Campaign - Saudi Arabia Report 2023

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Saudi Arabia



Some people call the current boom in Saudi Arabia a ‘gold rush’, likening it to California in the mid 1800s, when the precious yellow metal was first discovered. Thousands flocked to the American West in search of their fortunes, sparking a rapid expansion in the local economy.

But that gold rush only lasted for around 11 years. What’s happening in Saudi Arabia has been many years in the making, and is designed to be permanent. For starters, Vision 2030 is the main economic blueprint for Saudi and we are still seven years off this target. That’s just the first chapter in the Kingdom’s breakneck transformation.

Last year, Saudi became one of the world’s fastest-growing major economies, outpacing many of its bigger rivals. Economic growth, measured in GDP, hit a stellar 8.7 per cent in 2022. Beyond 2022, economic growth is expected to remain strong.

Pro-business reforms have made it easier to start a business and for foreign companies to invest in the economy, which are fundamental to the Kingdom’s long-term vision. Alongside this, there are large-scale public and private investments in a wide range of sectors including tourism and hospitality, transport and industrial production. These will all contribute to Saudi Arabia’s economic diversification.

Digging deeper, there are a host of new cities and developments being built in the desert, which will help to fuel this economic growth. These include the $500 billion futuristic NEOM City, the Red Sea Development Company’s mega tourism project and the King Salman Energy Park. Saudi Arabia’s economic outlook appears promising, to say the least.

At Campaign Middle East we have been living and breathing all things Saudi recently. From putting together this 66-page guide together to planning our Campaign Saudi Briefing for the end of May, the Kingdom has been front and centre for us. This is out third annual Saudi Arabia guide and it gets bigger (and hopefully better) every year. We reached out to many agencies operating in Saudi to be part of our directory, and also contribute articles.

At Campaign Middle East we are also really keen to talk to brands about their insights and views on Saudi, and have included some of them in the following pages, from Snap, L’Oréal and Pizza Hut. We’d love to feature even more brands in the future. The topics covered in this guide are far-reaching, from Saudi’s young and tech-savvy population to female gamers, and from the health of the PR industry to AR. There is so much going on in Saudi it’s hard to cover it all in one guide. That’s where our Campaign Saudi Briefing takes over, covering even more topics in greater depth.

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Main Cover designed by Umerah Vasaiwala of SAE Institute Dubai Campaign ME @campaignME

Saudi Arabia’s economic outlook is fuelling international interest. While the rest of the world struggles with rising interest rates, high inflation, and a steadily increasing cost of living crisis that is seriously hitting people’s pockets and spending power, KSA GDP in 2023 is forecast to grow 3.3 per cent to reach $950 Billion. These are the kind of numbers that capture the attention of business leaders around the world.

With so much attention focused in this direction, and on the strength of the Saudi economy, what does this mean for us in the region’s media industry? The flow of benefits from Saudi’s strengths will be long-lasting. I see several ongoing developments that are having a lasting and positive impact, and bode well for the MENA media landscape.

Talent was a hot topic when I first moved to the region in 2015, and it continues to be a priority. There are two key elements within talent - firstly, attracting the best people into the market, and secondly, developing the skills of the people we already have. In years gone by it was incredibly challenging to attract people to live in KSA; Dubai, with its glitz and glamour lifestyle, was a preferred destination to reside in.

However, this is fast changing. When you walk around Riyadh today, it is comparable to any modern, cosmopolitan, international city, bustling with life and activities, and attracting high-profile celebrities and influencers. With job opportunities aplenty as the media landscape shapes itself and grows, it is no longer a challenge to find the best people for the job - either within or outside of the region - and locate them in the Kingdom. This means we are able to attract the right media skills and knowledge to capitalise on the burgeoning sector, which will continue to be a catalyst for change.

In terms of talent development, ‘upskilling’ our people becomes a lot easier when the industry itself is developing. I have witnessed the skills development in the broadcast industry since the KSA MRC (Media Rating Company) fully launched its Television Audience Measurement (TAM) service at the end of last year, delivered by Nielsen Media.

The positive ramifications of this cannot be underestimated for the individuals themselves; the new TAM service is the first of its kind in the region and is an advanced system in terms of technology and scope of measurement. Anyone now successfully applying this data to their media decisionmaking processes automatically becomes attractive internationally, where TAM



The flow of benefits from Saudi’s strengths will be long-lasting, argues Nielsen Media’s Sarah Messer

to people who are knowledgeable about these nuances; people who can help them maximise their return on investment. Advertising with the wrong message to the wrong audience, can do serious damage to any brand.

In the race for the Saudi consumer’s mind and pocket, no advertiser - whether new, old, local, regional, global, traditional, or digital - wants to be left behind, wondering what they missed out on. This is driving an explosion of new product lines, new services, expanding ranges, extensive branding, and increasing price competition. All of which leads to more business for the media industry; every brand or product development push needs an advertising campaign to drive it. Our creative industries and agencies are flourishing along with the Saudi lifestyle.

For Nielsen Media, building the Saudi TAM service has been an enormous

systems are a part of everyday life. People-competition is set to increase. With such interest in KSA from overseas, we in MENA have become the experts. Most of us would acknowledge that KSA is unique in many ways. What has worked in other markets is not necessarily a plug-andplay in Saudi Arabia. The culture is different, people think and behave differently. The subtleties of daily life and lifestyles have to be worked with and planned for to ensure advertising and business success. As global businesses (including our own organisations) look to launch and grow in KSA, they need access

learning curve. Nielsen recognised the growth potential of Saudi, and committed to building a local team of 70 people to support the service. We continue to develop those people, and they’ve been pivotal to helping us understand how to effectively apply our international experience in the Saudi context, as has been the ongoing communication with MRC and the wider media industry.

As a key partner to the MRC’s KSA TAM service, it is testament to the changes we are witnessing within KSA that we have a 2,000 household daily reporting panel across Saudi delivering overnight TV viewing data. With the wider industry now becoming increasingly comfortable with their first licensed trading currency, we’re listening to the market’s priorities on further audience measurement needs.

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‘‘Riyadh today is comparable to any modern, cosmopolitan, international city, bustling with life and activities”


Courage, conviction and composure are the vital virtues of the PR professional today, says TRACCS’ Mohamed Al Ayed

It was Daniel J. Boorstin, an American historian at the University of Chicago, who once remarked, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers”. Although this statement was made many years ago, its relevance and truth still endures today. In fact, the importance and value of public relations is likely to continue to be emphasised in the coming decade.

So, what has changed? PR experts and organisations have continued to stress the significance of the industry and its role, asserting that effective communication should be a priority for any organisation with stakeholders.

And why now? Globally the communications industry has experienced robust growth, and is now valued at $97 billion, up from $88 billion just three years ago. Interestingly, and based on a 2022 study issued by Statista, the industry is expected to surpass $129 billion in value by the end of 2025.

According to a study by Dennis L. Wilcox, Ph. D. Professor of Public Relations and former Director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at San Jose State University, California, there are over three million PR practitioners worldwide. These practitioners face constant challenges amid a rapidly changing world. As narrative shapers, image builders, and reputation protectors, their role has become increasingly vital, and the stakes are higher than ever.

The key elements of narrative, image, and reputation mentioned above are in line with the current market demands and trends.

According to a study published on the Prowly website, courtesy of Ragan Communications, marketing and internal communications are often seen as the closest allies of PR. The study found that 60 per cent of the respondents identified marketing and internal communications as the areas that are most likely to be ‘aligned’ with PR in the future.

The study also unveiled crucial attributes that are vital for PR practitioners as they move forward. Flexibility emerged as the top attribute with 72 per cent, closely followed by creative thinking at 70 per cent.

These two attributes transcend mere skills and encompass a mindset that is crucial for the industry and PR practitioners. When it comes to flexibility, PR practitioners must be agile and versatile. Likewise, creative

thinking, which ranked second, is a significant attribute that is needed to consistently demonstrate their value and indispensability to both their organisation and clients.

Lastly, important statistics also published on the Prowly website, provided by Muck Rack in 2022, highlighted the essential skills needed for PR practitioners in the future. Storytelling emerged as the top skill with 72 per cent, followed by social media at 61 per cent, writing at 60 per cent, and finally digital at 58 per cent.

PR practitioners must proactively lead the ‘re-engineering process’ of communication to maximise its potential. This responsibility goes beyond industry and regulatory bodies, as individuals within the field must adapt and embrace change. The emphasis on flexibility and collaboration with other departments signifies that PR practitioners are no longer mere task executers but rather agents for change and progress.

Taking an objective and unbiased approach, I aimed to identify the fundamental qualities of the modern PR practitioner, regardless of their skillset, competence or delivery. These qualities are seen as prerequisites, similar to technical skills for an engineer, legal expertise for a lawyer, or medical knowledge for a physician. So, what constitutes the DNA of the new PR practitioner? I believe it comprises three vital virtues: courage, conviction, and composure.

Courage, the most crucial virtue, transcends physical strength, as stated by J.R.R. Tolkien: “It is not the strength of the body that counts, but the strength of the spirit.” In our industry, it’s not just about skills; it’s about mindset. As French artist Henri Matisse said: “Creativity takes courage.” Courage encompasses both thought and action, making it the defining virtue for PR practitioners today and tomorrow.

Conviction, the second virtue, follows courage as the ability to persuade and convince others. It requires years of experience, the skill of understanding people, and active listening. Building conviction is a challenging endeavour, making it the second leg of the virtues for the new PR practitioner.

Composure is defined as maintaining calmness and

self-control. It is a complex virtue, as it requires managing emotions - a challenge for PR practitioners and humans in general. Composure enables peace of mind, internal harmony, tranquility, stability, and impartiality. Together with courage and conviction, these three virtues create a powerful dynamic that propels PR practitioners further, longer, and faster. Whether you’re a PR practitioner embracing change or a stakeholder seeking greatness through PR, keep in mind that courage strengthens your confidence, conviction drives success and relevance, and composure cultivates empathy and passion. These are the matters that truly matter.

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Saudi Arabia has already reinvented tourism, culture and the economy, argues

UM KSA’s Mohammad

We have identified just how quickly the country can lead the reinvention of the marketing world due to the fast-evolving landscape heavily backed by three components. Starting with the government, who are committed to changing the perception of KSA, creating a global brand out of Saudi, and achieving its 2030 vision.

Second is the private sector’s ability to harness and develop local brands at speed and turn them into big global brands. And lastly, and most importantly, at the heart, are the people who are not only ready for change but who play an eager and active part in the Kingdom’s energetic leap towards transformative acceleration.

However, for Saudi to reimagine marketing and ensure their human capital is well-equipped for the country’s vision, the government, universities, agencies and advertisers need to upskill their talent, tech and tools.

We have identified the top areas Saudi Arabia can tap into, to begin turning the wheel and cross that 2030 finishing line.


Saudi Arabia is a digital powerhouse. Life, car, home insurance, and the buying and selling are all possible online in the Kingdom. They can automate

at speed and with efficiency. In just a year, Riyadh has succeeded in expediting digital practices in alignment with the Vision 2030 commitment. The government has put unparalleled effort and excellence into streamlining platforms and apps to complete official documents and services in record time. The platform Nafath is a perfect example of this which has achieved millions of transactions in just a few months. To take this to the marketing sphere, investment is needed in developing digital talent and adopting the latest tech developments, particularly in data analysis, social media management, augmented and virtual reality, DOOH and digital marketing.


The AI and web3 hype are unavoidable, but the best use cases Saudi can adopt now are linking offsite and online experiences and honing in on user experience. Personalisation, communication, and emotion are the three areas of AI we believe marketers should base their focus on to achieve scalable impact. Humanisation and intimacy with consumers are a no-brainer when it comes to advertising. As for investing in the metaverse, we must protect brands and Saudi from the hype echo chamber and only tap into meaningful conversations where commerce can occur, such as gaming.


Sports marketing needs to come front and centre for marketers and their media plans in the years to come, with the Kingdom looking to become a sports hub with sporting events such as the Olympics, World Cup and F1. As Prince Faisal bin Bandar, President of the Saudi Esports Federation, stated in Arab News in October last year, “This young community and population are striving to take their place on the global stage. The ultimate goal is to have Saudi Arabia move on a natural path on the global pathway for games and e-sports.” In a report by Newzoo in 2021, there are an estimated 25.5 million gamers in Saudi Arabia, representing around 75 per cent of the country’s population. This makes KSA one of the world’s fastest-

growing gaming markets, with endless advertising opportunities.



Saudi is already making big waves in this space with unbelievable, ahead-of-its-time projects such as the Red Sea Project, Riyadh Green Project, Neom and Amala. We also see educational efforts through social media and daily TV shows informing the nation on the importance of a sustainable culture. At UM, we are educating our clients on low carbon footprint advertising. We have recently launched our carbon calculator for our Saudi Arabian clients, which calculates the carbon emissions associated with a media plan based on the media mix. This would be a great starting place and foundational educational point for advertisers based in the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia has a unique opportunity to lead the region in sustainability and become a global leader in this field, which can further enhance its reputation and attractiveness for foreign investment.


We know when women are in business, economic growth soars. We are proud that more than 50 per cent of our UM KSA office are women, many of whom are Saudi nationals. How to attract talent and also retain it is key. It is up to the government, universities and agencies to nurture their education and encourage more women into Saudi’s marketing and advertising space to achieve further rapid growth.

When pulling these five levers together, the media agency, the government, the private sector, and the population can educate and upskill the landscape and bring regional-wide marketing excellence to the Kingdom. We know the population is craving it. We simply need to serve their appetite and nurture their constantly evolving needs to reimagine marketing for the whole world to see.

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‘‘We must protect brands and Saudi from the hype echo chamber and only tap into meaningful conversations”




How advertisers engage with this powerful audience is critical says Power League Gaming’s Matthew Pickering

Saudi Arabia’s gaming market has exploded in recent years with a 20.2 per cent CAGR in gaming revenues from 2017 to 2023 and an estimated 23.5M gamers according to Newzoo research. To propel this further the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund this year announced a $38 billion investment into gaming via its subsidiary Savvy Games with the ambition to become the world’s leading hub for gaming and esports by 2030.

Unlike any other territory in MENA, females make up a near equal percentage of the gaming community as males. Some 89 per cent of the nation’s population are gamers, with 48 per cent of active gamers being women and this percentage is steadily rising. Saudi female gamers are a highly attractive target for advertisers, the majority of them being young, well-educated with high purchasing power and with a deep understanding of digital platforms.

How advertisers understand and engage with this powerful audience is critical - we see that they exhibit unique gaming behaviours influenced by their social and cultural orientations. One key aspect is their preferred gaming platforms. According to a recent survey by Gaming Analytics, 61 per cent of Saudi female gamers prefer playing on their smartphone vs 24 per cent who opt for consoles and 15 per cent for PCs. We see this preference for smartphone play being down to the availability and accessibility of smartphones as well as the introduction of high quality mobile games into the market.

The rise of e-sports takes their gaming passion one step further. A study published by the Arab Esports Federation in 2021 found that 34 per cent of Saudi female gamers expressed an interest in e-sports, a proof point of the competitive nature and confidence of Saudi female gamers and their readiness to engage in branded e-sports, with many taking part in local tournaments and participating in online gaming communities. Beyond gaming and e-sports, the Saudi female gaming community is highly active across social platforms where they connect with friends and share interests and content, where advertisers can follow through their marketing messaging.

At PLG we are passionate about serving the needs of this rapidly growing and important segment of the global gaming community. Our first step has been to develop specialised female gaming platforms that meet their needs. We launched Miss eSports™ back in 2019 and it is now the region’s leading incubator and accelerator program for female gaming and e-sports talent.

Following on from this we introduced Saudi Girl Gamer which provides gaming content, experiences and competitions designed to engage and entertain the female Saudi gaming audience. We see that their behaviour and preferences tend to differ from the wider female MENA gaming audience and notably that they represent the highest ARPU in the region. The platform has seen notable success through its organic TikTok content creation delivery strategy which sits

with an average of 7.5 hours gameplay per week. They are highly engaged when they interact with our platforms and receptive to brands who come with relevant, targeted messaging. The category appeals across all age groups and nationalities, bringing together a community of passionate players and spectators who are hungry for new content.

Typically, brands that are motivated to build relevance amongst MENA gaming audiences enter with a phase of ‘test and learn’ over the first 12 months of engagement. They then increase spending significantly at the point of entering the second year of activity with the core objective of monetising audiences and shifting their gaming and e-sports endeavors from a cost centre to an audience retention, brand value driver and monetisation opportunity.

firmly around trending content creation to position brands at the forefront of shifts in gaming content consumption. We see the average organic engagement on Saudi Girl Gamer’s TikTok sitting at 7 per cent, well over the industry average. Clients are jumping on the opportunity to reach female gaming audiences in Saudi and gaming audiences across the region in general. When we look at MENA data we see that 30 per cent of the total MENA population (+170 million) identify as gamers with 44 per cent of this segment being female. Of this group we know that 46 per cent play games daily and a further 29 per cent play weekly

In the past 12 months, PLG has seen a sustained uplift in brands seeking to engage this highly engaged female audience segment, including L’Oreal’s Maybelline brand, Beiersdorf’s Nivea, Logitech G’s Aurora and a pipeline of new and existing brand partners to activate over the coming year. Globally, brands including Sephora, MAC, Chanel, Balenciaga and Gillette Venus have also focussed campaigns toward this rapidly growing demographic of gamer.

Brands that begin their relationship with gaming audiences in Saudi now will be well placed to enter this booming market should they choose to, increase market share if they are already present, but above all be visible to the generations that will help shape the exciting future of the Kingdom.

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‘‘The Saudi female gaming community is highly active across social platforms”

Unleashing the potential

DMS’s Julien El Anati explains how to navigate the dynamic media and advertising industry in Saudi Arabia

Twhe Kingdom’s media and advertising industry is blazing a trail of innovation, passion and boundless opportunities across three exciting sectors: football, e-gaming, and music. As we delve into the investments, experiences and trends that are defining this evolving landscape, we will uncover the ingredients driving this momentum while highlighting the roles which creativity, data-driven insights and consumer behaviour are playing.

Football advertising makes a powerplay: Football culture runs deep across KSA with the remarkable ability to unite millions. This lends itself to the creation of endless advertising opportunities. Successful brand partnerships have emerged through Saudi football clubs such as Al-Hilal, Al-Nassr and Al-Ittihad, who are connecting with devoted fans through stadium advertising, branded jerseys, and engaging digital campaigns. Digital has become a powerhouse for football consumption in Saudi Arabia, with an impressive 82 per cent of internet users following football-related content online (according to recent data from Statista). Moreover, global sports media companies like Footballco have invested in the region through their acquisition of (the largest football and sports platform in MENA, with 80 per cent reach of the football audience). Football’s growing popularity is fueled by an evolving fandom, increasing demand for personalised experiences, as well as the players’ lifestyles. The inherent surge in advertising opportunities is following closely behind.

Tapping into the growing e-gaming industry: This unprecedented surge is largely being driven by a generation of tech-savvy enthusiasts. Arab News reports that the number of e-gaming enthusiasts in KSA reached 21.2 million in 2022, with an impressive annual growth rate of 16.7 per cent. Investments in gaming facilities, high-profile e-sports tournaments, and strategic partnerships demonstrate Saudi Arabia’s commitment to becoming a regional gaming hub. Major brands and platforms are seizing the moment by engaging with the gaming community through sponsorships, in-game advertising, and collaborations with influential gaming personalities. Division –which we are proud to include in DMS’s portfolio of partners serves as a unique marketplace where brands can make an impact on gaming, with over 850 gamers already onboarded. The marketplace alone unlocks thousands of streaming hours which brands can utilise to engage in discussions with fans and potential audiences. Music advertising is resonating louder than ever before: Music holds a special place in the hearts of Saudi Arabia’s consumers, who are witnessing the revival of live music performances, together with the growth of music streaming platforms. Our partner, Anghami, boasts a downloads base of 30+ million in Saudi Arabia alone. This speaks volumes about the impact which music has on people’s lives. Brands strategically align themselves with local and international artists, harnessing data-driven insights to offer personalized music recommendations, while integrating adverts into the streaming experience. These investments are resonating deeply with audiences in KSA, as they help to forge lasting connections between brands and their consumers.

The challenges and opportunities: These dynamic developments present several challenges for advertisers, but they also serve as catalysts for transformative opportunities. Brands must navigate the shifts in consumer behaviour, the relentless march of technology, as well as the ever-evolving landscape. A recent Ipsos survey found that 67 per cent of Saudi consumers are more likely to engage with ads that match their interests, underscoring the importance of culturally relevant advertising. Embracing digital transformation, understanding the preferences of the younger generation, and exploring innovative ad formats all become essential priorities for brands seeking success. The winners will invariably be those who seamlessly blend technology with creative storytelling, captivating hearts and minds to leave a lasting impact on audiences. By embracing innovation and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, advertisers can create deeper connections, capture their audience’s attention and ultimately drive meaningful results.

With the football, e-gaming, and music sectors becoming epicenters of investment, they are redefining how brands connect with target audiences. From football stadiums to immersive virtual gaming and music streaming, the power of storytelling, data-driven insights and technological advancements all converge to create transformative advertising experiences.

We must all remind ourselves that in order to unleash the full potential of media and advertising, we need to uplift our collective commitment to innovation and creativity, while enhancing our genuine understanding of the local culture and the diverse audiences which we seek to reach and engage with. Together, we can all shape this dynamic landscape and leave an incredible mark on the future of Saudi Arabia’s media and advertising industry.

May 29, 2023 09 PARTNER CONTENT
“The winners will invariably be those who seamlessly blend technology with creative storytelling”
By Julien El Anati, Business Director KSA for DMS

It’s no secret that Saudi Arabia’s socioeconomic landscape is transforming at a rapid pace. In particular, economic diversification has been supercharged since the rollout of Vision 2030–from the expansion of the entertainment and media sectors to technology and financial services. Across all these industries, digital transformation has been the key to unlocking new potential. Studies show that the new Saudi social matrix is supported by a high penetration of smartphones and internet usage, leading to an unparalleled sense of connectivity. This provides individuals in the Kingdom with new ways to engage with businesses, public institutions, and most importantly, each other.

In this context of digital transformation, we believe that augmented reality (AR) is the next big advancement that’s going to significantly impact every industry in the Kingdom. AR is essentially digital overlaid on the real world. We believe it is the healthiest, most compelling next wave of computing, keeping you in the real world instead of taking you away from it.

The influence of AR is nowhere more apparent than in the Saudi retail sector. Today’s customers are increasingly in the driving seat, demanding not only highly differentiated, personalised products but also defining how they expect brands to interact with them. What studies reveal is that customers in KSA are ultimately seeking the convenience of buying online with the confidence of buying in-store.

consumers are interested in using AR to interact with a product before buying. The business impact speaks for itself, with AR proving to be good for consumers and for retailers. For consumers, AR is ultimately very convenient, as you can try on and buy items anytime from your mobile. For businesses, modern-day platforms now offer the same level of data-driven measurement and management for AR that’s available for traditional ads. As a result, we can see there are improved conversions, with studies showing that interacting with products that have AR experiences has led to 94 per cent higher conversion rates. There are also fewer product returns, with 66 per cent of people globally less likely to return an item they bought via AR try-on.

Ultimately, the Saudi retail market is at a tipping point. Companies and brands that adopt a winning AR strategy now will enjoy a meaningful competitive advantage in the coming years. AR has evolved from a bit of fun to a practical and effective tool. Leading retail brands are clearly ready for big AR moments.


By 2025, almost all of the Gen Z and Millennial population in Saudi Arabia are expected to be frequent AR users. On Snapchat alone, users in Saudi Arabia played with AR Lenses more than 210 million times each day in 2022. On occasions like Saudi National Day and Founding Day, friends, families and communities have also shown a love to celebrate with AR, with 98 per cent of Snapchatters saying AR makes celebrations better. The platform has truly become a natural extension of traditionally-physical community gatherings and social life; a kind of ‘digital majlis’ for people in the Kingdom.

HOWDigital transformation is sweeping the Kingdom, says Snap’s Faisal Shams

We believe that immersive and predictive technologies like AR provide the means not only to offer highly customisable and ethically sourced products, but also to significantly enhance the in-store retail experience.

In a recent study by Snap Inc. in association with PwC and Retail Leaders Circle, we found that 47 per cent of tech-adept shoppers in Saudi Arabia resort to AR to decide on their purchases. Yet there is still a major gap between how AR is perceived by consumers and how it is perceived by brands. For instance, we’ve found that around 94 per cent of brands consider AR to be primarily for fun, while only 53 per cent of consumers in KSA see it this way.

The truth is that AR–especially smartphone augmented reality–has proven to be a fun, inclusive, and convenient way to discover, try, and buy products. The technology has advanced so much that today you can seamlessly use AR to try on and buy lipstick, a pair of sunglasses, or even a pair of sneakers. It’s no wonder that more than 80 per cent of

But it also matters where brands offer these immersive experiences. Snapchat, for instance, is built on real relationships between friends, family, and the world. Relationships with friends and family hold a core value in Saudi society. Being in an environment of real relationships thus creates an environment where brands can have real influence – delivering incredible results across the funnel.

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‘‘Customers are increasingly in the driving seat, demanding highly differentiated, products”

In the last few years, social media has played a huge role in communication and news within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Demand for content became much higher.

Short vlogs have become increasingly popular in the age of social media in comparison to the longer form vlogs on Youtube, particularly with the rise of platforms such Instagram Reels and TikTok. These platforms have made it easier than ever to create and share short, engaging videos with a wide audience.

One of the advantages of short vlogs is that they are typically easier to produce than longer-form content. With a smartphone and a few basic editing tools, anyone can create a short vlog in just a few minutes. This accessibility has made short vlogs a great option for influencers and businesses looking to reach their audience in a more casual, authentic way.

Another benefit of short vlogs is that they are often more attention-grabbing than longer videos. With the average attention span of viewers getting shorter, it’s important to capture their attention quickly. Short vlogs, which typically range from 15 to 60 seconds, are a great way to do this. They can be fast-paced, visually engaging, and leave a lasting impression on viewers.

Young minds rely on social media to get their information, data, and experience. Young people use social media when planning a trip, reviewing a product/service or even searching for the best restaurant to eat out at. So they research the location and vibes, read the reviews from various sources, and watch the traditional long vlogs on YouTube. Creators have adapted to the shorter vlogs format on TikTok which offers a quick personal review that will help the user


make a decision. The channel became an essential tool for conveying one’s opinion. It resonates with the younger generation according to’s latest app performance report, which shows that TikTok surpassed Instagram as the most downloaded app in the first quarter of 2023.


Creating effective short vlogs still requires some planning and creativity. To stand out in a sea of content, it’s important to have a clear message or theme, use attention-grabbing visuals, and edit the video to keep it engaging from start to finish. It is one of the most popular ways to consume content online among young Saudis, and across the region. Since everyone enjoys something different, there are hundreds of types of vlogs scattered around the internet.

As users tend to sense the commercial scripts in some of the influencers’ coverages, vlogs allow the feeling of “one on one opinion” to assure the user that the message is genuine and authentic. It’s not really complicated to create a vlog, all you need to do is choose the type of vlog you want to specialise in, grab your camera or phone, and start creating. Once you have the

footage, it’s a must to make it look as professional as possible. Using video editing software will give you full autonomy and control over how the final vlog will look. With so many vlogs on social media, it’s a necessity to edit your vlogs so they can stand out from the pack with features like voiceover, music, transitions, and texts.


As mentioned earlier, choosing and shooting the vlog is the easy part. There’s room for improvement in terms of preparing for a vlog. We live in a fastpaced world where if the video is longer than 15 to 30 seconds it is condemned to be a boring video, so as a creator you need to plan ahead, pick the right time to shoot, choose the topics you want to cover in the shoot, and articulate yourself in the editing phase even if it makes the process longer. You want to be perceived a professional at what you are talking about. In my opinion, the best of vlogs are yet to come.

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Short vlogs are often more attention-grabbing than longer videos, says Hashtag’s Marwan Khalil
‘‘With the average attention span of viewers getting shorter, it’s important to capture their attention quickly”


Monthly avg. plays 5.2M+ monthly avg. users on Shahid (Non Ramadan) Social

Avg. daily listeners on both MBC FM & Panorama FM in Saudi Arabia

Unlock opportunities, contact us on or 15.4M 16M+ 636M 9.5M
Saudi Viewers per month across MBC Group TV channels
Media followers across MBC Group platforms


Prioritising the creation of high-quality, engaging content that resonates with audiences is key to win over the competition and build a loyal and engaged following.

MBC Group has established itself as a leading media company in the MENA region in producing premium Arabic content that speaks to the diverse cultures and languages of the region overall and Saudi in specific.

In the past few years, MBC has focused on local productions that are relatable to Saudi Arabia’s audience and the wider region, such as Rashash, Beirut 6:07 and ‘The Devil’s Promise’ to name a few.

By producing content that reflects the values, traditions, and cultural nuances of the region, MBC Group has not only been able to attract a large and engaged audience, but it even gained international recognition.

MBC Group’s ‘Every Week has a Friday’ and ‘Beirut 6:07’ have both been nominated for the International Emmy Awards, which is a testament to the company’s commitment to producing high-quality content that resonates with audiences both locally and globally.

This premium content has also contributed to Shahid experiencing growth year on year, ranking number 1 in Ramadan amongst Video on Demand (VoD) platforms, in terms of average time spent and active users.

This provides brands with invaluable opportunities to connect with their audiences starting from:


This premium content goes on to perform well across MBC Group’s diverse ecosystem of media channels, which presents a unique opportunity for brands to reach their target audience across multiple touchpoints, creating a consistent and cohesive brand experience.

It has proven to enhance brand favourability, purchase consideration and ad recall amongst telecom, e-commerce, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and food aggregators. For example, brand consideration increased by 22 per cent for e-commerce companies, purchase consideration increased 20 per cent for FMCGs and ad recall increased by 80 per cent for telecom.


MBC Group’s high-quality productions offer a unique opportunity for brands to integrate within the story and become an essential part of the narrative. This approach allows brands to align themselves with the themes and values that are important to the local audience, creating a more authentic and meaningful connection.

At MMS, we’ve developed an In-Content Integration (ICI) solution that enables us to digitally insert brands into highly popular shows after production. During Ramadan, we used ICI to seamlessly integrate a brand into a hit comedy show, which appeared on both TV and outdoor advertising. This technology can also pinpoint the exact scenes that brands wish to be associated with and allows us to determine the specific scenes and duration of brand exposure throughout an entire season of a show during the proposal stage with a brand.


Saudi Arabia has been undergoing major developments and reforms in recent years, including social and cultural reforms aimed at youth and women empowerment and we can see this shift reflected in these productions.

Shows with young male and female Saudi actors like Sikat Safar, Studio 23 and Minho Waladna received top ratings in Ramadan. We also saw the first young Saudi female, get crowned the winner in Saudi Idol

These young faces are able to create more authentic and relatable connections with Saudi audiences, especially as nearly two-thirds of Saudi Arabia’s population is under the age of 35, according to the General Authority for Statistics in 2020.

Shows featuring these youth, provide a valuable opportunity for brands to connect with Saudi Arabia’s young audience in a meaningful and impactful way, which is why MMS has renewed its strategic partnerships with Twitter, TikTok and Snap, bringing MBC Group’s premium Arabic content to their platforms and ensuring brands are reaching their audiences wherever they are.

MBC Group also launched LOUD FM, Saudi Arabia’s first western nationwide commercial radio station, which caters to Saudi youth, providing them with a one-stop-shop for the coolest, trendiest, and international music, artists and radio content, including world class international DJs and syndicated shows.

Meanwhile, Al Arabiya News Network— the go-to and leading Arabic-language news channel in the region for live events and business news— introduced the digital content brand ‘Akthar’ to expand its audience scope, from businessmen, government and people in decision making positions, to include a youthful and digitally savvy audience.

MMS is also the official advertising representative of the Saudi Sports Company (SSC) where we offer solutions across both digital and linear broadcast TV on the Saudi Pro League (which has seen a huge spike in viewership with the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo earlier this season), F1 and other sporting events.

This offers additional opportunities for brands to be where the audience are.

The key to success in today’s media landscape is a content-first strategy. MBC Group has demonstrated this through its commitment to producing premium Arabic content that resonates with its audience, particularly in Saudi Arabia. This premium content has also provided valuable opportunities for brands to connect with their target audience across MBC Group’s diverse eco-system.

May 29, 2023 13
Ziyad Alomair at MBC Media Solutions (MMS) says media companies must work harder than ever to capture and retain their audiences’ attention


here is plenty of buzz around NEOM, the giga-project being built in the northwest of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Meaning ‘new future,’ NEOM is not a new city as some believe, but a region made up of a number of developments and natural spaces. NEOM includes the linear city THE LINE, the centre for advanced and clean industries Oxagon, the mountain retreat and winter sports destination Trojena and the luxury island resort Sindalah.

described as ‘a home for people who dream big and want to be part of building a new economic model for the country and the world,’ NEOM is already under development, with the first destination, Sindalah, set to welcome guests from Q1 2024. The project will be completed in multiple phases and, by 2030, some one million people will be resident in NEOM, with the population expected to rise to more than nine million by 2045.

NEOM’s developments only make up a small footprint of the 26,500 sq km region. Ninety-five percent of its land is set aside for nature and conservation, with clear goals to protect and enhance biodiversity, rejuvenate natural habitats, reintroduce native species and regreen the environment as part of NEOM’s initiative to plant 100 million native trees, shrubs and grasses by 2030.

Ahead of its opening to tourists in 2024, NEOM has partnered with Getty Images and Unsplash, a global visual content creator and marketplace, to create and distribute an extensive visual library showcasing its diverse and natural environment. These stunning images give the world a sneak preview into what they will be able to discover in the years to come.

Fourteen leading photographers from Getty Images and Unsplash were selected to be amongst the first to explore and capture NEOM›s diverse landscape. The initial release includes more than 200 images of NEOM›s natural landscapes, from coasts, corals and islands, to deserts, mountains and rocky plains.

Many of the photos feature the magnificent waters and sea life of the region and its islands, including its first-to-be-launched development, Sindalah.

Influencer marketing platform Vamp was involved in the project, bringing a range of international creators including free divers, photographers, and videographers. The content was created across three categories; desert expedition, coastal underwater and nature/wildlife.

To help the world discover more of what makes NEOM so spectacular and unique, the visual assets are available for travellers, partners and creative collaborators via branded collections on Getty Images› website and Unsplash at

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Ground-breaking photography has revealed the wonders of its natural landscape, writes Campaign Middle East editor Justin Harper



communicate effectively about their products’ benefits and science. As consumers become more discerning about the products they use, companies must keep pace with their changing needs and preferences to remain relevant.

research and the influence of the ROPO (Research Online, Purchase Offline) effect now play a crucial role in purchase decisions.

During a recent panel discussion organised by Acquisit and featuring experts from L’Oreal and Google, the conversation revolved around the changing trends and key factors to keep in mind while addressing the beauty industry market in Saudi Arabia. The panel, hosted by Astrolabs, came on the back of a market study Acquisit conducted in partnership with Standards Insights where it examined skincare consumers in KSA.

The skincare market has undergone a significant transformation in recent years with a shift in consumer behaviour driven by changing preferences and increased access to information. What was once in KSA a niche market catering to those with medical skin issues has now evolved into a mainstream interest for a significant segment of the population, particularly women.

“The latest data from Google search and YouTube queries reveals a surge in skincare-related searches in Saudi Arabia. With over 300 million skincare-related searches in 2022, the skincare category searched grew by 71 per cent from 2019 to 2022 . It shows that consumers are keen to discover new brands. In fact, 90 per cent of search queries on Google relate to unbranded skincare product categories. This means that people are open to discover and try new brands,” said Marie de Ducla, Sector Lead : Travel & Tourism, Auto, Tech and FMCG MENA at Google.

Companies looking to succeed in the KSA market must be prepared to adapt and provide consumers with innovative solutions and attractive branding. One notable trend is the increasing education of Saudi women about skincare ingredients and formulas. As such, it is critical for brands to

Social media has also played a significant role in shaping consumer behaviour in Saudi Arabia, particularly influencer marketing. Beauty has always been a social practice in the country, and social media has amplified this trend.

“In KSA, recommendations are definitely the number one purchase decision factor. The most trusted recommendations will come from beauty experts, followed by influencers, and to some extent your pharmacist, your dermatologist and friends,” said Delphine Desbouvry, Consumer & Market Insights Director at L’Oréal Middle East.

Skincare brands that can effectively leverage this and connect with consumers on social media have an opportunity to build a very loyal customer base. “To leverage this at best, brands can use ads as a great echo box to amplify this word-of-mouth effect. What we have seen works best is combining ad-friendly formats like short videos of 15 or 30 seconds, with organic-looking content made by influencers when the brand guidelines allow it. It allows the brand to keep the communication very familiar to their audience,” said Edouard Daou, co-founder of Acquisit.

Unlike some other markets, skincare in Saudi Arabia is mostly considered for correction purposes rather than prevention. As such, brands that offer effective solutions for skin issues are more likely to succeed in this market.

“Brands must carefully consider the evolving retail landscape in Saudi Arabia, particularly the rapid growth of e-commerce. The acceleration of online shopping in KSA has had a significant impact on the consumer journey, where online

“This trend was already present before the pandemic, but it has been greatly intensified by the increased internet penetration and the proactive response of retailers and brands during the pandemic, as they upgraded or even launched new websites to provide consumers with a wealth of content,” added Desbouvry.

Finally, the purchase decision for skincare products in Saudi Arabia is also influenced by consumers’ desires to get a good deal and will often research products online to find the best prices rather than buy it full price in store. While Saudi women frequently discover skincare products in-store, they often purchase online, with 60 per cent of the population reporting making their last skincare purchase through online channels (strong DOPO effect = Discover Offline, Purchase Online).

“Nevertheless, it is important to recognise that many consumers highly value the in-store experience. These consumers often conduct their initial research offline, visit stores to try products, request samples for home testing, and seek advice from sales advisors. However, it’s worth noting that even though they may explore options in-store, they might ultimately seek out the best offers online and make their purchases through e-commerce channels,” added Desbouvry.

The retail landscape varies significantly from one region to another, with some regions having limited access to modern retail experiences. The skincare market in Saudi is in continuous evolution, with consumers becoming more discerning, educated, and influenced by social media. Brands that can leverage these changing trends, while tailoring their message to the specifics of the Saudi population and communicating their products’ benefits stand to succeed in this growing market.

May 29, 2023 15
L’Oréal, Google and Acquisit discuss skincare consumer trends in Saudi Arabia



Saudi Arabia is changing the communication narrative in the region, writes Leo Burnett KSA’s Shadi Elmourad


Once upon a time, agencies and brands focused their efforts on marketing products and services for the Saudi space. Everything had to be adapted to speak to that specific landscape. There was little to no external communication. Today, the reality reflects a total shift in paradigm. The conversation turned two-sided.

Several milestones have helped bring the Saudi narrative to the global map. The Initial Public Offering of Aramco, for example, played a prominent role in taking the energy giant beyond borders, and placing it on the global maps of innovation, economic development and citizenship among others. Aramco’s online and offline presence is now a celebration of advancing communities, innovating solutions, and delivering sustainable energy to the world. Its partnership with F1 has also changed the game in terms of brand association and breadth. This big wave in sports partnerships has become the focus of many other brands, bringing people together from all corners of the world through sportsmanship and the love of games.


becoming reality. Saudi Arabia is home to numerous touristic attractions as well as a magnet to international investments. Al Ula, for example, is reshaping the integration between heritage and the present, and taking users on rich journeys of storytelling both online and on-site. In the same fashion, Neom is changing what it means to live in the future and attracting residents and mega investors to set up shop in the world’s first cognitive city. On the cultural front, the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, Ithra, is positioning itself as a global beacon of inspiration and knowledge and bringing people together through the power of arts and culture.


One of the most exciting phenomena we are witnessing is the speed at which Saudi Arabia is expanding and how the communication space is mirroring it in real time. We are witnessing and living Saudi as we consume its content. The Kingdom has so much to offer and so many resources available that not only is it becoming a leader in the economic space, but it’s also pioneering web 3.0 and metaverse-driven activities. We are

Saudi Arabia is becoming a powerhouse in economic growth and development, investment opportunities and futuristic giga-projects that aim to advance humanity. Post-pandemic, the Kingdom’s story became a headline topic on almost every news front-page. Young Saudi talent is making ripples across sectors regionally and beyond, driven by the momentum of Vision 2023. This major leap is a testament to the country’s relentless vision and ambitious goals.

The story gets even more interesting when we look at the narrative and the way Saudi Arabia is sharing its story with the world. Saudi is not only marking its territory as a growth powerhouse but also as a marketing and communication giant.

To cater to this borderless shift in communication, several brands are adapting their online presence to speak to both local and global audiences simultaneously with relevant content and stories. In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in dual accounts within the social ecosystem, one for the local Saudi audience and one for the international scene. This approach is enabling brands and agencies to widen their reach and their creative discourse seamlessly. In the same line of thought, ‘Made in Saudi’ is now both a national staple and a global sign of trust and reliability. Content and ads about Saudi projects and brands are dominating the conversation online and setting a new standard for future growth. People want to work in Saudi, with Saudi, and for Saudi. Brands are not only speaking of what’s possible, they are proving it.


Saudi Arabia is also raising the bar as a main attraction destination. What was once merely a future vision is now

witnessing the future of Saudi now and we, as brand storytellers and agencies, are working with Saudi brands to bring that future to life in the present moment.


Saudi Arabia’s bold global marketing takeover is an inspiring story of success in the making. Its focus in the right places at the right time should serve as a case study in making it big and inspiring the world to do the same. And if we look at the current landscape and how things are unfolding, Saudi Arabia is becoming a global trendsetter in image building and storytelling, with a vision that will impact the narrative for years to come.

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‘‘Several brands are adapting their online presence to speak to both local and global audiences simultaneously”

The ‘experience economy’ recognises experience as a potent economic output capable of profoundly shaping nations. Experiences offer the potential to not only drive GDP growth but also foster dialogue, expedite cultural exchange, and enhance value. The cities and nations that champion this principle will witness a remarkable multiplier effect. At the forefront of this movement stands Saudi Arabia, poised to become the fastest-growing economy this year.

In recent years, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has begun to recognise the benefits of the experience economy – and has simplified the tourism visa process to increase both interest and access. Considering the World Travel and Tourism Council’s findings that the tourism industry accounts for one in five jobs globally, this will be a huge contributor towards achieving some of the country’s Vision 2030 goals to make it a leading job creator in the region. That is why the Saudi Tourism Authority called tourism ‘the new oil’.

The increase in access to the Kingdom will also naturally generate a larger appetite for guest experiences. Investment in experiences will correct some preconceptions of the nation. For example, the hosting of major sporting events will enable potential visitors to preview the rich offerings of the Kingdom, and form new connections with audiences through transformative experiences. Not only for the guests, but also for the hosts. The recent signing of Cristiano Ronaldo to play for Saudi club Al-Nasr and Lionel Messi as a brand ambassador for Saudi Tourism are examples of how sports stars can influence global perceptions.

These events allow experiences to be created that will be remembered in ‘where were you?’ moments. Memories that can transcend time. By making the most of these opportunities, Saudi Arabia will have the platform to diversify its economy from a carbon economy to a lucrative experience-driven one. However, experiences don’t always need to be global displays. In fact, multiple experiential touchpoints will be needed to truly rival oil’s stake in the economy.

The new airport in Riyadh is a prime example of this in action – creating a new gateway experience that will form the first impression for all new visitors as well as transit passengers who will be able to connect to the wider experience eco-system. The recently announced New Murabba Development is expected to transform Riyadh by reimagining what a new downtown district is. It is experientially lead with advanced technology creating immersive worlds where visitors will find it difficult to distinguish between the physical and digital manifestations of the ‘real’. At Imagination, we call this type of project ‘experience infrastructure’. However, the impact of the experience economy extends beyond tourism. In a post-Covid world,

cultural experiences, the Kingdom can create profound transformative journeys which create memories to last a lifetime. Far more than any souvenir could achieve.

Monumental moments can now be recorded, shared, and amplified globally, almost instantly. Individuals are far more likely to share or reshare an experience than they are a possession. The team at Miral, led by Mohammed Al Zaabi recognise this as they transform Yas and Saadiyat Islands into experiential playgrounds for tourists to explore.

Think Neom – an experience reimagined. One that hasn’t even fully begun yet but is already being discussed globally. It promises to be by far the most transformative experience potentially anywhere in the world, helping to put Saudi Arabia on the map rethinking what the future of living will be.

It is crucial not to overlook the profound influence that experiences have on the public’s well-being. Recognising this, Saudi Arabia’s Quality of Life Programme has allocated a dedicated project to delve into how the variety and excellence of experiences can enhance the quality of life for its citizens. It has also begun investing in experiential programmes that directly impact the lives of its people.

immersive entertainment events have become increasingly vital for captivating new audiences as people seek to revive their social gatherings. There is a real opportunity for brands to harness this sentiment. FOMO moments, limited editions, pop-ups – where people feel they must attend – or even permanent, bespoke destinations curated around a shared passion for experiences. Look at Al Ula too. By unlocking the vast historical heart of Saudi Arabia’s ancient heritage via flagship


Qiddya is a prime example of how experiences have been used to enhance the quality of life for citizens. The entertainment gigaproject located on the outskirts of Riyadh will reimagine the future of leisure and entertainment experiences, creating huge domestic and international visitor spend. No longer will Saudi nationals need to travel for world-class amusement parks and live entertainment. They will have it on their doorstep. Saudi Arabia is making a huge and important effort to establish new markets and economies in order to diversify away from oil. Its efforts will open up a whole new world of opportunities for the Kingdom’s citizens and guests, while giving the rest of the world access to some of the most thrilling experiences.

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The impact of the experience economy extends beyond tourism, writes Imagination Middle East’s Adel Noueihed
‘‘The increase in access to the Kingdom will also naturally generate a larger appetite for guest experiences”


audi Arabia’s acceleration into a high-tech future is a direct reflection of the Kingdom’s vision and the endorsement of government entities extended to start-up communities and tech entrepreneurs. Having a vision of driving the country into a high-tech future is an ambitious plan that requires heavy investment in technology infrastructure, education and innovation. In this regard, the government has introduced various initiatives and programmes to support the growth of the technology sector. And the early results of these initiatives are showing a substantial increase in the number of start-ups.

In addition, a high-tech future is about talent and its readiness. Today in Saudi Arabia, more than 340,000 people currently work in the digital, telecommunications and information technology sectors, with female participation now standing at 32.5 per cent – a higher rate than both the EU and Silicon Valley. The mere fact that Saudis by nature are a tech-savvy population helps the inflow of technology-related foreign investment into local tech start-ups and establishes the Kingdom as a hub for the region.

When addressing the public at the opening speech for the LEAP technology conference in Riyadh, Abdullah Alswaha, the Minister of Communication and Information Technology of Saudi Arabia announced that the Kingdom has received US$9 billion in investments to support future technologies, digital entrepreneurship, tech start-ups, and enhance the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s position as the largest digital market in the Middle East and North Africa.

A high-tech future coupled with the initiatives and the investment that the Government is making will create an eco-system that breeds more entrepreneurship mentality, opportunities for growth and a competitive sector. It is having the right policy, ease of doing business and collaboration of private and public sector that can accelerate this growth. Saudi Arabia will be the right example that will be replicated in different parts of the world.


industries is an urgent priority. Big data, AI and digital transformation specialists are in high demand in Saudi Arabia today and will be more so in the years to come. In line with the Crown Prince’s plans, tech companies should share the responsibility of developing talent and upskilling talent through structured initiatives that can benefit the wider tech economy and achieve the vision of becoming the tech hub for the region.


With these ambitious goals we wanted to explore how the high-tech future of Saudi will be shaped from a variety of angles such as company culture, talent, and their readiness to shape the future, and how further fuelling the tech start-up community will accelerate this vision.


Whether in the Kingdom or elsewhere, at the heart of a high-tech future lies a company culture that drives innovation and novelty. It is in fact one of the toughest challenges that tech start-ups face amid the need to keep new ideas flowing in a fast-paced and highly competitive tech sector. This has been well demonstrated in the Kingdom by the success of home-grown tech companies that were either acquired by an international counterpart or have seen an influx of M&A activity to keep up the competitiveness of the sector. Rightly so, Saudi tech companies have crossed that barrier into creating a culture that shows eagerness, drive and relentlessly chasing innovation to stay ahead.


It is a known fact that the Kingdom is and eventually will be the largest technology market in the region, with a volume exceeding $40 billion. To achieve those figures skilling the youth to high-tech

As a result of the continuous effort by the government’s vision and the venture capitalist culture, the Kingdom has moved the needle significantly with disruptive tech innovations such as MRSOOL, Tamara, Trukker, Foodics and others. According to the Harvard Business Review, the country’s fastest-growing sectors include tech, fintech, and e-commerce which are predicted to surpass $13 billion by 2025.

Nurturing the start-up ecosystem and providing an infrastructure for growth will attract more venture capital firms to come in to support the development of ideas and focus on early-stage investments in tech, fintech and other innovative sectors. The acceleration into a high-tech future is a vision that we see happening. Technology moves at a lightning speed and taking your foot off the pedal is not an option. Therefore, whether it’s the government support, the venture capital community or innovation entrepreneurs - everyone needs to work together to make Riyadh the technology hub for MENA.

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Early results of the Kingdom’s initiatives are starting to show, says Boopin’s Razmik Kalaidjian
‘‘Big data, AI and digital transformation specialists are in high demand in Saudi Arabia today and will be more so in the years to come”

Around the world, the legacy perception of Saudi Arabia has perennially been one of mystery, and often reduced to stereotypes of oil wealth and religious pilgrimages. However, as someone who grew up in Egypt and regularly visited Saudi Arabia to see family and friends, I have always been struck by the warmth, hospitality, and rich culture of the Saudi people. Many years later, working for CNN, I continue to travel regularly to Saudi Arabia for both business and pleasure, and I have witnessed the country’s astonishing pace of change, and the ensuing, albeit gradual, transformation of people’s perceptions.

What brings this transformation to life is the power of storytelling. The rich narratives of Saudi Arabia have enchanted me since I was a young boy, and the Vision 2030 plan has brought these stories to a wider audience. As part of our ‘Generation 2030’ branded content campaign, CNN showcased the diverse and vibrant Saudi culture, from fashion designers to business pioneers, inspiring and connecting people across the world. It was incredible for someone like me who had met these types of people my whole life to see their stories play out in an advertising campaign across our network.

Storytelling is an art that resonates with people, and its impact is profound. A recent study called The Power of Branded Content found that 66 per cent of people viewed branded content as informative, 75 per cent found it inspiring, and 58 per cent said that it helped them form an emotional connection. The Generation 2030” campaign exemplified all of these points. With the rapid changes taking place in Saudi Arabia, there is a wealth of new stories to be told. The country’s focus on diversifying its economy has opened up many new avenues for content creators, particularly in travel and tourism. The Saudi Arabia pavilion at Expo 2020 showcased the country’s stunning diversity, from snow-covered mountain tops in the north to regenerative tourism in the blue waters of the Red Sea.

Indeed, the Saudi Tourism Authority recognises the opportunity presented by the country’s diversity. As CEO Fahd Hamidaddin said on CNN during an interview conducted at Arabian Travel Market: “We are positioning [our country]

by being Arabia that stretches from the ancient meeting point of trade routes where you see cultural civilizations like Al Ula, to modern and vibrant Arabia in Riyadh, and the future of Arabia that you see in Neom.”

The diversification of the economy is also an interesting story in itself. Travel, tourism and entertainment are a key part of this drive but - as we see at conferences such as the Future Investment Initiative – the start-up scene, tech innovation and other economic sectors all have major parts to play as the country diversifies beyond oil revenues.

One particular sector that is undergoing huge change is the media landscape in Saudi Arabia, with social media playing an increasingly significant role. With 78 per cent of people in Saudi Arabia using five or more social media messaging services, content creators need to adapt and tell their stories across

multiple platforms. At CNN, we leverage smart technology to ensure that a story reaches the right audience at the right moment in the right environment –whether that’s on linear, digital, via a newsletter, podcast or on social media.

Saudi Arabia’s youthful population is demographically inclined towards innovation and open to new trends and technologies. The country’s media consumption trends reflect this, with people spending an average of two hours a day watching online TV or streaming, versus a global average of 90 minutes. However, people in Saudi Arabia are still watching an average of 1hr 41mins of broadcast TV a day, highlighting the need for diversified strategies in distributing content.

In a world where content is abundant, people crave stories that inspire and inform. Saudi Arabia has a wealth of untold stories waiting to be shared with the world, and I am excited to see how these stories will be told and distributed in the years to come. The country’s disposition towards innovation and new technology is a reminder of the need for diversified strategies in content creation and distribution. Through human-led storytelling and strategic distribution, we can bridge the gap between perception and reality, and really put these stories on the world stage so that people can see for themselves the Saudi Arabia that I have experienced ever since I was a boy.



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‘‘The rich narratives of Saudi Arabia have enchanted me since I was a young boy ”

Saudi Arabia continues to shape its global reputation, says CARMA, the global media intelligence provider. Through a powerful combination of cutting-edge AI technology and expert human consulting, CARMA delved deep into the conversations and sentiments surrounding Saudi Arabia in 2022.

It conducted comprehensive research analysing media coverage across 33 major markets and over 2,400 major international titles from traditional, digital, and broadcast media. The focus of the research was to understand the impact of Vision 2030, the Kingdom’s ambitious long-term development plan, on Saudi Arabia’s reputation, as well as to examine how the country was perceived in regional and international top-tier media.

Despite navigating a stormy geopolitical landscape, Saudi Arabia demonstrated resilience and triumphed over political hurdles with its social and economic innovations, captivating predominantly positive media attention throughout the year. While political and societal criticism posed challenges in the second and third quarters, the Kingdom’s unwavering efforts in tourism and diplomacy played a crucial role in preserving its international standing. Notably, the research showcased a 4 per cent increase in positivity and a 12 per cent decrease in negativity between the first and last quarter of 2022.

Furthermore, Vision 2030’s share of voice grew by 13 per cent by the end of 2022, which reflected its growing recognition and its resounding influence, solidifying its position as a driving force in shaping Saudi Arabia’s future.



CARMA’s Rawan Hashem explains how Vision 2030 is transforming Saudi Arabia’s reputation

Booming economy: The activities of the Public Investment Fund and Aramco, as well as the growth of the Saudi economy were often in the limelight.

Thriving tourism and entertainment industries: The media extensively covered the Kingdom’s efforts to boost its travel industry and expand the entertainment sector. Notable highlights included the launch of the Future Aviation Forum and the investments in the gaming industry.

Building stronger global ties: Saudi Arabia’s active role in the peace negotiations in Yemen and its growing cooperation with several nations, such as China and South Korea, were heavily discussed by the media.

Although explicit mentions of Vision 2030 represented 14 per cent of the overall media coverage in 2022, the significance of topics related to the plan reverberated throughout the media landscape. Social topics witnessed a surge of 10 per cent in coverage, while economic news declined by 12 per cent between the first and last quarter of 2022. This evolving media focus indicated a growing recognition of the societal impact and transformative nature of Vision 2030, as the Kingdom’s efforts to drive social development resonated with both regional and international audiences.

CARMA’s research also revealed key positive drivers that propelled Saudi Arabia’s reputation forward and contributed to its evolving narrative on the global stage. These included:

Dominating the global oil market: Given its status as a major oil producer, the high oil prices in 2022 brought attention to Saudi Arabia. News outlets reported on the Kingdom’s expanding share in China’s oil market and its emergence as the second-largest oil supplier to India. Transforming the sports landscape: The Kingdom’s aspirations to become a sports powerhouse were widely covered, with the country hosting and participating in various global sports events.

Promoting rich cultural heritage: The investments in arts and heritage received global attention, as major cultural events like Al Ula Winter and the Noor Riyadh Art Festival garnered significant media coverage.

Saudi Arabia’s prominence in the global oil market, its aspirations to become a sports powerhouse, and its investments in promoting rich cultural heritage have further contributed to its evolving narrative on the global stage, capturing the interest and admiration of the

media. As Vision 2030 continues to drive progress and shape Saudi Arabia›s future, the Kingdom’s transformative journey is gaining momentum and reimagining its reputation. With its unwavering commitment to social development, economic diversification, and global engagement, Saudi Arabia is poised to emerge as a dynamic and influential player on the world stage, inspiring positive change and fostering a brighter future for its people and the international community.

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‘‘The Kingdom’s aspirations to become a sports powerhouse were widely covered”

This year, the prestigious Cannes Film Festival opened with a film backed by Saudi Arabia. Jeanne du Barry, the French biographical drama starring Johnny Depp about the rise of the daughter of an impoverished seamstress through the Court of Louis XV, might seem an unconventional choice for a country as conservative as Saudi Arabia, but it is further evidence of the Kingdom’s growing soft power.

Saudi Arabia will again be the talk of Tinseltown later this month, when the Gerard Butler-starrer Kandahar, shot in the picturesque Al Ula region, opens in cinemas.

Saudi Arabia’s foray into film is the latest chapter in a national economic narrative that has ventured into sectors as diverse as tourism, music, the arts, sports, clean energy, sustainable cities, and artificial intelligence. The perception of Saudi Arabia as an oil-dependent economy has become decidedly old-fashioned.

Of course, oil revenues, which topped US$326 billion in 2022, the most since 2012, have supercharged the economic diversification and reform outlined in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 strategy. One of 19 member countries of the so-called TrillionDollar Club, Saudi Arabia is on track to double the size of its economy by the end of the decade.

Having operated in the Kingdom for over two decades, ASDA’A BCW has advised many of Saudi Arabia’s leading entities, including those of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds. As a catalyst of Saudi Arabia’s diversification drive, PIF has pledged to increase the share of international assets in its portfolio from 10 per cent today, to 50 per cent by 2030.

The focus on youth is unmistakably evident in all of the government’s actions –the opening up of the economy, the innovative music concerts, the number of new entertainment attractions and cinemas, and, of course, the focus on upskilling and creating jobs for young people.

The recent US$4.9 billion acquisition of California-based gaming leader Scopely Inc by PIF-backed Savvy Games Group, further illustrates how closely Saudi Arabia’s investment strategy is tracking the behaviours and consumption habits of the post-Millennial generation.

This was the third-largest equity investment in a foreign company by a Saudi-based investor, surpassing PIF’s US$3.6 billion investment in Uber Technologies in 2016, another disruptive tech company leading the new shared-services economy.

Such transactions also reflect the growing entrepreneurial spirit of Saudi investors, who have now emerged as one of the world’s most important, and prolific, sources of venture capital.

An estimated 70 per cent of the private equity deals by Saudi-based investors last year involved venture capital, underscoring both the ambition and the risk appetite of Saudi Arabia’s leadership today.




The Kingdom’s transformation from an oil and gas swing producer into an economic powerhouse is clear, and, crucially, it is one that young Saudis endorse.

The 14th annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey, the largest study of its kind study of the region’s largest demographic, revealed that young people in Saudi Arabia are increasingly optimistic about their future. They trust their leadership to do the right thing. An astonishing 98 per cent of young Saudi men and women say that their voice matters, and that the government has the right policies in place to address their concerns on core issues such as education, job creation and economic growth.

Optimism about Vision 2030 among Saudi youth has increased year-on-year. Almost all the respondents (99 per cent) to last year’s survey said they were confident the road map would secure a stronger economy. And 97 per cent said the country was going in the right direction, while nine in 10 said they believed they would have a better life than their parents.

The Saudi government’s recent private sector reforms also received an enthusiastic thumbs up from young Saudis, with 96 per cent saying they that approved measures encouraging more private sector involvement in the economy. According to the research, 93 per cent said they strongly supported or somewhat supported reforms encouraging Saudi citizens to play a bigger role in business.

At ASDA’A BCW, we have always believed that to understand the Arab world, we must first understand the hearts and minds of its largest demographic, its youth. Our survey’s findings show that Saudi youth fully support their country’s reform agenda and are optimistic about their future.

Such enthusiasm for change in a country traditionally viewed as modest and inward-looking illustrates the value of writing a new communications playbook for Saudi Arabia. This will fairly and accurately present its people to the world today and give them the starring role they clearly deserve.

May 29, 2023 21
Young people are optimistic about the changes taking
place in KSA, says ASDA’A BCW’s Sunil John
Sunil John is the President – MENA of BCW and founder of ASDA’A BCW
‘‘The perception of Saudi Arabia as an oil-dependent economy has become decidedly old-fashioned”

Change, a universal constant, is challenging because of our inherent desire for comfort and security. This was made evident during the global turmoil of the Covid-19 pandemic, an unexpected shift we were collectively unprepared for. It was not only the pandemic that posed the most significant threat to businesses but the potential for an economic downturn in the global market.

Three years on, we continue to learn, adapt and incorporate invaluable lessons into our lives. Although drastic, such unforeseen change highlights the importance of adaptability and agility. Indeed, the most flexible and adaptable are often best equipped to weather the storm of uncertainty. In the tumultuous seas of the business world, charting our course through change is crucial for success.

Let’s consider the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan. Unlike the pandemic, this initiative represents a deliberate and ambitious national rebranding exercise. However, given Saudi Arabia’s unique position as the heart of the Islamic and Arab worlds, this task is complex and must be navigated carefully.

As Saudi Arabia embarks on this transformative journey, businesses must critically assess their existing brand strategies and identify effective ways to adapt to the changing milieu. But how can brands adapt and remain relevant and competitive while driving growth?


In an evolving landscape, crafting a brand strategy cannot be a one-off activity. It must continuously evolve in response to changing market conditions and emerging opportunities, using a cyclic process



Businesses must identify effective ways to adapt to change, says Brand Lounge’s Hasan Fadlallah

of research, evaluation, execution and assessment.

Some steps to develop an effective brand strategy in such a changing landscape include:

Rediscover your brand: Align your brand with the objectives outlined in Vision 2030 by examining your business model, stakeholders, motivations and purpose. A clearly defined purpose can help your brand stand out from competitors and create an authentic emotional connection with your audience.

Uncover your superpower: Identify unique strengths that empower your brand to adapt and thrive in a dynamic environment. As the Kingdom liberalises its economy, inviting global brands into the market, the competitive landscape inevitably intensifies. Armed with your brand’s unique superpower, you can leverage these strengths to stay ahead of the competition and forge a resilient brand capable of adjusting to shifting market conditions.

Differentiate your brand: The most effective way to differentiate your brand is to be agile and willing to adapt strategies in response to customer needs. This requires a deep understanding of customers and the ability to anticipate their needs before they arise.

Create your brand image: Your brand image should be clear, consistent and aligned with your business objectives. Invest in crafting a compelling brand image that resonates with your target audience and aligns with Vision 2030.

Build brand equity: Enhance your brand equity by creating memorable brand experiences, delivering exceptional customer service, and investing in brandbuilding activities.

The significance of adaptability can’t be overstated. Businesses that can pivot and reposition themselves, adopting innovative strategies and solutions, can turn crises into opportunities. A nimble approach allows companies to mitigate risks, seize unexpected opportunities and stay ahead of the curve.

Consider the numerous brands that have thrived despite the economic uncertainties posed by the pandemic. They have shown us that change is not always a threat but, can be an impetus for innovation and growth.

Amid the global lockdowns, Zoom managed to maintain its operations and soar to new heights. It seized the moment by lifting restrictions, promoting remote work content, and outpacing competitors with user-friendly features and effective marketing. This allowed it to meet the demands of a rapidly changing market, and the brand thrived even as other businesses struggled to stay afloat in the face of an economic downturn.

While the road ahead may still be fraught with challenges, the lessons learned during these times of change can serve as a guide

for the future. Whether it’s a pandemic, a financial crisis, or a national rebranding, the ability to adapt and innovate is critical.

Brands must be fearless and ready for change, looking forward rather than clinging to the past. Flexibility and adaptability in a brand’s strategy are not just essential for maximising brand value, but they also serve as the keys to survival - not just for today, but for the future.

May 29, 2023 22
‘‘Align your brand with the objectives outlined in Vision 2030 by examining your business model”



Last summer I visited Riyadh for the first time in a long time and I would be remiss to deny that I felt a certain anxiousness. My last trip to the Kingdom had been 10 years ago and I was told the country had changed. How does a country make so much change in a short 10 years? It’s the desire to have its economy grow at the same rate or faster than the neighbouring countries across its borders. Here are some trends that spring out for me:

Women’s rights: Saudi Arabia has had a complex history when it comes to women’s rights. Women were not allowed to drive, work, be freely educated or travel alone. Since 2018 the driving ban has been lifted for women, and the country has taken steps to increase women’s participation in the workforce, including setting targets for the percentage of women in certain industries. The country has invested heavily in growing girls’ access to education. The desire of the government to promise economic growth and modernisation is the main cause of the progress made here. The impact of social media cannot be ignored here either.

As a food brand that runs a large number of stores in the country, we are now having women join our workforce. While this is a huge feat it also comes with a new set of challenges. I couldn’t be prouder of the women that are navigating this space and defining what it will look like for generations to come. More recently while in KSA for International Women’s Day, I had the opportunity to have breakfast with these amazing women and understand their journeys as they navigate this space. On the same trip, I was a speaker on a panel discussion in Saudi Arabia titled #NowToNext which was all about redefining the customer experience for Saudis. Speaking publicly at an event would have been unheard of a few years ago. Standing alongside other women leading inspiring projects like Saudi Vision 2030 felt like a huge step forward.

Tourism: The country has recently opened its borders to international tourism and there has been a lot of interest in the country’s rich

culture and history. Tourism brings millions of dollars into the economy of other Middle Eastern countries and Saudi Arabia does not want to be left behind.

Technology: The country has invested heavily in tech infrastructure and startups. In our business, we have seen an increase in e-commerce proliferation. Consumers are becoming more accustomed to buying things online, from the comfort of their homes. They have also become comfortable paying for these online with the proliferation of Apple Pay etc. Social media platforms have become an integral part of consumer lives.

Food: The cuisine is rooted in tradition with dishes like shawarma, falafel and hummus.

However, in recent years the country has also been embracing modern food trends such as gourmet burgers and sushi. This has led to a fusion of traditional and modern cuisine with many restaurants offering a mix of both. With all this modernity and progress the country continues to maintain its values of tradition and pride in all things local. As global brands come into the country the speed of change could throw you off your game. What I have learned is that Saudis hold their values and tradition close to their hearts. If you can find a way as a global brand to celebrate and immerse yourself in these local values, you will find a path to success. Brands that win in Saudi celebrate local culture, spend time ensuring they are sourcing and using local ingredients and truly understand the Saudi consumer. I call this being ‘glocal’a marriage of global and local. While respecting the traditional cultural heritage you also tap into opportunities and challenges that come with modernisation.

Some examples of great glocal work that brands I have worked on and other brands have done are:

Tapping into local music trends to leverage global music and local flair. Recently as Pizza Hut relaunched in the region we leverage a local rap band to create a music video in Arabic to show how the brand belongs in their lives. We are also exploring local menu options such as a shawarma pizza to drive more relevance.

KFC, another of Yum’s brands, drives the fact that it uses local Saudi chicken which is highly valued by consumers and has helped drive brand loyalty.

Starbucks and Nestle have both introduced local coffee blends to appeal to local consumers while maintaining their global branding and personas. The stores have taken on some cultural cues to win consumers’ hearts and minds in Saudi Arabia.

To win in Saudi Arabia you need to go deep into the traditions of the country and yet understand its love and move to modernity. Then success will come.

May 29, 2023 23
Global brands need to immerse themselves in local values, says Pizza Hut’s Beverley D’Cruz
“The country has been embracing modern food trends such as gourmet burgers and sushi”

As the global economy undergoes a significant shift towards the Middle East, the Arab Gulf states are particularly emerging as formidable economic centres connecting the East and the West. Among these countries, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has taken centre stage as the driving force behind the region’s economic ascent. With the introduction of Vision 2030 in 2016, Saudi Arabia has witnessed a revolutionary transformation that has impacted every aspect of the country, reshaping the way businesses and the government operate.

Vision 2030 has served as a catalyst for change, elevating the advertising sector from a relatively neglected industry to a vital component of the cultural, economic, and social renaissance orchestrated through a unique partnership between public and private investments and agencies. Consequently, there has been an exponential rise in growth and demand within the advertising sector in Saudi Arabia, prompting both local and global agencies to converge and invest in expanding their capacity. This surge has also led to the emergence of numerous independent agencies.

The unprecedented reforms introduced under Vision 2030 aim to diversify the Saudi economy, reducing its over-dependence on oil as the main economic driver. The results of these reforms are already evident, with Saudi Arabia boasting the highest annual growth rate among the world’s top 20 economies in 2020. As the largest economy in the MENA region, Saudi Arabia has cemented its position as an economic and commercial powerhouse. With approximately 67 per cent of its population under the age of 35, the country possesses a young demographic with a strong appetite for consumer goods, digital technology, and social media. This presents the advertising sector with seemingly limitless opportunities and potential for growth.

In 2022, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Commerce issued 314,500 commercial registrations for firms and establishments, representing a 6 per cent increase compared to the previous year. During the first quarter of 2023, Riyadh, the capital city, took the lead with the highest number of commercial registrations, reaching 18,800. This makes Riyadh the city with the most emerging entrepreneurs in the business landscape, with 1,500 of them operating within the advertising sector.

Within this thriving environment, a growing indigenous advertising sector has flourished, often led by young Saudi creatives who bring international experience and a palpable sense of the nation’s spirit. Local talent is now winning contracts to showcase Saudi Arabia’s emerging tourism and growing investment products to the world, providing stiff competition to the increasing number of international agencies making their way to Riyadh. The collaboration between local and global talent is pushing boundaries, raising the bar in both the in-Kingdom advertising landscape and on the international stage.

For many advertising agencies, the ‘giga’ projects envisioned under Vision 2030 represent the ultimate prize. The unparalleled support and ambition behind

these transformative projects provide a canvas on which potentially award-winning global campaigns can be executed by some of the best agencies in the industry.

Saudi Arabia’s role as a powerhouse in the Middle East and the wider region is increasingly solidifying, serving as an intrinsic bridge between the East and the West. It offers an environment of economic freedom, a thriving investment ecosystem, and a pool of highly educated and ambitious young entrepreneurs who are taking full advantage of the dynamic opportunities available.

When it comes to advertising practices, Saudi Arabia is a marketplace that cannot be ignored. It is a marketplace where the sheer


scale and boldness of the many ‘giga’ projects offers the exceptionally talented a supercharged environment where they can reach new heights and be rewarded for doing so. It is also an increasingly competitive space where local agencies are adapting, enhancing and collaborating with global entities on their own terms.

While global companies investing in Saudi Arabia pose a certain challenge for local and independent agencies, the latter must adopt more global standards, and the former should be knowledgeable about local context for them to truly understand and communicate the country’s cultural essence. In this context, the likelihood of forging powerful collaborations and partnerships between international and local agencies grows exponentially, as their mutual attributes fuse to create even more compelling narratives. This holds particularly true as Saudi Arabia ambitiously targets a population increase from 35 million to nearly 60 million by 2030, envisioning a balanced split between citizens and residents. Therefore, it is crucial for local advertising agencies to be prepared to cater to this growing international audience.

The decade ahead offers so much potential and opportunity for agencies in Saudi Arabia. The breadth and diversity of economic activity, the global brands active in-Kingdom, the unstoppable advance of digital and the pipeline of major projects that are all about to reach their prime and engage their global markets and audiences, including tourism, innovation, sports, cultural destinations and the media and creative sectors, all point to Saudi Arabia being a powerhouse and global hub for the advertising industry up to and beyond the year 2030.

May 29, 2023 24
The Bold Group’s Abeer Alessa explains the need to unleash Saudi Arabia’s advertising sector potential
‘‘When it comes to advertising practices, Saudi Arabia is a marketplace that cannot be ignored”


APCO Worldwide’s Rad Arekat gives the lowdown on what is happening in the fast-paced Kingdom

As the world is becoming increasingly digital, it’s essential to understand the latest social and digital trends for this year, particularly in Saudi Arabia. KSA is a rapidly growing market for social media and digital platforms. The number of social media users in Saudi Arabia reached 29.5 million in 2023. As a result, businesses are turning to social media platforms to connect with their audiences and increase brand awareness.

The most popular social media platforms in Saudi Arabia is YouTube, followed by TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, according to the most recent data insights report. As of 2023, YouTube has the most significant user base in Saudi Arabia, with over 30 million active users. TikTok is the second most popular social media platform, with more than 29 million active users. Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter have approximately 22.7 million, 20.6 million, and 16.3 million active users, respectively.

People in Saudi Arabia use social media for various purposes, including staying connected with friends and family, consuming news and entertainment, and shopping online. Social media platforms have become a crucial part of people’s daily lives in Saudi Arabia, with 97 per cent of internet users in the country having at least one social media account.

Social media platforms have become an essential tool for brands in Saudi Arabia to connect with their audience and increase brand awareness. By leveraging social media platforms, brands can create targeted marketing campaigns, engage with their audience by telling their stories, and increase their customer base and have a clear ROI on the digital outcomes.


Brands in Saudi Arabia are using various social media platforms to connect with their audiences. Instagram is the most popular platform for brands in Saudi Arabia, with over 70 per cent of brands having an active presence on the platform. Brands are using Instagram to showcase their products, collaborate with influencers and increase brand awareness.

YouTube is the second most popular platform for brands, with over 60 per cent having an active presence on the platform. Brands are using YouTube to create informative and entertaining videos about their products and services. Snapchat and Twitter are also popular platforms for brands, with approximately 50 per cent of brands having an active presence on each platform.

Influencer marketing has become increasingly popular in Saudi Arabia, with brands partnering with influencers and content creators to promote their products and services. Influencers have a massive following on social media platforms and can help brands increase their reach and engagement.

As social media continues to grow in popularity in Saudi Arabia, it’s essential for brands to adapt their marketing strategies to reach their target audiences effectively. By understanding the current social and digital trends in the country, brands can create engaging content that resonates with their audiences and build lasting relationships with their customers.

One thing that’s clear is that video content is becoming increasingly popular, and brands that incorporate video into their marketing campaigns are more likely to see success. Whether it’s short-form content for platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels or longer-form content for YouTube and Facebook, video is a powerful tool for engaging with audiences and delivering brand messaging.

Another trend to watch is the continued growth of e-commerce in Saudi Arabia. With more and more consumers turning to online shopping, brands that offer seamless, user-friendly e-commerce experiences are more likely to succeed. This includes everything from mobile-optimised websites to easy-to-use payment gateways and fast shipping options.

A bonus trend in this year’s digital landscape is the emergence of social media search. Brands are swiftly embracing this trend and

leveraging its potential as a powerful means of expanding their reach and enhancing online engagement. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is no longer restricted to websites; instead, it has become an essential element of newly devised digital strategies. Additionally, social media search has become so prevalent that you can easily find mind-blowing results by simply searching on platforms like TikTok or Instagram.

Social media and digital trends are constantly evolving in Saudi Arabia, and it’s essential for brands to keep up with the latest developments to stay relevant and engage with their audience effectively. By incorporating video content, optimising e-commerce experiences, optimising social media search on platforms, keeping up with the latest platform features, and being sensitive to the changing needs of their audience, brands can build lasting relationships with their customers and achieve long-term success on social media.

May 29, 2023 25
‘‘Social media platforms have become an essential tool for brands in Saudi Arabia to connect with their audience”

3points Advertising

Type of agency: Creative

Founded: 1998

Head of company: Jeddah

We are an integrated creative agency offering innovative brand marketing and communication solutions. With a team of qualified professionals across our offices, we pursue the ‘WOW’ effect in all the work we do for brands to dazzle their audiences and help achieve objectives.

KEY CLIENTS: Public Investment Fund (PIF), Fakih Poultry, Mazda, Abbott, Toyota (ALJ) SERVICES: Strategy and creativity, branding and design, digital and social, production and activation, media planning and buying.

77 Media Holding

Type of agency: Production house

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

9SS Creative

Type of agency: Creative

A2Z Media

Type of agency: Digital marketing

Founded: 2015

Saudi office: Riyadh

Head of company: Elie Charbel

At A2Z Media, we create custom and integrated marketing plans primarily for B2B holding companies and brands.

SERVICES: Fully integrated marketing strategising, paid media management, mobile app and website development, content marketing (social media and email marketing), branding, photography and videography

KEY CLIENTS: Dur Hospitality (Makarem Hotels, Marriott Hotels, Holiday Inn Hotels, Crowne Plaza Hotels), Napco (Sanita), Pearson

Accelerate Me Online

Type of agency: Marketing and advertising

Founded: 2011

We’re a 360°digital marketing agency operating from Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (Dubai). We work with large enterprise clients in the GCC and have more than ten years of experience in the Middle East. At Accelerate ME Online, we think big and act bigger.

SERVICES: Social media strategy, social media accounts setup and management, content creation, copywriting, design, animation, community management, paid media, print design (flyers, billboards, brochures, menus), production (TVCs, hero videos) and photoshoots.

KEY CLIENTS: Nada Dairy, Eagle Hills, Florida Natural, Pizza Hut, Al Dawaa

May 29, 2023 26

Action Global Communications

Type of agency: Public Relations

Year founded: 2023 (opening Q4)

Saudi office: Riyadh

Head of company: Chris Christodoulou, Group CEO

Action Global Communications is an independent, multi-award-winning international PR network that helps organisations advance their agendas in target markets. Our soon-to-open creative integrated agency in Saudi will continue the Group’s mission of creating meaningful connections between companies and audiences.

SERVICES: Public relations and social media.

KEY CLIENTS: Tahaluf (an Informa Company), dmg Events, Messe Frankfurt Middle East

Advisors 360

Type of agency: Marketing and communications

Advisors 360 is a fully integrated marketing communications agency. We offer you a diverse range of services including advertising, events, BTL, promotion, activation and design.


Founded: 1994 (2010 MENA)

Saudi office: Riyadh

Managing Director MENA: Bassel Sawy

AKQA is a full-service brand experience design agency with 35 studios globally.

KEY CLIENTS: PIF, Aramco, Al Futtaim Automotive, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Louis Vuitton

AGA-ADK Advertising and Marketing

Founded: 1997

Offices: Jeddah and Riyadh

Chairman: Roger Sahyoun

+966 12 606 2207

AGA-ADK is a full-fledged communications agency in the MENA region. Known for its blend of memorable and effective ad campaigns that aim to deliver results. Using data to drive creative solutions, and with a content-first approach, the team focuses on creating relevance in communication in a world where individualisation and hyper-personalisation in advertising is taking lead in building consumer relations.

SERVICES: Full marketing communication services, strategic planning, creative designs, consumer activation, production, branding and corporate identity, content planning and production.

KEY CLIENTS: Langnese, Bosch, Siemens, Toshiba, Novartis, Hershey’s, Fawasel, Al Khair, Bugshan Group (GUESS perfume)

Anchovy x The Studio Upstairs

Type of agency: Digital, Creative and Tech

Founded: 2022

Saudi office: Riyadh

Head of company: Zak Borg and Tala Saleh

A new Saudi-based end-to-end creative and digital solutions company.

SERVICES: Branding, digital marketing strategy, content production, ux/ui design, web development.

KEY CLIENTS: Misk Youth Hub, Al Majal Alarabi, Grundfos, Lufthansa, Masafi Co., Foster Clark›s, Saudi Tennis Federation, Tamimi Markets


Founded: 2019

Head of agency: Timothée Désormeaux & Edouard Daou

+966 53 899 6998

Acquisit enables companies’ growth by designing and executing data-driven strategies. Since its foundation, Acquisit collaborates with key industry leaders and high-potential start-ups across the MENA region, helping them seize online growth opportunities. Our scope covers all levers of Growth Marketing from traffic generation to revenue optimization.

KEY CLIENTS: Almatar, Whites, Kunooz, L’Oreal Middle East, Birkenstock, Kitronics

SERVICES OFFERED: Performance Marketing, SEO, CRM, Conversion Rate Optimization, Measurement, Amazon & Marketplace Management

PARTNERS: Hubspot, Funnel, Amazon, Google, Meta, Snapchat, WebEngage

May 29, 2023 27
Timothée Désormeaux Co-Founder & UAE Managing partner Edouard Daou Co-Founder & KSA Managing partner Ahmed Abubaker Head of Web Analytics Mohamad Turk Head of Business Growth KSA Kareem Hachem KSA Team Manager


Type of agency: Event management

Founded: 2005

Director: Faisal Al Abdali Saudi office: Jeddah

ARC is the events management arm of TRACCS, the largest independent communications consultancy network in the MENA region, with extensive experience in exhibition stands, innovative installations and branding, and visual remodelling. SERVICES: Events, conferences, and exhibitions


Type of agency: Digital

Archimedia is the region’s leader in audiovisual and automation technology. Since 2004 the company has prided itself on consistently delivering well engineered and brilliantly designed solutions for residential, corporate and marine projects. are technology architects.

Cheil KSA

Type of agency: Creative

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


Type of agency: Digital

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

Chain Reaction

Type of agency: Digital

Founded: 2010

Saudi Office: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Head of company: Saif Jarad

We are a team of industry-leading specialists in digital marketing, data analysis and communications. We combine innovation, data and technology to craft powerful digital experiences that impact, shape culture, and connect brands with people.

SERVICES: Digital marketing, data and analytics, social media management, video production, creative services.

KEY CLIENTS: Middle Beast, SRMG, MBC, Samsung, Yelo, Dubai Opera, Burj Khalifa, DIFC, Adidas

Type of Agency: Fully integrated communication agency

Founded: 1976

h p://


Over the past 45 years, AlAfak for advertising and Publicity has been pioneering in creative, and brand consultancy. The agency blazed a trail in the digital media market in the Kingdom, providing 360 marketing and communication services under one roof, in addition to online and offline Media planning and buying.

Our approach to develop business solutions to our clients, is built on values and fueled by data, innovation and technology and driven by creativity.

We pride ourselves to be part of the most local, global network in our industry because we are very well aware of the cultural and societal differences in each market we are active in and we have in-depth knowledge of the community we engage with. We make it a priority to unearth insights about the target audience we are addressing, in order to develop uniquely effective communication and creative solutions.

With over 70 employees and main offices in Riyadh and Jeddah, AlAfak for advertising continuous presence in the market geared the agency to work with local and multinational clients, as well as government agencies.

The agency’s deeply rooted culture supports the empowerment of women and local talents. It was the first to initiate co-op training programs with local universities to a ract their potential stars.

KEY CLIENTS: Real Estate Development Fund, Basamh Industrial, Petromin, Foster Clark’s, Thakher Makkah, Saudia Medical, Radwa Chicken and Gulf General Insurance.

SERVICES OFFERED: Integrated creative, Brand consultancy, branding/identity, journey planning, communication, content creation/execution, BTL solutions


May 29, 2023 28
Tony Rouhana Vice President Mazen Jawad CEO Nabil Moufarrej Managing Director Michael Haber Creative Director Mansour Al Hindi GM Government Relations Rabih Houri Head of Media

Founded: 2018

Type of agency: Full Service 360-Degree

Head of agency: Margery Kraus, Founder & Executive Chairman

+966 56 733 8681

APCO Worldwide is an advisory and advocacy communications consultancy helping leading public and private sector organisations be catalysts for progress by navigating the challenges of today, acting with agility, anticipating social risk and building organisational reputations, relationships and solutions to succeed. APCO is proudly an independent and majority women-owned business. Most importantly, we are a trusted partner to our clients, who hire us to help them anticipate, plan, execute and secure their futures through our robust global expertise and astute advisory counsel; creative and impactful advocacy programs; and purposeful and effective communications.

KEY CLIENTS: Cruise Saudi, Qiddiya, Ministry of Economy and Planning, Diriyah Gate Development Authority, Ministry of Culture, Saudi Premium Residency Center, Soudah Development Company, Public Investment Fund

SERVICES OFFERED: Integrated 360-degree communications, Building advisory boards, Media relations, Creative services, Stakeholder engagement, Training and workshops, Digital and social media, Crisis communications, Public Affairs, Geo-commerce

LEADERSHIP PANEL: Mark Lamb, Managing Director, Liam Clarke, Head of APCO Institute, Faten AlMasri, Chief Client Officer, Kate Sullivan, Director, Hala Hayek, Director, Mohammed Al Kheraigi, Director

AWARDS WON: Gold Award Winner in 2021 for Best B2B Campaign for Cruise Saudi, 2022, Top 5 best EMEA networks to work for, PRCA International Campaign award for the ‘Ministry of Communications KSA EXPO 2020’ campaign, PRCA Best Integrated Campaign (Large Companies) for Ministry of Communications KSA EXPO 2020


President, MENA Region


APCO is adapting to the rapidly changing region, where visionary leadership, shifting US relationships, massive investments in infrastructure and evolving oil policies are driving demand for more sophisticated solutions. To meet these demands, APCO is investing in its staff, increasing training budgets, and recruiting experienced professionals. By evolving with the changing region, APCO is well-positioned to continue delivering high-quality solutions to its clients.


APCO has proactively adapted its service offerings to cater to the evolving needs of Saudi Arabia. We launched the Institutional Design Practice to serve the growing Saudi governmentowned entities, requiring structured hiring, training and competency building. APCO has developed several best practices to ensure excellence in these processes.

In addition, APCO has launched the Live Studio and Story Room services, which provide clients in Saudi Arabia with better control over their messaging during stakeholder outreach.



One of our significant service offerings in Saudi Arabia is the Advisory Boards, which curate global advisors for clients and form and manage these boards to meet our clients’ specific needs. APCO’s proactive approach to adapting its offerings to the changing Saudi Arabian landscape ensures that the company can continue to deliver exceptional service to our clients.


APCO’s approach to advisory services is centered on meeting the increasing complexity of the world and the fast-moving issues that clients face. This requires us to continuously upgrade our services and expertise to match the needs of our clients. Our goal is to keep our clients informed of what’s going on and ahead of the curve. We attain this by imparting extensive industry insights, anticipating future trends, organising and simplifying the information, transferring this proficiency to our clients for enhancing their enterprises and engaging stakeholders.


APCO differentiates itself from other firms by providing a broader range of services beyond traditional communication and media relations. APCO helps its clients understand the geopolitical space and how it impacts their business, provides expertise and knowledge, and offers tools for engagement and crisis management. APCO also has a focus on helping clients deal with fast-moving issues and challenges, including those related to social media, customer complaints, and government or partner engagement. The complexity of the world is increasing, and we aim to help our clients navigate this complexity with our range of services and expertise.

May 29, 2023 29
Liam Clarke Head of APCO Institute Margery Kraus Founder & Executive Chairman Mark Lamb Managing Director Mamoon Sbeih President, MENA Region



Bassmat CEO ABDULRAHMAN SAUD explains the Kingdom’s big moves and ambitious goals for the future

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has recently witnessed massive movement at the global sports level, supporting and developing various types of sports such as tennis, golf, Formula 1, horse racing, athletics and even e-sports. This indicates the breadth of its interests and ambitious aims, as it muscles in with even bigger sporting plans to build a distinctive presence in the global sporting arena. So far, it’s been a huge success.


These major events have made the field of Saudi sports marketing fertile ground for strong, non-stop activity. Examples of the impact of marketing in the sports field is the ‘Giddam’ campaign, which played a key role in motivating Saudi audiences and it boosted the enthusiasm of the national team players to deliver a performance that stunned the footballing world.

Giddam was launched by the Saudi Football Federation in partnership with Bassmat, a creative and digital agency, The campaign won various

categories within the International Awards like Muse, SPIA and shorty. The campaign achieved a remarkable impact with widespread recognition at regional and international levels. It had a rate of about 19 billion impressions across various media platforms.


Abdulrahman Saud, CEO of Bassmat, explained the secret of the success of the “Giddam” campaign. He said, “The success of the campaign was due to the storytelling content that motivated the Saudi audience, as well as the use of various tools, such as AR technology, social media, OOH media crossing main cities in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Also, most importantly, integrated campaign management, strategic planning and the use of various marketing activities.”


How does Bassmat see the sports marketing

industry developing in Saudi Arabia? He said: “It’s a booming market. We have seen what Saudi Arabia is capable of. The great growth in the Saudi sports marketing industry comes in parallel with the growth of many other fields, including tourism, technology, and entertainment”.

After all of Saudi Arabia’s hard work in the sporting world, taking advantage of these new opportunities in the field of Saudi sports marketing has become a necessity for those who desire to achieve success and get a presence in the future.

May 29, 2023 30

Creative Blend

Type of agency: Creative

Founded: 2013

Saudi office: Riyadh

Head of company: Mojib Alajaleen, CEO

Creative Blend was established with a mission to provide high-quality advertising and branding services that integrate creativity with value, aiming to exceed our clients expectations.

SERVICES: Branding, creative services, videos, events, advertising.

KEY CLIENTS: Ministry of Housing, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Ministry of Education, Royal Commission for Al-Ula, KAUST

Create Group

Type of agency: Strategic digital communications

Founded: 2010

Saudi office: Riyadh

Head of company: Tom Otton

Create. is the region’s largest independent strategic digital communications agency, with offices in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt.

SERVICES: Strategic digital consulting, social media, video production, web/app products, performance marketing.

KEY CLIENTS: The Public Investment Fund, Royal Commission for AlUla, Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, Diriyah Gate Development Company, Department of Culture & Tourism - Abu Dhabi, NEOM, Emirates


Type of agency: Digital

Businesses are always looking for solutions to reach their target audience. Let your messaging reach the right people using the digital marketing services we provide.

SERVICES: Integrated campaigns, social media management, digital campaigns, email marketing, creative content, web design and e-commerce, brand management, digital production, influencer collaboration.

Creative Edge

Type of agency: Media

SERVICES: Media sales and consultancy, production, radio, digital media, sports.

Creative Formula SA

Type of agency: Creative

We grow your brand through combining creative strategic solutions with outstanding design.

SERVICES: Strategic planning, digital marketing, creative and branding, event planning and management, AV production.


Founded: 2011

Head of agency: Razmik Kalaidjian  Saudi Offices: Riyadh.



Locations: Abu Dhabi, Bangalore, Cairo, Dubai, Singapore, Shanghai

Number of Staff: 128

Driven by innovation and creativity, Boopin is one of the fastest-growing networks in the region, led by a team of more than 100 passionate creators and marketers, each with a desire to tell memorable stories and create exceptional experiences for brands and consumers. Our dedicated channel experts sit as a team, which ensures we not only have a tactical approach toward each channel but also benefit from providing 360-degree response.

SERVICES: Performance Marketing; digital infrastructure, digital transformation and automation; customer data platform facilitation and strategy; dynamic creative; API Integrations; Web/App Design and development; SEO; data visualization; social content management, production and PR.

KEY CLIENTS: AIAS Company, Baja, Exeed Motors, Hayat Biotech, Gems Education, IG Group, Infiniti, Masdar, Nissan, Renault, Shein, Xiaomi Mobiles.

SERVICES OFFERED: Performance Marketing; digital infrastructure, digital transformation and automation; customer data platform facilitation and strategy; dynamic creative; API Integrations; Web/App Design and development; SEO; data visualization; social content management, production and PR.

May 29, 2023 31
Razmik Kalaidjian Managing Director KSA Shadi Abdulhadi Founder and CEO Reine Hammoud Business Director Zeena-Kurd Head of Social Content & Production Joy-Hoyek PR Director Ali-Aboukhreibe Strategy Director
It starts with the name.

Agency Name:

Type of Agency:

Year Founded:

Head of Agency:

The Bold Group Independent Creative Group 2012

Abeer Saud Alessa

The Bold Group is a proud Saudi independent creative ecosystem that comprises three units: Bold Brands, Bold Comms, and Bold Experiences.

Key Clients Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Payments, Saudi Company for Artificial Intelligence (SCAI), Majid Al Fu aim, Snapchat, Almarai, Arab National Bank (anb), Royal Commission of Al-'Ula, Dominos.

Awards Dubai LYNX, PHNX Awards, WINA Award FWA, Awwwards, ACT Responsible.

With over 90+ professionals spread across two o ces Riyadh & Egypt, the award winning, multi-disciplinary agency has worked with over 180 clients.

The Bold Group fosters innovation in everything they do. It comes at the core of their business, which keeps them evolving in a fast-moving world.

They o er specialized services encompassing brand building, creative communication & creative technologies and experiences.

Head of Bold Brands

How have consumers changed in Saudi Arabia in recent years?

dscape in Saudi Arabia has experienced significant changes, leading to a substantial increase in spending. In February 2023, there was a 10% rise in consumer .9 billion Saudi Riyals. The following month, March 2023, there was another 6% growth, up from 88.6 billion a year earlier These changes can be a ributed to Vision 2030's achievements like the Quality-of-Life Program and dynamic entertainment options that have shi ed mindsets and added vibrancy to cities. With more options available, consumers in Saudi Arabia now have higher expectations from brands. Therefore, marketers must elevate their strategies to capture the a ention of consumers, leaving them with a momentous lasting impression

What are the biggest challenges you face in the Kingdom?

in Saudi Arabia are facing a di erent challenge than their counterparts in other markets. While agencies elsewhere struggle to find new business, the high demand for agencies is a challenge in Saudi Arabia. Thus, agencies need to scale up quickly and e ciently to meet the demands of the fast-paced and dynamic market. A racting and retaining top talent is also crucial to maintaining long-term client relationships. Additionally, clients now look for agencies commi ed to ethical and socially responsible practices. Agencies must balance agility and scalability with talent development and sustainable me these challenges. Ad agencies that can deliver exceptional work that meets client needs will be successful in the rapidly evolving market of Saudi Arabia.

Where do you see the biggest potential for growth in Saudi?

Vision 2030 has been a game changer for Saudi Arabia, allowing it to diversify its economy and gain greater global exposure. The initiative has led to significant growth in various sectors, including tourism, which has clear goals and ongoing projects. The government's focus on boosting the digital economy and expanding digital infrastructure across the country has also led to an increasing adoption of digital technologies among Saudi Arabia's young and tech-savvy population, resulting in a rise in online shopping and mobile payments. This trend drove the growth of the Saudi e-commerce market by 32% in 2022. Government-led initiatives and investments in renewable energy, healthcare, tourism, and entertainment present significant opportunities for growth in the technology and marketing sectors within the kingdom.

Has the Saudi agency model/o erings changed over the years?

Yes, the agency model and o erings in Saudi Arabia have changed drastically over the years in order to keep up with client and market needs. The advertising sector has shi ed from a classic model to a more agile one that allows for adaptation, collaboration, and innovation. With increased government spending and the need to cater to the speed of time, agencies are collaborating more and increasing their service expenditures, including introducing overnight work shi s as a service. |

May 29, 2023 33
Abeer Alessa Rashad Moglbay Mohamad Baalbaki Sarmad Hyder Head of Bold Comms Ziad Abou Rjeily Head of Bold Experiences Mohamad Baalbaki Co-Founder | ECD Industry Snapshot Brand Expression Unit Brand Creation Unit Brand Innovation Unit Co. Founder & CEO The Bold Group

The Creative Squad

Type of agency: Creative

SERVICES: Creative communication, research and development, campaign and brand strategy, concept development, conceptual designs.


Type of agency: Digital

+966 50 911 1311

We are a team of about 40 professionals, including specialist designers, account managers and planners, marketers and IT professionals. Between us, we have all the expertise you need to achieve your aims, whether it’s growing your business, promoting your brand, maximising your returns, or communicating with your stakeholders.

SERVICES: Digital marketing, digital development.

Direct Influence

Type of agency: Media, creative, digital, PR

Headquartered: Riyadh

Founded: 2015

SERVICES: Campaign strategy; social media managements and events; digital marketing; creative and production; influencer collaboration.

KEY CLIENTS: G20, Riyadh Season, Diriyah Season, Alrajhi bank, Monshaat

Dice Marketing and Advertising

Type of agency: Creative

Saudi office: Riyadh

Founded: 2013

Head of Company: Sari Kazma (Managing Director – Riyadh, Beirut, Cairo)

Dice transforms brand engagement with personalised and localised strategies for an interconnected world. We revolutionise the industry with exceptional experiences that connect brands and consumers on a deeper level. With four unmatched core services, we push boundaries to elevate brands and turn bold ideas into reality.

SERVICES: Creative and strategy, social and digital, content creation, experiential experiences

KEY CLIENTS: MCIT, MOF, Marafiq, Snapchat, Accenture, SAP, Motorola, Jeddah Central

End Consumer

Type of agency: Creative

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

Founded: 2006

Head: Hasan Fadlallah, Founder & CEO

Offices: Brand Lounge Arabia, Al Malqa, 3141 Anas Ibn Malik Rd, Riyadh 13521, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Brand Lounge is a strategy-led brand consultancy headquartered in Dubai and Riyadh. With a rich history of nearly two decades, we have collaborated with numerous renowned companies enabling them to differentiate their brands and maximize their value. As an award-winning consultancy, our commitment lies in delivering bespoke strategies that align with business goals and drive growth. We love building brands and believe in delivering tangible results. We recognize the importance of cultivating relationships anchored in mutual respect and co-creation. At Brand Lounge, we are committed to helping you maximize brand value and achieve long-term success.

KEY CLIENTS: Salehiya Healthcare, Al Rajhi Holding, Nazer, Daman Health, RTA, Al Akaria Real Estate, RAKEZ, Dubai Government Media Office, Hayat Biotech, Emaar, AxA Gulf, ADNOC, Etihad Rail

SERVICES: Brand audit, brand strategy, brand innovation, brand culture, naming, design, space and retail experience, brand activation, and digital & content experience.

AWARDS WON: 12x Transform awards - MENA 2022, Global Business Awards- Best Brand Consultancy of the Year-2022, 18x Transform awards – MENA 2021, MEA Business Awards- Best Brand Consultancy of the Year-2021


May 29, 2023 34
Mohamad Badr Chief Strategy Officer & Head of Growth Hasan Fadlallah Founder & Chief Executive Officer Ibrahim Lahoud Strategy Director & Head of Insights Fadi Darweesh Head of Operations Fatima Diallo Marcom & PR Senior Consultant Mo Saad Head of Design & Creative Impact

Founded: 1984

Head of agency: Founder and Group

CEO Mazen Nahawi & Co-Managing Partner Richard


Expertly helping PR and communications professionals demonstrate the value of their work, we work with both global and local organisations, across a diverse range of industries. We equip PR and communications professionals with the data, insights and context needed to make better informed business decisions.

WE AIM TO: Empower the comms industry to be tech-informed and data-enabled; elevate ‘earned-first’ in the minds of all marketers; use our insights and data to make PR a core part of every marketing strategy; drive an ongoing increase in global PR investment.

KEY CLIENTS: Aramco, Sabic, Royal Commission for Al Ula

SERVICES OFFERED: Media monitoring (online media, social media, print media, broadcast media, newsletters, alerts and executive briefings); PR measurement (media analysis report, PR measurement dashboards, social media analytics); consultancy & market research.

AWARDS WON: In 2022, we had the distinct honor of being named the winner in 10 categories at The International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication Awards. Additionally, we were proudly recognized as the recipient of the PRCA APAC 2022 Measurement and Evaluation Award.



Saudi citizens and residents have opened up to the world: they now understand global best practice, they know what ‘good looks like’ and they are increasingly demanding of the best quality of service.

The challenge of course is the number of quality providers across all industries is limited, and that is creating a pricing environment where most products and services are being delivered at much higher cost that in other places, say Dubai, for example.

The market is changing again however, and to pay normal prices for quality service, Saudis are putting an enormous focus on home grown talent and local industry.

I expect the KSA of the future to have media, tech, service, banking and industrial talent which rivals global economic hubs, but maintains a price point which is more sustainable than the current over-priced ecosystem in the market.


We find clients increasingly focused on how local social media and international mainstream media impact the reputation of organizations which are key to the Kingdom’s progress.

Most local news is naturally supportive of mega projects such as Neom, Al Ula etc. but international coverage can be mixed, as can local and international social media dialogue – much of which is poorly informed and hype-driven. The need to manage reputation, push back against false stories and fake news, while promoting the benefits and value of these new projects, is a major new development and becoming stronger as we head into a weakening global economy which may depress oil prices.


Yes and no. There remain many agencies which are focused on analogue-services such as outdoor advertising, print-based PR and classic TV outreach. On the flip side, there is a wave of new


generation agencies focused on integrated media models, purpose-driven campaigns and measurable impact. They are poised to win the market long term.


Reputation management. The weak impact of advertising is increasingly evident, and reputation which is made or broken through third-party endorsement and earned communications is top of mind with decision makers across the public and private sector.


The divide between older decision makers whose ideas and policies are for a bygone era, and the new generation of leaders whose vision and ambition is world-class. You will often find both in a single entity, including the same department. That can lead to friction, mixed messages and non-alignment.


Since starting our media monitoring operations there many years ago, we have grown into a broad range of digital and social monitoring solutions, as well integrated reputation analysis models which tell clients the truth of where they stand in the mind of their public. This depends on the complex capture, curation and analysis of everything from TikTok posts and TV, to online newspapers and NGO publications.

May 29, 2023 35
Founder MAZEN NAHAWI Richard Bagnall Co-Managing Partner Mazen Nahawi Founder and Group CEO Hassan Khatoun Director of Global Marketing & Commercial Development Hassan Khatoun Sergio Monteiro Chief Technology Officer Sarah Nahawi HR Director Alexander Efthymiou Director of Client Success

Type of agency: Media

Founded: 2010

Head of agency: Ahmad Haider

Riyadh: +966 112176110

Jeddah +966 126688208

Dentsu is the network designed for what’s next, helping clients predict and plan for disruptive future opportunities in the sustainable economy. Taking a people-centered approach to business transformation, dentsu combines Japanese innovation with a diverse, global perspective to drive client growth and to shape society.

KEY CLIENTS: Hungerstation, Cenomi, Saudi Vision 2030, Bupa, Sadafco, Jarir Bookstore, Public Investment Fund

SERVICES OFFERED: Consumer Intelligence and Data, Media Strategy, Media Planning, Media Buying & Investment, Performance Marketing & Commerce, Marketing Effectiveness, Partnerships & Innovation, Content Marketing, Influencer Marketing, Social Media, Experience Platforms, Commerce, Digital Products and Innovation, Virtual Experiences, Brand positioning and identity, Experiential, CXM, Data & Analytics



In the past few years, we have witnessed significant transformation in consumer behaviour in Saudi Arabia, driven by the increasing adoption of digital technologies. Consumers are now more digitally engaged than ever, with e-commerce and social media platforms becoming primary channels for shopping and communication. As a result, there


is a growing demand for tailored and personalized experiences, as consumers place a greater emphasis on sustainability and ethical consumption. Recognising these changing dynamics, Dentsu has made significant investments in research through our proprietary audience insight platform called CCS. Through this platform, we gain deep insights into media connections and human motivations, providing us with a comprehensive understanding of the pulse of the market.


Clients in Saudi Arabia are increasingly looking for a media partner that can offer end-to-end solutions and a more comprehensive approach to marketing. Additionally, there is a growing focus on utilising data analytics to drive personalised experiences and measure campaign effectiveness in real-time. Our clients have high expectations for us to deliver a holistic and integrated media/ digital marketing strategy that covers all relevant channels. Dentsu has focused on building agile capabilities to stay ahead of the curve and we invested in training and development for our team to ensure they possess the skills and expertise required to deliver innovative solutions to our clients.


We see significant potential for growth in Saudi Arabia’s digital landscape, particularly in the areas of e-commerce, social media, gaming and


mobile advertising. The rise of digital technologies has opened up new opportunities for brands to engage with consumers and increase their market share. Additionally, there is a growing interest in emerging technologies such as AI and machine learning, which we believe will play a significant role in shaping the future of media/digital advertising.


One of the biggest challenges we face in KSA is the highly competitive market, which demands that we differentiate ourselves through innovative solutions and the ability to provide tailored services that meet clients’ evolving needs. Moreover, we must keep up with the rapid pace of change, which requires continuous investment in technology, talent and innovation.


We have diversified our offerings to provide end-to-end marketing solutions that cater to clients’ specific needs, launching both Dentsu Creative and Merkle in market to leverage the full capability stack locally. Being a part of a global network has enabled us to access best practices and emerging trends from around the world, allowing us to offer our clients the most innovative and impactful solutions. Over the past two years, our presence and influence have experienced substantial growth in the Kingdom, reflecting our commitment to effectively meet the evolving needs of this dynamic market.

May 29, 2023 36
Managing Director, dentsu KSA Julie Larguier Media Director, Carat Ahmad Haider Managing Director, dentsu KSA Elizabeth Stead Client Operations Director, Dentsu Creative Sally Adib Associate Director, Carat Mohamad Ismail Associate Director, Carat

Type of Agecy: Creative, Digital and Media

Founded: 2020

Head of agency: Yousef Sharbatly - CEO

+966 12 262 0200 / +966 56 0748 158

Digitect is an integrated marketing services agency in the Kingdom. Our journey began three years ago with a bold aspiration to be the catalysts of change in the industry. Inspired by our country’s vision, we embody the roles of artists, architects, and engineers of change, striving to contribute to a brighter future for Saudi Arabia, one creative spark at a time. Since our inception, we have curated an impressive portfolio, serving 75 brands from diverse sectors, with the unwavering dedication of our 150-strong team. We believe in the power of collaboration, innovation, and pushing boundaries to deliver exceptional results for our clients.

KEY CLIENTS: Abdul Samad Al Qurashi, Al Borg Diagnostics, Skysales, Petromin Sellantis, Shell, The Clock Tower Makkah, Samaco Motors

SERVICES OFFERED: Brand Strategy & Communication Planning, Creative & Design Services, Social and Digital media, Film Production, PR, Media Buying, Activation

AWARDS WON: Okaz Top CEO Award 2023, Arabian Best of Best Awards 2022, Okaz Top CEO Award 2022



In the past few years, something remarkable has been happening in Saudi Arabia. Consumers have been undergoing a transformative shift. Armed with knowledge at their fingertips, they are bold, expressive, and unafraid to showcase their individuality through their choices. Saudi consumers today are no longer satisfied with just any ordinary experience. They demand personalized attention, seamless digital services, and a touch of magic that makes them feel truly special. They are raising the bar and challenging brands to step up their game.

But here’s the exciting part - they’re not just demanding; they’re also open to new ideas and experimentation. They’re eager to discover innovative products, embrace fresh concepts, and be part of something extraordinary. This presents an incredible opportunity for brands to captivate their hearts and minds.


The Saudi market is buzzing with exciting changes, and clients are at the forefront of this


revolution. They’re seeking something new, something that goes beyond the ordinary. Clients in Saudi Arabia have raised the bar. They are craving agility and responsiveness from their agency partners. The pace of progress in society is lightning-fast, and they want their agencies to keep up, to stay ahead of the game. The call for transformation is ringing loud and clear, urging everyone to step up their game and embrace the winds of change.

But it doesn’t stop there. Clients are yearning for more than just exceptional services. They want transparency. They want to build strong, trustbased relationships with their agency partners. They seek openness, honesty, and integrity. It’s all about fostering a bond that transcends mere business transactions. It’s about standing shoulder to shoulder, united in a shared purpose that creates a lasting impact.


The biggest opportunity for growth lies in embracing technology to push the limits of local creativity. There is an immense potential for creating culturally authentic, high-quality creative content that is a true reflection of our talent and passion. The world is curious to know more about our culture and people and we are in a unique position to enable them with authentic stories and engaging experiences that also serve well to elevate our client’s brand.

May 29, 2023 37
Yousef Sharbatly CEO Hussein Yassein Chief Technology Officer Hassan Sharbatly Chairman Hani Dajani GM Media Faisal Al Eisawi Regional Managing Director Ali Al Zabdani Chief Creative Officer


Founded: 2023

Head of Company: Eyad Abdul Khalek

Number of Staff: 142


EssenceMediacom is GroupM’s newest and largest agency, committed to delivering marketing breakthroughs for brands. It has disrupted the old models across media, creative, innovation and analytics to find new opportunities for advertisers and deliver truly integrated media solutions.

Born out of two pioneering agencies, EssenceMediacom fuses Essence’s performance, data, analytics and creative technology DNA with MediaCom’s scaled multichannel audience planning and strategic media expertise. As part of WPP, the world›s largest marketing communications services group, and GroupM, WPP’s consolidated media investment management arm, we have access to the richest data, most robust benchmarks and most advanced capabilities in the market. This helps us provide comprehensive solutions to all marketing challenges.

KEY CLIENTS: Richemont; adidas; Mars; Google; The Coca-Cola Company; NADEC; RCRC; Flyadeal; Ministry of Culture, Burger King, Shell, Derayah Financial Services, SMSA Express.

SERVICES OFFERED: Media Strategy, Buying & Planning, Social, SEO, Mobile, Digital, Research, Analytics & Insights, E-commerce; Data Leadership, Digital Transformation Consultancy

AWARDS WON: MediaCom: Adweek - Global Agency of the Year 2022; M&M Global – Global Agency of the Year 2022; Festival of Media – Global Agency of the Year 2022; Essence: Digiday - Most Innovative Agency of the Year 2022; Performance Marketing World - Performance Agency of the Year 2022; The Drum – Most Effective Use: Paid Search 2022




Consumers in Saudi Arabia have witnessed considerable changes in recent years, owing to economic reforms, social transformations and technical improvements. We’ve seen a significant shift towards e-commerce, increased demand for premium products and services, a growing emphasis on sustainability and ethical consumption and increased adoption of digital payment methods and changing demographics.


Fresh marketing and advertising strategies that cater to the changing preferences and behaviours of Saudi consumers. Clients are well-aware of the demands of a digital native population, so there is a strong focus on developing breakthrough digital marketing campaigns that target younger, tech-savvy consumers.


Yes, the agency model and offerings in Saudi Arabia have changed dramatically in recent years. Previously, the traditional agency model in Saudi Arabia was largely a transactional commission-

based fee structure. But as the market has matured, there has been a sharp shift toward more performance-based models, where agencies are compensated based on the outcomes they deliver for their clients.

Furthermore, there is a growing demand for more integration with other marketing disciplines, that can provide clients with end-to-end solutions. As part of WPP, we work very closely with the likes of Ogilvy, Wunderman Thompson, VLMYR Commerce and H+K, all of which have very strong footprint and capabilities in KSA.


Vision 2030 and the vast investment with these associated projects are an obvious area we are going to see significant marketing spend in the coming years. Government authorities are

requiring partners with agility, scale and integration capability that can match their timeline, vision and ambitions.

At EssenceMediacom, we have Insights and Analytics at the heart of our operating system, so we’re utilising this strength to identify actionable insights about local and international audiences that fuel innovative media solutions that demand attention for these game-changing projects.


Finding and retaining experienced media experts in Saudi Arabia continues to be an issue, especially in fields such as digital marketing and data analytics. The market is highly competitive and there remains a resourcing shortage, so acquisition and retention can prove to be challenging. However, we’re working closely with Group M HR on developing programmes to identify and excite the next generation of Saudi talent who can play a key role within our agency as we enter this hugely exciting period.


Our merger to EssenceMediacom introduced an evolved operating model that reflects the requirements of our clients for the new communications economy. We constantly hear the need for continuous learning and growth, so our breakthrough planning framework and toolkit ensure ongoing innovation and improvement across marketing, campaign and optimisation cycles.

May 29, 2023 39
General Manager, EssenceMediacom KSA Safwan Kanj General Manager KSA Eyad Abdul Khalek CEO MENA Abdalla El Abd Chief Client Transformation Officer MENA Alex Jevons Chief Operations Officer MENA Burt Reynolds Chief Data & Technology Officer MENA

Type of agency: Creative

Founded: 1968 (in KSA since 1983)

Saudi headquarters: Riyadh

Head of agency: Mohammed Bahmishan


+966 11 215 2211

Part of McCann Worldgroup and the flagship agency of MCN, FP7 McCann is the number-one creatively driven integrated marketing company in the MENAT Region. Award-winning regionally and globally, FP7 provides fully integrated marketing solutions, advertising and digital services. With 16 offices across 14 countries, FP7 McCann is the region’s largest creative agency network. It has



been named as the most effective agency network in the region for the last eight years in a row and the World’s Number 1 Most Effective Agency as per WARC 100 in 2021.

SERVICES: Business leadership; integrated creative solutions; integrated production; integrated strategy; campaign creation & activation; channel management; consumer journey analysis; content creation & production; social strategy; social listening; social playbook creation; content planning design/ UX; digital strategy; holistic analytics; humantech design thinking.

KEY CLIENTS: Al Rajhi Bank, solutions by stc, Samsung, Flyadeal, Aramco, NEOM, Sabic, SRMG

AWARDS: JWARC Effectiveness Awards, 2021/2022: #1 Agency of the Year Globally Global Effies Awards, 2021/2022: #1 Agency of the Year MENA Effies Awards, 2013 – 2021: Agency and Network of the Year Pro’s D’or, 2022: Agency of the Year Cannes Lions, 2021: 7 Lions Dubai Lynx 2021: #2 Agency of the Year, 2021


Saudis today live with the inspiration of a ‘confident creator’. While this is not the place to detail how the clear vision of our country has recreated them anew, when it comes to the communication industry and brand creativity, Saudi consumers are well-informed and have an opinion about products, services, and most importantly, on how brands should communicate to them.

With every creative campaign, people are quick to critique with a solid convection about a specific idea or particular execution. Their loyalty to commercial brands has come to stand on a fragile ground; they help the brands that understand them well and consistently know how to talk to them. Since the dawn of the internet, the Saudi population started as digital savvies, but throughout the recent years, the line between online and offline is rapidly blurring.



To know how consumers changed in Saudi Arabia, we need to understand the drivers behind this change. I believe the most important of them is the fact that Saud Arabia has a such a large young population. This young energetic generation is so curious and fast in adopting all new technologies as they emerge, jumping on trends and even creating new ones. The transformation started in our country after the announcement of Vision 2030.

The ongoing progress and achievements of this transformation has strongly impacted the mindset, spirit and lifestyle of Saudi consumers.

We are witnessing an era where online and offline are inter-dependent and each one is creating the other. Moreover, with being more open to the world and becoming an influencing member of the larger global society, young Saudi consumers are gradually growing concerned about social and environmental issues. They have started to value brands that are committed to making a positive impact on the world. Such unique consumers will give a share of mind, time, money and loyalty, only to brands that understand them and use this understanding to earn being part of their lives. We have made this our mission: we help brands play a meaningful role in people’s lives.


The creative communication industry is no exception to all the transformation that has happened across other fields, because of Vision

2030. And when people change, agencies must change or vanish. Consumers are constantly changing, old technologies die in and constantly new and stronger ones emerge, all the time. In such a world, we need to keep reinventing ourselves, holding onto the one pillar that is defining our industry and it is our core business: CREATIVITY. The agency today cannot but be an irrefutable leader of the business of creativity. The spectrum of offerings is endless and below are a few:

1. Advertising creativity

2. Content creativity

3. Experiential creativity

4. Social creativity

5. commerce creativity

6. Relationship creativity

7. Entertainment creativity

8. Data creativity

9. Product creativity

10. Design creativity

If we are in the business of creativity, then we are in the business of talent: the new agency model holds a hybrid world of man and technology, at the service at creativity.


The industry faces two challenges: talent (quality and availability) and the low number of women working in agencies vs men in agencies, and vs women in other sectors. As agencies, we have a responsibility to accelerate the maturity of this industry and introduce our business to talent with a modern, fun and young face. At FP7 McCann, we have 4 seats available for internships and external collaborations with young talents all year long.

May 29, 2023 40
Mohammed Bahmishan CEO/CCO Sara Bin Thunayyan Strategy Director Nidal Bouhamdan Creative Director Omar Elnatour Finance Director Claude Abboud General Manager, KSA

Extend-The Ad Network

Type of agency: Full-Service

Founded: 2012

Headquartered: Riyadh

Extend is a Saudi audience-first agency with a digital DNA, creative soul, obsessed with results.

SERVICES: Communication strategy and planning; creative and content development; integrated media planning and buying; social media strategy and management; monitoring and reporting.

KEY CLIENTS: Formula-e, Ministry of Sports, Baja, Ithra by aramco, National Sukuk,

Five Colors

Type of agency: Creative

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

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


Type of agency: Creative

SERVICES: Strategic marketing planning, advertising, creative development, printing and production, website development.

Four Communications

Type of agency: PR

Founded: 2001 Saudi office: Riyadh CEO: Nan Williams

SERVICES: Integrated campaigns; PR; digital marketing; social analytics and engagement; behaviour change

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

Framedkeys Entertainment

Type of agency: Creative

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


Founded: 2020

Head of agency: Abdulelah Shaher Al Nahari.

+966112487087, +966547788277, +966542690489

We are a diverse media agency that relies on consistent data points to make decisions based on real-time signals and predictive analysis, allowing us to be amongst the first to act and achieve desired results.

We are a member of Tribe Global, a growing global network of independent media, advertising, digital, and experiential agencies. Comprised of 30 agencies from throughout the world, including those from Europe, North and Latin America, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East.

Our significant presence in the Saudi and UAE markets offers us an advantage in terms of media relations, customer knowledge, and on-the-ground presence through senior Fusion 5 members who have previously built media excellence expertise through multinational companies.

KEY CLIENTS: MISA- Ministry of Investment, SAMF, Ministry of Sports, Jawwy TV, Dawri Plus, Kenwood/Delonghi group, Aston Martin, Lotus Cars

SERVICES OFFERED: Media Strategies, Media Planning and Buying, E-Commerce, Social media and influencers marketing

AWARDS WON: MENA digital awards, GBM, WBO, Two gold - best use of digital, ONE SILVER - best integrated campaign, Four bronze - best integrated, performance, social & digital, 1 gold - best performing digital agency, 1 gold - media solutions agency

May 29, 2023 41
Johnny Khazzoum Managing partner Elie Haber Managing Director Abdulelah Al Nahari Director of Business Development – KSA Natale Panella Regional Head of Digital Ghida Ismail Regional Planning Director Samran Waheed Regional Strategy Director

FP Social

Type of agency: Marketing

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

SERVICES: Event management, social media, web development, direct marketing, design, public relations.


Type of agency: Creative, Digital

Founded: 2002

Saudi offices: Jeddah, Riyadh

Head of company: Omar AlAbdali

We were the new kids in the block 18 years ago. We wanted to bridge the gap between brands and consumers by providing creative solutions that are driven by local insight with stopping-power ideas.

SERVICES: Communication strategy; creative ideation; social media management; digital strategy; content creation

KEY CLIENTS: Mobily, Misk, Jabal Omar, The Saudi Cup, Manga, Matarat, Flyadeal, Tawteen

GAG Events & PR

Type of agency: Events and PR

GAG has been a leading company in the field of event management and public relations since 1999. The company has international public relations success due the proficiency shown in: festivals, concerts, public and private and international festivals, tourism, forums, exhibitions, electoral propaganda and more.

SERVICES: Public relation, event management, social media management, stage design, exhibition stalls.


Type of agency: Digital

Established in 2006, Gluetube is a market leader with a solid track record. It has creativity and local understanding. It is professional and committed.

SERVICES: Web, social, mobile.

Go Clouding

Type of agency: Digital

We are the Clouders. We have decided to travel to the top of all, to see and build a whole picture. We catch ideas from outer space and send them to Planet Earth as words and visuals the humans can grasp.

SERVICES: Community and reputation management through social media, website development, branding, logos, influencer marketing.

Type of agency: Digital Founded: 2011

Saudi headquarters: Riyadh

Head of company: Amer Massimi +966 11 293 2889

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

TECH PARTNERS: Starfish Agency (influencers)

SERVICES: Content creation; social media strategy; media buying & influencer marketing.

KEY CLIENTS: Amazon, Savola, Centrepoint, Betty Crocker, Fitness First.

May 29, 2023 42
Reine Head of Content Amer Massismi CEO & Co-founder Rayan Digital Performance Manager John Social Media Manager LEADERSHIP PANEL

Services Offered: Full Marketing communications solutions

No. of Employees: 50-100

No. of Offices/Countries: 2

Network Agencies: BBDO /OMNICOM

AWARDS: (2021-2022) WARC Creative 100 – No.1 agency in EMEA, No.2 in the world , Cannes Lions index – No.1 agency in MENA, World Creative Rankings – No.1 agency in MENA. One Show Rankings – No.1 agency in MEA, first One Show Grand Prix in the region. Immortal Rankings – No.1 agency in MEA, first Immortal award in the region. Dubai Lynx – No.1 agency in MENA, 5 Grands Prix Gerety Awards – No.1 agency in MENA, first Grand Prix in region. MENA Effies –3 Golds, 2 Silvers, 2 Bronzes

CLIENT LIST: Royal Commission for Riyadh City, Ithra, The RIG, PepsiCo, Saudi Central Bank, Saudi Motorsport Company, Saudi Investment Bank, Saudi Coffee Company, Saudi Olympic & Paralympic Committee, Soudah Development, Acwa Power, Eti


May 29, 2023 43
Walid Kerbage CEO – KSA Dani Richa Chairman and CEO Middle East, Africa & Pakistan Ghassan Kassabji Chief Growth Officer MENA Wissam Chaar Creative Director Dany Aouad General Manager

Havas Saudi Arabia

Type of agency: Media/Creative/Digital/PR

Founded: 2005

Saudi office: Riyadh

Head of agency: Rami Husseini, Managing Director

Havas Saudi Arabia, part of the Havas global network, is the only full-service, integrated communications agency in the KSA offering all main disciplines -creative, media and PR- under one roof. We make a meaningful difference for the brands, the businesses and the lives of the people we work with.

KEY CLIENTS: Saudi Tourism, Sirar by STC, Abu Kass, Carrefour, Modon

Headline Communication

Type of agency: Marketing and communications

We are a fully integrated marketing and communications agency with years of experience in Saudi Arabia and in the rest of the GCC.

SERVICES: Marketing, events.


Type of agency: Digital +966 12 606 8890

We are a media services company providing in-depth expertise across all media contacts, including traditional mass media and new engagement connections.

SERVICES: planning, buying, monitoring, communications.

Type of agency:

Design, Media



Hearts & Science

Company leadership: Elda Choucair, CEO and Wissam Najjar, COO at OMG MENA Riyadh: +00966509082230

Jeddah: +966 50 908 2230

Hearts & Science is a data-driven marketing and transformation agency network, part of Omnicom Media Group. The company specialises in the use of data and technology to deliver on your business objectives.

SERVICES: 360 media planning and buying services; digital media planning; performance marketing and e-commerce solutions; SEM/SEO

KEY CLIENTS: Atlantis, Americana, Barclays Bank, California Garden, KFC, MBC


Type of agency: Creative

Founded: 2013

Saudi office: Riyadh

Head of company: Nouf AlBraheem

Saudi creative agency that started in 2013 with a team full of creative heads who turn every normal idea to an outstanding one and transform our clients’ dreams into reality.

SERVICES: Advertising, content creation, marketing campaigns, branding, social media management, marketing strategies, printing and stickers.

KEY CLIENTS: General Entertainment Authority, G20, Saudi Tourism Authority, Ministry of Economy and Planning, Ministry of Interior, Zain.

Advertising, Social, Content, Production, Branding

Saudi headquarters: Head of agency:


Tarek Istanboli, Founder & Executive Chairman

We are an independent Saudi agency dedicated to building Saudi brands globally and to build global brands in Saudi Arabia. We work with a core belief that brands succeed when they influence culture and add relevant value to people’s life.

Over the years we have had the privilege of being a part of the growth journey of many iconic brands in Saudi Arabia, we have partnered with some of these brands right from inception to well into the maturity and dominance stages of their evolution.

At IN we believe in the power of communications to create transformational change not just make incremental impact to the lives of brands that we partner with.


Brand Strategy; Integrated Creative; content and social strategy; advertising;; BTL solutions; social and influencer marketing; performance marketing; branding and design; content development and productions; events and partnership; Digital and traditional media planning and buying.

Key Clients:

The Family Office, Bank Aljazira, Albaik, Almarai, L’usine, Maestro pizza, Barn’s, General Authority of Zakat & Tax, Tahweel, Dar Al Tamleek.

Building brands in culture and culture in brands.

May 29, 2023 44
12 263 1748

Ideal Choice

Type of agency: Marketing and events

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


Type of agency: Creative

SERVICES: Strategic planning, creative solutions, web design and development, interactive marketing solutions, research and development, branding and identity.


Type of agency: Creative

Founded: 1979 (Riyadh office opened 2021) Head of company: Patrick Reid

Imagination is an independent experience design company.

KEY CLIENTS: Ford, IKEA, LVMH, Samsung, Jaguar Land Rover, HSBC,


Head of company: Saad Sraj

+961 382 4754

+966 56 545 3561

iMetric is an integrated digital media agency, with offices in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. Data, metrics and technology are at the heart of everything we do.

SPECIALISMS: digital media planning, media buying, SEO, SEM, social media, paid ads, programmatic, analytics, paid social, performance media, content management

KEY CLIENTS: King Abdullah Economic City, ChuckEcheese, Burgerizzr, MCIT, Al Jomaih, SMSA, Harvey Nichols


Founded: 2022 (MENA)

Saudi offices: Riyadh and Jeddah

Head of company: Neal Patel, Managing Director – MENA

Incubeta is a digital marketing partner that drives business growth through bespoke Media, Creative, and Technology solutions.

SERVICES: Creative services (content creation, video production, and communication strategy), digital media performance marketing, social media management, seo,

KEY CLIENTS: McDonald’s KSA, AlUla KSA, Talabat, Dubai Safari Park, Dubai Digital, Johnson & Johnson, Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts


Founded: 1975

Head of company: Bassem Massoud

At Initiative, our mission is to deliver growth for our clients through transformational media delivery. We are a full-service global media agency built to unlock business growth for the world’s most ambitious brands. We believe in the power of media to reshape our industry and orchestrate a brand’s entire consumer experience. We do this through Fame & Flow our new brand positioning that maximizes the drivers of brand Fame – cultural resonance, social diffusion, and fandom – and links them to the critical drivers of customer Flow through frictionless experiences, connected commerce and personalization.

KEY CLIENTS: Amazon, Amazon Prime Video, Aljabr Trading Company, Bank Al Jazira, Yas Island, Warner Bros, Ferrari World, Yas Waterworld, Saadiyat Island, SeaWorld, Etisalat, LEGO, Deliveroo, Nike, Carlsberg

SERVICES OFFERED: Cross Channel media strategy, Integrated Media Planning & Buying, Performance Marketing, Data & Technology Consulting, Research, Analytics & Insights, Communications Design, Social

AWARDS WON: 4 MENA Effies, 20 MMA Smarties 2022, 1 MENA Digital Award 2020; 4 MENA Search Awards 2021, 1 Internationalist 2021

May 29, 2023 45
Lara Arbid Managing Director MENA Bassem Massoud CEO MENA Fadi Zeidan Regional Business Director, MENA Nameer Abou Ismail General Manager, KSA Santadip Roy Regional Director – Digital Yasmine Hussein Head of Rufus MENA

Inspire Events

Type of agency: Events and experiential

Founded: 2012

Saudi office: Riyadh

Head of company: Shenin Hamid (Founder and CEO)

SERVICES: Events; scenic; production; activations; event technology; event design

KEY CLIENTS: Diriyah Gate Authority, Saudi Motorsports Authority, General Sports Authority (GSA), PepsiCo, Mars and Wrigleys

Kattan Media

Type of agency: Digital

Kattan Media combines 40 years of experience in various fields, including marketing and media in their traditional and digital forms.

SERVICES: Social media strategy, social media management, digital marketing.


Type of agency: Digital

Koraspond is a 360-degree digital media marketing agency that is born out of a passion for creative edge to build and deliver exceptional digital solutions.

SERVICES: Social media marketing and management, mobile app development, e-commerce solutions, web application and design, creative artwork.


Type of agency: Retail ideas company

Founded: 2016

Saudi office: Jeddah

Head of company: Sachinn J. Laala, CEO

Liquid is a retail ideas company, bringing together over 100 experts, who are fully dedicated to helping brands win across all forms of commerce. We solve our clients› business problems at the speed of retail, by delivering creative, content, merchandising and execution ideas that help brands sell, wherever, however whenever.

SERVICES: Retail planning and strategy, shopper-based creative, design and activation, implementation and maintenance of ecommerce assets, e-media.


Type of agency: Digital

An agency founded back in 2008 that pursues online marketing, advertising and social media with a full dedication to doing them perfectly. LIVEmena serves several corporations in the GCC and Middle East, aiming to lead the region with a high superiority for clients, and therefore we do it really well.

SERVICES: SEO and SEM, pay-per-click management services, online media planning and buying, online viral marketing, social media optimisation, Facebook apps, mobile application development and web development.


Founded: 2005

Head of company: Bassem Massoud +966-11 2152211

Magna is a full-service agency that delivers integrated communication solutions across the MENA region with a focus on delivering performance driven marketing campaigns. Our team of experts deliver tailor-made business solutions that drive growth and increase the effectiveness of our clients marketing investments by combining data & technology with creativity & innovation. Our ability to understand the everchanging consumer needs is a core strength that enables us to deliver outstanding data-driven strategies that add value to our partners.

KEY CLIENTS: Nahdi Medical Company, SACO, Aljazirah Vehicles Agencies Co., Banque Saudi Fransi, Dubai Holding Group, Subway, Baskin Robins, Bazooka Candy, Twining’s, Super General

SERVICES OFFERED: Digital Media Strategy & Activation, Communications strategy, Media Planning & Buying, Search & Bid Management, Social Monitoring, Strategy & Community Management, Mobile Strategy & Execution, Programmatic, Content strategy and creation.

AWARDS WON: 23 MMA Smarties, 2 MENA Search Awards, 13 Effies, 2 Dubai LYNX, 2 The Marketing Society Awards, 1 Cannes Lions from 2020-2021

May 29, 2023 46
Lara Arbid Managing Director MENA Bassem Massoud CEO MENA Nameer Abou Ismail General Manager, KSA Jad Barakat Associate Director, Digital Santadip Roy Regional Director – Digital Sini Baby Regional Finance Director

M&C Saatchi Arabia

Type of agency: Creative

Founded: 2022

Head of company: Scott Feasey, CEO

With more than 20 years of experience in the region, we are a creative solutions company like no other, helping clients navigate, create and lead meaningful change. The Group operates across five core divisions: connected creativity; passion marketing; global and social issues; brand, experience and innovation; and performance media.

KEY CLIENTS: Mobily, NEOM, Unilever, Pepsi, King Faisal Specialty Hospital

SERVICES: Creative strategic communications, digital, production, PR and branding

Maestro Group

Type of agency: Media

We base our work on data mining, using analytics to help us uncover local day-to-day cultural insights that make people tick.

SERVICES: Event production, event management, conference management.

Masader advertising

Type of agency: Creative

+966 2 657 6945

+966 2 657 6944

Mefan Creative Agency

Type of agency: Creative and production

Offices: Jeddah

General manager: Rami Alkhizzy

Creative director: Thamer Alwakili

SERVICES: Social marketing campaigns, creative campaigns, media productions

KEY CLIENTS: MoHRSD, Nahdi Medical Company, Basamh Group, and SBMF

Meshbak Company

Type of agency: Creative

Founded: 2014

Headquartered: Riyadh

Heads of company: Khansa Abunaji and Khaled Alshehri

SERVICES: Strategy and branding; creative campaigns

Mockup Creative

Type of agency: Creative

SERVICES: Strategy, understanding the MVP, user story creation, technical architecture, technical specifications, brand direction

Founded: 1986 (KSA)

Head of company (KSA): Samer Abboud

Founded as Memac by Eddie Moutran in 1984, and today part of the Ogilvy Worldwide network, Memac Ogilvy established it presence in Jeddah and Riyadh since 1986 building long-term partnerships with blue-chip Saudi clients. Borderless Creativity is our lifeblood. We operate, innovate and create at the intersection of our talented people and our key disciplines of Advertising, Public Relations, , Experience, Health and Consulting.

KEY CLIENTS: American Express, Ministry of Culture, Green Riyadh, IKEA, World Defense Show, Avilease, EIF, Nespresso, Jotun, Nadec

May 29, 2023 47
LEADERSHIP PANEL Samer Abboud KSA Country Head David Fox CEO – MENA Ziad Ghawi Managing Director KSA Philippe Aprahamian Regional Executive Creative Director



Riyadh +966 11 216 7796

Jeddah +966 12 657 3087

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

Services: Strategic planning and investment management, performance marketing, data and technology consulting and implementation, analytics and e-commerce transformation/marketplace management

Awards: New Business Media Agency of the Year 2023, COMvergence; Media Agency of the Year 2022, Campaign’s Agency of the Year Awards; Most Effective Agency Network of the Year 2022, MENA Effie Awards; Agency Network of the Year 2022, MENA Digital Awards

Key Clients: Nissan Middle East, Beiersdorf, Pladis Global, Attar United Company, Dakar Rally, Formula 1 Saudi, Loacker, Mahmoud Nashar & Partners Co., PepsiCo, Royal Commission for Riyadh City, EIF, Tanmiah Food Company, Ministry of Culture and Zain Telecommunications

Social Media:

Company Leadership

May 29, 2023 48
Elda Choucair CEO at OMG MENA Head of Acceleration at OMD MENA

Specialized Services


Founded: 2022

Headquartered: UAE

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

Services: Strategic Consulting for Social, Search, Programmatic and emerging channels including CTV, Gaming and Digital Out of Home

Founded: 2010 Headquartered: USA

This is the creative-thinking, data and technology core of Omnicom Group. Experts across a multitude of disciplines such as data science, engineering, and marketing combine their efforts to provide best in class solutions, optimize media performance and assist in all marketing activities. Annalect infuses data and technology insights into every aspect of a marketing framework — enhancing creative, media, and communications strategies and execution for brands.

Services: Measurement Solutions & Predictive Analytics, Audience & Data Strategy, AI-empowered Creative Measurement & Enhancement, eCom Analytics Solutions & Consultancy, Adtech & Martech Orchestration & Consultancy

Founded: 2020 Headquartered: UK

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

Services: Strategic Advisory, Amazon management, D2C and eRetail Implementation, Scalability and Efficiency

Founded: 2008 Headquartered: Germany

TRKKN (Trakken) is a specialist Google consulting agency offering solutions in the field of digital analytics, data management, conversion optimization and digital implementation. With expertise in eCommerce, media, finance, travel, telecommunications and consumer goods, it is a Certified Google Marketing Platform and Google Cloud Partner.

Services: GA audit and KPI-Workshops, GMP and GCP licensing and support, Media Buying Consultancy, Technical Implementation, Cloud Architecture and deployment, Digital Transformation, UX and CO services

May 29, 2023 49 | +97144500450
| | +97144500450 | | +97144500450 | | +97144500345
Christos Solomi Dr. Hoda Daou Raoul Zenon Vimal Badiani Chief Digital Officer OMG MENA General Manager Annalect MENA General Manager Transact MENA Managing Director TRKKN MENA



Riyadh: +966 11 216 7796

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

Services: Media planning and buying, strategic planning, data analytics & technology consultants, social and content marketing, SEO, creative services including dynamic creative optimization

Awards: MENA Effie Awards; Best Branded Content 2022; Most Effective Media Agency Network of the Year, 2021; Network of the Year, M&M Global 2020; Best Place to Work 2012-2019, Great Place to Work Institute; The Most Effective Media Agency Office MENA Effies 2019; 1 Cannes Lion 2019; 1 Festival of Media 2019; 7 MENA Effies 2019; 2 Dubai Lynx 2019; Top 5 GPTW list consistently since 2013; Top 3 Most Effective Office MENA Effies 2018; 5 MENA Effies 2018; 7 Dubai Lynx awards 2018; 3 MMA Global Smarties 2018; Festival of Media 2018

Key Clients: Saudi Tourism Authority, Mobily, Al Alali, Arla Foods, Chanel, SC Johnson, Unilever, VW Group

Social Media:

Company Leadership

Elda Choucair CEO at OMG MENA Luca Allam CEO at PHD MENA Youssef Chahine GM of PHD KSA Karen Doumet MD at PHD Arabia Head of Strategy & Product

Head of agency: Thamer Farsi, CEO Publicis Communications KSA


Publicis Communications is the creative hub of Publicis Groupe, bringing together Leo Burne , Publicis Middle East and Saatchi & Saatchi in the region.

Leo Burne was built on a simple belief that the most creative, most effective, and most powerful work has people at its core - their needs, wants, dreams, and hopes. It’s a belief that can be seen in action in everything the agency does.

Publicis Middle East shares a common ambition: to help clients and their brands to be and to remain the leaders they want to be, to “Lead the Change”. Publicis ME creates leading strategies and powerful ideas that allow clients’ brands to become unique, irreplaceable, in control and ahead is their purpose.

Saatchi & Saatchi is a full-service, integrated communications network. They are in the business of ge ing people to fall in love with their client’s products and services. Saatchi & Saatchi has an unshakeable spirit and unbeatable a itude that Nothing is Impossible, a concept applied to all clients and work.

KEY CLIENTS: Al-Ula, Aramco, Ferrero, General Motors, Goody, Ithra, McDonald’s GCC, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Saudia, Saudia Cargo, Sunbulah Group, Sync, Total Energies, Zain

SERVICES OFFERED: Marketing Communications, Advertising, Digital Media, Branding, Audio-Visual Production, Digital & Social Strategy, Influencer Marketing, Strategic Planning

AWARDS WON: Cannes Lions, MENA Effies, Dubai Lynx, WARC, Loeries, Cresta, NYF, AME, London International Awards, Jay Chiat, Art Director’s Club, AdFest, Clio, Gerety, One Show, MMA Smarties

Year founded: 1969

Head of Agency: Ashish Sinha, Managing Director APAC & MEA

Number of staff: 4,000 worldwide  h ps://

Marketing built on proof, not promises. Epsilon is a global advertising and marketing technology company positioned at the centre of Publicis Groupe. Epsilon connects advertisers with consumers to drive performance while respecting and protecting consumer privacy and client data. Epsilon accelerates clients’ ability to harness the power of their first-party data in order to enhance, activate and measure campaigns with confidence. Epsilon believes in an open, privacy-first advertising ecosystem. Over decades, we’ve built the industry’s most comprehensive identity graph to allow brands, agencies and publishers to reach real consumers across all channels and the open web.

KEY CLIENTS: Deliveroo, Apparel Group, Landmark Group, DP World, Walmart, McDonald’s, Marrio , Nespresso, FedEx.

SERVICES OFFERED: Next generation privacy first data driven marketing. Integrated ID-driven platform that delivers real 1:1 dialogue with consumers at scale. Widely globally awarded Loyalty, CDP, Omnichannel marketing, Clean Rooms technologies.

AWARDS WON: Leader, Forrester Wave™, Leader, IDC MarketScape, Digiday, Campaign Award



May 29, 2023 51
Thamer Farsi CEO Publicis Communications KSA Bassel Kakish Group CEO, Publicis Groupe ME&T Samir Antoun Business Lead, Leo Burne Jeddah Mohammed Sehly Executive Creative Director, Leo Burne , KSA Alex Simonian Business Lead Saatchi & Saatchi Riyadh Patrick Sim Senior Vice President Sales APAC & MEA, Epsilon Ashish Sinha Managing Director APAC & MEA, Epsilon Rajesh Verma Business Development Director, Epsilon Paul Wallis Sales Director, Epsilon Saira Mehdi Sales Director, Epsilon Marwan Remman Client Development Director, Epsilon

Head of agency: Tony Wazen, CEO of Publicis Media ME

Publicis Media is the media hub under Publicis Groupe comprising four agencies in the Middle East: Digitas, Spark Foundry, Starcom and Zenith.

Digitas is the premier integrated advertising agency that connects media, creative, data, and technology to deliver modern marketing solutions to clients.

With expertise in luxury, retail, travel, and banking, Spark Foundry helps clients achieve higher engagement, affinity, and transactions through one-to-one consumer engagement.

Starcom believes in putting people at the forefront of everything they do. They design Human Experiences that close the gap between what people want and what brands need to grow and thrive

Zenith is the ROI agency with a unique way of thinking that inspires growth for brands globally. Their work spans analytics, data & technology, performance marketing, content, and superior trading.

KEY CLIENTS: Almarai, Aramco, Cool Inc., Dar Al Arkan, Diriyah Gate Development Authority, Kudu, McDonald’s GCC, Neom, Public Investment Fund, Samsung, Saudia, Saudi British Bank, Savola, Tawal, Total Energies, Tree Service Insurance

SERVICES OFFERED: Media Consultancy, Media Planning and Buying, Branded Content, Data and Analytics, E-Commerce, Digital & Performance Marketing Solutions

AWARDS WON: Dubai Lynx, Gartner, WARC, Cannes Lions, MENA Effies, Digital MENA Awards, Ad Age, Forrester Wave™, IDC MarketScape, Digiday, MMA Smarties

Founded: 1990

Head of Company: Srinivas Devulapalli, Senior Vice-President MENA, Publicis Sapient

Publicis Sapient, the digital business transformation business of Publicis Groupe, helps established organisations get to their future, digitally-enabled state, both in the way they work and the way they serve their customers. We help unlock value through a start-up mindset and modern methods, fusing strategy, consulting and customer experience with agile engineering and problem-solving creativity. United by our core values and our purpose of helping people thrive in the brave pursuit of next, our 20,000+ people in 53 offices around the world, we combine experience across technology, data sciences, consulting and customer obsession to accelerate our clients’ businesses through designing the products and services their customers truly value.

KEY CLIENTS: Neom, ADNOC, Abu Dhabi Executive Office, Saudi Research & Media Group, Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi

SERVICES OFFERED: Strategy and Consulting, Customer Experience, Technology and Engineering, Enterprise Platforms, Data and AI, Product Management

AWARDS WON: 2022 Great Place to Work; Forbes World’s Best Management Consulting Firms; Consulting Magazine Best Firms; MACH Alliance Award; Global Brands Magazine Award; #1 Metaverse Design and Services by Constellation Research



May 29, 2023 52
Ala Kanan Chief Financial Officer, Publicis Sapient Srinivas Devulapalli Senior Vice President, MENA, Publicis Sapient Deepak Arora Group Vice President, Technology – Delivery Engineering, Publicis Sapient Andrew Wood Head of Product & Delivery, Publicis Sapient Mounir Aris Senior Managing Director, Strategy Delivery, Publicis Sapient Hiba Mojabber Creative Director - Experience, Publicis Sapient Tony Wazen CEO, Publicis Media ME Bassel Kakish Group CEO, Publicis Groupe ME&T Firas El Zein CEO, Zenith ME Alain Brahamcha CEO, Spark Foundry ME Racha Makarem CEO, Starcom ME Kareem Monem CEO, Digitas ME

Type of agency: Integrated Marketing Agency

Founded: 1926

Head of agency: Bassel Kakish, CEO Publicis Groupe ME&T



Publicis Groupe is the second-largest communications group in the world. Founded in Paris in 1926, we are present in more than 100 countries as leaders in marketing, communication, and digital business transformation. At Publicis Groupe, you are connected to our global network, intelligence, tools, clients, brands and 96,000 brilliant minds with expertise in data, technology, media, strategy, creativity, and business transformation, all literally at your fingertips. Through our unique ability to architect, build and orchestrate end-to-end solutions, Publicis Groupe is exclusively positioned to help clients unlock growth in the Platform World through the intersection of data, creativity, media, and technology.

SERVICES OFFERED: Publicis Groupe is organised across solution hubs, which intersect to provide seamless solutions. Publicis Communications is the creative communications division comprising Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi and MSL. Publicis Media harnesses the power of modern media with brands Spark Foundry, Starcom, Zenith and Digitas. Publicis Sapient is the digital business transformation arm. At the core of the Groupe is Epsilon, delivering personalised experiences at scale.

AWARDS: Campaign Agency of the Year Awards, MENA Effies, Dubai Lynx, Loeries, Jay Chiat, LIA Awards, CLIO, AdFest, D&AD, Cresta.



May 29, 2023 53
Houda Samir Chief Financial Officer, Publicis Groupe ME&T Jennifer Fischer Chief Innovation & Growth Officer, Publicis Groupe ME&T Bassel Kakish Group CEO, Publicis Groupe ME&T Tahaab Rais Chief Strategy Officer, Publicis Groupe ME&T Bashar Abdulkarim Chief Talent Transformation Officer, Publicis Groupe ME&T Khaled Abou Nader Chief Product Officer, Publicis Groupe ME&T Thamer Farsi CEO, Publicis Communications, KSA LEADERSHIP PANEL

Milk network

Type of agency: Brand Development Firm

Founded: 2011

Saudi office: Jeddah, Riyadh, and Cairo Head of the company: Mahmoud Naseem, Founder, and Fadel Shaath, COO.

Milk Network is a brand development firm that works in thought and in action. Guided by our values, we transform dreams into reality, thoughts into words, and ideas into brands that can change the world.

KEY CLIENTS: Public Investment Fund, Ministry Of Culture, Ministry Of Health, Saudi Lime, Tawuniya

SERVICES: Strategy, identity, communication.

Moon Productions

Type of agency: Production house

SERVICES: Creative content generation, pre-production services, production management and resource planning, video production services.


Type of agency: Creative

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

Agency name: Reprise Digital - MENA

Founded: 2019

Head of Company:

Stuart Mackay, Managing Director at Reprise Digital - MENA Offices: Olaya St, Al Wurud، Mawhiba Center, Riyadh 12251, Saudi Arabia

Telephone: +971 4 445 4180


Onsor Mosha

Type of agency: Creative Saudi offices: Dhahran, Riyadh +966 13 811 1181

SERVICES: Advertising and promotional campaigns, marketing communications, design services, internal and external corporate communications

KEY CLIENTS: Roshn, Mayar Foods, Al Muhaidib Group, Haier, Royal Commission for Riyadh City,

Phenomenal PR and Events

Type of agency: PR and events

Phenomenal is a Saudi public relations and event management agency founded by Shadi Zahid in 2006. It believes in Saudi capabilities, which is why it is managed by Saudis.

Pixel Arabia

Type of agency: Digital

SERVICES: Website design and development, mobile application development, social media management, digital marketing, digital brand design, online business consultation.

Reprise Digital uses data and technology to help brands move away from generic targeting and campaigns by providing insight and direction into how brands can deliver more effective and personalized communications to their consumers. Our diverse team of Data, Technology, and Experience specialists, combined with the power of our proprietary tools and industry-leading partners, help us to provide brands with end-to-end solutions that ensure a more integrated and seamless experience for consumers.

Awards: MENA Search 2019, MENA Search 2022

Specialisms: MarTech, Analytics & Dashboarding, Marketing Data Sciences, Business Intelligence & Market Research, Organic Search, eCommerce, Precision Content & Creative Technology, and Digital Marketing Transformation Consultancy.

Tech partners: Google, Tealium, Sitecore, Meiro, Oracle, Segment, Adjust, Firebase & Lotame

Key Clients: Mashreq Bank, RAKBANK, FAB, Al Shaya, Gargash, stc, Supreme Committee, Etisalat, L'Oréal, Bank Al Jazira


May 29, 2023 54
Leadership panel Stuart Mackay, MD Reprise Digital MENA Alan Azar, Regional Director Reprise Digital MENA Riddhi Dasgupta Head of Data Science & Analytics Reprise Digital Mena Mohammed Mohsin Experience Optimisation Director Reprise Digital Mena

Founded: 2011

Head of agency: Rayyan Jamjoom, Chairman

+966 12 215 2345

Social Clinic is one of the first digitally born 360 grown Saudi Marcom agencies. Being a fully integrated communication agency with digital, creativity and innovation at heart, we elevate ideas and create impactful content that manifests as stories in the heart of our society.

With more than 80 talents across Saudi Arabia, Social Clinic leads a continuous progressive approach that redefines and moves the industry forward. We are a devoted data-driven team working relentlessly for the Saudi of tomorrow.

KEY CLIENTS: Royal Commission for Riyadh City, Aramco Lubricants & Retail, Savola, KIA (NMC), IKEA, Al Rabie, Al Shifa, General Authority for Statistics, Madinah Municipality

SERVICES OFFERED: Creative Campaigns, Brand & Communication Strategies, Social Media Management, Offline & Online Media, Web-Development, Community Management, Production, Online research & listening, Influencers’ campaigns.

PARTNERSHIPS: Meta Badged Partner / Google Partner / Huawei Partner



Consumer behavior trends in Saudi Arabia are continuously evolving. With Saudi Arabia being one the top countries in digital transformation, consumers here are showing a strong inclination to adopt new tech products and services. There’s a significant increase in the use of e-commerce with online shopping websites and apps increasingly becoming a necessity in the retail sector. In fact, online presence is now essential for almost all sectors. Another change in Saudi consumers, that clients must be conscious of, is that consumers are becoming more environmentally aware with increased government efforts toward eco-friendly and sustainable initiatives. Overall, consumers in Saudi Arabia are now more sophisticated and discerning in their purchase behaviors.


Clients in Saudi Arabia always seek content that creates impact and drives results. That type of content must be compelling, relevant, and share-worthy to users. Bite-sized content has been gaining more and more traction during the past few years. With the short attention span that consumers have nowadays; short-form videos, ephemeral content, GIFs, memes, and other

formats of snackable content is in high demand by clients in order to engage with consumers in an information-saturated world. With a data-driven strategy, clear objectives, local insights, laserfocused messages, and young content creators, we are able to help our more demanding clients achieve their communication and marketing objectives.


Saudi Arabia has been witnessing growth in a large number of sectors. Agencies have been keeping up with this growth by investing in talents, keeping up with continuously evolving technology, and using proven methodologies in developing and implementing local content strategies. Successful agencies in Saudi Arabia have been adapting their offerings to catch up with the higher standards that are required by customers in Saudi today. Being proactive rather than reactive is key!


Unlike most agencies in Saudi, we have been conscious of digital transformation in the Kingdom from the very beginning. We needed to be ahead of the game by infusing our business with top-notch local talent, the best tools available, and keeping our clients in the heart of what we do. This formula, along with our passion and dedication, made us what we are today.


The Kingdom is full of potential and is witnessing


rapid growth in all sectors due to a solid vision and strong determination. With this approach, ambitious businesses are able to flourish. We at Social Clinic are focusing on developing opportunities across emerging sectors such as tourism and entertainment. Solid government expenditure has stimulated the private sector and we are realizing our full potential through this exponential economic growth.


With Saudi opening up to the world, a lot of businesses are jumping on board to compete for existing and emerging opportunities. Marcom agencies are part of this rush. There is now more need than ever to attain and sustain a great reputation with a proven business record in order to win big, attract talented expertise and maintain a competitive edge.

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INDUSTRY SNAPSHOT Mohammad Al Ayoubi Managing Director Rani Al Ani Head of Planning & Strategy Rayyan Jamjoom Chairman Nader Rizk Head of Media & Technology Shawkat Al Nuaimi Head of Creative & Production Riem Al Azem Client Services Director

PG Integrated

Type of agency: Creative

One of Saudi’s most established agencies, we have 37 years’ experience, in the kingdom, with over 100 diverse marketing specialists who share a passion for brands and an understanding of the market and local culture. While PG Integrated has a broad range of offers and services, we tailor our communication mix to suit your unique requirements – working from strategic insights to develop individual solutions, across traditional and non-traditional channels.


Type of agency: Digital

SERVICES: Advertising, digital, branding and design, media, activation, social media, photo video shooting, video production, 2D and 3D animation.


Type of agency: Events

Promovision started its operations in 1993 in Saudi Arabia, managing global brands with the best practices worldwide and meanwhile adapting to local insights and boundaries.

SERVICES: Events management, experiential marketing, creative concepts and production

Ritix Group

Type of agency: Production house

Ritix Group was established in Saudi Arabia in 2006 to provide effective solutions to develop business in the private, public and non-profit sectors through its consulting, production, media and investment companies.

Rocket Interactive

Type of agency: Digital +966 53 555 3740

We offer innovation and creativity to redefine your experience to connect digitally with your client by creating outstanding websites and applications that offer the best user experience on any device.

Rowad Media

Type of agency: Production house

SERVICES: Media production, renting, cinema, events management, design, theatre, TV, consulting, training, investment


Type of agency: Creative

Founded: 2007

Saudi offices: Jeddah, Riyadh

Head of company: Taha Alawi Alsafi

SERVICES: Strategic planning, building brand identity, creative communication, integrated digital marketing solutions, content creation and engagement activities.

KEY CLIENTS: PIF, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Unilever.


Type of agency: Media

Founded: 2015

Headquartered: Riyadh

Head of Company: Ghaleb Abdoun

Rely is a media planning and buying agency located in Riyadh. Through a team of experienced media professionals, our job is to make the most effective use of the advertiser’s media budget.

SERVICES: Media consultancy; digital and traditional media planning; media investment management; market research

KEY CLIENTS: Max, Centrepoint, Homecentre, Splash, Home Box, Camel Club

Serviceplan Middle East

Type of agency: Fully integrated

Saudi offices: Riyadh and Jeddah

Head of company: Rami Hmadeh, Managing Partner

Serviceplan Group, Europe’s largest independent advertising agency group, was founded in 1970. Due to the exponential growth of opportunities in KSA, Serviceplan Arabia launched four years ago with a dedicated purpose, to address the local nuances of the Saudi market while bringing the international expertise of the group.

KEY CLIENTS: Abdul Latif Jameel Motors, Abdul Latif Jameel United Finance Co., Abbott Diabetes Care

Silkdeer Entertainment

Type of agency: Production house

Silkdeer Entertainment is home to a consortium of companies in a variety of disciplines, all within the entertainment field. Each company operates individually in its realm of expertise.

Sketch Creative Boutique

Type of agency: Creative

+966 12 639 0066

SERVICES: Branding, advertising

Smart Social

Type of agency: Digital

We are diligently looking for everything new in the world of social media – all the hidden technologies, all the distinctive success stories around the world, and on the basis of which we develop our long executive list.

May 29, 2023 56


Headquartered: Cairo

+97150 2977325 (UAE)

+20 37 60 2876 (Egypt)

+96611 513 0200 (KSA)

An integrated digital marketing solution provider with the largest Arabic display network and the first content discovery and recommendation platform in MENA. Our technology enables publishers to boost users’ engagement and monetise their online presence, and allows advertisers to target potential customers and promote their brands. Speakol strives to encourage knowledge, share recommended content through our discovery platform and create personalised experiences for all our readers. Speakol aims to enable brands, advertisers and vendors to promote their products and services on the most premium publishers in the MENA region to audiences who are most receptive to their messages. Speakol empowers publishers to monetise, drive traffic and increase their readership through aggregating recommended articles and providing multiple personalised ads formats.

MENA PARTNERS: Connect Ads, CNN Arabic, Argaam, Mubasher, Advert 1, Total Media Ventures,, Youm7, Gemeni Media, Teads,, Seedtag.

KEY CLIENTS: We serve more than 13,500 world-class publishers and advertisers, are trusted by more than 1,500 publishers and used by more than 12,000 of the GCC and MENA region’s leading brands and advertisers.

SERVICES: Native advertising; media; online marketing; internet marketing; display advertising; digital advertising.

We Serve 13.5K+ world-class Publishers and Advertisers

Trusted by more than 1.5K Publishers & Used by more than 12K of the GCC and MENA Region’s Leading Brands and Advertisers.

Speakol for Advertisers

Target and engage users browsing the most premium publishers in the region.

Speakol for Publishers

Monetize your online platforms, and personalize your editorial experience for readers.




Top Publishers

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Mahmoud Talaat Founder and CEO Amir Harby Deputy CEO


Type of agency: Creative

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

SERVICES: Strategy, branding, social media management, OOH, radio ads, video, photography, copywriting, SEO, advertisement, design.

Tarek Nour Gulf Ltd.

Type of agency: Full-service agency

Saudi office: Riyadh

Head of company: Basel El Deeb and Ahmed Tarek Co, CEOs and partners.

SERVICES: ATL, BTL, digital, events, media strategy, media planning, media buying, brand strategy, communication consultancy.

KEY CLIENTS: National Bank of Egypt, Magdy Yaqoub Foundation, Lipton, MG, Exxon Mobil, Ikea, Orange


Type of agency: Creative

SERVICES: Branding design, business and marketing strategy, experiential design, digital design and technology, service design, product design, design thinking workshops.


Type of agency: Creative

Saudi office: Riyadh

CEO: Alaa Yousef Fadan

Led by a passionate team of storytellers and social influencers, the company specialises in digital content creation and client-led commercial productions, with an eye to expand its unique offering to long-form series, movies and feature films.

SERVICES: Content creation, digital storytelling, creative entertainment, media production, creative ideation, influencer management.

KEY CLIENTS: STC, Salamatak (Gulf Health Council), MiSK, IKEA, Burger King,

tph DDB

Type of agency: Creative

DDB is one of the world’s largest and most awarded advertising and marketing networks and part of the Omnicom Group.


Type of agency: Creative

TTP is a creative agency that started in 2012 with one objective: to be your creative partner that helps in all your business and marketing needs.

SERVICES: Marketing, marketing strategy, branding, advertising, content creation, art direction


Founded: 2002

Head of agency: Omar Alabdali


The Fullstop exists to celebrate culture by assisting brands in making meaningful connections with it. We are beduins and city dwellers. We are not advertising people. We are people, who happen to work in advertising. We connect you with things that the SEO’s can’t, through data, insights and living. Our completely different perspectives on life is what keeps our work unpredictable and stimulating.

KEY CLIENTS: Riyadh Season, Ministry of Culture, Amazon, Cruise Saudi, Mobily, General Entertainment Authority, Saudi Cup, MISK, Ministry of Tourism, Nescafe, Kitkat

SERVICES: brand development, marketing, communications, advertising, digital and social media, content creation, PR, activation and experiences, media and engagement, creative production.

AWARDS WON: 1 Gold Lions Award and 12 Dubai Lynx Award

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Omar Alabdali CEO Kaswara Alkhatib Chairman George Maktabi Group CEO Mahmoud Shaban Managing Director Khalid Abdulaziz Head of Strategy Fahad Alahmed Senior Creative Director




There has been a significant change in consumer behavior in Saudi Arabia as the country opens up. Consumers are now more receptive to complex and engaging creative ideas. They are at the forefront of digital consumption, well-informed, and actively follow updates on digital and social platforms. While they remain true to their roots and culture, the increasing diversity within the population should also be taken into account.

Clients now seek relevant insights that are informed and exciting, catering to their customer base. With increased exposure, there is a need to meet or even exceed global standards. Data plays a crucial role, and there is a push for data-driven creativity on a larger scale. Insight mining is now the standard, and agencies that fail to incorporate it will struggle to keep up with the evolving landscape.


Undoubtedly, the digital revolution has brought about significant changes. Agencies must provide intelligent solutions as clients become more exposed and aware of new trends and technologies. Data

collection and mining must be integral to every service an agency offers. Without access to original data, agencies risk being left behind. Moreover, establishing looser structures and connections to expand the network of expertise is necessary. Full-fledged capabilities are favored over specialization in Saudi Arabia.


The government’s vision for 2030 sets the blueprint for the future, and as we progress towards it, new industries such as entertainment, sports, and tourism are flourishing. The completion of mega projects like Neom, Red Sea Development, and Qiddiya will push boundaries even further. This presents a golden era for agencies that know how to capitalize on these opportunities.


The speed of development is the biggest challenge. The pace at which projects like Riyadh Season are completed is astonishing. Surviving in this environment requires agencies to match that speed. Finding talented individuals with the expertise and stamina to meet these demands is also difficult. Managing an agency under such pressure is no easy task. Balancing the monthly pressures of pace with the annual requirements of other clients is essential.


As an agency, we have become more responsive and have expanded our services to meet every possible requirement. Exposure to tools and data that keep us relevant and aligned with international standards has been crucial. Our local roots and international connections through our network, Webedia, have facilitated this process. Webedia not only provides access to international expertise but also traditional advertising network services. Our regional network offers insights and access to a wide range of end users through our publishing channels. However, our most important asset remains our pool of talented individuals who must be flexible, multi-disciplined, and always motivated.

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“Finding talented individuals with the expertise and stamina to meet these demands is also difficult. Managing an agency under such pressure is no easy task”


Type of agency: Public Relations/Communications

Founded: 1998

Head of Agency: Mohamed Al Ayed, Chief Executive Officer

Riyadh: +966 11 293 2077 | Jeddah: +966 12 662 5757

Headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, TRACCS has been at the forefront of the game-changing communications industry in MENA for over 25 years and remains the largest independent regional communications consultancy with over 200 professionals working across 13 countries and 14 offices. TRACCS offers the full scope of integrated communications solutions to government, corporate and multinational clients. A multiple award-winning practice and member of CIPR and PRCA, TRACCS is the only MENA-based agency to be featured in PRovoke Media’s Global Top 250 PR Agency Ranking (#156 in 2023).

KEY CLIENTS: Amazon KSA, American Express, Diriyah Gate Development Authority, King Abdullah Economic City, Public Investment Fund (PIF), Rua Al Madinah, and Saudi EXIM Bank.


Advisory: Advisory-based solutions comprising a mix of communications services including strategic and creative consultancy, media engagement, digital, crisis communications, internal communications, and CSR.

Content: Creative and strategic multi-channel content for a diverse range of clients.

Training: Engaging and impactful training courses in English and Arabic through ENRICH – TRACCS’ proprietary training program.

AWARDS WON: TRACCS has won 76 international and regional awards for service and creative excellence from PRovoke Media, The Sabre Awards, IPRA and PRCA.

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Majdi Al Ayed Executive Vice President Mohamed Al Ayed Chief Executive Officer Roger Mezher Chief Financial Officer Shereen Bushehri Vice President – Innovation and Development and Bahrain MD Majd Sayyaf Vice President – Business Growth Aaron Alvares Vice President – Strategy and Development


Type of agency: Creative

SERVICES: Advertising, digital marketing, social marketing, brand development, communication, content marketing, branding, media, media production, and events


Type of agency: Creative

Uturn, the leading Arabic entertainment network in MENA, was founded in 2010 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Uturn produces premium content with the aim to promote Arabic content globally.

SERVICES: Entertainment, YouTube, online media, MCN, MPN, production, branded content


Type of agency: Creative and digital CEO, VMLY&R: Nick Walsh

SERVICES: Next-gen commerce unification; connected digital and physical experiences; retail activation; design product innovation; brand and business creative consultancy

KEY CLIENTS: Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Arena, British American Tobacco, Twi er, Colgate,

Agency name: UM

Founded: September 1989

Head of Company:

Joe Nicolas, CEO at UM MENAT and Mohammed Mannaa, MD at UM KSA Offices: 2nd Floor, Mawhiba Center, Olaya Street, Riyadh Telephone: +966112152211

Email: menat@umww com umww com/locations/riyadh


Type of agency: Marcom consulting and event services

Saudi offices: Riyadh and Jeddah

Head of company: Mohammed Abbas, CEO and Saleh Lzeik, Head of Marcom Consulting

Wafy offers deep functional and industry expertise in the fields of marketing communications, event services, media and tech. We are passionate about taking on immense challenges that ma er to our clients and communities.

SERVICES: Marketing communications consulting and event services.

KEY CLIENTS: Ministry of Culture, National Events Center, Saudi Tourism Authority, Ministry of Sport

Weber Shandwick MENAT

Type of agency: PR

Saudi office: Riyadh

CEO: Ziad Hasbani


Weber Shandwick is a leading, full-service, integrated, global communications and marketing services agency that brings traditional communications into the digital age. Our team comprises strategists, creatives, digital specialists and media/social experts who believe in the power of collaboration to deliver high-value, high-impact communications and business solutions for our clients.

SERVICES: Corporate reputation; banking and financial services; consumer marketing; government communications; crisis and issues management

KEY CLIENTS: Saudi Fund for Development, STC Pay, STC, Social Development Bank, Mastercard, Ericsson

UM is part of Mediabrands, the number one media agency group in the region as per RECMA In the latest 2022 published RECMA reports, UM MENAT was ranked as the #1 media agency in the region for the fifth year running. At UM, we are committed to futureproofing our client’s businesses for tomorrow, today. We leverage the transformational power of rich business analytics and real-time intelligence to maximize growth and activate the full consumer journey across content and connections. Our consultative approach and agile model drive better business outcomes for brands. UM was established in Saudi in 1989 and has played a key role in the evolution of the media and marketing landscape in the Kingdom.

Awards: #1 MENA Media Agency RECMA, 2022 and for the last 5 years running; Agency of the Year, MMA Smarties 2022; 3 bronze Effies MENA 2022; 3 gold, 3 silver, 3 bronze Effies MENA 2021; 21 MMA Smarties 2021, including 10 gold awards; 10 Dubai Lynx Awards 2020, 2 Search Awards 2020; 9 MMA Smarties 2020

Specialisms: Integrated media planning and buying, data science, holistic analytics, Google Marketing Platform certified, social Media, digital media and communications, programmatic activation, audiences & insights, data analytics, eCommerce, performance and affiliate marketing, UX & UI, SEO, Omni-channel specialists in offline, digital, search and social, Futurecaster analysis, portfolio management

Key Clients: stc, stc pay, stc play, stc tv, Jawwy Mobile, stc Channels, mystore, Sabic, SRMG, McDonald's RICC, Padel X, Aramco, IoT Squared

um-menat um-menat um-mena ummena

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Leadership panel Joe Nicolas, CEO at UM MENAT Mohammad Mannaa, MD at UM KSA Ziad Soukkarie, GM at UM KSA Nadeem Ibrahim, Head of Digital at UM KSA Rabih Badaoui, Head of Investment at UM KSA Adib Khablawi, Head of Operations at UM KSA
May 29, 2023 62


Type of agency: Creative, Branding, Marketing Consultancy, WEB 3, and Media.

Founded: 2013

Office location: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia



Awards: MENA Effies, Muse, Hermes, Marcom.

XELEMENT is a comprehensive advertising creative agency that offers a wide range of services. Our managing partners possess extensive experience in the field of marketing, spanning decades. With a shared vision, we are committed to driving advertising innovation to new heights.

Our agency takes the lead in fostering marketing growth within the region. We empower decision makers by providing them with genuine and purposeful advertising solutions that align with their objectives.


▪ Advertising & Communication

▪ Brand Development

▪ Marketing Consultancy

▪ Brand Strategies

▪ Web 3 Digital Services

▪ Integrated Media Solutions

Key clients:

Can you tell us about XELEMENT's journey since its launch 10 years ago?

XELEMENT's journey has been about doing things correctly and filling a gap in the industry where we prioritize impactful marketing. Over the past decade, we have grown from launching one-off promotional campaigns to leading nationwide advertising movements across various industries, including automotive, digital, sports, culture, entertainment, energy, food & beverage, and real estate. In addition to serving our global clientele, we are a proud advertising enabler of Vision 2030 objectives, and our focus for the future is to accelerate innovation in the industry.

What sets XELEMENT apart from other agencies?

Our deep marketing knowledge and experience guides every aspect of our work. At XELEMENT, we purpose successful advertising to deliver unparalleled value to our clients. No other agency comes close to matching our level of expertise, and we take pride in being the ultimate marketing partner. We set the bar higher for our competitors to follow with our purpose-driven services, advertising, branding, and marketing consultancy.

How has XELEMENT managed to stay ahead of the curve in such a rapidly evolving industry?

XELEMENT's ability to remain ahead of the curve is evident in our initiatives, including being the first agency globally to enter the metaverse. We have a strong history of influencing the advertising industry, including our award-winning Saudi Broadcasting Authority 'Ghasb' campaign, inspiring an advertising movement of teaser-revealer campaigns. We forever transformed sports advertising in the Kingdom with our first-of-its-kind partnership with AlHilal. We lead the localization efforts for global brands like Snapchat, Spotify, Ford, Lincoln, Aramco and TotalEnergies. Our commitment to growth is further demonstrated with Ministry of Culture’s Music Commission where we identified superstar music talents in the ‘Sound of Saudi’ fully digital campaign. At XELEMENT, we continue evolve and lead the industry.

What is next for XELEMENT?

We continue to shape the future of advertising. We have brought in best-in-class talent to offer integrated media services and Web3 digital services, which we believe will lead to our continued success in the industry. We continue to enhance our core services with innovative technologies and techniques and we are confident that our focus on performance and innovation with our expansion into integrated media services and Web3 digital services will continue our success.

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INDUSTRY SNAPSHOT CEO - Amro Abo Onoq Amro Abo Onoq Co-Founder and CEO Mazin Al-Hassan Managing Partner Noor Al-Hassan Managing Partner



Client: Hunger Station

Agency: Wunderman Thompson Riyadh Hunger Station introduced a new and smart feature that allows users to order food online by harnessing the power of their subconscious mind. The app recognises when the user scrolls for a long time and launches the subconscious ordering tool. Several cuisine images are displayed as the camera tracks the eye’s interest using algorithms and the front-facing camera. A smart AI then narrows down the options and presents a data report of what the eye concentrated on the most, or what the subconscious mind is craving. This provided the user with a list of relevant restaurants to order from.


Client: Ariyadiyah


Agency: SRMG

The Saudi sports newspaper noticed that more people in Saudi prefer to read about sports, than participate in it. So, on World Health Day, instead of printing the news that day, it printed life-sized editions that people could play sports on. Newspaper courts were placed in 10 locations across the Saudi capital, driving people to enjoy games and experience the healthy benefits of exercise, while opening a conversation on the importance of battling obesity.


Client: Stc Pay

Agency: Habbar Advertising Co.

People are exposed to a lot of anti-fraud campaigns and most of these use scare tactics. Stc Pay wanted to educate people about these frauds, but in a way that would truly drive home the point. Most people are quite neutral to such scare tactics, so the campaign took a different approach. The creative strategy was to tell people to do what no one else has done before - fool them, don’t let them fool you.

It encouraged our audience to engage with fraudsters, have a conversation, humour them and waste their time and energy so that they are less likely to fool other people.


Client: King Salman Center for Disability Research (KSCDR)

Agency: SRMG Labs

National Day is the most significant celebration in Saudi Arabia, where citizens come together to express their love for the country by singing the national anthem and waving the national flag. In recognition of the importance of the national flag as a symbol of pride and respect, King Salman Center for Disability Research (KSCDR) set out to create an innovative solution that would allow the hearing-impaired community to fully participate in the National Day celebrations. An audio campaign for the hearing-impaired people, they transformed sound waves of the national anthem into vibrations which could be felt through the flag’s fabric, allowing deaf people to experience sound in an entirely new and innovative manner.


Client: The Music Commission

Agency: Xelement Agency

In Saudi Arabia, the pursuit of a career in music is often met with sociocultural roadblocks, leading to a suppression of talent and self-doubt among those with aspirations in the industry. The campaign aimed to break the cultural barrier and foster a more inclusive environment, by allowing for a wider range of voices and talent discoveries in the industry. It created a virtual stage, an open mic, for individuals to showcase their hidden talents and pursue their passions from the comfort of their own home and directly on their mobiles. Participants used Sound of Saudi branded filters for their video submissions on TikTok to be shortlisted through a voting system.

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Here’s a selection of some made-for-KSA campaigns from this year


Client: STA

Agency: and us

Starring Lionel Messi, the “Discover another side of yourself in Arabia” campaign saw the Argentinian football legend, explore many of Saudi Arabia’s beautiful sights and sounds – from iconic tourist hotspots and glamorous concert halls to lesser-known destinations in the great Arabian outdoors. The campaign marked a new chapter in Saudi Arabian tourism – for decades mostly frequented by business travellers and pilgrims – but now aiming to become one of the fastest growing leisure and lifestyle destinations in the world.


Client:  Abdul Latif Jameel Motors

Agency: Serviceplan Middle East  Toyota’s Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) aimed to offer a more accessible and sustainable alternative to traditional combustion engines, yet people remain apathetic towards HEVs. However, the consequences of automobile emissions will ultimately affect future generations. Since it’s the children’s future at stake, Serviceplan Middle East decided to make them the spokespeople for Toyota’s hybrid range. The goal was not to preach, but simply delight and entertain viewers, while extolling the benefits of Toyota’s hybrid range. The campaign saw the agency bring together children and allow them to direct and produce their own plays to perform in front of their parents. These plays were recorded and used as separate ad campaigns.


Client: Half Million

Agency: NQLA Studio

The film campaign for Saudi National Day featured a historical event that marks the beginning of the formation of modern Saudi state. In 1902, King Abdulaziz entered Al-Musmak and began his journey to unite the kingdom. With him was his horse, the mare Ubayyah, who is a symbol of the journey that took to unite the nation. The film follows Ubayyah witnessing each step of the country’s evolution to what it is today.


Client:  Saudi Quality of Life Program

Agency: Surface

The Quality of Life Program aimed to inspire the Kingdom’s youth to become more athletic and culturally engaged. It first brought forward the Kingdom’s several cultural centres, sports halls, stadiums and public parks to the information ecosystem. Surface, the photography and aerial filming production house helmed by Creative Director Jonathan Gainer, was commissioned to unite a collection of assets spanning universities, opulent palaces and retro-futuristic sports facilities under one digital roof: the Marafiq portal. The project was managed by Atkins Global in collaboration with the digital transformation agency Thiqah.


Client:  Stc

Agency: Wunderman Thompson Riyadh

Saudi Telecom Company (Stc) created a game Baity Battle during Ramadan to help gamers who were fasting to keep track of time. Baity Battle is a virtual island in the interactive video game platform Fortnite Creative. While playing on the virtual island, gamers keep can track of sunrise and sunset times as it syncs with the real world. As a result, gamers could tell when it is time for Iftar and Suhoor, the two main meals of Ramadan. It turned into a smooth, natural in-game solution for a real-world problem, inspired by a strong cultural insight.

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W7Worldwide’s Abdulrahman Inayat talks digitisation in Saudi Arabia

Digitisation is the catchword today. This has led to so many sectors including the PR industry to undergo sweeping changes. Digitisation, the rising force of Gen Z ready to join the workforce and the power of data are some of the areas that are sure to dominate the communications sector this year, both for corporates and agencies.


A remote or working online mode has given way to a hybrid work culture. Such changes are not without their own set of problems. The shift to online working may result in employees having less respect for work timings, which may impact engagement with employees, shareholders and clients, as we need a physical presence. However, these trends are here to stay. The digital shift will go on. Yet, physical things like events and conferences will continue. It’s the new normal.


Digitisation of data and analysis is playing a key role in our daily lives. Earlier, we used to have clients looking for some of the figures and data, but now they demand an in-depth alignment with their business, objectives, and even the

campaign. It has all raised awareness. Data is going to play a major role and it is the new normal. It is worldwide. Because it enhances our productivity, efficiency and effectiveness.


This means not just creating local content, or tapping into local talent, but also making space for the rising number of Gen Z youths, who hold great potential for a country’s economy. In Saudi Arabia, youth are fascinated by the PR industry and are showing interest in taking up new responsibilities. So, we need to develop the potential and interest of those Gen Z who are willing to enter the communication sector.

Despite the changes and challenges, we have seen W7Worldwide growing not only in Saudi Arabia but also in the region. We are optimistic about the future, of our partners, team, stakeholders, and not least our clients. The work culture is very healthy and I

am encouraged to see that our clients feel like part of the organisation. So, a sense of bonding will keep us driving our business to the future.

In Saudi Arabia and the wider region, the PR industry has effectively withstood the onslaught of the pandemic. And we see opportunities galore in the region. The recent FIFA World Cup and several world-class events like Expo 2020 have lifted morale. Riyadh recently held a three-day conference on the theme ‘Investing in Humanity: Enabling a New World Order’ which drew thought leaders from all over the world.

One of the current trends in the business, in general, is the human narrative. Business is changing and the narrative has to be personalised. The changing dynamics of media play a major role in such change. So, what happens in Australia doesn’t happen in Saudi Arabia in simple terms. You need to understand that your mindset is relevant to your content. And PR is all about content. Content is king.

Staying on top of trends keeps you ahead of others. It’s truer today as things change rapidly due to advances in technology. I am confident we will see more confidence in the business sector including the PR industry.

There’s dynamic change in our industry. Because every day there is a change. So, the people in the PR industry will have to have this profession as a lifestyle. Enrich yourself with the knowledge to have good mentors. To have great practice with your partners.

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‘‘You need to understand that your mindset is relevant to your content. And PR is all about content”
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