Adwords partner in the Middle East back in 2010. We combine innovation, data and technology to craft powerful digital experiences that make an impact, shape culture and connect brands with people. Over the years, we have evolved into a growth-focused digital marketing partner to our clients, helping them succeed in a digital-first world. Our data-driven approach to everything we do has helped us tap into new levels of cooperation between us and our clients and also helped in maintaining many clients for years. SERVICES: Social media consultancy and management; content production;

video production; performance marketing; SEO; analytics & data solutions; creative services; inbound marketing services KEY CLIENTS: Saudi Resarch & Media Group(SRMG), Alarabiya News, Asharq News, Foodics, Unifonic, Ezdihar group, Samsung KSA, Yelo Drive, DIFC, Burj Khalifa, Emaar Malls, Emaar Entertainment, Samsung, Nakheel Malls, YUM brands, ADCB, Total Oil, Al Maryah Island, MBC Group, ENOC, Al Dar Properties and Sharjah Commerce & Tourism Development Authority TECH PARTNERS: Google Premier Partner, GA 360, Facebook Marketing Partner, Adjust, Hubspot, Deepcrawl AWARDS: Recently we won 11 awards at the Mena Search Awards: Best Large Integrated Search Agency; Best Large SEO Agency; Best Use of Search – Finance; Best Use of Search – Health; Best Use of Search –- Fashion; Best Arabic PPC Campaign; Best Arabic SEO Campaign; Best Integrated Campaign; Best Use of Content Marketing In Arabic; Best Use of Search – Third Sector


Saif Jarad

Haneen Al Hassan

Chief Executive Officer

Regional Head of Strategy & Growth

Ahmed Romoh

Lyna Domiati

Head of Performance Marketing

Creative Director

A decade of success stories in KSA. A newly opened lead ooce in Riyadh to continue the journey. | +966 55 070 1627 RIYADH | 3141 Anas ibn Malik Road, Building B, 2nd Floor, Al Malqa, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

May 30, 2022

Direct Influence

End Consumer

Type of agency: Media, creative, digital, PR Headquartered: Riyadh Founded: 2015

Type of agency: Creative

We transform visions to reality with the power of reason, communication, and imagination. We are the leading influential marketing communication agency in the region. Established by a group of influential pioneers, entrepreneurs and experts. To unleash our partners’ influence through our thought-leadership, relentless dedication and innovative methodologies. Supported by years of unique expertise and a track record of the most influential marketing communication projects in the history of the region.


End Consumer is an integrated creative marketing solutions agency, offering a comprehensive range of tailored services to our partners and clients. Our team of dedicated professionals originates unique concepts catering to specific segments from event concept, creativity development, design stage, to production, execution, management and result analysis. In a span of 25 years, End Consumer has conceptualised, managed and delivered successful events with the royal, local and international markets, a precedent for offering high quality standards and services.

SERVICES: Campaign strategy; social media managements and events; digital marketing; creative and production; influencer collaboration. KEY CLIENTS: G20, Riyadh Season, Diriyah Season, Saudi Arabia 2020 think, Alrajhi bank, Monshaat

Edesign Type of agency: Digital +966 50 911 1311 We are a team of about 40 professionals, including specialist designers, account managers and planners, marketers and IT professionals. Between us, we have all the expertise you need to achieve your aims, whether it’s growing your business, promoting your brand, maximising your returns, or communicating with your stakeholders. Our team are not just highly skilled and passionate problem solvers, with a flexible, forward-thinking and outward-looking approach; we are also committed to total transparency and honesty at all times. That ensures you get not just the best solutions for your needs, but the ultimate in service.

Extend-The Ad Network Type of agency: Full-Service Founded: 2012 Headquartered: Riyadh Extend is a Saudi audience-first agency with a digital DNA, creative soul, obsessed with results. SERVICES: Communication strategy & planning; creative & content development; integrated media planning & buying; social media strategy & management; monitoring & reporting; KEY CLIENTS: Formula-e, Ministry of Sports, Baja, Ithra by aramco, National Sukuk

SERVICES: Digital marketing, digital development.


Type of Agency: Digital Year founded: 2010 Saudi office: Riyadh Head of company: Tom Otton

Tom Otton

Matthew Richardson

Managing Partner


Dia Hassan

Simone Green

Managing Partner - Production


We’re the region’s leading strategic digital communications agency. Powered by a team of 170+ ambitious, customer-focused creators, we build communities on apps, websites and social channels across the GCC. From social media to e-commerce solutions, we deliver across verticals, all underpinned by a full in-house production team. SERVICES: Strategic Digital Consulting; Social Media, Video Production, Web/App Products, Performance Marketing KEY CLIENTS: The Public Investment Fund, Dubai Tourism, Diriyah Gate, Emirates, Expo 2020, Neom, Volkswagen Middle East, DP World


May 30, 2022


Type of agency: Communications & Events Founded: 2009 Head of agency: Mohammed Tayem, Founder & CEO Saudi office: Riyadh +966 11 419 1919

SERVICES: Creative advertising, media planning & buying, conferences and event management, content strategy and development, speaker management, PR and social media

Mohammed Tayem

Mohammad Idries

CEO & Founder


Ali Hamade

Manoshi Banerjee

Event Manager

PR Manager

KEY CLIENTS: Google, ARAMCO, G20 Saudi, YouTube, Discovery Networks and Snapchat AWARDS: Won the SME100 twice hosted by the Dubai Economic Department, and the latest 2015 awards ranked entourage at No.19 among the top 100 companies in Dubai; EFFIE Awards MENA in 2012, 2013 and 2014; Dubai Lynx 2011 & 2014; MEPRA awards 2014; Middle East Event Awards 2012, 2013 & 2014; Guinness Book of World Records Ziad Faour

Creative Director

Strategy Director

Dubai • Riyadh • Cairo • New York


Nicholas Pereira


THE REGION’S DYNAMIC, LIVE COMMUNICATIONS AGENCY. Creating powerful Human-to-Human connections and brand experiences. Weaving stories that build resonance and forge long lasting relationships between your brand and audiences, through all interactive channels.

May 30, 2022

Five Colors

Four Communications

Type of agency: Creative

Type of agency: PR Founded: 2001 Saudi office: Riyadh CEO: Nan Williams

From the shores of Saudi Arabia comes an answer to the creative needs of the Middle East, in Five Colors. The idea became a company that then opened up branches in Los Angeles, California and currently in the burgeoning capital that is UAE. As the times are changing so are our methods. We at Five Colors have not only in-house capabilities; we also have a team of freelance professionals that we hand pick specifically in accordance to our your needs and budget concerns. Think of us as one of those agencies you see on TV and movies that hire special agents to guarantee the success of your mission. Your success is our success.


Four delivers integrated campaigns and a range of marketing and communications services based on a blend of industry knowledge, cutting-edge insights and inimitable expertise. SERVICES: Integrated campaigns; PR; digital marketing; social analytics & engagement; behaviour change

SERVICES: Advertising, photos, film, opportunities for work, web-site packages, as well as social media fans.

KEY CLIENTS: Airbus; UPS; Honeywell; Marriott International; Dubai Tourism


FP Social

Type of agency: Creative

Type of agency: Marketing

Focusadvertising is a boutique agency that has been giving brands in the MENA region the best focus to stand out in a competitive market environment. We are focus-oriented communication experts that deliver strong ROI. We produce creative yet effective campaigns and own the process from the strategic planning phase through production. We do not follow a one-size-fits-all policy with our clients. Every client has different needs, wants, goals and objectives, and we respect that. Our team is made up of a diverse group of people, with a diverse range of skill sets, providing grounded expertise in today’s evolving marketplace.

We blend events, social media and direct marketing strategies through the backing of our research design that empowers our client with cost-effective, deep and insightful knowledge of their local, regional and global marketplaces. We offer total brand activation, bringing brands to life through exciting, engaging and powerful experiences from strategy to execution. SERVICES: event management, social media, web development, direct marketing, design, public relations, content management, lighting.

SERVICES: Strategic marketing planning, advertising, creative development, printing and production, website development, corporate identity, social media and content management, media booking and management, and direct marketing.


Marc Lawandos Managing Director, KSA

Claude Abboud General Manager, KSA

Ali Khalil

Dany Azzi

Head of Strategy, KSA

Executive Creative Director, KSA

Type of agency: Creative Founded: 1968 (in KSA since 1983) Saudi headquarters: Riyadh Head of agency: Marc Lawandos +966 11 215 2211 Part of McCann Worldgroup and the flagship agency of MCN, FP7 McCann is the number-one creatively driven integrated marketing company in the MENAT Region. Award-winning regionally and globally, FP7 provides fully integrated marketing solutions, advertising and digital services. With 16 offices across 14 countries, FP7 McCann is the region’s largest creative agency network. It has been named as the most effective agency network in the region for the last eight years in a row and the World’s Number 1 Most Effective Agency as per WARC 100 in 2021. SERVICES: Business leadership; integrated creative solutions; integrated production; integrated strategy; campaign creation & activation; channel

management; consumer journey analysis; content creation & production; social strategy; social listening; social playbook creation; content planning design/ UX; digital strategy; holistic analytics; humantech design thinking KEY CLIENTS: Al Rajhi Bank, Tadawul, solutions by stc, Al Rajhi Takaful, Samsung, SACO, flyadeal AWARDS: Jawwy – ‘The Ramadan Campaign That Didn’t Launch in Ramadan’ – AME Awards: 1 Gold/ MENA Effies: 1 Silver, WARC Media Awards: 1 Bronze; Almosafer – ‘As far As We Go’ – MENA Effies: 3 Gold, 1 Silver / Dubai Lynx: 1 Gold; WARC Global Strategy Awards: Gold/ New York Festivals: 1 Silver; Loeries: 1 Sliver; 1 Bronze / Epica Awards: 1 Bronze/ WARC Global Media Awards: 1 Bonze/ WARC MENA Award: 1 Bronze; Almosafer – ‘Stories of Mecca’ – Dubai Lynx: 1 Bronze/ 2020’s Top Film Campaigns by Campaign ME; Al Arabiya Outdoor – ‘Be a Man’ – Digital MENA Awards: 1 Gold; Al Jazirah Motors – ‘Decision Impossible’ – Digital Mena Awards: 1 Sliver; Sportify – ‘Listening is Everything’: 2020’s Top Film Campaigns by Campaign ME


May 30, 2022

Framedkeys Entertainment

GAG Events & PR

Type of agency: Creative

Type of agency: Events and PR

We create and produce content that stands out, speaks to souls and illustrates messages and ideas that help create a better tomorrow. We believe that sharing and giving are generous deeds, which certainly drives our enthusiasm to share content that people love to engage with.

GAG has been a leading company in the field of event management & public relations since 1999. The company has international public relations success due the proficiency shown in: festivals, concerts, public and private and international festivals, tourism, forums, exhibitions, electoral propaganda and more. SERVICES: Public relation, event management, social media management, stage design, exhibition stalls, light and sound equipment, video editing, press conferences, music concerts, entertainment

Fullstop Type of agency: Creative, Digital Founded: 2002 Saudi offices: Jeddah, Riyadh Head of company: Omar AlAbdali We were the new kids in the block 18 years ago. We wanted to bridge the gap between brands and consumers by providing creative solutions that are driven by local insight with stopping-power ideas. We find ourselves as one of the primary contenders for industry titles in terms of size, scale, revenue and awards. However, through it all, we remained true to ourselves and committed to our purpose. It’s just that the way we go about things has grown, and continues to grow and evolve. SERVICES: Communication strategy; creative ideation; social media management; digital strategy; content creation KEY CLIENTS: Mobily, Misk, Jabal Omar, The Saudi Cup, Manga, Matarat, Flyadeal, Tawteen

Gluetube Type of agency: Digital Established in 2006, Gluetube is a market leader with a solid track record. It has creativity and local understanding. It is professional and committed. SERVICES: Web, social, mobile.


Type of agency: Media Founded: 2013 Saudi office: Riyadh Head of agency: Abdulelah Al Nahari Business development director: Abdulelah Al Nahari +966 54 778 8277 Our corporate culture is rooted in the ambition to achieve performance-driven success in every project we take on. Our drive to win helps us maintain a perspective of boundless opportunities. This victory mindset is contagious and inspires our team to plan, develop and successfully execute bold ideas on a daily basis. SERVICES: Media planning and buying; social media; influencer marketing; SEM; programmatic trading; display advertising; mobile and in-app advertising; web analytics; insights; data management; reporting and data visualisation; on-ground activation. AWARDS: MENA Digital Awards Best Performance campaigns for DEWA 2019Gold, 2x Silver & 2x Bronze. MENA Digital Awards Best Performance campaigns for Aston Martin, ADNOC, DEWA & Ajman FZ 2021- Gold, 2x Silver & 1x Bronze. GBM Best performing digital agency in UAE 2021. World Business Outlook Best Media Solutions Agency in UAE 2022.

Johnny Khazzoum

Elie Haber



Natale Panella Head of digital

Abdulelah Al Nahari Business Development Director

Samran Waheed Head of planning

May 30, 2022


Go Clouding

Hearts & Science

Type of agency: Digital

Company leadership: Elda Choucair, CEO at OMG MENA, Wissam Najjar, COO at OMG MENA and Dana Sarkis, General Manager at Hearts & Science Saudi offices: Riyadh, Jeddah +966 50 908 2230

We are the Clouders. We have decided to travel to the top of all, to see and build a whole picture. We catch ideas from outer space and send them to Planet Earth as words and visuals the humans can grasp. SERVICES: Community and reputation management through social media, website development, branding, logos, influencer marketing.

Hearts & Science is a data-driven marketing & transformation agency network, part of Omnicom Media Group. The company specializes in the use of data & technology to deliver on your business objectives. SPECIALISMS: 360 media planning & buying services; digital media planning; performance marketing & e-commerce solutions; SEM/SEO; business & digital transformation; tech consultation and orchestration; marketing science & ROI optimisation; advanced analytics & cognitive; data monetisation; web design & UX &UI; consumer insights & journey mapping; data partnerships KEY CLIENTS: Atlantis, Americana, Barclays Bank, California Garden, Global Food Industries, KFC, MBC

Headline Communication Type of agency: Marketing & communications We are a fully integrated marketing and communications agency with years of experience in Saudi Arabia and in the rest of the GCC


SERVICES: Marketing, events.

Type of agency: Digital +966 12 606 8890 We are a media services company providing in-depth expertise across all media contacts, including traditional mass media and new engagement connections. We leverage unique and powerful tools to generate consumer insight to build your brand. SERVICES: planning, buying, monitoring, communications.

Type of agency: Digital Founded: 2011 Saudi headquarters: Riyadh Head of company: Amer Massimi +966 11 293 2889

Hashtag is a social-first agency, founded in 2011 with the sole purpose of helping brands become more humanised on social platforms. Having worked with big and small brands, Hashtag accumulates a wealth of experience in dealing with different industries. Hashtag is at the heart of social media culture, immersed in its trends and crafty in employing these ideas to leverage a brand’s voice on social. The Hashtag team are masters at strategy, artists in content, experienced in media and comprehensive in reporting.


Amer Massismi


CEO & Co-founder

Head of Content

TECH PARTNERS: Starfish Agency (influencers) SERVICES: Content creation; social media strategy; media buying & influencer marketing. KEY CLIENTS: Amazon, Savola, Centrepoint, Betty Crocker, Fitness First.



Digital Performance Manager

Social Media Manager


May 30, 2022


Type of agency: Media, creative, digital, PR Founded: 2005 Head of agency: Dany Naaman, CEO (new business) (marketing and press) +966 112 50 5703 Havas Saudi Arabia, part of the Havas global network, is the only full-service, integrated communications agency in the KSA offering all main disciplines –creative, media and PR – under one roof. Uniting creativity, culture, media and emerging tech to cover the end-to-end customer experience and make a meaningful difference for the brands, the businesses and the lives of the people we work with.

Rami Husseini

Omar Reda

Managing Director

Creative Director

Hady Haykal

Nabil Khayat

Media Buying Director

Client Servicing Director

KEY CLIENTS: Abu Kass, Saudi German Hospital, GIB (meem Bank), Carrefour, Modon, Tanmiah, Sanofi, Oppo, Sun & Sand Sport AWARDS: MENA Effies 2021; Cresta 2021; Lynx 2021; Clio Sports 2021; One Show Asia 2021; NY Festivals 2021; LIA 2021; Epica 2021; Lisbon International Ad Festival & President’s Choice 2021; Loeries & Top Agency in MENA 2021; Caples 2021; AdStars 2021; WARC Media 2021; MEPRA 2021; Adweek Media Plan of 2021; Adfest & Media Agency of the Year 2022; Dubai Lynx 2022; Grand Prix Internationalist 2022; Silver as Network of the Year MEA Campaign Agency of the Year 2022; N.1 Agency in the MEA at The One Show


RAMI HUSSEINI Managing Director, Havas Saudi Arabia


Clients in the KSA are looking for convenience, speed and premium quality services at competitive rates. They are now, more than ever, laser-focused on Arabic content, which is key in communication and social media. Everything revolves around hyperlocal content creation. One in three Saudi residents prefers Arabic language media programming. Localised content can tap into an audience-needs gap, as Arabic internet usage in the Kingdom is three times that of English. Clients’ desire for instant and highly personalised multimedia content like short videos, Gifs and 2D animation formats is heading wishlists and keeps growing. Some clients prefer the ‘freemium’ approach when it comes to content creation, seeking premium services at low or next to zero cost.


For a long time, what came to mind when talking about entertainment in Saudi Arabia was the 35-year cinema ban. In 2018, the first movie screening finally ended the ban, signaling a fresh start for Saudi’s entertainment sector.

With leisure and entertainment becoming its new oil, the Kingdom is now at the heart of every exciting futuristic development. The vision aims to attract local and global visitors by promising world-class entertainment and events in all sectors, fuelling the appetite for novelty, discovery and creativity. Saudi also announced its flagship digital content creation and production project, Ignite, and its plan to become one of the top 20 film industries in the world. Through that, the Kingdom will drive its population to spend locally and will position itself as a regional leader in entertainment and media production. This is the best time to expand and invest in Saudi. The country will soon be ripe with content development; audio-visual equipment; studio engineering and talent management companies. Foreign direct investors should explore that market to get first mover advantage.

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU FACE IN THE KINGDOM? Finding, attracting and retaining talent across all media and advertising capacities. Hyperlocal content catering to a large, demanding young population reigns, making it therefore close to impossible to rely on foreign professionals to fill some roles. As the industry is relatively new to the local job market, few Saudis opted for advertising/media as their university major. The ones who did constantly receive attractive offers from government entities or ambitious start-ups. Due to the high demand for such resources, agencies are struggling when it comes to local talent.


Sultan Alajlan Account Director

creative, media and PR under one roof, we’ve built a client-centric solution where we work together seamlessly, building teams around our clients’ needs. It’s also a more streamlined, efficient and costeffective way to make meaningful differences for our people and clients’ businesses. We strengthened our team to answer the growing demand for events in the market and have the capacity to create, plan, implement and manage events in Saudi Arabia from A to Z. We also tap into our resources in our Dubai hub for more support when needed.

May 30, 2022

Ideal Choice


In Comms

Type of agency: Marketing & events

Type of agency: Creative

Ideal Choice Establishment was founded in 2004 and built around several main points of expertise. Within these expert services we have further divided them into two subdivisions: Ideal Choice Marketing and Ideal Choice Construction. This smart and dedicated approach aims to give clients within each vertical a proper dedicated team to ensure 100 per cent satisfaction and meet and exceed expectations. Based on this smart approach, we were able to grow in a very challenging and demanding market.

Our core belief in this new era of marketing is that brands become successful when they influence the culture and add relevant value to people’s lives. We are a specialised Saudi agency dedicated to building Saudi brands; this what set us apart from others. We believe in the new paradigm to create culturally influential value in the target market by leveraging and influencing the popular culture to make brands matter to people while driving business results. We develop inspiring marketing that goes beyond messaging to actions, and we aim to ignite consumer devotion and advocacy.

Ideation Type of agency: Creative Ideation is a specialised marketing and advertising agency headquartered in the UAE, with branches in Saudi Arabia and the UK. As the name suggests, Ideation stands for the formation and creation of ideas and concepts. Ideas are the core work for the agency as we develop them according to the clients’ needs and requests. We believe that each client is different and requires a special strategy. SERVICES: Strategic planning, creative solutions, web design and development, interactive marketing solutions, research and development, branding and identity.

Initiative Type of Agency: Media & Digital Founded: 1975 Saudi office: Riyadh Head of company: Bassem Massoud +971 4 445 4040 We are a full-service global media agency built to grow brands through culture. The agency’s approach to rapidly interpreting and acting on cultural data signals – Cultural Velocity – creates relevant, long-lasting consumer connections that drive business results. We promise to be the best agency partner in the business through business successes and challenges. Most of all, we always champion and love your brands. SERVICES: Cross-channel media strategy; planning & activation; communications planning & design; market research; digital & performance marketing KEY CLIENTS: Etisalat, Farah Experiences, LEGO, Americana, Western Union, COTY, IFFCO, Arabian Automobiles, Carlsberg, Emirates NBD, Nakheel, Toshiba, Deliveroo

Imagination Type of agency: Creative Founded: 1979 (Riyadh office opened 2021) Head of company: Patrick Reid Imagination is an independent experience design company headquartered in London, with 14 offices worldwide. Founded on a principle of independent creativity, we bring together diverse groups of strategic, creative and practical people who remain free to find the right answers to client challenges. SERVICES: Consulting, destinations, content and live experiences KEY CLIENTS: Ford, IKEA, LVMH, Samsung, Jaguar Land Rover, HSBC, Major League Baseball, 3M, Shell and Telstra.

Inspire Events Type of agency : Events and experiential Founded : 2012 Saudi office: Riyadh Head of company: Shenin Hamid (Founder and CEO) Inspire is a leader in advanced event production with a world-class experiential marketing arm that together function on a global scale offering clients boundarypushing experiences that redefine brand futures. SERVICES: Events; scenic; production; activations; event technology; event design KEY CLIENTS: Diriyah Gate Authority, Saudi Motorsports Authority, General Sports Authority (GSA), PepsiCo, Mars and Wrigleys, Al Tayer, Emirates, Reckitt Benckiser, Bayer, Chalhoub Group, Apple, Govt of Korea, Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, Henkel, IFFCO, Dubai Integrated Economic Zones, Ferrero, Uber, PepsiCo

iMetric Head of company: Saad Sraj +961 382 4754 +966 56 545 3561 iMetric is an integrated digital media agency, with offices in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. Data, metrics and technology are at the heart of everything we do. We partner with our clients with the aim of growing their business and profitability through multiple digital marketing solutions. We add value to businesses by building dynamic media strategies and plans optimised for maximum efficiency. SPECIALISMS: digital media planning, media buying, SEO, SEM, social media, paid ads, programmatic, analytics, paid social, performance media, content management KEY CLIENTS: King Abdullah Economic City, ChuckEcheese, Burgerizzr, MCIT, Al Jomaih, SMSA, Harvey Nichols

Kattan Media Type of agency: Digital Kattan Media combines 40 years of experience in various fields, including marketing and media in their traditional and digital forms. Our company is built on strong creativity and even stronger thinking, making it a source of endless possibilities in the media field. SERVICES: Social media strategy, social media management, influencers outreach, digital marketing, talent management, media planning and buying, video production, brand positioning.


May 30, 2022



Type of agency: Digital

Type of agency: Retail ideas company Founded: 2016 Head of company: Sachinn J. Laala, CEO Saudi office: Jeddah +966 55 168 0850

Koraspond is a 360-degree digital media marketing agency that is born out of a passion for creative edge to build and deliver exceptional digital solutions. SERVICES: Social media marketing and management, mobile app development, e-commerce solutions, web application & design, creative artwork (branding and copywriting), SEO, 2D/3D animations.

Liquid is a retail ideas company, bringing together more than 90 experts, who are fully dedicated to helping brands win across all forms of commerce. We solve our clients’ business problems at the speed of retail by delivering creative, content, merchandising and execution ideas that help brands sell wherever, however, whenever. SERVICES: Retail planning and strategy; shopper-based creative, design and activation; store-back content for e-commerce; implementation and maintenance of e-commerce assets; e-media; e-commerce marketplace management KEY CLIENTS: P&G, Johnson & Johnson, Pepsico, Nestle, Bieresdorf, Savola

LIVEmena Type of agency: Digital An agency founded back in 2008 that pursues online marketing, advertising and social media with a full dedication to doing them perfectly. LIVEmena serves several corporations in the GCC and Middle East, aiming to lead the region with a high superiority for clients, and therefore we do it really well. LIVEmena gathers a group of talented and highly proficient people distinguished in marketing who intend to harness their skills and knowledge to establish, implement and adapt internet marketing, online media and search engine strategies. SERVICES: SEO and SEM, pay-per-click management services, online media planning and buying, online viral marketing, social media optimisation, Facebook apps, mobile application development and web development.

AWARDS WON: Winners of the International Category for their work at the Shop! Greater China Awards: Pepsi Black – Gold; Head & Shoulders Charcoal – Gold; Wella Koleston – Silver; Gerber Organics – Silver; Pantene Superfood – Silver; Head & Shoulders Supreme – Bronze

Masader advertising Type of agency: Creative +966 2 657 6945 +966 2 657 6944


Agency Name: MediaCom Saudi Arabia Type of Agency: Media Year Founded: 2000 Saudi headquarters: Riyadh +966 11 464 4408

Eyad Abdul Khalek CEO

AGENCY BIO: We are a global media agency with a difference. Our network of 8,000 system thinkers helps clients to unlock growth by having a big picture perspective across a brand’s entire communications system. We combine data, technology and creativity to design communications strategies that build brands, generate sales and maximise the effectiveness of our clients marketing investments. SERVICES: Media Strategy Buying & Planning, Social, SEO, Mobile, Digital, Research, Analytics & Insights, Data Leadership, Digital Transformation Consultancy KEY CLIENTS SAUDI ARABIA: Richemont; Royal Commission for Riyadh City; NADEC; Olayan Food Division; Apparel Group; Virgin Mobile; adidas; Mars; Shell; Xiaomi

Safwan Kanj General Manager

May 30, 2022

Type of agency: Media Head of Company: Ravi Rao (GroupM MENA CEO) Founded: 2000 Saudi offices: Riyadh and Jeddah +966 12 665 0363 (Jeddah) +966 1 464 2238 (Riyadh) We are part of an extensive network of 10,000 people across the world partnering with our clients to use media with the intention of promoting good growth that drives both business and society. In 116 offices across 86 countries we manage $24.1bn in billings as part of GroupM, the media investment arm of WPP. Our Saudi offices total over 30 diverse professional disciplines and cultural backgrounds. We are exceptionally proud to have been in the market for more than 20 years and this understanding of the evolution in the consumer, marketplace and media landscape ensures we deliver current and future clients’ growth. Our client portfolio continues to increase, as in 2020, COMVergence ranked Mindshare MENA as being awarded the highest billings in new business.



Ravi Rao

Razmik Kalaidjian


Mindshare KSA MD

SERVICES: Communication strategy; integrated media planning and investment management; performance marketing (search/SEO/PPC, paid social, programmatic); adtech and martech consulting; e-commerce; research and insights; econometrics; data solutions and analytics; social community management; content ideation and creation KEY CLIENTS: Mobily, PIF, Alsafi Danone, Red Sea Development Company, KimberlyClark, Baja, Arasco(Entaj). AWARDS: Campaign Global Agency of the Year; Cannes Lions Media Network of the Year; MMA Global Mobile Agency of the Year; WARC # 1 Media Agency Network


transformation, and we are there to lead and support these initiatives. As an agency, in the early 2000s, you could review your product, your tools, even your partnerships in the media ecosystem every 2-3 years; now it is almost monthly. TV and outdoor still are impact media. The increased opportunity for measurement in these media is welcomed. The launch of eTAM is big step for TV measurement. Alongside Nielsen and other industry leaders, Mindshare, representing GroupM, has been actively involved in this project as we believe it will bring much needed granularity and accuracy of measurement. Overall, data has historically been challenging. We’ve worked within our network to build strong data through GroupM, syndicated data/research partners and proprietary research. Perhaps one of our biggest wins for 2021/22 is our proprietary consumer insight research. The frequency of the research has been altered to quarterly. In any market, but particularly Saudi Arabia, the opportunity to track consumer behaviour and attitudes across time periods is an additional bonus alongside our ability to contrast data with the other 70+ markets covered by the Audience Origin survey.

RAZMIK KALAIDJIAN managing director, Mindshare KSA


When Seth Godin said, “By definition, remarkable things get remarked upon”, his reference was to advertising but really it can be applied to a market such as Saudi Arabia. It is a remarkable market; we’ve always believed it. But today the spotlight on it is significantly larger. We could argue it is floodlit. In line with Vision 2030, the country is undergoing transformations on every level – economic, social, cultural, geographical and more. This impact is felt across our engagement in the Kingdom, from our consumer insights to our communication solutions, talent, skill set and offering. When we look back to 20 years ago when we started, our client base was primarily local with some of the global giants who were dipping into the Middle East. Today, a significant sector of our portfolio are local brand powerhouses alongside Saudi government entities. Our teams are as proficient today running a campaign covering the Kingdom or a global market. We tap into the Mindshare/WPP network to assist in delivering but

Elias Saroufim Mindshare KSA DMD


the central hub is now here. This also ensures we can bring best practice learnings into market, and the talent career path and learnings locally are far reaching. And of course, the media landscape has changed. Our structure has changed to reflect this, in terms of digital consultancy and specialists being integral. Our partner clients are leading in m-commerce, driving their own digital

Besides the business growth opportunities, really it lies in talent and skill building. We are in the unique position to build the future leaders of advertising and marketing in the Kingdom. As an industry, we have an important role to play in building Saudi National talent. This is already in play at Mindshare. We can as a network ensure we drive the skillsets needed for future success, be it advanced precision marketing, retail/ecommerce, modelling and analytics or the metaverse,


May 30, 2022

Offices: Riyadh +966 11 2167796 Jeddah +966 12 6573087

Company Leadership

OMD is the world’s largest media network with more than 12,000 people working in over 100 countries. As the world grows with opportunities, the key is reacting to them, by making better decisions, faster combining innovation, creativity, empathy and evidence to help them move faster, reach further, and take smarter risks every day.

Elda Choucair CEO at OMG MENA

Wissam Najjar COO at OMG MENA

Hani Dajani GM at OMD Jeddah

Jihad El Rassi GM at OMD Riyadh

George Achkouty Head of Digital at OMD KSA

Mark Bachaalani Head of Investments at OMD KSA

Services: Strategic planning and investment management, performance marketing, data and technology consulting and implementatio, analytics and e-commerce transformation/marketplace management. Awards: Global Media Agency of the Year 2019 - 2020, Adweek; Media Agency of the Year 2019, Dubai Lynx; Most Effecive Media Agency Office 2018, Best Place to Work 2012-2019, Great Place to Work Institute. Key Clients: AIUIa, Attar united company, Dakar Rally, Formula 1 Saudi, General Authority for Statistics, Goodies, Loacker, Mahmoud Nashar & Partners co., Nissan, Panda, PepsiCo, Roshn, Royal Commission for Riyadh City, Riyadh Art, Saudi Statistics, Saudi Goody Company, Tanmiah Food Company and Zain Social Media:

If it’s rising on the horizon, a new direction, a fresh insight into what makes us who we are and act the way we do, it’s SENSE, a new event series by OMD MENA.

Lighting the path to Better decisions, faster.

Coming soon

May 30, 2022



Christos Solomi Chief Digital Officer OMG MENA

Roli Okoro General Manager Orchestrate MENA

Founded: 2022 Headquartered: UAE Orchestrate is OMG MENA's digital center of excellence, providing digital thought leadership for the group, powered by experts across paid search, social, programmatic and SEO. Our mission is to orchestrate, execute and lead the most successful advertising strategies for our clients using our expert team of digital scientists and market leading technology. Services:

Strategic Consulting for Paid Social, Search, Programmatic and SEO, Budget Optimization, Audience Insights, Data Analytics | +966 11 2167796

Dr. Hoda Daou General Manager Annalect MENA

Stefanie Cunningham General Manager OMG Transact MENA

Founded: 2010 Headquartered: USA Omnicom created Annalect with the sole purpose of reimagining the potential at the crossroads of data and technology. Annalect provides brands with an environment and teams that democratize data insights and make it easy to apply them to media and creative executions.

Services: Media & Creative Planning and Activation, Audience Development, Reporting and Attribution, Campaign Optimization | | +966 11 2167796

Founded: 2020 Headquartered: UK

Founded: 2008 Headquartered: Germany

Audience understanding sits at the heart of OMG Transact. But when it comes to eCommerce, it’s about more than just media placement, it’s an end to end ‘process’. OMG Transact is the consultative offering that supports our clients through this process to deliver sales growth.

Trakken is a specialist consulting agency offering solutions in the field of digital analytics, data management, conversion optimization and digital implementation with a strong background in e-commerce, media, finance, travel, telecommunications and consumer goods as well as being a Certified Google Marketing Platform Partner.


Strategic Advisory, Amazon management, D2C and eRetail Implementation, Scalability and Efficiency | +966 11 2167796

Services: KPI-Workshops, Technical Implementation, Tool Controlling and continuous Optimization of Digital Buying Processes | | +966 11 2167796


May 30, 2022

Offices: Riyadh +966 54 1349777 Jeddah +966 54 1349777

Company Leadership

Guided by the ethos ‘Make the Leap’, PHD is renowned for driving disproportionate growth through transformative and creative ideas. PHD is one of the most forward-thinking media agencies by challenging convention and breaking new ground in strategic thinking and planning. Built on a culture of thought leadership, innovation and creativity, it is one of the world’s fastest growing agency networks. Globally, PHD has more than 6,000 staff, more than 100 offices worldwide, and is part of Omnicom Media group.

Elda Choucair CEO at OMG MENA

Wissam Najjar COO at OMG MENA

Luca Allam CEO at PHD MENA

Youssef Chahine GM of PHD KSA

Daniel Shepherd Head of Digital at PHD KSA

Raphael Elias Head of Investments at PHD KSA

Services: Media planning and buying; strategic planning; data analytics & technology consultants; social & content marketing; SEO; creative services including dynamic creative optimization. Awards: Most Effective Media Agency Network of the Year, 2021; Network of the Year, M&M Global 2020; Best Place to Work 2012-2019, Great Place to Work Institute; The Most Effective Media Agency Office MENA Effies 2019; 1 Cannes Lion 2019; 1 Festival of Media 2019; 7 MENA Effies 2019; 2 Dubai Lynx 2019; Top 5 GPTW list consistently since 2013; Top 3 Most Effective Office MENA Effies 2018; 5 MENA Effies 2018; 7 Dubai Lynx awards 2018; 3 MMA Global Smarties 2018; Festival of Media 2018. Key Clients: Al Alali, Arla Foods, Chanel, Saudi Tourism, SC Johnson, Unilever, VW Group Social Media: l

Make your leap. PHD is a global award-winning agency shaping the future of some of the biggest brands in Saudi. If you are courageous, creative and collaborative, connect with us:

May 30, 2022

Maestro Group Type of agency: Media Established in 2008 in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Maestro Group was founded by a group of people who believe in the power and potential of our country. With a continuous body of work aimed at fostering creativity and innovation in KSA and the region beyond, we look towards our homegrown talent to help leave a positive impact on our society. We base our work on data mining, using analytics to help us uncover local day-to-day cultural insights that make people tick. By reactive monitoring, we effectively steer social behaviour in the direction of needed change. But we understand that pretty things also inspire people and have built Maestro on a hybrid work culture that does not sacrifice design on behalf of efficiency. SERVICES: Event production, event management, conference management, multimedia show, AV and lighting rental, branding, advertising, digital solutions, media production, ob van rental, webcast streaming, studio services and facilities.

Magna Global Type of Agency: Media & digital Founded: 2005 Saudi office: Riyadh Head of company: Bassem Massoud +971 4 445 4647 Magna is a full-service agency that provides communication solutions across the MENA region – focusing on the two most important currencies in media today – conversations and engagement. We combine the power of data & technology with creativity and innovation to devise tailor made business solutions that deliver business results. Our core strength lies in our ability to understand the distinct needs of consumers. SERVICES: Media strategy & activation; communications strategy; media planning & buying; search & bid management; social monitoring; strategy & community management; mobile strategy & execution; programmatic; content strategy and creation


Meshbak Company Type of agency: Creative Founded: 2014 Headquartered: Riyadh Heads of company: Khansa Abunaji and Khaled Alshehri Meshbak is an integrated creative marketing agency based in Riyadh. We develop creative solutions that reach, inspire, and make a lasting impact. Using storytelling, we tell your story through design, marketing, and campaigns. SERVICES: Strategy & branding; creative campaigns KEY CLIENTS: Local Content And Government Procurement Authority; The National Centre For Performance Measurement; Social Development Bank; Gulf Payments Company; GCC Standardisation Organisation

Memac Ogilvy Type of agency: Creative Founded: 1986 Saudi offices: Riyadh, Jeddah Regional managing director: Samer Abboud Part of Ogilvy Worldwide, award winning Memac Ogilvy is the most local of international agencies and the most international of local agencies, with two offices in KSA since 1986. Sixty-two employees strong and constantly growing, we offer exceptional in-market expertise, creative solutions, and communications excellence. Leveraging combined regional and global capabilities, we create strategies and programs that create value. SERVICES: Creative; strategy; account management; social & performance; tech platforms, partners & data; media & content across five distinct expert groups. KEY CLIENTS: Saudi National Bank, Nadec, Ministry of Culture, AMEX, VOX Cinemas, and Savola.

KEY CLIENTS: Subway, Dubai Holding Group, Al Nahdi, Air Arabia, twofour54, Galadari Ice Cream Company, Abu Dhabi University, Banque Saudi Fransi, SACO

Mockup Creative Mefan Creative Agency Type of agency: Creative and production Founded: 2017 Offices: Jeddah General manager: Rami Alkhizzy Creative director: Thamer Alwakili

Type of agency: Creative We are a group of young, passionate and ambitious integrated thinkers who come from different backgrounds and schools of advertising and communication, and who share the same vision: delivering to brands and consumers like never before. SERVICES: Strategy, understanding the MVP, user story creation, technical architecture, technical specifications, brand direction, growth tools integration, design, user experience, web & mobile UI, conversion focused, brand development, video & animation, email campaigns, development SaaS products, webGL & canvas, MYSQL & NOSQL, PHP/GoLang/node.js, JS/angular/backbone, HTML5/CSS3

We come up with and produce creative ideas. We assist in customising and implementing ideas with our clients to start a journey of inspiration and turn dreams into reality. SERVICES: Social marketing campaigns, creative campaigns, media productions KEY CLIENTS: MoHRSD, Nahdi Medical Company, Basamh Group, & SBMF

Milk Type of agency: Creative We make brands talk through creative solutions that are both effective and innovative – setting visual, verbal and practicable standards that creates your whole brand experience. SERVICES: Discovery, strategy and brand map, shaking the gap, implementation.

Moon Productions Type of agency: Production house Moon Productions is a content creation company and a full-service video production and distribution house. Whether you are an advertising agency, PR company, TV station, educational organisation, brand, producer or anything in between, we can assist you with your goal and message; whether it be a TV ad, educational video, awareness campaign or an entertaining communication piece. SERVICES: Creative content generation, pre-production services, production management and resource planning, video production services, post-production services, motion and computer-based graphics, full audio recording services, CD/ DVD packaging and duplication.


May 30, 2022

MENAT CEO: Bassel Kakish KSA CEO: Thamer Farsi Founded: 1975 (KSA) Saudi offices: Jeddah, Riyadh www. +966 12 690 5722 (Jeddah) +966 1 273 7070 (Riyadh) Thamer.Farsi@


Bassel Kakish

Thamer Farsi

CEO, Publicis Groupe MENAT

CEO, Publicis Groupe KSA

Tahaab Rais

Khaled Abou Nader

Chief Strategy Officer

Chief Product Officer

Founded in 1926, Publicis Groupe is one of the largest communications group in the world. Through a powerful alchemy of creativity and technology, we are driving business transformation across the entire value chain. Publicis Groupe has reinvented itself for the connected age by moving from holding company to a platform. Highly modular, Publicis Groupe’s connecting company model is a unique platform that gives clients plug & play access to our best-in-class services. Supported by a global client leader (GCL), our clients benefit from a borderless, seamless service that drives the alchemy of creativity and technology. SERVICES: Publicis Groupe has transformed its business model and its organisational structure to put its clients at the center and to facilitate access to all its services in a fluid, modular way. Today, Publicis Groupe is organised across four Solutions Hubs - Publicis Communications, Publicis Media, Publicis Sapient, and Publicis Health- for easier connectivity and integration, fostering collaboration throughout the Groupe; while Epsilon at the core will fuel the Groupe’s entire operations to deliver personalised experiences at scale. KEY CLIENTS: aramco, Zain, Royal Commission for AlUla, Saudia Airlines, McDonald’s, ALJ, Goody, Sunbulah, Key Rent a Car, Tarfeeh Fakieh, PIF, Salam Mobile, AMC



I think the question is: What hasn’t changed? The visionary leadership in the Kingdom has propelled change in the economy, in content, in social lives and in opportunity. With such significant shifts, consumers lives cannot remain in a state of status quo. You can look at this through things that seem like small changes such as the opening of cinemas. Movies can create conversations, spark imagination. Seeing a movie is never just a three-hour experience; it’s a moment in time that can shape lives and unlock new worlds. We can also look at this from a larger business context, which centers around the investment and giga-projects from the public sector. The global reach and impact of these investments create opportunities for education, mobility, and connectivity with the wider world. The potential in Saudi today is immeasurable and we, as agencies and our partners, have the opportunity to seize this moment in time to help shape and propel the potential of Saudi Arabia and its citizens.


Transformation. Be it marketing transformation or digital transformation, the pull of the future is palpable. Our clients expect us to do the job we are hired for, whether that is in communications or media. However, the real ask, and real need, is for a partner who can help them achieve their transformation vision. At Publicis Groupe, and

specifically in how we are set up in Saudi Arabia and MENAT as a whole; this is core to our organisation. Publicis Sapient helps our partners in both public and private sectors keep up with the pace of technological, societal and cultural change, all while meeting the ever-evolving demands and expectations of their customers. It truly is an exciting time for businesses and agencies to work together as we build tomorrow and enable the vision for Saudi’s transformation.


Publicis Groupe has been on a transformative journey for the past decade. Our transformation has touched all corners of our business and operations. In Saudi Arabia, this has translated into three key areas which Thamer Farsi, Publicis Groupe Saudi Arabia CEO, has spearheaded the integration and implementation.


As a key market of Publicis Groupe, our Saudi Arabia capabilities have grown exponentially from our global mergers and acquisitions. From new data, commerce and operational solutions, each acquisition has been intentionally crafted to create an ecosystem that helps our partners. win in the Platform World. Epsilon, the largest data acquisition, has rolled out in Saudi, enabling our partners to achieve and utilise real identity solutions to bring them closer to their customers. Most recently, through our latest acquisition of Profitero, which closes data and experience loops in commerce, we are pushing into the future of marketing to not only keep up with but lead tomorrow’s dynamic landscape.


Thamer, with the support of Mohammed Bahmishan, our KSA CCO, and Bashar Abdulkarim, our regional Chief Talent Officer, has focused on investing in

Bashar Abdul Karim Chief Talent Officer

Houda Samir Chief Financial Officer

diversified talent. We have launched new talent programmes to nurture young local talent. We have also built the most active regional community on Marcel, the Publicis Groupe AI platform, where Saudi talent is able to connect and collaborate with the full 86K+ people across our network.


We have been expanding our Agency footprint with new offices for Digitas, a connected marketing agency. Digitas brings forward the power of data, loyalty and holistic CRM solutions to our clients at the very moment that owned relationships with your consumers becomes a critical point of success in balancing the growth loop. Our investment in Saudi will continue as we seek out new home-grown solutions in Saudi to fuel growth and expand relevant capabilities. Together, each investment and acquisition, brings our Power of One proposition to life for our clients in Saudi Arabia.

May 30, 2022

Founded: 1975 (KSA) KSA CEO: Thamer Farsi Saudi offices: Jeddah, Riyadh +966 1 273 7070 Thamer.Farsi@publicisgroupe. com

Publicis Communications is the creative communications hub of Publicis Groupe, bringing together the Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi, Publicis Worldwide, BBH, Marcel, Fallon, MSLGROUP and Prodigious networks.



Bassel Kakish

Thamer Farsi

CEO, Publicis Groupe MENAT

Publicis Groupe, KSA

Born in Chicago, and with offices across the globe, Leo Burnett was built on a simple belief. That the most creative, most effective and most powerful work has people at its core—their needs, wants, dreams and hopes. It’s a belief that can be seen in action in everything we make. Saatchi & Saatchi has grown from a start-up advertising agency in London in 1970 to a global creative communications company with 114 offices in 67 countries and over 6500 employees. Saatchi & Saatchi is part of the Publicis Groupe, the world’s third largest communications group.

Samir Antoun

Alex Somonian

MD, Leo Burnett

MD, Saatchi & Saatchi

Publicis Worldwide is a global creative network enabling our clients to Lead The Change in their marketing and business transformation. KEY CLIENTS: aramco, Zain, Royal Commission for AlUla, Saudia Airlines, McDonald’s, ALJ, Goody, Sunbulah, Key Rent a Car, Tarfeeh Fakieh, PIF, Salam Mobile, AMC Mohammad Bahmishan CCO, Publicis Comms


Bassel Kakish

Alain Brahamcha

CEO, Publicis Groupe MENAT

CEO, Spark Foundry

Firas El Zein

Racha Makarem

CEO, Zenith

CEO, Starcom

Founded: 1975 (KSA) Saudi offices: Jeddah, Riyadh +966 12 690 5722 (Jeddah) +966 12 73 7070 (Riyadh) Publicis Media Harnesses the power of the modern media landscape to drive oneto-one consumer engagement at scale. Creating value for clients through global media agency brands and scaled capabilities across investment, strategy, insights and analytics, data and technology, commerce, performance marketing and content. It consists of Starcom, Spark Foundry, Zenith and Digitas. KEY CLIENTS: ALJ Toyota, IKEA, ITC Salam, McDonalds, Al Nahdi, NEOM, Savola, Al Marai, DGDA, aramco, Saudia Airlines, Royal Commission of Al Ula Tony Wazen

Amer El Hajj

CEO, Digitas

Chief Investment Officer


May 30, 2022


Bassel Kakish

Ashish Sinha

CEO, Publicis Groupe MENAT

Managing Director, India, APAC & MEA

In 2019, Publicis Groupe acquired Epsilon in one of the largest acquisitions in marketing history. The event put Epsilon at the center of operations for Publicis Groupe clients around the world and set the stage for us to lead the industry in its own transformation. Epsilon is the leader in outcome-based marketing. We have a rich, 50- year heritage in helping marketers anticipate, activate and prove measurable business outcomes. Today, we are positioned at the core of Publicis Groupe, Epsilon is a global company with over 8,000 employees in over 40 offices around the world. We are dedicated to helping clients understand their customers through Real Identity as needs and habits change for customers and the industry. We are committed to going deeper into our own transformation and leading the industry in this new digitalfirst world.

Patrick Sim

Saira Medhi

Senior Vice-President, India, APAC & MEA

Sales Director, MEA


Bassel Kakish For more than 30 years, we’ve helped some of the world’s biggest organisations build a competitive advantage through digital. At Publicis Sapient, we help companies and the public sector keep up with the pace of technological, societal and cultural change – all while meeting the ever-evolving demands and expectations of their customers. mHow? By elevating customer experiences, modernising organisations and unlocking value through technology and data. By setting bold but achievable visions for digital transformation, we empower our business partners with true speed and agility.

Srinivas Devulapalli

CEO, Publicis Groupe MENAT

Senior Vice-President, MENA Lead

Andrew Wood

Rajesh Chitharanjan

Head of Proudct and Delivery

Vice-President for Technology, MENA

KEY CLIENTS: Neom, ADNOC, Al Hokair, ADQ DCT, Diriyah Gate

Alexander Obradovic Head of Creative and Experience Design

May 30, 2022

MSL Group ME


Founded: 2001 Head of company: Ajit Ramaswami (COO, ME)

Type of agency: Creative

SPECIALISMS: Corporate communications; crisis management; strategic media relations; consumer & influencer management; public affairs

Nasher helps its partners to compete successfully in marketing and advertising strategies through excellence in producing creative content and helping them to achieve proliferation, through multiple services in all media outlets.


SERVICES: Content production, social media management, branding, advertising.

Onsor Mosha Type of agency: Creative Founded: 2013 Head of company: Abdalla Alsaid Saudi offices: Dhahran, Riyadh +966 13 811 1181 Onsor Mosha is a brand-led creative agency guided by strategic foundations and a deep understanding of powerful human and local insights. Born out of a sincere passion for all things creative, we help build brands through marketing communications. SERVICES: Advertising and promotional campaigns, marketing communications, design services, internal and external corporate communications KEY CLIENTS: Roshn, Mayar Foods, Al Muhaidib Group, Haier, Royal Commission for Riyadh City, Almoosa Specialist Hospital, National Housing Company

Type of agency: Fully integrated with focus on creative, digital, media and experiential Saudi offices: Riyadh and Jeddah Heads of company: Rami Hmadeh, Managing Partner; Ramy Abdelrehim, Business Unit Director; Saleh ElGhatit, Creative Director Serviceplan Group, Europe’s largest independent advertising agency group, was founded in 1970. With its ‘House of Communication’ concept, Serviceplan is the only independent agency group to provide all communication services from a single source, for the creation of truly integrated concepts: the optimal basis for BUILDING BEST BRANDS. In 2010, Serviceplan Group Middle East opened its doors in Dubai catering to the entire MENA region. Due to the exponential growth of opportunities in KSA, Serviceplan Arabia was launched 3 years ago with a dedicated purpose – to address the local nuances of the Saudi market while bringing the international expertise of the group. To further strengthen its footing in the Saudi market, Serviceplan Arabia is now opening offices in Riyadh and Jeddah. KEY CLIENTS: Abdul Latif Jameel Motors, Abdul Latif Jameel United Finance Co., Abbott Diabetes Care

PG Integrated Type of agency: Creative One of Saudi’s most established agencies, we have 37 years’ experience, in the kingdom, with over 100 diverse marketing specialists who share a passion for brands and an understanding of the market and local culture. Our goal is to be our clients’ partner – a philosophy that we demonstrate daily, through our longstanding relationships with some of KSA’s leading companies. This philosophy of partnership is reflected in our unique approach. While PG Integrated has a broad range of offers and services, we tailor our communication mix to suit your unique requirements – working from strategic insights to develop individual solutions, across traditional and non-traditional channels.


May 30, 2022

Type of agency: Experiential Founded: 2022 (GES Collective Founded 1939) Ownership: Viad Corp Global president: Jeff Stelmach Saudi office: Riyadh +971 4 885 9336

Spiro is the brand experience agency for the NEW NOW™. Part of the GES Collective, Spiro came from the legacy of GES’ marketing experts and meets the changing needs of brand marketers. The world and consumer behaviour have changed – and so must the way we design experiences. Today’s events, whether in-person, digital, hybrid or omnichannel, offer people many ways to interact. It’s All Real Life – ARL™. We build brand experiences that seamlessly connect, foster long-lasting communities and engage people regardless of the time, place, space or medium where our clients’ customers participate. Whenever and wherever your ‘there’ is, Spiro is, too.


Jo Webber

Rabih Sabsabi

VP Client Relations

Client Relations Director

Najat Ftouni

Fabio Palma

Senior Account Manager

Strategic Engagement Director

SERVICES: Bringing our partners’ vision to life by redefining human connections with innovation and immersive storytelling for live, virtual, hybrid and omnichannel brand experiences KEY CLIENTS: Government Ministries, Aramco, Sabic, AEC, SAEI and others AWARDS: AEO, ESSA, World Exhibition Stand Awards, Hermes, Event Production Awards, MESE, EN, Event Marketer Ex-Awards


RABIH SABSABI Client Relations Director, Spiro

it’s the latest in kinetics, alternative realities or other martech solutions we’re creating to solve their needs.


In this region, we deliver some of our largest innovations in the shortest timeframes. The ability to be agile is vital.


The Kingdom’s movements in socio-political, environmental and technological initiatives have affected consumer behaviour. Add that to how Saudi Arabia and the world as a whole have changed over the last few years, and you have a completely different landscape for events and experiences. Marcomms, media and event consumers are demanding more personalised and tailored content and experiences than ever before. There’s no going back to what used to be. Luckily, Spiro’s focus on innovation and what we call the ‘New Now’ embraces this truth: Move or be moved.


Virtually everything we conceptualise for our partners is fresh and new. We’re the brand experience agency of the New Now because we’re able to help our clients not only embrace, but offer the events and experiences of the future – whenever and wherever their customers are. The Kingdom is key to our brand innovations, whether


The metaverse is our oyster. Accenture published a report revealing that 72 per cent of global executives think the metaverse will have a positive impact on their organisations, and 83 per cent of consumers are interested in making purchases through the metaverse. For Spiro, all experiences are ‘ARL’ –All Real Life. Seamlessly navigating between the digital and physical is key to growth, both for us as an agency and for the industry.


We have heavily invested in strategy, macro-trends, martech and our experiential offerings. A brand experience is no longer only focused on its architecture. It is also about the digital experience, attendee touchpoints along the way, and what happens when our clients’ customers go back to their day-to-day lives. For all of this, the customer journey and the client’s story are critical. Our people – and the knowledge and capabilities we carry – enable us to not only keep up with the latest trends, but to be trendsetters.

Mohammad Al-Moulki Senior MarTech Manager

May 30, 2022



Type of agency: Experiential Founded: 2007 Head of company: Steven Hetzer Saudi office: Jeddah +966 12 663 4512

Steven Hetzer

Tom Gray

CEO & Founder


sweetwater is one of the region’s leading experience agencies with years of experience in Saudi Arabia. We create insanely disruptive and effective experiences across mediums, with a relentless focus on human truths. Some call them target audiences; we see them as co-creators, and make sure brands do their best to inspire and engage them with respect for their culture, support for their favorite creators and a win-win approach to commerce. KEY CLIENTS: Adhlal for Design, Nahdi Medical Company, Almarai, adidas Group, SARA Group, Decathlon (Al Hokair) , Mercer and Hershey’s SERVICES: Experiential Marketing & Brand Experiences; Live Events; Creative Design & Brand Development; Conferences & Exhibitions; Social Media/Digital & Content Marketing

Usman Saleemi

Tarek Mansour

Creative Director

Head of Client Servicing KSA

AWARDS: Dubai Lynx, MEEA (Middle East Event Awards), Top 20 integrated campaigns of the year 2021


STEVEN HETZER CEO & Founder, Sweetwater

upset by the new; they were upset about the idea of imported things that lacked an authentic Saudi voice. While part of the answer is bringing more Saudi talent into the room, another crucial piece of the puzzle is to have genuine empathy, respect and love for the nation and culture. There’s no creativity or slick packaging that can compensate for a lack of empathy for the market, and global agencies need to educate their teams or leave the work to regional agencies who really listen to, respect and engage the consumer.



You often hear how the Saudi consumer is either wary or excited about change. The truth is that Saudi consumers now widely expect change, but what they’re worried about is whether that change equates to progress for them, too. They’re asking themselves: ‘Is this going to bring me and my loved ones forward with it, or leave us behind?’ Brands must focus on bringing everyone along for the ride in both strategy and comms tonality. The key lies in making sure progress is happening from a Saudi perspective. We discovered that many Saudis aren’t

Strategy has always mattered – but it matters more than ever now to our Saudi clients. They ask tough, clear questions, and are focused on the consumer insights more than ever. We find that Saudi clients are extra focused on the ‘why’ – which is a very promising sign for a market that’s rapidly emerging. The shift from an execution-oriented mindset that focused more on output, to a strategic mindset that asks questions and builds a strong foundation of truth before embarking on executions is very real and promising. We’re excited about this development and think that it’s a sign of a marketing maturing in approach.


Local brands from Saudi already have a strong consumer base at home – the opportunity lies in them leveraging that relatively solid home market to take risks and succeed across the region and world. Expansion of the local into global markets is

the single biggest challenge and opportunity on the horizon. If you can make it work in Saudi, suddenly the GCC and MENA are easy expansions for the taking. But the real magic lies in taking Saudi and making it global.


Production standards can be at times inconsistent when it comes to live engagements, activations and media executions, and even though the bar is rapidly being raised, the change (and boom) in the live experiential sector means that events and brand activations need to work extra hard, and spend more to achieve the kind of quality needed. We see things moving in the right direction already with suppliers stepping up their game, but there’s still a way to go to being the regional leader that we believe Saudi could eventually be in this category.


Our biggest change is that we have upped our engagement with local creators rather than influencers. We see a clear preference in Saudi vs. other GCC markets for those who have an authentic ‘do’ besides having great media reach. Local clients and consumers have a disdain for the mediahungry influencer type, and a focus on authenticity that is refreshingly different from many markets. This works well for us as we have long been big advocates for working with local music, graffiti, fashion, and design creators. We hope to continue building relationships with true Saudi creators like Arwa Al Banawi to help them step out onto the global stage – as she did with her 2021 global collab with adidas, a first for the region, and a sign of the kind of voices brands should be putting their money, partnership, and weight behind.


May 30, 2022

Type of agency: PR Founded: 1998 Saudi offices: Riyadh, Jeddah Head of agency: Mohamed Al Ayed, President & Chief Executive Officer +966 11 293 2077 (Riyadh) +966 12 662 5757 (Jeddah)


TRACCS is the MENA region’s largest independent communications consultancy, headquartered in Riyadh, with over 200 professionals working across 13 countries. A multiple award-winning practice, TRACCS is the only MENA-based agency to be featured in the Global Top 250 PR Agency Ranking by PRovoke (#160 in 2022). Founded with the goal of building an indigenous Arab public relations industry, it is the only communications practice with a sustained commitment to nurturing the talent of young communicators across the region, and today has the largest pool of Arabicspeaking communications professionals with 85 per cent of its team comprised of native Arabic speakers.

Mohamed Al Ayed

Majdi Al Ayed

President and Chief Executive Officer

Executive Vice President

SERVICES: Strategic advisory; media engagement; content development; crisis management; CSR; digital; Enrich (communications training); internal communications KEY CLIENTS: Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, Saudi Arabian Military Industries, Bahri, SIPCHEM, Amazon KSA, Mohammed Bin Salman College of Business and Entrepreneurship, Olayan Group, King Abdullah Economic City, Rua Al Madinah, Diriyah Gate Development Authority, Al Balad Development Company, and Saudi Coffee Company AWARDS: TRACCS has won 76 international and regional awards and distinctions for service and creative excellence from PRovoke, The Stevie® Awards, IPRA and PRCA.

We owe our strength, sustenance and success to the collective power of collaboration

We are inspired by our ability to think differently and think big

Creativity Inspires Us

Sarah Al Ayed

Roger Mezher

Chief Strategy Officer

Chief Financial Officer



Drives Us

Empowers Us

Communications With Passion And Purpose

We are fuelled by our ambition to achieve excellence and deliver value


Enriches Us

We are people-first and people-focused

Saudi Arabia | United Arab of Emirates | Bahrain | Kuwait | Qatar | Oman | Lebanon | Jordan | Egypt Turkey | Morocco | Algeria | Tunisia

May 30, 2022

Phenomenal PR and Events


Type of agency: PR & events

Type of agency: Digital

Phenomenal is a Saudi public relations and event management agency founded by Shadi Zahid in 2006. It believes in Saudi capabilities, which is why it is managed by Saudis, giving the company an advantage as it is more in-tune with the local, GCC and MENA markets. Phenomenal provides strategic solutions to clients in order to highlight and improve their company’s image through creative plans that include media relations, event management and promotion campaigns based on international standards.

At Promenti, we provide a complete continuum of marketing and creative services to help you get your message to your clients in a strategic and compelling way. We’ll help you develop a plan to engage your clients and stir them to action, then we unleash our creative team with deep experience across a wide range of marketing disciplines.

SERVICES: Media relation service, event management, press conference, crisis management, IPO camping, team building arrangement, brand activation, CSR activity, fairs event management, sport event services, opening and more


SERVICES: Advertising, digital, branding & design, media, activation, social media, photo video shooting, video production, 2D & 3D animation, music & sound recording, copywriting, signage production, printing, public relations, IT solutions

Pixel Arabia Type of agency: Digital Pixel Arabia is a new media organisation founded in 2006 with so many media faces all geared up towards improving customers’ response to your brand and generating your desired business results. We believe that people buy products, endorse services and create revisions more because of the impression they have continuously of the brand’ behaviour. The small details lead to a big difference. As a dedicated digital partner, taking care of every single pixel of your business towards creating a strong digital image will always be our approach to intensify your brand’s luminance in an ever-evolving era. SERVICES: Website design and development, mobile application development, social media management, digital marketing, digital brand design, online business consultation.

Promovision Type of agency: Events Promovision started its operations in 1993 in Saudi Arabia, managing global brands with the best practices worldwide and meanwhile adapting to local insights and boundaries. It was founded by a Saudi entrepreneur with impeccable credentials, a PHD in logistics and more than 22 years’ experience in the events and experiential field, and operates with the support of a hybrid team of dedicated and experienced fresh graduates to ensure professionalism and liveliness in the work we provide. SERVICES: Events management, experiential marketing, creative concepts and production


Type of agency: Media Ownership: Middle East Communications Network (MCN) /Interpublic Group (IPG) Founded: 2001 Saudi office: Riyadh +966 11 215 3199 +966 54 030 9331 UM is part of Mediabrands, the #1 media agency group in the region as per RECMA. In the latest 2021 published RECMA reports, UM was ranked as the #1 media agency in the region for the fourth year in a row and was also ranked as the #2 media agency in the world. At UM we are committed to futureproofing our clients’ businesses for the now and the next. We leverage the transformational power of rich business analytics and real-time intelligence to maximise growth and activate the full consumer journey across content and connections. Our consultative approach and agile model drive better business outcomes for brands. SERVICES: Digital marketing; holistic analytics; integrated media planning; integrated media buying ; performance marketing KEY CLIENTS: STC, McDonald’s, Sabic, Aramco

Mohammad Mannaa Managing Director, KSA

Ziad Soukkarie General Manager, KSA

Nadeem Ibrahim Head of Digital , KSA

May 30, 2022

Redimpact Type of agency: Creative Founded: 2007 Saudi offices: Jeddah, Riyadh Head of company: Taha Alawi Alsafi A leading Saudi advertising agency and the only Saudi member of The NetworkOne – the largest global network of independent agencies – with a proven track record of achievements and management of megaprojects for public and private sectors, including recognisable projects for Saudi 2030 Vision.


Rowad Media Type of agency: Production house Rowad Media was established in 2005 to provide world-class Arabic media and entertainment content with Saudi hands, to form an integrated, creative work environment in the media and entertainment sectors with professional standards. SERVICES: Media production, renting, cinema, events management, design, theatre, TV, consulting, training, investment

SERVICES: Strategic planning, building brand identity, creative communication, integrated digital marketing solutions, content creation and engagement activities. KEY CLIENTS: Public Investment Fund – PIF, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, General Authority of Entertainment, Unilever, Panda Retail Stores.

Saatchi & Saatchi Rely Type of agency: Media Founded: 2015 Headquartered: Riyadh Head of Company: Ghaleb Abdoun Rely is a media planning and buying agency located in Riyadh. Through a team of experienced media professionals, our job is to make the most effective use of the advertiser’s media budget, where the ad message is delivered to the right audience at the right cost.

Type of agency: Creative, Digital Founded: 1989 Saudi office: Riyadh Head of company: Alex Simonian We’re in the business of getting people to fall in love with our clients’ products and services. We believe passionately in the power of ideas to differentiate and motivate. And to change the world for the better. SERVICES: Creative work for print, outdoor, digital and social media; communication and social media planning; community management and reporting KEY CLIENTS: Salam Mobile, AMC Cinemas

SERVICES: Media consultancy; digital & traditional media planning; media investment management; market research KEY CLIENTS: Max, Centrepoint, Homecentre, Splash, Home Box, Camel Club

Silkdeer Entertainment Ritix Group Type of agency: Production house Ritix Group was established in Saudi Arabia in 2006 to provide effective solutions to develop business in the private, public and non-profit sectors through its consulting, production, media and investment companies. Ritix Group is one of the leading companies in the kingdom, with more than 200 projects completed. Our number of employees exceeds 50. Ritix is headquartered in Jeddah, with offices in Dubai, Cairo, Beirut, and Riyadh.

Rocket Interactive Type of agency: Digital +966 53 555 3740 Building an intergalactic experience in digital product design and development, leading to a digital transformation journey. We are inviting you for an intergalactic experience to offer a new innovative concept and technology that will serve your brand and make it thrive all the way to the stratosphere. We offer innovation and creativity to redefine your experience to connect digitally with your client by creating outstanding websites and applications that offer the best user experience on any device.

Type of agency: Production house Silkdeer Entertainment is a leading entertainment group in Saudi Arabia. Upon establishment, 2002, the company began with film production and motion graphics, and due to the absence of broadcast networks and cinema, focus shifted to the private sector, a market that has long desired local and quality productions. Today, Silkdeer Entertainment is home to a consortium of companies in a variety of disciplines, all within the entertainment field. Each company operates individually in its realm of expertise.

Sketch Creative Boutique Type of agency: Creative Services: Branding, advertising +966 12 639 0066


May 30, 2022

Smart Social


Type of agency: Digital

Type of agency: Creative

We are diligently looking for everything new in the world of social media – all the hidden technologies, all the distinctive success stories around the world, and on the basis of which we develop our long executive list. Then we take all these technologies to put them in your hands and achieve your goals, and therefore our team is a social media agency; they are not just a group of people who live on the internet.

Tajalla is that companion you can rely on to set your business on the right path and take you by hand to the right audience on the right ride.

Taurus Type of agency: Creative Intrinsic values make up the basis for any human experience and facilitate delivering the desired impact. We believe that every experience is a human experience, and that learning only comes from doing. Hence, using empathy and intuition as our primary tools, at Taurus we design experiences that fulfill human needs, address human preferences and unlock human mindsets. We are living proof that when like-hearted, like-minded and like-intended people come together; they redefine the limits of what is possible. SERVICES: Branding design, business and marketing strategy, experiential design, digital design and technology, service design, product design, design thinking workshops.

SERVICES: Strategy, branding, social media management, OOH, radio ads, video, photography, copywriting, SEO, advertisement, design, motion graphics, signage, web design, infographics, publications.

Telfaz11 Type of agency: Creative Founded: 2011 Saudi office: Riyadh CEO: Alaa Yousef Fadan A creative media production company with offices in Saudi Arabia and the UAE specialising in locally relevant entertainment content from the Middle East. Led by a passionate team of storytellers and social influencers, the company specialises in digital content creation and client-led commercial productions, with an eye to expand its unique offering to long-form series, movies and feature films. SERVICES: Content creation, digital storytelling, creative entertainment, media production, creative ideation, influencer management. KEY CLIENTS: STC, Salamatak (Gulf Health Council), MiSK, IKEA, Burger King, Marsoul, Dunkin Donuts, Zain

Type of agency: PR Co-founders: Abdullah Inayat, Abdulrahman Inayat Headquarters: Jeddah +966 12 661 4579 +966 56 720 1039


W7Worldwide is an award-winning independent marketing communications consultancy that has established itself as a prominent agency in Saudi Arabia. Our understanding of the local market, combined with our global reach and knowledge, gives us the edge and unique ability to bridge our clients with their audiences. Communicating effectively with audiences has become essential for the survival of brands the world over and we use our local insight of the market as an innovative solution to this concern. We have extensive national and international experience in the technology, healthcare, government, corporate, consumer and entertainment sectors and their various subdivisions.

Abdulrahman Inayat co-founder

SPECIALISMS: Corporate reputations; corporate communications; reputation management; crisis management; stakeholder mapping & engagement; media outreach and media relations; research & data analytics; executive positioning; public affairs; brand solutions AWARDS: 49 nominations in 2021; ICCO Awards 2021; MEPRA 2021; PRCA MENA Digital 2021; PRCA MENA Regional Awards 2022; Marketing Conference 2.0 Regional

Abdullah Inayat co-founder

May 30, 2022

tph DDB

VMLY&R Commerce MENA

Type of agency: Creative

Type of agency: Creative & digital Founded: 2021 CEO, VMLY&R Commerce MENA: Nick Walsh

DDB is one of the world’s largest and most awarded advertising and marketing networks and part of the Omnicom Group. With over 25 years’ experience in the kingdom, DDB´s ethos has come to life in a uniquely Arabic manner. We understand that that although Arabic is the common language, the variety of cultures that reside in the country couldn’t be more different, and each has to be considered when crafting creative communication. SERVICES: Design, advertising


VMLY&R Commerce sits at the centre of WPP’s commerce and experiential pillars, offering brands future-fit solutions that lead to conversion. We focus on the inseparable relationship that binds CX/UX with shopper XP to deliver tangible solutions at the moments that matter. Marrying the best of VMLY&R’s creative & digital capabilities with Geometry’s deep understanding of people and shopper behaviour, we have founded the ultimate end-to-end creative commerce company. SPECIALISMS: Next-gen commerce unification; connected digital and physical experiences; retail activation; design product innovation; brand & business creative consultancy KEY CLIENTS: Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Arena, British American Tobacco, Twitter, Colgate, The Galleria Al Maryah Island Abu Dhabi, Roads & Transport Authority, Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, BP Castrol, Global AI Summit, Dubai Taxi Corporation

TTP Type of agency: Creative TTP is a creative agency that started in 2012 with one objective: to be your creative partner that helps in all your business and marketing needs. Your team of account managers, creative thinkers, experience and visual designers is there to partner with you to make great things that resonate. SERVICES: Marketing, marketing strategy, branding, advertising, content creation, art direction

Ubrand Type of agency: Creative Ubrand was founded on the idea of providing creative communication solutions characterised by progressive thinking and commitment to the client’s success. It reflects a desire to create and spark dialogue between people and brands through communication channels without sacrificing local culture authenticity. SERVICES: Advertising, digital marketing, social marketing, brand development, communication, content marketing, branding, media, media production, and events

We the loft Type of agency: Creative We build brands and materialise their image. Our brands constantly evolve, because their core is a soul with a consistent, relatable, and memorable identity. SERVICES: Strategy & direction, consultation, brand strategy, communication strategy, art direction, photography & motion, stop motion, motion graphics, branding & design, web design, print & editorial, packaging, illustration, social media branding, social media content creation, design, animation, videography

Weber Shandwick MENAT Agency Type: PR Founded: 1983 Saudi office: Riyadh CEO: Ziad Hasbani Email: Weber Shandwick is a leading, full-service, integrated, global communications and marketing services agency that brings traditional communications into the digital age. Our team comprises strategists, creatives, digital specialists and media/social experts who believe in the power of collaboration to deliver high-value, high-impact communications and business solutions for our clients. SERVICES: Corporate reputation; banking and financial services; consumer marketing; government communications; crisis and issues management KEY CLIENTS: Mastercard, Ericsson, Netflix, General Motors, First Abu Dhabi Bank



Type of agency: Creative

Type of agency: Creative

Uturn, the leading Arabic entertainment network in MENA, was founded in 2010 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Uturn produces premium content with the aim to promote Arabic content globally. SERVICES: Entertainment, YouTube, online media, MCN, MPN, production, branded content, influencer marketing, social media, social media marketing, content creation, digital media, digital, digital marketing, consultancy, digital agency, social media agency, snapchat, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, communications, marketing, strategy, marketing strategy, and brand building.

More than a traditional communications agency, Xelement operates as a consultancy, working closely with marketing teams to build sound strategic solutions to complex business problems. As an award-winning agency, we engage deeply with strategic challenges, and only when we’ve identified that one key element pivotal to success, do we develop and execute brand communication and advertising. We’re exposed to thousands of commercial messages a day. Hundreds of hours of video will be uploaded by the time you finish reading this sentence. Digital media has changed everything we knew about the ways brands should behave. Today’s world is loud and fast. To succeed, marketing plans need more than traditional solutions.

T to he S d m aud ays sh K or i o o in e A f Th o wc gd ad rab tak e W f t ase om ver ia ing he g . t u a is na c in l a Co ork ME rea g ter m su m se N t w is e pa re e ct A o be d ig yo an ion reg rk a u d a o io fro is ing re b n an se d f o n m pr m e d n m u .F o a h t w d u ire r w ind Sau ud de ind ran ith s y , b eb c d to fo u s p th ou e in sit on i, as co r an s. M or n t e i r b sp e, en w t d o tin nd es ir ca t el inu in re g us t w ed mp lik l as ou th an it tr o an ai e t th sl e d y. rk d g hi e y to m nm s i re sh ak e. n st ar e com e .


66 May 30, 2022




i pa

Experience the very best of

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

Articles inside

TRANSFORMED PERCEPTION article cover image


page 30
THE MAJOR THEMES article cover image


page 29
JUST THE JOB article cover image


page 28
LOCALISE TO FIT IN article cover image


page 27
READY. SAUDI. GROW article cover image


page 26
THE SAUDI PLAYBOOK article cover image


page 25


page 24
A GIGA OPPORTUNITY article cover image


page 23
IT’S IN THE GAME article cover image


page 22
STRIKING THE RIGHT NOTE article cover image


page 21
CHANGING TIDES article cover image


page 20


pages 17-18
COMING BACK FOR MORE article cover image


page 14
THINK DIFFERENT article cover image


page 15


pages 8-9
A VIABLE ALTERNATIVE article cover image


page 5
HOPE COMES TO THE FORE article cover image


pages 6-7
LEARNING FROM THE NUMBERS article cover image


page 16
SYNERGY IN SAUDI ARABIA article cover image


page 19
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.