Burger King's Whopper Island ad takes aim at McDonald's in playful rivalry

Burger King's latest campaign, created by DM9 Brazil, has stirred up attention by inviting people to participate in renaming an island to "Whopper Island." The island in question currently shares its name with Burger King's famous rival, McDonald's, adding an extra layer of wit to the marketing initiative.The campaign, launched through a mockumentary-style ad and user-interaction campaign, cleverly plays on the rivalry between the two fast-food giants while engaging the audience in an interactive way. By encouraging people to join the movement and interact with the campaign online, Burger King Brazil is leveraging the power of user-generated content and social media to amplify its message.The call to action for viewers to join the online movement by using the hashtag #IlhaWhopper and leaving comments on Google Maps not only engages consumers but also generates buzz and virality around the campaign. Offering Whopper discount vouchers as incentives further incentivizes participation and helps spread the message even further.This approach not only generates buzz and excitement around the brand but also fosters a sense of community and participation among consumers. By tapping into humor and creativity, Burger King Brazil continues to demonstrate its innovative and playful approach to marketing, further solidifying its position as a bold and attention-grabbing brand in the competitive fast-food industry.<iframe width="560" height="315" src="" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Celebrate Chinese New Year on Hudayriyat Island

Bring your friends and family to welcome the Year of the Dragon with amazing Chinese-themed shows and activities at Marsana on Hudayriyat Island, Abu Dhabi’s premier leisure and sports hub developed by Modon. Keep an eye out for the stilt walker and dragon show that will be roaming around the vibrant venue against the backdrop of beautifully decorated sets and breathtaking waterfront views. Take a seat to enjoy the drummer duo show, the dragon dance, the traditional umbrellas dance, and the kung fu show that will be happening throughout the evening. And if you stay until the end, you get to watch all the performers come together to put on a spectacular final show. For a hands-on experience, you can try various artistic activities, such as fan painting and kids’ artwork. Location:    Entertainment area at Marsana, Hudayriyat IslandDate:          Saturday, February 10, 2024 Timings:     Roaming Dragon Show:                                 4pm – 4:30pm                   Traditional Umbrellas Dance:                          4:30pm – 5pm                     Roaming Stilt Walker + Kung Fu Show:           5pm – 5:30pm                    Drummer Duo Show with Dragon Dance:          5:30pm – 6pm Traditional Umbrellas Dance:                          6:40pm – 7pm         Dragon Dance:                                               7pm – 7:15pm Roaming Stilt Walker + Kung Fu Show:           7:15pm – 7:40pm          Drummer Duo Show with Dragon Dance:          8pm – 8:30pm Roaming Dragon Show:                                 8:30pm – 9pm          Final Show Featuring All Performers:              9:00pm – 9.15pm                       Entrance fees: No Entry Fee

YouTube's 'Hekayat YouTube' series engages Saudi youth and decision-makers

There has been an exciting initiative by YouTube to engage with the youth in Saudi Arabia through their flagship series Hekayat YouTube. The special edition of Hekayat YouTube focuses on Saudi youth, aiming to create a platform for dialogue between decision-makers and Gen-Z in the Kingdom.The series brings together top Saudi YouTube creators and influential public figures from Saudi Arabia to discuss various topics such as the future of jobs, artificial intelligence, wellbeing and quality of life, the creator economy, and sports.Diverse Saudi creators from various fields including lifestyle, health, technology, and investment are participating in the series. Some of the notable creators and contributors mentioned are Beeko, Faisal Alsaif, Sukkari Life, and Faris Alturki. Additionally, influential members from the public and private sectors in Saudi Arabia are participating, such as representatives from the Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence, the Quality of Life Program, and private sector leaders.Tarek Amin, YouTube’s Director in MENA, highlighted the importance of the vibrant creator community in Saudi Arabia and how YouTube serves as a reflection of what's top of mind for Saudi youth. The initiative aims to provide a platform for creators to engage with decision-makers and share their experiences.With 63% of Saudis under the age of 30, YouTube's reach in Saudi Arabia is significant. YouTube data indicates that the platform reached over 20 million people in Saudi Arabia over the age of 18 in December 2022, with the average person watching over 55 minutes of YouTube per day in June 2022.The series consists of five episodes and is available on YouTube Arabia’s YouTube channel, participating creator’s channels, and major podcast platforms such as Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Anghami, and Deezer.The first episode, titled "Play it Forward with YouTube," premiered on January 31 on Ana Beeko’s YouTube channel, YouTube Arabia’s YouTube Channel, and major podcast platforms. Subsequent episodes will be released weekly.This initiative seems well-designed to engage with Saudi youth through content that resonates with their interests and concerns, while also providing them with a platform to interact with decision-makers

Oliver Wyman appoints new Wellbeing lead, extends paid maternity leave

Oliver Wyman, a global management consulting firm and a business of Marsh McLennan, has extended its maternity leave and has also appointed a Wellbeing Lead for across its India, Middle East, and Africa (IMEA) region. The Wellbeing Lead is a new role for the company that is designed to promote health and happiness among employees and bolster retention. Meanwhile, the increase in parental leave now means all new parents in the IMEA region are eligible for six months of paid maternity leave, or eight weeks of paid paternity leave. This change ensures consistency across the entire region, bringing the maternity leave offering in line with what was already available in India. The policy applies to offices in the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Qatar, and India.Additionally, returning mothers will be offered an additional eight paid days off in the first eight weeks after they return. Employees returning from maternity leave will also be given the option to take a 12-month ‘no-travel guarantee’ to help with a smooth transition back to work, while new fathers will be offered flexibility regarding travel arrangements.Meanwhile, many of Oliver Wyman’s newly renovated offices, such as its Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Doha offices, also feature multi-purpose wellness and nursing rooms to help new mothers with their return to the workplace. Overall, Oliver Wyman is designing its offices to suit the adjusting needs of today’s hybrid workforce – with ample collaboration areas and breakout rooms, for instance.The company has also implemented a program called BOOST 2.0, which aims to provide support to employees before, during, and after their parental leave to ease the transition to parenthood while supporting their career. A key element of the program is that the support continues into the later stages of parenting – it offers regular check-ins for parents, a buddy system for support, trainings, workshops, and more.The newly appointed Wellbeing Lead, Clare McDonald, will be responsible for managing the wellbeing of employees across the IMEA region. McDonald joined Oliver Wyman in 2013 and has worked across the company’s Talent Management function for the past 10 years – she will combine this essential experience with her qualifications in mental health, first aid, personal training, yoga, and nutrition coaching. McDonald will act as the company’s central point of contact for Wellbeing across Oliver Wyman IMEA, and her focus will be on employee support and engagement, data collection and analysis, and designing programs to enhance employee wellbeing.“To drive progress in human capital acquisition and retention, companies must go beyond traditional compensation models and foster safe, equitable, and healthy work environments. People are at the heart of what we do at Oliver Wyman and the wellbeing of our employees and providing everyone with support along their personal journey is a key part of our value proposition. We are thrilled to have Clare take on this new role, the first of its kind in our business, and we know she will approach it with a lot of passion, as well as support from leadership. Leading with heart isn't just the right thing to do, it's also good for business,” said Isabell Stobwasser, Director of Talent for the IMEA Region.“Drawing upon my own health journey, I hope to support and inspire my Oliver Wyman colleagues to thrive – physically, mentally and emotionally, both inside and outside of work,” said Clare McDonald, the new Wellbeing Lead. “Management consulting is a demanding industry, and prioritizing wellbeing is a challenge that needs to be looked at holistically.”Oliver Wyman has made significant investments globally in support of its Talent Value Proposition initiative, an internal program aimed at increasing employee satisfaction and retention. The pillars of this proposition encompass various initiatives, including an exchange program, MBA study support, and a Golden Passport program that provides consultants and specialists with opportunities to work across multiple regions. Additionally, the company also places strong emphasis on its Employee Resource Groups, which serve as spaces for employees to connect, foster allyship, and receive support. These include Women at Oliver Wyman and Family Life at Oliver Wyman.

Emirates Post Group unveils new brand identity ‘7X’ for future

Emirates Post Group Company (EPG) has unveiled its new brand identity - 7X - during an exclusive event at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai. The unveiling marks a strategic leap for the Group, positioning it as a front-runner in the ever-evolving landscape of global trade, transport, and logistics.The name 7X is symbolic, representing the connectivity of the seven emirates to the seven continents and across the seven seas, marking a commitment to enabling a world in motion. This strategic shift aligns seamlessly with the Group’s ambitious five-year strategy - which prioritises operational excellence, digital transformation, customer-centricity, cultivation of strategic partnerships, and promotion of sustainable growth.With entities like Emirates Post, FINTX, and EDC under its umbrella, 7X seeks to achieve a robust return on investments across all projects. The new strategy places innovation at its core, incubating a network of trade, transport, and logistics solutions for an efficient, dynamic, and future-ready ecosystem. It is aimed at propelling growth by establishing a resilient business model that represents the group's strategy pillars: Protect, Transform and Expand.Badr Salim Sultan Al-Olama, Chairman of 7X, said: “With the launch of our Group’s new strategy and identity, we aim to connect and enable a world in motion, deriving our vision from the global stature enjoyed by the UAE and its pivotal role as a connecting the world. This achievement underscores our pioneering endeavours to support the national economy and solidifies our position as a driving force dedicated to empowering, connecting, accelerating, and sustaining the growth of trade, transport, and logistics. in addition to uphold the highest standards of excellence.”The new strategy is geared towards further strengthening the company’s global footprint and fostering a positive influence on the communities served by 7X. The brand seeks to further enhance its contribution to the UAE’s vision of smart communities through a global network that leverages technology and collaborative efforts for enhanced efficiency in global operations.In addition, the strategy sets new standards for quality, speed, reliability, and transparency in postal and express delivery. It responds to changing consumer demands by combining Courier, Express, and Parcel (CEP) services with fintech solutions, revolutionising the industry.Commenting on the launch of the new identity and its transformation strategy, Abdulla Mohammed Alashram, Group CEO of 7X, stated, "In this historic step, we embark on a new chapter under the '7X' brand, signifying our unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional customer experiences and enriching their value. Our rich legacy and growing experience in the UAE and the region have always been pillars of our socio-economic evolution, in line with the national vision for digitization, e-commerce, logistics, and financial integration. We pledge to continue our technological and sustainable investments, affirming our environmental responsibility and dedication to innovation that aligns with market dynamics."Alashram, added, "Our new strategy aims to reinforce our core operations and enhance their stability while focusing on achieving operational excellence through improved efficiency and productivity. This strategy not only highlights the expansion and diversification of our portfolio but also reflects our resolve to drive innovation in an ever-evolving sector."By embracing innovation and sustainable practices, the Group envisions not only economic growth but also a contribution to environmental responsibility and social well-being. Through strategic partnerships and continuous investment in digitalization, 7X is poised to play a pivotal role in shaping a more interconnected, resilient, and inclusive global trade and logistics landscape.

Karcher Center makes debut in Muscat

 The first Karcher Center in Oman was inaugurated at Ghala Industrial Area in Muscat on Wednesday, 31 January 2024.The official ribbon-cutting ceremony was conducted in the presence of a number of Omani dignitaries and German officials, including His Excellency Dirk Lölke, German Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman, Ms. Sousann El-Faksch, Head of Oman German Industry & Commerce Office (AHK). Also in attendance were senior executives, Christian May, Deputy CEO & Chief Sales Officer, Alfred Kärcher SE & Co. KG, and Joe Lahoud, Regional President, Karcher - Middle East Region.“Karcher is a family-owned enterprise with a heritage of 89 years in business. We firmly believe in values and relationships that stand the test of time,” said Joe Lahoud. “Our customers in Oman share much of the same values, and we are confident that the Karcher Center Muscat will send a clear signal of our commitment to work together to meet their needs.”Over the last 50 years, Karcher has built a loyal client-base for its household and professional cleaning equipment across 14 countries in the Middle East. Oman is expected to be an important market for Karcher’s ambitions for expansion in the region.“The Karcher Center at Ghala will not only offer a comprehensive one-stop shop for innovative, high-quality products, it will also be a vital distribution and logistics hub for our dealers and retail partners across the Sultanate,” explained Joe Lahoud. “Moreover, we have a full-fledged service center manned by highly trained Karcher technicians, and equipped to provide best-in-class after-sales support to our Omani customers.”Karcher is a renowned brand in cleaning technology with a presence in 80 countries, a multinational team of 15,000+ professionals, a portfolio of 3000+ products and accessories, and a network of 50,000+ service centers worldwide.The company's diverse product portfolio includes high-pressure cleaners, vacuum cleaners, steam cleaners, air purifiers, municipality sweepers, scrubber driers, vehicle washing bays, dry ice blasters, watering systems, and drinking water dispensers.

Aunindo Sen joins Publicis Middle East as Executive Creative Director

Aunindo (Auni) Sen, an industry veteran with 16 years of experience working with some of the world’s leading brands and largest agencies, has joined Publicis Middle East, part of Publicis Groupe ME, as Executive Creative Director. He will co-lead the creative department together with Tuki Ghiassi, Executive Creative Director.Auni is rejoining Publicis Groupe ME after two years, having previously worked with Leo Burnett ME as Senior Creative Director. Familiar with the Groupe’s relentless focus on excellence, in his new role as Executive Creative Director, he will help drive best-in-class work for the agency’s enviable roster of brands as well as support the growth of the agency’s portfolio across verticals. As part of this, he will also join in on the agency’s objective of transforming into one of the most attractive talent propositions in the region.Previously, Auni has worked with the likes of BBDO, FP7McCann and JWT across the GCC and Asia leading award-winning regional and global campaigns for multinational brands such as Ferrero, Coca-Cola, Mars, Nestlé CPW, Unilever, Dettol, United Nations and more. He has over 150+ regional and international awards under his belt including Cannes Lions, Dubai Lynx, MENA Effies, D&AD and Adfest, and won the first Glass Lion at Cannes for MENA. He also recently served on the Cannes Lions jury, and was ranked as one of the world’s best copywriters in The Big Won report.Commenting on his appointment, Auni said: “Publicis Middle East is not just an Agency. It’s the name that represents an entire Groupe that has transformed communications globally. As the namesake Agency of the Groupe, we have our work cut out for us. But this is something I can safely say, is the part of the job that I relish the most. With the talent-first focus of Publicis Groupe ME and its Leadership, we are absolutely primed to not only mirror its reputation but to take it to a new level.”Nathalie Gevresse, CEO of Publicis Communications UAE, said:“We’re thrilled to welcome Auni back to the Groupe. His return underscores our commitment to attracting and nurturing top talent, setting the stage for an exciting new chapter of growth, creative excellence, and innovation for Publicis Middle East.”

Adgully ME in conversation with Alex Malouf

Today, we're honored to have Alex Malouf as our guest, a renowned figure in the Middle East region, especially in the realm of corporate communications. Alex has been recognized for his groundbreaking work, being named the first communications innovator in the MEA region by the Holmes Report, and acknowledged as a Rising Star and future Chief Communications & Marketing Officer by PRovoke Media.As a PRCA MENA board member and a seasoned communication veteran with two decades of experience in the region, Alex brings a wealth of insights to the table. In this exclusive conversation, he'll shed light on his journey in corporate communications in the MENA region, emphasizing his efforts in promoting sustainability within the sector. Given the growing awareness and emphasis on environmental and social issues, Alex's perspective is invaluable.What sets this discussion apart is the opportunity to delve into Alex's lesser-known journalistic background. Many may not be aware of his magazine venture from a decade ago, and we're eager to hear him share insights from that experience.Without further ado, let's dive into our conversation with Alex Malouf, where he'll provide firsthand insights into his remarkable career and the evolving landscape of corporate communications in the Middle East.<iframe width="560" height="315" src="" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen></iframe>

DORITOS launches first international brand platform, 'For the Bold in Everyone'

Doritos is debuting the brand's first-ever unified international creative campaign and brand platform, 'For the Bold in Everyone', strategically redefining the meaning of "bold" and inspiring people to be triangles in a world of circles. A daring call to shatter stereotypes in unexpected and humorous ways, the witty new platform is inspired by the universal human truth that sometimes people hide parts of themselves to fit in. The brand wants to encourage people to rethink their personal biases and embrace their own edges and passions. DORITOS® Launches First International Brand Platform, ‘For the Bold in Everyone’ "Doritos has always been synonymous with 'bold,' but we know it's time to redefine and evolve it's meaning to continue to drive relevance with new generations" says Fernando Kahane, Head of Global Marketing for Doritos. "Today's consumers want brands that believe in something. 'For the Bold in Everyone' aims to strike the right balance between having a point of view and delivering entertaining and humorous content that is true to the brand and the snack category as a whole." 'For The Bold in Everyone' makes its international premiere this year with a trio of unexpected and fun spots all created by Goodby Silverstein & Partners and directed by BAFTA Award-winning director Gary Freedman. The commercials showcase how a single brand idea can be flexible, telling emotional and personal stories, as well as functional to support potential brand renovations or new product launches. From challenging viewers to rethink their assumptions to celebrating the unique flavour and iconic crunch of Doritos, each commercial is unified by the overarching goal of embracing boldness in all its facets.Doritos' new campaign will run throughout 2024 and is spearheaded by a global film about a grandmother who, at first glance, is getting her license renewed, but unexpectedly reveals she is a woman who defies societal pre-conceptions and fulfils her dream of driving a Monster Truck – all told by her supportive grandson who accompanies her every step of the way on this journey full of tenderness, adrenaline, and unexpected twists."This was such a ridiculously fun idea! Funny, cinematic, absurd, and soulful all at the same time," says director Gary Freedman."This campaign is a great example of how humour can help communicate a strong message in an accessible way without losing its essence; the campaign is intended to elevate the brand on an international level and give it an expanded perspective, one that introduces a new brand philosophy," said Margaret Johnson, CCO of Goodby Silverstein & Partners, the agency behind the campaign.The campaign in the UK also includes social and digital advertising, created by Sips & Bites, PepsiCo's in-house creative agency, which features real stories from the UK and around the world, applauding those who embrace all their edges and passions. This includes Chloe Kelly, a female footballer who delivered a more powerful shot than any recorded in the top England men's football tournament 22/23¹; Pete & Bas – Britain's oldest Grime MCs; Dan Mancina, a blind professional skateboarder and Colette Zacca, the 'Dancing Granny' who took the 2019 Notting Hill Carnival by storm.Globally, 'For the Bold in Everyone' is a key priority for the future of the brand. As well as running in the UK, the campaign will launch in Australia and other European markets such as Spain and the Netherlands in Q1, with roll-out plans across Latin America and other key international markets throughout 2024 - marking the first of many stories to be told in an enduring international brand platform to drive a distinctive and consistent brand narrative over the coming years.

Dopay names Ahmed Nassef as Chief Operating Officer and GM

dopay, a leading fintech and payment solutions company in Egypt, announces the appointment of Ahmed Nassef as its new Chief Operating Officer (COO) and General Manager. This announcement was made during an exclusive roundtable event, highlighting the company's commitment to instant digital payroll for companies and financial inclusion for Egypt’s millions of unbanked workers.In addressing the challenges within Egypt's financial landscape, dopay – licensed as a banking agent by the Central Bank of Egypt – is committed to transforming the country's financial sector. Leveraging an advanced cashless payroll and payments solution, dopay makes it much easier for companies to pay their employees, freelancers, and contractors by quickly replacing high-risk and cumbersome cash payments to these workers with fast and secure digital payments.Further, dopay can deliver pre-paid cards to these workers within days, who can then use any ATM in Egypt to access their salaries, and they can also use them to shop at any point-of-sale merchant that accepts MasterCard.Ahmed Nassef brings a wealth of experience, which he amassed during his 20-year tenure in the tech scale-ups and startup business growth in several countries across the region. He played an important role in expanding access to the Internet and Arabic digital content as part of his previous roles leading and as Yahoo!’s chief executive for the Middle East and Africa region. With this appointment, he now takes on the challenge of giving access to the digital financial system to millions of Egyptian employees and workers who currently still use cash as their primary transactional method. Expressing his enthusiasm about joining dopay Egypt, Ahmed Nassef, COO and General Manager, said: "I am truly honored and excited to be part of such an important and impactful fintech company. dopay's mission resonates deeply with me — to empower and provide essential financial services to millions of unbanked Egyptian employees and workers. Egyptian workers deserve access to the financial mainstream, and we are dedicated to offering them world-class financial accessibility, starting with our dopay prepaid card."As a seasoned business leader with a long track record in the region’s technology and startup sector, Nassef will oversee all operations of the company, including sales and marketing, collaboration with businesses and financial partners, customer onboarding, support, and logistics, plus the company's people and culture strategy.

GoDaddy launches courses to empower aspiring Saudi entrepreneurs

In a move to empower the entrepreneurial spirit in Saudi Arabia, GoDaddy Inc., the company that empowers entrepreneurs around the world, has launched two educational courses in partnership with Monsha’at Academy, strategically designed to empower emerging entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia.These courses are designed to help entrepreneurs looking to establish and grow their online businesses, providing essential skills and insights tailored to the evolving digital landscape. By focusing on practical knowledge and applications, these courses offer a distinct advantage, enabling entrepreneurs to effectively launch, manage, and succeed in their online endeavors.The curriculum includes comprehensive courses such as "Start your business online and create a website" and "Start Selling online and eCommerce." These courses, offered free in support of GoDaddy's mission to empower entrepreneurs globally, cover a range of essential topics for building a robust online presence and a flourishing e-commerce platform. The content spans from the basics of online presence and website development to advanced strategies for e-commerce and customer engagement.Selina Bieber, Vice President of International Markets at GoDaddy, commented on the courses' success, highlighting their role in entrepreneurial development. She noted the courses' effectiveness in equipping entrepreneurs with essential digital skills, crucial for navigating today's dynamic market landscape. This initiative by GoDaddy underscores their commitment to fostering growth and adaptability among small and medium-sized enterprises, continually supporting their online journey towards innovation and success.The "Start your business online and create a website" course, available online through Monshaat Academy's e-learning Library, offers a comprehensive and flexible learning experience. This course provides an in-depth understanding of establishing an online presence, covering everything from the basics of digital presence to practical use of GoDaddy's website builder in Arabic. Designed for adaptability, students can progress at their own pace, pausing and resuming as needed. Each of the five lessons culminates in unit exams, which can be attempted up to three times for mastery. The final exam, following the same format, ensures a thorough grasp of the essential skills for effective website planning, design, and engagement.The "Start Selling online and eCommerce" course is designed to help entrepreneurs navigate the world of e-commerce. It covers various aspects of online selling, from understanding e-commerce business models to creating an e-store with GoDaddy and exploring e-commerce customer service. This course offering is particularly timely, given the Monshaat Q1 2023 report's emphasis on the rising trend of e-commerce in the region, with a notable increase in online business registrations.These courses are a part of GoDaddy’s broader mission to support the digital transformation goals of Saudi Arabia’s '2030 Vision', contributing to the development of a digitally savvy entrepreneurial community. With SMEs constituting 99.5% of the total businesses in the Kingdom, the impact of these educational initiatives is substantial.For more detailed information on GoDaddy’s range of training courses and the extensive resources available for budding and established entrepreneurs, please visit

Sunfeast YiPPee! & Bingo! now sponsors for Argentina's National Football Team

In an exciting move that is certain to delight football fans in India, Bingo! and Sunfeast YiPPee! from ITC Ltd., have joined hands with the Argentine Football Association (AFA), as their Official Regional Sponsor. The World Champion Argentina Football team enjoys huge fan following in India. The admiration for the team and game is significantly growing especially among the young audience. YiPPee! and Bingo! as youth-oriented brands, are all about fun, excitement, being playful, which beautifully resonates with the spirit of AFA. As part of this strategic partnership, YiPPee! and Bingo! will harness the rich legacy of AFA to engage with consumers through a series of unique initiatives. Participants will have the chance to win match tickets, meet and greet team players, branded merchandise, memorabilia and much more. Further, through this association the brands aim to deepen their reach and offer unparalleled experience that celebrates the shared adoration for the sport. Celebrating the partnership, the respective brands today unveiled exclusive packs featuring star players like Lionel Messi, Ángel Di María, Julián Álvarez and Emiliano Martínez, merchandise and memorabilia at an event held at ITC Sonar. Commenting on the exciting association, Suresh Chand, Vice president & Head of Marketing, Snacks, Noodles & Pasta, ITC Foods, said, “As brands, we are constantly pursuing innovative ways to connect with our audience. Our partnership with World Champion Argentina, is a testament to our continuous efforts to delight our consumers by offering them memorable experiences. Through this collaboration, we aim to elevate the fan experience and deepen our connection with consumers, offering them unique opportunities to immerse themselves in their beloved sport.”Echoing the excitement, Mr. Leandro Petersen, Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer of the Argentine Football Association said, “We are thrilled to welcome Bingo! and YiPPee! as our Regional Sponsor in India. Football possesses the power to transcend borders and cultures, and we are confident that this collaboration will not only amplify the love for the sport in India, but also create unforgettable experiences for fans. Together, we look forward to crafting cherished memories for fans across India."YiPPee! also launched a unique G.O.A.T (Greatest Offer of All Time) promo, where participants will have to sign up for the contest and share their YiPPee! happy moment with the Argentina football players to receive personalized digital memorabilia and compete to win original autographed jerseys and several other AFA branded merchandize. So, get ready to witness the electrifying fusion of football and snacking as Bingo! YiPPee! and AFA take the field together.

Emirates launches luxurious business class loungewear

From 1 February onwards, Emirates is launching an innovatively designed, complimentary inflight loungewear set for Business Class customers including a relaxed cowl neck top and drawstring pants, comfortable slippers, and a matching eye mask. The luxurious loungewear is designed to be the ideal ‘flight fit’ - perfect for sleeping in, but also suitable to wear for a social drink at the A380 onboard lounge, or as a casual outfit that takes you from aircraft to arrivals in style.Emirates’ Business Class Loungewear is composed of a super soft premium modal material, which customers find lightweight and breathable. Designed to reflect contemporary athleisure trends, the cozy fabric is in a relaxing shade of light blue, available in two sizes. The botanic fibres and jersey knit style means the loungewear has an elegant drape that flatters various body types, ensuring soft and stretchy comfort above the clouds. Presented in a complementary drawstring pouch, each set contains an adjustable loungewear top and pants, a pair of warm slippers and an eye mask.Emirates Business Class customers will be offered the loungewear set upon boarding so they can change at their leisure and maximise comfort for the full duration of the flight. On flights of 9 hours or more, Business Class customers will receive the full set with loungewear top and pants, slippers and eye mask, while on flights that have a duration of 2 hours and 30 minutes, customers will receive complimentary slippers and eye mask sets.The launch of Business Class Loungewear forms part of Emirates’ ongoing investment into elevating customer experience, ensuring customers in all classes ‘fly better’. Recent investments have included a huge retrofit project of 120 aircraft with upgraded cabin interiors, creative new menus and new high-quality ingredients, exclusive champagne partnerships, a new hospitality programme for Emirates cabin crew, live TV onboard amidst a vast library of inflight entertainment, complimentary Wi-Fi attainable for all customers, luxurious amenity kits and a world-class wine list. The multimillion dollar investment into Business Class loungewear has been in development for more than a year, designed in-house by the Emirates team to be best-in-class for comfort, style and reusability. During the trial period on routes to and from New York and Boston, customers shared highly positive feedback on the loungewear, with sets being taken home by customers to be worn again.

BMW iJack: Transforming Google Maps charging stations into BMW showrooms

The BMW iJack campaign, developed by Serviceplan Middle East in collaboration with BMW Middle East, has been unveiled across various social media platforms and YouTube. The campaign creatively utilized Google Maps' charging station listings by integrating BMW electric cars into the photos, effectively transforming the platform into a virtual showroom for BMW's electric range.The strategy behind the campaign stemmed from the recognition that potential electric vehicle buyers in the UAE primarily rely on public charging stations for their charging needs. By photobombing these listings with BMW electric cars, the campaign not only captured attention but also ensured that whenever someone searched for the nearest charging station, they encountered a BMW electric vehicle.This innovative approach demonstrated that effective marketing doesn't always require substantial budgets; rather, it's about understanding the audience and devising smart strategies. André Couto, the Creative Director at Serviceplan Middle East, highlighted the importance of identifying audience behavior and executing the campaign efficiently over an extended period.Karim Mroueh, BMW Group Business Director at Serviceplan Middle East, emphasized the campaign's alignment with BMW's ethos of innovation and constant visibility. By repurposing Google Maps' photos as virtual showcases for BMW electric cars, the campaign showcased the brand's cutting-edge approach and creativity.

Mitgo Group Launches Takefluence: Revolutionary Creators & Brands Collaboration

Mitgo Group, a global tech company focused on delivering innovative marketing solutions and promoting entrepreneurship, announces the launch of Takefluence, a platform connecting content creators and social media enthusiasts with brands in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The launch of Takefluence will allow Mitgo Group to strengthen its position in the MENA influencer marketing industry, which experts estimate at more than $1 billion. The significance of the content economy is on the rise in the MENA market, supported by the announcement of a Dh150 million fund by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, to empower content creators and influencers. Sheikh Mohammed's commitment to establishing a permanent headquarters for influencers in Dubai further reinforces Takefluence's strategic position in line with the region's dedication to fostering influencer marketing industry growth. The platform aims to attract 1-3 million users within the next 1-2 years.Industry reports also project a surge in influencer ad spending at an annual rate of 10.04% from 2023 to 2027. Moreover, there is a global dominant trend of partnering with micro and nano influencers and creator affiliate partnerships which are the main focus of Takefluence. Such partnerships are proven to be up to 4-5x more effective than mega-influencers campaigns. So, the Takefluence strategic entry aligns perfectly with this upward trajectory of the influencer market in the MENA region.Takefluence is set to create a dynamic ecosystem where content creators seamlessly discover and connect with leading brands, earning from campaigns, enjoying savings while shopping online or offline. The platform distinguishes itself by offering content creators a streamlined process, from receiving promo codes to participating in brand campaigns, coupled with quick withdrawal options, hybrid earnings, an Ambassador program, and a diverse range of brand choices and promotions. For brands, Takefluence introduces a brand-formance approach, incorporating Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) and Hybrid campaigns. This approach includes pay-per-post, pay-per-reach, fixed, gifting and branding campaigns based on reach, all facilitated through content creators and user-generated content.Takefluence has already secured partnerships with 150+ brands including Noon, Namshi, YallaHub, Truegamers, Lifemost, ToysBrand, Geardoor, GetOutfit, The Luxury Closet, NiceOne, SharafDG, etc. The company is set to onboard and help any offline and online brands, malls, event organizers, marketplace brands, sellers and even individuals like emerging artists who can immediately benefit from engaging their audience and customers to create or amplify content.Archie Rudyuk, CEO of Takefluence:"As we venture into the MENA market, the growth potential is immense. The region's vibrant landscape and the unique blend of creators and brands create an exciting opportunity for Takefluence. We already witnessed a surge of interest in Takefluence from creators and local brands. They sign up for an annual partnership, launch their ambassador programs with us, and start getting first results."Alexander Bachmann, CEO of Mitgo Group:"We believe in Takefluence's vision and its potential to reshape social commerce in the MENA region. The team's dedication and innovative approach align with our values at Mitgo Group. This strategic collaboration is poised to make a significant impact on the influencer marketing landscape."Mitgo Group is committed to contributing to the evolution of social commerce, empowering, and fostering meaningful connections between content creators and brands in the MENA region.

WPP unveils strategic focus on AI to drive growth and margins

WPP, a major agency holding company, has outlined a comprehensive strategy to drive growth and enhance margins, with a particular emphasis on leveraging opportunities in AI. WPP aims to save £125 million through network consolidation and another £175 million through efficiency improvements. It is undergoing restructuring, incurring a £125 million hit, which might involve job losses.WPP plans to invest significantly in AI, with an annual cash injection of £250m into proprietary technology.This investment aims to capitalize on the transformative potential of AI in the industry. CEO Mark Read emphasized that AI is viewed as an opportunity rather than a threat and highlighted the belief that AI will complement human creativity rather than replace it.Moreover, WPP is actively developing AI tools designed to augment its workforce rather than replace jobs. Chief Technology Officer Stephan Pretorius explained that these tools are intended to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of WPP's work, particularly in areas such as content creation and media performance. WPP aims to unlock the full potential of creative transformation to drive growth and build world-class, market-leading brands. This involves streamlining its agency brands and simplifying its operating model. Recent efforts include merging and simplifying agency brands such as Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R to create streamlined entities like VML.WPP's strategy reflects a proactive approach to adapting to industry changes, particularly the growing significance of AI, while also aiming to enhance operational efficiency and drive growth. The company's investments in AI and efforts to streamline its operations underscore its commitment to remaining competitive in a rapidly evolving landscape. Despite challenges, such as a decline in stock value over the past year, WPP appears focused on positioning itself for future success.

Amazon Prime ad tier to generate $2bn ad revenue in 2024: Omdia

Following the debut of Amazon’s ad-supported Prime Video service this week, new and exclusive analysis from Omdia reveals the streaming platform is set to generate more than $2bn in incremental ad revenue in 2024, its launch year. This will be in addition to revenue already generated by the sale of advertising slots during live sports broadcasts on the service.Amazon Prime has successfully built a strong subscriber base of over 200 million due to the range of services it offers, including an extensive shopping range, free shipping, music, and cloud services. These services allow Amazon to remain competitive and continue to attract and retain customers.The main difference between Amazon Prime’s advertising strategy compared to other players such as Netflix is the subscription model. Amazon will place all current users into the ad-supported tier of its service, giving subscribers the option to pay extra to view without advertising. Netflix users all begin in the non-ad-supported tier and have the option to pay less for a service that incorporates advertising.Commenting on Amazon Prime’s entry into the ad-supported video market, Matthew Bailey, Omdia Principal Analyst said: “The forecasted global revenue of over $2bn for Amazon's ad-supported Prime Video tier in 2024 indicates considerable growth potential for the streaming platform and reflects Amazon's efforts to diversify its revenue streams beyond subscription fees. “A significant factor contributing to Amazon's success will be their capability to provide closed-loop attribution and the inherent advantage of having all their users ad-addressable by default. Amazon has already experimented with directly shoppable ad formats, and this would enhance their ability to monetize their platform even more.”Omdia's research also considers the introduction of new services by Amazon's ad-supported Prime Video, including shoppable TV. This feature allows viewers to directly purchase products they see in shows or movies, creating a new avenue for e-commerce within the streaming platform.Concluding, Bailey said “Omdia expects more partnerships between prominent retailers, broadcasters, and online video platform owners as they look to compete with Amazon. These will range from data-sharing partnerships to enable commerce-led video advertising measurement and targeting through to direct retailer integration with video services.”

Spotify elevates Rahul Balyan as Head of Market Strategy & Operations for SAMEA

Rahul Balyan has been elevated to Head of Market Strategy & Operations for South Asia, Middle East and Africa (SAMEA) at Spotify. He was earlier the Head of Music for India.As Head of Market Strategy & Operations, Balyan has an exciting opportunity to make a significant impact in diverse and dynamic regions.As he steps into this position, he will have the chance to shape Spotify's presence and strategy in South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, which are all regions with immense potential for growth and cultural richness.Rahul Balyan has a rich experience of more than a decade in the field of music. He has been with Spotify since three years and prior to joining his present organistaion , he was with Radio Mirchi, where he worked for almost a decadeGiven Spotify's global reach and influence in the music and entertainment industry, his work will undoubtedly have a far-reaching impact on both the company and the millions of users in the SAMEA region who rely on Spotify for their music and audio streaming needs.

Media City Qatar enters into an agreement with QFC to boost media ecosystem

Media City Qatar (MCQ), established to attract and regulate investment opportunities to support the media ecosystem in Qatar, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFCA), the legal and tax arm of the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), a leading onshore financial and business center in the region. The MoU aims to facilitate the establishment of media companies in Qatar.Under the agreement, the QFC will register media companies pre-approved by MCQ, which will be licensed by both the QFC and MCQ. Registration and Licensing details will be recorded on the QFC platform. This partnership enables licensed companies to conduct business in Qatar according to MCQ’s permitted activities. The QFC will facilitate all necessary governmental procedures and tax-related processes in accordance with the legal framework and regulations of Qatar. Meanwhile, MCQ will diligently oversee the companies’ compliance with the applicable regulations for media entities in Qatar.Furthermore, the two parties will collaborate to promote each other’s programmes and activities and evaluate opportunities for mutually beneficial projects toward developing the media sector in Qatar.Expressing his enthusiasm about the MoU, His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, Chairman, MCQ, said, “This strategic partnership will empower Media City to attract and license media companies, further enriching Qatar’s vibrant media ecosystem. We extend our gratitude to the QFC Chairman and Minister of Commerce and Industry, His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Bin Qassim Al-Abdullah Al-Thani, for facilitating the signing of this pivotal memorandum of understanding, which sets the stage for driving growth in the media industry and contributing to Qatar’s economic diversification. We look forward to achieving Media City Qatar's vision as an attractive destination for local, regional, and international media businesses and initiatives across various scales.”Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer, QFC, underscored the importance of the MoU, stating, "We are thrilled about this partnership with Media City, which marks a significant step in fostering media growth in Qatar. Through this collaboration, we aim to streamline processes and provide a conducive environment for media companies to thrive in the country. Together with MCQ, we are poised to unlock exciting opportunities and drive innovation in the sector.”This partnership between the QFC and MCQ signifies a shared commitment to regulatory compliance, operational excellence, and fostering growth in the media sector.

Marilyn Monroe’s wax figure brings vintage Hollywood glamour to Dubai

This February, Madame Tussauds Dubai, located on Bluewaters, will unveil its latest global joining the ever-growing list of glamourous celebrities - the wax figure of Marilyn Monroe. To celebrate the launch of the icon’s figure, which is just in time for the month of love with Valentine’s Day, Madame Tussauds is offering special discounts and offerings to visitors and tourists alike.Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926, she was an iconic American actress, model, and singer, renowned for portraying comic ‘blonde bombshell’ characters. Marilyn rose to fame as one of the most popular actresses of the 1950s, with her signature glamourous style. She was a top-billed actress for just a decade, but her films grossed an impressive $200 million by 1962. Marilyn Monroe’s influence as a major popular culture icon continues today, more than half a century later.Marilyn Monroe’s figure is styled in the shimmering red sequin dress from the 1953 film ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’. While her beauty look quickly evolved as her career took off, Marilyn Monroe continued to experiment with her hair and makeup, wearing her iconic curls in a variety of styles. She also proved the versatility of her glamorous look by wearing a full face of makeup for every occasion, from an on-screen appearance to a casual party at home. Her figure can be seen in her signature look: blonde curled hair, red lips and full lashes.She joins the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Jennifer Lawrence and Tom Cruise in the Film Zone, one of the six themed areas of Madame Tussauds Dubai, the other zones being: Leaders & Royals, Fashion, Bollywood, Sports and the A-List Music Party.Exclusively during the month of February, visitors (groups of up to four adults) to the star-studded attraction can enjoy a special 20 per cent discount by mentioning “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” at the entrance and can cast their hand in wax for just AED25, reduced from AED40.Perfect for a Galentine’s Day outing with friends or an alternative Valentine’s Day celebration with a loved one, there are many reasons to plan a visit to Madame Tussaud Dubai this month. Pose with Marilyn Monroe’s figure, explore interactive experiences, and marvel at the fantastic selection of lifelike wax figures. “We’re so excited to celebrate the February ‘Month of Love’ with Marilyn Monroe’s figure adding that vintage Hollywood style and glamour to our vibrant Film Zone,” said Sanaz Kollsrud, General Manager of Madame Tussauds Dubai.Notes:Opening hours:Sunday – Thursday 12pm – 8pm (last entry 7:45pm)Friday, Saturday & Public Holidays 11am - 9pm (last entry 8:45pm)Ramadan hours: 3pm to 10pm dailyStandard Admission Ticket prices:Adults (11+) AED150Children (3-11) AED125Under 3s- free of chargeExclusive Fame Experience Ticket prices:VIP Tour Adults (11+) AED305VIP Tour Children (3-11) AED240UAE Resident Ticket prices:Adults (11+) AED115Children (3-11) AED90Under 3s- free of chargeFriend & Family Ticket prices:Four Adults (11+) AED480Two Adults & 2 Children (3-11) AED440Under 3s- free of charge

ChatGPT accused of data breach by Italian authority

OpenAI's AI chatbot ChatGPT is back in the hot seat in Europe, this time facing renewed data privacy concerns from Italy's Garante data protection authority. After temporarily banning ChatGPT in 2023 over alleged EU privacy violations, Garante's investigation has uncovered further potential breaches, according to a statement on Monday.While details of the specific concerns remain undisclosed, they likely center around data collection and user consent practices during training of the AI algorithms. OpenAI, backed by tech giant Microsoft, maintains its practices comply with EU regulations and emphasizes efforts to minimize personal data usage. OpenAI has 30 days to respond to Garante's claims and defend its practices.This renewed scrutiny makes Italy the first European country to raise red flags about ChatGPT twice, highlighting the growing regulatory focus on AI and its potential privacy implications. The EU, a leader in data protection, has already taken steps towards regulating AI through its 2018 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the recent provisional agreement on AI frameworks. Under GDPR, violators can face hefty fines of up to 4% of their global turnover.The investigation and potential consequences for OpenAI serve as a cautionary tale for developers of AI systems. Balancing innovation with responsible data handling is crucial to navigate the increasingly complex regulatory landscape in Europe and beyond. Transparency, user control, and minimizing data collection remain key principles for AI developers aiming to avoid regulatory hurdles and build trust with users.

Heinz launches global ad 'The Wait' celebrating consumers' 'Irrational Love'

The latest marketing ad from Heinz, titled "The Wait," marks a significant effort in the company's global marketing strategy, emphasizing consumers' deep affection for its products.The promotional ad highlights the phenomenon of consumers patiently waiting for Heinz condiments, such as ketchup, before starting their meals. This behavior, identified as an expression of "irrational love" for Heinz products, forms the core theme of the campaign.George Buneder, CMO for Hispanic markets at The Kraft Heinz Company, explained that the campaign draws inspiration from real consumer behavior, portraying waiting for Heinz condiments as an act of love. The absence of the Heinz Tomato Ketchup Bottle in the ad is highlighted as a distinctive feature, making Heinz the central figure even in its absence.The campaign was developed by the Chilean agency 1984, with Carat handling paid media and Zeno Group managing North American PR. It includes 15-second spots showcasing the titular wait faced by condiment-less diners. Additionally, the media strategy employs a contextual out-of-home approach, utilizing digital placements in areas where consumers typically wait, such as office lobbies, elevators, and street furniture."The Wait" campaign follows Heinz's earlier global brand platform, "It Has To Be Heinz," launched in June 2023. Previous campaigns under this platform have featured viral stars promoting limited-time sauces and have taken a stand against excessively spicy foods. Notably, Heinz introduced a limited-edition sauce called “Ketchup and Seemingly Ranch,” inspired by a viral tweet referencing Taylor Swift's condiment choice at a Kansas City Chiefs football game.<iframe width="560" height="315" src="" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Sandstone Media unveils its vision for PR excellence in the UAE

Sandstone Media, a trailblazing integrated PR, communications, and media solutions agency, announced its official launch in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). With a unique vision centered around PR excellence, Sandstone Media aims to redefine brand connections and elevate narratives for businesses across the region.Established by visionary luminary Anand Rai, Sandstone Media is set to redefine the PR landscape through the seamless integration of traditional and digital strategies. This launch marks a strategic initiative aimed at delivering innovative and comprehensive communication solutions to businesses in the UAE.“Our focus is on creating meaningful connections between brands and audiences. At Sandstone Media, we believe in the art of storytelling, and our mission is to craft narratives that not only resonate but also elevate brands to new heights," said, Anand Rai, Founder & Managing Partner, Sandstone Media.Sandstone Media offers a comprehensive range of services, adopting a holistic approach to strategic PR integration that combines both traditional and digital strategies for maximum impact. Specializing in crafting compelling narratives aligned with business goals, the team captivates target audiences. Through media amplification, Sandstone leverages diverse channels to significantly enhance brand visibility and tell impactful stories. Embracing digital innovation, the company stays at the forefront of technology to augment online presence and engage audiences effectively. Additionally, Sandstone is committed to crisis resilience, proactively managing challenges to safeguard brand reputation and ensure resilience in the face of adversity.

Media World signs landmark deal valued over AED 100mln

Media World, a leading multi-platform media group, has announced the signing of a monumental agreement with RSG Group of Companies (RSG Group) to acquire and operate the largest outdoor high-resolution digital screen in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The long-term deal was finalised with a value exceeding AED 100 million. Strategically located alongside Dubai’s renowned Sheikh Zayed Road, the digital outdoor screen will take centre stage on the opulent Fairmont Dubai Skyline, luxury five-star hotel and branded residences project by RSG Group. The milestone deal not only marks the beginning of Media World’s partnership with RSG Group, but also a significant leap into the realm of Digital Out of Home (DOOH) advertising for the media industry in the region.Spanning an area of 1,750 square meters and encapsulating over 16 million pixels, the new digital screen, is poised to captivate audiences with its high-resolution display and dynamic content, offering advertisers an unparalleled platform to showcase their brands.Expressing enthusiasm for this transformative venture, Mr. Amer Ahrari, Chairman of Media World, said, “We are delighted to sign with RSG Group and acquire a prominent project such as the Fairmont Dubai Skyline, luxury five-star hotel and branded residences digital outdoor screen. As we continually seek new premium opportunities in the region, commencing our venture into Digital Out of Home media in this location marks an excellent beginning for us. Our partnership with RSG Group is a testament to our pioneering vision to push the boundaries of advertising technology and creating unparalleled experiences for brands and audiences alike. The acquisition marks the beginning of our journey into Digital Out of Home media, and we have ambitious plans for substantial investment and extensive growth in this domain.”Raj Sahni (Abu Sabah), Founder & Chairman, RSG Group of Companies, said, "We are delighted to join forces with Media World for the inclusion of this new LED screen into their multi-platform portfolio. The implementation of this project, featuring the largest high-resolution screen in the MENA region requires adept management, and we could not think of a more ideal choice than Media World. I have complete confidence in Media World to elevate this into the most coveted and premium advertising space in the city. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to fulfil my long-standing ambition to create an iconic project on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai.”éal-middle-east

Independent company secures marketing partnership with L’Oréal Middle East

Following the successful partnership on various brands and projects in the region over the past three years, Acquisit is expanding its collaboration with global beauty leader L’Oréal in the GCC, Levant and Morocco across a spectrum of DtoC brands. This underscores Acquisit’s prowess in driving impactful growth for digital industry leaders on a global scale."We are thrilled to once again be chosen as L'Oréal Middle East's preferred partner for their digital marketing requirements," said Edouard Daou, Co-founder of Acquisit. "This affirms our commitment to excellence and our ability to foster transformative growth through innovative marketing strategies."L'Oréal Middle East was in search of a marketing partner who could not only meet but exceed expectations. Acquisit's proven record of success and its profound understanding of the beauty and cosmetics industry reaffirmed their position, as the ideal choice, once again."We are thrilled to continue expanding our collaboration with Acquisit," said Olfa Messaoudi, Chief Digital and Marketing Officer at L'Oréal Middle East. "This partnership strengthens our shared commitment to excellence, creativity, and unlocking unparalleled dimensions of success in the dynamic landscape of the beauty industry. We look forward to Acquisit’s support in propelling our brands to new heights.”

Shaker Group expands B2C footprint with new store in Riyadh

Shaker Group, a leading air conditioner and home appliance distributor in the kingdom, has just amplified its B2C push with the grand opening of its seventh store in Riyadh. This expansion marks a key milestone in their strategic retail growth plan, promising an unparalleled shopping experience to local communities.Located in the bustling Al Thumama Road area, within easy reach of Qortuba Gate and Sedra by Roshn residential compounds, the spacious 380-square-meter store offers a curated selection of home appliances and electronics. From established brands catering to diverse budgets to products tailored to evolving local needs, this new outlet ensures something for everyone.Stepping into the store is like stepping into the future. Sleek design and interactive displays redefine the shopping experience, making it engaging, convenient, and immersive for a tech-savvy generation. Shaker's commitment to customer-centricity shines through in every detail, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable journey.This exciting expansion reflects the company's dedication to enhancing the shopping experience for its customers, said CEO Mohammed Ibrahim Abunayyan. To celebrate the grand opening, Shaker Group is offering special deals: free installation for the first 100 LG air conditioners, complimentary gifts, and a one-year extended warranty on purchases made within the first month.Abunayyan added that the comany is constantly exploring innovative ways to connect with the shifting trends and preferences of its consumers, and this new store is a perfect example of these efforts. With plans for further expansion, Shaker Group is poised to continue its reign as a pioneer in the Saudi Arabian retail landscape, always innovating and exceeding customer expectations.(Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay)

Luxury French perfume Maison Origine selects Dubai for global launch

Luxury French perfume Maison Origine has chosen Dubai for its highly anticipated global launch through BinSulaiman Group (OBS). Recognising Dubai's unique blend of rich cultural heritage and ultramodern cosmopolitan flair, Maison Origine believes the city embodies the essence of its new fragrance. Home to the world's most opulent architecture, exotic bazaars, and a populace with discerning tastes, Dubai stands as an emblem of elegance, making it the ideal backdrop for introducing Maison Origine’s olfactory masterpieces to the world.Born in the city of love, Paris, and firmly rooted in its French heritage of perfumery, Maison Origine seeks to capture love’s capricious nature that everyone in the world yearns to experience. Tender, fiery, and sensational, Maison Origine embodies the mystery of love in each fragrance. Ranging from classic to contemporary, every scent tells a story and pays homage to the magnificence of the past and the grandeur of the present.In a strategic move to amplify its presence across global markets, Maison Origine has partnered with BinSulaiman Group - OBS, recently awarded the fastest growing company of the year 2023, as its exclusive global distribution partner. This decision stems from BinSulaiman Group - OBS's unparalleled expertise in navigating diverse markets, its robust distribution networks, and its history of successfully launching global luxury and artisanal fragrance brands to a diverse range of consumer audiences. What sets BinSulaiman Group - OBS apart is not only its expansive reach, but also its meticulous attention to preserving brand integrity. Their unique ability to tailor marketing strategies for different cultures, combined with their proficiency in supply chain optimization, has solidified their reputation as a distributor par excellence. For Maison Origine, this partnership marks the beginning of a symbiotic relationship poised to elevate its global standing and cater to the discerning needs of luxury consumers worldwide.“BinSulaiman Group - OBS is committed to nurturing the development of luxury, artistic and contemporary brands through selected distribution channels such as Scentitude. It gives us great pride to be chosen as the exclusive Global distributor for Maison Origine. Maison Origine’s is now available in all of our Scentitude boutiques and our online store ahead of its official launch with other luxury retailers in the region.” explained Abdulla Darwish, Group Chief Executive Officer, BinSulaiman Group - OBS.Maison Origine’s representative said: “It gives us great pleasure to choose Dubai as the destination city for the global launch of Maison Origine with BinSulaiman Group - OBS. We chose this city because it has become a center for luxury, and we wanted to share our fragrances with the people here who share our joie de vivre. We invite everyone to discover our new collection and start an olfactory journey full of powerful yet delicate scents that make up the collection.”Maison Origine invites fragrance connoisseurs on a luxurious sensory journey, each masterful blend is an ode to different facets of love and transports you to the diverse and luminous Arrondissements of Paris.

Novus Aviation Capital appoints Cyrille Picard as Senior VP

Novus Aviation Capital has appointed Cyrille Picard as Senior Vice President, marking an expansion to its commercial team. His role will be primarily focused on supporting Novus Aviation Capital's customers in Middle East and Africa and based out of the Novus Dubai office.Bringing over two decades of rich experience in the aviation sector, Cyrille joins Novus following a notable tenure at Airbus. Most recently as Sales Director for the Middle East and Africa where he led several successful commercial aircraft campaigns. Additionally, Cyrille has a background in marketing, having served as a Marketing Director, and he also gained valuable experience as an aircraft customer support engineer while at Airbus.Commenting on his appointment, Hani Kuzbari, Co-CEO of Novus, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Cyrille to our team. His deep experience, combined with his proven track record in the aviation sector, makes him a valuable asset to Novus. His appointment is a key part of our strategy to fortify our commercial team and enhance our market presence.”Expressing his enthusiasm, Cyrille Picard stated: “Joining Novus Aviation Capital is a thrilling new chapter in my career. I am deeply honored to be part of a company that has established itself as a leader in the industry. My goal is to contribute to the continued growth and success of Novus, leveraging my experience and passion for the aviation sector to drive innovative solutions for our customers and foster strong relationships.”

VICE Media Group appoints Rafael Lavor as Head of Strategy

Rafael Lavor has been appointed as the new Head of Strategy at VICE Media Group, emphasizing the company's dedication to fostering innovation and delivering cutting-edge content to its global audience.With over 18 years of experience, Lavor has developed expertise in creative strategy, in-depth qualitative research, consumer studies, service innovation, digital communication, and brand management and development.His extensive portfolio includes work with local innovation consultancies and global creative agencies, contributing to the success of brands such as du, NEOM, Nissan, KFC, Peugeot, Nokia, Mastercard, Smirnoff, Volkswagen, Ford, Chevrolet, Embraer, Stella Artois, Tang, Uber, Deezer, Amazon, McVitie’s, Hilton, Abu Dhabi Investment Office, and more.Lavor's leadership on various teams and projects has garnered recognition at prestigious marketing awards such as the Brazil Effies, LATAM Effies, and MENA Effies. Tarek Khalil, Managing Director of MEA for VICE, expresses enthusiasm about Lavor's addition to the team, citing his extensive regional experience and ability to tackle complex brand challenges. Khalil is confident that Lavor's leadership will contribute to the creation of even more impactful content for VICE's clients and audiences across the Middle East and Africa.

Sharjah adopts new logo and identity

Sharjah has adopted a new logo and identity, which reflects all its visual and cultural components, expressing its cultural and artistic heritage.On Sunday, Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and Chairman of the Sharjah Media Council, attended the launch ceremony at Al Noor Island. Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed bin Sultan Al Qasimi said: “The new identity represents a reflection of the wise and insightful vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, which made Sharjah a pioneering emirate with a global stature. The launch of the new identity embodies the spirit of the emirate and its ability to provide more in all fields, and provide the best services and incentives that support the continuous growth towards which Sharjah is heading."He also indicated that the new identity was developed according to the identification of the strengths and distinctive features of Sharjah, as well as its attractiveness for tourism, living, working, studying, and investing. It represents an open invitation to the world to explore the richness and diversity that Sharjah possesses, along with its tremendous opportunities and potential. It also provides a wide range of promising prospects across various cultural, educational, economic, social, and entertainment sectors.The Deputy Ruler of Sharjah toured the Noor Island, reviewing artistic displays that express the meanings and significance of the new identity of Sharjah. This identity was derived from the rich history of Sharjah and its distinctive features in various artistic, architectural, cultural, and other fields. It reflects Sharjah's progress towards the future with a proactive mindset based on knowledge, information, and technology.The new identity emphasizes the essential strengths of Sharjah, which are represented by its cultural, entertainment, and economic assets that distinguish the emirate. Through this identity, Sharjah seeks to solidify its position as a premier destination for living, tourism, and investment through a range of diverse initiatives and experiences.Sharjah is renowned for its urban development, rich cultural legacy, historical accomplishments, and expressions, as well as for having made a significant contribution to the advancement of industry and environmental sustainability in the United Arab Emirates. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) named Sharjah the 2019 World Book Capital, among numerous other accolades and international recognitions. The emirate is also home to a large number of museums, art galleries, and cultural institutions that represent the region's authenticity, history, arts, and customs.

beIN MEDIA GROUP secures Riyadh Season Cup media rights

beIN MEDIA GROUP (‘beIN’), the global sports and entertainment broadcaster, and its flagship sports channel beIN SPORTS, announced securing the media rights in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Türkiye, France, and Asia Pacific to the star-studded Riyadh Season Cup, the three-team exhibition tournament set to feature Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr, and Saudi Pro League leaders Al Hilal.All three matches will be broadcast live in MENA on beIN SPORTS’ free to air channel in Arabic, beIN SPORTS 1 ENGLISH in English, and in Ultra HD on beIN 4K. Al Hilal prolific scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic will face Messi’s Inter Miami at tonight’s (29 January) tournament opener; Messi and Ronaldo are expected to go head-to-head on Thursday, 1 February. One week later, on 8 February, Al Hilal will then face Al-Nassr, whom they lead by seven points at the top of Saudi’s domestic league.In MENA, beIN’s studio coverage for tonight’s opening match starts at 20.30 MECCA, with kick-off scheduled for 21.00 MECCA at the Kingdom Arena in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. As well as Messi, David Beckham-owned Inter Miami have a host of other star names, including former Barcelona trio Luis Suarez, Sergio Busquets, and Jordi Alba. Al Hilal meanwhile invested heavily last summer, securing the likes of Portugal’s Ruben Neves, Serbian pair Aleksander Mitrovic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, and Yassine Bounou, the heroic Moroccan goalkeeper who shone at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.Thursday’s face-off between Miami and Al-Nassr is being billed as “The Last Dance” and will pit the two greatest players of the modern era against each other for, possibly, the last time in their professional careers. Messi, 36, and Ronaldo, who will turn 39 four days later on 5 February, between them share 13 Ballon D’or awards. They last faced each other a year ago in the inaugural Riyadh Season Cup when Al-Nassr slipped to a 5-4 defeat to Messi’s former club Paris Saint-Germain.Portuguese Ronaldo, who is expected to recover from a slight calf injury to lead Al-Nassr out at the Kingdom Arena, scored 54 goals in 59 games in 2023 to finish the year as the world’s top goal scorer. Al-Nassr have other star players in their squad, including the likes of Senegalese striker Sadio Mane, Spanish defender Aymeric Laporte, and Croatian midfielder Marcelo Brozovic.

Vision for luxury: Gian Paolo's eyewear legacy in Dubai

Gian Paolo, Co-Founder of Vision Industry and Managing Director of Optitalia Group, recently shared insights with Adgully Middle East in an engaging interview. With a rich family history deeply rooted in the eyewear industry spanning several years, Paolo believes that eyewear is ingrained in his family's DNA.Vision Industry, under Paolo's leadership, stands as the epitome of innovation, design, and health in the eyewear sector. The establishment boasts an in-house eye clinic and laboratory, guaranteeing top-notch checkups and fittings. The care provided is akin to that of an eye hospital, emphasizing the commitment to ensuring the utmost well-being of their clientele.Can you provide a brief overview of your professional journey, leading up to your current role as Co-founder of Vision Industry and Managing Director of Optitalia Group?My professional journey in the eyewear industry began with the establishment of my first eyewear brand, Bacaro, in Venice in 2003. This venture fueled my passion for innovation, prompting me to expand into new territories. In 2005, I set up an Optical Chain, Italia Optique, in Cameroon, marking a significant international chapter in my career. The turning point came in 2007 when I joined Optitalia Group in Dubai, a leading eyewear distribution company. In my role as Managing Director, I spearheaded the setup of the retail division, culminating in the creation of VISION INDUSTRY, a pioneering concept store launched in Mall of the Emirates.What inspired you to start Vision Industry in Dubai?The inspiration to launch VISION INDUSTRY in Dubai stems from the city's dynamic and diverse retail landscape, coupled with its global reputation as a premier shopping destination. I envisioned a revolutionary eyewear experience that would not only redefine industry standards but also resonate with the discerning tastes of Dubai's cosmopolitan population. VISION INDUSTRY represents the fusion of customization, innovation, and a curated collection of luxury brands, tailored to the unique preferences of Dubai's diverse consumer base.Can you share some key challenges you have faced in the retail and direct channels of the eyewear industry and how you navigated through them?Navigating the complexities of the eyewear industry presented challenges in striking the right balance between customization and mass appeal. The introduction of the Design Lab at VISION INDUSTRY addressed this challenge by providing customers with a personalized eyewear journey, ensuring exclusivity while maintaining a curated collection of over 60 luxury brands. This strategic approach enabled us to navigate through the intricacies of retail and direct channels, creating a harmonious blend of accessibility and exclusivity.In the rapidly evolving eyewear industry, how do you stay abreast of market trends and ensure that Vision Industry remains competitive?Staying ahead of market trends requires a multifaceted approach, combining continuous market research, global exposure, and the strategic leverage of technology. VISION INDUSTRY remains competitive by embracing innovation, exemplified by our Design Lab that pioneers complete eyewear customization. Furthermore, our commitment to offering exclusive brands, including Celine, Bugatti, and others, positions us at the forefront of emerging trends, ensuring sustained competitiveness in the dynamic eyewear industry.What emerging trends do you see shaping the future of retail and direct channels in the eyewear sector?The future of eyewear is defined by experiential retail, customization, and sustainability. VISION INDUSTRY is at the forefront of these trends, with the Design Lab offering an immersive and personalized eyewear experience. Customers actively participate in creating bespoke eyewear, aligning with the growing demand for unique and sustainable products. The incorporation of a sustainable corner featuring glasses made from recyclable materials further underscores our commitment to environmental consciousness.How does Vision Industry prioritize and enhance the customer experience, both in retail stores and through direct channels?Customer experience is central to VISION INDUSTRY's ethos. The Design Lab at our retail store offers a personalized journey, allowing customers to actively participate in the creation of bespoke eyewear. Our comprehensive eye exams, conducted by licensed optometrists, ensure optimal eye health. The extensive range of eyewear brands, from sport to luxury, caters to diverse preferences, creating a seamless and enjoyable customer experience both in-store and online.How has technology played a role in the development and growth of Vision Industry?Technology plays a pivotal role in our growth trajectory. The Design Lab utilizes cutting-edge technology to enable customers to customize their eyewear, from material selection to frame shape and intricate design elements. Additionally, our online presence facilitates seamless bookings for the Design Lab experience, ensuring accessibility and convenience for our customers. Embracing technology allows us to provide an innovative and efficient eyewear experience, setting VISION INDUSTRY apart in the industry.What have been the trends in eye luxury retail over the years? What are your views about experiential retail and how is it helping the brands? How will the future of luxury retail shape?The evolution of eye luxury retail has witnessed a shift towards personalization and experiential elements. Exemplified by the Design Lab, experiential retail allows customers to actively participate in creating bespoke eyewear, fostering a deeper connection with the brand. Looking ahead, the future of luxury retail is poised to further embrace tailored experiences and sustainable practices. The emphasis on unique and immersive brand experiences will shape a more conscious and personalized luxury retail landscape, reflecting the evolving preferences and expectations of discerning consumers.

Xelement welcomes Diogo Borges as Executive Creative Director

Xelement, a leading full-service media agency, has appointed Diogo Borges as its Executive Creative Director. This strategic addition comes at a pivotal moment for the agency, hot on the heels of their recent success in winning Gold at the MENA Effie Awards.Boasting an impressive 22 years of creative experience, Borges brings a wealth of expertise to his new role. His illustrious career is underscored by numerous accolades, including prestigious awards from Cannes, D&AD, One Show, and Clio.Borges, in his LinkedIn account, writes: “Super excited to share that I kicked off a new gig with XELEMENT as ECD last week, leading a talented and skilled team. There's so much to explore about Saudi's fast-growing economy, but I can already tell that creativity and innovation are going to be a big player in its awesome future. Feeling lucky to be part of this amazing team that, just not share the same ambition and vision, but has been at the forefront of it for the past 10 years.” Borges' extensive international background, coupled with a nuanced understanding of the local market, positions Xelement to create even more impactful narratives. While the agency's recent triumph at the MENA Effie Awards serves as a noteworthy milestone, Borges' appointment signals a broader ambition to shape compelling narratives that resonate deeply with audiences.Amro Aboonoq, CEO of Xelement, expressed his enthusiasm for Borges joining the team, stating, “Diogo’s arrival at XELEMENT signifies a significant step towards elevating the success stories we craft. His global outlook, complemented by our established track record, sets the stage for our collective aspirations and achievements.”As a full-service media agency, Xelement offers a comprehensive suite of services, including creative endeavors, strategic marketing, branding, media buying, and consultancy. With Borges at the helm of creative direction, the agency is poised to deliver innovative and impactful campaigns that leave a lasting impression on clients and consumers alike.

OSN and AFAC announce winners of Writers Room, elevating Arab storytelling

OSN and the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) recently disclosed the recipients of the ‘Writers’ Room’ mentorship programme, which aims to cultivate compelling narratives within the Arab region. The initiative received an impressive 276 submissions during its open call, indicating substantial interest and engagement.The esteemed jury, comprising Writer Yam Machahdi, Director Hicham Lasri, Director Amin Dora, and Director Mariam Abou Ouf, undertook the challenging task of evaluating the entries to identify the most promising projects. From this competitive pool, six exceptional projects and their creators emerged victorious. The winning entries encompass a diverse range of themes and voices:• The Day of Your Meeting by Rida Benazzouza• The Art of Surviving by Tamer Mohammad Abdulhamid and Noha Hassan Hussien• Polaroid by Basant Ghonimy• Men Home La Hon (Plan B) by Marie-Louise Elia, Julien Kobersy, and Jean-Claude Boulos• Dyouf by Saleh Saadi• How to find love in 10 steps (Guide for Single Men) by Mostafa Youssef and Fatma Abed.The Writers Room program, initiated last year, aims to nurture these projects until they develop into fully-fledged limited series. This entails providing mentorship support, follow-up, and input from specialists and experts throughout the development process. The program seeks to establish a framework for series-writing in the region utilizing the writers' room method, fostering peer-to-peer learning, and encouraging participation in the creative process.Rolla Karam, Senior Vice President of Content Acquisition & Arabic Channels at OSN, emphasized the company's commitment to supporting local storytelling and nurturing emerging writers. Rima Mismar, Executive Director of the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, highlighted the initiative's goal of fostering a nurturing environment for emerging talents and bridging gaps in series development.The winning projects will undergo further development and potential distribution, with three residencies planned for February, May, and July 2024. These residencies will be led by Writers’ Room mentors Bassem Breche and Maha El Wazir. Additionally, winners will benefit from OSN’s right to a first look at their projects and the possibility of further development beyond the residency program.

BTEA announces the 8th edition of Bahrain Food Festival 2024

Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) launches the much-anticipated 8th Edition of the Bahrain Food Festival, a culinary extravaganza set to captivate palates from February 8th to 24th, 2024. This gastronomic celebration promises an unmatched fusion of flavors, creating an irresistible charm for both locals and tourists. In its 8th edition, the Bahrain Food Festival aims to elevate the culinary experience, offering a diverse range of delectable dishes that celebrate global flavors. Attendees can indulge in a gastronomic journey navigating continents, providing a unique opportunity to discover authentic dishes prepared by renowned chefs and culinary experts. From savory to sweet, traditional to contemporary, the festival boasts an impressive lineup of food vendors, ensuring a mouthwatering experience for all. The curated selection of culinary offerings is designed to reflect the rich diversity of global cuisine, making Bahrain Food Festival a true gastronomic wonderland. Beyond the culinary delights, the festival grounds will be alive with the vibrant energy of live musical performances, engaging games, and a plethora of exciting activities. The hosting of the Bahrain Food Festival is an integral part of the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibition Authority's (BTEA) strategic vision, focused on enriching the tourism sector through the implementation of diverse initiatives that collectively aim to elevate Bahrain's standing as a prominent destination in the world. The festival, as one of these initiatives, plays a vital role in attracting local and international visitors, ultimately boosting vibrant tourism ecosystem.

Amir Tabch Takes the Helm at Liminal Custody Solutions for Middle East Growth

Liminal Custody Solutions (Liminal), a digital asset custody and wallet infrastructure provider in the APAC and MENA region has announced the appointment of Amir Tabch as its CEO for the Middle East region. Tabch, a seasoned financial services executive and fintech pioneer, brings over two decades of experience in leading and scaling businesses across traditional and digital asset markets.Mr. Tabch joins Liminal Custody Solutions from Copper Securities (formerly Securrency Capital) in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM). As Chairman and CEO, he played a pivotal role in establishing the company, securing regulatory approvals, and driving high-profile fundraising activities. Prior to that Mr. Tabch held senior leadership positions at SC Meta Markets, Emirates Investment Bank, and First Abu Dhabi Bank, where he honed his expertise in global markets, multi-asset trading, and regulatory compliance. "We are thrilled to welcome Amir to Liminal Custody Solutions," said Mahin Gupta, Founder of Liminal Custody Solutions. "His extensive experience in navigating complex regulatory environments, coupled with his proven track record of building and growing successful businesses, will be invaluable as we expand our global footprint and solidify our position as the trusted partner for digital asset custody in the Middle East." "I am excited to join Liminal Custody Solutions at this pivotal time in the digital asset industry," said Mr. Tabch. "The Middle East represents a tremendous opportunity for growth, and I am confident that Liminal's innovative custody solutions and commitment to regulatory compliance will be instrumental in unlocking the full potential of this market. I look forward to working with the Liminal team to build a robust and secure infrastructure for institutional investors in the region." Mr. Tabch's appointment is part of Liminal's strategic expansion in the Middle East and expansion of its custody offerings. The company announced the grant of an In-Principle Approval (IPA) by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) to operate as a custody provider for Virtual Assets. The company also recently welcomed Satya Venkata Chalapathi as Vice President of Risk & Compliance and Ajit Thakur as Head of Custody Operations to its regional team. Their combined expertise in digital asset security and operational excellence will further strengthen Liminal's capabilities in the region.

AI-enabled wearables may spark fresh debate on privacy: Kaspersky

AI-enabled wearables could spark debates about privacy, and the anticipated proliferation of AR and VR is likely to set new standards regarding privacy in 2024. At the same time, the significance of data breaches containing passwords is expected to diminish as two-factor authentication becomes more prevalent, and users enhance privacy with assistant bots.Data Privacy Day is held annually on January 28 to raise awareness on the topic. According to Kaspersky, the privacy field is undergoing a transformative moment due to the emergence of new technologies and evolving regulatory practices. Major events in 2023 in the social, economic and political spheres, as well as new technological trends, will be the main factors influencing the privacy landscape in 2024. Kaspersky experts’ predictions include:AI-enabled wearables may spark a fresh debate on privacy.While people have embraced devices like smartphones and smart assistants in their homes, wearables, especially those with cameras like smart glasses or AI pins, tend to evoke more suspicion. The overt nature of these devices could genuinely cause privacy-conscious individuals concern, assuming they gain popularity.AR and VR developments are poised to establish new privacy standards in 2024.Apple's product launches typically draw public attention, sparking discussions regarding privacy, especially when it comes to technologies that have not been regulated properly yet. With the introduction of Apple Vision Pro and the increasing integration of AR/VR into daily life, privacy concerns are likely to take center stage.Advancing privacy through the emergence of assistant bots.The growing prevalence of assistant bots, utilizing natural language processing (NLP), offers a compelling opportunity to enhance user privacy across diverse sectors. Envision a future where bot assistants play a crucial role in safeguarding personal data, particularly during calls. A sophisticated bot assistant could seamlessly handle user calls, ensuring sensitive information, such as the user's voice is protected.Leaked passwords will provide less cause for concern as their importance continues to decline.The primary reason for the decline in fears of leaked passwords is the rising prevalence of two-factor authentication where an additional code to confirm your login is sent via SMS or generated in a special authenticator application, such as Kaspersky Password Manage. Additionally, some services, like Google, already feature “passwordless” authentication via passkeys, while others favor biometric authentication over traditional passwords."In the era of evolving technologies, the notion of private data must extend beyond traditional boundaries. The advent of AI-enabled wearables, AR/VR developments, and the rise of assistant bots necessitate a broader understanding of privacy. As these innovations become integral to daily life, our concept of personal data must encompass not only what we willingly share but also the nuanced interactions and insights these technologies inherently possess,” comments Anna Larkina, security and privacy expert at Kaspersky.

YOUAE Mortgages introduces Mr Mortgage: UAE’s first mortgage AI Avatar

YOUAE Mortgages, a rapidly growing mortgage advisory firm in the region, is introducing UAE’s first Mortgage AI Avatar. With a client-centric approach, the firm envisions to offer a comprehensive and personalized mortgage experience. With the aim of revolutionizing the way individuals receive mortgage updates, the AI avatar will provide valuable insights, streamlined processes, and prompt assistance to clients.Mr. Mortgage increases efficiency and enables individuals to make informed decisions by informing clients about the latest market trends, interest rates, loan terms, etc. Customers get access to concise, engaging information on various mortgage topics."For the past ten years, my journey in mortgage sales has been defined by one core principle: placing the client at the Centre of everything I do. Client satisfaction is not just a priority; it is the very essence of my business. In my pursuit of providing exceptional service, I have long pondered the potential synergy between the mortgage and AI world. Mr. Mortgage is the result of figuring out how we could efficiently leverage AI to revolutionize the client experience and deliver greater value,” said Yash Trivedi, Founder of YOUAE Mortgages.Mr Mortgage’s introduction to the UAE comes at an excellent time, as the UAE government has recently announced the cancellation of the minimum down payment for property investors. Seeking to encourage more investors and residents to establish deeper roots in the country, investors can now qualify for the golden visa if the property’s value is Dh 2 million or more, irrespective of whether it is off-plan, completed, mortgaged, or not mortgaged. In comparison, investors previously had to pay at least Dh 1 million to be eligible for the 10-year residency visa.YOUAE Mortgages recognizes the complexities of the real estate market and the diverse financial needs of its clients. Through personalized advice, tailored mortgage solutions, and unparalleled customer service, they’re on the journey to simplify the mortgage process by equipping customers with the knowledge and resources necessary to make informed decisions.

Luca Delfino appointed new global Chief Commercial Officer at Maserati

Luca Delfino has been appointed Maserati’s new global Chief Commercial Officer. Following the announcement of the arrival of the new global Chief Marketing Officer at the beginning of January, the House of the Trident now welcomes the Italian manager to his new role, after serving as Managing Director for the EMEA Region for nearly three years.Luca Delfino is a well-known figure within the Modena-based company: he joined the Italian luxury brand in 2007 as Aftersales Business Manager for the Middle East, Africa, and European Markets. Over the years, he has built a successful career, having the opportunity to hold several crucial roles with increasing levels of responsibility.Thanks to his varied professional experience, he also had the opportunity to dive deep into several different markets of the brand, getting to know the global business landscape and enhancing the company’s rich expertise while holding significant positions that have contributed to the growth and expansion of the Italian manufacturer’s position within the luxury automotive landscape.His in-depth knowledge of the automotive sector and the Maserati Brand has been showcased by a remarkable path that includes the following roles: Regional Aftersales Manager Middle East/Africa, After Sales Director USA/Canada, General Manager Middle East & Africa, Sales and Product Director Middle East, APAC, Africa & India, Managing Director Asia Pacific (without China), as well as Head of Global Personalization “Fuoriserie” and Classic “Classiche” programs.With this new addition, the Maserati Leadership team can now count on a valuable, seasoned resource to tackle the important changes of the Brand’s new era of electrification.Davide Grasso, Maserati CEO: "Luca is one of us and we have had the chance to work with him closely these past years, and have appreciated his growth and many contributions. He was the natural choice for this significant role. As part of the Brand Leadership Team, he will play a crucial role in contributing to Maserati’s success during these challenging and exciting times for our industry.”Luca Delfino, Maserati CCO: “Maserati is my family, and I am very pleased to have been appointed to such a role of responsibility and prestige for a manager. Over the past seventeen years, I have grown up within the Italian company and have had the opportunity to also represent the Brand around the world in different roles and in various markets. This new commitment means a new challenge for me, and I am grateful to the Brand for once again putting its trust in me as we usher in a new era.”Maserati S.p.A.Maserati produces a complete range of unique cars, immediately recognizable for their extraordinary personality. Thanks to their style, technology, and innately exclusive character, they delight the most discerning, demanding tastes and have always been a benchmark for the global automotive industry. A tradition of successful cars, each of them redefining what makes an Italian sports car in terms of design, performance, comfort, elegance, and safety, currently available in more than 70 markets internationally. The ambassadors of this heritage are the Quattroporte flagship, the Ghibli sports sedan, the Levante – the first SUV made by Maserati, and the Grecale, the all-new “everyday exceptional” SUV, all models characterised by the use of the highest quality materials and excellent technical solutions. A range equipped with 4-cylinder hybrid powertrains – available for Ghibli, Grecale and Levante – V6 petrol and V8 petrol, with rear-wheel and four-wheel drive, embodying the performance DNA of the Trident Brand, now completed with the Grecale Folgore, Maserati’s first full-electric SUV. The top of the range is made up of the MC20 super sports car and the MC20 Cielo spyder, powered by the ground-breaking 100% Maserati Nettuno V6 engine, which incorporates F1-derived technologies into the power unit of a standard production car for the first time. The new GranTurismo is available with both the high-performance V6 petrol engine, derived from the Nettuno, and a 100% electric version: the GranTurismo Folgore, the first car in the Modena-based brand’s history to adopt this solution. By 2025, all Maserati models will also be available in a full-electric version, and the entire Maserati range will run on electricity alone by 2030.

IFS appoints Sophie Graham as Chief Sustainability Officer

IFS, the global cloud enterprise software company, today announced that it has appointed Sophie Graham as Chief Sustainability Officer. The role reflects IFS’s continued commitment to its sustainability strategy and ambition to accelerate the delivery of its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) agenda.Sustainability is rapidly becoming a C-level and Board-level priority, in part driven by new regulations like the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) and as well as by global agreements by heads of state. CSRD comes into effect in 2024 and will impact all companies listed on EU-regulated markets. For IFS, elevating sustainability includes maintaining strong performance internally, while embedding different sustainability capabilities in IFS Cloud. In her role as IFS Chief Sustainability Officer, Graham will oversee the successful delivery of IFS’s own strategy, working with the Executive Leadership Team to scale at pace across its global operations. Since 2021, Graham has spearheaded Sustainability and ESG at IFS, defining and implementing a successful multi-year strategy and has rapidly become a fervent IFS spokesperson and a thought leader often called upon by the media.IFS CEO Mark Moffat commented: “IFS is at an incredibly important juncture on ESG and, much like our customers, we are focused on accelerating the results that will have the impact we all look for. Sophie’s appointment is evidence of the strategic prioritization of sustainability at IFS, and our goal is to work hand in hand with our customers, sharing our knowledge, experiences and taking their input into our products. Moffat continued: “Through technology we can help transform and improve entire industries and positively affect people’s lives. In 2021, we started building capabilities that matter to our customers and where we knew they would deliver the most value to them. Moffat concluded: I am looking forward to continuing working with Sophie in her new role as we ramp up both our own efforts and our support in helping customers meeting their own goals.”Sophie Graham, Chief Sustainability Officer, IFS, commented: “I am a true believer in the potential that the technology sector has to drive change across different industries, providing the ‘how’ roadmap in the transition to a low carbon, more sustainable future. IFS has a clear sense of purpose, and I am very excited to continue building on the robust strategy we already have in place to drive even more lasting impact, across our team, customers, and partners.”With a background in environmental law, Graham has worked across EMEIA, Americas and the UK in the technology and finance sectors. Prior to IFS, Sophie led sustainability reporting at Santander UK, including investor ESG engagement. She also worked in the US, establishing an international charity partnership with the Red Cross, and heading up an ESG strategy across 7 countries in the Americas.IFS also shares that Stephen Keys, previously Chief Talent & Sustainability Officer, takes on a new strategic leadership role focused on our critical talent agenda as Chief Talent Officer, in addition to his role as Chair of the IFS Foundation. Stephen has been instrumental in pioneering IFS's approach to sustainability within the organization and will continue to drive adoption of sustainability practices in his new role.IFS is resolutely committed to sustainability, with a strategy based around three pillars of operational excellence, supporting customers and wider community impact. Transparency is key to building trust and ESG disclosures include the IFS Sustainability report produced annually alongside an ESG Fact Sheet.

Saudi Tourism launches new global marketing campaign with Messi

Saudi’s national tourism brand ‘Saudi Welcome To Arabia’ has kicked off another global marketing campaign featuring football legend and Saudi Tourism Ambassador, Lionel Messi.Launching across key target markets in Europe, India and China, the “Go Beyond What You Think” campaign is anchored on consumer insights, which revealed there are still common misconceptions about the destination, and invites audiences to experience the incredible and vibrant cultural transformation taking place across Saudi.The campaign brings to life the UN Tourism, ‘Tourism Opens Minds’ Initiative that was launched on World Tourism Day in Riyadh in September 2023, which extends a compelling invitation for travelers to broaden horizons and explore uncharted corners of the world.According to Saudi Tourism, the governments as well as the industry stake holders were presented with a special pledge, calling on them to promote new and under-appreciated destinations while consumers pledged to ‘be open-minded to new cultures and destinations, holding an open heart while travelling’Messi was one of many leading international figures who took that pledge. He has a fond connection with Saudi being a frequent visitor to the country, including most recently with his wife, Antonella and their two children last Spring, it stated.Both Messi and his family have expressed delight in their Saudi experiences and a desire to continue visiting the country.The latest ‘Saudi Welcome to Arabia’ brand campaign is a combination of TV, Social, Digital, and OTA tactics activated over a three-month period. It is the latest in a series of initiatives by Saudi Tourism to foster broadening of perspectives, and bridging cultures through tourism.Those that know Saudi have been encouraged to share positive experiences and memories on TikTok and social channels using the bi-lingual hashtags #ShareYourSaudi and in Arabic, said the statement.Boldly addressing these misconceptions head-on, the campaign’s powerful call-to-action encourages visitors to discover the unexpected beyond outdated stereotypes, with a hero video featuring Messi breaking down metaphorical ‘walls’ of various misconceptions about the country.The video showcases Saudi’s diverse locations, weather and terrain – from the pristine waters of the Red Sea to the lush green mountains in Aseer, snow covered Tabuk, the coastal city of Jeddah and Riyadh, the bustling capital.In celebration of Saudi’s activities and attractions, the Messi campaign highlights the Diriyah E-Prix, Riyadh Season’s theme park rides, AlUla’s hot air balloon flights and MDL Beast music events.Saudi Tourism said the campaign also places a spotlight on Saudi’s open and welcoming culture and the importance of inspiring young Saudi women to reach their full potential.Messi celebrates the Saudi women who have been trailblazers in their fields and leading Saudi’s cultural transformation such as the Saudi Women’s National football team, motorsport athlete Dania Akeel, DJ Cosmicat, and Rayyanah Barnawi, the first Saudi woman in space.With a powerful entry, Saudi continues to pioneer a new era of tourism development and growth through the creation of new destinations and show-stopping experiences, embracing sustainability and enabling world-class culture, entertainment and sports scenes to flourish.Saudi especially comes alive during its sunny Winter Season – this year the country is hosting 17,000 events, making it 'the world's most happening winter'. Ongoing events include Riyadh Season, Jeddah Season and Diriyah Season, with notable events coming up including the Saudi Cup (February 23-24), Saudi Arabian Grand Prix (March 7-9), AlUla Arts Festival (February 9 to March 2) and AlUla skies festival (April 10 to 27).Of note, the campaign is launching ahead of Messi’s imminent and much-anticipated Saudi return playing two matches with his current Club, Inter Miami, against Al Nassr on February 1 and against Al Hilal on January 29.

Titan Eye+ strengthens footprint in UAE with strategic openings

As it commemorates its 1-year anniversary in the region, Titan Eye+ has launched two more stores in the UAE following the first successful international opening in Bur Juman last year.India’s largest eyewear company’s impressive footprint of 860+ Titan Eye+ stores across 300 different cities in India has now been further enhanced with 3 stores in the UAE.Conveniently located at Sahara Centre, Sharjah and City Centre Al Shindagha, each spacious new store is well-stocked with 1000+ prescription frames and sunglasses that can be paired with best-in-class lenses like Titan ClearSight that are manufactured in-house. The offering is further complemented by an unrivalled range of contact lenses, and top international fashion brand frames and accessories amalgamating expertise in optometry, product design and manufacturing.From in-depth lifestyle-based advice to informed product suggestions, not to mention a 20-step free Zero error eye test for the most exact measurements and a 60-minute delivery window, the in-store services are designed to give customers a comprehensive and unrivalled eyecare retail experience that seamlessly blends technology and style with empathy. Membership to Encircle, Titan’s award-winning loyalty programme will also be available for those wanting additional exclusive rewards and experiences.“Titan Eye+ remains steadfast in its commitment to providing exceptional service levels and a comfort zone by tailor-making its offering to the region’s discerning and multicultural audience," said Kuruvilla Markose, CEO-International Business Division, Titan Company Limited.“They’ve been so receptive to our multi pronged approach to optometrical purchases and this initial success has encouraged us to undertake a robust route for expansion across key areas of the UAE.”“We believe that selecting eyewear is a sensitive and very personal issue in which exercising all options is recommended. Our staff is trained in these aspects so whether the customer is conservative or seeking to make a fashion statement, our team knows exactly what steps to take to ensure customer satisfaction," he added.Discerning customers will appreciate the brand’s range of progressive lenses available only at Titan Eye+. Titan Ultima’s innovative ultra-thin lens adapt faster providing the wearer with high image stability by reducing any distortions that often accompany a progressive lens. While most progressive lenses take around 14 days to adapt, it is proven that Titan Ultima takes just a day for most consumers. The brand has also recently launched Neo Sync in this portfolio, a new free-form progressive lens that dynamically adjusts to suit any lifestyle, providing a wide viewing range at all distances.

Colm McLoughlin receives Lifetime Achievement Award at the Arabian Business 2024

Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice Chairman & CEO, Colm McLoughlin was presented with the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2024 Arabian Business Achievement Awards held on 25th January at Atlantis The Royal, Dubai.Organised by ITP Media Group, the Arabian Business' flagship event, recognises individuals and organisations across a diverse range of categories including retail, e-commerce, healthcare, technology, hospitality, and more, that have demonstrated exceptional performance over the past year.The headline award of the evening, The Lifetime Achievement award, acknowledged McLoughlin for his pivotal role in shaping Dubai Duty Free and the duty-free industry in the region across four decades of unprecedented growth and achievements.Commenting on the award McLoughlin said, “I am thrilled and delighted that I have been selected to receive this special award and thank ITP Media and the panel of judges for their votes. It is hard to believe that I have been with Dubai Duty Free for 40 years and have witnessed the enormous growth and development of the operation in tandem with that of the UAE. My thanks as always to my family, to our terrific team of staff and of course to our Chairman HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, for his ongoing support.”McLoughlin now follows the footsteps of other UAE luminaries who have received this award, including H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qassimi, Ruler of the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, H.E. Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Mohamed Alabbar, Chairperson of Emaar and Mohammed Alshaya, CEO of Al Shaya Group.McLoughlin was joined at the black-tie event by his wife Breeda and son Niall, along with his wife Sherly. Also, in attendance to celebrate with him were Dubai Duty Free’s Salah Tahlak, Joint COO; Sinead El Sibai, Senior Vice President - Marketing, Dr. Bernard Creed, Senior Vice President – Finance and Michael Schmidt, Senior Vice President – Retail.Special awards recognising the Sustainability Company of the Year, Start-Up of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Developer of the Year and Businessperson of the Year were also presented during the night.The awards were adjudged by a distinguished panel of judges consisting of business, professional, and academic experts in the Middle East and was externally audited ensuring fairness and transparency of the judging process.

Elon Musk's xAI seeks $6 billion to challenge OpenAI

Elon Musk's AI ambitions take a bold leap forward as his AI start-up xAI aims to raise a staggering $6 billion from global investors. This move positions xAI as a major contender in the burgeoning generative AI arena, with OpenAI, backed by Microsoft, as its key target.The fundraising push spans continents, with xAI courting wealthy individuals and investors worldwide. Whispers of talks with family offices in Hong Kong, despite the territory's complex ties with Beijing, highlight the intensifying global AI race.Musk's vision for xAI is ambitious. He seeks a $20 billion valuation, fueled by the $6 billion capital injection. This hefty sum reflects the colossal resources needed to develop cutting-edge generative AI models, demanding vast computing power, data, and specialized chips.However, negotiations are in a flux, and Musk's target raise might shift. He's reportedly explored additional avenues, including sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East and potential investors in Japan and South Korea.Meanwhile, xAI has already taken its first steps. In December, it launched Grok, a chatbot trained on social media data, touted to offer more current and comprehensive responses than rivals.The pressure is on, as OpenAI boasts a sizable $13 billion war chest injected by Microsoft alone. Additionally, Anthropic and Cohere, fueled by tech giants like Google and Amazon, join the competition.Musk's past connection to OpenAI adds an intriguing layer. He co-founded the company but later disagreed with its direction, particularly its perceived lack of safety measures and alleged censorship tendencies. This fueled his decision to launch xAI in July 2023.Financial details of xAI's past funding remain murky. Public filings reveal a $1 billion fundraising goal through equity investors, with $135 million already secured. A reported $500 million raise in January further adds to the uncertainty.Despite the complexities surrounding xAI's financial state, one thing is clear: Musk's AI ambitions are not to be underestimated. Whether xAI secures the coveted $6 billion and dethrones OpenAI remains to be seen, but one thing is certain - the battle for AI supremacy has just entered a new, high-stakes chapter.

AI takes center stage in sports: PwC research

PwC, a leading global professional services firm, has unveiled groundbreaking research showcasing the transformative impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on the sports industry. The study reveals how AI is revolutionizing fan engagement, boosting revenue, and shaping the future of sports across various domains.AI-Driven Personalization: Elevating Fan EngagementPwC's research underscores the pivotal role of artificial intelligence in reshaping the sports industry. From streamlining ticket purchasing to halftime snack deliveries, AI-driven capabilities are enhancing fan engagement, fostering loyalty, and driving increased revenue for sports organizations. It emphasizes the importance of responsible AI practices and robust data governance in designing these innovative fan experiences.Transformative Trends in Sports ConsumptionThe rise of streaming services and direct-to-consumer (DTC) sports consumption is changing how people experience sports. Traditional regional sports networks are adapting to challenges by exploring over-the-air broadcasting, creating DTC streaming platforms, and forming strategic partnerships with streaming organizations. PwC explores this new era of sports consumption and the strategies adopted by leagues and teams to thrive in the evolving landscape.League Expansion: Unlocking Growth OpportunitiesPwC's research highlights the thrilling growth opportunities presented by league expansion in the sports industry. From potential European expansion in the NFL to the consideration of domestic and international teams in the NBA, leagues are eyeing new markets and larger audiences. The report predicts continued growth in sports valuations in 2024, with ancillary businesses benefiting from increased investment in sports technology and live entertainment.Rising Sports Valuations and Diversified InvestmentThe study delves into the significant M&A activity in the sports industry in 2023, showcasing record valuations for professional sports teams. PwC predicts continued valuation increases in 2024, with ancillary businesses benefiting from sustained interest in sports investing. The report highlights the diversification of investment sources, including family offices, sovereign wealth funds, and private equity funds expanding their presence in sports and entertainment.Game-Changing Momentum in Women's SportsPwC highlights the record-breaking growth in women's sports in 2023, encompassing viewership, attendance, sponsorships, and media rights deals. The report predicts increased investment in women's sports leagues in 2024, emphasizing the potential for economic sustainability and influence in the dynamic sports landscape.Entertainment Districts: Revolutionizing Fan ExperiencesThe research explores the emergence of entertainment districts as a focal point for fan experiences beyond game day. Leading sports organizations are creating additional revenue streams and enhancing fan engagement through mixed-use entertainment districts. PwC predicts that these districts will become integral to major new venue development projects announced in 2024.The Power of Sports Narratives: Boosting EngagementPwC examines the surge in popularity of sports narratives, including documentaries and unscripted content. The report emphasizes the impact of compelling stories on viewership, fan engagement, and sports revenue streams. It anticipates more leagues and teams focusing on telling captivating stories about athletes off the court to enhance viewer interest in 2024.Seismic Moves in Sports BettingThe research delves into the dynamics of online sports betting, legal in 26 states with ESPN and Fanatics making strategic moves in the market. PwC predicts that in 2024, while market dominance may be challenging, companies like ESPN and Fanatics can enhance customer connections and gain valuable consumer behavior insights in the sports betting sector.NCAA Division I Realignment: Shaping the Future of College SportsPwC explores the ongoing realignment of NCAA Division I schools, predicting continued changes in college sports in 2024. The report discusses the financial gains and challenges associated with realignment, highlighting potential impacts on athletes, fans, and the NCAA itself.Rise of Soccer in the USThe research concludes by spotlighting the rise of soccer in the US, citing factors such as the growing prominence of US leagues and accessibility to broadcasts. PwC predicts sustained growth in Major League Soccer, emphasizing the impact of international stars like Lionel Messi on the league's accelerated expansion.

Rack Centre appoints Lars Johannisson as Chief Executive Officer

 Rack Centre, West Africa's Best-connected Carrier and Cloud neutral data centre has announced the appointment of Lars Johannisson as its new Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Johannisson, an accomplished leader with extensive experience in transformative industries, assumes the role effective January 2024.According to the Group Chief Executive Officer of Rack Centre, Jasper Lankhorst, the company Is excited to welcome Lars into the leadership team of Rack Centre with his wealth of experience and robust industry knowledge."We are delighted to welcome Lars Johannisson as the new Chief Executive Officer of Rack Centre. His wealth of experience and strategic leadership will propel Rack Centre to new heights. I have full confidence in Lars's ability to steer our company towards continued success, and I look forward to working closely with him to advance our position as a leading data centre provider”, said Lankhorst,Speaking on his new role as the CEO of Rack Centre, Johannisson highlighted the company's market leadership and its leading position as a Carrier and Cloud neutral Tier-III Data centre in Nigeria. He expressed his commitment to contributing to the digital ecosystem growth in Nigeria and is delighted to be part of a team dedicated to launching a new hyperscale-ready, 12MW data centre facility in Lagos in 2024.Lars has extensive experience working in Telecom, IT Delivery, Managed Services, and Digital skilling. He is passionate about leading organizations in transformative industries in Africa over the last 14 years and has executed large B2B projects in more than 30 Sub-Saharan countries.He holds an MBA in General Management/Finance from the Stockholm School of Economics and has completed the Stanford University Executive Program on "Design, Innovation and Business Transformation.He has actively participated in "Digital and Economic Inclusion" discussions in Sub-Saharan Africa and has sponsored economic inclusion initiatives for hiring and training youth in IT through partnerships with major CSV partners.Before joining Rack Centre, Johannisson was the CEO of Teleperformance in Sub-Saharan Africa, heading the world's leading company in digital CX and BPO in the group's emerging market and previously at Ericsson, SolarNow and the YNV Group.Rack Centre's robust ecosystem includes over 64 telecommunication carriers, Internet Service Providers, global Tier 1 networks, and pan-Africa international carriers. The company achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first International Finance Corporation (IFC) EDGE certified data centre in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. This certification officially designates Rack Centre as the first Green Certified Data Centre in Africa, further solidifying its position as the most connected facility in the West African region, according to its Peering DB ranking.

Visa Red Bull Formula One teams announce global partnership

The Formula One grid is charging into the 2024 season with a new look and new support. Red Bull F1 Teams and Visa announced an unprecedented multi-year agreement where Visa will become the first global partner of both Red Bull F1 teams, bringing a new look team to the F1 grid in the form of Visa Cash App RB, formerly Scuderia AlphaTauri.Visa’s first new major global sports sponsorship in more than 15 years, the agreement encompasses the Visa Cash App RB team, corresponding title partnership on the F1 Academy team entry and the Oracle Red Bull Racing team. The Visa logo appearing on both the Oracle Red Bull Racing and Visa Cash App RB cars as well as the F1 Academy entries from the respective teams.“This is a groundbreaking partnership, and a great opportunity for the Visa brand to engage one of the fastest-growing sports communities on the planet,” said Frank Cooper III, Chief Marketing Officer, Visa. “This alliance resonates strongly with Visa’s vision to inspire individuals to ‘make it,’ striving to take small steps for improvement each day, during every race or event.”Visa Cash App RB Races into the FutureVisa Cash App RB Drivers Yuki Tsunoda of Japan and Daniel Ricciardo of Australia will sport a newly designed Visa and Cash App inspired car livery and driver’s kit when the F1 2024 racing series kicks off in Bahrain on February 29. The full livery unveil will take place during a special Las Vegas event on February 8.Beyond the high impact branding opportunities with Visa Cash App RB, the two companies are committed to both propelling the team to excellence on the grid and providing cardholders opportunities to get closer to the action through team activities including behind the scenes access, driver meet and greets, merchandise and elevated hospitality at races.“It’s fantastic to reveal the new identity and to welcome new partners as we embark on the next phase of the team’s Formula 1 story,” said Peter Bayer, Chief Executive Officer of the newly named Visa Cash App RB team. “Faenza is entering a new era of racing, staying true to our roots as a hothouse for talent but now with an even greater focus on competing for the biggest prizes in F1. We have a bold vision for the team led by myself and Team Principal, Laurent Mekies and having future-focused partners such as Visa and Cash App alongside us on that journey is hugely exciting.”Championing Equality in Motor SportsVisa has long been committed to women’s empowerment and economic advancement through sponsorship platforms. Furthering that commitment, Visa and Cash App will join Red Bull to champion Visa Cash App RB in the F1 Academy series. The all female driving series takes place at seven select F1 tracks over the same weekend as the F1 races. This livery will also be unveiled during February’s special event.“We’re thrilled to embark on this journey with Visa and Red Bull,” said Catherine Ferdon, Head of Brand, Cash App. “The Visa Cash App RB team and Cash App are dedicated to connecting people and communities, and there’s no greater unifier than sports. With the continued growth of Formula One in the US, this sponsorship allows us to deepen our relationship with Formula One fans and furthers Cash App’s commitment to supporting and growing the culture of F1 fandom in the United States while offering more value to our customers. We have a history of elevating emerging talent and look forward to sponsoring a team known for developing incredible up-and-coming drivers.”“The birth of Visa Cash App RB is a hugely significant moment,” said Oliver Hughes, Chief Marketing Officer at Red Bull Technology. “The new identity is not simply a name change, it’s the start of a thrilling new journey designed to take the team to new levels of competitiveness and that’s demonstrated in the presence of one of the world’s most iconic brands as the team’s title partner. But, like the team, Visa is firmly focused on the future, expanding from its world-leading position in its core business to become a global pacesetter in the development of digital financial services for everyone, everywhere. Matching that commitment to future finance, Cash App joins the team as a key partner and as one of the most downloaded finance apps. The team’s new identity as Visa Cash App RB leans into a future in which the team charges towards the front of the grid every weekend.”Note to Editors – About:Visa Cash App RB: With more than 350 race starts and counting, Red Bull’s Italian Formula 1 team has been one of the sport’s most consistent and important competitors since 2006.Launched as Scuderia Toro Rosso and charged with bringing future champions to the grid, the team was successful in launching the top level careers of a generation of drivers who have gone on to win races and world championships in Formula 1 and beyond. The success continued following the teams’ 2020 rebrand as Scuderia AlphaTauri, with victory at the Italian Grand Prix in its first season. Now reborn with an expanded mission to battle for the sport’s biggest prizes, Visa Cash App RB team is powering into a new era of competition at the pinnacle of motor sport.Visa: Visa (NYSE: V) is a world leader in digital payments, facilitating transactions between consumers, merchants, financial institutions and government entities across more than 200 countries and territories. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, convenient, reliable and secure payments network, enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. We believe that economies that include everyone everywhere, uplift everyone everywhere and see access as foundational to the future of money movement. Learn more at App: Cash App is the money app. It’s the easy way to spend, send, and store money. Sending and receiving money is free and fast, and most payments can be deposited directly to an external bank account in just a few seconds. With Cash App, customers can also buy and sell Bitcoin instantly, get a paycheck deposited right to the app, create a unique $cashtag to share with anyone to get paid fast, and use the Cash App Visa prepaid debit Card to spend the money everywhere Visa Debit is accepted. Debit cards issued by Sutton Bank pursuant to a licence from Visa U.S.A. Inc. Visa is a registered trademark of Visa International Service Association. All other trademarks and service marks belong to their respective owners. Download Cash App for free at Red Bull Racing: Since its inception, Oracle Red Bull Racing has been a major force in the FIA Formula One World Championship, the globe's premier motorsport category. Founded in 2005 to expand parent company Red Bull's presence in F1 and to disrupt the status quo within the sport through a bold mix of passion, playfulness, ambition and achievement, Oracle Red Bull Racing has grown to become one of F1's most successful teams. With multiple Constructors' and Drivers' world titles and more than 100 race wins to its credit, Oracle Red Bull Racing continues its pursuit of ultimate performance – as a race Team, as a home of champions and as an innovator operating at the cutting edge of technology.

CFI announces exclusive partnership with Paris Saint-Germain

CFI Financial Group, MENA's leading online trading provider, has unveiled a strategic partnership with the world-renowned football club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) until June 2026. This alliance marks a significant milestone in CFI's strategic expansion, celebrating the shared values of excellence, performance, and innovation, blending the worlds of finance and football in a unique fashion.With over a quarter of a century of industry experience, CFI has earned its position as MENA's premier online trading provider. Boasting more than twelve regulated entities across five continents, CFI serves a global client base spread over 100 countries, offering ultra-competitive trading conditions and cutting-edge platforms. Recent advancements, including the integration of AI technology, showcase CFI's dedication to empowering traders worldwide with the latest, advanced tools.The partnership with PSG is not just a collaboration but a celebration of synergy between finance and elite sports. It echoes the unique, progressive spirit of Paris, a city synonymous with passion, excellence, and a true spirit of innovation. The club's dedication to innovation, empowerment, and unique performance mirrors CFI's commitment to empowering traders and investors globally at the highest level.Hisham Mansour, Founder and Managing Director of CFI Financial Group, expressed: "We are incredibly excited to launch our partnership with Paris Saint-Germain, a football club synonymous with passion and its own unique brand identity. This venture represents a harmonious alignment of values, reinforcing our dedication to standing out as MENA's leading broker, offering unmatched trading services and optimal conditions. We are excited for the journey ahead, aiming to create a lasting legacy through this well-matched partnership with PSG."Marc Armstrong, Chief Revenue Officer of Paris Saint-Germain, added: "We are delighted to welcome CFI as one of our exclusive international partners. We share the same ambitions to offer our respective fans and clients increasingly unique and innovative experiences."This collaboration aims to strategically expand CFI's global presence, leveraging PSG's international recognition and vast international fan base. This exciting partnership is anticipated to bring many unique opportunities for CFI clients and PSG fans alike, with unique opportunities and tailored promotions for both sides to participate in and benefit from.With its distinguished international stature, Paris Saint-Germain is one of CFI’s key partners. This latest partnership complements the group's impressive lineup of sporting partners, including AC Milan, Sheffield United F.C., the Jordan Football Association, and the Lebanese Basketball Federation. This global partnership is a cornerstone of CFI's strategy to extend its global reach and influence. As an official partner of PSG, CFI looks forward to this new chapter of strategic global expansion.ème-son-come-together-to-unveil-sound-affects

Saatchi & Saatchi ME, Sixième Son unveil ‘Sound Affects’ for PTSD victims

Saatchi & Saatchi Middle East, a leading advertising and communications agency under Publicis Groupe ME, has teamed up with Sixieme Son, world leader in sonic branding and sound design, and Mindloop Studios, to launch a powerful campaign titled “Sound Affects”. Introducing the world's first sound effects library, the campaign channels 100% of royalty proceeds to aid in psychological treatment and traumatic support for individuals or refugees coping with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of acts of violence, war or other traumatic incidents. By turning royalty rights into human rights, ‘Sound Affects’ sheds light on the lingering reality of PTSD.  Research shows that 4 out of 5 PTSD episodes are triggered by sounds, with everyday noises taking victims back to their traumatic experiences and reopening their wounds. While several NGOs provide aid, sustaining funds is a recurring challenge, making it even harder for victims to get access to help.* To support NGOs dedicated to assisting trauma survivors, Sixieme Son and Saatchi & Saatchi used foley techniques to create a collection of sound effects made from everyday items, that mimic PTSD triggers. With an array of sounds ranging from gunshots to explosions, sirens and helicopter whirs, the collection is ideal for frequent users of sound effects clips in entertainment, advertising and audio-visual productions. “All of this could have been done digitally, but we wanted to be authentic and truly capture how real everyday sounds around us can take PTSD victims back to their disturbing past.” explains Ahmed Haffar, Managing Partner at Mindloop Studios and The Voice of Dubai.  Behind each sound, there lies a real story of trauma like Ferhana’s, a refugee from Kabul, who finds that the hum of her aunt’s sewing machine triggers memories of tanks tearing through her neighbourhood. By purchasing that track, buyers can directly support her (and others’) recovery journey(s).“Sound, here, demonstrates its tremendous emotional power. We are proud of this collaboration and the impressive work of all the teams involved”, adds Laurent Cochini, Managing Director of Sixième Son. “We know that sounds can have a lot of power. And now they have the power to make a difference.” says Sebastien Boutebel, Chief Creative Officer at Saatchi & Saatchi Middle East.  The Sound Affects collection is available at, with 100% of proceeds being directed to trauma reparation, establishing a sustainable and long-lasting donation mechanic for NGOs dedicated to helping victims around the world suffering from PTSD. By choosing Sound Affects, buyers not only enhance their creative projects but also contribute to the healing journeys of those affected by PTSD.

WPP unites BCW and Hill & Knowlton to create Burson

WPP has announced the merger of its two largest communications agencies, Hill & Knowlton and BCW, to form Burson, a powerhouse delivering modern communications leadership at scale to clients across the world. The merged company will become an industry-leading, full-service communications agency focused on building and protecting reputation.Corey duBrowa, currently global CEO of BCW, has been named global CEO of Burson and AnnaMaria DeSalva, currently global chairman and CEO of Hill & Knowlton, has been named global chairman of Burson. Together, they will oversee agency strategy, client service, employee experience and culture. Burson will be operational from July 1, 2024, and its new brand will be unveiled later this year.This union of agencies will enable Burson to best serve clients in a complex and volatile environment in which strategic stakeholder communications has never been more critical. The new agency will draw on both organisations’ unrivaled talent base, exceptional global networks, investments in technology, creative capabilities, and public affairs and advisory specialties to drive reputation and value creation through the interdisciplinary solutions that clients demand now.The combination also creates immediate scale in sectors driving today’s most consequential innovation and economic growth, including healthcare and technology. The newly formed Burson will have more than 6,000 employees in 43 markets worldwide. Its name honours the late Harold Burson, a pioneer and founding figure of modern public relations and strategic communications.“Harold Burson believed strongly that actions are stronger than words, and he established honesty, transparency, integrity and excellence as the guiding principles of his business,” said Corey duBrowa. “Those principles are the foundational ideals of Burson, upon which we will set the bar for modern communications through our AI-first innovation pipeline. Together as Burson, we will bring insights, expert strategic counsel and technology solutions into a higher value offering for our clients to help them innovate and lead in today’s complex operating environment.”“The combination of Hill & Knowlton and BCW is highly synergistic, creating a premier partner for business leaders who are focused on commercial growth, risk management, and reputational capital,” said AnnaMaria DeSalva. “Our body of work increasingly demonstrates that strategic communication, elevated by creativity, is a primary force for sustainable value creation. By accelerating our transformation through this combination, we will enable the investments in talent and technology that advance communications leadership when it has never mattered more.”Burson’s leadership team will comprise a cohort of top-tier former chief communications officers and other experienced agency senior executives from both companies who bring deep expertise and knowledge of what business leaders need to succeed. Appointments will be announced throughout 2024 as the integration progresses.Hill & Knowlton brings significant business momentum, talent and innovation into the new Burson entity. The brand will operate within Burson serving a select group of clients globally through strategic communications, advisory and public affairs services.GCI Health and AxiCom will continue to operate as brands within Burson, offering specialised healthcare and technology communications expertise, respectively, at scale.Mark Read, CEO of WPP, said, “Hill & Knowlton and BCW are two high-performing businesses with complementary strengths, shared ambitions and many shared clients. I am delighted to see the Burson brand brought back to unite them. The new agency will be the standard bearer as the most modern, strategic, technology-driven, full-service communications offer in the industry.”The new agency will support a client roster that includes more than half of the Fortune 100 across corporate and public affairs, healthcare, technology and brand marketing.

Microsoft to lay off 1,900 employees in gaming division

Microsoft's gaming division is set to lose nearly 1,900 employees, roughly 9% of its workforce, following the company's $69 billion acquisition of Activision-Blizzard.The news, confirmed in a memo by Xbox boss Phil Spencer, comes just three months after the blockbuster deal, sending shockwaves through the industry. While Spencer acknowledges the "painful decision," he stresses the move aims to streamline operations and focus resources on strategic priorities.The layoffs are expected to impact employees across the Xbox division, as well as publisher Zenimax, which houses renowned studios like Bethesda and Arkane. Details on the specific distribution of job cuts within each unit remain unavailable.However, a separate message to Blizzard staff by Microsoft Studios head Matt Booty confirms additional layoffs within the company. He assures affected employees of comprehensive support, including severance packages compliant with local regulations, while announcing the cancellation of a major survival game project known as Odyssey.This news follows a turbulent year for Microsoft's gaming business. Just in January, the company announced a broader 10,000-job cut across its entire operation. Additionally, Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick stepped down after the merger, while Blizzard head Mike Ybarra recently announced his departure, returning to being a "fan from the outside."This wave of layoffs reflects a broader trend within the gaming industry. Rising costs of living, coupled with a return to pre-pandemic market conditions after the initial Covid boom, have pressured companies to downsize and restructure. Earlier this year, prominent studios like Riot Games, Unity, and Twitch also witnessed significant job cuts.Experts estimate that the gaming industry shed over 10,000 jobs in 2023, with the actual number likely higher. While Microsoft's decision is undeniably a blow to many employees, it highlights the ongoing shift and consolidation within the gaming landscape.