Campaign Middle East - 19 December 2022

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A MOTIVATE PUBLICATION AED25/USD7/SR25 #310 December 19, 2022 Agency of the Year ME winners. P16 Top 15 Cinema Ads The Year in Spotify Top 10 Pitches Top 15 Film Campaigns Top 10 Digital and Social Top 20 Movers and Shakers The Year in Social Media Top 10 The Spin The Year in AdTech Top 10 YouTube Videos Media Milestones
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In a year that saw Russia invade Ukraine, global climate anxiety skyrocket and a mad billionaire buy Twitter, the MENA region for once fared better than many other regions. We have wrapped up a successful Expo and bitten our nails during the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East.

In this issue we have tried to sum up the year in our annual round-up, but a list of lists can only go so far. How many important hires didn’t make it to our list of movers and shakers? How many news stories just missed out on our Top 20? How many pieces of work were edged out, argued down or overlooked? As always, we have to have seen it to print it. If your big announcement or campaign isn’t here, did you send it to us so it was on our radar? If you didn’t, make sure you do next year. If you did, it was at number 21 on our list, first-runner-up, I swear.

Of course, you – all of you, whether you made the lists or not – are who made this year what it is. It’s you who toiled into the night over whirring MacBooks, who scrunched up sketch after sketch until the idea was just right, who waxed lyrical and wowed the client in that pitch meeting. I hope how we have summed up the year at least reminds you of your experiences over the past 12 months.

A big section of this issue is taken up with photos of proud people holding trophies. They are the winners of our inaugural Agency of the Year Middle East awards, and as an industry we’ve done ourselves proud. We are a talented and competitive region, and I’m looking forward to seeing these awards grow year-on-year as more agencies look to challenge this year’s winners, and this year’s winners look to defend their titles. If you can’t wait a full year for the next regional event, the Global Agency of the Year awards are now open for entries. I truly believe agencies in the MENA region can compete with and beat the best in the rest of the world, so do enter and prove me right.

But I will be watching from afar, since this is my last Campaign Annual, and the January issue will be my last in my current role. I am leaving the UAE to move to Thailand, where my new wife has a new job and I will have new adventures. After more than six years I will be leaving on a high note, with the Campaign brand in great shape and supported by a flourishing industry. The search is on for my successor, who will be working with a phenomenally talented, pleasant, fun and quirky team. I know you will continue to support them and make sure there is never a dull moment, as always. In the meantime, I will be available for editing, writing, MCing, mime, dancing, conjuring, medical experimentation or anything else that keeps life interesting.

I have one issue left to edit, which will be our Predictions issue in January. In the meantime, my prediction is that you will enjoy reading this issue and celebrating the industry, and that you will have a splendid festive season and new year. See you in 2023.

Motivate Media Group

Head Office: 34th Floor, Media One Tower, Dubai Media City, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 4 427 3000, Fax: +971 4 428 2266, 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: +97126573401, Email: Saudi arabia: Office 452, Regus Offices, 4th Floor, Al Hamad Tower,

December 19, 2022 3
INTRODUCTION CONTENTS 8 THE YEAR IN REVIEW 12 MARCOMMS360 IN PICTURES 16 AGENCY OF THE YEAR AWARDS WINNERS 36 TOP 20 NEWS STORIES 38 TOP 10 PITCHES 40 MEDIA MILESTONES 42 THE YEAR IN ADTECH 43 THE YEAR IN SOCIAL MEDIA 44 TOP 20 MOVERS AND SHAKERS 46 TOP 15 FILM CAMPAIGNS 48 TOP 20 INTEGRATED AND ACTIVATION CAMPAIGNS 50 TOP 10 DIGITAL AND SOCIAL CAMPAIGNS 52 TOP 15 CINEMA CAMPAIGNS 54 THE YEAR IN SPOTIFY 56 TOP 10 YOUTUBE VIDEOS 58 TOP 10 THE SPIN AUSTYN ALLISON EDITOR, CAMPAIGN MIDDLE EAST GOT A VIEW? 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. CampaignMiddleEastincludes material reproduced from the UK Edition (and other editions) of Campaign , which is the copyright of Haymarket. Campaignis 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.
EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Obaid Humaid Al Tayer Managing Partner and Group Editor Ian Fairservice Senior Editor Austyn Allison Senior Reporter Jalaja Ramanunni Junior Web Reporter Ishwari Khatu DESIGN Art Director Clarkwin Cruz 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 Campaign ME @campaignME
King Fahad Road, Al Olaya, PO.Box 12381, Riyadh 6764, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Tel: +966 11 834 3595 / +966 11 834 3596 Fax: +966 11 8343501 London: Motivate Publishing Ltd, Acre House, 11/15 William Road, London NW1 3ER.


The NFT market has crashed, wiping out billions of dollars in value. DappRadar reported a drop in net sales from $12.5bn in 2022’s first quarter to $3.4bn in the third quarter. Whether trade volume, NFT games sales (Axie Infinity and Gods Unchained) or art collectibles (CryptoPunk and Bored Ape Yacht Club), crash reports have been filling news sites since spring. But what are NFTs, and why are they important?

A non-fungible token (NFT) is a form of digital unit coded on the blockchain, designating ownership to its holder. Each NFT is designed to be unique, unlike cryptocurrencies that are interchangeable. While the blockchain can’t accommodate a massive amount of data, the data the NFT holds is linked with items such as images, videos, audio, or even in some cases physical objects. In other words, an NFT is a digital proof of ownership or certificate of authenticity that cannot be copied, substituted or subdivided since it is forever recorded on the blockchain public ledger. The last two-year boom in the market has dismissed the value of NFT technology and placed emphasis on its associated art.

Opensea is the largest and first NFT marketplace, established in 2017. It hosts art, music, photography, trading cards and virtual worlds. Rarible focuses on buying and selling art, collectibles and video game assets, and signed a deal with Adobe in 2021 to verify metadata and ensure the authenticity of the creators on its platform. Binance, a late joiner in the NFT world, opened its marketplace in 2021 but has been a player in the cryptocurrency exchange since 2017. Binance offers artwork, gaming items and collectible NFTs at a low fee.

With the hype on NFTs peaking, many brands surfed the waves. According to its creator Dapper Labs, the NBA’s Top Shot product is among the stars, with reported sales of $224m in February 2021. The store sells legendary moments in sports history, an equivalent to collectible cards. In August 2022, Tiffany & Co announced a collaboration with CryptoPunk NFTs to appeal to younger audiences. It created a collection called NFTiff that provides 250 digital passes to claim a custom-made Tiffany pendant using 18 carats of rose or yellow gold with a minimum of 30 gemstones and diamonds to portray a likeness of the CryptoPunk art. The collection is sold out. The pendants will be available to passholders beginning in early 2023. On November 14, 2022, Nike announced the launch of its Swoosh marketplace, which will feature NFTs as digital assets for games and the metaverse, and future collaborations with athletes. “We are shaping a marketplace of the future with an accessible platform for the web 3-curious,” says Ron Faris, GM of Nike Virtual Studios. The platform is accessible to beta users and will launch its first collection in 2023.

In the Middle East, several innovative NFT marketplaces are emerging. Nifty Souq launched in August 2021, the first and largest platform for the region to make and sell NFTs. It offers user-owned digital goods,

including songs, music, illustrations, gifs, poetry and many more assets. Nuqtah welcomes all artists and art fans and allows local fiat currency purchases, making entry into the NFT space easy. Nfty Arabia and are launching marketplaces that let users trade art from the region. Another notable NFT marketplace is While the platform has yet to launch, it promises curated content, giving it a unique niche. This marketplace might be a key facilitator for brands to enter the ‘purposeful’ NFT market beyond digital trading and avatar art NFTs.

The involvement of MENA brands in the NFT space is in its infancy. Art Dubai held a real-life NFT and digital art marketplace early this year for its 15th annual fair, called ‘Art Dubai Digital’. Dubai Culture also launched Morrow, a platform that curates NFT arts. The Ministry of Culture in Saudi Arabia launched an NFT digital art forum in partnership with Sotheby’s and the Visual Arts Commission. And in April 2022, Emirates announced its entry into the metaverse and NFTs. NFT-watchers hope the airline will go beyond collecting and trading digital NFT assets to explore the possibility of NFT tickets and rewards programmes, leading the NFT utility to a new height locally and internationally.

According to a report published in July 2022, NFT market potential will grow from $3.42bn in 2022 to $18.22bn by 2028. The market growth of purposeful NFTs is critical for that projection. Chainalysis economist Ethan McMahon says the current crash is a needed shake-up of the market to move away from crypto assets like avatar images and more towards innovative NFTs with utilities (gaming, royalties, real-life asset ownership, etc.). NFT technology has yet to showcase its potential, and brands need to embrace the true essence that could revolutionise customer loyalty and enhance targeted advertising.

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Following a crash in the NFT market, SAE Institute’s Hiba Hassan examines what the future might hold

Vodafone Qatar scores with match updates in the universal language of hip-hop

Vodafone Qatar partners with Qatari hip-hop artist Big Soof to create cross-cultural pre-match raps

When Qatar became the first Arab country to host the biggest sporting event, Vodafone Qatar pledged to contribute to the nation’s success by using its technology even though it was not an official sponsor. So while many brands focused on the teams and players, Vodafone Qatar promised to be the greatest supporter of the most important people that help shape the game: the fans.

In line with our “We Fan Together” campaign launched for the event, together with Wunderman Thompson Doha, we created a series of activities which showcased brilliant local talents and led to the best experience for the fans. The campaign consisted of multiple unique and meaningful activations that accompanied fans throughout their experience of the greatest event on earth. And one such activation was the series of lyrical pre-match commentaries.


Match commentaries are crucial to the magic of the games. Beyond providing up-to-date information, they serve to rouse the passion of the fans. Vodafone Qatar broke away from the norm by adding a unique twist: pre-match information done in perhaps the most popular and emotionally impactful music

genre today – rap. Rap was chosen as it is a music genre that cuts across cultures and exists in many countries and languages, from English to Arabic, Japanese to Spanish.

The raps were written and performed by Qatari talent, Yousef Al Sulaiti - more popularly known as ‘Big Soof’. A local talent with universal appeal, he is one of the first Qatari rappers, and has performed at the opening ceremony of the FIFA Arab Cup 2021™.


Each rap combines English and Arabic, with lyrics written to a specific upcoming match. So beyond entertaining, the lyrics also provided fans with quick info on the teams and their previous performance. Set to catchy hip-hop music, the rhythm and spirit of the rap also escalate to align with the emotional journeys of fans as the tournament moves from the group stages towards the round of 16 and eventually, the finals.

Music videos featuring Big Soof are created and published across various social platforms to cater to diverse audiences, from Instagram to TikTok Audience engagement was high, with the views reaching over 10 million on TikTok within the first 10 days of launch.

The recorded tracks were also made available on Spotify and Anghami.

“I’m honoured to collaborate with Vodafone’s latest campaign, and to be supporting the most exciting time for Qatar as a country. It’s something out of the box for any Qatari brand to call this bold shot and I see it as hope for future talents. The whole experience has been great fun and allowed me to really stretch the boundaries of my creativity, as I try to communicate the values and personalities of the teams in a way which engages the listener and includes a lot of different ideas knowing the restrictions and event protocols. It’s also inspiring to be part of something which is ultimately uniting people through the power of music, sport and innovation.”

December 19, 2022 05 PARTNER CONTENT
Yousef Al Sulaiti, Big Soof

Dubai Lynx International Festival of Creativity, a part of the Cannes Lions family, announced jury presidents for its 2023 awards. Simon Cook, chief executive officer of Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity spoke to delegates at an event in Dubai to share his insights on themes and trends that emerged from winning campaigns at this year’s awards in France. Cook picked out three themes that emerged from the festival after researchers analysed winning pieces of work across 44 countries and spoke to 70 jury presidents, jurors and winners.


Being culturally relevant is an ongoing pursuit for many brands. Today, it means inserting yourself into stories and precise moments that really matter. Topicality is particularly important when there are lots of big events and crises taking place around the world simultaneously. It can be tricky to identify topics that work while brands have several opportunities to engage their audiences. Tactical topicality is about hijacking newsworthy, trending points to engage a target audience with great precision. Consider Chipotle, a brand whose recipe for success includes capitalising on cultural moments.

Chipotle has a dedicated team of ‘culture hunters’ who track global conversations. It is constantly trying to understand what is happening in the world. The team helps Chipotle identify where to play, and more importantly where not to play and when not to have a stance.

Cook’s first recommendation is to invest in sophisticated cultural listening and keep up with trending topics. The second is to transition into an agile operating model that means optimising internal and external processes to execute an idea as quickly as possible.


Emotion and empathy are elements that can unlock magic and result in creativity. Brand empathy is about genuinely putting yourself in the shoes of the customer. It is crucial to bridge the gap between how you see your brand and how customers see your brand. Sean Healy, global chief strategy officer at Carat, says emotionally intelligent brands that have mastered empathy are currently enjoying accelerated growth. According to Carat, the top 20 emotionally intelligent brands in the world saw a 910 per cent increase in stock market gain between 2010 and 2021. Take a look at German Supermarket Penny’s Christmas ad ‘The Wish’, the winner of the Cannes Lion 2022 Film Craft Grand Prix. The ad, conceived and realised by Serviceplan, captured a perspective that many overlooked at the time: parents’ main concern during Covid-19 was the irretrievable experiences their children missed out on during the pandemic. The work emphasies that looking at the entire story can unearth an accurate insight. We may want to take a leaf out of Penny’s book: listen more carefully to stay in touch with how people


are affected by current events in real time. Empathy must begin at the source, which means asking the right questions. Digging into individual experiences will help capture the emotions behind closed everyday moments, which can then be turned into creativity.


Metacommerce bridges the gap between physical commerce and the convenience of online shopping. It is the next logical step in the evolution of e-commerce. Cook and his team chose to focus on metacommerce instead of tackling the metaverse more broadly.

Today’s products are multiversal – they exist in multiple spaces – and this fundamentally changes the way we shop and buy things. It allows brands to virtually test products, collect consumer feedback and build a fanbase simultaneously. Brands are figuring out how they can coexist and integrate physical products with virtual ones. We see hybrid work where the commerce element is starting to straddle both virtual and physical worlds. Adidas Ozworld had a bespoke partnership with Ready Player Me. It allowed consumers to explore a new aspirational connection in the metaverse using a unique avatar. The avatars were personalised based on

people’s personal responses to a simple personality test. This level of personalisation prompted people to sell their unique avatars, fetching up to $1,000 and more – and this is just phase one. Adidas brought the metacommerce aspect to life by giving its NFT grant holders exclusive access to Adidas Originals products and first access to merchandise at no extra cost. This is the possible future direction of metacommerce.

Studies show that the metaverse could be an $8 trillion opportunity. NFTs have a chance to be incredibly beneficial and blockchain is the most profound technology we have seen since the internet. For anyone thinking about the metaverse and what web 3.0 can offer, the most important metric at the moment is: are you out there experimenting? Do you understand what this could lead to?

Dubai Lynx is the regional festival and awards show where the creative communications industry come together to learn, network and celebrate the power of creativity. The one-day festival is scheduled for March 14, 2023 and the award ceremony will take place on March 15, when winners will be announced at the Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai. Entries are being accepted until February 2, 2023.

December 19, 2022 06
Cannes Lions’ Simon Cook recently presented findings from this year’s awards. Jalaja Ramanunni summarises his briefing




Sunday. The move brought the country in line with European and other western economies, and government workers also get Friday afternoon off for prayers. (In Sharjah they can take all of Friday off.) The way the private sector tackled Fridays varied from allowing Muslims time to pray to giving staff all of Friday off, and everything in between including half days, work-from-home and ‘no pressure Fridays’ to catch up on tasks without having to officially clock in.

of the year had been decided by the public, and with almost 320,000 votes, 93 per cent of the total cast, ‘goblin mode’ left second-place ‘metaverse’ (with 14,484 votes) standing.


The tech sector has been going through a period of turmoil – or correction, depending on one’s stance.

Our sister title, Campaign UK, has poetically called 2022 “one of those critical transitional periods from the history books when things began to steadily unravel and fall apart”. It was writing from the background of Great Britain, which has had three prime ministers and two monarchs so far this year. The Middle East, for once, was slightly more stable than some other regions, but we are as susceptible as the next bloc to the whims and foibles of global economic, political and social trends.

It was February when Russian President Vladimir Putin’s insistences that he was not going to invade Ukraine rang hollow and troops marched on Kiev. The effects of the war on the prices of grain and oil would contribute to a cost-of-living crisis that has seen consumer prices and inflation rates rise around the world. While the GCC may not be struggling to heat its homes as much as other regions, consumer confidence has still been affected and it is unlikely the Middle East will escape the effects of a global slow-down.

The GCC has stayed fairly buoyant so far, however, with Expo Dubai 2020 keeping its doors open until March 31 (and reopening later in the year as Expo City) and the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 kicking off in November. These two spectacles have ensured a constant flow of tourists, while Russians and Ukrainians escaping war and its economic and social side-effects have ensured that house prices and residents’ spending also remain high.


At the start of 2022, the UAE shifted from a Friday-Saturday weekend to Saturday-

Changes to the working week came as the region’s ad industry – among other sectors –was rethinking its approach to office work. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown how much can be achieved by working remotely, as well as shining a light on the mental and physical wellbeing of employees. Agencies, clients, suppliers and media alike have been offering their staff more flexible ways to work, realising that a traditional, rigorous, nine-to-six office environment is not always the most productive. In few places is that more true than in the creative industries.

However, flexible working and more ‘me time’ hasn’t led to the romantic lattes-andyoga homeworking utopia that WFH romantics imagined. ‘Goblin mode’ became the Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year, which the OED defines as “a type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations”. It was the first year the word

While blockchain crypto bros are breathing into paper bags at the collapse of digital exchange FTX, the big story in media tech is divisive billionaire Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter. After a period of will-he-won’t-he, he did. Then he walked into the platform’s offices holding a sink and fired half his new staff. If rumours are to be believed, he next tried to cajole many of them back since no one else knew how to do their jobs. So far Musk’s reign has been chaotic, with scandals over fake blue ticks, arbitrary account suspensions and Twitter users leaving in droves. Many of the remaining Twitterati are hanging around like wedding guests saying they must get going but not quite finding the door.

At Facebook parent company Meta, Mark Zuckerberg was much more contrite about layoffs. After making more than 11,000 staff redundant (representing 13 per cent of the Meta workforce), the CEO said he was taking responsibility for the situation after wrongly predicting that increases in e-commerce at the start of Covid, which led to a rise in

December 19, 2022 08
Despite a tumultuous year for geopolitics and technology, the region has been protected from the worst international storms. A maturing market lies behind some impressive performances at home and abroad.
Austyn Allison
Expo 2020 Dubai

revenue growth for Meta, would continue after the pandemic ended. In its Q2 results call, Meta reported a 52 per cent fall in net income to $4.4bn and a 4 per cent drop in advertising revenues to $27.2bn

In October 2021, Facebook had rebranded itself as Meta, plonking its eggs firmly into the metaverse basket. This year there has been a lot of talk about the metaverse, and brands are beginning to set up shop there, while agencies are building their in-house expertise. But so far consumer buy-in has been limited. It’s likely that in coming years adoption, understanding and innovation will grow together.

Already, 2022 has seen a number of brands and agencies establish at least a presence in the metaverse. Among this year’s cyberimmigrants are Neom, Havas, Vice, BPG and Lightblue.

Meanwhile, Snap has been doubling down on augmented reality (AR). The company behind the camera-based social app Snapchat is betting on a future where people prefer to use technology to interact with the real world rather than escape from it. It has been partnering with regional clients including Pepsi, Centrepoint and STC to provide lens-based experiences that build both brand loyalty and direct sales. The company rolled out a suite of upgrades that allow businesses to develop their own AR more easily and at lower cost. However, in August, Snap too was reported to be laying off some 20 per cent of its 6,400 employees and restructuring after its lowest rate of quarterly growth since it went public in 2017.

As with the metaverse, advertisers are still finding their way around blockchain-based non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Horizon FCB picked up an agency record of three Silver Lions in Cannes with its Breakchains with Blockchain for the Children of Female Prisoners Association. The MMA Smarties this year launched what it claims is the first tokenised award, presented as an NFT, and Nestle, Accenture and e& have all made forays into the NFT market.


In the adtech space, cookies are taking longer to die than an operatic heroine, with Google scrapping its Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) project and announcing that it will postpone its phase-out of cookies until 2024.

One local adtech company that’s had a good year is ArabyAds, which raised $30m in funding from AfricInvest in August and

bought out influencer marketing platform Indahash in October.

In the region, Saudi Arabia has continued to be where the action is. To take just one of many megaprojects driving the Kingdom’s economy, the groundwork is being laid for The Line, a 170km megabuilding that will eventually be home to 9 million people in the midst of the new Neom city on the Red Sea.

SRMG, MBC and Amazon all announced new offices in the Kingdom, and companies from Dubai and further afield are continuing to expand into the market. The Qode, MBC Studios, Kingsmen, Assembly, Spiro, Imagination and Jack Morton all announced they were putting people on the ground or enlarging their operations.


The last time Cannes Lions took place physically, in 2019, Impact BBDO came home from France with the region’s first Grand Prix for its Blank Edition for Lebanese newspaper AnNahar in the Print category. This year, agencies were able to quaff rosé on the Croisette again, and the region outshone itself. Impact won another Grand Prix for the same client in the same category with The Election Edition, and Havas Middle East won an Outdoor Grand Prix with Adidas’s Liquid Billboard. UAE agencies also dominated at the Loeries in South Africa, and regional work has been awarded and honoured at other high-profile shows around the world, from the D&AD to the London International Awards, the Clios and the Crestas.

It wasn’t just on the awards stage that the region shone at Cannes. SRMG’s cabana hosted talks, presentations and debates that showed just how serious the Saudi broadcaster and publisher is about being seen as a true international player. And UAE Government Media Office’s Khaled AlShehhi’s talk on government communications saw a queue of creatives and communicators waiting to talk to the man who is spearheading one of the best programmes of state messaging in the world.

Cannes was targeted by Greenpeace protestors who brought the messaging, “There is no creativity on a dead planet”. A former Cannes Lions winner, Gustav Martner, disrupted the festival’s opening ceremony when he took to the stage to protest ads promoting fossil fuels. Previously, Martner has won awards at the festival for his work with cars and airlines, but this year he stole the limelight to unfurl a banner that read: “No awards on a dead planet. Ban fossil ads!”

No such protests happened at the regional iteration of Lions, the Dubai Lynx. Although the festival didn’t return in full (it will be back as a one-day event in 2023), the awards dinner took place for the first time since Covid, at the Dubai Opera.

The Network Of The Year was BBDO Worldwide, followed by Havas Creative and then TBWA Worldwide, with those networks’ Dubai agencies taking the top agency spots in the same order.

During the show, the Advertiser of the Year award was presented to Ikea, which currently has its creative brief out for pitch. Abu Dhabi airline and UAE national carrier Etihad is

December 19, 2022 09
Campaign’s Saudi Briefing Tanvir Kanji

also being tendered, although reliable industry sources say Impact BBDO will soon be announced as the winner. This will go some way to making up for that agency’s loss of e&, which moved its creative account to Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi, probably the largest single account shift of 2022.

Etisalat was the most high profile rebrand in the region in 2022, when the UAE telco changed its name to the hard-to-google ‘e&’. But it was far from alone in rethinking its corporate identity. Nakheel, Abu Dhabi Airports, Al Hilal and Oman insurance also rebranded. As did Mashreq. The bank even got itself a new sonic identity.


A lot of messaging from brands has been around ESG, where the triple pillars of environment, social responsibility and governance have been on the rise. And many rebrands have been shifting focus to companies’ human, empathetic and authentic credentials.

The ESG focus can be seen as a corollary to re-thought workplace practices, where brands have been emphasising their responsibility to their staff as well as their customers.

Egypt hosted Cop27 this year, which brought climate concerns closer than ever to the region. Next year the environmental conference will be hosted in the UAE, and while brands have been flexing their sustainability muscles, agencies have been finding ways to help them – and earn some consultancy revenue in doing so. Cicero & Bernay released its second CSR report in June, and Asda’a announced an ESG survey. It also opened its OnePoint5 practice, an ESG advisory dedicated to the region. Other agencies launching specialist units included Apco Worldwide, Havas Red and Houbara Communications.

Notable account shifts this year included Centrepoint, which went to Dubai-based independent creative shop And Us, and Betty Crocker, whose creative brief moved to FP7. FP7 also won the social media account for Heinz. Havas, already doing award-winning work with Adidas in other disciplines, won the sports brand’s social remit. Merkle won the digital brief for Pizza Hut, and We Are Social (represented in the region by Socialize) won Starbucks’ strategic and creative brief in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In PR, Cicero & Bernay took over comms for Property Finder, and Tales and Heads, which launched last year, won the communications brief for automotive giant Stellantis.

In media, Abu Dhabi Media announced it would be represented by Starzplay, and after a successful first year together, MBC Media Solutions (MMS) renewed its agreement to sell Saudi Sports Company’s (SSC’s) inventory.

In July, Group M, the media group of holding company WPP, announced that its popular and respected MENA CEO Ravi Rao would be leaving the company. Group M EMEA CEO Demet Ikilier said: “Ravi expressed his desire to step down and look for new opportunities after having been with the GroupM business for over 14 years, the

last seven of those located in MENA. As GroupM MENA CEO, Ravi played an active part in building strong relationships with media and clients alike via his approachable personal style, honesty and direct approach, which helped grow our business.”

The industry mourned the passing this year of Tanvir Kanji, chairman of the Inca Group of Companies and founder of that group’s flagship Inca Tanvir Advertising. He had been named Advertising Person of the Year by Dubai Lynx in 2009. Firdaus Sharif, head of marketing at Schneider Electric, and Tarek El Kady, senior marketing director at McDonald’s Middle East, also passed away.

At the start of the year, Horizon Holdings, part of Interpublic Group (IPG) and FCB Global, announced the elevation of two leaders: Rafic Saadeh and Mazen Jawad. Horizon Holdings’ co-founder and partner, Saadeh, was elevated from chairman and CEO to executive chairman, and Jawad will serve as CEO. He was previously the company’s president.

In other promotions, Impact BBDO regional ECD Ali Rez was promoted to chief creative officer (CCO) for the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan. He takes over from Paul Shearer, who was made global creative client lead at Wunderman Thompson last year. “Ali is one of my

favourite people,” said David Lubars, CCO of BBDO Worldwide. “He’s a shining light who embodies the BBDO trifecta: a brilliant creative; a brilliant leader; a good soul.”

Saleh Ghazal, previously managing director of Omnicom Media Group’s OMD Dubai, was promoted to CEO of OMD MENA, a market where he will oversee a network of 12 offices. Sister OMG agency Hearts & Science named Rasha Rteil UAE managing director, following her predecessor Dana Sarkis’s decision to relocate to Europe.

At Middle East Communications network, Oliver Robinson moved from being ECD at FP7 McCann to the same role at sister company MullenLowe MENA. FP7 McCann Dubai confirmed Aunindo (Auni) Sen as its new ECD, to work alongside chief creative officer Federico Fanti. Sen has returned to FP7 McCann after a brief stint with Publicis Groupe where he served as senior creative director at Leo Burnett.

Leo Burnett, in turn, hired Kalpesh Patankar as chief creative officer. He had previously been CCO at VMLY&R for 13 years, during which time he became one of the region’s – and the world’s – most awarded creative leaders. VMLY&R merged with VMLY&R Commerce in 2022, with Nick Walsh at the helm.

In December, TBWA/Raad announced a new ECD, Paulo Areas, a Brazilian creative who had previously been serving as CCO at UK agency ForeverBeta.

At Memac Ogilvy, Claus Adams has returned to the region as the agency’s first dedicated UAE CEO. In 2008, he was tasked with establishing creative commerce brand OgilvyAction (which became Geometry and then VMLY&R Commerce) in the Middle East and North Africa, serving as MENA regional director until 2013. Since leaving the region, Adams had held the titles of EMEA CEO for Geometry and VMLY&R Commerce CEO in Germany.


In terms of measurement, 2022 was a year of making steps towards new metrics. The

December 19, 2022 10
Al Rayyan Stadium in Qatar

Saudi people-meter project, run by Nielsen, is still building steam. Meanwhile the UAE’s Advertising Business Group (ABG) appointed Ipsos to run its UAE Cross-Media Measurement Project from June. In August, Hypermedia (part of W Group, and the media representative for Dubai Metro as well as other digital and static out-of-home properties), announced a partnership with Streach, part of Seventh Decimal, to help clients measure OOH metrics including reach, frequency, impressions, sociodemographic, socioeconomic and geo-distribution.

2022 was a year of increasing competition for TV streaming services. Global market leader Netflix saw its shares slump when it announced that not only had it lost subscribers for the first time in a decade, but it was also to introduce an advertisingfunded model. Previously, users had been able to watch content ad-free.

Internationally, Netflix saw a new competitor, Disney+, appear on the market, offering a back catalogue of Disney classics as well as Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars movies and National Geographic content. The service launched in the Middle East in June.

Local content company OSN launched an integrated TV box, which will allow subscribers to control both their live TV viewing and streaming on OSN+ through one interface. And in March a new subscription over-the-top (OTT) streaming platform was rolled out in time for the World Cup, TOD, from Qatari sports broadcaster Bein. In October, MBC’s streaming service Shahid launched 21 subscription-free digital channels.

After a quiet couple of years, the region’s magazine market started to show a little more life. Campaign sister brand Menatech launched a quarterly tech and business magazine in Arabic, with the launch issue in March focusing on financial technology (fintech).

US business title Fast Company also launched a regional version. It is published by Dubai-based Vibe Projects and the US publishing holding company Mansueto Ventures. The launch of the website was in March 2022, followed by the print magazine in May.

And in early December, New York publishing giant Condé Nast announced that Architectural Digest (AD) and Condé Nast Traveller would become its first owned and operated titles in the Middle East. They had previously been published by ITP Media Group, whose contract expires at the end of 2022. The move represents the first new owned-and-operated market for Condé Nast since it launched Vogue in India in 2007.


Other happenings in the OOH space include the expansion of Talon Outdoor to Dubai, headed up by Chadi Farhat, previously chief investment officer at Omnicom Media Group. Campaign Middle East parent company Motivate Media Group partnered with Motion Icon to introduce escalator advertising to the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Another Motivate company, cinema advertising specialist Motivate Val Morgan, launched an audience-based cinema-buying platform, CinePlan, and a measurement tool CineMeasure. Chief operating officer Avinash Udeshi said: “The system has the capability to buy audience by numbers, demography, and income groups, right down to a granular level of an individual screen at a particular location.”

The podcast market has been maturing for some years now, and this year saw both launches and consolidations. Campaign’s own On the Record podcast has been going from strength to strength, and the year’s content included an interview with Snap on-ground at the Expo, and conversations with VMLY&R global CEO Jon Cook and writer Malcolm Gladwell.

YouTube in January launched a short video and podcast series called Play it Forward with YouTube (Hekayat YouTube in Arabic) to focus on MENA content creators. Spotify launched video podcasting in the UAE. And TikTok launched its own podcast series on the future of retail in the GCC.

Content studio Project Brazen and 2022 Pulitzer Prize-winning public media organisation PRX announced People Like Us, a six-part podcast hosted from Beirut by journalist and NYT best-selling author Kim Ghattas. Project Brazen co-founder Bradley Hope was a former journalist at Abu Dhabi newspaper The National Ziad Issa, chief client officer of research group Ipsos, wrote in June: “The evolvement of podcast penetration seems to be only heading upwards, as seven out of 10 people who listen to podcasts in Saudi Arabia have stated that they listen to more podcasts now than when they first started.”

He added: “The major factor behind the

rapid growth of on-demand audio is due to the explosion in high-quality content, as publishers started producing more engaging series and episodes, and offer a variety of genres for the listeners to choose from.”

In April Kerning Cultures Network signed a deal with Creative Artists Agency (CAA), an entertainment and sports agency based in Los Angeles. Kerning Cultures Network will work with CAA to find opportunities to adapt existing podcast intellectual property (IP) for television, motion pictures and books, as well as breaking into global markets.

Financed by the Media Development Investment Fund, which is headquartered in New York, Amman-based independent podcast network Sowt Media acquired Finyal Media, a Dubai-based podcast production company.


This year we published the 300th edition of Campaign Middle East magazine. We also hosted our first event in Saudi Arabia. Its popularity blew us away, and we plan to host more events in the Kingdom in the coming years, reflecting the growth of one of the most exciting markets in the world, let alone the region.

We also hosted our annual Marcomms360 Predictions 2023 event in December, another success, where we handed out mementos to this year’s Marketing Game Changers between sessions. That was followed the same evening by our inaugural Campaign Agency of the Year Middle East awards, and you can see who won starting on page 16. Publicis took home the most awards, reflecting a momentous rise for the Groupe. And Impact BBDO was named Creative Agency of the Year, adding that trophy to their Best Network MEA gong from the Global Agency of the Year Awards in May. This year’s globals are now open for entries. Like the regional awards, they are based on business performance, judged exclusively by client-side marketing leads and audited by PwC. If you think you can compete with the best in the world – and I truly believe regional agencies can – then get your entries in and show them what we are made of.

December 19, 2022 11


At the start of December, Campaign hosted its annual look forward at the year ahead, Marcomms360 – Predictions 2023. Here’s how it went

December 19, 2022 12
Austyn Allison, Campaign Middle East Neel Pandya, Pixis Zainah Yassin, Vamp
December 19, 2022 13
Fatima Al-Khalidi and Chris Trimble, Motion Icon Gulrez Alam, ArabyAds Jess Hickman, Audience Collective Middle East Michel Joumaa and Jalal Jassoma, MMS Moustafa Ismail, Amazon Ads Nadeem Quraishi, Campaign ME; Neel Pandya, Pixis; Bhaskar Bhateja, Nissan United Daniel Shepherd, PHD Philip Ma a, W Group (Hypermedia and DigitAll) Pankaj Pagarani, Publicis Groupe

A lion’s roar that was heard across the region.

Publicis Groupe Middle East is the Best Integrated Marketing Agency at the Campaign Agency of the Year Awards 2022.

Congratulations to our teams for winning as one, and the stars who shone the brightest.

Thank you Campaign ME for bringing these awards to the region.

Bassel Kakish HEAD OF AGENCY CEO, Publicis Groupe MENAT Publicis Groupe MENAT INTEGRATED MARKETING AGENCY Tahaab Rais STRATEGIC LEADER Chief Strategy O icer, Publicis Groupe MENAT Joyce Hallak General Manager, Starcom Levant OUTSTANDING WOMAN IN ADVERTISING OR MEDIA Kalpesh Patankar Chief Creative O icer, Leo Burnett CREATIVE LEADER Rebecca Ann Menezes Copywriter, Saatchi & Saatchi MEA CREATIVE TEAM Eduardo Cesar Senior Art Director, Saatchi & Saatchi MEA
As many winners, judges and sponsors as we could fit on the stage

At Campaign Middle East’s inaugural Agency of the Year Middle East awards, we were proud to present 21 trophies to the best businesses, teams and people in regional advertising, media and communications. The winners were celebrated at a reception in Dubai’s Fairmont The Palm hotel, and awards were presented by judges, sponsors and members of the Campaign team.

to all the 2022 winners.



placed creativity as a focus for our future. It is good for our clients – they are reassured that they are getting the best creative product.

Tell us about your journey to the award.

It has truly been an amazing and fantastic year. Thank you to the entire team and everything that they contributed. It is a combination of hard work, a lot of dedication, a lot of passion, a lot of love and a true commitment to creativity that brought us here. That’s all we believe in. It is the work, the work the work – and we are passionate about it. That’s what got us this result.

How will the award help your agency to navigate forward in the industry?

It is very motivating to find validation that we are doing the right thing. It is very good to know that we have

Why should other agencies enter these awards?  Because it builds good competition, I think competition raises all boats. I think that’s very key to what we do here.


does 2023 look like?

I feel 2023 will be as crazy as 2022. Every year brings with it the challenge of outdoing the previous year. We have had a phenomenal year and we intend to outdo it in terms of business growth, creative recognition and pushing boundaries of what creativity means, how it helps business to grow and how it helps motivate people to create amazing disruptive things.

December 19, 2022 18
Impact BBDO Ali Rez, CCO Impact BBDO MENAP


Tell us about your journey to the award.

The award is the physical manifestation of a journey, a course that was set at the beginning of the year and one that we simply stuck to. Our destination was to deliver on experiences that are both valuable for our clients from a business perspective and valued by their customers because they are designed through a lens of empathy. With a true understanding of consumers, the context in which they live and the challenges they face in their daily lives, we were able to design solutions that are impactful and relevant. Everything we did was pinned on this and with our people, tech, intel, data and thought leadership, everything worked together to operate this transformation from the inside out.

How will the award help your agency to navigate forward in the industry?

In itself, this is a further affirmation that we are on the right path and that the conscious effort to merge the abstract world of data and the tangible world of empathy ultimately led to very powerful solutions. This empathic lens of looking at people is a very powerful springboard that pushes us further to understand and model consumer attention as a new media currency. It is also further recognition of OMD’s efforts as a company and as a partner to its clients to elevate its game and deliver better experiences all round. It is an independent validation of our performance that acts as a marker for clients and talent, both current and future.

Why should other agencies enter these awards?

What makes these awards unique is that they look at agencies not just from the perspective of their work and campaigns for their clients, but from many other aspects of their operations. They allow both individuals and entities to be recognised for their work and performance. This is an excellent way to showcase work that propels our industry forward. I also feel it is part of our responsibility to give back to the industry by way of inspiration. These awards allow us to do that on a business level.

How are your customers’ demands changing?

Expectations and demands are constantly changing in response to what is happening in the market, including geo-politics and macroeconomic trends. Some clients have

become more cautious in terms of investments, but others remain undeterred as consumption levels are holding up in a lot of cases. What is definitely changing is the purchase journey – now a lot shorter than before – which requires brands and their agencies to act in different ways. This new dimension provides a degree of uncertainty that makes it hard for brands to forecast their sales and revenues. Our response is to be much more agile and to react fast to emerging trends and conditions.

How are you changing to cater to your customers’ needs?

There will be an even bigger focus on empathy as both brands and consumers feel the impact of a changing world and market conditions. It allows us to stay closer and be more relevant. We are also pressing ahead with new and more meaningful metrics like attention. Measuring attention and harnessing those metrics and injecting them in to our planning allows us to close the gap between strategic planning and strategic investment. Attention-informed planning makes clients’ media spend more efficient and effective. This is a real game-changer.

December 19, 2022 19


Publicis Groupe MENAT

Publicis Groupe has transformed its economic model and its organisation to place customers at the heart of its operation and offer fluid and modular access to all its services. The agency has integration written into its DNA with its operating purpose of ‘Power of One’. The concept is implemented and driven by leadership across agencies and helps deliver across brand and business needs in MENA.

Clients are increasingly asking for connected and multi-regional solutions to be run from MENA, including African markets and more central and eastern European countries. The group expanded its organisation control and systems, as well as its tools architecture and roll-out across African Key Markets to drive success in Nigeria, Kenya and Francophone West Africa.

The key growth for MENAT is fueled by KSA government projects. The ask includes availability of global talent on business. Publicis Groupe claims that it is

the only group – through the Power of One – that enables global presence of talent.

Publicis Groupe decided to futureproof itself by establishing a diversified practices and delivery hub. It deployed partnerships with clients and technology partners to deliver client growth and upskill talent across the spectrum of its ever-growing and evolving ecosystem. The group elevated its value proposition through an umbrella approach, empowering all agency brands in the process irrespective of their scale. It looked for deeper and wider expertise that gives it the ability to build a diverse set of capabilities across various technologies, even in relatively new spaces. The organisation focused on products and services innovation; large teams focused on specific areas and numerous client use cases, resulting in new product creation and process innovation. The group also doubled up on prioritising its digital business transformation agency.

As a result of the effective implementation of its model of Power of One, Publicis Groupe has won some of the biggest creative and media pitches in the qualifying period.

December 19, 2022 20

Create Group


Tell us about your journey to the award.

Over the last two years, we have focused on sharpening our integrated offering while pulling on a decade of delivery experience in content, social, web and data. In doing so, we refocused on our core strength of effectively bridging strategy and delivery at scale for global brands and government clients. Our foundational value of putting our team first has never been tested more than it has over the past three years but we firmly believe that our relentless focus on our community has allowed us to build a workplace that the best talent wants to be part of – and our clients undoubtedly see value from it. Coming out of the pandemic, we really took the time to listen to what our clients needed. While it rapidly evolved, it allowed us to ensure we were adding real value when and where it was needed most. It also means that we found our market fit, which resulted in growing our team from 75 to 200, opening two regional offices and becoming the strategic digital partner to many of the region’s most impactful players.

How will the award help your agency to navigate forward in the industry?

The award won’t change our focus but it certainly helps in benchmarking for potential clients and supports our goal of continuing to attract top talent from the local, regional and international markets. All the agencies work incredibly hard to deliver great work for their clients, and whilst that is often the focus of awards, it is also great to see consideration for the businesses behind the work.

How are your customers’ demands changing?

The strategic importance of digital touchpoints for our clients has been rapidly increasing. Their demands on the type and quality of output have followed suit, which has changed our industry significantly. Simply put, more is expected of us strategically when we are talking to a nation or promoting a city to the world. There’s a need to be data-driven with insight-led creatives that instantly grabs a consumer’s dwindling attention span. In addition, we must be clear about how this ties back to communications and business objectives and we must have the data to show it.

December 19, 2022 21


Tell us about your journey to the award.

When Campaign had its first award in 2007, we were the PR agency that won PR agency of the year. Now Campaign has come back with its inaugural AOTY award in 2022 – and here we are again. It has been a fabulous journey for us from 2007 to 2022. We have been in the game for a long time. We launched ourselves in 2000 and it has been 22 years. We are a PR agency that founded a lot of what you see in the PR sector. We are happy that we are recognised for everything we did over 22 years.

How will the award help your agency to navigate forward in the industry?

Great work needs great recognition, and to get it from Campaign Middle East awards is a fabulous way to be recognised for great work. This will be a great impetus for the teams inside. Awards are a great motivational force for agencies to go to the next level. I want to thank Campaign Middle East for recognising ASDA’A BCW.

Why should other agencies enter these awards?

Agencies are people businesses and people need recognition. Awards are a way to recognise great work and the contribution of people. Other agencies should enter because this awards programme is a great motivational force. It can transform agencies, and to miss that would be a mistake. To enter awards, show the best work that you’ve got and to be recognised from great juries as well is something every agency must do for the next year.

What does 2023 look like?

It is going to be a difficult year across the world with one



exception, and that’s the Middle East and North African markets. This is a market with huge growth potential, obviously for links with higher oil prices and governments being in a much stronger position. We are looking at a strong 2023 despite the issues around the world. This is a time to invest in people and innovation and to consider integrated creative offers that can satisfy client needs. I am very positive about 2023.


December 19, 2022 22
Presented by Campaign’s Austyn Allison, Ikea’s Carla Klumpenaar and Motivate Media Group’s Anthony Milne Presented by Campaign’s Austyn Allison and Nadeem Quraishi


energy, personalised service to our clients and a family-focused approach to our team in terms of support and flexibility we offer. This approach has resulted in more than 50 per cent of our clients staying with us for over five years and a consistently high staff retention rate.

How will the award help your agency to navigate forward in the industry?

Awards such as Campaign Middle East allow us to build our profile and reputation – we are very good at telling people how good we are but it helps when some of the most reputed leaders in the sector judge our agency and put it on record that they think so too.

Why should other agencies enter these awards?

These awards are unique as they are judged by client-side marketers and are fully audited. The process of entering awards is rigorous and it also forces you to judge yourself first in a hypercritical way.

How are your customers’ demands changing?

Houbara Communications

Tell us about your journey to the award.

Our journey to this award has been one based on authenticity and action. We are driven to bring about real change with the work we put out for our clients, in the way we operate our business and by the role we play in the community we serve.

Houbara Communications was founded in 2019 following a local management buyout of Grayling Dubai from parent company Huntsworth plc. We retained our deep global experience as well as the rigour that comes from being part of a global network and combined that with entrepreneurial

The planning window has compressed even further – there is now a need to keep the long-term horizon in sight but to shift the priority to ever shorter planning and campaign cycles. Along with that, clients are more willing to experiment with new platforms and new ways of working. We are far more agile with our resources, forging fast partnerships and on-tap skills alongside trusted account teams. We identify partners that add depth to our existing client relationships and ensure we are meeting our clients’ wider needs. We are also leading the charge on ESG reporting by being the first PR agency in the UAE to undertake a carbon footprint audit as part of our commitment to reducing our impact on the planet. We put out our first ESG report last month to ensure we hold ourselves accountable and report annually on our progress.

What does 2023 look like?

The trends we see coming in 2023 are centred around transparency, authenticity and purpose-driven action. The focus on quality over quantity will be bigger than ever – be it in campaigns, media pitches, influencers or coverage. Data isn’t necessarily a new trend but using data to inform content is a concept that will continue to play an integral role in communications in 2023 and beyond. With team strength shrinking at most media outlets, media will rely more on contributed articles. PR will continue to diversify to new platforms and content mediums including podcasts, newsletters and more.

December 19, 2022 23
Loretta Ahmed, founder and CEO, Houbara Communications Presented by UAE Government Media Office’s Khaled AlShehhi


Tell us about your journey to the award.

It has been a little over a year since the move to Leo Burnett and I remember being drawn to the Publicis Groupe’s integrated ‘Power of One’ model. A culture of collaboration can bring about amazing results. Winning the entire business mandate for e& (formerly Etisalat) and reinvigorating our brand of advertising for iconic clients like McDonald’s in such a short span of time would not have been possible single-handedly. While I am humbled at receiving such an accolade, it is the team around me that truly made it happen.

When you consider the untapped potential of the region combined with the scale of the Groupe – its formidable roster of local, regional and global clients – it gives me the impression that we are surrounded by untapped potential. This is a moment for us and our clients to be inspired. We have converted fantastic new business prospects, produced some exceptional work for our biggest clients and an award like this only adds to the unbridled momentum we are currently experiencing as a group.

An award creates a sense of reassurance for our clients and

industry partners. More importantly, it fosters a culture of aspiration and purpose within the agency. It is the benchmark that separates the excellent from the good in our sphere of operation. You could say that a leader should lead by example, but I am more interested in the trickledown effect – how it affects the younger generation. I cannot speak to the ethos of other agencies but recognition is just the journey and not the end result. It is the work and passion that you put along the way that is truly rewarding.

How are your customers’ demands changing?

The landscape of our work is changing. Clients are getting bolder and are taking purposeful stances. In addition, the market dynamic has changed as we sit on the brink of a fragile economic scenario. But a challenge like this is what breeds refreshing ideas. To quote an example from some our most recent work, McDonald’s ‘Happy Swings’ delivered a brand promise and became the talk of the town without all the bells and whistles expected from a huge production.

What does 2023 look like ?

It is undoubtedly the year for the region. The region presents us with huge opportunities to tap into especially with KSA. The current leadership is reinventing the perception about the country and is opening its doors to everyone. For all of our clients, this is ‘the’ region and as more headline projects start to take shape, I can only assume that it will continue to grow.

December 19, 2022 24
How will the award help your agency to navigate forward in the industry?
Why should other agencies enter these Awards?
Presented by Campaign’s Austyn Allison, Ikea’s Karla Clumpenaar and Motivate Media Group’s Anthony Milne

Tell us about your journey to the award.

The team behind me is certainly greater than the sum of its parts, and that includes the award and my role. I am in an enviable position where I am surrounded by a talented team of people who continue to inspire me and others every day. As a leader, my responsibility is to enable and empower these individuals. This journey is a collaborative one, and it is an ongoing chapter of growth and learning.

How will the award help your agency to navigate forward in the industry?

The challenge upon us is to continue delivering on this path of excellence. We want to be drivers of change for the industry and for our clients. This requires us to be more bold, innovative and disruptive. We do this by understanding the consumer better by being the best growth partner for our clients and by truly harnessing the power of our capabilities across data, creativity, media and tech to pioneer unique solutions.

Why should other agencies enter these awards?

There is a sense of reaffirmation when you are recognised in

the industry, by the industry. Award shows are a celebration of excellence and while there is an element of healthy competition, we are all peers navigating the same landscape and we face the same challenges. Awards present an opportunity for all of us to be in the moment and appreciate the journey that each of us has experienced to get here.

How are your customers’ demands changing?

With so many platforms competing for attention, consumers are increasingly becoming more selective and demanding of their engagements. When they do, they crave more meaningful and personalised experiences. We work closely with our clients to help them navigate through this complexity and help them build stronger connections with their audiences.

How are you changing to cater to your customers’ needs?

Publicis Groupe has been on an ever-evolving journey of transformation, making us agile to adapt to these changing times. This means having the right talent in place, investing in the right technologies, using data and insights to identify and plan and creating stronger synergies across our capabilities. Finally, we partner with our clients to unlock growth and help them win in this platform world.

What does 2023 look like?

There will be a creative commerce revolution. Watch this space.

December 19, 2022 25
Presented by Campaign’s Austyn Allison, Hypermedia’s Gerard Rustom and UAE Government Media Office’s Khaled AlShehhi


Tell us about your journey to the award.

Like most people at ad agencies, I started from ground zero as an executive, went up the ladder step by step and worked in different markets across multiple accounts and various verticals. I had the chance to collaborate and be mentored by some of the most amazing and inspiring people at the client side and from the agency world. Fast-forward to 2023: I was on my way back to Beirut from Dubai when our CTO stopped me and said that Publicis Groupe nominated me for the Outstanding Woman in Advertising. To be honest, my first reaction was disappointment, not from the nomination of course but from the category I competed in, as the recognition is confined within the walls of a gender in a day and age where the industry’s main narrative and every agency’s focus is built around diversity, inclusion and equality. Nevertheless, it is a great recognition for the work and gives me an opportunity to recognise all the extraordinary women out there across every industry.

have a plethora of brand and product choices, and are more exposed, more informed and more connected than ever. The battle to get this consumer’s attention is fierce and brands have to work harder to connect with them. Clients want a partner who can help them navigate this increased complexity and evolve accordingly.

How will the award help your agency to navigate

forward in the industry?

In 2022, we have set an objective to reclaim our number one position across every award show in the region and we have been on a roll. The collective recognitions for the Publicis Groupe team at Campaign’s Agency of the Year awards are another stamp of success and have only solidified our ambition to be bolder and better next year.

Why should other agencies enter these awards?

Winning awards should not be the only measure of success in our industry but healthy competition can contribute in pushing our industry forward. Awards create a little spark that fuels great work. It drives everyone to have a competitive mindset, to be ahead of others, to be innovative and creative and create great work for our clients. So, bring it on.

How are your customers’ demands changing?

Today, clients face several challenges such as increasing economic pressures along with demanding consumers who

How are you changing to cater to your customers’ needs?  Publicis Groupe has been constantly evolving and adapting to help our clients navigate and win in a platform world. We are the only holding company suited to deliver end-to end capabilities and able to orchestrate increased amounts of components, technologies and partners without friction. In the past 10 years, we have invested more in data and technology than any other holding, enabling us to pioneer solutions for our clients and help them be ready for the future – in the real world as well as the virtual one.

What does 2023 look like?

At the end of every year, we say that the next one will be more challenging. It is also during the most challenging times that we have seen breakthroughs in creativity. Next year will definitely bring its own challenges as the world continues to navigate political uncertainties, economic pressures and soaring inflation rates. But it also gives us the opportunity to think differently, challenge the norms and help our clients unlock their growth potential.

December 19, 2022 26
Presented by Campaign’s Austyn Allison and Ikea’s Karla Clumpenaar


Tell us about your journey to the award.

It has been an exciting time collaborating with brilliant partners and making great friends, coupled with emotional challenges and sacrifices that not many know of or see. It is an award worth remembering for those reasons.

How will the award help your agency to navigate forward in the industry?

Publicis Groupe is the widest, strongest and most connected group. And strategy plays a key role in orchestrating it. We have come up top across awards such as the Jay Chiats and Effies, we won newsworthy new businesses and now we have won industry acclaim from clients. The company backs strategy as a key driver, and clients want more strategy. Getting recognised for it helps cement our leadership position as the best network for strategy.

Why should other agencies enter these awards?

It is an award that should matter, considering the clients who you partner with everyday vote on it. Being recognised by

them is important because it shows that you are on the right track; it reinforces your brand and your people to the industry as the best of the lot.

How are your customers’ demands changing?

People want brands to matter more to consumers – through products, experiences, solutions, acts and content. Our role becomes imperative in channeling the intelligence of humans, AI and MI to help them create brands that matter.

How are you changing to cater to your customers’ needs?

By understanding people better, connecting our competencies and bringing our best talent together across agencies and regions including creative agencies, media agencies, data and CRM agencies, PR and communications and digital business transformation. We work seamlessly to create a perfect harmony and elevate the lives of constantly evolving customers, and in turn transform and elevate brands and businesses.

What does 2023 look like?

In every challenge and crisis, there is an opportunity. In the midst of societal, economic and socio-political challenges, 2023 can be a year full of opportunities with exponential growth of technology, commerce and purpose-driven work.

December 19, 2022 28
Presented by Campaign’s Austyn Allison, Babyshop’s Mitin Chakraborty and Motivate Media Group’s Anthony Milne
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December 19, 2022 30
Judy Bakieh, Junior Influencer Marketing Manager, Gambit PR & Communications ARABIC COPYWRITER Rani Amayri, Arabic Creative Lead, Impact BBDO Rebecca Ann Menezes, Copywriter & Eduardo Cesar, Senior Art Director, Saatchi & Saatchi MEA, Publicis Groupe Presented by Babyshop’s Mitin Chakraborty and Motivate Media Group’s Anthony Milne Presented by Campaign’s Austyn Allison, Babyshop’s Mitin Chakraborty and Motivate Media Group’s Anthony Milne Presented by Campaign’s Austyn Allison


December 19, 2022 31 UM Qatar REGIONAL AGENCY OF THE YEAR – QATAR PERFORMANCE MARKETING AGENCY OF THE YEAR Assembly BROUGHT TO YOU BY Presented by Campaign’s Austyn Allison and Nadeem Quraishi, and HUAWEI Ads’ Anthony Jin
Presented by Campaign’s Austyn Allison and Nadeem Quraishi



December 19, 2022 32
Presented by Campaign’s Austyn Allison and Ikea’s Carla Klumpenaar. Accepted by Motion Icon’s Chris Trimble

Two sides of the same story

DMS’s Sally Makarem looks at how data and creativity are inextricably woven together

Data and creativity are often viewed as opposites; even biologically they stem from different sides of the brain, while complementing each other perfectly. Some of the best works this year were created by data-inspired creativity rather than data versus creativity. Examining these two in silos limits their function. With the rise of digital, there is an enhanced need for real-time signals to accommodate rapid changes in consumer behaviour. The ability to use clean data in the right context enables marketers to connect better with their consumers and create brand connectivity as well as longer-term relationships. In my day-to-day work routine, I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with leading pan-Arab publishers across different verticals. With the right technology setup, we sit on a wealth of publisher first-party data, with which we are able to innovate and create great work with brands, while measuring impact through our bespoke services. More and more, publishers today are evolving into ‘brands’, mastering the social space and branching into virtual and on-ground experiences. Tapping into the publisher communities helps brands to participate in what people are interested in, rather than telling people what to be interested in.

With the year coming to an end, let’s look back at three examples where creativity and data delivered on precision, differentiation and experiences, with brands leveraging the DMS portfolio of premium publishers.


Imagine having the ability to respond to customer interests in real-time and in ways your consumer base can relate to. We partnered with Al Futtaim on their Land Cruiser 300 launch campaign to deliver on precision marketing with wider, more relevant reach. We utilised Zero Party Data, a survey-based pop-up that enables user targeting based on declared answers, with an aim to help reach users with intentions to buy a new car within the required price range and type over the next two years. Based on their personas and interests, we were able to help customise the creative to drive higher consideration and impact. The interesting part was that we helped Toyota expand their audiences and discover high-value prospects beyond what they defined as core consumers. We witnessed an increase of 39 per cent in ad recall and 36 per cent uplift in brand favourability.


Differentiation is about creating original content with brands that deepens the relationship with their audience. It’s about partnering to create a trend rather than following what others are doing. One of the best campaigns that we worked on had to be the Koooraverse activation. Kooora reaches about 27 million users during the football season, which makes it the largest destination for sports. I know that many marketers are sceptical about the metaverse today, but it is something that brands need to be aware of as it continues to grow. Bloomberg Intelligence expects the market opportunity for the metaverse to reach $800bn by 2024. (This includes VR and AR.)

As an important year for football, a sport the region is highly passionate about, we created a Koooraverse, a virtual football

stadium in the metaverse where our partners could participate in an immersive experience. Fifty football fans, including key influencers, were selected through a trivia competition on and were given the chance to virtually come face-to-face with their favourite KSA football stars and engage in a Q&A session. We looked at publisher data to identify topics and top players that audiences most engaged with to drive the right conversation during the sessions, as moderated by Kooora’s top hosts. This innovative and creatively charged concept was the first-of-its-kind in the region and the engagement to date has exceeded expectations. The campaign is mid-flight, so I hope I have enticed you enough to check out the case study once the campaign ends.


This year, Anghami expanded beyond streaming to become a media entertainment company. They have ventured into podcasts, music festivals, music creation and owning a physical space in KSA to harness and promote talent from this region. Entertaining more than 18 million users monthly in MENA, they have the data to ensure high relevancy and accuracy in driving experiences through any audible format. This year, during the hottest month of the year, August, Anghami created a music festival in the UAE called ‘Beat the Heat’. In total there were six concerts, with around 1,500 attendees each night. Anghami tapped into their online data to identify the genres and artists with the highest listenership to drive their on-ground experience. By leveraging the fandom of their users, brands can create deeper associations within the music scene and deliver a customised experience to Anghami’s audience. Understanding the preferences of their local audience, and merging them with the right creative and targeting, helped ensure the right footfall to the venue and drive the success of the concert series.

To summarise, the biggest battle for marketers today is centred around grabbing users’ attention. Data-inspired creativity helps drive the precision, differentiation and experience to capture attention. As illustrated through the examples I have shared, there are many ways that marketers can choose to partner with publishers and platforms to drive the right marketing outcomes and create meaningful connections with their consumers.

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“More and more, publishers today are evolving into ‘brands’, mastering social and branching into experiences.”
Sally Makarem, managing director, DMS, UAE

Qatar Airways will rock you

As FIFA’s official airline partner for the 2022 Qatar World Cup, Qatar Airways celebrated the universal language of football by shining the spotlight on fans and the unforgettable journeys leading up to the tournament. The energetic and exciting video commercial combined the airline’s firm belief that sport is a universal language which unites fans and transcends barriers with an iconic soundtrack, featuring the football favorite ‘We Will Rock You’.

As an official sponsor of the World Cup, the national carrier of Qatar wanted to celebrate the world’s most popular game by bringing millions of people from all over the world together in Doha.

The choice of a timeless, globally recognised anthem as the soundtrack for the campaign showed how music, travel and football can bring down barriers and borders and bring everyone together in a shared celebration of magic and emotion.

For billions of fans around the world, football is an emotional experience, and Qatar Airways wanted to tap into that emotion by building strong associations between the brand and universal values of humanity, teamwork and belonging, and to conjure up the joy and excitement that travel and sports both bring to everyone who experiences them.

Qatar Airways had two key targets: international travellers and football fans.

The first audience refers to those people who are likely to travel internationally. Using the advanced targeting capabilities of Facebook and Instagram parent company Meta, Qatar Airways focused on its key source markets in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia.

The second target group represented the billions of football fans around the world. Only

a few million would get to see the World Cup live in Doha, but the campaign aimed to spread the anticipation, emotion and excitement much further.

The campaign had a lot of moving parts. Qatar Airways worked with Meta’s Creative Shop, as well as a number of creative agencies and production companies to ensure the campaign came to life across Meta’s family of apps in a way that felt authentic and relevant to its target audiences.

Building on the global TVC, the teams produced Reels and Stories that captured the intent and emotion of the original video, while tailoring it for different media consumption moments in people’s lives.

On the campaign’s landing page, visitors could explore Qatar Airways’ flagship Business Class Qsuite product in the brand’s own metaverse – dubbed the Qverse. There was high engagement with the campaign across both Instagram and Facebook, with visitors using the gamified experience to discover the unique features of the award-winning Business Class product, placed virtually in the middle of a World Cup Stadium.

This deep engagement in a virtual environment meant that people were able to have a first-hand experience of the truly innovative Qsuite.

Meta’s Marketing Science and Measurement teams worked with Qatar Airways’ brand tracking team to design an end-to-end measurement framework for the campaign. This enabled the teams to assess the impact of multiple formats. It measured the impact of Reels, Stories and creator content as well as the primary hero video. Reels and Stories resulted in 80 per cent lower costs for brand awareness lift.

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Qatar Airways rocked fans at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
“For billions of fans, football is an emotional experience, and Qatar Airways wanted to tap into that emotion.”

Ameen Malhas, Vertical Lead, Travel and Destinations, Meta

“Activating global sports sponsorships on Meta combines the power of social networks and mega sports events to bring the world together. Partnering with Qatar Airways, a global sponsor of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, helped us bring the emotions and magic of the event to millions of people around the world. The explosive growth of Reels and short-form video on Meta’s family of apps and services provided a highly emotive and engaging surface to connect with fans across the world. It also connected the excitement and anticipation of this global moment with Qatar Airways. Ultimately, this connection drove significant increases across all brand metrics for Qatar Airways including recall, awareness and affinity.”

Babar Rahman, VP Global Marketing, Qatar Airways

“Partnering with Meta and using innovative formats like Reels allowed us to cement our position as the Official Airline of the Journey for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 with people around the world. The power of football to bring people together, music to excite everyone and Meta delivering this passion and emotion to our target audiences were all key to increasing our brand awareness and ad recall metrics.”

Austyn Allison, Senior Editor, Campaign Middle East

“This campaign did what good campaigns do best. It took a solid TVC and leveraged it through social and digital channels. This means that is spoke to all sorts of people – travellers, football fans and more – at a variety of touchpoints, reinforcing itself each time. The Qverse execution is a great way to both show Qatar Airways’ forward-thinking credentials, and to allow its followers to experience the Qsuite, and of course the campaign is now stuck in my head [claps hands, stomps feet, imagines full stadium following suit].”

December 19, 2022 35 PARTNER CONTENT



In 2019, the last time the Cannes Lions was held in person, Impact BBDO brought home the region’s first Grand Prix, awarded in Print to The Blank Edition for AnNahar newspaper. This year the Lions were back in person, and the ImpactAnNahar partnership did it again, winning in the same category for The Election Edition. This year, however, another Grand Prix also returned on the plane to Dubai, to sit on the trophy shelf of Havas Middle East for its Liquid Billboard for Adidas.

Nakheel, Abu Dhabi Airports, Al Hilal and Oman Insurance. E& later handed its creative brief to Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi.


Campaign hosted its first edition of the Agency of the Year Middle East awards to celebrate the best companies and people in advertising, marketing and media. The winners were announced during an awards ceremony in Dubai. You can find out who they were on page 16.

Mohammed Ismael Hameedalin, Namrata Balwani, Nurcin Edrogan Loffler, Tim Burnell and Eddie Malouf. In November, former chief marketing officer of Majid Al Futtaim Leisure, Entertainment and Cinemas Maria Gedeon, announced her new consultancy Gedeon Mohr & Partners.

Interactive as Accenture Song. The firm said its new name “reflects the company’s post-pandemic worldclass services that reinvent customer connections, sales, commerce and marketing and business innovation to meet clients’ accelerated demand for business growth through sustained customer relevance at the everchanging speed of life”.


UAE telco Etisalat rebranded as ‘etisalat by e&’ in June. It is perhaps the most high-profile regional company that has rebranded this year. Others with new names, or at least new looks, include Mashreq,


Eight marketing executives founded Tough Love Advisors. Specialising in improving business performance for underserved companies in the region, Tough Love consists of Khaled Ismail, Kamal Dimachkie, Mohamed Al Tajer,


In April, US-based marketing group Stagwell, acquired commerce company Brand New Galaxy (BNG). BNG had served as a partner of Stagwell via its Global Affiliate Programme since 2021 and was the first acquisition Stagwell had made of one of its affiliates.


In April, Accenture rebranded its marketing unit Accenture


On March 31, Expo 2020 Dubai closed its doors to the public. More than 17 million visitors had attended its pavilions, and the site was later reopened as Expo City, “a clean, green, innovation-driven, human-centric city of the future”.


This year the creative industry gathered once more in March to

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celebrate the best work at the Dubai Lynx Awards 2022. The celebration took place at the Dubai Opera.


UAE shops won in several categories in the Campaign Global Agency of the Year Awards 2021, announced across two virtual ceremonies in May. The Middle East and Africa Best Network was BBDO MEA, with Havas Middle East taking Silver, PHD MEA winning Bronze and both Weber Shandwick MENAT and TBWA shortlisted. Dubai-based Lightblue was shortlisted as Brand Experience Agency Of The Year. 10

On 20 November, the Fifa World Cup 2022 Qatar kicked off, sparking a frenzy of football-related advertising and marketing by sponsors and non-sponsors alike. 11

In April Group M announced it would merge MediaCom and Essence, amidst a raft of changes at WPP’s media division.

a full $1bn increase on the previous year according to the IAB GCC who released the results of the study in June. This reflects an increase of 25.9 per cent over the 2020 investments for the region.


In June Regional integrated communications agency, ASDA’A BCW, released results of an environment, sustainability and governance (ESG) survey conducted in UAE and KSA, to mark the launch of OnePoint5, its ESG advisory. Asda’a was just one of several regional agencies to launch ESG divisions or make major ESG hires this year.

Loeries award show in October saw an even more spectacular performance by UAE agencies. The biggest awards of the night, Network of the Year and Agency of the Year, were both won by Impact BBDO – the agency had an impressive haul of a record-setting three Grands Prix, six Golds, four Silvers or Craft Certificates, and five Bronzes. A total of eight Grands Prix were given at the show this year, and the UAE took home six of them: three to Impact BBDO, and one each to Saatchi & Saatchi MEA, M&C Saatchi and Serviceplan ME.

was among many awarded this year to AlShehhi and his colleagues at the UAE Government Media Office.


In August, UK-based creative agency The Romans expanded into the region with its Dubai office opening. The expansion marks the agency’s third global office, preceded by Brooklyn, with further international expansion slated for late 2022 and 2023.



MENA digital advertising spend reached $4.58bn in 2021, nearly

EssenceMediacom would launch with 10,000 employees in 125 offices, handling close to $25bn in billings. 12

In July it was announced that WPP agencies VMLY&R, VMLY&R Commerce, GTB and The Classic Partnership were to combine in the region, with VMLY&R Commerce CEO Nick Walsh becoming CEO of VMLY&R MENA. Walsh says the move is part of a “one-brand strategy”, which brings the structure of other global markets to the region.


At a spectacular location on the Cape Town Waterfront, the 2022


In July, WPP’s Group M announced it will begin sharing the carbon footprint of the different media channels advertisers choose in their media plans to encourage the industry to decarbonise its media supply chain by 2030.

In September, Sowt Media  announced the acquisition of Finyal Media, a Dubai-based podcast production company, marking its aim to push forward for more content, audience and commercial opportunities. The acquisition was financed by Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) and Sowt Media. MDIF invests in independent media around the world.


In August, The World Media Group announced that Khaled AlShehhi, executive director of marketing and communication for the UAE Government Media Office, was the winner of the World Media Award (WMA) for Content Leadership & Innovation for 2022. The honour


M&C Saatchi was set to remain independent when, in October, M&C Saatchi shareholders voted overwhelmingly against UK media group Next 15’s takeover offer. It was a decision that marks the end of an M&A saga, which had lasted since January.

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1 e&

In April, e&, (formerly Etisalat Group), announced the appointment of Publicis Groupe as its creative partner. The account had been with Omnicom’s BBDO since 2016. Publicis Groupe will provide creative services for all e& business pillars in support of its transformation journey, said the agency in a statement.

2 Etihad

The UAE’s Abu Dhabi-based national carrier Etihad put its creative remit out to a six-month pitch, after a period working with Perfect Storm. Although the results have not been announced, market rumours are that Impact BBDO will be the airline’s new agency of record.

3 Be y Crocker

FP7 McCann Dubai has been confirmed as the new creative shop for Betty Crocker, the flagship brand in the General Mills portfolio, following a competitive pitch. The scope includes communications strategy and integrated creative campaigns for a diverse range of priority global markets.

4 Centrepoint

An exhaustive four-month pitch, launched in September 2021 with more than seven participating agencies, ended with Dubai-based independent creative shop And Us landing the Centrepoint account in January 2022, making it the official agency of record for the retail giant. The agency will handle all aspects of Centrepoint’s creative communications including strategic creative vision, marketing communications, design and branding.

5 Property Finder

Cicero & Bernay Communication Consultancy (C&B), an independent,

UAE-based communication firm, in August announced the onboarding of Property Finder, a Dubai-based property technology company. C&B aims to lead on all Property Finder’s public relations requirements in the region.

6 Pizza Hut

Dentsu digital and customer experience agency Merkle has been selected as the performance agency for leading fast-food chain Pizza Hut’s franchises across all MENA markets. Merkle’s remit is to build and activate a performance strategy that helps the brand meet sales targets across channels, driving online transactions via local market website and apps.

7 Heinz

FP7 McCann was confirmed as the new social agency for Heinz following a competitive pitch involving five other agencies. The scope includes social strategy, campaigns and always-on content across all Heinz Arabia social channels.

8 Mashreq

Brand New Galaxy, a marketing and technology platform, announced in June that it has secured the media remit of Mashreq Bank in the MEA region. This win comes into play as BNG partners with sister agency Assembly MENA, part of Stagwell, which acquired BNG in April.


Serviceplan Middle East in January won an agency-wide pitch to retain its status as the lead creative agency for BMW Middle East. Serviceplan Middle East has been the lead agency for the BMW Group Middle East and all importers for the past 11 years, and will continue as lead creative agency for the Middle East region. The pitch process began in July 2021 and involved several agencies.

10 Stellantis

Stellantis, one of the world’s leading automakers, awarded UAE-headquartered marketing and communications agency Tales & Heads its Middle East communications brief following a competitive pitch. Tales & Heads, which specialises in strategic consultancy and creative storytelling, will manage corporate communications for Stellantis Middle East in addition to consumer and stakeholder communication campaigns for its automotive brands Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Citroën, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Opel, Peugeot and Ram.

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2 3 10

Oh my Pod, have you heard this?

Listen to Campaign’s latest podcasts to join in the debate and discussion of the latest developments in the region’s media, marketing and advertising scene





One of the reasons Netflix’s subscriber base is dropping is a pick-up in competitor streaming services. Perhaps the most anticipated of these globally was Disney+. With thousands of films, series and exclusive originals from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic and general entertainment from Star, the service went live in the Middle East in June.


In April, the international market leader in the streaming market, Netflix, saw its shares drop nearly 40 per cent when it announced its Q1 results. There were two reasons: its number of subscribers had dropped for the first time in a decade, and the service said it was ready to announce an ad-supported tier. It had previously operated on a subscription model only.


Bein Media Group announced the signing of a strategic partnership agreement with SMC in October, which appointed the Riyadh-based media representation firm as the exclusive advertising partner for the global media group within MENA. The agreement covers all Bein channels, including its flagship sports channel Bein Sports, the official broadcaster of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, and covers the period before, during, and after the tournament up to the end of 2023.


In June, public service broadcaster and media company Abu Dhabi Media announced the appointment of regional subscription video on demand (SVOD) service, Starzplay to exclusively handle the advertising sales and commercial services for its media brands’ portfolio.


The Advertising Business Group (ABG) appointed research firm Ipsos to spearhead the UAE cross-media measurement project, starting in June 2022. The project aims to provide holistic and transparent advertising and content performance measurement in the advertising and media industry in the UAE. In July the ABG appointed Amine Sadik, director of media and digital – Arabic peninsula & Levant at Procter & Gamble, as lead of the project. Sadik succeeded Asad Rehman, who recently announced his departure as director of media and digital hubs –MENA, Turkey & Russia at Unilever.

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6In August, the commercial arm of MBC Group, MBC Media Solutions (MMS), announced the renewal of its partnership with the Saudi Sports Company (SSC) network of TV and digital channels for the coming three years. This maintains MMS as the sole representative for all advertising on SSC content after a successful year of partnership between the two firms.

In the same month, out-of-home provider

Hypermedia signed a strategic agreement with Streach, a part of Seventh Decimal. This will enable it “to put audience measurement at the core of out-of-home trading and to maintain it as an integral part of any media mix”, said the company, which has both static and digital properties.

9A new out-of-home advertising solution powered by innovative technology has launched for the first time in the region. Motion Icon aims to revolutionise OOH advertising, having developed a unique and globally patented escalator step branding solution. Brands will be able to access previously unavailable retail space to attract, influence, and convert their audience just before the point of purchase. It has launched in the region in partnership with Campaign Middle East parent company Motivate Media Group. 8

Middle East cinema advertising company (and Campaign Middle East sister brand) Motivate Val Morgan launched dedicated platforms, CinePlan and CineMeasure, through which advertisers can easily plan and measure their cinema campaigns. CinePlan offers two routes to build a cinema media plan based on advertiser requirements and introduces a ‘By Admission ’offering. This route lets advertisers define their advertising reach at cinema locations of preference. CineMeasure is a post-campaign measurement tool. 10

Architectural Digest (AD) and Condé Nast Traveller will transition from being published under licence to being wholly owned and operated, the New York-based publisher announced in December. This represents the first new owned-and-operated market for the company since 2007, when Vogue was launched in India. Condé Nast’s Middle East operations for AD and Condé Nast Traveller will be based in Dubai where they were previously published by ITP Media Group. Condé Nast brands, Vogue and Wired also operate in the Middle East under licence with Nervora Media.

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subscribers with a personalised daily news digest autonomously curated using AI and machine-learning algorithms. It analyses a massive amount of content in real-time, including news articles and videos, and curates relevant and trending stories for each user separately based on geolocation, interests, previous engagement and contentconsumption behaviour.

director Jess Hickman led the group’s entry into MENA, working closely with the local team lead by Marija Raisi, marketing and sales director for the UAE.



Reprise Digital was awarded Google Marketing Platform partner and reseller status this year. Reprise strengthened its status within the digital advertising ecosystem as a Google marketing platform partner and reseller. The certification allows Reprise to support advertisers that own their own data and technology stack.

In July, Google announced that it will delay ending third-party cookies in advertising, pushing back the deadline to 2024. The tech giant explained in a blog post that the industry had asked for a longer time to test Google’s new Privacy Sandbox technologies. Google said it expects the Privacy Sandbox APIs to be launched and available in Chrome by Q3 2023. As developers adopt these APIs, Google intends to begin phasing out third-party cookies in Chrome in the second half of 2024.


Audience Collective announced its expansion into the Middle East to offer marketing services such as branding, data analytics, profiling, digital media buying and web development. Managing


Early this year, Next Broadcast Media launched to make the management of audio campaigns as simple as a social media campaign. It works as a self-serve audio ad manager for businesses to plan, launch and manage audio ads on a simple dashboard. serves brands in the UAE, KSA and other global locations.



Digital Turbine unveiled a unified corporate brand identity and strategy. The new brand identity follows its integration of the organisation’s acquisitions, including Fyber, AdColony and Appreciate by merging the teams, technology and business assets to create Digital Turbine’s mobile growth platform. The unified identity is expected to simplify its offering and boost the cross-channel approach.


In March, MMP World Wide became the first local marketplace in the GCC region to join the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) in a move towards tackling criminal activity and promoting brand safety in digital advertising across the market. Achieving TAG certification will help MMPWW to better combat ad fraud and malvertising, as well as minimising the risk of ad misplacement.



WebEngage raised a $20m funding in Series B led by Singularity Growth Opportunities Fund and SWC Global. The company expanded late last year into the Middle East with a dedicated local team for sales and customer success management in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait and Qatar markets. According to WebEngage’s announcement, it burnt only $6m in capital to reach a $20m revenue run rate through its 11-year journey filled with ups and downs, while its peers in SaaS spend about three to five times more to achieve the same scale.


Arabic aggregator app and platform Nabd launched an email newsletter product, which provides

9 In August, Incubeta announced structural management changes across its MENA offices following the acquisition of Dubai-based integrated digital marketing agency Bruce Clay MENA in June this year. With the acquisition and restructure, Incubeta and Bruce Clay intend to blend their creative and organic capabilities with pure performance, tech and data products and add value through integrated digital solutions.


Adtech company ArabyAds announced that it raised $30m in a pre-series-B funding round from AfricInvest. ArabyAds said it plans to use the funding to expand its footprint and further invest in accelerating its technological advancement and talent acquisition. In a release, ArabyAds stated that it plans to expand its presence in newer markets.

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stated that its video streaming platform posted a 5 per cent ad revenue growth, down from its 84 per cent growth rate in the same period last year. The growth continued to decline and reflect pullbacks as YouTube’s advertising revenue fell into the red in the third quarter of 2022. In Q3, the video platform’s ad revenue fell 2 per cent from $7.2 bn in 2021 to $7.07 bn this year. Meanwhile, in November, YouTube teamed up with Bein Sports for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

and exclusive content to Snapchat’s platform. Snapchat’s community in the MENA region has grown substantially to 75 million unique Snapchatters by March this year, growing 33 per cent year on year. This year saw the introduction of features such as director mode, Snapchat for Web and Snapchat+.


After months of legal drama and outrageous memes, Elon Musk finally closed the $44bn acquisition of Twitter in October, followed by approximately 7,500 layoffs. Earlier this year, the platform unveiled its privacy approach through gamification and encouraged more people to take charge of their personal information on the service. Twitter also launched features including branded likes in Saudi Arabia and Twitter Circle across the world, in addition to testing the Edit feature.


Meta opened its new regional headquarters in the UAE in March this year, saying the move reflects the confidence of major global companies in the growthfriendly environment that Dubai offers. The offices in Dubai Internet City will serve the MENA region. In November however, Meta announced it would cut more than 11,000 jobs, or about 13 per cent of its workforce. The company is also cutting discretionary spending and extending its hiring freeze through the first quarter of next year.


Streaming service Disney+, from The Walt Disney Company, launched in the UAE and 15 other markets across the MENA region. It enables subscribers to watch thousands of films, series and exclusive originals from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic and general entertainment from Star on the Disney+ platform.


In February this year, Anghami became the first Arab tech company to be listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The next month, Anghami unveiled a new brand positioning and identity across digital, social, app stores and its platform. In May, it reported a total revenue of $35.5m. It reported growth in advertising revenue by 70 per cent to $9.8m.

YouTube’s ad revenue growth dropped sharply this year. In Q2, parent company Alphabet’s CEO


Google announced the appointment of Anthony Nakache as the new managing director for Google MENA. Nakache took on the role, based in Dubai, after Google announced the departure of Lino Cattaruzzi to take

TikTok launched new time-based dual camera feature TikTok Now. It sends daily prompts to users to capture a 10-second video or a static photo to quickly and easily share what they are up to using their front and back cameras. Meanwhile, 40 per cent of Gen Z use social media apps like TikTok and Instagram as a search engine, based on a recent study by Google.

on a global leadership role in the company as global customer partner. In April, Google launched Plus Codes in 18 countries. The tool lets people share where they are without addresses by using latitude and longitude co-ordinates. 7

In November, Spotify launched its video podcasting capabilities in most global markets – including the UAE – where Spotify’s free podcasting tool Anchor is available. The new capability allows creators to use visual storytelling by accessing Spotify’s suite of podcast production tools and tapping into the platform’s global audience of 456 million monthly listeners. 8

Middle East audiences can watch exclusive MBC and Al Arabiya TV shows on Snapchat this year. MBC Media Solutions and Snap entered a partnership to bring popular shows

10 Instagram rolled out new sharing features this month including notes, group profiles and candid stories. With short posts of up to 60 characters, Notes are a new way for users to share their thoughts. With group profiles, users can share posts and stories with group members instead of their followers.

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In June, Omnicom Media Group MENA announced the promotion of Saleh Ghazal to the role of CEO of OMD MENA. Ghazal had been leading OMD’s UAE operations since 2017, first as general manager and then as managing director. As regional CEO, Ghazal now oversees a network of 12 offices.


In September, Omnicom Media Group MENA appointed Rasha Rteil as the new managing director of Hearts & Science in the UAE. She replaces Dana Sarkis, the agency’s previous general manager, following Sarkis’ decision to relocate to Europe.


GroupM, the media investment group of WPP, announced that Ravi Rao will leave his role as the CEO of GroupM MENA. Rao had been with Group M for more than 14 years, the last seven of those in MENA.


In October, Integrated marketing agency Memac Ogilvy appointed Claus Adams as its UAE CEO. Adams reports to the network’s MENA CEO, David Fox. In appointing its first dedicated CEO for the UAE, the agency also upgraded its most senior leadership position from managing director.


Meta announced the appointment of Fares Akkad as the new regional director of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. In this role, Akkad will design and lead the commercial growth of the company and its portfolio of apps, services and businesses across MENA. 5


FP7 McCann and McCann Worldgroup regional strategy head Tahaab Rais moved on from the agency after 10 years to take up the role of Publicis Groupe’s first regional chief strategy officer, working across Publicis Groupe agencies for the Middle East & Turkey region.


In July, it was announced that Nick Walsh, CEO of VMLY&R Commerce MENA, would be leading the consolidated WPP agencies, VMLY&R, VMLY&R Commerce, GTB and The Classic Partnership, as CEO of VMLY&R MENA. The agency also recently hired Miguel Bemfica as CCO for MENA.


In May, after 13 years with VMLY&R in Dubai, Kalpesh Patankar took up the mantle of chief creative officer at Leo Burnett, UAE, part of Publicis Groupe.

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In November, Mohammed Bahmishan moved from Publicis Groupe KSA to FP7 McCann KSA to take up the role of both chief executive officer and chief creative officer of the agency.


Impact BBDO Group announced the promotion of regional ECD Ali Rez to chief creative officer for the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan region.


Horizon Holdings, part of Interpublic Group (IPG) and FCB Global, announced the elevation of two leaders: Rafic Saadeh and Mazen Jawad. Horizon Holdings’ co-founder and partner, Saadeh, was elevated from chairman and chief executive officer to executive chairman, and Jawad will serve as chief executive officer after serving as president.  14


In September, Edelman, the global communications firm, appointed senior Emirati business leader Tariq Bin Hendi as chairman, Middle East, to support the firm’s growth plans across the region and provide strategic counsel to regional chief executive Omar Qirem.


The Saudi Media Company announced the appointment of Nader Bitar as executive director. Previously, Bitar worked with MMP World Wide, starting as regional deputy GM, then moving to deputy general manager and his final role as managing director.


Wunderman Thompson has appointed Pablo Dachefsky as executive creative director for its Dubai office, overseeing a diverse cross-disciplinary team with specialisms including design, content, CX, tech and innovation.

In February, Federico Fanti joined FP7 McCann MENAT as its chief creative officer. Later in the year, Aunindo Sen was appointed as the agency’s new executive creative director to work alongside him. 18

In August, financial institution Mashreq announced the appointment of Muna Al Ghurair as its new group head of marketing and corporate communications.

15 MullenLowe

announced the appointment of Oliver Robinson as executive creative director. Robinson joined after spending seven years with MCN sister agency FP7 McCann in the roles of senior creative director and executive creative director.


Sasan Saeidi has been announced as the International Advertising Association’s (IAA) new world president and chairman. Saeidi will hold the position for a two-year term from 2022 to 2024. He was also recently appointed as the CEO of Wunderman Thompson’s New York office.

20 Independent agency YouExperience announced the appointment of Sachin Brian Mendonca as its chief creative strategist. Mendonca held previous roles with VMLY&R Commerce MENA and Leo Burnett MEA as strategy lead and strategy director, respectively.

December 19, 2022 45
MENA 16 TBWA\RAAD Dubai appointed Paulo Areas to the role of executive creative director, overseeing the creative duties of the agency across all brands and clients.


December 19, 2022 46
CAMPAIGNS 15 TOP 1 EMIRATES Gerry the Goose Production: Untold Studios Director: Ben Cronin 2 QATAR FUND FOR DEVELOPMENT Women in Conflict Zones Production house: The Film House Doha Writer and director: Omar Khalifa 3 LEGO Brick the Rules Agency: Grey Group Dubai and Grey Group Singapore Film company: Asteroide Directors: Caja Guedes and Jonas Sanson 4 MAGDI
The Lonesome Traveller Agency: Tarek Nour Advertising Production house: Kay-Oh Productions Director: Mohamed El Zayat 5 UAE GOVERNMENT MEDIA OFFICE A Winter Through My Eyes Agency: FP7 McCann Film director and writer: Tahaab Rais Production house: Dejavu 6 BURGER
As good as the original Agency: M&C Saatchi UAE Production house: Dejavu Director: Nalle Sjöblad 7 HOME CENTRE The Homecoming Agency: Publicis Groupe MENAT – Leo Burnett Dubai Production company: Publicis Groupe MENAT – Prodigious Post-production company: Publicis Groupe MENAT –Optix ME
December 19, 2022 47 8 YAS
Hartify Creative agency: Momentum Dubai Production house: Dejavu 9  PEUGEOT El Misaharaty  Agency: Science & Sunshine Production house: Sensa Productions Director: Rashad Al-Safar 10 NIKE Sport is Never Done Agency: Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam Production servicing: Camouflage 12 RANI FLOATS Yalla Habibat Agency: MullenLowe Mena Creative directors: Karim Zein, Michael Tadrous Arabic copywriter: Seham Mostafa Illustration: Sandra Moneer 13 BETTER THAN REALITY Promotion Film Director and creative: Rory McLoughlin Executive producer: Landon Shroder Producer: Jordan Knight 14 PATTEX Dare to Do Agency: Rain Production house: Nudge Media 15 MAX
Abu Benti Agency: TBWA\RAAD 11 HUNGER STATION A World No One Wants To Go Back To Agency: Wunderman Thompson Riyadh Production house: Dejavu Director: Shahir Zag




Election Edition

Agency: Impact BBDO

On February 2, Lebanese newspaper AnNahar did not print that day’s edition for the first time in its 88 years of publishing. Instead, the ink and paper intended for that day –named the Elections Edition – were sent towards the printing of voting ballots for the 2022 Lebanese Elections.


Warmest Winter Livestream Agency: Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives

The campaign collaborated with content creator AboFlah to support hundreds of thousands of refugees and families in need in Africa and the Arab world.


Empty Plates

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi –

Publicis Groupe

In Dubai during Ramadan, people spotted empty plates on cars. The reason was to raise awareness about

the millions of empty plates that often go unnoticed.


The Call of Adventure

Agency: Publicis Groupe

Publicis Middle East created a new language of adventure based on the Jeep brand grill’s distinctive dots and dashes, which have become a symbol of the Jeep brand’s adventurous spirit. Just as morse code is made up of a series of dots and dashes, the Jeep grill has inspired the Jeep ‘Call of Adventure’ font.


Nasiba Hafiz’s Not Hot Collection Agency: Leo Burnett Lebanon

The Not Hot Collection is the world’s first designer period wear, inspired by Always Cool & Dry, a product that keeps women feeling cool on their periods by keeping moisture away from their skin.



Hidden Room

Agency: Leo Burnett Dubai

Many domestic workers’ living spaces

are very small. To address this issue, Home Box partnered with Leo Burnett Dubai to launch ‘The Hidden Room Collection’, designed in collaboration with Home Box’s design team.



Hostages of Depression Agency: Serviceplan Middle East

The campaign aimed to raise awareness on the subject of depression and encourage people to seek help.



#RedressLebanon Agency: Impact BBDO

The campaign makes a statement by transforming the fabric of mesh cut directly from the exterior of Annahar’s building into a dress.



Imagine if we could be as flexible as IKEA furniture Agency: Memac Ogilvy Al-Futtaim Ikea announced the launch of its new collections, room setups and home furnishing solutions with a new campaign – ‘Imagine if we

could be as flexible as Ikea furniture’. Ikea imagines if your family could be as a flexible as a dressing table or as a lamp. It aims to display the multifunctionality and the ability to adapt in Ikea products and people.

10 KFC




TBWA/RAAD created the KFC Chicken Stock, an image database filled with delicious drool-worthy chicken for anyone, especially cafeterias and restaurants in the MENA region, to use by downloading high-resolution KFC photos in all their glory, absolutely free.

11 BEEAH GROUP Race For Life

Agency: Publicis Groupe – Leo Burnett MEA Held as a part of the Al Marmoom Camel Race Festival, the campaign focused on a camel named Oklah (the name refers to a camel that gobbles up anything it sees) as it stayed immobile during the race and drew the attention of the audience. The camel’s body was adorned with

December 19, 2022 48
1 4 13 7
2 3

drawings of plastic waste that camels consume and a message that read, ‘My race is against what’s inside me’.




Hilton launched the Waitographer programme that trains its servers in smartphone photography so they can record guests’ celebrations with sharp, colourful and vibrant images that display the correct composition. After completion of the training programme, team members will receive a certificate and a badge so that hotel guests can easily identify Waitographers while in a Hilton property and ask for their assistance when they wish to have their picture taken.


One Star Cookbook

Agency: And Us

Full of dishes inspired by real online one-star reviews of delivery disasters, the book contains 36 unique creations made from real delivery

mishaps. It reinforces how important an ingredient the delivery is for any dish, with each dish aiming to serve as a reminder of what Deliveroo works to avoid.



T20 Cricket World Cup Agency: Pinstorm

FNP’s broadcast campaign in the UAE, during the cricket T20 World Cup, featured 50 different ads, which were precisely custom designed for specific games between particular teams and for specific stages of each game. It made a very relatable connections with FNP and the sport through plays-on-words and cricketspecific jokes.

15 CLOROX Go Anywhere

Agency: Horizon FCB Dubai

To prove that with the disinfecting power of Clorox you really can go anywhere, the brand found the only toilet for 52km in a very popular hiking destination in Ras Al Khaimah, and built a billboard offering free samples of Clorox

on-the-go wipes with a message: “For when you really have to go”.


StrangerThingsSeason 4

Agency: Science and Sunshine

The campaign included an eerie teaser video, projection of the interdimensional rift at AlUla for 24 hours and a live immersive experience with the recreation of scenes and sets in Jax District. The installations of the portal also made an appearance across several malls in KSA.



Colonel’s Shield

Agency: Powe League Gaming KFC’s latest invention “Colonel’s Shield” is a new controller skin that will save gamers and their controllers from irreparable damage while munching.


Run the Oceans Billboard Agency: Havas Middle East

In line with the brand’s ongoing sustainability efforts, the movement

offered that for every 10-minute run, Adidas’ long-standing partner Parley will clean up the equivalent weight of one plastic bottle from the oceans. A live counter on the billboard showed the minutes tracked on the Adidas running app.





Agency: Initiative/ Media Mix Advertising The out-of-home campaign placed Warner Bros’ cheeky hoardings around competing theme parks in Dubai. Warner Bros’ characters, such as Tweety and Bugs Bunny, called out the visitors for visiting the other theme park and encouraged them to visit Warner Bros Abu Dhabi instead.



Agency: Living Room Dubai

Living Room Dubai worked with Indian artist Shahul Hammed on the launch of Riot Games’ new agent Harbor for Valorant. Breaking stereotypes, Harbour was a cool Indian action hero rather than a tech nerd.

December 19, 2022 49
11 20 19 5 6 9 15 12 8 18 10


Break Chains with Blockchain

Agency: Horizon FCB

Inspired by women known as the“Al Gharemaat” or “The Fined”, who are imprisoned for not being able to repay loans of small amounts, Horizon FCB created NFTs in collaboration with artists from around the world. Each is designed to tell a woman’s story, the story of why she was sentenced. Each NFT is priced at the amount it will cost to free them from their sentence and give them a second chance at life.


3 M.A.L.I Refs for Change


M.A.L.I. (Mouvement Alternatif pour les Libertés Individuelles) used the achievement of the first-ever female referees to be appointed for a men’s FIFA World Cup for the campaign. An initiative that enables these female referees to go beyond football itself and become messengers of change across the world. Every time one of the female referees blew the whistle during a World Cup 2022 match, M.A.L.I. tweeted in real time to highlight women who have pioneered and succeeded in other maledominated fields.


I’m Possible

Agency: Havas Middle East

The user-generated content campaign offered women a chance to be featured on digital billboards across the city. To participate, women were asked to post a photo of themselves on Instagram working out or playing sports, tagged #ImpossibleIsNothing and @adidasdxb and complete the sentence, “I’m possible because…”



Agency: FP7 McCann



He offered exclusive merchandise along with a grand prize worth QR 10,000 to those who manage to spot him in the crowd at Football Stadiums in Qatar – a stunt reminiscent of the classic ‘Where’s Waldo?’ He took over the Instagram account of Heinz Arabia with the hashtag #FindHeinz.

5 METLIFE Switch Off

Agency: And Us

The website ‘Switch Off’ provides users with an array of beautifully designed meditation-style videos and wellness content to boost psychological awareness and mental wellbeing. However, the content is only revealed after users have disabled their wifi and data, completely shutting themselves off from emails, pop-ups, notifications and distractions.

December 19, 2022 50
10 TOP
Arabia approached Thomas Heinz to represent the iconic brand hijack the football conversation.

6 LCB International

We Miss Lebanon

Agency: Impact BBDO

The campaign for Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International, ‘We Miss Lebanon’, brings light to Lebanon’s crisis through beauty. LBCI created a sash filter on Instagram celebrating women who work tirelessly to restore the beautiful image of their country in everything they do and stand for and encouraged women to participate in the headhunting casting call on Linkedin.



Agency: UM Cairo

To showcase why ‘sunny Egypt’ was the perfect destination for UK audiences, the campaign paired weather and video. UM conceptualised a set of

video creatives that showcased the weather in six UK cities and developed five unique weather conditions. Target groups were shown ads in real time, displaying the live weather followed by visuals of Egypt’s sunny skies and inspiring travellers to escape to the warm country.


We Care Too Much

Agency: Create Group

Volkswagen’s aftersales campaign, ‘We Care Too Much’, focuses on the unwavering passion that Volkswagen Aftersales representatives have for providing customers with the perfect experience. VW developed a series of assets specifically for social media platforms, to engage its viewers. The short form videos are fun, dynamic, and upbeat, speaking directly to the viewer and linked to the brand’s landing page. The fast-paced content also reflect the latest social media trends, such as ASMR, to grasp the attention of VW’s followers.


Get What You See

Agency: Sharpcake

The campaign consisted of three 15-second videos for digital platforms. Each video illustrated what it feels like when a promise of a great home, amenity, view, etc. turns into a mere illusion when you actually walk in and find it nothing like what you were promised. The narrative then proposed Superagent as the solution that ensures one gets exactly what one sees.


Sweat it Out

Agency: Amber Communications

To highlight the importance of regular AC service, Arabian Automobiles launched a series of digital videos based on a unique proposition – good sweat vs bad sweat. The videos showcase various situations, working out or eating spicy food, where sweating is acceptable and welcome, in contrast to sweating inside your car, which is not cool.

December 19, 2022 51

Middle East’s leading cinema advertising representative Motivate Val Morgan has picked 15 of the best ads showcased on the big screen in 2022 – in no particular order

Cinema has returned as the go-to destination to consume entertainment in 2022 and has welcomed more than 29 million patrons across the Motivate Val Morgan GCC, Egypt and Lebanon circuit. Next year looks even stronger, given the steady flow of content, a summer packed with blockbusters, and a forecast of 33 million admissions across the exhibitors represented by Motivate Val Morgan (a sister company of Campaign Middle East).

The Top 15 Cinema Ads of 2022 shine light on the best content that utilised the medium for what it truly represents: storytelling, surround sound and booming bass, impressive graphics and panoramic landscapes – all of which grabs attention, evokes an emotional or humorous response, and a shared experience worth remembering.


Brand: Mercedes-Benz Burmester

Title: Innovations by Mercedes-Benz: Dolby Atmos Agency: OMD

MVM chose this ad because… it is an ad created to be experienced in cinema and promotes Mercedes’ Burmester sound system with Dolby Atmos, which turns music into an immersive experience. Simply magical when viewed on the big screen in a Dolby Atmos auditorium.

Brand: NEOM

Title: Trojena – Journey To New Heights Agency: Starcom

MVM chose this ad because… it is visually appealing and portrays the unique year-round mountain destination in NEOM (specifically the winter season). Its production quality is praiseworthy, and the ad successfully echoes the vision and ambition of Saudi Arabia’s futuristic city.

Brand: Emirates

Title: Gerry the Goose Flies Better Agency: UM MENA

MVM chose this ad because… it is unlike most airline ads, offering a unique animated and humorous take on choosing to fly better with an airline that guarantees comfort, good food and entertainment.

Brand: Rolex

Title: Rolex & Cinema – The Path Agency: Mindshare

MVM chose this ad because… it’s an ad made for cinema, celebrating cinema. Like a Rolex watch, films are

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15 TOP
Al Nahdi Pharmacies Hayatna Rolex Theeb Malabar Gold Yas Island Infiniti QX60

ingrained in our memories, and both Rolex and cinema share a quest for excellence, innovation and progress, as well as a common goal to create an enduring masterpiece.

Brand: Sephora

Title: Amna Al Qubaisi – Emirati F3

Driver – Redefining Beauty with Sephora

Agency: Spark Foundry – Publicis Media

MVM chose this ad because… it is an empowering ad where the brand takes on a subtle role in the overall creative that redefines beauty. It also delivers a strong and pertinent message by featuring a woman making her way in a sport that is typically dominated by men.

Brand: Malabar Gold Title: Brides of India

MVM chose this ad because… of its glamorous and authentic production quality, staying true to the brand’s heritage. The ad takes audiences on a journey of marriage celebrations across many different Indian cultures and is colourful, joyful and has an uplifting beat to it.

Brand: Hermès

Title: Terre d’Hermès Agency: Havas Media

MVM chose this ad because… from its production to copy, the ad is a cinematic treat, with its storyline combining the paradoxes in nature: cold and refreshing yet warm and earthy.

Brand: Thailand Tourism Title: Amazing Thailand Agency: Media Republic

MVM chose this ad because… with the use of special effects, it takes audiences on a cinematic journey, emphasising tourist attractions in the country and the culture and unique sense of Thai hospitality.

Brand: Hayatna

Title: Grow Your World With Hayatna Agency: Hearts & Science

MVM chose this ad because… the ad narrates a story of a brand that makes a promise to be part of every stage of a person’s journey through life and uses a flash-forward style of production, taking the narrative forward in time.

Brand: Riyadh Book Fair Agency: Blue Horizon

MVM chose this ad because… of its comedic take on promoting a book fair. It beautifully portrays the message that the fair is for book lovers of all age groups.

Brand: Infiniti QX60

Title: Take the Wheel Agency: OMD

MVM chose this ad because… it is a beautifully executed animated film that portrays real-world family dynamics of working parents: balancing life, kids and household responsibilities, while navigating the joyful chaos of life, with the Infiniti QX60 at the centre of it all.

Brand: Jindal Shadeed

Title: The Steel of Oman Agency: United Media Services

MVM chose this ad because… it is a culture and heritage based longduration film – the perfect fit for cinema. The ad integrates football into the commercial, which was well timed with the current soccer fever in the region, and keeps audiences rapt until the end for the big reveal –the brand.

Brand: Theeb

MVM chose this ad because… it is captivating through emotion and delivers an important social message where audiences are left in suspense, anticipating the outcome and fearing the worst. The storyline is also vaguely similar to Christopher Nolan‘s style of filmmaking.

Brand: Yas Island

Title: Yas Yas Baby

Agency: Initiative Media

MVM chose this ad because… it serves as a time capsule. It connects the brand to a song that resonates with an older generation who is more than familiar with Vanilla Ice’s popular hit, ‘Ice Ice Baby’, whilst also appealing to a younger generation through its fun and retro choreography.

Brand: Al Nahdi Pharmacies

MVM chose this ad because… it resembles a scene from an Arabic comedy movie depicting a complex issue, presented in a light and humorous way. It is also a clever take on introducing an app through which one gets professional parenting advice for improved quality of life for the future generation.

December 19, 2022 53
Sephora Riyadh Book Fair NEOM Emirates Jindal Shadeed Thailand Tourism Mercedes-Benz Hermès

Lynn Fattouh, senior marketing manager at Spotify, says: “Across the region, we saw new names join our top lists for the first time, such as Muslim and Essam Sasa, demonstrating how the music industry is growing and diversifying. For the first time, the most-streamed artist in the Arab world was Wegz. In addition, we saw more Egyptian household names, such as Marwan Moussa and Marwan Pablo, join the shortlist. We also saw solid Moroccan representation with ElGrandeToto and Tagne in the top five mostlistened-to artists in the Arab world.

“2022 is emergent. We’re emerging into a reality of culture hyperdrive, where everything is happening all at once. As we climb out of our safe bubbles and dust off our ‘nice clothes’, we question everything. What is it that we want? Do we have to follow someone else’s sense of fashion, music or taste as we come out of the pandemic? We find that we are empowered to rediscover our personal tastes and redefine what we are really into.”



2022 was the year of The Weeknd, with the Canadian superstar becoming Saudi Arabia’s artist of the year. As a close second is genre-bending artist Taylor Swift, followed by the beloved K-Pop group BTS. At number four and five on the list stood Canadian powerhouse Drake and legendary rapper Eminem, whose music soundtracked the teenage years of millennials.

As far as genres go, music listeners in Saudi have eclectic tastes, with genres such as Pop, Dance, Hip Hop, Rap, and K-Pop, along with Khaleeji music becoming some of their favourite sounds.

Local artists also made waves, with Abdullah Al-Farwan being the moststreamed Saudi artist in the country, followed by Abdul Majeed Abdullah and Sheilat artist Badr ElEzzi in the second and third spots, respectively.

The top artist list saw more Sheilat names this year, with Ghareeb AlMukhles, Fahd bin Fasla, Abdullah Al-Mukhles, and Mohammed bin Grman making it to the top 10 most-streamed artists list. There

is also a strong presence of iconic household names such as Abdul Majeed Abdullah, Mohamed Abdu and Rashed Al Majed.

When it comes to top songs, ‘Ya Ibn Khamash’ by Mohammed Al Najm is the most-streamed Khaleeji song in Saudi this year. Assala Nasri made two special appearances on the list with her songs ‘Henain’ and ‘Al Sourah”. Also on the most-streamed song list are newcomers including Lamiya Almalk with her single ‘Shoft El Nejoum’.

Several educational, motivational, cultural, and society podcasts have been making waves in Saudi Arabia this year, including Kanabet El Sebt, Finjan and Podcast Tanafuss.

December 19, 2022 54
Most-Streamed Artists in
1. The
2. Taylor
3. BTS 4. Drake 5. Eminem 6. Billie
7. The Neighbourhood 8. Justin Bieber 9. Imagine Dragons 10. Lana Del Rey Top 10 Arab artists in the region: 1. Wegz 2. ElGrandeToto 3. Marwan Mousa 4. Marwan Pablo 5. Tagne 6. Essam Sasa 7. Muslim - ﻢﻠﺴﻣ 8. Mohamed Hamaki 9. Cairokee 10. Ahmed Saad Top 10 Arabic tracks in the region: 1. ‘El Bakht’ by Wegz 2. ‘Etnaset’ by Muslim - ﻢﻠﺴﻣ 3. ‘Aleky Eyoun’ by Ahmed Saad 4. ‘Matkhafeesh Yamma’ by Ali Loka and Ouzzy 5. ’Elghazala
and Mohamed Osama 6. ‘Barbary’
7. ‘Love
Remix’ by
and CKay 8. ‘Magic’ By Kouz1 9. ‘Min Awel
and Saad
10. ‘B3ouda ya
by Wegz
Saudi Arabia:
by Marwan Pablo
Nwantiti North African
Dekika’ by Elissa

Most-Streamed Tracks in Saudi Arabia:

‘Another Love’ byTom Odell

‘As It Was’ by Harry Styles

‘Middle Of The Night’ by Elley Duhé

‘Enemy (with JID)’ – from the series Arcane League of Legends –by Imagine Dragons

‘Heat Waves’ by Glass Animals

Weather’ by The Neighbourhood

Dark’ by Mr. Kitty

Abdullah Al-Farwan

Abdul Majeed Abdullah

Ghareeb Al Mukhles

‘Kalemni’ by Badr Elezzi

‘Henain’ by Assala Nasri


Canadian powerhouse The Weeknd is the UAE’s most-streamed artist of 2022. The Weeknd was followed by Taylor Swift, Drake, BTS and Justin Bieber. The top songs of 2022 were Harry Styles’ ‘As It Was’, followed by ‘Heat Waves’ by Glass Animals, and ‘Stay’ by The Kid Laroi in collaboration with Justin Bieber. Justin Bieber’s hit

4. ‘Al Sourah’ by Assala Nasri 5. ‘Ghazal Ma Yensady’ by Abdul Majeed Abdallah 6. ‘Shoft El Nejoum’ by Lamiya Almalki

‘Qalby Jobarny’ by Yasser Abdul Wahab 8. ‘Ashofak Kil Youm’ by Mohamed Abdu 9. ‘Adaaj Oyoun’ by Majd Al Raslani 10. ‘Zikrayat’ by Badr Elezzi

Saudi Arabia’s Most Popular Spotify Playlists:

1. Best Khaleeji Songs

‘Ghost’ took the fourth spot, making it Bieber’s second appearance on the UAE’s top songs lists. Elton John’s ‘Cold Heart’ (PNAU Remix) came in fifth.

The love of K-Pop remains strong among the most streamed albums, with BTS’ Proof becoming the most-streamed album in the UAE, followed by Ed Sheeran’s = Dawn FM by The Weeknd comes in at number three. Harry’s House by Harry Styles, and Justice by Justin Bieber land at numbers four and five, respectively.

This year, in particular, more artists from Egypt have topped the moststreamed Arab artists’ list across the region, with Wegz becoming the most-streamed Arab artist of the year. Other names on the top Arab artist list include ElGrandeToto, Marwan Mousa, Marwan Pablo and Tagne.

Wegz again tops the list of moststreamed Arabic songs, with ‘El Bakht’ becoming the region’s most-streamed song. The second and third spots are ‘Etnaset’ by Muslim and ‘Aleky Eyoun’ by Ahmed Saad. ‘Matkhafeesh Yamma’ by RADAR artist Ali Loka and Ouzzy and ‘Elghazala Ray2a’ by Karim Mahmoud Abdelaziz and Mohamed Osama come in fourth and fifth, respectively.

As for Podcasts, The Joe Rogan Experience takes the number one slot for the most popular podcast of the year in UAE. Coming in second and third are Think Fast, Talk Smart: Communication Techniques and Call Her Daddy ,followed by Anything Goes with Emma Chamberlain and On Purpose with Jay Shetty.

Most Streamed Songs in the UAE:

‘As It Was’ by Harry Styles

‘Heat Waves’ by Glass Animals

‘Stay’ by The Kid Laroi (with Justin Bieber)

‘Ghost’ by Justin Bieber

‘Cold Heart’ (PNAU Remix) by Elton John 6. ‘Enemy’ – from the series Arcane League of Legends – byImagine Dragon with JID and Arcane

‘ Middle of the Night’ by Elley Duhé 8. ‘Industry Baby’ by Lil Nas X with Jack Harlo w

‘Under the Influence’ by Chris Brown 10. ‘Love Nwantiti (Ah Ah Ah)’ by CKay

Most Streamed Albums in the UAE:

Proof by BTS 2. by Ed Sheeran

Dawn FM by The Weeknd

Harry’s House by Harry Styles

Justice by Justin Bieber 6. Sour by Olivia Rodrigo 7. After Hours by The Weeknd 8. Planet Her by Doja Cat 9. Starboy by The Weeknd 10. Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa

Most Popular Podcasts on Spotify in the UAE: 1. The Joe Rogan Experience

Think Fast, Talk Smart 3: Communication Techniques

Call Her Daddy

Anything Goes with Emma Chamberlain

On Purpose with Jay Shetty

The Mindset Mentor

TED Talks Daily

Jayasree’s World

Superhuman with Wil Dasovich

The Diary Of A CEO with Steven Bartlett

December 19, 2022 55
9. ‘Save
‘Close Eyes’ by DVRST
Your Tears’ by The Weeknd
‘Industry Baby’ by Lil Nas X featuring Jack Harlow Most-Streamed Saudi Artists in Saudi Arabia:
Badr Elezzi
Mohamed Abdu
Rashed Al Majed
Khaled Abdul Rahman
Fahd Bin Fasla
Abdullah Al Mukhles
Mohammed Bin Grman Most-Streamed Khaleeji Songs in Saudi Arabia:
‘Ya Ibn Khamash’ by Mohammed Al Najm
Arijit Singh 8. Pritam
Kanye West 10. Dua Lipa
1. The Weeknd 2. Taylor
3. Drake 4. BTS 5. Justin
6. Ed Sheeran 2. Best Sheilat 3. Wesh Al Trend دنترلا شو 4. The Top 5. Tarab Khaleeji - يجيلخ برط 6. Hot Hit Gulf 7. Hiwayah Iraqi 8. Throw Now 9. New Khaleeji 10. Hot Arabic Hit- Yalla Most
1. Kanabet El Sebt 2. Finjan 3.Tanafuss 4. Abajoura 5. Sa7eb 6. E7tiyal- لايتحا 7. Al- Salfah - ةفلاسلا 8. Jinayah - ةيانج 9. Sokrat 10. Areeka - ةكيرأ تساكدوب
Streamed Artists in the UAE:
popular Podcasts in

(trending in the region, ranked by Google)


highlights of their daily routine, including the excitement of little baby Younes’s first time in the swimming pool.


My heart is orange, Basra is yours, and you are free


The viral Shorts trend ‘Eeh ya seto ana’ appeared in the ‘El Kebir awi’ series, but this time it’s ‘Kebir’ style.


4 6

1 The magic ring (part one) Abdo Al-Selsili

In this wildly popular skit, comedy creator Abdo turns the loss of a musical lantern into the chance to explore the special powers given to him by a magic ring.

2 Shabab Al-Bomb S09E12 ‘Al-Jahed’ Gulf Rotana

Gaining a boost in popularity, this dramatic top trending video finds a group of friends realising that their friend Amer’s unusual behaviour has a deeper meaning than they imagined.

3 Mohamed Adnan defeats Messi, and Neymar takes revenge Mohamed Adnan

24-Hour Challenge in the Car Saud Channel

The Saud brothers always like to take things that much further. In this challenge they put a creative twist on spending 24 hours in a car – even converting it into a cinema.


The children from the movie For Zico are hosted by DMC Evenings DMC

The talented kids from the movie For Zeko sit down for an interview with Masaa DMC to talk about their one-of-a-kind experiences and plans for the future.

did you know that he’s also a very talented player? Watch him test his skills against some of the world’s top athletes. 4

The strangest woman in the world

Fe Baytena Robot

This humorous snippet from the comedy ‘A Robot in Our House’ explores the lengths a woman will go to to fool her husband – including organising a cyborg wedding. 5

100 thousand Families


Are we surprised to see AboFlah outdo himself with yet another impressive charitable project? Definitely not. This time he aims to reach his ultimate goal of lending a helping hand. 6

Challenge: 30 hot Korean Indomie noodles



December 19, 2022 56
7 5
Fans are well aware of Mohamed Adnan’s knack for football trivia, but 2 9
8 10
El Twins Spicy food challenges are some of the most popular in the region, and for El Twins that’s no exception. In this iteration they must eat 30 bags of spicy noodles – and the loser gets his hair waxed.
went to the pool with the baby for the first time Hamdi and Wafaa Diaries Hamdi and Wafaa’s family share the




How can you follow up a crazy year like 2022? TikTok's popularity continues to break new grounds, Twitter is turning strange shades of blue (followed closely by Meta and its incredible investment in the metaverse), and Lensa opened the floodgates for commercial uses of AI. Instagram added music to still images, paving the path for more platforms to create means of communication through music, and that’s just over the past few months!

Micro influencers continued to gain precedence, a trend that I see further growth in next year, with mental health taking the limelight head and shoulders above all other themes, catering to an audience that is increasingly seeking authentic influencers irrespective of their reach. Brands, of course, have taken note of that, continuously working on schemes to further blur the lines between organic and paid marketing.

Believe me when I tell you 2023 is bracing to be quite a year.


Are you still watching?

In its continuing journey to give unspoken heroes a platform, Netflix followed up its ‘Mo’ TV show with ‘Farha’. a drama that further highlights the Palestinian diaspora and the trauma that close to 1 million experienced when they were displaced from their homes. Much still needs to be done to share the untold side of many stories from our part of the world, but this is a step in the right direction for a US-based company.

When Annie Leibovitz directed Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to play chess for her Louis Vuitton shoot, she struck viral gold. The image garnered a total of 65 million likes on Instagram, the most in the platform’s history, and was extensively memed. Was Annie aware of such results in advance? Given her repertoire, you would be a fool to doubt it.

#NOT WhatsHappening?

The phone numbers of nearly 500 million WhatsApp users have reportedly been leaked and are up for sale online. If there is one company that has struggled with security breaches over the past few years, it’s Meta. The company has not been able to get a break, so here’s looking forward to 2023

December 19, 2022 57
News, views & trends from across the spectrum
economic growth of
20% people
55% People who believe companies should emphasise their social
46% B2B buyers who are
PR in 2023.
likely to make a purchase from an empathetic company.
Millenials and GenZ.




“Urgent action required,” pleaded the header of an email in October. The sender explained: “The signing image that was sent to you was faulty, there was a glitch during editing the picture and the governor appears twice in the original image.” The Spin pleased to present the original to see if you can spot the governor (twice).


As a rule, The Spin sees gender reveals as vulgar and attentionseeking, and perfectly aligned with influencer culture. But then we found one we can really get behind. Green Planet in Dubai is home to what is believed to be the first baby sloth to be born in the region, and at the end of January they planned to find out if it was a boy or a girl. In good sloth tradition, the reveal wasn’t rushed. The baby was born in October, but had been clamped to its mum for the past few months, making it a little hard to see the bits of sloth that tell us if it prefers pink or blue. We are pleased to hear that Sloth Jr is a girl, who has been named Lime. Congratulations.


When it comes to presents from Cannes, what do you get for the friends who have everything? One attendee delighted (and only slightly unnerved) the Spin’s colleagues with this gift of personalised… bibs. To be fair, they are among the most unique presents we’ve received. And have already saved two shirts and a blouse from stained ignominy, so thank you.


Ah, Valentine’s day, that most romantic time of the year. And a great time for brands to slap a heart on their product and jump on the bandwagon of love. One of our favourite offers this year was the Dubai supermarket offering ‘Beef Love Sausages’. Yummy.


“Looking for a freelance copywriter,” read the ad on Facebook’s UAE Journalists group. That’ not an unusual request. But The Spin was not alone in raising an eyebrow at the next line of the gig description: “Must dominate the English language.”

As one reply put it, “Ironically, you’re looking for a sub.”


Over the festive season at the start of 2022, we checked our email while on leave and found an auto-reply (“this is an automated reply to acknowledge your email…”) from the press office of UAE-based airline flydubai. We didn’t remember sending them any emails so we were confused. But then we saw the heading: “Automatic reply: Season’s Greetings from flydubai # 10303547”. It looks like the nice press people had sent us a Christmas email, to which our out-of-office had automatically replied. Then flydubai’s email had automatically replied to the automatic reply… Somewhere in cyberspace our Outlooks are now locked in an eternal clinch of politeness, wishing each other Happy New Year for eternity.

doctors to pay tribute to the UAE for being a home away from home for Indian expats” being recognised as a world record. The question is, though: How long will it be before a larger fusion dance by doctors to pay tribute to the UAE for being a home away from home for Indian expats comes along to usurp this?


New York-based science writer Benjamin Ryan probably wishes he’d proofread his post on Twitter before he tweeted in August about the monkeypox outbreak. To his credit, when he realised his mistake he didn’t delete and deny but owned his error by tweeting: “I would once again like to apologize for inadvertently causing the entire global #monkeypox outbreak by typing too fast and leaving out a crucial consonant.”


The Spin does like it when we get a little attention. And we are pretty sure our office coffee machine is flirting with us.


The Spin loves a good record being broken, so imagine our delight when we got a release about “the world’s largest fusion dance by


Now, The Spin loves a bit of self-mutilation as much as the next person, but we feel that perhaps ‘Build your own brand’ or ‘Market yourself’ might have conjured up fewer images of searing flesh, blisters and trips to the burns unit than Kelly Lundberg’s latest seminar title.

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