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Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

The Connect answer

In Advertising, Communicate, Digital, Dubai, Marketing, Media, Opinion, Published journalism on November 29, 2010 at 6:43 pm

The company that sells space on MSN Arabia and Facebook tells us why online media needs representation

Originally published in Communicate, July 2010

Recently, Communicate met up with Mohamed El Sayed, general manager of MSN Arabia, and Mohamed El Mehairy, managing director of digital media representation company Connect Ads. Both men were in Dubai for a Microsoft Summit, where the Microsoft Network (MSN) sells itself to potential advertisers. Communicate hoped they could explain some aspects of the MSN-Connect Ads business model. Read the rest of this entry »

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A question of trust

In Communicate, Digital, Dubai, Journalism, Media, Opinion on November 28, 2010 at 8:26 pm

With more sources of news, “Who do I believe?” is becoming “How much do I believe them?”

Originally published in Communicate, July 2010

What media can you trust? The question came up when Dubai’s Shelter hosted a round-table discussion entitled, “Journalism 2.0.” It marked the launch of SAE Institute’s diploma in digital journalism. The debate pitted old journalism against new journalism. Read the rest of this entry »

Shelfish thoughts

In Advertising, Communicate, Dubai, Marketing, Opinion, Published journalism on November 24, 2010 at 7:33 pm

As TBWA/Raad launches Integer, the region’s latest shopper marketing agency, the discipline’s big challenge will not be shifting product but keeping clients focused on their brands

Originally published in Communicate, May 2010

Everyone’s getting into shopper marketing these days. OgilvyAction has been around for a while, and Saatchi launched its shopper marketing arm, Saatchi & Saatchi X, in October 2009. Last month, TBWA/Raad joined the fray, with the launch of a MENA office for Omnicom shopper marketing agency Integer.

More shopper marketing agencies mean more buzzwords from the discipline that brought us wobblers and danglers. At March’s Dubai International Advertising Festival, Simon Hathaway, the CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi X in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, waxed lyrical about “storeback thinking,” “the shopping cycle,” “destripping the store,” and “return on involvement,” before getting to the crucial question: “How will it play on-shelf?” Read the rest of this entry »

Defining moment

In Communicate, Dubai, Marketing, Opinion, Published journalism on November 24, 2010 at 7:13 pm

The Brand Union discusses the agency’s business at its global conference in Dubai, but does branding itself need a makeover?

Originally published in Communicate, May 2010

The Brand Union last month hosted 45 of its global bosses in Dubai for the branding agency’s annual conference. No doubt if we’d asked, there would have been talk of what an important growth market the Middle East is, and how some of the most exciting brands of tomorrow will come out of this region. We suspect that cheap hotel rooms and the plush Media City offices that house Hermann Behrens and his team might have slightly more to do with it. Since we were invited – along with other journos and clients – to a round table on branding – with free food and drink – we decided not to ask. Read the rest of this entry »

Super TED

In Dubai, Marketing, Opinion, Published journalism on November 24, 2010 at 3:47 pm

TEDx Dubai’s mixed bag of speakers might have spouted the odd cliché, but they knew how to hold an audience

Originally published in Communicate, November 2009

Last month saw the first TEDx Dubai, a regional spin off of the globally renowned ideas conference, in which key speakers and big thinkers can share ideas across a limitless range of topics with each other – and a local audience. Read the rest of this entry »

Production values

In Communicate, Opinion, Published journalism, Television on November 24, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Abu Dhabi’s new studio complex doesn’t need to be No. 1 – as long as it works properly

Originally published in Communicate, November 2009

At the end of September, Abu Dhabi’s media hub twofour54 launched its production, post-production and broadcast facilities. Collectively, they are called intaj (that’s Arabic for “production”).

The new facilities are based around five studios, ranging from 60 square meters to just over 600 square meters. Giant doors (“You can literally get an elephant through those,” says a spokesman) lead to studios decked out for filming in high definition (HD), a technology tipped to become the industry’s new standard. Read the rest of this entry »

Chat’s the way to do it

In Communicate, Dubai, Journalism, Opinion, Public relations, Published journalism on November 24, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Communicate joins the Ramadan feeding frenzy and finds that focus-free feasting will serve a good host well

Originally published in Communicate, October 2009

“It was like the buffet was a wounded gazelle and the marketing folk were starved lions,” says one friend of Communicate, talking about an iftar to which we weren’t invited (This is unthinkable, don’t they know who we are?).

Well, it’s reassuring to know that we journalists aren’t alone in being, “a bunch of good-for-nothing freeloading gannets” (in the words of the same friend) during Ramadan. For many in the press pack the Holy Month is all about getting fed, and in these strained times the frenzy for freebie food has seemed even more desperate than usual. And rightly so – this could be the only dining out most of us manage all year. Read the rest of this entry »

The need for speed

In Communicate, Dubai, Opinion, Published journalism on November 23, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Is two minutes enough time to forge a creative collaboration? The organizers of Match networking night think it is

Originally published in Communicate, September 2009

A bell chimes. Members of the crowd shuffle round like players in a game of musical chairs, and collectively take their seats. Everyone is now sitting opposite someone they’ve never met before. They lean forward and begin to sell themselves to their new acquaintances. Fast.

Speed is of the essence at Match, a creative networking night hosted by Shelter, a “community workspace” in Dubai. Arts organization Thinking Cloud and events-company 9714 were also behind the night. According to organizer Sonia Brewin, the inspiration for the idea was speed dating. Read the rest of this entry »

A wishbone of contention

In Advertising, Communicate, Dubai, Opinion, Published journalism on November 23, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Pride of Young Lions fails to roar

Originally published in Communicate, June 2009

Last month Communicate was invited to be among the 40 or so judges of the Cannes Young Lions competition in Dubai. The contest pitted teams of young creatives against one another to see who would win the chance to go and represent the UAE in Cannes this month.

Each year the competition picks a charity and the ads are created – in nine hours – against that noble cause’s brief. This year, the client was the UAE Make a Wish Foundation. The foundation grants wishes to seriously ill children between the ages of three and 18, and the brief was simply to raise brand awareness.

Some of the work on display looked like it could have been put together by those children. If their dying wish had been to work at an advertising agency, this might have been what they produced. It might have been quite impressive if the young creatives behind it were, say, at school. But they’re not; they are working at agencies. And not as interns, either; as fully paid-up members of staff. Read the rest of this entry »

Ladies’ night

In Advertising, Communicate, Dubai, Opinion, Published journalism on November 23, 2010 at 6:30 pm

No toil or trouble at Adwomen ME’s first TrendTalks sessions

Originally published in Communicate, May 2010

ACT I
SCENE I. A desert place.
Thunder and lightning. Enter witches

Ah, the opening of Macbeth. It was the first thing which sprang to mind when Communicate was invited to the inaugural Adwomen ME TrendTalks, a get-together of 50 female members and various speakers organized by Adwomen Middle East. It was hard to escape visions of cauldrons and an evil coven, eager to boil this male journo alive. Read the rest of this entry »