Campaign Middle East - April 2022

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A M OT I VAT E P U B L I C AT I O N

March 28, 2022

AED25/USD7/SR25

KNOW YOUR PLATFORM GUIDE

2022

INSIDE DUBAI LYNX WINNERS RAMADAN REPORT

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March 28, 2022

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Centrepoint appoints And Us as its strategic creative agency Dubai-based independent agency And Us has been named as local retail conglomerate Centrepoint’s creative agency of record. In September 2021, Centrepoint had invited at least seven agencies – both multinational and home-grown – to take part in a four-month-long pitch. And Us won. And Us will handle all aspects of Centrepoint’s creative including creative vision, marketing, design and branding. Centrepoint unifies the retail concepts, Babyshop, Splash, Shoemart and Lifestyle under one identity to be a single fashion destination for shoppers. It has 145 stores across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar. “Centrepoint has always been passionate about providing quality products and is known to be the biggest retail destination in the GCC,” said Anda Dalati, deputy general manager of marketing at Centrepoint. “With this pitch, we were seeking out an agency that could do our brand justice with work that reflected our commitment to excellence in everything we do. We’re very excited to have them as our agency partners in the next chapter of Centrepoint’s journey.” In a statement, And Us said it “is known to handle leading clients within the region. This goes back to its creative signature of getting ideas out of the box to deliver outstanding campaign projects, led by a cultural diversity of predominant Arab talents that serves the need of the region.” Fadi Yaish, founder and chief creative officer of And Us, said: “For decades, Centrepoint has been a

MENA success story that has helped shape the retail landscape in the UAE and beyond. Our pitch to Centrepoint wasn’t just designed to appeal to its current customer base, but to resonate with a new generation of shoppers who expect an international level of quality and craft.” ‘Made For Ramadan’ is one of the first campaigns to be released in April with the agency’s signature, denoting the start of what is “expected

to be a phenomenal creative vision setting Centrepoint as a key player in the future of omni-retail with its fresh take on the way Arab youth celebrate this Holy Month,” said And Us. As Campaign was going to press, it was announced that And Us’s Yaish has been appointed to the international board of The One Club for Creativity. It is the first time a creative from the region has been asked to join the US organisation in such a capacity.

Are you a Face to Watch in 2022?

SPOTIFY EQUAL ARABIA In celebration of International Women’s Month and on a continued mission to turn up the volume on Arab women creators by giving them a platform to share their content with the world, Spotify brings Equal to the region. Under the name Equal Arabia, the local version of Spotify’s global music programme aims to amplify the work of women creators by using the platform’s resources and generating more opportunities for these creators through delivering a global, cohesive and branded experience. To mark the arrival of Equal Arabia, Spotify launched a short film directed by Rana Alarian in collaboration with Carole Samaha, Perrie, Almas and Dina El Wedidi.

Campaign’s Agency Faces to Watch 2022 is back to profile the brightest and best young talent aged 30 and under working agency-side in creative, media, digital and PR agencies in the MENA region. Every nominee must be put forward by a senior manager within their own company or at a client they have worked with. Heriot-Watt University Dubai has partnered for the second year with Campaign Middle East for Campaign’s annual Agency Faces to Watch list, offering a chance to win five scholarships to master’s degrees in digital marketing at its Edinburgh Business School in Dubai. Candidates will need to submit a 500-word essay to qualify for the scholarships. For more information, please visit www.campaignme.com. The deadline for submissions is April 5, 2022.


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March 28, 2022

Delivery firm Talabat names Cristiano Ronaldo as ambassador and appoints Bruce Clay as social media agency Talabat has announced Cristiano Ronaldo as its official brand ambassador in the biggest year of football in the MENA region’s history. Ronaldo is the all-time leading goal scorer in men’s international football. A five-time Ballon D’or winner, he has won 32 trophies over the course of his career, and is universally known as one of the greatest footballers of all time, and one of the most recognisable sporting icons on the planet. He is expected to play for Portugal, his national team, at the Fifa Football World Cup, which kicks off in Qatar in November. Throughout this collaboration, Talabat will feature Cristiano Ronaldo in a number of campaigns and on-ground activations across the MENA region, starting with its q-commerce offering Talabat Mart and kicking off with the official launch video. Through this

partnership, Talabat says, it aims to bring a positive impact to the region. Cristiano Ronaldo said: “Talabat and I share a number of similarities – it is about keeping the best shape and working smarter on and off the pitch, and making sure I’m in the right place and time to have the greatest impact. I know to trust my experience, my intuition and my skill to make sure that I’m bringing the greatest delivery for my team, just as Talabat and its riders do when they deliver to customers everyday all across MENA.” In the same month Talabat made the announcement, Bruce Clay MENA was selected as the social media partner for Talabat UAE after a region-wide competitive pitch. The digital shop will be responsible for the development and delivery of the brand’s social media creative strategy, with the goal of further

Cristiano Ronaldo is to be featured in Talabat’s marketing efforts

enhancing Talabat’s visibility, engagement and reach in the UAE through digital platforms. “We are proud to bring a regional industry leader such as Talabat on board as a partner,” said Neal Patel, CEO of Bruce Clay MENA. “It is a really exciting time for the industry as the online food delivery space continues to grow and as Talabat leads the way, changing the way we order food and groceries, and introducing new services and concepts into the market. We look

forward to working together with the team and making Talabat UAE one of the most engaging brands across social channels.” Gulnar Farooq, director of marketing, Talabat UAE, said: “The UAE has one of the world’s highest internet penetration rates, and as usage of social media channels increases, so does our customers’ interaction through them. As a tech company, it is in this space that we can truly build a deeper bond with the communities we serve.”

NEOM TROJENA

MCDONALD’S FOR EVERY BEAT OF THE DAY

Saudi megacity project Neom has announced the establishment of Trojena, new destination for mountain tourism and part of Neom’s strategy to contribute to supporting and developing the tourism sector in Saudi Arabia. As part of the launch, McCann NY created a promotional video portraying the futuristic community of Neom, where a group of skiers are practising the sport in sci-fi mode. Trojena aims to change current perceptions among visitors and residents about the services that can be provided by mountain resorts, through its design, advanced architecture and technology that integrates reality with the virtual world.

McDonald’s in the Gulf has launched McCafé’s new brand platform, For Every Beat of the Day ,to refresh consumers’ perceptions of the coffee brand. Deeply rooted in the 24-hour coffee culture, it encapsulates the energy and pulse of the young generation. Directed by Ida Cuellar and produced by Prodigious, the TVC captures authentic moments in multiple locations across the region. It is a marriage of pictures and film with a multi-format approach, designed to reflect the joy of a fresh brew, unexpected pleasures and surprises that punctuate life, all steered by a drum track.

Agency McCann NY Executive director Anthony Ward Marketing manager Fahad Hamood Alhamwah Brand marketing Robert Kellner

Agency Studio M Creative agency Leo Burnett Dubai Chief creative officer Kalpesh Patankar Media agency Starcom Dubai Production house Prodigious ME Director Ida Cuellar


March 28, 2022

OMG MENA announces enhanced structure for investment team Omnicom Media Group MENA, the holding company of OMD, PHD and Hearts & Science, has announced a new structure for its investment team. The move is designed to enhance the group’s and agencies’ competitiveness and their ability to deliver excellence. Previously leading buying for OMD in the GCC as the media communications agency’s head of investments, Elie Bachaalani has been promoted to OMG MENA’s executive director of investments, overseeing all its entities. Having been with the group for close to 16 years, Bachaalani will now further strengthen its investment product and its value to clients with his expertise, experience, approach to creative solutions and commercial acumen. He will report to Wissam Najjar, the holding group’s COO, who also leads the group’s investment function. At agency level, Gaby Salame and Mohammad Majed will assume the roles of investment lead at OMD and Hearts & Science respectively. Bachaalani will assume this responsibility at PHD until that position is filled. Agency investment leads will work closely with Bachaalani’s team on all commercial aspects and Roli Okoro, general manager of programmatic, search & social at OMG MENA, on all digital

Elie Bachaalani, OMG mena’s executive director of investments

product-related tasks. “This restructure is less about today and more about tomorrow. At OMG, we’ve always striven to be future-ready. In this rapidly changing marketing environment, where disruptive technologies create an increasingly complex landscape, future traders must always be ready to provide the optimal solution so that clients meet their business objectives,” said Wissam Najjar.

“There are exciting opportunities to enhance our speed, efficiency and capability further. This restructure provides us with the clarity, vision and resources, be they talent or technology, to adapt and thrive in this rapidly changing environment,” added Elie Bachaalani. “My focus will be on harnessing the synergies that exist between all stakeholders to deliver speed-to-market and innovative investment solutions.”

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Campaign runs Twitter Spaces Campaign has partnered with Twitter MENA to run a #RamadanSpaces series of presentations on Twitter’s live-audio feature, Spaces. The collaboration provides useful insights and tips to prepare for Ramadan 2022, and takes the form of four Spaces sessions dedicated to specific aspects of brand positioning and consumer behaviour analysis. The first session ran on March 9, titled ‘Build an Effective Pre-Ramadan Strategy’. It was followed a week later by ‘Leverage Partnerships for Higher Impact’. Last week’s session was ‘Launch Something New During Ramadan’, and the final session will take place on March 29 at midday UAE (11am KSA) and is titled ‘Ramadan For Good’. It will examine how people think and feel around Ramadan, and what brands can do to do good and leverage their efforts during the Holy Month. The Space will be hosted by @TwitterMktgMENA for those who are able to join live. To listen to previous sessions, head over to Campaign’s website (campaignme.com) and click on the ‘Events’ tab at the top of the page to listen to experts from Twitter, STC, Toyota Abdullatif Jamily, Riyad Bank, Leo Burnett and more.

CANON MIDDLE EAST TRAILBLAZERS 2022

ADIDAS I’M POSSIBLE

Canon Middle East launched the 2022 edition of its Trailblazer series with Emirati equestrian Fatima Al Harthi, Emirati commercial interior designer Laila Al Yousuf, and Dubai-based Swiss watchmaker Maximilian Büsser as the latest changemakers to be celebrated by the brand. The series was launched via a panel discussion with all three Trailblazers, where they shared their experiences, struggles and inspiring stories. The session was moderated by media personality Jessy El Murr and streamed live across Canon Middle East’s social media platforms. The campaign was filmed by Shadani Consulting, under the supervision of DOP Gregor Amon.

Adidas took over Dubai’s OOH scene with its new ‘I’m Possible’ user-generated content (UGC) campaign, in line with the brand’s recent launch of the next chapter of its ‘Impossible is Nothing’ journey. The UGC campaign celebrates all women of the United Arab Emirates by giving them the chance to feature on digital billboards across the city, simultaneously showcasing and celebrating their stories of seeing possibilities in sport and beyond. The digital billboards – on Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai’s main highway – feature inspirational women of Dubai who have made their impossible possible and are breaking down barriers on and off the pitch, court, track and field.

Agency Shadani Consulting DOP Gregor Amon

Agency Havas Middle East


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March 28, 2022

INDUSTRY FORUM: Q

We asked: Will this Ramadan’s marketing be more digitally focused than last years?


March 28, 2022

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Asad Rehman

Director, media and digital hubs MENA, Turkey and Russia, Unilever

YES

Covid did make us a lot more digital than we ever were, but then this Ramadan is also one where we will see the physical interactions come back after more than two years. The digitisation will likely continue to have an impact on consumer shopping and media habits, but I also sense people venturing out of home this year more than they did in the past two. So, while I do expect a continued uplift in groceries and food e-commerce around convenience. I also sense physical retail marginally kicking back in for beauty, fashion and luxury – just because we can. Fingers crossed.

Marwa Kaabour

Group marketing & corporate communication manager, Al Masaood

YES

For certain we will see higher digital engagement this Ramadan. As the region continues to grow in population and urbanisation, with year-on-year growth in digital spend, we anticipate more engagement on the social platforms. It is expected to see a spike in user-generated content and an increase in mobile ads and gamification as time spent on devices will be on the rise.

Khaled AlShehhi

Executive director of new media and visual production, UAE Government Media Office

NO

The big difference this year is the relaxation of restrictions, thanks to the vaccine take-up and the less virulent strain of the virus. This means that, while the stronger digital behaviours adopted in the last couple of years still point to a hybrid Ramadan, we can expect to see a Holy Month experienced more in the real world. Whether it’s gatherings, collective experiences or significant moments, people will want to live them in 3D because ‘real life’ makes these moments more significant.

Julie Caironi

Regional head of marketing, Snap Inc. MENA

YES

While the easing of Covid this Ramadan is a welcome relief to all, we must remember that a lot has happened over the last two years. People have exponentially turned to digital platforms to connect, share meaningful moments and celebrate together. Consumer behaviour has fundamentally shifted. Marketeers must adapt to these changes to find consumers where they really are. In particular, brands can break through the clutter by bridging the physical and digital worlds, maximising their media effectiveness. This includes leading with authentic communication and immersive experiences across the entire consumer journey. Not all digital platforms are created equal, so developing a strategy through this lens will help marketers to focus their efforts and reignite Ramadan this year.

Ramy El Kassis

Sales director, Digital Media Services (DMS)

YES

Marketing is surely slated to be more digitally focused this Ramadan, with the consumption of VOD and other digital entertainment content peaking around the region. Digital platforms enable two-way communications with consumers. This helps brands to create personalised connections, stand out and become part of the culture. Be it video, audio, content initiatives or even display ads, brands need to establish a strong bond to ensure that their messages resonate within the context of the Holy Month, regardless of where the consumer stands in the funnel. This compels brands to embrace a full-funnel approach, along with measurement.


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March 28, 2022

Samer Akhter

John Ekambi

Marketing director, ArabyAds

Digital and partnership director, Carat

YES

YES

The Holy Month of Ramadan is one of the most anticipated months in the region, a period of devotion, compassion and community engagement. The last two years have strengthened the digital inertia of consumers, and the need to access, express, and even interact with the community digitally has increased. This digital adoption creates ‘micro-moments’ during both the day and the month, increasing consumption of spiritual content, entertainment, cooking, home decor searches, gifting and even impulsive online buying closer to Eid. Community shopping takes precedence over shopping for an individual, giving rise to the ‘shopping shift’. These changes build use cases for marketers on a massive scale. Since digital is a win-win for both, where consumers get relevant recommendations based on their affinities, and marketers measure and operate at scale, a higher digital focus is the way forward.

It goes without saying that the region (as the rest of the world) has witnessed an accelerated adoption and consumption of digital platforms and content in the last couple of years. This was equally driven by brands and consumers and shows no signs of slowing down. The abundance of newly created digital content across video, social and audio, and the increased volume of e-commerce-ready brands coupled with online consumers eager to spend more during Ramadan, create an ideal mix for brands to be more digitally focused this year.

Marc Ghosn

Managing director, Wavemaker UAE

YES & NO

A customer-centric approach dictates where brands should be present and how they should communicate with their audience. Ramadan is a period when families get together to celebrate and share moments. This usually happens around flag ship TV programmes. This is the reason why we have seen digital-native companies such as Hunger Station, Talabat, Amazon and Noon advertise on TV. Digital caters towards more individual and personal moments. So, a mix of both TV and digital is needed to build the brand message and drive the lower funnel.

Professor Paul Hopkinson

Associate head of Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University Dubai and academic lead for Heriot-Watt Online

YES

I believe that marketing this year will be more digitally focused than last year. In the past two years, the pandemic induced changes in consumer behaviour, some of which are here to stay. One of these changes is the fact that consumers are resorting to online shopping for their convenience rather than out of necessity as they did in the past. It is noteworthy that Ramadan generally witnesses an increased consumption of online content as people’s work timings change and as they look to connect with loved ones. Marketing technologies have certainly become smarter, but so have consumers. However, what is key is that marketers should aim for meaningful connections with their consumers.

Nigel Hammersley

Digital director and head of social media, MullenLowe MENA

YES

It makes sense based on consumption, reach and cost, but that also comes with a caveat. Over the past two years there has been an accelerated adoption rate of digital. Overall time spent online has increased and new behaviours have been adopted and normalised. Online is where people are spending their time and attention, across all varieties of digital platforms. But with brands all competing for audiences’ share of the social feed during this time, it’s important not to be lost in the noise. Brands need to stand out with communications that bring them an unfair share of attention.


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Richard Nicoll

Chief strategy and capability officer, Liquid

MAYBE Laila Omran

Client partner, Twitter MENA

YES

Ramadan 2022 is likely to display a continuation of a primary trend seen in marketing over the last two years; the gradual rise in flexibility for in-person gatherings and celebrations, combined with a stronger appetite to share special moments online and discover what brands have to offer at this time of year. Twitter will continue to play a central role during Ramadan, while it highlights the unique relationship that exists between broadcast and the platform, with conversations around Ramadan TV shows expected to be prominent. In turn, this will create great opportunities for marketers looking to make an impact and engage with their audiences during a significant cultural moment in the region and beyond.

The fact is that it’s now impossible to separate digital marketing from marketing, so we can be certain that all planned offline activity will be supported by a digital pillar. This is especially true in commerce. Whilst it could be expected to see an uplift in in-store activity for Ramadan 2022, compared with the previous pandemic-affected years, e-commerce is now a wellestablished and, in many cases, preferred place in which to buy. So, at Liquid we are seeing marketers going with the power of the shoppers and continuing to chase their Ramadan sales uplift, online.

Jochen Bischoff

Head of consumer business partnerships, ByteDance METAP

YES

Consumers have adopted digital-first behaviours in a post-pandemic era. In Ramadan, the consumer will look for an uninterrupted entertainment experience. Festive gatherings, meals, and celebrations bear no room for marketers to overlook Ramadan destinations providing tips, infotainment and edutainment – without watching ads. The days of pure reliance on reach to generate ROI are in the past. Triggering joy through creators, creativity, and entertainment increases relevance in marketing. The value of these genuine consumer connections will lead to higher digital focus in Ramadan 2022. Ramadan Kareem.

Branislav Ilic

E-commerce and performance marketing director, Havas Media Middle East

Scott Feasey

CEO, M&C Saatchi GCC

YES

It’s not a reactive pandemic phenomenon or a trend riding an upward wave any more. With an estimated 76 per cent of people habitually spending more time and money online over previous Ramadans, it’s become a way of life for consumers and a musthave, effective tactic for marketers. Whatever is offline is enriched online and needs to be on-demand across shopping, entertainment, education, connections, etc. Digital enables brands to reach audiences efficiently and effectively with ROIs 1.5 times higher than traditional media. So yes, it will be more digitally focused this year.

YES

Definitely Yes. With the shift in user behaviour and increasing requirements from audiences to get a personalised experience from brands, this can only be achieved digitally. Brands which are more digitally focused during Ramadan will be able to target more precisely in order to get more meaningful outcomes from potential customers, and this will positively affect their results in the long term well beyond Ramadan. Cutting through the clutter during Ramadan is getting harder each year, so a precise data-driven targeting approach will ensure the right message reaches the right person at the right time and will also allow brands to deepen the relationship with their buyers, increasing their customer lifetime value in the long run.


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March 28, 2022

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Finding the sweet spot Heriot-Watt’s Paul Hopkinson looks at what personalised marketing means today and how brands can leverage it like never before

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ersonalisation is not a new phenomenon in marketing. It existed before the internet. In 1892, Sears, an American chain of department stores, was amongst the first companies to embrace the concept through direct marketing. Their direct mail campaign, targeted at 8,000 customers, produced an impressive 40 per cent conversion rate, resulting in 2,000 new orders. Advances in technology have fuelled an exponential growth in opportunities to personalise marketing messages, customise products and services and tailor customer interactions. But this growth brings challenges too. As the scope for personalisation expands and choices widen, the process inevitably becomes more complex. Customers are bombarded everywhere by targeted campaigns, which, if not carefully executed, can easily backfire. Personalisation is more than targeting customers with products that brands think suit their profile; there are many factors to consider. There is no doubt that today’s customers want to feel prioritised and listened to. Brand loyalty is increasingly being achieved by the customer’s assessment of the effort that the brand has made to connect and listen to them. A report by Merkle showed that 91 per cent of customers are likely to make repeat purchases if they feel heard. Since the onset of the pandemic created a surge in online interactions and e-commerce by extension, not only do customers prefer personalised interaction, but they also demand it. According to McKinsey’s research in 2021, companies that excel at personalisation generate 40 per cent more revenue than others. When it comes to personalisation, people usually think of the trade-off between privacy and personalisation. Sharing personal data can expose consumers to the risk that their data is mishandled or that personalisation becomes invasive. Nevertheless, when correctly executed, personalisation offers a win-win for both consumers and brand owners. It’s all a question of balance. The potential benefits of personalisation are well documented, with studies showing that customers are frequently irritated by generic marketing messages. When done correctly, personalisation can facilitate in-store and online engagement. It can inform customers about promotions that are relevant to the products and services that they are searching for, give recommendations about other products and services that they might be interested and, as Netflix demonstrates to good effect, be used to tailor every aspect of the customer experience from new product development through to product

presentation. When customers consent to data collection, they expect a personalised experience in return. However, failure to do that destabilises the bargain and induces negative sentiment. Additionally, customers want to know that they are being sold more than just a product. Customers respond positively when brands demonstrate their investment in nurturing a relationship, rather than just creating a sale. Thoughtful gestures such as checking in on the latest transaction, sending how-to videos or asking consumers to write a review are ways brands can stand out. For example, an e-commerce website can send an email after product delivery asking about the product quality, delivery time and overall customer experience. Technology is a key enabler of personalisation, and AI-powered recommendations engines and services bots are just some tools available to the marketer to deliver personalisation at scale. For companies operating in mass consumer markets and diverse geographical areas, personalisation would be almost impossible without the help of AI. However, it is important to be aware of the complexities of data management. While companies that implement AI are better equipped for enriching their engagement with customers, algorithms can get things wrong without manual intervention in certain stages. AI can fail to account for searches done in specific contexts and changes in consumer preferences. For example, when buyers make purchases of certain items, they are sometimes followed by online and email ads for the same item they purchased. While personalising based on segments is valid, preferences are not always similar. Therefore, having data alone is not enough. Data must be centralised, processed and understood to avoid building a wrong foundation and consequently amplifying errors with each personal step. Commerce giants implement AI so that their technical experts can focus on training algorithms with real-time customer data. Manual intervention at different stages can therefore be costly and impractical for businesses. However, brands are also aware of the constant effort it takes to retain customers in today’s market. Excessive personalisation has its downsides and can lead to enveloping consumers in so called ‘filter-bubbles’. These have the effect of channelling the attention of consumers towards a narrow range of interests, limiting their exposure and interactions to likeminded individuals. Personalising communications to an excessive degree reinforces cycles of behaviour through similar

messaging and peer group validation. Creativity and entertainment, critical components of marketing communications, take a backseat in this scenario, and the focus is increasingly on persuasion. Therefore, there is an optimum level beyond which personalisation becomes restrictive and prevents exploration. Personalisation is a constant process of balance – whether it is the trade-off between personalisation and privacy, ensuring personalisation is not done at the expense of entertainment and thought leadership. It is making companies reasse customers that they are aware of their needs without making them feel like they are being watched. It is also not stopping the investment once the transaction is done, and understanding that this is only the beginning in achieving the right balance in personalisation marketing.

“Excessive personalisation has its downsides and can lead to enveloping consumers in so called ‘filter-bubbles’.” By Professor Paul Hopkinson, associate head of Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University Dubai and academic lead for Heriot-Watt Online


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March 28, 2022

THE BIG HE B IG T WINNERS W INNERS At the Dubai Lynx Awards, held in person for the first time since the pandemic, 167 prizes were announced. Grands Prix went to entries from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and Impact BBDO Dubai was Agency of the Year, making BBDO Worldwide the Network of the Year. Independent Agency of the Year was Serviceplan Middle East, and Good People Films won the Lynx Palm Award for most awarded production house. For more details check out Campaign’s website, campaignme.com, and to view all the winners go to dubailynx.com. Here we present the work that won Grands Prix on the night.

CONGRATULATIONS TO EVERYONE WHO WON

LIQUID BILLBOARD

Client: Adidas Agency: Havas Middle East Awards: Grand Prix (Design); 4 x Gold (Entertainment, Outdoor, PR, Media); 3 x Silver (Direct, Outdoor; Industry Craft); 7 x Bronze (2 x Brand Experience & Activation, 2 x Outdoor, 2x Direct, Media) The jury’s verdict Marta Swannie, senior creative director, Superunion and jury president of the Design Jury We awarded the Design Grand Prix to Liquid Billboard. This project had everything: a great creative idea, a unique approach to addressing an issue, superb casting, a spectacular execution – invoking a spirit of celebration, and it launched a new product line.


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DESPAIR NO MORE

Client: Tena Agency: Impact BBDO Dubai Awards: 5 x Grands Prix (Direct, Glass – The Award for Change, Healthcare, Media, Social & Influencer); 5 x Gold (Social & Influencer, Direct, Entertainment, Healthcare, Digital); 5 x Bronze (Social & Influencer, 2 x PR, Creative Strategy, Healthcare); Integrated Lynx Award The jury’s verdict Catalin Dobre, chief creative officer, McCann Worldgroup Romania, creative director, McCann CEE, McCann and jury president of the Social & Influencer Jury Social has the power to engage people in meaningful conversations that can have a cultural impact and can change society for the better. We let this principle guide us when we picked our Grand Prix for the Social & Influencer category. We fell in love with Despair No More because it starts from a deep cultural tension and it uses social to grab people into a debate that delivers a cultural shift and opens people’s minds. We really admired Tena’s courage to challenge prejudice, to empower women and to drive change in the region.” Anna Chitty, CEO, Starcom and 2022 jury president of the Media Jury We selected a very deserving Grand Prix winner, one that stood out for its bravery, with a deep connection to a cultural insight, using the power of excellent media craft to shape culture and change language and society at large. It was an excellent entry and a unanimous decision. Josy Paul, chairman and chief creative officer, BBDO and jury president of the Glass Jury We were blown away by the context. The winning idea brought out an issue that nobody had spoken about. An issue that was deeply affecting women in the region. The brand understood and recognised it, and found a solution with the active engagement and support of women in the region. It was culture-shifting creativity. It was not just advertising; it was a breakthrough.


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THE ELECTIONS EDITION

Client: An Nahar newspaper Agency: Impact BBDO Dubai Awards: 6 x Grands Prix (Integrated, Outdoor, PR, Print & Publishing, Brand Experience & Activation, Creative Strategy); Gold (Direct); 2 x Silver (Direct, PR); 2 x Bronze (Brand Experience & Activation, Media) The jury’s verdict Kat Thomas, founder & global executive creative director, One Green Bean and jury president of the PR Jury Our Grand Prix selection wasn’t easy. We had a clear top three, which prompted much discussion amongst the jury. Our winner was selected for its bravery and ambition, its commercial sacrifice in contributing to the greater good and ultimately its impact on the audience it successfully reached. Josy Paul, chairman and chief creative officer, BBDO and jury president of the Integrated Jury The winning idea was not just making a social or cultural statement, but a political one. The idea was bold, the action was brave and the impact was game-changing. It made us all proud to be in the business. In the process, we realised that a truly integrated campaign is not just about how the big idea is integrated across multiple media platforms, but about how integrated it is with society.


March 28, 2022

DOUBLE MOON

Client: UAE Government Media Office Agency: MullenLowe Dubai Awards: Grand Prix (Brand Experience & Activation); Gold (Media); 4 x Silver (2 x Brand Experience & Activation, PR, Outdoor, Direct) The jury’s verdict Malcolm Poynton, global chief creative officer, Cheil Worldwide and jury president of the Brand Experience and Activation Jury Thinking back to the first Dubai Lynx 15 years ago, the work looked a bit like the beginnings of the Palm Island construction I saw happening in 2000 – the foundations of something incredible to come. And this year’s show is exactly that – an incredible show of creativity and progress across the region. When speaking to this year’s Lynx jurors, I found they’re no longer just passing judgement on the work; they’re also walking away inspired by the best work from Lynx – you can’t get a better compliment in our industry than that. Across this year’s Brand Experience and Activation, the feedback was consistent: the global jurors were impressed by the scale and commitment they saw in the projects, from stunts to campaigns. Many of which are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. We saw swimmable liquid billboards, double moons of Mars over the desert night-sky and NFTs alongside a newspaper that decided not to go to print. Brave, bold and memorable work by any measure. Perhaps most exciting of all, brands in the region are building bonds with consumers by acting like citizens. While they’re doing their part to contribute positively to shaping society and culture, they’re doing it in ways that move people to respond; to put their hand in their pocket, to switch brands, to vote, to speak up, to be more loyal to a brand or shout about a brand. And the work is increasingly being executed with real craft, with sophistication and, importantly, we’re seeing brands doing it long-term. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next from the region.

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March 28, 2022

OFFLINE HOUR

Client: Pizza Hut Agency: M&C Saatchi Awards: Grand Prix (Mobile); Gold (Brand Experience & Activation); Silver (Brand Experience & Activation) The jury’s verdict Wesley ter Haar, co-founder, Media.Monks and jury president of the Mobile Lynx Jury As a jury we wanted to celebrate work that showcases what the category can be. Mobile, not just as a distribution channel but as a connected device full of fun and functionality. Offline Hour gives us both, and while there was a lot of discussion and deliberation if this was big enough to win the Grand Prix, it won out because it truly (and terrifically) only works because of a mobile platform.


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BEYOND THE SURFACE

Client: Adidas Agency: Havas Middle East Production: La Cosa Awards: Grand Prix (Film Craft); Silver (Film Craft) The Jury’s verdict Khalil Bachooali, founder & managing director, Offroad Films and jury president of the Film Craft Jury We awarded the Grand Prix to Beyond The Surface by Adidas. This film was a clear winner for the jury for a number of reasons. It showcased best-in-class film-craft in every single category. It demonstrated restraint and at the same time nuanced film-making. Special mention of the mature and yet impactful decisions made with respect to direction, cast, script, cinematography. It was inspiring to see that this film was made with a great deal of sensitivity while respecting the cultural norms of the region – to women, swimwear and the Middle East region. This film acts as an important case study as it demonstrates the next chapter of women in advertising and sends out an equally valuable message to the region: the importance of strong, independent, powerful women who will pave the way for a bright future in the Middle East.


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March 28, 2022

FEMININE ARABIC Client: Twitter Agency: VMLY&R Commerce MENA Awards: Grand Prix (Digital); Silver (Direct)

The jury’s verdict Wesley ter Haar, co-founder, Media.Monks and jury president of the Digital Lynx Jury We had some truly inspiring and inspired work in the Digital category, but Feminine Arabic was the quintessential slow burn. It kept coming back in conversation, and as it faced off against other key cases it ended up being a bigger story. As digital has struggled with the role and responsibilities of platforms, Twitter’s change to their own inspired other brands and businesses to be part of the cultural conversation and change.

FITS ANYWHERE Client: Ikea Agency: Wunderman Thompson, Riyadh Awards: Grand Prix (Radio & Audio)


March 28, 2022

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IT’S POSSIBLE Client: UAE Government Media Office Agency: Vice Arabia Awards: Grand Prix (Entertainment); Bronze (Entertainment) The jury’s verdict Asawin Phanichwatana, deputy chief creative officer, GREYnJ UNITED and jury president of the Entertainment Jury The work we’ve chosen to celebrate, especially the GP winner, all had a positive message, great cultural impact, while being memorable and entertaining. Simply fun, enjoyable to watch (almost addictive). We hope you all enjoy the work as much as we did.

THE MACABRE DICTIONARY OF VIRGINITY TESTING

Client: Mali Maroc Agency: TBWA/Raad Awards: Grand Prix (Grand Prix for Good); Gold (Print & Publishing); Design


PARTNER CONTENT

Once upon a time on

The new home

storytelling We all love stories. Those telling them, and those who are listening to them equally. A good story has the unique ability to entertain, capture people’s attention, fuel their imagination, access feelings, and most importantly, get an idea or message across in a way that is memorable and emotionally charged. But when we think of stories, we tend to think of them in the strictest sense of the word. Cinderella, Ali Baba and his forty thieves, or the more real-world (yet probably equally fiction-laden) story of Alexander the Great. And for every one of these tales, there are a million personal stories. Fiction or non-fiction, what most stories have in common is format. We tend to think of stories in a traditional, structured, and often rigidly templated manner. The once upon a time, happily ever after, and all the upheavals in between.

The question is: are traditionally structured stories still right for the world we live in today? We don’t believe so. What we do believe is that stories are as important today as they have ever been, but the world of storytelling today looks like nothing we've ever seen.

APTER

In the beginning

Stories have been told since the dawn of humanity. It started with cave drawings and transitioned with the development of spoken and written languages. From history of the past to folklore and poetry, storytelling has been instrumental as a thread in weaving the fabric of human society and its development. As civilization and society have progressed, so has storytelling. It has evolved and adapted to the needs of its time and culture. As such, we’ve seen stories take many different forms over time, manifesting through books, paintings and art, photography, newspapers, film, television, and even advertising. The latter, naturally, is of special interest to us (and to you, the reader). The importance of storytelling has always been recognized in advertising. From long-form copy masterpieces ("They laughed when I sat down at the piano but when I started to play!" comes to mind) to the beloved long-form, highly produced, cinematically shot high budget films that dominated up to 2012. That’s when the unthinkable happened! Short-form content for social media was born.

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Let us tell you a story.

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Written by Waleed Fareed & Youssef Gadallah

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The dramatic event

In the trailer for her MasterClass course, Margaret Atwood, the author of “The Handmaid’s Tale” demonstrates how she would start the telling of Little Red Riding Hood. She starts by saying; “It was dark inside of the wolf”. Makes you wonder is she writing from the POV of the grandmother? Is she playing on the psychological darkness that drove the wolf to be the way he is? Or a third scenario – the one we believe to be true; she applied the social media age “3-second attention grab” rule to hook the audience into asking the first 2 questions. Genius. We live in an age of information overload. No one could have imagined the impact that the internet and social media would have on us, from the effects of being hyper-connected all the time, to being surrounded by content everywhere we


look (which is mostly on our phones nowadays, occasionally bigger screens). There's always a developing story, there are always headlines, there is always a post, there is always sharable material, and there is always something to look at and consume.

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How can a story you are telling (or listening to) compete with the endless stream of stories that people are exposed to? This is the tension. The stories that are out there to be consumed are embroiled in an impossible battle against one another. Fighting for that most scarce of resources – our time and attention.

APTER

A hero emerges

While many have dubbed TikTok as a social media platform, in reality it’s a content and entertainment platform that democratizes storytelling for everyone (including brands). It is a platform based on community and interest, allowing storytellers and listeners to filter through the noise, and giving users only the stories that are relevant to them, in bite-sized portions. Entertaining, educational, and inspiring stories that bring joy and a feeling of time well-spent. TikTok has become a platform that gives communities a voice, and a chance for everyone to showcase their creativity. A creative democratizer for a time and generation that values equal opportunity and champions authenticity. TikTok provides a wide gamut of tools for people and brands to tell stories that are as unique as they are.

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Hakawatis (Arabic storytellers) used to stand in public squares to tell their stories. Some people gathered around them because they were interested in listening to the stories, others gathered just because they saw a crowd. Traditional social media is not very different. The power of TikTok, on the other hand, is that it draws in the perfect crowd for each story. Not the entire village, but the select few (or the select millions) that will be completely attentive to your story. If you have a story to tell, on TikTok you have the right tools to create, craft, and tell it to audiences that are there to actively listen to it. And that’s what makes TikTok the new home of storytelling.

APTER

The happily ever after A place where stories are loved, by people and by brands. Everyone is a storyteller, and they are the ones that continuously come up with new ways to tell their stories. Today, TikTok is the arena, the home that not only witnesses all of these new forms of storytelling coming to life, but enables and enhances them. On the platform we see visual storytelling reaching new heights; from creative transitions to the green screen

effect, creators can visually tell their stories with ease and like never before. And more and more, we are seeing creators and brands innovate and create stories together on TikTok.

IN FACT

Research has shown that brand-led and creator-led content drive 2.7x higher ad memorability than the norms individually while using them both in the same campaign generates the maximum impact, 2.8x higher ad memorability than the norms.

We also see the development and use of multiple characters as a common storytelling device on TikTok, from creators playing multiple roles in a scene, to recurring characters in a series that become a recognizable persona on their own. And there’s something for brands to learn here as well – creative work that includes characters (whether animated or an actual person) delivers 8% higher add recall than that without characters. Being a sound-on platform, we also see the use of audio reclaiming its place in the creative arsenal. Video may have killed the radio star, but TikTok gave people who express themselves through sound a makeover and a microphone (search ASMR if you don't already know about it). From dubbing to sound stitching, and even scripted sound for people to lip sync and make their own, sounds on TikTok allow for creative interpretation and the creation of original stories told through them – and of course, the creation of new music and original sounds every day keeps sound jockeys immersed and incredibly active. TikTok has become a home for original sound, so much so that research has shown that brands using original and customized sounds outperform those using known songs by 8% in terms of Brand Linkage. Most importantly, the community aspect of the platform allows for true and instant engagement between the storyteller and their audience. From stories continued through duets and stitches, to comments and video responses triggering a domino effect of content, the platform allows creators and brands to invite their audiences to engage with and contribute to the story - or even make it their own. Creators (and brands) can tell different stories to different audiences. While we embrace the digital and technological nature of what we do, we can’t help but imagine the platform as also bringing storytelling and community conversations closer to how they used to be - authentic, natural, and raw.

The End The way we tell stories may have changed, but we like to believe it changed for the better. Today, anyone and everyone can tell their story, and there is always a community and audience to listen, on TikTok. So, the future, is now the past. The past is glorious and what's coming next will be even better.

#TellBetterStories


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March 28, 2022

TIME TO REDECORATE

Client: Ikea Agency: Leo Burnett Riyadh Awards: Grand Prix (Industry Craft); Silver (Outdoor) The jury’s verdict Marta Swannie, senior creative director, Superunion and jury president of the Design Jury We awarded the Industry Craft Grand Prix to Ikea’s sales campaign Time to Redecorate for its fantastic art direction in photography. It was playful, a little eccentric and had great attention to detail. We felt like you could really lose yourself in these images, discovering more things. We loved the way the characters were playfully camouflaged, flanked by an overabundance of decorative ‘stuff’. It felt very on-brand, with an Ikea sense of humour. It was also remarkable for being an Ikea sales campaign, featuring no Ikea products whatsoever!


March 28, 2022

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ROLLING STONE: ROCKIN’ MAMAS

Client: Rolling Stone Magazine Agency: Good People Films/VMLY&R Italy Production: Good People Films/Movie Magic International Awards: Grand Prix (Film), 2 x Gold (Film, Film Craft); Silver (Film Craft) The jury’s verdict Josy Paul, chairman and chief creative officer, BBDO and jury president of the Film Jury As a jury, we could sense the joy on the video call the moment we saw this work. It broke the Zoom interface and connected us all instantly. The idea was so right for the brand. We were like, ‘How come no one thought of this before?’ It was just waiting to be made. It was fresh, thoughtful and executed brilliantly! We didn’t have to think twice. In fact, we didn’t have to think at all.

SPECIAL AWARDS Network of the Year 1. BBDO Worldwide 2. Havas Creative 3. TBWA Worldwide

Media Network of the Year 1. Zenith 2. Starcom 3. OMD Worldwide

MENA Agency of the Year 1. Impact BBDO, Dubai, United Arab Emirates 2. Havas Middle East, Dubai, United Arab Emirates 3. TBWA\RAAD, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Independent Agency of the Year

THE NEW NATIONAL ANTHEM EDITION Client: An Nahar newspaper Agency: Impact BBDO Dubai Production: Boomtown Productions Awards: Grand Prix (Creative Effectiveness)

1. Serviceplan Middle East, Dubai, United Arab Emirates 2. Elephant, Cairo, Egypt 3. And Us, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Lynx Palm Award

1. Good People Films, Egypt 2. La Cosa, United Arab Emirates 3. Movie Magic International, Italy 4. Virtue, United Arab Emirates 5. De‘Ja’Vu, United Arab Emirates


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March 28, 2022

THE PARTY IS BACK

The industry celebrates creativity at the Dubai Lynx This year the creative industry gathered to celebrate its best work at the Dubai Lynx Awards 2022. The celebration took place at the Dubai Opera, which allowed the members of the industry to enjoy good times together. We were there with our Campaign-cover activation to capture these moments.

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1 Sami Moutran, Naz Fawaz, Fahad Osman, Elias Bassil and Annie Arsane 2 Justin Afuang and Kyra Elisha Sanchez 3 Ian Fairservice

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March 28, 2022

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4 Dani Richa and Khaled Alshehhi 5 Mounir Harfouche, Dani Richa, Khaled Alshehhi, Austyn Allison 6 Houda Tohme and Dana Tahir 7 Paul Shearer 8 Mounir Harfouche and Khaled Alshehhi 9 Impact BBDO team

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March 28, 2022

t is the day before the Dubai Lynx awards show and the organisers have brought together a who’s who of top regional creatives for a round table hosted by Snap and moderated by the platform’s MENA creative strategy lead Vishal Badiani. In attendance are Snap’s global senior director of creative and brand strategy, Jeff Miller; DDB ECD Firas Medrows; Memac Ogilvy CCO Till Hohmann; TBWA\RAAD CCO Walid Kanaan; And Us CEO and CCO Fadi Yaish; BBDO MENAP ECD Ali Rez; Wunderman Thompson ECD for Saudi Arabia Rayyan Aoun; Leo Burnett Group CCO Rafael Augusto; and Interesting Times CCO Mo Alghossein. There is only one woman, BBDO associate creative director Yasmina Boustani, and this imbalance is acknowledged by one attendee when he says “Look at this room. We look a lot alike in representation.” That’s true in other ways too. Most attendees are wearing black shirts, the creative uniform of 2022. The round table looks a little like a self-help group for divorced men, as the attendees share their hopes and fears, their triumphs and tribulations. After a round of introductions, Badiani puts out one simple question, “Are there any boundaries or challenges you see when trying to push the level of creativity?” and the ball is rolling. A free-flowing conversation follows, which Campaign has promised it will report only in terms of what was said, not which individuals said it. The debate starts with what the industry has too little of: that’s either budgets or time. Over the next hour the conversation will take us through the youth of today not being fired up, how to sell the industry to the next generation, what advertising is anyway, and how that relates to creativity. With universal grumbles about time and money shelved momentarily, the conversation shifts to how to produce good work, and what constitutes good work. There is talk about how awards are not why we do this, we wouldn’t hire someone who said they wanted to win awards, and we have “put ourselves in a box” where creativity is defined by a trophy. However, disagreement gradually filters through, with one top creative saying: “Winning a Cannes Lion transformed my life. It absolutely transformed my career, my life, how I viewed work, my confidence level. I’ve seen it in every single team member I’ve worked with; it transforms them.” The room works its way around the schizophrenia that haunts commercial

creatives about the relationship between art and commerce. There is debate about how to get kids to engage in advertising. Even showing them the most inspiring campaigns just doesn’t get them fired up. Not like when we were lads. It is late in the session when one group member finally speaks the name of the beast: “Sorry to disappoint some of us, but we are not artists, we are salespeople.” Another admits there might be other outlets than advertising that are competing with this industry for the upcoming creative talent of today. So how does one make the best work that inspires talent, fulfils client brief and, yes, wins awards? One answer is brave clients (when admen gather around the fire to share stories, if it’s not a lack of time or money it’s normally a lack of client courage that is responsible for The One That Got Away). The epitome of the brave client is uttered in awed tones: Fernando Machado, who moved from Unilever to Burger King and took the brand to unimagined greatness. He stands on a pedestal marked ‘dream client’. But as well as brave clients, good, creative and innovative advertising needs time. Content creation doesn’t, but the good stuff doesn’t come on tap. “If you are a newspaper and you are writing an article you have 24 hours, so the absence of time I don’t think is necessarily an issue,” says one creative. “The misperception is because content creators can flip it like this, big innovation also can be done like this.” Another laments not being able to “go deep every single time” with all the platforms and channels he would like to explore. “I don’t have time,” he adds. “The amplification of options by time by budget is a very complicated equation.” There are mutterings that constraints can stretch creatives’ imaginations, but the diamonds-are-formed-under-pressure argument doesn’t hold much sway in a conversation whose members have amassed more than a century of collective pressure between them. Just as the conversation is getting going, it is time to end. Proof once again that time is perhaps an advertiser’s most precious resource. It is also what will turn today’s listless youth into tomorrow’s great advertisers, tackling the same perpetual questions themselves – and winning a lot of awards along the way.

A MATTER M AT TER OF TIME O FT IME At a pre-Lynx round table, hosted by Snap, regional creatives find some challenges are perpetual and that great work has many fathers. By Austyn Allison


Ramadan 2022 HEADLINE PARTNER


March 28, 2022

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TIME TO DITCH THE RAMADAN CLICHES

To be successful, e-tailers must embrace new ways to commerce, says OMG Transact’s Farah Basmaji

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amadan is more than a moment. It’s a crucial season in brands’ calendars as well as consumers’. Allocating close to 40 per cent of their advertising budgets, the region’s retailers scramble to increase their volume or revenue share in those four weeks. Yet, e-commerce advertising and media during the Holy Month often relies on traditional recipes and content, ignoring the latest trends in consumer shopping behaviour. When Covid-19 pushed consumers and businesses to transact online, retailers had to adopt and adapt their online consumer acquisition strategies accordingly. As Ramadan and Black Friday account for about 40 per cent of MENA’s e-tail, consumers, brands and platforms are starting to tailor their media behaviours and content strategies to each season. With this accelerating change, e-commerce consumer acquisition tactics need to embrace a number

of trends and innovations to truly deliver on ROI. This Ramadan, for example, we will see many advertisers deploying a mobile-first/app-first strategy. Here are some of the more advanced e-commerce marketing approaches brands can deploy to succeed this year. 1. PERSONALISE COMMUNICATION In today’s world, one size does not fit all. If brands want to capture people’s attention, they have to relate to them and their needs. With the benefit of adtech, brands can associate their products with specific keywords or target customer look-alikes and/or their competitors’ customers. Many players in the market now are offering adtech-based on-site solutions to cater to this demand. 2. BUILD ONLINE COMMUNITY WITH LIVE COMMERCE With more than 60 per cent of online shoppers planning on increasing their spending across all sectors this upcoming Ramadan, brands must adapt to capitalise on the opportunities brought forth by having live commerce with their online community. Building an online community (usually via live influencer sessions) will keep followers updated about the newly available products. Promos that link to purchase directly from the e-commerce platform will encourage transactions. In Ramadan 2022, we expect more than 30 per cent of consumers will make last-minute impulse purchases online. Surprisingly, sales at 4am during Ramadan are 17 per cent higher than on an average day. 3. COLLABORATIVE ADS AND SHOPS This performance-marketing format enables brands that don’t have their e-commerceenabled website to activate prospecting and remarketing campaigns in collaboration with leading retailers in the region like Noon, Carrefour, Tmart, etc. The brands can target audiences on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat and drive them seamlessly to the point of purchase or facilitate the discovery of new products. PepsiCo’s Collaborative Ads boosted their e-commerce sales in Thailand, resulting in a 3.7 per cent increase in return on ad spend. What’s more, 28 per cent of people who viewed PepsiCo’s products on the retailer’s platform (Lazada) added those products to their cart. 4. BUILDING A RELATIONSHIP WITH CONVERSATIONAL COMMERCE Conversational commerce leverages communication channels such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Live Chat solutions to engage with consumers on a deeper level. This approach drives them through the funnel to purchase using AI or chatbot-powered tools and trained customer service agents. If done right, the results are immediate and phenomenal.

‘‘ IN RAMADAN 2022, WE EXPECT MORE THAN 30 PER CENT OF CONSUMERS WILL MAKE LAST-MINUTE IMPULSE PURCHASES ONLINE.” 5. ‘EXPLORE NOW’ THROUGH SHOPPABLE MEDIA Shoppable media formats in display and social media are set to become the fastestgrowing advertising category. Shoppable media formats enable users to engage directly with the display or video advertisement and seamlessly add the advertised products to baskets. This reduces friction and shortens the path to purchase. Various brands leverage shoppable media solutions to create landing pages. Technology solutions like Adimo allow brands to launch shoppable commerce media with speed and accuracy. Booming e-commerce, combined with a sense of optimism in 2022 in the Middle East, should deliver a positive Ramadan for consumers, platforms, and retailers alike. This Ramadan, online sales are projected to reach $2bn in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. By connecting experiences, such as social commerce and conversational commerce, linking discovery and purchase through targeted ads and collab ads, and joining voices in live commerce, brands will engage at a deeper level with consumers and create a winning advantage.

By Farah Basmaji, executive at OMG Transact, the e-commerce agency of Omnicom Media Group


PARTNER CONTENT

March 28, 2022

Do you close your ears during Ramadan? While the Holy Month may be a time listening habits change, that doesn’t mean audio is any less effective. You just have to do it right, writes DMS’s Carl Chalhoub

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he Holy Month is a unique period of Last year, Anghami’s audio ads benchmarked the year. From a societal standpoint, an uplift of 64 per cent in ad recall with a it is a period of spirituality, tradition click-through rate of 0.8 per cent. Footfall and faith. Lifestyle behaviours shift as people attribution was also measured for an value more time with their relatives and automotive brand, where audio ads lifted reflect on matters of the heart and mind. by 14.5 per cent the number of visits to the From a media standpoint, this is reflected showroom. Audio has the power to transport by constant shifts in moments and mindsets. users to different times and places, makes In the weeks leading up to Ramadan, cooking more educational, workouts more consumers’ interests are centred around fun and good deeds more inspirational. gathering, preparation and spiritual Music is also an enabler of conversations. immersion. During the Holy Month, their In Ramadan 2020, Pepsi wanted to bring routines continue to revolve around spiritual Saudis together during the onset of the aspects yet are coupled with entertainment pandemic. By collaborating with local and personal care. Lastly, towards Eid, independent artists on an Anghami original, consumers’ attention shifts towards they offered the audience a mood boosting celebration and vacation. Brands that tap piece that made them discover new talented into these moments are those who will be artists who speak their own language. The able to engage with their audiences, defining song topped the charts in KSA, saw 96,000+ the level of connection through the right interactions from the users and increased medium, channel and format. brand love by 45 per cent. The artists and Following two years of limited physical song also became overarching components of interaction, and with multiple players setting Pepsi’s social media activations on Instagram. foot in the region, the penetration of audio Localised podcasts are in demand, and positive streaming platforms today is at an all-time advertising perceptions high, particularly in the GCC, where During Campaign ME’s recent Breakfast penetration has reached 59 per cent in KSA Briefing on Ramadan, Ipsos declared that and 70 per cent in the UAE, according to podcast consumption will increase by 6 per Ipsos. Gen Z and millennials have adopted cent during Ramadan. Podcasts are the new audio streaming to increase their cultural By Carl Chalhoub, kids on the block of content and ,according to awareness and form new connections. WARC senior sales manager, DMS-Anghami UAE research conducted by Rising Giants Network and Choueiri Group’s research on Leveraging in KSA in 2021, 30 per cent of respondents Digital Audio for Marketers in MENA in 2022 listen to podcasts on a daily basis and 22 per cent listen to supports this, with findings showing that 43 per cent of Gen Z podcasts three times per week. Research by Amaeya Media on and 62 per cent of millennials searched for more diverse music the state of podcasts in MENA also found that 65 per cent of content and podcast creators. Audio is no longer an afterthought respondents think podcasts are equally if not more credible and, through the unique engagement that music and podcasts than the traditional mediums of radio, TV and newspaper. provide, it is set to complement Ramadan’s media traditions. As for advertisers, podcasts are a unique way for them to Music is an integral part of daily life… even during Ramadan associate themselves with topics that matter while connecting The same question pops up every year: is Ramadan a music with highly engaged audiences for a long duration. Tapestry, an moment? Digging into the data of Anghami, the region’s leading independent research company, found that podcast advertising music streaming platform, we found that the number of monthly offers the highest levels of attention among media channels, with active users remains the same, with no change in the average 65 per cent of listeners paying attention to podcast ads compared time spent per day (58 min is the yearly average). Smart and with TV ads (39 per cent) and radio ads (38 per cent). personalised audio streaming technologies have made music Arabs are developing an affinity towards local shows, and more accessible and personalised than ever. Users can multitask Arabic is their preferred language for podcast consumption. They and listen anytime, anywhere, choosing music that fits their want to consume content that resonates with them and their Ramadan mindset from a wide selection of titles and genres. culture, and this holds particularly true during Ramadan, when For example, in the GCC, 65 per cent of females spend the day localisation is more important than ever. Today, we have more cooking, listening to cooking music content from 1pm until 7pm than 1000 localised shows. It is yet to be propelled. As creators (450,000+ streams). Others work out even when fasting and and platforms gear up to answer to the increasing demand, consume fitness content from 5pm to 7pm and from 11pm to podcasting brings massive opportunities to advertisers who are 1am (1.8 million + streams). And some use music to nurture their quick to jump on board. With several topics still untapped locally, spirituality. When Anghami launched a Ramadan mode to offer the space is theirs to be leveraged this Ramadan, from both a spiritual experience, it was enabled by more than 900,000 content creation and association standpoints. users. Other moments are also clearly identified by music In summary, with the ease of access of audio streaming, music during that month, including personal care routines, shopping and podcast are integral parts of Ramadan. Audio platforms’ and housework. breadth of data allow them to identify moods, moments, and Those music moments have given brands a relevant space to mindsets that advertisers can leverage to connect deeply with connect with their audiences in real-time, with audio ads proving their audiences during this key moment of the year. The truth to be a captivating format for attention and to trigger conversions. is you can never switch off your ears, even during Ramadan.

“The penetration of audio streaming platforms today is at an all-time high, particularly in the GCC.”

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March 28, 2022

hen it comes to advertising during Ramadan, also known as the Middle East’s Super Bowl, it’s sometimes easier to choose the safe, comforting, and tame haven that is the surface. After all, what’s not to like about delicious cheese sambousas en masse? Lanterns and crescents galore? Singing children as far as the ear can hear? It’s a place that makes you smile, makes you feel good and makes you feel safe. It’s also the culprit behind those dreaded jingle earworms. But as any experienced creative with bags under their eyes and awards under their belt will assure you, safe – in the context of advertising – is the antithesis of good. The archenemy of the memorable. The nemesis of anything you’d like your name attached to. In short, safe will be forgotten before the next commercial break. Drowned out by all the other ‘safes’ competing for your divided attention. Just as is the case with the ocean, staying on the surface of Ramadan makes us miss out on the infinite beauty of the immense world that lies beneath it. Similar to the mesmerising allure of marine life, the undercurrent of Ramadan is a striking place that doesn’t get visited often, but that has the power to leave a mark on anyone who has dared to jump into it. Which is why it’s disheartening to watch Ramadan sometimes being reduced to nothing more than pomp and circumstance around the Iftar table. Today’s audience, no matter its creed or walk of life, deserves to be shown a new point of view. An honest point of view. A real point of view. One that shines a light on the genuine intentions of a month that is not only holy but transformative. Ramadan is so much more than the eye can see and the finger can scroll through. Its purpose and role transcend those of a yearly cultural occasion or a season. It goes way beyond not being allowed to eat for a certain number of hours. And, yes, it even goes beyond not drinking water in severe heat. Its ambition eclipses the beloved crescents we see on YouTube pre-rolls, Insta Stories and TVs across the screen landscape. If we allow it, Ramadan can be a journey to the soul, a vehicle that takes us to our best selves, and a time machine that teleports us to the world the way it should be – where people are always understanding and empathetic, where neighbours volunteer to help each other out, where co-workers are considerate of each other’s circumstances, where forgiveness is practised every minute of the day, where humility, compassion and gratitude turn from momentary feelings to a nationwide language. You see, Ramadan isn’t just a month. It’s a state of mind. It’s an attitude. One that can be embraced by anyone. Its purpose is to remind us of the true values of Islam – and

BREAKING THE SURFACE

There’s a lot more depth to Ramadan than creative clichés, writes TBWA\RAAD’s Maian Alken. It’s time to dive deep into the Holy Month By Maian Alken, associate creative director, TBWA\RAAD

humanity for that matter. If we allow it to, Ramadan can serve as a reflection point. A New Year’s resolution of sorts that invites practising and non-practising people alike to pledge a return to the truest form of humanity. To answer a call to a deeper, more purposeful level of being, of living. But besides being a catalyst for good and rallying the best within us, the month also serves as a chance for brands to address the proverbial elephant in the room: the misconstrued picture of Ramadan in the West. While the mandated abstinence from food and drink can sometimes be misunderstood as an unjust – even reprehensible – nuisance, the objective of fasting is often questioned and portrayed as nothing more than the mere semblance of piety. And usually, that’s all the non-fasting community can see. The reason is the scarcity of a better message. A real message. Cue the communication folks. This is our chance to put the metamorphic power of Ramadan on display. So here’s an appeal to all the brands out there: You’ve already dipped your toes into the vast ocean of beauty that is Ramadan. Now dare to take the plunge. Put on your snorkelling masks, oxygen tanks, diving suits and whatever you fancy and dive deep into the pure essence of the Holy Month.

‘‘YOU SEE, RAMADAN ISN’T JUST A MONTH. IT’S A STATE OF MIND. IT’S AN ATTITUDE. ONE THAT CAN BE EMBRACED BY ANYONE.”


March 28, 2022

MEMORABLE OR MERELY CORRECT? Senior planner at VMLY&R Commerce Bilal Rachman looks at Ramadan clichés, when we need them and when we should think bigger

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amadan, the time of the year when marketers bring out the big guns, when every brand borrows from age-old Ramadan narratives and themes established decades prior, a time when our screens are riddled with clichés and traditions we’ve probably already heard or seen before. Was that tear-jerking ad about a mother’s dedication from this year or last year? Which brand made that generosity campaign again? Who was it that wanted to ‘elevate’ my Iftar dinner moments? Was it tea? Biscuits? Perhaps ready-made meals? Despite the fact that many of us today may consider ourselves as living in an age where ‘change is the only constant’, Ramadan remains the one time of the year we unapologetically return to traditions, conventions and clichés, even for brands. And can you really blame us for doing so? Considering the long track record of relative commercial success and safety that returning to conventions and clichés has afforded brands, doing so seems not only to guarantee emotional connection but also to afford us a way to mitigate risk in one of the biggest advertising seasons in the region. On the other hand, sure these traditions may sometimes lead many into the trap of creating ‘wallpaper’ campaigns, but does this mean that we should opt for abandoning our Ramadan roots? In our pursuit of standing out and differentiating in the most cluttered of months, it’s easy to sometimes forget that these clichés and traditions exist for a reason. They give us a sense of identity, strengthen our roots to culture and family, remind us of what really matters. Most importantly, many of them remain relevant and ring true even today. As Ramadan approaches, I often find myself torn between a part of me that

believes that some clichés and traditions should never be forgotten, while the other wishes brands would stop showing or telling me what I already know. The solution? No one can say for sure, but for now I’m struggling with the concept of a middle ground. What if, rather than radically breaking away from the traditions, clichés and emotions that are near and dear to our Ramadan shoppers, we opted for an approach that respects them as foundations that are meant to be preserved but also built upon. Whilst there may be many ways to achieve this, there are a couple of guiding questions and thoughts I often find myself discussing extensively: 1. WHAT IF CLICHÉS OR TRADITIONS EXIST TO BE RESPECTED BUT RARELY REGURGITATED? As a consumer, nothing bores me more than hearing the same things over and over again. After years of being exposed to a multitude of Ramadan advertising and experiences, most will notice when brands focus on appealing solely through the lowest common denominator and offer surface-level relevance just to ride that hype train. Despite the fact that brands can never go wrong, even when communicating these Ramadan clichés and conventions at face value, years of hearing the same old story has lead me to yearn for a genuine take on these age-old themes, one that allows me to see Ramadan from a different perspective. No one likes to hear the same joke or story twice, so why should Ramadan be an exception? 2. AS RAMADAN CONTINUES TO EVOLVE IN WAYS BIG AND SMALL, WHY SHOULDN’T WE? Whilst the core of Ramadan remains the same, innovation, modernisation and

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cultural evolution have ensured that how we experience and enjoy it has not. Whilst it may be easy to re-use that Ramadan template or stick to conventions when thinking of our shoppers’ journeys and experiences, what if, as our target evolves, so does the way we approach our paths to purchase? Whilst this may be an exercise many of us are well accustomed to in past pandemic years, what if we continued to do so regardless of force majeures? As every Ramadan is unique, why shouldn’t our journeys be? While major changes would rarely be required every year, perhaps a minor tweak here and there is all it takes to make Ramadan more meaningful for both shoppers and brands. 3. WHAT IF JUST STORY TELLING IS NO LONGER ENOUGH? These days, with the sheer amount of stories brands churn out during Ramadan and the narratives themselves facing the risk of sounding familiar or repetitive, purely storytelling can more often than not become a ‘meh’ point for me. For me, Ramadan can often feel like a season where everyone seems to have a story to tell, but rarely invites me to live it with them. Whilst talking the talk is imperative, walking the walk is what I believe distinguishes the memorable from the meh. What if today it’s not just about telling a good story, but rather about finding new ways shoppers can get more value out of engaging with brands and products through our stories, whether that is at the point of purchase or beyond? With so many brands vying for our eyes and ears, oftentimes it’s the moments when brands invite us to share an experience that sticks out most when recalling Ramadans past.

By Bilal Rachman, senior planner at VMLY&R Commerce


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March 28, 2022

THE POWER OF PERSONALISATION Why video-streaming platforms are the new face of Ramadan TV viewing. By Katch’s Petra Spanko

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he Holy Month of Ramadan is a special time of the year, when consumer behaviour changes across several spectrums. From spending to working hours and most specifically consumption of content. Having lived in the UAE for more than 12 years, I have witnessed a major change across all industries, which has allowed the adaptation of technology in a big way. Content personalisation has become easier, which means you are engaging the right audience with the type of content they want to see. The power of personalisation. Like with almost every other sector worldwide, seismic shifts in user behaviour have been observed towards video streaming platforms after the pandemic. While the world is returning to normalcy with cinemas and other entertainment outlets now open for the public, streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and MCB group’s Shahid are seeing a massive

‘‘36 PER CENT OF THOSE SURVEYED CURRENTLY SUBSCRIBE TO AND INTEND TO STICK WITH PAYING FOR VOD SERVICES IN 2023.” uptick in viewership numbers. Across the MENA region, these numbers increase even further during Ramadan as specifically designed TV series, comedy shows and programmes are launched that target Arab viewers during the month. WHY THE RAMADAN SURGE? With shorter working hours during Ramadan and more relaxation to account for the fasting population, people usually have more time during the Holy Month. Most people enjoy shows during the sundown meal of Iftar or the pre-dawn Suhoor meal.

Platforms like MBC’s Shahid are creating top-class content that caters specifically to Arabic-speaking audiences throughout the MENA region and beyond. A full range of titles released specifically for Ramadan is also one reason for unusual spikes in video streaming during the Holy Month. The OTT (over-the-top) platforms are also creating more diversified content. The meteoric rise of Shahid showcases the Arab audience’s need for diverse storytelling with social and cultural topics that link to the Arab culture context. This trend has been observed by other on-demand video streaming platforms such as Netflix and Starzplay, which are also vying for attention and readily creating original Arab productions to make use of the market’s changing dynamics. SWITCH TO ONLINE STREAMING – THE KNOCKOUT BLOW? According to YouGov’s Global Media Outlook Report, which covered 17 markets including the UAE, it was found that consumers are highly interested in video on demand compared with other types of paid-for content services. In fact, 36 per cent of those surveyed currently subscribe to and intend to stick with paying for VOD services in 2023 as well. Web streaming services are delivering knockout blows to traditional TV. These services continue to ramp up high-quality original productions, keep adding massive numbers of new viewers and subscribers, and take away audiences from cinemas and traditional TV while delivering better overall experiences. Even with cinemas opening again, watching OTT content has turned into more of a convenient habit and a daily routine. Also, unlike linear TV, streaming services provide a large variety of content for viewers to watch anytime and from anywhere. Streaming online video in HD means subscribers are able to enjoy a cinema experience in a safe environment. RAMADAN – THE PEAK SEASON FOR ARAB TV VIEWERS Ramadan is generally a peak TV season for Arab audiences. Most OTT services in the Middle East try to lure new subscribers with special Ramadan releases. For Arab families, Ramadan offers the perfect time to gather, fast, pray and watch TV. This viewership, which is now shifting

towards OTT platforms, greatly increases during the Holy Month when compared with other months. Combine this with viewership stats that hit the roof during the pandemic, and you have numbers that are unprecedented. Traditionally, channels launched new programmes and TV series in anticipation of high-user engagement during the Holy Month, but that trend has now been adopted by OTT platforms. Multiple competitors now launch well-thought-out and planned programmes aimed at families and individuals during the month of Ramadan. And, while the trend is still relatively new across OTT platforms, there is no doubt that with the fast increasing subscriber base of these platforms, this will become the new face of TV viewing in the years to come in Ramadan and beyond.

By Petra B Spanko, regional director, Katch International


PARTNER CONTENT

March 28, 2022

High impact and reach

MMS’s Sharif Badreddine explains why Ramadan is a time where good marketing can make a big difference

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amadan is the most exciting month for TV. It’s the one time of the year when millions of viewers across the MENA region tune in to watch their favourite stars return to the screen in premium, exclusive productions. As exciting as it is for viewers, it is also a highly effective time for brands, who see it at as an amplified period to benefit from high exposure, a captive viewership and engaged audiences. Year-on-year, MBC GROUP has steadily been the major part of the family experience in Ramadan.

Amplified Reach

Insights from Ramadan 2021 showed that in Saudi Arabia alone, MBC GROUP’s reach totaled 84.2% (15.4 million individuals) while MBC 1 reached 69.8% of the Saudi audience (12.8 million individuals). MBC GROUP’s video on demand platform, Shahid, recorded 45 million plays and 25 million active users in Ramadan 2021. The GROUP also records notable engagement on social media across its 622 accounts and more than 593 million followers during Ramadan. Last year, the GROUP revealed that out of the top 20 programmes watched via satellite TV in Saudi Arabia, 15 were produced or broadcast by MBC GROUP. If a brand wants to achieve high awareness during Ramadan, there is no better way to do so than by having a cross-platform presence. A 30-second ad during a primetime show such as the Saudi series Mamnou’ Al Tajawol has a 40% reach in KSA, so where TV delivers speed of reach, the brand’s presence on social media amplifies the conversation, and its integration within a show strengthens its connection with viewers.

Premium content

The unprecedent high engagement, reach and impact during Ramadan is attributed to one thing and one thing only: content. We all know by now that, when it comes to content, the best is kept for Ramadan. Most media companies, including MBC GROUP, ensure that there is something for everyone during this period by diversifying their content offerings to include drama, social, comedy, talk shows, entertainment and much more. Brands are eager to be a part of high-performing genres like entertainment and drama series, which have high viewership during this period. There has also been a notable shift or trend towards local productions. Viewers are eager to watch local talent that they can relate to in settings and environments that are familiar to them. Therefore, we are seeing more Saudi-focused and GCC productions take centre stage lately.

By Sharif Badreddine, Group Commercial Director, MBC Media Solutions (MMS), the commercial arm of MBC GROUP

In recent years, especially during the Covid-19 era, we have seen new players begin to advertise on TV, namely tech companies. Most of these companies win consumers by top-of-mind awareness so TV is ideal because it plays a huge role not only in the upper funnel but in the entire funnel.

MMS Innovative Solutions

“There has also been a notable shift or trend towards local productions. Viewers are eager to watch local talent that they can relate to in settings that are familiar to them.”

At MBC Media Solutions (MMS), the commercial arm of MBC GROUP, we have diversified our offerings, especially our brand integration solutions to help brands best leverage the scale of MBC GROUP’s ecosystem. Our suite of tailored and innovative solutions that range from TV, VOD, digital and audio solutions, to branded content and integration, to name a few, help brands forge consumer connections and drive business growth. These unique solutions ultimately aim to effectively connect brands with their audiences in a seamless and innovative way.

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he last few years have transformed the way we celebrate and experience Ramadan. 2020’s online Ramadan – followed by 2021’s ongoing restrictions – quickly transmuted large family gatherings into more intimate iftars, as we spent a significant amount of time reconnecting with loved ones through our phone and laptop screens. Inevitably, this turned the online realm into a warm community of comfort and solidarity. Now, as normalcy prevails and restrictions ease, consumers are longing to return to the in-person celebrations they have missed, while also bringing along the online communities they have built and relied on. That is to say, in a whirlwind of changing norms, one thing has remained constant: the sanctity of the Holy Month of Ramadan. 1. DEALS AND DISCOVERY It comes as no surprise that Ramadan is one of the highest-grossing shopping moments of the year. Carts full of shopping bags and laptop screens inundated with website tabs, consumers stock up on essentials at physical stores, while splurging for Eid gifts online; this makes shopping yet another hybrid in our world. As a result of lockdowns, increased stock market volatility and job market uncertainty, people have become more conscious of their spending and finances. A staggering 72 per cent of people assert their plans to save more money in 2022, with this number only expected to rise over the next 8 months. As consumers become more priceconscious – and we expect to see lower levels of impulsive luxury buys online – promotions and offers become the primary drivers of purchases during Ramadan. Marketers must seize this opportunity to emphasise key messaging around deals. As shoppers and gift-givers search for ideas and inspiration, marketers must position themselves at every key touchpoint of the consumer’s shopping journey. 2. CULTURALLY CURATED CAMPAIGNS Alongside its religious revelations, Ramadan also incites a greater willingness from consumers to discover new brands: an average of 45 per cent of people in the GCC are more likely to venture out and explore. People, however, crave for brands to be present in a way that enhances their spiritual and emotional experiences during Ramadan, rather than disrupting them. Kantar has found that, despite a 73 per cent correlation between a brand’s cultural relevance and its revenue, a disheartening 78 per cent of consumers feel brands never emotionally connect with them. It is of utmost importance that brands create a cultural connection that consumers are looking for. Through emotionally charged content and experiential marketing campaigns, Ramadan is the time for marketers to curate memorable experiences and cultivate emotional connections that resonate with their audiences. 3. RELEVANT, RELATABLE,AND RADICAL In the digital realm too, viewers are chasing after positive experiences. Viewership data from Ramadan over the last few years

CONSUMER EXPECTATIONS IN A NEW-ER NORMAL

As Covid-restrictions ease, Covid habits remain, merging with tradition to create a hybrid Ramadan experience, writes Initiative’s Poonam Lakhani By Poonam Lakhani, associate director of strategy, Initiative

shows us that consumers gravitated towards content that was comedic, entertaining and made them ‘feel good’, according to Ipsos and Google, with TV series still being one of the most anticipated and watched Ramadan content formats. Attention spans are shrinking as search results for entertainment are simultaneously widening. People are consuming more online content, including Reels and TikToks, gaming, podcasts and shows. This year we’re expecting consumers to leverage online content to locate creative communities and unearth influencers that help them make Ramadan-specific purchase decisions. As marketers shift towards a post-pandemic Ramadan, they must build innovative content strategies for audiences

to engage with brands online. Tapping into novel mediums such as influencers, audio apps and gaming platforms can help brands stay relevant and relatable. 4. CONNECTION AND COMMUNITY As physical gatherings were painstakingly replaced with video calls, people found digital ways to connect with each other – and with their spirituality – during the Holy Month. Family and friends brought iftars online, downloaded apps to guide their prayers, and shared their hugs through e-cards. Even though more people will meet face-to-face this year, their connections with creators and communities will inadvertently remain online. This means they will seek the same level of inspiration, comfort and community online as they experience in person. As marketers, these are factors we must take into consideration when crafting and activating content. As we shift from the new normal to the even newer normal, we are celebrating with a more aware and digitally connected audience than ever before. Therefore, the key is to build strong emotional and cultural connections to secure impactful engagement.

‘‘PEOPLE WILL SEEK THE SAME LEVEL OF INSPIRATION, COMFORT AND COMMUNITY ONLINE AS THEY HAVE IN PERSON.”


PARTNER CONTENT

March 28, 2022

High demand DMS’s Ramy El Kassis explains how to plan for Ramadan 2022 within a fragmented VOD landscape

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edia consumption has undergone rapid transformation over the last few years, driven by the developing digital landscape and lockdowns. The rise of on-demand and streaming platforms has revealed that more and more users are moving away from being passive consumers and taking control of what, when and how they consume media. While this trend does challenge the future of linear TV, viewers are ready to shift to VOD. However, the infrastructure, content limitations and technology might be holding it back. This holds particularly true during Ramadan, when family, togetherness and community form the cornerstone of brand communications. With millennials and Gen Z expected to consume even more media during the Holy Month by complementing their TV consumption with VOD platforms, brands must be agile, present, up-to-date with trends, and responsive in their marketing strategies in order to create awareness and connect with their audiences. With multiple VOD platforms currently available, content remains key to increasing media consumption throughout the Holy Month. According to Ipsos, 50 per ent of users are willing to try out new platforms during Ramadan as long as the content resonates with their viewing habits. However, with an increasing number of VODs hiding their content behind paywalls, limiting brands’ ability to reach their audiences, many will have the option to opt-in for AVOD offering free to air content. Moreover, to extend prime time TV consumption, brands will need to shift their focus to when, where and what the consumer is consuming, rather than time slots. As the streaming war rages on a global scale, the MENA region is preparing for a battle of its own, with global and local players alike contending to develop an on-demand proposition. Deloitte predicts that globally 150 million people will unsubscribe from various SVOD services this year. In light of the fragmented media environment, this will

only empower AVOD players to hit their stride. As for brands, they will need to ride the wave to reach the right audience, at the right time, in the right context.

The right users

Despite having market-leading products, brands that are not delivering to the right users will face negative implications. Based on the data DMS has collected, VOD users tend to be parents, Gen Z, and young professionals who are interested in luxury, parenting, style, fashion, technology and sports. As early adopters of VOD, they have an

‘entertainment’-focused mindset and are highly engaged. Their attention span exceeds anything we have previously seen in the world of digital video, and the proof lies in their engagement, attentiveness and receptivity to ads during late-night binge-watching sessions.

The right time

To plan efficiently and effectively, it is imperative to understand users’ daily consumption patterns. The

consumption of VOD and video by users tends to start increasing in the afternoon and continues until late at night. This reflects the nature of regular VOD users, particularly parents, who after a long, busy day want to disconnect and enjoy their ‘me time’. For advertisers, this is a great opportunity to tap into the most valued inventory in the ad market and lift their brand metrics, maximise their views, measure effectiveness for better ROI, and as a result tick all the right boxes in the digital playbook.

The right context

A better understanding of when, where and how your audience consumes media and the ability to activate these insights is what will allow you as a brand to identify ideal media channels for reaching your consumers. In today’s fragmented VOD landscape, developing a personalised strategy that affects specific audiences wherever they are most likely consuming video is essential, especially during the month of Ramadan. At DMS, we have signed exclusive representation deals with VIU, the number one streaming platform in Asia. VIU has amassed about 8 million unduplicated users (UUs) in the MENA region in just four years, along with 177million minutes of Ramadan content being consumed during the Holy Month. VIU is producing five Ramadan originals and 15 titles overall this year in response to an increased appetite from audiences for high-end content creation. In addition, Awaan (Dubai TV’s exclusive VOD platform) will extend its TV line-up by offering on-demand viewing across connected devices. Combined, along with Zee 5, we hope to extend our reach by 8million UUs in the GCC, with an average of 65 minutes being spent per session, mainly on mobile devices. In conclusion, to remain top of mind this Ramadan and be relevant to consumers, marketers must refine their targeting, be agile in their theory and keep a continuous rhythm on consumer media consumption habits.

“As the streaming war rages on a global scale, the MENA region is preparing for a battle of its own, with global and local players alike contending to develop an on-demand proposition.” By Ramy El Kassis, sales director, DMS

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March 28, 2022

PARTNER CONTENT

Fashion grown locally Chalhoub Group’s The Greenhouse partnered with Instagram to create Fashion Lab, an accelerator programme for start-up Saudi Fashion brands

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nstagram and Chalhoub Greenhouse have teamed up to mentor and develop high-potential local fashion startups in KSA. The initiative came from the ‘Fashion Lab’, a programme launched by Chalhoub Greenhouse to promote corporate entrepreneurship and and identify disruptive and innovative Saudi Fashion brands. Over five months, Fashion Lab provides five new businesses with the necessary skills and resources to accelerate their growth. The start-ups that benefitted from the programme were: eco-conscious eyewear brand Cones & Rods; bag designer Dania Shinkar; and ready-to-wear clothing companies Noms Life, Proud Angeles and Kaf by Kaf. The Greenhouse is Chalhoub Group’s space for innovation and entrepreneurship. It partnered with social media platform Instagram with three objectives: to help drive economic impact in Saudi Arabia by empowering fashion start-ups; to drive awareness of the Fashion Lab accelerator programme; and to drive awareness and sales for the five start-ups. Its two key audiences were the business community and fashion consumers in the Kingdom. Instagram delivered a two-tier model. It provided dedicated support on media, creative, technology and media measurement during the awareness campaign then it delivered the same level of support to each start-up, matching them with content creators and working with them to produce content and launch their individual campaigns. The final output was best-in-class content that was

translated into key Instagram video format, including Reels. Fashion Lab provided guidance on how to grow existing operations, and the brands received immersive training on digital and social marketing and retailing. They also benefitted from workshops on working with content creators, media measurement, marketing and content creation. The popular Saudi content creators who partnered with the programme were Elias Setta and Lamia Al Maliki. They came on board as brand- ambassadors for the start-ups. The programme was operating on a tight timescale, as it needed to coincide with the opening of A Concept by MUSE, an integrated fashion, beauty and home gifting destination curating exclusive designer brands for the highly fashionable youth of Saudi in the hip Riyadh Park area of Saudi’s capital. The brands needed to be ready for sale in-store, and the marketing had to be activated at the right time to see an effective and efficient drive around the launch of the brands’ campaigns. Thanks to a seamless collaboration between the partners, the passion of both teams helped deliver a project that worked for the greater good. Research found the public remembered the Fashion Lab ad on Instagram, and considered it effective in driving fashion SMEs. Instagram delivered a reach of 3.5 million (77 per cent of the target audience). Ad recall saw a 2.9 point lift; message agreement rose by 1.5 points and message familiarity went up by 5 points. The return on advertising spend was 1.7-times, based on store sales.

“The final output was best-in-class content that was translated into key Instagram video format, including Reels.”


PARTNER CONTENT

March 28, 2022

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Rana Bouri, Head of Mena Marketing META “An engaging and creative campaign leveraging Instagram that works best when everyone is playing: creators and marketers side-by-side, tagging in each other, tagging in their communities and tagging in the powerful tools found only on Instagram. This is how collective creativity works. We all come together in new and innovative ways, each playing a part.”

Mansour Salameh, Retail & Ecommerce Industry Partner, META “We are proud of this collaboration between Instagram and Chalhoub Greenhouse, which aimed at driving positive impact to the SME ecosystem in Saudi Arabia. The work that we have both put in helped five fashion start-ups in KSA produce a world-class marketing output on Instagram and deliver above-benchmark business results..”

Rafi Dikranian, Marketing & Operations Manager, The Greenhouse “Working with META on this project taught us that if we all have one aligned goal, we can create a meaningful impact, setting us up for continued success in the future. The wealth of data gathered from this programme, both qualitative and quantitative, will support improve our collaborative efforts as well as the programme in its next iteration.”

Austyn Allison, Senior Editor, Campaign Middle East “It’s great to see an established business giant like Chalhoub Group partnering with a cuttingedge platform like Instagram to benefit young businesses in Saudi Arabia. It’s a sign of the freshness of thought in the Kingdom, and how big players both old and new are hitching their wagons to emerging talent to grow the whole Saudi fashion sector.”


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March 28, 2022

PLAN AHEAD

Google’s Maha Nizam and Sandy Maksoudian share four key trends from last year’s hybrid Ramadan to inspire your 2022 campaign

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eople in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) celebrated a hybrid Ramadan last year. This was a shift from the previous year’s almost entirely online celebrations. Families now prepare iftar at home and in-person, while also cooking with creators online. They physically stock up on essentials at the store, while also shopping for indulgent Eid gifts on their mobile devices. While the way people now celebrate veers between real-world and digital, the core values of Ramadan – a month of spirituality, giving, and kindness – remain intact. On the first day of Ramadan last year alone, there were 17.5 million Quran live stream views on YouTube in MENA, largely due to certain markets facing restrictions around community prayers. Last year’s blended spiritual moment revealed four key trends and fascinating new user behaviours to inform your 2022 Ramadan campaign.

Key takeaway for marketers: It’s important to be present as people search for inspiration when they’re in the ‘messy middle’ of the purchasing journey. Many people turn to YouTube to find this shopping inspiration, so ensure your brand is represented there.

3. Communities are being shaped online

Maha Nizam – Product marketing manager at Google MENA

1. People are looking for a pick-me-up

Google Trends shows that searches around mental health increased at the start of Ramadan 2021 but, unlike the year before, they boasted a positive spin. We saw a 190 per cent year-on-year increase in search interest for ‘psychological comfort’ in the UAE, with an increase in searches for comedic and feel-good content indicating optimism is rising and people are seeking a mood lift. Formats also saw a change, with a 167 per cent increase in searches for ‘series’ in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. Creators tapped into the need for mood-lifting content by acting out skits, playing pranks and challenging subscribers and other creators on their channels. The Hot vs Cold Challenge by creator Shfa – a child star from the UAE with more than 33 million subscribers – was one of the most popular, racking up an impressive 66 million views. Brands jumped on the feel-good bandwagon too, with National Bank of Kuwait-Egypt’s (NBK’sE) video reaching over 4 million views. The video encourages consumers to only ever borrow cash from the bank, humorously showcasing the pitfalls of accepting money from a friend or colleague. And UAE airline Emirates warmed people’s hearts through a collaboration with Dubai-based artists with disabilities. They showcased intricate meal boxes that ‘people of determination’, as they are known in the UAE, had designed especially for Ramadan: Key takeaway for marketers: An increase in searches for comedic and feel-good content signals people’s desire for a pick-me-up. This presents brands with an opportunity to offer uplifting content during Ramadan to bridge that gap, while reaping the rewards of showing up for users in peak moments of intent.

value for money, but treating themselves and their loved ones to special Eid gifts was important too. Audiences turned to creators like Shahd Naser and the Fouad Family for inspiration and recommendations on the best buys.

Even though people were able to meet face-toface in some MENA markets last year, audiences and creators continued connecting online. Take the Anasala family, with 5 million subscribers. They posted a video about how they spent their Ramadan and reached over 5 million views. Salma’s Kitchen, meanwhile, garnered over half a million views as she took her audience shopping. And Saudi-based creator Njoud partnered up with Swedish beauty-tech brand Foreo to drive awareness around the importance of goodwill in this #kindnesswithForeo video. YouTube Shorts – a new short-form video format for which creators film catchy videos on only their mobile phones – were also popular. UAEbased creators Khalid and Salama Al Ameri used this format to connect with audiences through comedy, food and entertainment. Key takeaway for marketers: People seek community, comfort, and creativity in real life, and they want the same things from the videos they watch. Marketers who keep these trends in mind for their video and ad creative will grow with their audience and create a sense of connection.

Sandy Maksoudian – YouTube content solutions lead at Google MENA

2. Shoppers are more price-conscious

We already know that Ramadan is a key online retail moment, but 2021’s insights reveal an interesting new shopping behaviour. Consumers’ concerns about their financial futures shifted their buying focus to essentials, like groceries and self-care products. While they continued to make purchases during the Holy Month, many people spent less on impulse shopping, reevaluating their spending habits and becoming more conscious. As Ramadan is a key time for bargain hunting, it’s important to make sure your deals are front and centre in your ads. Insights show that 57 per cent of consumers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt were more price-oriented over a six-month period leading up to Ramadan than they were the year before. And 66 per cent of those shoppers said this was because they were focusing on saving money. One aspect of shopping that didn’t change last year was generosity around Eid. People wanted

4. Ramadan’s core values remain

The Holy Month centres on spirituality, giving and kindness, and we see this manifest through search. We saw a 100 per cent increase in YouTube search interest for ‘donations’ and ‘charitable giving’ in Saudi Arabia during the four weeks of Ramadan in 2021 versus all other months of the year. For example, a heartwarming 30-minute video by Qalby Etmaan – a UAE-based social initiative that helps the underprivileged – reached more than 2 million viewers. Brands also built campaigns on this foundation of compassion, kindness and charitable giving. Food company Almarai created a playful campaign about waste. They encouraged people to only take what they need during Ramadan and reached almost 40 million people. Key takeaway for marketers: Audiences turn to digital to find ways of experiencing the stillmissing elements of Ramadan. By identifying how your brand can help solve this challenge – through entertainment, inspiration or ideas, for example – you can encourage people to look to your business for answers and help them find balance in today’s new-normal.


March 28, 2022

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ALL SET TO CONQUER SOCIAL THIS RAMADAN? As traditions pivot and platforms evolve, advertisers must revisit their assumptions and practices on social media, says Anthony Nghayoui

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s we head towards the third Ramadan since the global pandemic, and with most places in the world starting to get back to some sort of ‘normalcy’, it appears that Covid-19 won’t necessarily be a major disruptor to our day-to-day. Which means that this year we’re expecting in-person gatherings and last-minute in-store gift shopping. People will opt for online shopping due to its convenience, not because they have to. To many, social media will remain a pillar in their celebration, connecting with family and friends on Snapchat or expressing themselves creatively on TikTok. Brands that want to tap into the Ramadan conversation should stay on top of their social game and get even closer to their platforms by taking these three steps. 1. STUDY THE USERS Refamiliarise yourself with each platform’s users and their overlap with your target audience. Drop your assumptions, and don’t hesitate to dig into audience analytics for a demographic refresh. While youngsters are probable early adopters of emerging social networking apps, pay attention to how each has evolved to attract a broader demographic. For instance, more than 45 per cent of addressable TikTok users in the UAE today are 25-to-34-year-olds. Look out for yearly Ramadan surveys, carried out by market researchers and social media companies, for fresh insights for the Holy Month on which to base your social media tactics. Aim to uncover those insights at least one month before Ramadan, as your audience expects to hear from you while they start getting into the mindset. 2. CRAFT THE BRAND EXPERIENCE People use social media to enhance their Ramadan experience; they become more open to connecting with brands and expect relevant and inclusive brand

‘‘RAMADAN IS A TIME OF SELFEXPRESSION, AND BRANDS NEED TO FACILITATE THAT ON SOCIAL.” messages. According to a Meta survey, many people who observe Ramadan in Saudi Arabia dedicate the first part of the month to introspective activities like self-improvement and new routines. They become action-oriented, partaking in community service and shopping for Eid, later in the month. Such insights allow brands to demonstrate their authenticity and empathy as advertisers synchronise their campaigns with their audience’s state of mind and deliver timely messages. Ramadan is a time of self-expression, and brands need to facilitate that on social. A Snapchat survey suggests that 33 per cent of Snapchat users increase their usage of AR lenses and filters during Ramadan. This, along with TikTok’s branded hashtag challenge, offers robust solutions for brands to create buzz and be part of the Ramadan conversation. Social platforms are racing to broaden their ad offering and introducing formats where user numbers are multiplying. In 2021, we saw TikTok roll out Spark Ads and Dynamic Ads, and Meta pilot ads within IG Reels. Ad solutions like Twitter Amplify and Snapchat’s ads in the Discover section are an excellent way for brands to get associated with their audience’s favourite premium Ramadan publishers. Pick the solutions that deliver your desired experience while ensuring that historical performance metrics – your CPMs and CTRs – meet your marketing

goals. Ramadan is a period of fierce competition on digital advertising and the cost of ad delivery could rise way above the yearly average. 3. MASTER THE OPERATIONS Platform expertise involves knowing the inner working of ads management tools. Understand the auction and how each platform optimises its delivery. Differentiate between rule-based and AI-based ad serving and break down or bundle up your audience segments accordingly. Get up to speed with the latest platform best practices to maximise your advantage in this competitive season. Knowing each platform’s measurement solutions before launching a campaign can have considerable advantages. Measurement sets a feedback loop to inform real-time optimisation and helps derive learnings for future Ramadan media plans. Want to understand the impact of a campaign on brand favourability? Consider a BLS solution. Curious to know if your ads are being looked at? Work with measurement partners that can report on attention metrics. Want to record conversions in cookie-less environments? Look into platforms and measurement partners that support conversion APIs. By taking these three steps, advertisers will recalibrate their social strategies for the upcoming Ramadan and stand out above their competition. This means seeing every step through with a deep dive into each platform’s specifics, keeping an eye out for trending topics that will emerge on social media throughout the month, and taking actions in a timely manner. Though it is convenient in this time of tradition to revert to previous approaches, advertisers must consider Ramadan with intellectual humility, forego assumptions and keep learning.

Anthony Nghayoui is Omnicom Media Group MENA’s Social & Product Lead


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THE BEAUTY OF PREDICTABILITY Yes, Ramadan habits are repetitive. But that doesn’t mean marketers can’t make the most of them if they do the right thing, says Wunderman Thompson’s Dana Al Kutoubi

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amadan has always been predictable. The same clichéd ads, the smiling housewives, the shots of beautiful looking meals, the flood of new series and increase in TV watching (which MBC continues to dominate), the family gatherings, the 3am Suhour meal… Even digital behaviours have become set in their ways during Ramadan, (such as increased YouTube consumption or the catch-up on Shahid). Despite the rapid changes we’ve seen as a result of Vision 2030 in the Kingdom, when it comes to Ramadan, as journalist Jean Baptiste Karr once said, “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” (the more things change, the more they remain the same). While for most of us this has become like an old record on repeat, in this predictability lies a great opportunity. When and where in the world is there a month that media habits are so well known, certain habits ingrained and consumers so open to brand messages? Such predictability enables brands to become more purpose-driven at a time when consumers are demanding more as the product and service is no longer enough for them to trust a brand. In fact, 89 per cent want the brand to have a purpose that is aligned to the social impact that they can make and 75 per cent of respondents become more interested in a brand when it shares their values. Brands like Almarai, STC and Dominos are leading the way. Almarai has for the past few years used engaging content to drive home the message of food waste, encouraging the Saudi community (which wastes more than 4 million tonnes of food, at a value of SAR 4bn, each year) to reduce the amount of waste it produces. STC has supported small business through its InspireU incubator programme, providing them with the tools to progress and succeed. Last year, in line with the Kingdom’s vision, the telco introduced a promise and

message of sustainability, highlighting the way we can all contribute to a better future. Dominos has introduced the Pizza for Good platform, engaging and enabling people to donate pizza to those in need for SAR 1. So why aren’t more brands in Saudi doing the same, and why have we barely scratched the surface? Most of the communication we see falls short: some brands are heavily promotion-driven; others focus on creating entertaining content through songs or venture into humorous content. The majority verge on the superficial without much meaning, purpose or utility. Perhaps it’s a reflection of the reality of the pressures of short-term sales or the fear that the return is not readily identifiable. No matter the reason, this mass predictability can help reduce these uncertainties and alleviate the pressures. It makes for relatively easier channel planning and engagement that is either or both virtual and physical. It facilitates experimentation, without the worries of unknown parameters. Finally, it makes the buy-in of stakeholders into such a proposition easier. Who wouldn’t want to be doing good in the month of good? Who would want to be criticised by the more demanding consumer for not doing enough? Brands will ultimately have to embrace purpose in Ramadan or run the risk of losing relevance over time as their relationships with their customers become more tenuous. More importantly, the challenge is to drive consistency from year to year and not be tempted to leverage Ramadan just for the occasion. It’s not an end in itself, it’s a platform we can build on the rest of the year for long-term equity without sacrificing shortterm sales. Who said predictability can’t be inspiring if purposeful?

By Dana Al Kutoubi, head of strategy KSA, Wunderman Thompson

‘‘BRANDS WILL HAVE TO EMBRACE PURPOSE IN RAMADAN OR RISK OF LOSING RELEVANCE AS RELATIONSHIPS WITH CUSTOMERS BECOME TENUOUS.”


CASE STUDY

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Centrepoint uses AR lenses on Snapchat to drive offline purchases The Story

Centrepoint partnered up with Snapchat during Ramadan 2021 in order to convey a message of hope to their customers and emphasize the importance of reconnecting with their loved ones during the unsual times.

The Solution

“Light Up Your Ramadan” Snapchat campaign celebrated the start of the holy month with a highly engaging and interactive augmented reality experience that went viral amongst Centrepoint’s consumers. The campaign also

13.8x Offline ROI

had another exciting lens to celebrate the Eid gifting ritual showcasing the different gifting categories available at Centrepoint’s stores.

The Result

The results far exceeded Centrepoint’s expectation, where 7.7M1 Snapchatters were reached through both Lenses who engaged with them for an average of 19 seconds1. The campaign also drove a 13.8x1 offline ROI across Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait with a 1,500x2 more consumer engagement generated than another platform throughout the campaign period.

7.7M

1,500x

Snapchatters reached through Lenses

More consumer engagement than any other platform

“This campaign has driven more earned impressions than we have ever seen across any platform or campaign before and drove fantastic awareness. We have usually seen Snapchat Lenses as an add-on to a campaign rather than a core part of a campaign strategy. However, since seeing the success of this campaign, early indications are that augmented reality Lenses will become instrumental to campaigns of this size.” Anda Dalati, Centrepoint Data from Snap Ads Manager as of April 6 - May 15, 2021 Internal Client Data

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THE MEDIA LANDSCAPE TURNED UPSIDE DOWN

Conventional wisdom about consumer habits may not apply during the Holy Month, but there is a wealth of data to show what people are doing differently, writes Ipsos’s Ziad Issa

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he media landscape is no stranger to constant change. It has long witnessed shifts in trends, technologies, consumption and overall attitudes. However, during Ramadan, the usual viewer behaviour regarding content consumption is entirely reconstructed. Additionally, the pandemic massively affected the evolution and development of the current media formats, consequently making it harder for the industry to predict how consumers will act in the forthcoming months of Ramadan. Within the media mix, there are many channels for consumers to pick from to view their favourite content during Ramadan. Linear TV, for one, reigns as king amongst households and garners more than 97 per cent of the population’s interest in KSA and UAE. The time spent viewing TV also intensifies. TV viewers in UAE spent an extra hour and a half viewing TV in Ramadan 2021 compared with prior months. The increase in free time during Ramadan and the surge in the volume of localised content drives TV viewers in the region to be glued to their TV sets. This is specifically witnessed in TV viewers’ recorded average time spent with general entertainment channels in Ramadan, with an average of 4 hours and 30 minutes spent consuming such genres during the Holy Month. In terms of genres, series taks the biggest share of the pie as the most preferred type of content to be viewed, mainly due to the large number of exclusive and localised productions that are created and released over that time period, and localisation is key in Ramadan for a successful content formula. It is also interesting to see that the hunger for linear TV during Ramadan doesn’t eclipse other media formats. Other channels also witness an increase in usage, indicating that they all sit in the front seat, driving the entirety of the media landscape. The rise of media usage during Ramadan indicates that

multiscreen usage is in full effect compared with other times of the year. This change is significant for both viewers and advertisers, and definitely very challenging for the latter. Shifting into the consumers’ online behaviour, it is no surprise that the time spent on social media and video sharing platforms increases in Ramadan as well; but, with massive chunks of free time, people seek to watch more long-form content, such as movies and TV shows, that is easily available on streaming platforms. What’s more interesting is the fact that linear TV and OTT become complementary to each other during Ramdan. OTT brands are no longer competing with TV but rather providing another platform for viewers to catch up and consume the content that is on TV, with many linear TV series and shows being offered on OTT platforms that are selfowned by channels. Dissecting the OTT realm in the region within the context of the Holy Month, consumption of video streaming platforms increased during Ramadan of 2021 compared with other months of the year (based on 2020). However, we see a decrease in music listenership through streaming platforms and a noticeable increase in podcast listenership during the month of Ramadan in 2021 (increased by 5 per cent). This indicates that a lot of people tend to substitute music with other audio formats for religious reasons. SVOD penetration remains on par, or witnesses a slight increase in the case of UAE. Similar to linear TV viewership behaviour in Ramadan, the viewership of SVOD platforms is most significant from post-Iftar time (7pm) till late night (2am), as about five out of 10 VOD streamers tend to view content during this period in KSA and UAE. Moreover, the usual top content genres that are viewed by video streamers during other months of the year aren’t as important during Ramadan. For example, western

movies and series are typologies that we are accustomed to seeing in viewers’ top favourite lists. This is not the case during Ramadan; these are replaced with the likes of Arabic series, and genres such as religious content, documentaries and educational content. All in all, the pandemic might have slowed down a lot of things but it certainly hasn’t hindered the OTT industry from growing. It accelerated its development in the region and people were quick to adapt to it, further proving that OTT is here to stay and will only get bigger. Not only does video content consumption behaviour reshape in Ramadan, but so do social media and online trends as well. For example, about eight out of 10 internet users in UAE and KSA believe that their social media usage increases in Ramadan compared with other months. In addition to that, online shopping also intensifies during that month, with about 80 per cent of internet users in KSA doing some sort of online shopping or at least visiting an e-commerce website. As noticed in linear TV and OTT viewership, a jump in the time spent on the internet is also witnessed among the UAE population during Ramadan, with three in four people spending at least five hours a day on the internet. Ramadan is a fascinating time for the media industry. It is a gift that keeps on giving to viewers and a challenge to advertisers. The fight for viewers’ attention through advertising surpasses the value of reach, and the attention economy becomes the number one priority. Everything we know about consumer behaviour is flipped upside down and, consequently, businesses have to adapt to this uncertainty and these unexpected changes, grasping at straws to cater to consumers’ changing needs and behavioural trends during Ramadan.

By Ziad Issa, chief client officer – media, Ipsos MENA


PARTNER CONTENT

March 28, 2022

The Viu from here At the last Campaign Breakfast Briefing (sponsored by DMS, media representative of Viu in the region), Rohit D’Silva, Chief Business Officer, Middle East & South Africa at streaming platform Viu Middle East, sat down for a chat about the OTT business. This is a partial transcript of that conversation Campaign Middle East: Tell us more

about Viu.

Rohit D’Silva: Viu began in 2015 as an OTT online streaming platform. Our parent company PCCW Group has been in the telecoms and media business for a long time. We wanted to build a regional streaming service in Asia. Today we serve across 23 markets, after betting on the ‘freemium’ model and original content.

What do subscribers get?

Free users get a huge library and can watch with ad breaks. Premium customers can access more premium content (Arabic and Korean originals, Hollywood TV series and movies, plus Turkish dramas) and can download content to watch later offline. There’s a huge opportunity for curated, brand-safe, premium digital video. We’ve focused on investing in content and, despite being in the region for only three years, have produced about 42 Arabic originals and extended our vast catalogue of foreign language originals to MENA audiences.

Are these originals only available on Viu?

A significant portion are exclusive for Viu, because these feature unique themes and storylines. We try to pick out diverse topics which suit the OTT environment. Much of our content sits well on TV too, as we work with broadcast partners in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Brands want to associate with quality content. It’s not about TV versus digital. Both have different benefits. We want to be part of the huge content creation opportunity in the region and are always looking for ways to accelerate the production of quality content.

That’s an interesting thought with regards to edgier content for VOD. Is that because you can then argue that people have the choice to view it or not?

Maybe with some topics, yes. We operate in many markets where cultural sensitivities are like the Middle East. So, when we’re talking about

original content, it’s always through the lens of what audiences want. We have more flexibility, as we are not bound by a format like TV. With streaming, it doesn’t have to be a specific number or duration of episodes. Digital allows us to innovate more and faster.

Are you producing content specifically for Ramadan? What is the demand for in this region how is it different from other regions? We witnessed a 75 per cent increase in the consumption of Ramadan content on our platform last year. As a macro trend, consumption on digital during Ramadan is increasing and we are excited. When people consume on digital, they are experimenting.

How are people watching Viu?

Primarily on mobile, which is something I didn’t think would happen till about five years ago. Today we are used to consuming so much video on mobile in general that we’re starting to consume things which we normally would’ve saved for a big screen.

How are marketers and brands capitalising on this? How are they advertising? What do marketers want from your product?

They take interest, think it’s relevant and ask for more details: How can they ensure a presence on Viu?. What options do they have? How can they work better with this medium? Our job is to offer the right solutions and to onboard them faster. Ultimately we must produce the right content and more of it to get more engaging stories out there. This gives brands the option to target our users effectively.

What other conversations are you having? What do advertisers want from Viu?

Interestingly, users over the last few years are trying out Korean content during Ramadan. This wasn’t a surprise, as Viu bet on Korean content in 2015 and built an entire business in South East Asia around it. Thanks to some of the other global platforms, Korean content has now become cool globally. People used to not be comfortable with different languages, but that’s changing now. On the Arabic side, we’ve worked with producers in Egypt to produce Saudi, Emirati and Pan-Arab shows. This year, we have nine star-studded Arabic originals for Ramadan, including Shoghl Aali (with Fifi Abdou and Shereen Reda), Pablo (with Hassan Al-Raddad and Arwa Gouda) and Wojoooh (with Hana Motawei). We aim to significantly grow our monthly active users, plus the user engagement and completion rates for our content. All the performancelinked metrics that you get on digital, but with TV like engagement.

Mostly it’s about the audience and their effectiveness. How to measure the results and data which we can give advertisers. The core questions in digital advertising are: Will we get X number of impressions and x percentage completion rate? And will we get them on time?

You mentioned that you’ve got payment partnerships with telcos. Viu (uniquely in the region) allows users to pay daily. What difference does this make?

In emerging, as well as other, markets, our freemium hybrid model works well. Affordability has not been an issue in the GCC, but willingness to pay was limited. Our model is very focused on Viu-ers experiencing content for free. Our belief is that if you must take people on that journey, allow them this flexibility. For digital products, the key element is ease of use and exit. You want to pay for just one day? Fine, no problem. With telcos as partners, we can charge customers through different billing mechanisms and for different packages (monthly, daily, etc.).

“When we’re talking about original content, it’s always through the lens of what audiences want. We are not bound by a format like TV.” By Rohit D’Silva, Chief Business Officer, Middle East & South Africa, Viu Middle East

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January 26, 2020

After two years of being central to our interpersonal relationships, social media brands are continuing to transform, writes Austyn Allison

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elcome to our third annual Know Your Platform Guide. We started this feature just after Covid-19 began spreading, and it has proven to be a great place to take stock of the rapid changes that have happened since then. Social media platforms weren’t exactly stick-in-the-muds when it came to evolving and developing new features, but the pandemic supercharged their rate of change. Take a good look at the sections where we ask the platforms what new features they have added in the last year and what they are working on for the next. One interesting shift is that while 2020 and 2021 saw a focus on social commerce, now new features are back to helping build communities – often with a marketing element, helping brands better form communities out of their consumers. As restrictions around socialising in person continue to ease, social platforms will no longer be the sole means of personal interaction. This means they must realign their offering to complement our social lives rather than fully enabling them as they have done over two years of unprecedented growth. While they have lost their monopoly on our interactions, platforms are bound to be more central to how consumers interact than they were before Covid. In this month’s Industry Forum on page 6, we asked a cross-section of industry experts if they felt this year’s Ramadan marketing would be more digitally focused than last year’s. While there was some

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concession that we will be seeing more of our loved ones face-to-face, the consensus was overwhelmingly that digital and social’s share of marketing voice will continue to grow, regardless. Social media complements traditional channels. Take Adidas’s Liquid Billboard, for example, a billboard filled with water on a beach in Dubai, which people could swim in. In the dark ages before Facebook, that would only have been seen by the handful of people who walked past while it was up. But it’s not designed only to be seen so much as it’s designed to be shared. Which is why it picked up a lot of Lynxes at this year’s awards (see page 14). Platforms are constantly reinventing themselves. Campaign has partnered with Twitter to run a weekly Spaces session in the month before Ramadan (see page 5), as that platform pivots from text to video and audio. Anghami’s stock market floatation is testimony to the growing popularity of podcasts and other audio. Snap is doubling down on AR, and Instagram is starting to follow suit. Facebook’s rebranding as Meta last year signals its commitment to the metaverse, which will change the game again in coming years. I suspect that in a few years the concept of Know Your Platform might have become outdated, as the companies listed in the following pages transform beyond recognition. But right now there has never been a more interesting time to keep abreast of all that is happening in and around the dynamic world of social media.


March 28, 2022

ambitious and tech savvy. They are driven by local values and prioritise their families and friends. They have multiple interests including music, tech, gaming, fashion, sports and food. BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT THE PLATFORM? The biggest misconception is that Anghami has Arabic content only. Anghami has a library of 72 million Arabic and international tracks and 6 million local and global artists.

Year founded: 2012 Regional HQ: Abu Dhabi Offices in the region: Beirut, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Riyadh Number of users worldwide 75m registered users globally WHAT ANGHAMI STANDS FOR “No matter who you are or where you come from, we all have something to say. Go ahead. Make some noise. The world is listening.” USER DEMOGRAPHICS Anghami has a wide and unique reach in terms of demographics. More than 60 per cent of our users in the region are loyal to the platform. At Anghami we nurture communities. We cater for different music personas, generations and interests. Our users are young,

WHAT ARE THE KPIS BRANDS LOOK FOR ON YOUR PLATFORM? Brand love, ad recall, purchase intent, engagement, store visits, leads. WHAT NEW FEATURES CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE NEXT YEAR? Stay tuned as lots of new ad products, features and experiences will be made available to brands online and offline. From unique ad experiences and exclusive content sponsorships to oncein-a-lifetime offline experiences that brands can be part of. DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING SPECIAL PLANNED FOR RAMADAN? Anghami is the only platform that offers a personalised Ramadan experience to its users, giving users the flexibility to live the Holy Month their way. Those who wish to only access religious content can restrict it to that, and those who wish to listen to their usual content can also keep doing that.

VIEWPOINT JOUBRAN ABDUL KHALEK, HEAD OF COMMERCIAL UNIT WHAT IS ONE THING ABOUT YOUR PLATFORM THAT YOU WISH MORE MARKETERS KNEW? Anghami today offers brands the users’ undivided attention. Anghami is a platform where your brand will be heard, seen and noticed. Audio being at the core of our experience, brands can cut the visual clutter and engage with an active audience. The beauty of audio is that it delivers the message while giving your brain enough space to wonder. It unlocks a world of creativity that cannot be seen.

TELL US JUST ONE INSPIRATIONAL PIECE OF MARKETING TO LOOK FOR THAT WILL SHOW US WHAT AMAZING THINGS MARKETERS CAN DO

WITH YOUR PLATFORM.

Banque Misr – a brand that became a musical artist loved by millions. In 2018 Banque Misr started releasing yearly motivational songs, spreading messages of positivity during Ramadan. By committing to this strategy year-on-year, Banque Misr became a well-loved artist on Anghami – increasing brand love by 56 per cent and ad awareness and favourability by 24 per cent.

WHAT INNOVATION ON YOUR PLATFORM ARE YOU MOST EXCITED TO SEE MARKETERS USE?

In one word, data. Anghami first-party data will be at the fingertips of agencies and advertisers. We have uploaded 98 million registered users into a customer data platform (CDP), which is where our audiences will be segmented. Advertisers will be able to buy Anghami audiences through programmatic and social media platforms at scale with about 55 first-party data attributes.

LEADERSHIP PANEL

Elie Habib Co-founder and CTO

Eddy Maroun Co-founder and CEO

Mary Ghobrial Chief operating and strategy officer

Elie Abou Saleh Vice President GCC

Choucri Khairallah Vice-president of business development

Hossam Al Gamal Vice-president, North Africa

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Founded: 2004 Parent company: Meta Platforms, Inc. Regional head: Fares Akkad, regional director of Middle East and North Africa region, Meta Global HQ: Menlo Park, California Regional HQ: Dubai Number of users worldwide: 3.59 billion people using Meta platforms every month (Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram or Messenger) DESCRIPTION: We build technologies to give people the power to connect with friends and family, find communities and grow businesses.

and run campaigns using simple self-service tools and track their performance with easy-to-read reports. WHAT IS THE PRIMARY MEDIA ON YOUR PLATFORM? Video, pictures. WHAT ARE THE KPIS BRANDS LOOK FOR ON YOUR PLATFORM? • Incremental sales • App installs • Purchase • Brand awareness • Message delivery • Purchase intent improvement

WHAT DO PEOPLE BEST KNOW YOU AS? A social networking website where users can post comments, share photographs and post links to news or other interesting content on the web, chat live and watch short-form video.

WHAT NEW FEATURES HAVE YOU LAUNCHED IN THE LAST YEAR? Facebook Reels: Meta introduced Reels on Facebook iOS and Android in more than 150 countries recently. Meta is introducing new features – 60-second Reels, and a new Remix tool – allowing creators to create new videos alongside existing Reels on the platform.

BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT THE PLATFORM? Facebook’s business model. Facebook is for everyone all over the world; that’s why it is free to use. Our business model puts people first. We make money in the same way newspapers and TV stations have been doing for decades: we charge advertisers to show people ads that are relevant.

WHAT NEW FEATURES CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE NEXT YEAR? We are encouraged by the progress we made this past year in a number of important growth areas like Reels, commerce, and virtual reality, and we’ll continue investing in these and other key priorities in 2022 as we work towards building the metaverse.

WHAT CAN YOU DO BEST FOR BRANDS? Facebook offers advertising solutions for every level of expertise. Brands can create

DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING SPECIAL PLANNED FOR RAMADAN? Stay tuned to find out about this year’s plans.

LEADERSHIP PANEL

Derya Matras

Fares Akkad

Azzam Alameddin

Terry Kane

Vice-president, Middle East, Africa and Turkey at Meta

Regional director of Middle East and North Africa region at Meta

Public policy director for Middle East, North Africa and Turkey at Meta

Marketing director for Middle East, Africa and Turkey at Meta


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LEADERSHIP PANEL

Founded: 1998 Parent company: Google Regional Head: Anthony Nakache, managing director at Google MENA Global HQ: Mountain View, California Regional HQ: Local offices in the UAE, Egypt and Qatar Description: Google’s mission is to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. WHAT DO PEOPLE BEST KNOW YOU AS? Search. However, people have greater expectations for search today than they did 20 years ago, and we welcome that. It pushes us to imagine what Google Search can do next, and how it can better connect people with information about the world around them. BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT THE PLATFORM? Misconception: Majority of users in MENA search in English. Fact: Over 50 per cent of searches happen in Arabic across the MENA region, and that number soars to 70 per cent in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. WHAT CAN YOU DO BEST FOR BRANDS? Help advertisers and businesses drive awareness and conversions for their products and services.

WHAT ARE THE KPIS BRANDS LOOK FOR ON YOUR PLATFORM? Many KPIs, depending on each brand’s objectives, including impressions, CTR, conversion rate, etc. WHAT NEW FEATURES HAVE YOU LAUNCHED IN THE LAST YEAR? ‘Grow My Store’, a free tool that guides local businesses to improve their digital storefront, grow customer traffic and optimise online customer experience to successfully complete further transactions. WHAT NEW FEATURES CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE NEXT YEAR? Google will continue to bring the latest AI innovation to improve language understanding in search, making results more relevant and helpful for people around the world. For businesses, we’ll look into scaling the use of ‘Store Visits Measurement’, launched recently in the UAE, to help more businesses measure the full value of their online ads by accounting for the additional conversions that happen offline. DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING SPECIAL PLANNED FOR RAMADAN? Aside from Google’s Ramadan special guide for advertisers (available on Think with Google), we’re launching a social media campaign to help everyone experience more of Ramadan with various features.

Asli Gucuyener Head of direct sales, Google MENA

Charbel Sarkis Director, Google META

Maria de Ducla Sector lead, travel & tourism, auto, tech and FMCG, Google MENA

Rayan Karaky Director, partners and product solutions, Google MENA

VIEWPOINT ANTHONY NAKACHE, MANAGING DIRECTOR, GOOGLE MENA HOW HAVE USER HABITS CHANGED ON YOUR PLATFORM IN THE PAST TWO YEARS? The last two years have accelerated behaviours that were largely under way already, from online shopping to online learning. This also drove individuals to search for more answers online. About 5.6 billion searches happen every day on Google Search and more than 15 per cent are new and unique queries we have never seen before. People come to Google Search to connect, find new experiences, discover products and services and make purchases through Google Shopping. The user journey on Search is no longer linear. It now involves multiple touch points over a period of time, as people want to deep-dive into a subject and assess its different dimensions on Google Search.

WHAT DO YOU WISH MORE MARKETERS KNEW?

Whilst Search is commonly seen as a very effective direct response channel, the power it has to affect branding metrics shouldn’t be underestimated. Through Google Search, marketers can achieve different branding objectives. Having visibility on paid Search, for example, has been proven to lift top-of-mind awareness, and paid Search clicks correlate with higher brand recall and consideration.

TELL US JUST ONE INSPIRATIONAL PIECE OF MARKETING TO LOOK FOR THAT WILL SHOW US WHAT AMAZING THINGS MARKETERS CAN DO WITH YOUR PLATFORM.

We’re seeing many marketers in MENA shift towards automation with their inventory campaigns on Google Search. Search Ads 360 automatically changes the structure of campaigns depending on the changes that happen to product inventory. This helps brands build campaigns more efficiently, depending on what their consumers are interested in and connect deeper with them. For example, Ounass, a luxury retailer, saw an increase in revenue of more than 60 per cent due to an automated ads approach.

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BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT THE PLATFORM? A wide misconception is that Instagram is a place where people feel pressure to be perfect. While social comparison is something that happens both online and offline, we don’t want Instagram to be a competition, but a place where people can come to express themselves and have a voice. We want people to feel good about the time they spend on Instagram. We want everyone to use it to have a positive and meaningful experience.

Founded: 2004 Parent company: Meta Platforms, Inc. Regional head: Fares Akkad, regional director of Middle East and North Africa region, Meta Global HQ: Menlo Park, California Regional HQ: Dubai Number of users worldwide: 3.59 billion people using Meta platforms every month (Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram or Messenger) DESCRIPTION: Instagram is a social media app that aims to inspire people and bring them to people and things they love. Expression is at the heart of what we do – we want to help people express themselves authentically, easily and creatively through photos and videos. We’re committed to fostering a safe and supportive community for everyone so people can connect, build influence and create compelling content that’s distinctly theirs. WHAT DO PEOPLE BEST KNOW YOU AS? Instagram is an expression platform, it’s where people come to express themselves authentically, easily and creatively through photos and videos.

WHAT CAN YOU DO BEST FOR BRANDS? We want to help organisations of all sizes make growing their businesses easier. We want to make it more convenient for people to buy, easier for businesses to kick-off and sell, and overall provide a more secure experience for everyone. Instagram offers advertising solutions for every level of expertise. Brands can create and run campaigns using simple self-service tools and track their performance with easy-to-read reports. WHAT IS THE PRIMARY MEDIA ON YOUR PLATFORM? Photos and videos. WHAT ARE THE KPIS BRANDS LOOK FOR ON YOUR PLATFORM? • Incremental sales • App installs • Purchase • Brand awareness • Message delivery • Purchase intent improvement WHAT NEW FEATURES HAVE YOU LAUNCHED IN THE LAST YEAR? Instagram recently added a new Private Story Likes feature that allows users to like Instagram Stories of others without sending a direct message (DM). WHAT NEW FEATURES CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE NEXT YEAR? We are encouraged by the progress we made this past year in a number of important growth areas like Reels, commerce and virtual reality, and we’ll continue investing in these and other key priorities in 2022 as we work towards building the metaverse. DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING SPECIAL PLANNED FOR RAMADAN? Stay tuned to find out more about the exciting campaign we have lined up.

LEADERSHIP PANEL

Derya Matras

Fares Akkad

Azzam Alameddin

Terry Kane

Vice-president, Middle East, Africa and Turkey at Meta

Regional director of Middle East and North Africa region at Meta

Public policy director for Middle East, North Africa and Turkey at Meta

Marketing director for Middle East, Africa and Turkey at Meta


March 22, 2022

metrics. Common KPIs are unique reach and frequency.

Founded: Founded in 2006 and launched in 2008. Regional head: Claudius Boller, Managing Director of Spotify MENA and South Asia (excluding India) Global HQ: Stockholm Regional HQ: Dubai Users worldwide: 406 million DESCRIPTION Spotify has transformed the way people access and enjoy music. Today, millions of people in 184 countries and territories have access to more than 82 million tracks, whenever and wherever they want. We are transforming the music industry from a ‘transaction-based’ experience of buying and owning audio content to an ‘access-based’ model allowing users to stream on-demand. USER DEMOGRAPHICS While music is for everyone, today we see the rise and rise of the curation generation. Our users are mainly millenials and Gen-Z, who seek a medium ready to embrace projects that represent and empower them and their communities through audio. They are after platforms that help them express their authenticity and are open to hearing divergent voices. Self-expression and socialisation are essential. WHAT DO PEOPLE BEST KNOW YOU AS? Spotify, the platform that was built to create a legal, better alternative to piracy – one that helps to fairly compensate artists for their work and shape music listening and sharing. WHAT CAN YOU DO BEST FOR BRANDS? Our targeting capabilities allow brands to reach engaged audiences based on a wide range of data points. This, coupled with creative executions and ad personalisation, ensures our advertisers deliver their messages in the most engaging way. WHAT IS YOUR PRIMARY MEDIA? While we offer multiple formats such as video and display, our flagship format is audio ads. Our ‘Audio Everywhere’ package allows you to reach your target audience on any device, in any environment, during any moment of the day. Audio ads are served between songs during active sessions, ensuring your brand achieves 100 per cent share of voice. In addition to the audio spot, your brand takes ownership of a clickable display unit. WHAT ARE THE KPIS BRANDS LOOK FOR ON YOUR PLATFORM? Brands can report on a wide range of

WHAT NEW FEATURES HAVE YOU LAUNCHED IN THE LAST YEAR? Last year we continued to go all-in on the limitless power of audio and our mission to connect creators with fans and empower creators to live off their art. We continued innovating the listening experience with Enhance, Blend and Lyrics. We launched Q&As and Polls for podcasts to allow creators and listeners to interact more deeply and acquired Findaway, a global leader in digital audiobook distribution. WHAT NEW FEATURES CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE NEXT YEAR? Given that innovation is close to our heart, expect to see new features that make the user experience even more intuitive. We will also continue shaping a new ecosystem with new tools for creators to help them reach new audiences and monetise their work. DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING SPECIAL PLANNED FOR RAMADAN? Every Ramadan, Spotify refreshes its Ramadan hub featuring diverse local playlists from different parts of the world. The hub’s purpose is to connect with Muslims during the Holy Month by offering them Ramadan-themed playlists and podcasts.

VIEWPOINT CLAUDIUS BOLLER, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF SPOTIFY MENA AND SOUTH ASIA (EXCLUDING INDIA) HOW HAVE USER HABITS CHANGED ON YOUR PLATFORM IN THE PAST TWO YEARS?

Audio has witnessed a resurgence as we continue to embrace new normal and navigate the challenges of the pandemic. Today, audio is perceived as a stress-reliever during these trying times. As a result, we continue to see an increase in the consumption of wellness content on Spotify in both podcasts and music. The nostalgia trend is also not going anywhere. Nostalgia started appearing a little over two years ago, and its influence can be seen in the music by young artists and the user-generated playlists by our listeners. In Wrapped 2021, some of the most popular Spotify-curated playlists were decade playlists.

LEADERSHIP PANEL

Claudius Boller Managing director of Spotify MENA and South Asia (excluding India)

Ruthie Qadan Strategy & operations lead, MENASAS

Marwen Ben Messaoud Growth associate director, MEA+

We’ve also seen our audience gravitating towards local hip-hop, especially in markets like Egypt and Morocco, which shows how the youth seek art that helps them express themselves.

WHAT IS ONE THING ABOUT YOUR PLATFORM THAT YOU WISH MORE MARKETERS KNEW? Pair your product with a playlist. Branded playlists provide an opportunity to engage and entertain your audience through the music they love. The best-branded playlists are supported with a robust marketing strategy. For instance, M&M’s brought back their limited-time Messages packaging, which featured Spotify Codes to match their messages to a branded playlist. So scanning a M&M’s pack that said ‘Slay Girl’ opened an M&M’s playlist of songs by powerful women artists.

WHAT NEW INNOVATION ON YOUR PLATFORM ARE YOU MOST EXCITED TO SEE MARKETERS USE?

The 8D-audio experience is an enhanced sound format that mirrors the surroundsound experience that concertgoers love and serves as a dynamic vehicle to underscore the power of a festival’s lineup. Festivals and events commonly utilise this, but it also delivers excellent results when used by brands.

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WHAT CAN YOU DO BEST FOR BRANDS? For advertisers, the combination of our innovative ad formats, advanced measurement and reporting tools, and a passionate, engaged millennial and Gen Z audience provides a rich, full-funnel advertising experience unique to Snapchat. One of our priorities is making AR more accessible to businesses, democratising creativity in the process. We are also making it easier, faster and more efficient to develop quality AR campaigns.

Founded: 2011 (regional offices: 2016) Parent company: Snap Inc. Regional head: Hussein Freijeh Global HQ: Santa Monica, California Regional HQ: Dubai, UAE Number of users worldwide: 319 million daily active users Number of users in region: Monthly addressable reach in the MENA region is over 75 million, which grew 33 per cent year-on-year. More recently, Snapchat’s Saudi community hit a 20 million milestone. DESCRIPTION: Snap Inc. is a camera company. We believe that reinventing the camera represents our greatest opportunity to improve the way people live and communicate through visual self-expression and storytelling. USER DEMOGRAPHICS: In Q4 2021, Snapchat’s daily active users globally were 319 million, an increase of 20 per cent year-over-year. In MENA, Snapchat has a unique and highly engaged audience. In KSA, for example, Snapchat reaches more than 90 per cent of 13-to-34-year-olds, while in the UAE, Snapchat reaches one in three 18-34-year-olds. WHAT DO PEOPLE BEST KNOW YOU AS? Snap Inc. is a camera company that is improving the way people live and communicate through visual self-expression and storytelling. Today, our technologies, products, and services play a transformative role in how people experience the world around them – combining what they see in the real world with all that’s available to them in the digital world. In particular, we are known as the pioneers behind augmented reality (AR) innovation, pushing the boundaries to add both utility and entertainment to people’s lives. BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT THE PLATFORM? Concepts that many consider futuristic are actually being used by millions of Snapchatters each day. While some may still view AR as nascent, the technology and scale are already here. It has moved from a novelty to a necessity for marketers in MENA.

WHAT ARE THE KPIS BRANDS LOOK FOR ON YOUR PLATFORM? On Snap, we deliver ROI for businesses of all sizes, verticals, and objectives through sophisticated measurement, ranking, and optimisation capabilities. WHAT NEW FEATURES HAVE YOU LAUNCHED IN THE LAST YEAR? Spotlight was launched in MENA as our newest entertainment platform for usergenerated content, surfacing the most entertaining Snaps in one place. For creators, we’ve expanded our Snap Stars programme, added native commerce functionality to creators and launched a new Snapchat Creator Hub as an online resource to help them to make the most of the Snap Camera. A new Creator Marketplace also integrates creators directly into our advertising ecosystem. For brands, we’ve launched Public Profiles for businesses, giving brands of all

VIEWPOINT HUSSEIN FREIJEH, GENERAL MANAGER OF SNAP INC. IN THE MIDDLE EAST HOW HAVE USER HABITS CHANGED ON YOUR PLATFORM IN THE PAST TWO YEARS? A lot has happened over the last two years. Communities have adapted and their behaviours have changed. We’re all spending more time online, and the need to connect has never been greater or more important. People want to invest their time and energy in meaningful connections as well as immersive and impactful experiences. When it comes to relationships in particular, the Snapchat Generation in MENA places tremendous value on their connections with family and friends, with tools such as communication and camera apps helping to keep those relationships strong.

WHAT IS ONE THING ABOUT YOUR PLATFORM THAT YOU WISH MORE MARKETERS KNEW?

sizes a free, permanent home for all of their unique Snapchat content. Brand Profiles will enable brands to showcase their AR lenses, story posts, highlights, and a native store experience. WHAT NEW FEATURES CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE NEXT YEAR? Snap’s upcoming features will ultimately reflect our wider strategy for 2022. This includes making AR more accessible to individuals and businesses, democratising creativity in the process. We are also looking at ways to further support creators, providing a platform where they can meaningfully grow their audience, build their business and entertain the community. For example, we’re launching a Creator Studio in Riyadh to empower the local creative community. Along the way, we are diversifying as a business across entertainment, exploration, learning, commerce, and more. DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING SPECIAL PLANNED FOR RAMADAN? This year, communities across MENA are returning to togetherness – perhaps more than ever before. Snap is really the one place for everything that matters to brands during Ramadan, offering media effectiveness, qualified audience at scale, authentic communication and the ability to bridge digital and physical worlds through special seasonal content on Discover, new AR Lenses and much more.

The myth that AR is all about dog ears and rainbows has evaporated. Consumer-first marketers and agencies are realising the use cases for AR go well beyond fun and entertainment, providing immersive and impactful experiences across the entire consumer journey. AR is becoming as significant a technology shift as the web or mobile was to society a couple of years ago. We have seen audiences in MENA truly embrace AR today, with more than 85 per cent of MENA daily users interacting with Lenses every day.

TELL US JUST ONE INSPIRATIONAL PIECE OF MARKETING TO LOOK FOR THAT WILL SHOW US WHAT AMAZING THINGS MARKETERS CAN DO WITH YOUR PLATFORM.

Our recent campaign, ‘Open Your Snapchat’, showcases the exceptional results and reach that businesses can achieve through the Snap Camera. The campaign showcases how brand partners across different verticals in the region are leveraging the full power AR, and gives the public a chance to try out sponsored Lenses from 16 of our brand partners including many regional activations.


CASE STUDY

March 28, 2022

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OGX® Drives online sales and achieves great ROAS on Snapchat The Story

OGX® is a Johnson & Johnson Consumer owned hair care brand mostly known for their exotic varieties of shampoo and conditioner. During Ramadan of 2021, OGX® wanted to communicate to their audience in KSA and educate the product benefits in relevance to the moment.

products and collection Ads displaying their new range while driving traffic to their e-com partner called Al Nahdi, a pharmacy in KSA where the products were listed. Snapchatters had a seamless buying experience, allowing them to swipe up or tap directly to the product pages based on their favorite OGX® SKU.

The Solution

The Result

OGX Partnered with Snapchat to engage with customers using a Video full-funnel approach. OGX® leaned into Snapchat’s Video ad formats to focus on awareness and conversion goals. They used Commercials for awareness on the new

Snapchat has proven to be a tremendous growth channel as the results far exceeded OGX® expectations, the campaign managed to reach 1.9M2 Snapchatters as well as delivered +36%1 increase in sales which drove a $3.7 ROAS1.

$3.7

+36%

1.9M

ROAS

Increase in sales

Reach

“OGX® capitalized on a key moment in the region, Holy month of Ramadan. We tailored and optimized the message to focus on “Self care starts with OGX® hair” to deliver the best experience. Thanks to Snapchat’s popular platform and with the team’s help we delivered a smooth buying experience to the users that resulted into a %36 increase in sales, the biggest uplift from the campaign.” Mona Faris, Portfolio Manager at J&J Consumer Middle East

J&J internal data, May 2021 Data from Snap Ads Manager as of April 20 - May 13, 2021

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March 28, 2022

BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT THE PLATFORM? That it is a singing, dancing platform. While it might have started as such, content is as diverse and eclectic as the communities on TikTok are, with the most consumed categories being comedy, sports, cooking and educational content. WHAT CAN YOU DO BEST FOR BRANDS? We can give them the right to win. While reach is crucial, it only gives a brand the right to play. With TikTok, brands get the reach, but they get relevant reach which earns them the right to win. WHAT IS THE PRIMARY MEDIA ON YOUR PLATFORM? Short-form video content, clearly a winner in an age of media proliferation and time starvation.

Founded: 2012 Parent company: ByteDance Regional head: Shant Oknayan, general manager Global HQ: Los Angeles Regional HQ: Dubai Number of users worldwide: A lot. We were the number-one most downloaded app, again, last year Number of users in region: We can’t tell you that right here, but get in touch and let’s talk; guaranteed, you will be impressed. DESCRIPTION TikTok is the leading destination for short-form mobile video. Our mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy. USER DEMOGRAPHICS The demographic mix is very similar to overall country demographics in this region. Highly-educated entertainment seekers and higher-income early adopters. WHAT DO PEOPLE BEST KNOW YOU AS? The Last Sunny Corner on The Internet.

VIEWPOINT SHANT OKNAYAN, GENERAL MANAGER, GLOBAL BUSINESS SOLUTIONS, E. EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA HOW HAVE USER HABITS CHANGED IN THE PAST TWO YEARS?

Given that TikTok’s mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy, it’s no surprise that singing and dancing were the first content categories to flourish on the platform, since they tend to be the most pure and practical expressions of creativity and joy. Over the past few years, we’ve seen a paradigm shift and content creation has been democratised. TikTok has provided an easier way to produce content, effectively putting a studio, with music, effects and editing tools, in everyone’s pocket, allowing anyone to be a creator. Therefore, the content library has grown exponentially, with many new genres. Consumers are also back in the driver’s seat of the content they consume. They’re served content relevant to them in that moment based on consumption patterns and interests, instead of what people they follow are posting. Hence, people consume content they genuinely find engaging, exciting and educational.

WHAT PIECE OF USER-GENERATED CONTENT HAVE YOU BEEN TELLING EVERYONE TO CHECK OUT RECENTLY? TikTok is the perfect place to discover

WHAT ARE THE KPIS BRANDS LOOK FOR ON YOUR PLATFORM? Not a KPI per se. But a new way at looking at the impact of your reach. Search for ‘TikTok relevance is the new reach’ on your favourite search engine. Read up. Thank us later. WHAT NEW FEATURES HAVE YOU LAUNCHED IN THE LAST YEAR? Quite a few; it’s been an exciting year for us. Branded Missions, Spark Ads, big enhancements to the TikTok Creator Marketplace, Dynamic Showcase ads (and some cool new creative capabilities there). WHAT NEW FEATURES CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE NEXT YEAR? I can’t get into the details, but it will all be around flattening the funnel. Products that will help users discover, love and buy amazing products and experiences in one TikTok session. DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING SPECIAL PLANNED FOR RAMADAN? Yes, uninterrupted entertainment. A space where ads entertain and blend in, without disruption. And, for the first time ever, TikTok will feature MBC Group’s line-up of premium Ramadan content in bespoke form, making it a true destination for Ramadan entertainment.

everything! Recently #Booktok took off regionally, and bookstores are now showcasing trending books from TikTok. This reflects the unrivalled discoverability power of the platform and how TikTok trends translate to real-world impact.

WHAT IS ONE THING ABOUT YOUR PLATFORM THAT YOU WISH MORE MARKETERS KNEW?

TikTok is designed to inspire, with authentic, creative content that could only be on TikTok. This opens an entirely new window of opportunity for brands to create content that speaks to people, to invite the community to join the conversation and to make TikToks. Brands that unleash their creativity on the platform have much to gain, especially when working with TikTok’s talented creators and giving them creative freedom to do what they do best: engage with communities, authentically.

TELL US JUST ONE INSPIRATIONAL PIECE OF MARKETING TO LOOK FOR THAT WILL SHOW US WHAT AMAZING THINGS MARKETERS CAN DO WITH YOUR PLATFORM. I love seeing brands come together with the creators and community. One standout example is the UAE’s World’s Coolest Winter, launched to promote local tourism. It rallied residents to share hidden gems and was kicked off by the UAE’s top 20 creators.

WHAT INNOVATION ON YOUR PLATFORM ARE YOU MOST EXCITED TO SEE MARKETERS USE?

Our community of brands and partners shape how we build products, so we’re constantly introducing a variety of new tools that drive real-world impact for business of all sizes. One thing I would like to see brands doing more of is working alongside our content creators.


March 28, 2022

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LEADERSHIP PANEL

Founded: 2006 Regional head: Benjamin Ampen, managing director, Twitter MENA Global HQ: San Francisco Regional HQ: Dubai Number of users worldwide: 217 million monetisable daily active users DESCRIPTION Twitter is what’s happening in the world and what people are talking about right now, from breaking news and entertainment to sports and everyday interests. USER DEMOGRAPHICS From beauty and gaming to TV fandom and women in sports, people on Twitter ignite the conversations that shape what’s happening. Last year’s Q4 results revealed that. In 2021, Twitter experienced a 13 per cent yearover-year increase in average monetisable DAU (mDAU), reaching 217 million users worldwide.

VIEWPOINT CARLA MAALOULY HEAD OF MARKETING, TWITTER, MENA HOW HAVE USER HABITS CHANGED ON YOUR PLATFORM IN THE PAST TWO YEARS? Habits that have emerged in the last year include people on the platform paying close attention to a brand’s intention; they are looking for a sense of authenticity and aren’t shy about speaking up when it is lacking. Additionally, our research found that brands that were better equipped to pivot or adapt their tone fared better than those that relied on onedimensional humour alone. There is no hard and fast rule, but this tells us that humour should be one aspect to most brands, not the only aspect.

TELL US JUST ONE INSPIRATIONAL PIECE OF MARKETING TO LOOK FOR THAT WILL SHOW US WHAT AMAZING THINGS MARKETERS CAN DO WITH YOUR PLATFORM.

WHAT DO PEOPLE BEST KNOW YOU AS? People know Twitter best as the place to connect with what’s happening in the world in real-time. The place where conversations are raw, unfiltered and open. Those voices are what separate Twitter as a social media platform; it can be messy, intense, inspiring, shocking and moving. WHAT CAN YOU DO BEST FOR BRANDS? Similar to our position last year, Twitter is the best place to launch something new and connect with what’s happening. WHAT IS THE PRIMARY MEDIA ON YOUR PLATFORM? Over the years, Twitter has evolved from a text-only platform to become home of memes, videos, GIFs and photos. However, we continue to see growth in video on the platform with more than 2 billion video views globally recorded on Twitter each day, which is 67 per cent YoY growth. Our data also showed that Tweets with video attract 10 times more engagements than Tweets without video, while insights from Hall & Partners revealed

This year, the launch of Twitter Spaces, a unique feature based on live audio conversations on Twitter, coincided with Ramadan. Taking advantage of the moment, STC (@stc_KSA) partnered with Rotana Music, introducing the second season of its show Sawalef Ramadaniya with this innovative new form of live audio.

WHAT INNOVATION ON YOUR PLATFORM ARE YOU MOST EXCITED TO SEE MARKETERS USE?

#FeminineArabic, launched last year, has been one of the most exciting tools we’ve seen marketers use, driving more inclusive conversations across the platform – while also allowing brands to talk to consumers in a more tailored and inclusive way. The setting is reflective of Twitter’s diversity values, ensuring women across the Arab-speaking world have an opportunity to share their unique voices. #FeminineArabic saw a number of brands celebrate the launch and engage with Twitter (@TwitterMktgMENA), taking the opportunity to connect with their female audiences and reaffirm their commitment to female empowerment.

Benjamin Ampen Managing director, Middle East, North Africa & Pakistan

that 71 per cent of people in KSA and UAE watch videos on Twitter multiple times a week. WHAT ARE THE KPIS BRANDS LOOK FOR ON YOUR PLATFORM? Our strategy of providing advertisers fullfunnel solutions is constantly evolving. For example, Mobile App Promotion is a top priority. At the other end of the funnel, advertisers can benefit from Twitter to fulfil reach and awareness objectives, particularly within video content from Twitter Amplify pre-roll ads through to Timeline Takeovers. Last, but not least, something unique to Twitter is the ability to take part in specific conversations (share of conversations) relevant to their audiences. WHAT NEW FEATURES HAVE YOU LAUNCHED IN THE LAST YEAR? Last year Twitter introduced the ability to host a Space to all accounts with 600 or more followers. The live audio conversations feature included updates such as built-in safety controls for hosts and speakers. WHAT NEW FEATURES CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE NEXT YEAR? To help people connect and create meaningful connections on the platform we will continue to improve Spaces, making them easier to discover, join and share. Other additions to look forward to will be driving more adoption of communities and creator monetisation features to show momentum around how we are helping people make money on Twitter. We will also continue our ongoing efforts to increase awareness of the controls Twitter gives people on our service to protect their identity, privacy and safety. DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING SPECIAL PLANNED FOR RAMADAN? Yes, Twitter and Campaign Middle East are partnering to bring brands and agencies exclusive insights and strategies to master Ramadan campaigns in a four-part Spaces series with #RamadanTalks2022. The series invites experts from Twitter along with notable brands and agencies to guide listeners through the changes in consumer habits during Ramadan, from the content that interests them to the time that they spend on social media, and how they can apply these insights to build campaigns that resonate and engage.


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LEADERSHIP PANEL

Year founded: 2005. Acquired by Google in 2006. Parent company: Google Regional head: Tarek Amin, director of YouTube in the Middle East and North Africa Global HQ: San Bruno, California, Regional HQ: Google’s local offices in the UAE, Egypt and Qatar Number of users worldwide: YouTube has more than 2 billion monthly logged-in users. DESCRIPTION: Our mission is to give everyone a voice and show them the world. We believe that everyone deserves to have a voice, and that the world is a better place when we listen, share and build community through our stories.

to their passions or, even better, to their tension points. They expect brands to be relevant to them and take into account their needs. WHAT CAN YOU DO BEST FOR BRANDS? With YouTube, businesses and advertisers can understand the interests of their audiences to deliver engaging ads in the right format, and at the right time. WHAT ARE THE KPIS BRANDS LOOK FOR ON YOUR PLATFORM? There are many KPIs, depending on each brand’s objective, including watch time, engagement, total impressions, conversions, etc. WHAT NEW FEATURES HAVE YOU LAUNCHED IN THE LAST YEAR? YouTube Shorts (a new short-form video experience to create short, catchy videos from mobile phones) and YouTube Kids.

WHAT DO PEOPLE BEST KNOW YOU AS? YouTube is not just a video platform. It’s also a search engine that millions of people come to, to learn how to fix their dishwasher or how to use Excel.

WHAT NEW FEATURES CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE NEXT YEAR? We are introducing new features to help creators live-stream their content, help people watch longform content with the transcript tool, and support advertisers with more hands-on features for measurement and optimisation.

BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT THE PLATFORM? Misconception: Businesses can produce one TVC or video ad to place on YouTube and be able to reach different audiences and markets. Fact: Brands need to start applying personalisation in their communication, as the audience of today expects messages relevant

DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING SPECIAL PLANNED FOR RAMADAN? We recently published a series of Ramadanexclusive insights on Think with Google, where we share major shifts in consumer behaviour during the Holy Month and what they mean for marketers. You can also refer to our main microsite for all things Ramadan related.

VIEWPOINT TAREK AMIN, DIRECTOR OF YOUTUBE IN MENA HOW HAVE USER HABITS CHANGED IN THE PAST TWO YEARS? In the last two years, we saw people watching more videos with others, whether physically or in the virtual world, to generate a stronger sense of connection. We saw this trend play out in the explosion of live-stream events, as viewers continued to seek out ways to be together. Additionally, people were also watching simultaneous content – where they can follow along while their favourite creators do prerecorded activities – to create similar feelings of community.

WHAT PIECE OF USER-GENERATED CONTENT HAVE YOU BEEN TELLING EVERYONE TO CHECK OUT RECENTLY?

We are very happy and inspired to see AboFlah, a rising MENA YouTuber in the gaming world, using his YouTube channel to raise more than $10m to support refugees in partnership with UNHCR. The video campaign was published as a livestream video on the platform, which received high engagement from all over the world and resulted in much user-generated content.

WHAT IS ONE THING ABOUT YOUR PLATFORM THAT YOU WISH MORE MARKETERS KNEW?

Many brands in the region are working closely with YouTube creators to connect further with their audiences, but the opportunity remains relatively

Abdulrahman Al Hazmi Strategic partner manager, YouTube MENA

Anthony Nakache Managing director, Google MENA

Hala Ajil YouTube partner manager direct team, YouTube MENA

Tanya Khoury Partnerships and entertainment manager, YouTube MENA

untapped in the region. According to an Ipsos study commissioned by Google, 61 per cent of YouTube subscribers say their views of a brand have been influenced by a creator. And 6 out of 10 say they would follow the advice of a creator over a favourite TV or movie personality on what to buy.

TELL US JUST ONE INSPIRATIONAL PIECE OF MARKETING TO LOOK FOR THAT WILL SHOW US WHAT AMAZING THINGS MARKETERS CAN DO WITH YOUR PLATFORM.

Narratives that are well-structured are important to audiences in MENA. Vodafone Egypt last year produced an impressive ad starring the well-known Egyptian actress, singer, and dancer Sherihan, who shares her life story through song and dance. There are so many inspiring ads that we’re seeing throughout the year, and especially during Ramadan.


PARTNER CONTENT

March 28, 2022

The future of content for brands Hashtag’s head of content, Reine Jalloul, looks at how high-tech and authentic content can help brands rise to the top

T

he digital space is ever growing, with various opportunities for brands to display their products and services creatively. However, in a space already cluttered with content, brands are racing to stand out and grab their audiences’ attention. It’s important for brands to always be on the lookout for emerging digital trends, especially those that can benefit their content strategy and build on their brand equity. We are always entertained by endless streams of content, but what creative content opportunities lie on the horizon?

their audience involved in their content, rather than just consuming it, which will help them discover their audience more. Instagram, for example, has rolled out interactive features like polls and quizzes on Stories, which is why audiences engage with story content more than content posted on the feed, according to socialladder.com. With social media platforms always expanding their technologies with various new features, we will see a rise in engaging content that the audience can interact with.

NFTs

We are seeing less sales-oriented content and more empathetic and purposeful content. Today, consumers are more conscious and shy away from content that purely sells. Instead, they are attracted to brands that put themselves in their shoes and tell a story from their perspective. And what better way to trust a brand than to hear their story or align their product with an emotional narrative? That’s why future content creation will be more empathetic. Brands should benefit from the art of telling narratives to connect their businesses with consumers, build brand credibility and establish long term relationships with them.

If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that human existence is not bound by physical presence as much as we thought it would be. A new space is emerging as a combination of virtual and augmented reality, which collectively is known as the metaverse. And with the metaverse came the NFTs, digital representation of real-world objects that can be sold and traded online. They allow creators to maintain their ownership rights over the content they have created. NFTs are to us what the internet was to our parent: ambiguous but a great opportunity to invest in. But how can brands take advantage of products that only exist in the virtual realm? Much like moving their offline businesses digitally to social media and e-commerce, brands should act fast and use NFTs as part of their marketing strategies. It’s important to tie NFTs to their core product or value, and one way to do that is by commemorating an iconic product or experience. Coca-Cola’s successful collectible series, for example, included a ‘Sound Visualizer’, which exemplifies the experience of drinking a Coca-Cola, like the pop of the cap and the fizz of the soda. Brands can also cooperate with artists to create digital collectibles, which they can sell but also give away in competitions, helping drive brand awareness. We will be seeing more of brands getting creative, jumping on the NFT bandwagon and incorporating them in their content strategies.

Interactive content

The average attention span for humans decreased from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to 8.5 seconds in 2015; imagine what that attention span will look like in another few years. In a content-cluttered digital space, brands race to grab their audiences’ interest in the first few seconds of them consuming content. That’s why we see a decline in static, text-based content, and a rise in interactive content. Interactive content gets higher engagement than static content and is shared 25 per cent more, according to outgrow. com. Social media platforms now provide users with a plethora of features that allow followers to engage with brands beyond liking, sharing, and commenting. Brands should think about getting

Storytelling content

Transparent and authentic content

Social media platforms were created with the average user in mind, its features designed for people to easily navigate and create personalised content through a mobile phone. With the introduction of ads and the start of digital marketing, brands have jumped on the bandwagon bringing their large offline productions online. We see brands try to professionally produce content, which appears rigid and inorganic amongst a sea of real content made by real people. However, some brands adopt the user-generated-content approach because it’s authentic content that doesn’t come from marketers who position products in the best light in order to sell. These types of content are more effective, according to postclick.com, and help brands stay authentic and transparent and also resonate well with consumers. For example, 83 per cent of millennials prefer to purchase from brands that align with their values, while Gen Z, is labelled as the ‘True Gen’ by mckinsey.com, for valuing self-expression and avoiding labels. That’s why brands will be soon adopting a more unbranded content approach that is produced organically with a phone rather than a professional production house. In a fast-growing industry, brands must always be on the lookout for emerging digital trends and new technologies to better serve their purpose and grab the attention of consumers. Embracing the metaverse, interacting with their audiences and telling authentic and real stories is a great way to start as we move towards a new era of content consumption.

“In a fast-growing industry, brands must always be on the lookout for emerging digital trends.” By Reine Jalloul, head of content, Hashtag Social Media Agency

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WHY DUBAI WOULD BE THE BEST CREATIVE AGENCY IN THE WORLD MullenLowe’s Mounir Harfouche says the emirate shares many of the qualities that make an agency great

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agency is more than a business; it’s somehow a prototype of the best version of our authentic role in life as people, as employees, as partners, as consumers, as students or whatever we are. This agency brings out the best side of humanity: creativity – the essence of existence, God’s most beautiful skill, the language of hope, the form of beauty, the sign of progress, the expression of the mind, the daily meaningful evolution, and an approach that is founded on the sum of all people, but never on individuals.

ourage, inventiveness, intelligence, vision, leadership, curiosity, perseverance, passion, collaboration, discipline, playfulness, positivity and pride. Those are some of the traits of a creative mind, but they also happen to be some of the characteristics of Dubai. What made me think of this analogy? Maybe it’s because of my 27 years in the business and my 24 years in Dubai. I can’t help but see the similarity, and I love it. If I wanted to articulate what the best agency would be like, I’d say this:

A CULTURE OF POSITIVITY A place that you simply love. A place that works for you as much as you work for it. A culture of positivity, creativity, and experimentation. An environment driven by optimism, willingness, achievements, and constant advancement. An attitude led by the humbleness to know and the ambition to be the ‘knowhow’ but remain humble. AN INSPIRING AND EMPOWERING MODEL An agile model that believes in the power of talent, proven or potential, empowered by the complexity of an advanced infrastructure, the support of data, perfectly designed processes, continuous training and development and, most importantly, accountability and reward in a merit-based system. At this agency, knowledge flows through the walls and people are informed. Trends, insights, inventions and stories come their way, day in and day out. At this agency, people are encouraged to experiment and explore. They get the future, they see it, they sense it, they touch it and, very often, they even curate it. THE MAGIC OF INCLUSIVITY It is the most inclusive place that gathers all kind of brains, all types of personalities, all the colours of a spectrum, yet all merge into something magical where the human spirit reigns, where the collective genius explodes, and where failure can no longer possibly exist. This agency creates change, it performs, it influences, it inspires, it generates results, and it makes businesses grow and brands famous through meticulous craft and superior

‘‘THIS AGENCY CREATES CHANGE, IT PERFORMS, IT INFLUENCES, IT INSPIRES, IT GENERATES RESULTS, AND IT MAKES BUSINESSES GROW. ” thinking that has enough depth to elevate, to revolutionise, to transform and to connect. This is where skills meet skills, talent meets talent, experience meets experience and expertise meets expertise to become one massive concept and then a million brilliant executions. THE IMPACT OF CONTINUOUS CREDIBILITY This agency re-invents itself every single time to remain ahead of its time. This agency is respected and trusted because it believes in being as good as its last piece of work, and the very last piece happens to be the best ever, every single time. This

PHILOSOPHICAL LEADERSHIP This agency has a one-in-a-million leader. A dreamer but also a doer. A tremendous talent but also a delegator. Serious but seriously genuine, tough but tough not to admire. He is the right balance of a realist and a controversialist; he has the wisdom, the passion, the aura and the charisma to achieve the impossible, time and time again. This leader is a daring visionary, a born creative who gives ideas a chance to come to life; he nurtures them and grows them into concepts with the ability to transform businesses, economies, futures and lives. A leader you don’t work for; instead, you work with and because of him. He represents not a set of principles to adapt to but a philosophical approach to buy into, so then he starts multiplying through a new generation of similar leaders on a mission to expand the path. A HUMAN CURRENCY This agency cares first and foremost about its people. It believes deep down that its success will never be valued just because of its historical credentials but because of the value of its current and future human capital, and the prospect it promises to deliver. This agency keeps enabling creativity, and creativity keeps enabling progress, every single day. This is Dubai, the platform, the inspiration, the concept, the execution and the awardwinning results. And it’s always hiring.

By Mounir Harfouche, CEO, MullenLowe MENA


March 28, 2022

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PLAGIARISM

– WHERE IS CONSCIENCE?

Barry Kirsch has had enough of people passing off the work of others as their own. And you should be fed up too

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reators, in whichever field, are rewarded by and indeed survive on the originality of their creations. They – the creations – represent the fulfilment of time, dedication, application and thought. The process of creating demands enormous waves of self-criticism and mountains of time and endeavour. The struggle involved, the sweat, frustration and eventual exhilaration may be ultimately rewarding even if only in the satisfaction of the actual achievement. Whether that achievement converts into money or recognition is merely an added benefit. The point is the doing. When that last full stop, paint stroke or music note is placed, something has been born that is the achievement of the individual creator’s hard work. That work then becomes the infrangible property of the creator – unless there is some contractual arrangement to the contrary. However, there is no contract that can override the fact that the work was the product of someone’s or some people’s dedication and, more importantly, original thinking. International law recognises that very point: that copyright exists at the moment of creation and that all rights belong absolutely to the person at the moment that the work is born. Nevertheless, disputes over copyright occur and in many cases by sheer coincidence – particularly in music where it is almost impossible to not accidentally ‘borrow’ a phrase from some obscure or even not so

‘‘GIVEN THAT THE THIEF MUST LIVE UP TO THE CLAIM HE OR SHE HAS MADE, ONE MIGHT THINK THAT THEY WERE RISKING RIDICULE AT LEAST.” obscure work without realising the error. There are so many high profile examples of this, not least of all the George Harrison case in music or the Melania Trump/ Michelle Obama case with the spoken word (perhaps not so coincidental). These sometimes complex disputes can be deliberate or incidental. We have all absorbed oceans of books, music, photographs and internet images and it would be difficult to avoid occasional and innocent dips into subconscious influences to unwittingly use a phrase, a colour combination or a shape of notes that are derivative. But in my opinion, generally these are not executed with a single-minded intent to steal.

However, there is another activity which is all too prevalent in the commercial world where creativity meets commerce, competition and financial reward. Some call it plagiarism, a rather austere word that almost sounds acceptable. It is the right word, but I personally prefer to call it theft. And therein lies the difference between an entirely innocent misuse of something, sparked by a subconscious surfacing of a thought or influence, and the deliberate laying claim by someone to something created by someone else. This calculated act of misrepresenting oneself as the creator of something one did not create in order to gain recognition or business advantage is an interesting concept in that it is self-defeating in almost every way; so one has to ask oneself what the motive is behind it. Given that the thief must live up to the expectations of the claim he or she has made, one might think that they were risking ridicule at the very least. Furthermore, it is almost inevitable that they will be exposed, as creative communities are small and social media is ruthless in its ability to highlight, among other things, blatant misrepresentation. Thirdly, of course, is the fact that the imposter, once revealed, is showing that they do not have the ability to create anything of value themselves and so must sink to the level of presenting other people’s work to gain… what? Respect? Short lived. Advantage? Perhaps briefly. Self congratulation? Better to change direction; your career path is doomed and you would be better to turn your ambitions to something more within your creative orbit, such as driving a bus or serving tables (no disrespect meant to those honourable professions). I have come to see that there is too much of this behaviour going on in our industry. Artists live by the work they produce. It is their life blood. It is how they survive and earn a living. It is what they have and what they do. They probably cannot do much else because it is the fundamental essence that makes their lives complete and fires their inner drives. It is time for us, as a community, to stop creative theft and misrepresentation . How abusive to one’s peers it is to stand up and brag about another person’s hard work and claim it as yours. We must expose this when we see it, talk about it, not tolerate it, and let us respect creators for the genuine and inspiring work they do. The sooner this sense of integrity takes hold, the quicker we rid ourselves of unwanted second-rater,s the stronger the motivation and the better as a whole for all our creative industries.

By Barry Kirsch, chairman, BKP Group


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So how would you go about choosing what’s perfect for you? Here are seven ways to make the process simpler:

CHASING THE GOLDEN GOOSE Above Digital’s Namita Ramani looks at how to pick the right social media platforms for your business

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hey say numbers don’t lie, and with more than 58 per cent of the world’s population hooked on to social media platforms as of January 2022, and with 13 new users joining these platforms every second, it only makes sense that companies would want to leverage this landscape to grow their business. As a company that’s worked in the digital marketing space in the UAE for almost two decades, Above Digital has seen this unprecedented growth first-hand. Whether you’re a mom-and-pop store or Apple, social media can help you expand – but only if you know the what, why and how behind it. And, like any other decision, picking the right platform for your brand is less an amorphous concept and more of a science, albeit one that is continually evolving.

HANG OUT WITH YOUR AUDIENCE First and foremost, it’s imperative that you know where your audience likes to spend most of its time, and then reach them there. Facebook currently has the highest number of social media users, followed in close succession by YouTube and WhatsApp. But if your audience is spending most of its time on Instagram or TikTok (a platform that’s poised to see the most growth in 2022), then that’s where you need to set up shop. WHAT’S THE BUSINESS? The nature of your business will hugely affect which social media platform will work for you. For example, for a businessto-business (B2B) company, platforms like LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter lend credibility to the brand and help you easily reach other businesses. For a business-toconsumer (B2C) company, on the other hand, Facebook and Instagram are still major players and shouldn’t be ignored. KEEP UP WITH THE CHANGES On March 1 this year, TikTok announced that it would be extending its video content limit from three minutes to 10. Exactly a year ago, YouTube – generally known for its long-format videos – launched Shorts, a place for creators to post one-minute-long videos. And much before that, when Instagram released its video feature, it wiped the very popular Vine off the face of social media. All this is to say that social media is continually evolving, and if your audience is jumping on to what’s the latest and greatest (think metaverse or Web3), chances are you’ll have to, too. SCOPE OUT THE COMPETITION One of the more interesting ways to understand what social media platforms may work for you is to see what your competitors are doing. And the best indicator of what’s working and what’s not is, of course, customer engagement. What platform is getting the most likes, comments and shares? What type of content is getting the most engagement? Do static posts or video content get more responses? These questions can help guide your own content strategy and, in turn, the platforms you need to seek out. BE CONSISTENT Especially for small businesses, consistency can pay off in a big way. If

you can develop a consistent social media strategy and push it on all the major platforms that are relevant to your business, you can maximise reach with minimal effort. LET THE CONTENT GUIDE YOU What kind of content excites you as a brand and company? Understanding your brand’s voice and personality is key to unlocking this question. For instance,

‘‘WHAT KIND OF CONTENT EXCITES YOU AS A BRAND? UNDERSTANDING YOUR BRAND’S PERSONALITY IS KEY.”

being a B2B company doesn’t mean you always need to be serious and straightforward. A lot of B2B companies are now turning to TikTok because video content forms the crux of the current cultural zeitgeist. When implemented wisely, your TikTok channel can help you demonstrate your product, showcase your industry leadership skills and help introduce your staff via short and informational titbits and help you build valuable trust. THE SECRET SAUCE THAT BRINGS IT ALL TOGETHER Although championing the social media space is vital and the need of the hour, do not ignore your own online assets. The first, of course, is your company website, which is essentially your face in the digital space. Coming in second is your email list or client database. We at Above Digital predict that email will be key through 2023, so don’t forget to keep your communication channels open on your email, to ensure that you drive traffic straight to your website. By NAMITA RAMANI, founder & CEO, Above Digital


March 28, 2022

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

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

Ramadan is one of the Arab world’s most anticipated seasons for its noble values and the sentiments of togetherness it evokes. This makes it a period of importance for communication agencies seeking to capitalise on its inevitably resulting trends.

However, a winning Ramadan strategy is not just rooted in context. It is easy for a brand to simply communicate talking points or product offerings. However, that would risk them sounding tone-deaf at a time when community outreach and authentic conversations are the rules of the day. Nuance is a factor that needs to also be considered when planning promotional and communication campaigns for the holy month. Are people looking for thematic products and services? Absolutely, but they do not want to be peddled to. Companies must focus on empowering and reaching out to communities with authentic content on their preferred platforms and where they are most present.

75%

1/3

Muslims who would like brands to cater to them during Ramadan

Online users in the MENAT that block digital ads

Source: Arab News

89%

66%

look to TikTok for ideas on home decor, iftar and fashion

Amount of shopping TikTok users do over non-TikTok users during Ramadan

GAME CHANGER

BREAKING THE NET

#NOT

Sustainable education

Riddle me viral

Mind the gap

The Arab Youth Council on Climate Change signed a memorandum of understanding with HSBC to implement a ‘Sustainability Education’ initiative to train higher-education students in the sectors of sustainability and innovative climate solutions. This kind of partnership is a great example of how the private sector can positively impact the global sustainability agenda.

When it comes to the caped crusader’s upcoming movie, Warner Brothers has been brewing up a marketing storm, targeting every possible demographic. The Riddler reveal was a noteworthy teaser campaign that brought code breakers and puzzle enthusiasts to decipher the secret message ‘Gotham loves a comeback.’

When it comes to progress, nothing has been as slow to roll out worldwide as the elimination of the pay gender gap. As companies and global conglomerates marked International Women’s Day on 8 March, a Twitter bot replied with the gender pay gap at each company in question. The result is a sobering look at the current global workforce that is made more shocking given its existence in the 21st century.

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A VIEW FROM

Ramsey Naja BELIEVE IT OR NOT

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here’s something wonderful about the concept of Ramsey Naja is regional executive creative director ‘suspension of disbelief’. Not only is it the foundation of at DDB Middle East. the entire entertainment industry, but it also happens @geminisnake to come quite handy for everything related to information these days. I mean hey, look at politics: here you are, sending troops, tanks and the entire kitchen sink to ravage a country normally associated with watching corn grow but, just to make sure everybody gets the ‘real’ picture, you engage Disbelief Suspension Mode (DSM) and suddenly it is nothing but a little jaunt to pick fresh tulips under the spring sun and send them to mum on Mother’s Day. This is obviously made considerably easier by people’s propensity to see conspiracy theories everywhere and latch on to whatever ‘alternative’ narrative there is out there, but I digress. The fact is, DSM is not alien to our venerable industry. Indeed, it was activated at full throttle only recently at an industry event, as it often is. The trigger? That baffling statement that’s been with us ever since advertising became a nerd-fest of tech and innovation: “There has never been a better time for creativity.” Right then, rose-tinted spectacles on? Check. Nose extension? Check. DSM engaged? Roger that. Now you might think that such a statement would require an upgrade, a DSM 2.0 if you will. After all, going along with it does not require disbelief to be just suspended: it needs it to be bolted to the ceiling, strapped in space-age cables and wrapped in so many bondage-like belts that you’d want to stick a ball in its mouth and call it a gimp. Never a better time? For creativity? What time and what creativity, pray? The time when digital stalking is a perfectly legal pursuit and your privacy as invadable as Eastern Europe? The creativity that churns out mindless, inane, beige and vapid messages that no-one sees except for marketing and account execs? Maybe it’s in the equally unwatchable torrent of posts, carrousels and ‘stories’ that is vomited into social media with hardly any thought spared for persuading the recipient except for beating their subconscious into submission. Or maybe the kind of copywriting that picks thesaurus words willy-nilly to generate slogans that make as much sense as a Kamala Harris press conference. This is the reality, the hard reality. Turn off DSM and you’ll find that creativity – advertising, in fact – is in crisis. And not any crisis, but a full-blown crisis festival extravaganza, with shows and spectacles choreographed to the tune of blaring sirens and screaming children. The kind of crisis that threatens jobs and livelihoods, but more critically the actual meaning and purpose of what we do. Because the only creativity that these times are fostering is the one that hides under the cloak of ‘creative reputation’, and whose commercial value is, well, just as believable.

Motivate Media Group Head Office: 34th Floor, Media One Tower, Dubai Media City, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 4 427 3000, Email: motivate@motivate.ae Dubai Media City: SD 2-94, 2nd Floor, Building 2, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 4 390 3550, Fax: +971 4 390 4845 Abu Dhabi: Motivate Advertising, Marketing & Publishing, PO Box 43072, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Tel: +971 2 677 2005, Fax: +971 2 677 0124, Email: motivate-adh@motivate.ae London: Motivate Publishing Ltd, Acre House, 11/15 William Road, London NW1 3ER. motivateuk@motivate.ae www.motivatemedia.com EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Obaid Humaid Al Tayer Managing Partner and Group Editor Ian Fairservice Senior Editor Austyn Allison Junior Reporter Sofia Serrano DESIGN Art Directors Clarkwin Cruz, Sheila Deocareza Junior Designer Thokchom Remy ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES Tel: +971 4 427 3000 Chief Commercial Officer Anthony Milne Publisher Nadeem Ahmed Quraishi (+971 50 6453365) PRODUCTION General Manager S. Sunil Kumar Assistant Production Manager Binu Purandaran HAYMARKET MEDIA GROUP Chairman Kevin Costello Managing Director Jane Macken

The publishers regret that they cannot accept liability for error or omissions contained in this publication, however caused. The opinions and views contained in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. Readers are advised to seek specialist advice before acting on information contained in this publication which is provided for general use and may not be appropriate for the readers’ particular circumstances. The ownership of trademarks is acknowledged. No part of this publication or any part of the contents thereof may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the permission of the publishers in writing. An exemption is hereby granted for extracts used for the purpose of fair review. Campaign Middle East includes material reproduced from the UK Edition (and other editions) of Campaign, which is the copyright of Haymarket. Campaign is a trademark of Haymarket and is used under licence. The views and opinions expressed within this magazine are not necessarily those of Haymarket Magazines Limited or those of its contributors.

TECH TIPS

Meta ads top SKADNetwork rankings Apple’s privacy changes continue to disrupt both app marketers and mobile media companies, with 25 per cent of total budgets shifting from iOS to Android in 2021. AppsFlyer has released the 14th edition of its Performance Index, ranking the top media sources in mobile advertising. The newest edition is the first to measure activity completely post-Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) enforcement, and AppsFlyer examined the impact that the new privacy era has had on all aspects of the mobile ecosystem: iOS and Android, gaming and nongaming apps, self-reporting networks (SRNs) and non-SRNs. Meta ads have taken the top spot in the SKAdNetwork Index ranking. Apple’s ATT is approaching one year of enforcement, but mobile media sources continue to feel its repercussions following a chaotic year. After placing second in AppsFlyer’s previous SKAdNetwork (SKAN) Index, Meta ads have landed first place in the new SKAN ranking, coming in first in both power and volume positions in three out of four rankings. The social network was able to drive a higher scale than all other media sources, while its quality signals were best across in-app engagement for non-gaming apps, as well as in-app purchases (IAP) for both gaming and non-gaming. Placing first in the SKAN Index indicates that Meta’s internal modelling for SKAN is improving, driving better results for advertisers on the platform. Despite its top SKAN ranking, the post-ATT aggregate data reality has proven extremely challenging for Meta. Before ATT, the social networking giant dominated iOS rankings thanks to massive scale and top quality. However, in the new reality, its index volume remains much lower than pre-ATT, while the volume coming from consenting iOS users cannot compensate since most users do not consent to track.


March 28, 2022

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The state of creativity

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t the Snap-sponsored, pre-Lynx round table for creatives, there was a lot of talk about this region’s creative output. That was pretty much the point of the meeting. One creative asked a question about what mark this region makes in the creative world. Brazilian agencies are known for their craft. British copywriters have built up a reputation for wordplay. Some of the most seemingly sincere cause-led work is coming from the US, and other regions are known for their customer experience expertise, their ability to merge creativity and technology and more. But what does the Middle East bring? I was still pondering that question when I spoke to Malcolm Poynton at the Lynx Creative Leaders Dinner, hosted by Big Kahuna Films. The global chief creative officer at Cheil Worldwide had come to Dubai as chair of the Lynx’s Brand Experience & Activation Jury and said that he was impressed by the work done by government clients. His jury had awarded a Grand Prix to the Double Moon for the UAE Government Media Office, by MullenLowe Dubai. The UAE and wider GCC are perhaps ideally suited for government communicationss. For a start, government clients have a lot to talk about. Much of the economy is run by government, or government-related entities; rather than being behind the scenes, the state is very much front and centre in society. Governments in the region also put a premium on showcasing their achievements to the world and building national pride from within. Their projects are are impressive. Look at the UAE’s Mars Mission, for one. The UAE Media Office has worked with agencies including TBWA, Impact BBDO, FP7, MullenLowe and more to produce genuinely impressive work that has been seen by millions and recognised by the industry at home and abroad for its creativity. So perhaps this is what the region will bring to the international creative scene: best-in-class government communications. Dubai Tourism, Neom and the Museum of the Future are all government-related clients that are

making waves creatively. And the UAE GMO is leading the charge. It took home more than 15 Lynx trophies. That puts it up there with those dream private-sector clients that understand the power of imaginative work (Lynx Advertiser of the Year Ikea, I’m looking at you). Recognition at awards will build even more pride within government organisations around how well they communicate what they do to the Editor public and the wider world. And that pride is infectious. If austyn.allison@motivate.ae one government department is @maustyn so strongly recognised, I can see a lot of others getting inspired and motivated to show that they can create great work too. This could be the tipping point that sees other government offices asking their agencies to push the envelope and ‘give us something like that’. And from that, two more things may happen. First, more big private local companies will draw inspiration and follow suit to help build on their countries’ national pride at international awards shows. Second, when governments elsewhere in the world want best-in-class creativity, they will jump on an Emirates flight to meet their new agency that will make them shine. That is what the Middle East can bring to the international stage: the best public-sector work in the world. I could be wrong, of course. But look at what we are doing and tell me the pieces aren’t in place to make it happen.

AUSTYN ALLISON

We don’t control the conversation W

A VIEW FROM

DAVE TROTT

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

e like to think we control the conversation, but that isn’t how it works in the real world. For instance, in 1973, there was a run on the Toyokawa Shinkin bank: two billion yen was withdrawn in a matter of days because of a rumour of bankruptcy. The police investigated to see if a crime had been committed. They traced the rumour back to three schoolgirls on a train. On December 8, the girls were discussing where they’d be working after graduation – one said she had a job at the Toyokawa Shinkin bank. The other two, teasing her about bank robberies, said it sounded dangerous. Later, the girl asked her mother if the Toyokawa Shinkin bank was dangerous. Her mother misunderstood and asked a relative, who worked at a beauty salon, if she’d heard if the Toyokawa Shinkin bank was in danger.On 10 December, the relative asked the ladies who came into her beauty salon if they’d heard about the danger of the bank going bust. One of them owned a dry cleaner; she asked her customers if they heard the rumours. Now confirmation bias began to kick in; people heard the rumour back from people who had also heard the rumour, which proved it must have some foundation.

On December 13, the dry cleaner overheard a customer on the phone withdrawing 1.2 million yen from the bank (for a business expense). She assumed he was withdrawing his savings, so she withdrew her own 1.8 million yen.She warned friends who warned friends, and 59 depositors withdrew 50 million yen. A taxi driver said his passengers escalated from 2.15pm “The bank might be in danger”; to 2.30pm “The bank IS in danger”; to 4.30pm “The bank is going bankrupt”; to 6.00pm “The bank will not open tomorrow”. A policeman was sent to control the crowd but confirmationbias just proved his presence was further proof of the crisis. On December 14, the bank announced they’d pay all withdrawals, but they’d round them down to make repayments faster. Confirmation-bias interpreted this as proof that the bank couldn’t even pay interest. On December 15, Toyokawa Shinkin bank held a press conference displaying a pile of money, one metre high and five metres wide, in the vault. The national TV station, NHK, denied the rumour, as did newspapers: Asahi Shimbun, Yomiuri Shimbun and Mainichi Shimbun, plus the Bank of Japan, the Shinkin Central Bank and the National Association

of Shinkin Banks, all had to publicly deny the rumour. The Japanese financial authorities had to officially deny what began as a joke between three schoolgirls on a train. What is the learning there for us in this? The learning is negativity bias: bad news is more credible and spreads faster. Richard Shotton quotes Hans Rosling on the subject: “People think the world is more frightening, more violent and more hopeless – in short, more dramatic – than it really is.” And Shotton’s worry is: “This negativity bias doesn’t just affect the public, it affects professionals too, and it’s alive and kicking in marketing today. Think about the headlines and opinion pieces in the trade press. Whether it’s the death of TV, declining attention spans or the trust crisis, there’s an apocalyptic bent to them. And, if our perception differs from reality, we’ll make suboptimal decisions.” So, next time you hear TV is dead, or advertising is dead, or interruption is dead, remember how rumours spread. And remember the old Indian expression: “When a man has been bitten by a snake, he is frightened by a coil of rope.” And remember bad news is more dramatic: when we don’t control it, it controls us.


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Max Fashion… ‘My favourite part: the name-change solution proposed here is actually a big challenge of conventions .’(TH)

Museum of the Future… ‘UAE never ceases to fascinate.’ (VM)

UAE Government Media Office… ‘This concept is very charming and the documentary around it is well crafted, beautifully filmed.’ (TH)

AnNahar… ‘AnNahar is a creative’s dream newspaper.’ (VM)

Jeep… ‘Would’ve been great to see women feature in something as thrilling and adventurous as this.’ (VM)


March 28, 2022

65

Private View TILL HOHMANN

VIDYA MANMOHAN

Chief creative officer, Memac Ogilvy MENA

Founder & creative chairwoman, V4Good

MAX FASHION (1) The ‘cultural discovery’ of this concept is not all new, of course. Anyone living in this region for a bit knows, and yet it is very worthy to address. My favourite part: the name-change solution proposed here is actually a big challenge of conventions – but it comes across with ease and in good positive spirit. Here’s my challenge: It feels like a one-off video for the day rather than an actual programme driving change. So: nice discovery and nice film, but I would be a bit more impressed if this became a much bigger, visible, and longer lasting Max Fashion platform or brand-initiative.

Yes, we are a smaller network of people compared with the rest of the world. Yes, we have fresh new blood and aged fresh blood. Yes, each of us strives to make a difference and here’s proof. I was thrilled to see the optimism and bravado in this month’s work. From pushing the craft to originality of ideas to producing work that really matters – I’m glad to have seen it all in the mix here. Dear friends and family from the industry and outside of it, it’s always great to see work that connects with the real world and is not just meant to bag metal. I still wish for more global brands to create relevant local campaigns and not rely on global toolkits to do the heavy lifting. I still yearn to see the giants truly connect with this part of the world – to go beyond the surface to find that precious metal that no award can grant us.

MUSEUM OF THE FUTURE (2) Again, a nice piece of work. The team there seems to hit a lot of the right buttons. This stunt is impressive, befitting the amazing museum it promotes, and as such a connection well made. I’m sure the people on the ground will not forget the experience any time soon. Bravo. The glitch: The stunt is much better than the video. Is this video a case study attempt or audience-facing social? A bit too long, overindulgent on the flying (as much as I love it), idea not clear, messaging too late. UAE GOVERNMENT MEDIA OFFICE (3) This concept is very charming and the documentary around it is well crafted, beautifully filmed. Indeed, amazing proof how a place is more than meets the eye. In this case so well connected to the entirety of the UAE. Lovely work. I’m left wondering: Is this a one off, will there be more, is this a start of a rather nice emotionally branded documentary series? It could be a big platform. ANNAHAR (4) I love it and I hate it. The topic is relevant but depressing. Yes, a publishing group donating paper to print the ballots is a wonderful statement. It makes for a wonderful case. It is so purposeful. But I feel I have seen many similar cases about how things are so bad in Lebanon. I have seen so many nice campaigns and well-crafted cases – like this. And yet I feel it is only getting worse. Which begs the question: Is any of this work really making any difference? Can it? Again: I love this case, like many others in the past, but I would hate to learn that they don’t really matter. JEEP (5) I wonder, why are we still making these films. I know, we need localised footage for social and in-store media. Indeed, this video is best enjoyed with the sound off. Because the narrative is just marketing messaging made to sound nice. If you like a deep male voice say things like “There is a Jeep SUV that…”, leave the sound on. But I will say the team did a good job on the imagery and the craft.

MAX FASHION (1) It was a lovely attempt by Max Fashion to ride on the topic of dads being known by their first son’s name and to reverse it with ‘Abu Benti’. However, since this topic had been touched upon a few times by several other brands, I was hoping for it to be explored to the Max this time around. But I was happy to see a people’s fashion brand take to the streets and not the ramp. MUSEUM OF THE FUTURE (2) What less to expect from the most iconic building launch in the world? A direct mail that gets handed over by Iron-man in a jet suit, inviting people to the Museum of the Future. The UAE never ceases to fascinate, constantly proving that there is space for limitless explorations. People should take lessons on how to create talkability from the UAE. UAE GOVERNMENT MEDIA OFFICE (3) And yet another piece from the UAE Government Media Office that does just that, on a very different emotional level. I would’ve loved to see this campaign rise beyond just a film and actually connect with many more differentlyabled people. But I was pleasantly taken by surprise to see a ‘Winter in Dubai’ film hit a chord like this. Super proud. ANNAHAR (4) AnNahar is a creative’s dream newspaper. Lovely idea and relevant for the times. Hoping it really helps with the elections and to restore some much-needed peace and stability. JEEP (5) Great positioning for Jeep Middle East with ‘Wildly Civilised,’ and thoroughly enjoyed the craft of the film. It would’ve been great to see women feature in something as thrilling and adventurous as this. Signing off, filled with hope and optimism.

Max Fashion

Title: Abu Benti Agency: TBWA\RAAD

Museum of the Future

Title: Real life Iron Man promotes Museum of the Future Agency: MullenLowe MENA Production house: C-Zone

UAE Government Media Office

Title: A Winter Through My Eyes Agency: FP7 McCann Dubai Production house: Dejavu Dubai

AnNahar

Title: Election Edition Agency: Impact BBDO

Jeep

Title: Wildly Civilised Agency: Science & Sunshine Director: Gonzalo Olivero DOP: Jacob Møller Production house: Dejavu Dubai


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March 28, 2022

The Spin The Spin loves a good record being broken as much as the next person, so imagine our delight when we got a release about “the world’s largest fusion dance by doctors to pay tribute to the UAE for being a home away from home for Indian expats” being recognised as a world record. The question is, though: How long will it be before a larger fusion dance by doctors to pay tribute to the UAE for being a home away from home for Indian expats comes along to usurp this? March 8 was International Women’s Day. The official website describes this as “a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Significant activity is witnessed

worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women’s achievements or rally for women’s equality.” Many marketers, though, see it as another opportunity to sell stuff, offering Women’s Day sales and patronising offers like a “complimentary Pink N Perky drink” for ladies (that happened!). This year we were particularly impressed by the bank offering a discount on doughnuts, a deal which The Spin struggled to connect with any of the Women’s Day themes. And even Apple, a multinational company that should really know better, sent a message to users of its Watch’s Activity app suggesting they work out “to celebrate women around the world”. Because nothing is as empowering as being told you need more exercise.

Appointments PR agency Katch has expanded its team and brought in HUDA ISMAIL as the new engagement director. Armed with more than 18 years of experience, Ismail has worked with both clients and agencies. HUSSEIN DAJANI is leaving Nissan Motor Co. for a partner role with Deloitte Digital in the Middle East. Dajani has worked with the likes of WPP and Publicis, overseeing some of their largest regional clients, and was recognised as a high potential leader by WPP, being awarded the coveted WPP Young High Potential Leaders Award. Carma has recently appointed PAULINE SORBA-KAO as general manager of people management,

culture and performance to oversee 665 employees across 19 countries working for Carma and Socialeyez, Carma’s digital, sister agency. CHARLES EDDY has joined MRM Middle East, North Africa & Turkey as general manager with a remit to support the agency’s fast-paced growth, drive excellence and effectiveness as well deliver best-in-class client success. Careem has appointed ROHAN KAPOOR as the new digital marketing director. Kapoor is a digital marketing expert with more than 12 years of experience. In this new role, Kapoor will be

setting up best-in-class digital marketing strategies that will help acquire users for the platform and across its services. Grey Group has announced the appointment of NOOR HASSANEIN as head of strategy, Grey Dubai. Hassanein will be responsible for driving business transformation, developing strategy and communication frameworks for clients across multiple sectors including tech and telcos, finance and FMCG. DAVI SING LIU takes on a new role as Grey’s chief creative officer for P&G Asia, Middle East & Africa (AMEA). Based in Shanghai, Liu will be part of Grey’s P&G Global Leadership Team, reporting to Javier Campopiano, the

worldwide chief creative officer, Grey Group. Wunderman Thompson has appointed PABLO ‘DAF’ DACHEFSKY as executive creative director for its Dubai office, overseeing a diverse crossdisciplinary team with disciplines including design, content, CX, tech and innovation. He joins from PUBLICIS/ WYSIWYG Spain, where he recently worked on the famed ‘Moldy Whopper’ campaign. Grand Millennium Business Bay has a new director of marketing and communications. ANU VAN DER SANDE steps into the role to assume the leadership of the hotel’s marketing strategies. She has worked for more than eight years in the Dubai hospitality sector.


OPPORTUNITY TO WIN A HERIOT-WATT SCHOLARSHIP IN CAMPAIGN’S AGENCY FACES TO WATCH! Heriot-Watt University Dubai has partnered with Campaign Middle East for the second consecutive year to present Campaign’s annual Agency Faces to Watch list. The list offers the brightest and best young talents aged 30 and under working in Creative, Media, Digital and PR agencies in the MENA region the opportunity to win a scholarship to a Master’s degree in Digital Marketing at its Edinburgh Business School.

WHAT’S UP FOR GRABS?

• One 100% scholarship • 4 x 30% scholarships to the winner of each category (four categories – creative, media, digital and PR) • Candidates will have to submit a 500-word essay to qualify for the above scholarships, detailing how this course could help them to further in their future career in marketing, to be judged by a panel

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO?

Visit: campaignme.com/agency-faces-to-watch-2022

LAST DATE TO SUBMIT YOUR NOMINATIONS:

April 5, 2022


THIS IS A SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE AD: THERE’S NO DENYING IT - THE WORLD IS A MESS. FASCISM RUNS RAMPANT, MISOGYNY IS OUT OF CONTROL AND SCORES OF LITTLE CHILDREN STUBBORNLY REFUSE TO EAT THEIR VEGETABLES. THE OCEAN HAS FAR TOO MUCH PLASTIC, NOT NEARLY ENOUGH FISH AND CONTINUES TO BE FAR TOO SALTY/NOT NEARLY SALTY ENOUGH, DEPENDING ON WHICH INTERN IS DOING THE RESEARCH. SOME OF US ARE RACIST, ALL OF US ARE BIASED AND NONE OF US ARE GETTING ENOUGH VITAMIN D. POLITICS? DON’T GET US STARTED ON POLITICS. WASHINGTON’S A SWAMP, LEBANON’S A POLITICAL QUAGMIRE AND ICELAND’S MINISTER OF FISHERIES IS INCORRIGIBLE. OLIGARCHS HAVE TOO MUCH MONEY, THE RED CRESCENT IS UNDERFUNDED AND THE PYGMY TRIBES IN THE CONGO HAVE ACCESS TO NEITHER FRESH WATER, THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS NOR TIKTOK. POINT IS, IT’S ROUGH OUT THERE. THANKFULLY, OUR INDUSTRY IS IN THE HABIT OF REWARDING GOOD IDEAS. AND SAVING THE WORLD? THAT’S THE BEST IDEA EVER. AT LEAST ON PAPER. YOU SEE, SAVING THE WORLD (OR PRETENDING TO) IS SUCH A GOOD IDEA THAT NOWADAYS IT'S THE ONLY IDEA THAT SEEMS TO MATTER. REAL CHANGE TAKES CREATIVITY. BUT IT ALSO TAKES COMMITMENT, COURAGE AND TIME. TO WHIT, THE WORLD NEEDS MORE REAL SOLUTIONS AND FEWER CASE STUDY VIDEOS. BECAUSE IT’S NOT JUST WHAT YOU DO THAT MATTERS. IT’S WHY. THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH TRYING TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE. VIRTUE IS ITS OWN REWARD. BUT BEFORE YOU SPEND ANOTHER FLUSTERED EVENING SCREEN-SHOTTING TWEETS, MAYBE ASK YOURSELF IF THAT’S REALLY THE REWARD YOU’RE CHASING. WE KNOW WE WILL. WWW.AND-US.AGENCY


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