Paul Wright: How UAE media planners can conquer CTV in 2024

As digital consumption continues to surge, particularly among Gen Z and Millennials, the realm of Connected TV (CTV) presents a wealth of opportunities for media planners. Paul Wright, General Manager of Western Europe and MENAT at AppsFlyer, offers insights into the strategies media planners should prioritize in 2024 to leverage this shift and ensure campaigns effectively engage with target audiences. From capitalizing on addressable media to navigating CTV analytics, Wright delves into the nuances of CTV advertising and its transformative potential in the ever-evolving media landscape.With the surge in CTV usage especially among Gen Z and Millennials, what strategies do you believe media planners should prioritise in 2024 to leverage the opportunities presented by this shift? And how can media planners ensure that their campaigns effectively engage with the target audience?You’re absolutely right in that the consumption of digital services and content is on the rise. The United Arab Emirate’s video-on-demand market user penetration is projected to rise from a current 18% to 22% by 2027. The most recent AppsFlyer report on this topic showed that 64% of businesses are already running direct-response CTV campaigns, and 98% of them believe CTV will eventually overtake mobile as an advertising channel, with a quarter predicting this will happen by the middle of this decade. It is easy to see the attraction of CTV advertising — the opportunity to reach new customers, the prospect of higher engagement levels, and the potential of higher lifetime value.The hundred-million-dollar UAE VoD market is but a sliver of a hundred-billion-dollar global ecosystem. This presents new opportunities for marketing professionals to enhance the effectiveness of campaigns because CTV ads have been shown to produce much higher viewing completion than other forms of communication. With the ability to fine-tune both the message and the audience through insights from rich data sets, campaign-runners can be more strategic with their ads, placing them across top-tier networks and popular content, and even re-engaging their OTT and CTV viewers across the various devices they use. In light of the conversation surrounding Gen Z and Millennials, it's crucial for media planners to recognize the dual-screen opportunity, particularly the synergy between TV and mobile, especially on social media platforms. With the surge in CTV usage among these demographics, media planners should prioritize strategies that capitalize on this trend. One effective approach is to integrate TV and mobile advertising seamlessly, leveraging the strengths of each platform to engage audiences across multiple touchpoints.How can advertisers leverage the unique advantages offered by CTV, such as addressable media and immersive ad experiences, compared to traditional TV advertising?Traditional cable operators can only track number of views and viewer location, which is not the richest set of insights in today’s consumer markets, where individualization is a must-have. OTT platforms perform much better in gathering data, in terms of both quantity and quality. They know much more than just what people are watching; they know how they are watching it, and when they disengage from content and why. They can also compose reports on cross-regional viewing trends that can be immensely useful to marketers.These are the technical benefits that lead to the business advantages — new audiences, enhanced engagement, and higher lifetime value. Unsurprisingly, data drives the transformation story. Rich metrics gleaned through OTT and CTV platforms remove the guesswork from viewing analyses and put paid to the leaps of faith associated with campaigns of old. Today’s streaming services can accommodate niches that account for episode content, short-form content such as news reports, live streaming, and VoD. There's a significant programmatic opportunity for media planners to delve deeper into targeting, allowing for granular precision in reaching specific demographics and audiences. Leveraging platforms such as the TTDs, Amazon, and now Walmart, presents a unique advantage, as they can bring in valuable signals from various sources. This enables media planners to optimize their campaigns effectively by tapping into rich data insights and reaching audiences across multiple touchpoints.How do advancements in CTV analytics and measurement tools, including Attention measurement, influence media planners' decisions to invest in CTV advertising?The insights made possible by CTV platforms offer a host of benefits to marketers who can use this invaluable information to fine tune their campaigns. For example, by tracking brand reach, they can get to grips with the extent to which OTT ad campaigns are reaching relevant audiences. Along with reach goes frequency and the gross-rating points (GRPs) of OTT ad campaigns.Or consider another crucial metric — brand lift. OTT ads can drive brand awareness across different audiences. Marketers must measure the perception change directly related to their campaigns, including awareness, favourability, and purchase intent. All these data points can lead to a better understanding of how messaging approaches directly lead to a better position for the brand within the market.Measurement and fragmentation are potential challenges in CTV placements. How do you suggest advertisers/media planners address these challenges while ensuring effective ROI on their ad campaigns in the CTV space?You've touched on a very important point here. A significant challenge for CTV advertisers is that every inventory source collects data differently, resulting in different insights. Often, providers operate in walled gardens, which force advertisers to work directly with them, deal with varying and limited data sets, and prevent user-level data from leaving their individual platforms. The result is an extremely competitive and fragmented marketplace, where advertisers face challenges around accurate measurement and attribution.That said, because CTV advertising is so rooted in data, it’s possible for marketers to measure the success of their campaigns, and attribute results to the right sources, with pinpoint accuracy. This will require the support of a good MMP to help them navigate the fractured landscape, providing centralized, unbiased attribution across media sources, channels, and devices. Brands can successfully overcome defragmentation by running upper and lower funnel campaigns with the same measurement partners. Combining brand and performance campaigns on CTV would defragment the funnel and allow for a better understanding of the user journey. And of course, another crucial part of the solution is data standardization. Working with a partner such as AppsFlyer, that is capable of enabling standardization, will ensure that even though more and more networks are becoming walled gardens, you can still get all those data points in one consistent analytics dashboard.Two key user journeys to track are as CTV-to-CTV attribution and measurement and CTV-to-mobile attribution and measurement. The former is where CTV ads result in CTV app installs, on the same device or operating system, while the latter is where viewers install a mobile app after seeing it advertised on a CTV device. In both cases, where things get tricky is that each CTV platform provides its own reporting method, and the reporting itself may vary in terms of consistency, granularity, and naming conventions. This is where an MMP such as AppsFlyer can help, by providing a consolidated dashboard. By working with an MMP that integrates directly with CTV platforms like Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Chromecast, gaming consoles, and smart TVs, marketers can access deeper metrics such as LTV and metadata for better attribution.

Nivea delivers skin celebrations across Saudi Arabia

Global skincare brand Nivea has partnered up with Amazon in Saudi Arabia to launch a campaign that seeks to inspire a skin celebration movement across the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia is undergoing an unprecedented awakening that has captured the world's attention. The focus is on its remarkable progress as well as its cultural wealth. NIVEA saw this as a great opportunity to celebrate the country's rich diversity in a way that would resonate both nationally and internationally. To do so, NIVEA partnered with Amazon, marking the retail giant's first-ever brand partnership in the Kingdom, harnessing its distribution power to deliver a skin-positivity message to thousands of Saudi homes. This historic collaboration resulted in a design that used data and skin analysis to accurately represent the diverse skin tones of Saudi Arabia. The design was then applied to 530,000 Amazon boxes, along with an open-ended message printed on the box: ‘MY SKIN IS MY_______’ that invites recipients to complete the sentence by reflecting on the significance of their skin. The campaign, titled "Unboxing Skin” did something never done before: transform the iconic Amazon box into a medium for self-expression and a symbol of collective beauty, making each parcel an invitation to take part in a skin positivity conversation. The campaign is rolling out far and wide in the Kingdom while supplies last. However, it’s not restricted to Amazon buyers; anyone can take part in the skin celebration either by sharing their limited edition boxes or just a message of appreciation for their skin on social media. To complete the experience, each box includes a scannable code offering discounts on NIVEA products, to celebrate our skin in the best way possible: by taking care of it. The campaign originated in the offices of the international advertising agency Publicis One Touch, Dubai. This historic partnership presented an opportunity to go beyond traditional advertising and leverage both brands' power for good. "We take immense pride in 'Unboxing Skin'. We believe it will positively impact Saudi society by celebrating the beauty and diversity of its skin, underlining how such diversity makes the Kingdom great." said Rodrigo Rodrigues, Executive Creative Director at Publicis One Touch Dubai. "By using Amazon as a platform, we've managed to create a meaningful campaign that turns the box into an innovative medium to influence a positive movement." While a significant increase in sales for NIVEA on Amazon is already taking place, the main objective of this campaign is to positively impact each person, giving them the opportunity to reflect on the importance of their skin, appreciate it, and ultimately take care of it.

Scienjoy Verse Tech unveils SJ Ai, pioneering AI in the UAE

Scienjoy Verse Tech Ltd. has launched SJ Ai, a trailblazing enterprise set to redefine the landscape of artificial intelligence in the United Arab Emirates. As the inaugural AI company of its kind in the region, SJ Ai is dedicated to propelling the UAE towards global leadership in AI innovation.Nestled in the heart of Dubai's thriving tech ecosystem, SJ Ai is committed to developing groundbreaking AI solutions aligned with the overarching vision of SJ Verse. These solutions will revolutionize the technological framework upon which our society operates, ushering in a new era of innovation and progress.Driven by a steadfast commitment to excellence, SJ Ai is tapping into the UAE's dynamic talent pool to support the nation's evolution into a premier AI hub. Through strategic collaborations with forward-thinking partners, government entities, and academic institutions, both domestic and international, SJ Ai is poised to catalyze a paradigm shift in AI development while upholding the highest ethical standards and ensuring user privacy protection.SJ Ai's relentless pursuit of research and product development is not only laying the groundwork for a future where AI enriches every facet of societal advancement but also aims to seamlessly integrate digital and physical experiences, empowering individuals and communities alike.Dr Khalifa Al Shimmari, Chief Scientific Officer of Scienjoy Verse Tech Ltd., commented, "At SJ Ai, we are not merely crafting algorithms; we are shaping a future where our technology serves as a trusted companion in the daily lives of our users. Our dedicated team is at the forefront of developing predictive and proactive AI solutions that are reliable and meticulously designed to enhance the user experience. We envision a world where technology anticipates needs, simplifies complexities, and empowers individuals and communities to achieve more—this is the essence of SJ Ai's mission and our unwavering commitment to society."In light of recent independent reports forecasting that the UAE will experience the largest impact of AI on its GDP by 2030 (nearly 14%), SJ Ai is strategically positioned to meet the burgeoning demand for AI solutions and align with the UAE government's vision for technological leadership. Through collaborative efforts with local and international institutions, SJ Ai is dedicated to the development of ethical AI solutions that prioritize user protection and societal benefit.

Spacetoon & Almarai's 'Cake Bar and Heroes' Animation: 6M viewers captivated

In a collaboration between entertainment giant Spacetoon and renowned food company Almarai, the animated series "Cake Bar and Heroes" has taken the digital realm by storm, garnering a staggering 6 million views on YouTube and earning widespread acclaim from diverse audiences.This innovative project marks a significant milestone as the first-ever 3D animated series jointly produced by Spacetoon and Almarai, with a primary focus on showcasing Almarai’s beloved 7DAYS Cake Bar product. <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" referrerpolicy="strict-origin-when-cross-origin" allowfullscreen></iframe>Meticulously crafted with attention to detail, "Cake Bar and Heroes" delves into narratives deeply entrenched in Arabic cultural heritage. The authenticity of the series was further heightened through meticulous dubbing at the Spacetoon studios, ensuring a rich and immersive experience for viewers.Employing precise technical methodologies, the visual aesthetics of the series were tailored to resonate with the preferences of Arab children, delivering a visually captivating and culturally relevant viewing experience.Spanning 10 episodes, the series revolves around the daily adventures of siblings Badr, Bodoor, and Badran as they confront challenges with the aid of Cake Bar energy. This unique energy source not only propels their endeavors but also unlocks a realm of joy and excitement, echoing the empowering motto, "More Energy, More Victory.""Cake Bar and Heroes" has been widely distributed across various platforms, including Spacetoon TV, its YouTube channel, the Spacetoon Go app, and Almarai’s YouTube channel. With episodes tailored for children aged four to 12, each approximately two and a half minutes in length, the series ensures accessible and engaging content for its target audience.This collaboration between Spacetoon and Almarai represents a pioneering fusion of entertainment and consumer products, setting a new standard for animated content that celebrates both cultural heritage and brand innovation.

Yango maps survey: 50%+ Dubai residents move more during Ramadan

With Eid celebrations on the horizon, Yango Maps, a navigation app made with Dubai in mind, conducted a survey to see how the Holy Month changes navigation habits in the city. The goal of the survey was to keep in touch with user needs in a constantly evolving environment and propose useful features relevant for this time of the year.The survey found that 52% of residents travel more during Ramadan than at any other time of the year. For many, this is a period for spending time and connecting with loved ones. And when it comes to selecting the mode of transport for their movement around the city, the majority opt for driving, while one in three users prefer public transport or taxis. Half of the residents noted that at this time of active travel, the most important considerations before setting off are safety, travel time, and the availability of air-conditioned spaces along the route. Responding to the users' needs, the app recently added new route options called "comfortable routes." When temperatures rise, the app displays additional directions that go through covered areas and air-conditioned bus stops. Additionally, during the month of Ramadan, over 70% of residents spend more time with family, exploring new places, and almost a half of residents (48%) tend to eat outside their home more often than at other times of the year. Taking this into account, Yango Maps offers a special Ramadan guide with a wealth of restaurants and cafes for a memorable Iftar menu: from traditional cuisine to inventive international dishes.Findings also confirmed that shopping continues to be a key activity for many in Dubai during Ramadan, with 61% of people agreeing that they tend to shop more often. The majority of shoppers do so offline, and three in five strive to discover new brands and find the best deals. The most popular shopping centers Yango Maps users visit are the Dubai Mall, the Mall of the Emirates, and the Dubai Marina Mall. To ensure a more convenient experience for users, Yango Maps plans routes straight to parking zones near such popular destinations.

Abercrombie & Fitch debuts first-ever logo adaptation with Middle East exclusive

Abercrombie & Fitch, a leading global specialty retailer, has launched an exclusive Middle East collection featuring its iconic logo in Arabic, adapted for the first time in the brand’s history. Available in all 12 Middle Eastern stores, the move highlights Abercrombie & Fitch’s dedication to creating collections that resonate with customers in the region.The range, which will be available indefinitely in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, includes menswear and womenswear pieces designed to blend style with comfort, offering a contemporary twist on casual wear. For men, the collection features sweatpants, hoodies, and t-shirts, while women can enjoy hoodies and sweatpants, all crafted with meticulous attention to detail and quality.In keeping with the region's climate, the collection is made with lightweight terry fabrication for sweatshirts and sweatpants, ensuring optimal comfort even in warm weather. The oversized fits add a modern flair to the classic designs, while premium cotton fabrication elevates the t-shirts to a new level of luxury.Men’s collection preview:MW French Terry Popover – BlackMW French Terry Popover - WhiteMW French Terry Relaxed Jogger - BlackMW Premium Polished Tee – BlackMW Premium Polished Tee - White 2Women’s collection preview:WW French Terry Sunday Full-Zip – BlackWW French Terry Sunday Full-Zip – GreyWW French Terry Sunday Sweatpant - GreyWW French Terry Sunday Full-Zip - WhiteWW French Terry Sunday Sweatpant - WhiteThe permanent casual wear range complements Abercrombie & Fitch’s recent launch of its first Ramadan collection, which features versatile looks suitable for all occasions during the holy month and Eid. The collection includes relaxed linen co-ord sets perfect for moments at home during fasting and elegant ensembles suitable for family gatherings.The exclusive Abercrombie & Fitch collections are available in all stores across the region.

Reputation House reports AED4.8mln increase in revenue in MENA region

Online reputation management company Reputation House has announced stellar performance for the fiscal year 2023, marking a significant milestone with a Dh4.8 million ($1.3 million) increase in revenue and 10% month-on-month growth in 2023 in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.As the company positions itself for further expansion into Africa, it continues solidifying its standing as a digital disruptor and reputation manager. The company has announced partnering with three (3) African countries, for reputation management services, hinted 10 more African countries are expected to come into the fold in 2024, who are mostly from the government side.In a year fraught with challenges of educating the public about the concept of Online Reputation Management and how it is vital for corporates, governments and individuals, Reputation House’s remarkable growth underscores the company's unwavering commitment to delivering cutting-edge reputational solutions while adeptly navigating the evolving market landscape of this niche.Navigating an untapped MENA market for these specialised services, strategic collaborations were pivotal to Reputation House's success in 2023. Welcoming 45 new clients into its fold, the company expanded its reach and reinforced its reputation as a trusted industry advisor. These partnerships not only validate Reputation House's expertise but also pave the way for strategic collaborations and groundbreaking solutions to tackle the reputational challenges on the risk-prone worldwide web.“Looking ahead, we are gearing up for further expansion into Africa, aligning with its vision for global growth and market leadership. With a keen focus on delivering tailored solutions to address the unique challenges and opportunities in the African market, Reputation House aims to establish itself as the preferred choice for online reputation management services across the African continent,”, revealed Dima Raketa, (pictured above), Chief Executive Officer at Reputation House.A standout achievement in Reputation House's portfolio for 2023 was its collaboration with the government clients in the African region (names held for confidentiality) to enhance these countries’ online reputation worldwide. This landmark partnership underscores Reputation House's dedication to leveraging its expertise for shaping positive narratives on a global scale,”,To manage and propel its ambitious growth trajectory, Reputation House made strategic appointments to key leadership positions. With the addition of a heads of marketing and events, the company aims to elevate its presence and foster deeper connections with clients and stakeholders. Additionally, the recruitment of highly skilled professionals further strengthens Reputation House's capabilities and ensures continued success.Reputation House has offices in Dubai, Hong Kong, and Miami.

TishTash Communications announces multiple client wins for 2024

TishTash Communications, the Dubai-based, award-winning independent communications agency, has announced that it has added international, regional, and local brands to its portfolio of lifestyle, health, and wellness clients. These latest client wins include:Anthropologie – The internationally beloved concept store brand is known for its curated assortment of clothing, accessories and home decor that reflects the spirit of creativity and individuality. TishTash are working closely with the Middle East team to support Anthropologie's marketing strategies in the GCC with earned PR and media, events as well as content and influencer strategy. Dubz – Offering travelers hassle-free check-in and comfort from home, Dubz (by Dnata) is a luggage pickup, storage and delivery service that also checks you in for your flight and prints your boarding pass at your doorstep. TishTash will be managing the influencer strategy and brand seeding across the UAE.Dr Tanya Skincare – Supporting the launch of Dr Tanya’s Skincare in the UAE, the Australian-made and owned skincare brand features doctor-derived formulas infused with medical-grade ingredients and Ayurvedic inspiration. TishTash will lead the brand launch with earned PR, brand awareness and events.FITCODE – The brand-new wellness destination has appointed TishTash to build brand awareness and support with influencer and brand partnerships. Humble Power – A homegrown, purpose-led, female-founded modest athleisure brand, Humble Power aims to empower women to embrace their unique style. TishTash is responsible for traditional media awareness around the brand as well as influencer strategy and brand collaborations.On the continued growth and client wins in Q1, Managing Director of TishTash Communications, Polly Williams says: “It’s been an excellent start to the year at TishTash and we are thrilled to finish the first quarter by representing such brilliant brands as Anthropologie, Dr. Tanya Skincare, Humble Power, FITCODE and Dubz. Each of these brands represents our commitment to lifestyle, wellbeing and health-based clients as our core agency strategy and we look forward to creating fully integrated, cross-platform campaigns across our PR and digital teams that resonate with consumers and build awareness alike across a successful summer and beyond”.

Yahsat appoints Amit Somani as Chief Growth and Strategy Officer

Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (ADX: YAHSAT), the UAE’s flagship satellite solutions provider, has announced the appointment of Amit Somani as Chief Growth and Strategy Officer.Mr. Somani, a veteran of the satellite communications industry, rejoins Yahsat with over 27 years of experience in satellite communications and management consulting. He already has extensive knowledge of Yahsat across various roles during his previous tenure with the company from 2010 to 2022. These included Vice President of Strategy and Business Development and most recently Chief Strategy Officer from 2014 to 2022.In his new leadership role with Yahsat, Mr. Somani will oversee the development and implementation of the company’s growth strategy in addition to spearheading its global strategic partnerships and alliances. This expanded position reaffirms Yahsat’s accelerated efforts to successfully implement its wider growth strategy. Mr. Somani’s expertise will be crucial in enabling the company to diversify its range of products and solutions while venturing into new emerging market segments and expanding its satellite capabilities.Ali Al Hashemi, Group Chief Executive Officer of Yahsat, said: "We would like to welcome Amit back into the Yahsat family. His appointment is part of Yahsat’s continuous efforts to attract the best talent from across the satellite communications industry who can help us deliver on our ambitious growth strategy. His in-depth knowledge of the satellite communications industry and his proven leadership capabilities will be crucial in advancing our goals.”Mr. Al Hashemi highlighted Mr. Somani’s active participation in implementing Yahsat's successful IPO and listing on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) in 2021, as an example of his ability to deliver exceptional results.Amit Somani, Chief Growth and Strategy Officer of Yahsat, said: "I am delighted to return to Yahsat and contribute to its ambitious mission of transforming the space industry in the UAE and the wider region. It is a pleasure to resume my journey with Yahsat and contribute to its growth, innovation, delivering exceptional solutions for its valued customers, building upon its strong foundations, strategic partnerships, and operational excellence."Mr. Somani will return to Yahsat in this new role on 1st April 2024, after a two-year stint as Chief Executive Officer of the UAE-based international hedge fund consortium, ABS Global.He holds an Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) degree from the London Business School and a MEng. degree in Electrical Engineering, from the University of Nottingham, UK.

E& launches mobile version of wider web extension for autistic individuals

e&, a global technology leader, has launched the mobile version of its Wider Web Extension, specially tailored for autistic individuals. This innovative AI-led tool aims to provide a more user-friendly web browsing experience for individuals on the autism spectrum, ensuring access anytime, anywhere, directly from their smartphones.The initiative was done in partnership with Saatchi & Saatchi MEAutism, affecting 1% of the world's population, often presents unique challenges in navigating the web due to sensory and processing differences. Recognizing this need, e& embarked on a journey three years ago to develop the e& Wider Web Extension for desktop browsers. This desktop version has since revolutionized accessibility, empowering autistic users to browse the internet with personalized support.This is evidenced by a new research study led by Dr. Shereen Sharaan at the University of Birmingham Dubai, in collaboration with Emirates College for Advanced Education and UAE Special Olympics. A significant research finding is that ‘Wider Web’ made the web “a better place” for autistic users.Demonstrating e&’s dedication to continuous improvement and collaboration, e& decided to expand the Wider Web project further by ensuring its availability on mobile devices since there is more than a 96% smartphone penetration rate in the UAE.The mobile extension, featuring a new AI capability, incorporates cutting-edge technology to summarize bulk paragraphs into shorter, simpler texts. This advancement ensures a user-friendly platform accessible on both desktop and mobile devices.e& invites individuals, organisations, and stakeholders to join them in their pledge to make the web more accessible to everyone, driven by the belief that technology is of no use if it’s not accessible to all. Through the power of AI technology, they aim to expand the reach of the e& Wider Web Extension, ensuring that no one is left behind in the digital age so that all individuals, including those with autism can navigate the online world with ease and confidence. Commenting on the partnership, Samer El Khansa, Business Lead for Saatchi & Saatchi ME, said: “Through creativity and innovation, our collaboration with e& exemplifies our commitment to inclusivity. Together, we’ve harnessed the power of storytelling to ensure every individual, regardless of ability, can engage fully in the digital realm."

Bitget partners with OnRamp Money for seamless AED/NGN-to-crypto transactions

Bitget, the world's leading cryptocurrency exchange and Web3 company, has announced its strategic partnership with OnRamp, the leading crypto payment solution provider. With the integration, Bitget users can now buy and sell crypto using various local currencies. This collaboration brings significant improvements for users interacting with digital assets, enabling seamless conversion between fiat and crypto instantaneously.Users can buy crypto with NGN, AED, and MXN through bank transfers, and with VND via VietQR. This range of options ensures that users have easy-to-use and reliable methods to convert crypto to fiat and vice versa. Bitget caters to users with a diverse set of preferences and finance management requirements, fulfilling their needs with emerging WEB3 products.Bitget is introducing a zero-fee offer with this integration for all cryptocurrencies. This compliments Bitget's current in-house zero-fee offer for Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). The move allows users to buy cryptocurrencies via traditional banking channels through OnRamp without incurring any fees. This offer is designed to encourage more users to explore the world of crypto, breaking down entry barriers and enabling inclusivity."At Bitget we're constantly improvising our platform's abilities, including its fiat-to-crypto conversion capabilities. The integration is a step closer to our mission to drive mass adoption of crypto, making it easy for people around the world to trade crypto. By smoothing out the conversion process between crypto and fiat we're accelerating an inclusive and global financial revolution," says Gracy Chen, Managing Director at Bitget.This is not the first time Bitget made moves to increase crypto accessibility via fiat. In March, Bitget Wallet Asia's premier Web3 wallet integrated with Onmeta, a leading fiat on and off-ramp solution. This integration provides a convenient gateway for users to purchase cryptocurrencies using local fiat currencies, covering 15 major blockchains and over 100 tokens.

Fatafeat unites with The Giving Family for a Ramadan of compassion and giving

Warner Bros. Discovery's leading Arabic food network, Fatafeat, recently participated in a significant CSR activity in collaboration with The Giving Family. This initiative aimed to distribute 7500 meals to labour camps in Al Quoz, Dubai, providing essential support to the community during the holy month of Ramadan.Chef Sumaya, renowned for her role in Fatafeat's popular show "Kitchen Tales: Ramadan Edition," and the Fatafeat team, also joined in distributing meals to the labor camps in Al Quoz. Alongside The Giving Family and approximately 100 volunteers, Chef Sumaya contributed to the success of this impactful initiative.The Giving Family is a renowned volunteer organisation that focuses on giving back to the community and supporting those in need. Founded in March 2022 by Fadie Musallet, Sabrina Rabhi, and Zehra Rizvi, The Giving Family has made significant strides in making a positive difference in people's lives in the U.A.E.Grigory Lavrov, VP, Marketing, Local Brands & Franchise Management, CEE & MENAT at Warner Bros. Discovery stating, "Social good is an important priority for us at Fatafeat, and we aim to be at the forefront of raising awareness upon social issues our world faces. We’re honoured to partner with The Giving Family as it allows us not only to help our community in need, but also to raise awareness for the great work they are doing. We hope to inspire Fatafeat’s viewers to do something extra for a better tomorrow as well, as everyone can make a difference in the world."Sumaya Obaid, Kitchen Tales Chef at Fatafeat said: "It is important to me to support individuals and families in need and therefore I was honored to join The Giving Family for a day on behalf of Fatafeat. The Giving Family-team and all the volunteers on the ground showed me that this initiative really helps to create a brighter future for our community, and it felt heartwarming."The Giving Family has already provided meals to over 150,000 labourers, reflecting the essence of compassion and support during this Ramadan.

Building a roar reputation: Sarah Lindsay on bringing Roar Fitness to Dubai

In the realm of fitness and personal training, few names command as much respect and admiration as Sarah Lindsay. A three-time Olympian, European gold medalist, and a luminary in the world of personal training, Sarah Lindsay, alongside her counterpart and husband, Rich Phillipps, has redefined the landscape of fitness coaching. Together, they founded Roar Fitness, where clients are immersed in an Olympic-level experience.Roar Fitness provides comprehensive and cutting-edge personal training experience. Sarah Lindsay's influence transcends her remarkable athletic achievements; she is an inspiration for those striving to unlock their full potential. Her roster of clientele reads like a who's who of the entertainment industry, including the likes of Ellie Goulding, Nick Grimshaw, and Mel B, among others.In an exclusive interview with Adgully Middle East, Sarah Lindsay offers insights into Roar Fitness's evolution, including its recent relocation from London to Dubai. Sarah delves into the ethos of Roar Fitness and the distinctive elements that set it apart in the competitive world of personal training.Roar Fitness, originating in the UK, has expanded to Dubai. What was the inspiration behind bringing Roar Fitness to Dubai, and what distinguishes it from other fitness establishments in the city?So, we have three sites in London. We always wanted to go abroad, we just didn’t know where. We then came to Dubai during lockdown, fell in love with the city, and decided that we would do our first international expansion here.ROAR is unique in that it offers a one-stop destination for our clients to come and train individually with their trainers, while also having regular check-ins with their nutritionist to see if they are keeping on track. Creating this very individualized experience for each of our clients means that there are very few people on the gym floor at one time – allowing our clients to feel safe and never judged while training.Our trainers not only focus on the physical aspect of our clients but also their mental well-being, which I feel many gyms don’t do these days.Both you and Rich Phillipps, the founders of Roar Fitness, have relocated from London to Dubai permanently. What motivated this decision?Like so many people, the tax situation in the UAE is much better compared to the UK. My husband and I also relocated here permanently as unlike in London, no one knew who we were here and so, it was important for us to be here on ground, building the best team possible. It felt like we totally started from scratch, we took for granted how much easier it was for us in London, but that’s half the fun, isn’t it! So, coming to Dubai, and building ROAR’s reputation and building the team and recreate what we have managed to do well in London was our ultimate goal.Could you provide insights into the variety of fitness programmes and services available at Roar Fitness?We do private personal training only at ROAR, and are known for getting real results with clients. We have 8- and 12-week packages. The 12-week package is always the most popular because I think it means it’s not just a result achieved in the end, instead people form healthier habits, and it becomes part of their lifestyle. So that’s the most popular package at ROAR.As mentioned earlier, training is very private at ROAR - there are a maximum of 9 people always on the gym floor at one time so clients always have plenty of space and can follow the program as it was designed for them. For example, in a commercial gym, if you are supposed to have 2 minutes rest between exercises, it can often turn into 6 minutes long because someone else is using the equipment. Now the program is kind of out the window, and you have to change exercises, which means there isn’t continuity in the program, or you end up taking too much rest.At ROAR, you are not just simply exercising; there is a real method behind what you’re doing. It’s been planned and designed especially for you, to get you the results you came in for, whatever they are. We are known for the visual and aesthetic results, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more to training and nutrition – clients come in and have all their assessments, a session with the nutritionist, and a movement screening which is how we design the plan. Your program is designed to facilitate the goal that you came in for. All trainers are trained in the ROAR method, so we are all working in the same way. It’s not freelance trainers, all working according to their own methods, which in turn creates a space of positive people coming together to achieve great things.How does Roar Fitness Dubai prioritize the safety and well-being of its members, particularly amidst current health concerns?When people sign up, we conduct a movement screening alongside the nutrition consultation. We check for stiffness, tightness, weaknesses, and potential for injuries. From that, the trainers decide which exercises are appropriate for each person’s body mechanics in order to keep them safe.Roar Fitness is renowned for attracting celebrity clients. The privacy aspect that ROAR provides is a significant draw. We don’t offer classes; it’s only one-to-one training. No one is on their phone on the gym floor, and as far as I’m concerned, everyone is the same once you are on the gym floor in their shorts and t-shirts – nobody cares if there is a famous person in the room because everybody is just working hard, they are focused on what they are doing, so people don’t feel watched.This highlights something important: just because someone is a celebrity and might feel conscious that they are being watched, that goes for everyone. Most people feel like that when they first start in the gym, they feel self-conscious and uncomfortable, and they feel like everyone is watching them, so we have done a lot to try to eliminate that feeling and make people feel comfortable and secure.The other reason celebrities come to us is for the results. If they need to get in shape for something, a lot of these people are on television and are in the public eye, being criticized, and it does obviously heighten your sense of self-awareness, so if you want to get in shape or someone needs to get ready for an event, a movie, or a show then ROAR is the place they come to.As far as the training goes, progressive overload is what we focus on. So, it's weight training using progressive overload to get people stronger, increase their muscle which improves their metabolism and makes using and keeping body fat off much easier.How does Roar Fitness approach nutrition and dietary guidance to complement its fitness programs?Unfortunately, a lot of people’s general approach towards nutrition is to try not to eat, and there is just no progress with this. You can’t go all day and not eat any food and expect results. I think it’s a very negative way of looking at nutrition. Your food is there to nourish you, and you need food and it’s good for you. It shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing.It’s difficult at first because people want to lose weight and are used to losing weight by eating very little and depriving themselves of a lot of food, so they think that’s how they need to do it. So, giving people more food to eat seems counterintuitive to them and they are not completely comfortable with it, so you have to try and explain those things to them and encourage them to think about nourishing their body first so you can get in as many nutrients as you can.Then you are eating for performance. You need to eat to be able to train properly, and if you care about your performance on the gym floor, then you are eating for performance. You eat to recover from your training session, and you start to see results. But really, the ultimate goal is to eat as much food as possible and get as many nutrients into your body, but still achieving the goal of losing fat and gaining muscle, so that’s the sweet spot.Would you be willing to share any success stories or testimonials from members who have achieved their fitness goals at Roar Fitness?Our client, Lewis, has always loved all types of fitness activities and generally valued fitness and health, but struggled with his diet. He was spending the summer in Dubai when the options to get outside were limited, so he thought it was the perfect time to see what physique changes he could make.He lost over 8kg of body fat in just 10 weeks, as well as seeing huge strength gains - increasing his dumbbell chest press from 12.5kg dumbbells to 35kg dumbbells. He's now a long-term member at Roar and is working hard in the lead up to his wedding this summer.<img src='\a67afef26a0bd2d0282ca7c1b132986c.png' class='content_image'>What future plans or developments can we anticipate from Roar Fitness in 2024?We are looking to open ROAR 5 and 6 which will be located in Dubai, and then we would like to move to Singapore next!How does Roar Fitness Dubai foster a supportive and inclusive environment for all its members?We are a small team and I appreciate every single one of them. I try to look after them on an individual basis which is the beauty of having a smaller business. Everybody has different needs and feelings around things, and we just try to keep communication open and help people whatever their situation is as best we can. Everyone has different ideas on how to help the business move forward and how to help it grow, so I always try to be open to any ideas they may have.It’s the Holy month of Ramadan, are there any special offers or programmes?We have added a smaller package of six weeks which is more affordable for people to try where they will still see results. As a brand, we take into account the nutrition around Ramadan and timings – you should still try to train during Ramadan as most people won’t feel good after taking a rest for a whole month. However, the workout should be adjusted, which could include reducing the reps, taking more breaks, and timing your eating well so that you have the desired energy for your workout.

Emirates prank unveils ambitious "Emirates Residences" concept

In a surprising April Fool's Day joke, Emirates recently unveiled plans for "Emirates Residences," a towering 380-story luxury living concept in Dubai. While initially dismissed as a prank, the idea has sparked widespread speculation about its feasibility and potential realization.The announcement, which generated laughter and amusement, hinted at a future where luxury and convenience reach unprecedented heights. With interiors inspired by the opulence of Emirates flights and exclusive amenities including a dedicated airport facility, the concept captured the imagination of many.Although Emirates clarified the announcement as a prank, it hasn't stopped enthusiasts from contemplating the possibility of such a project becoming reality. The allure of Emirates Residences, with its promise of unparalleled luxury living, remains tantalizing.As readers eagerly anticipate the punchline turning into a plausible prospect, the question remains: how far-fetched is the idea of Emirates Residences truly? Only time will reveal whether this April Fool's joke holds a kernel of truth, and if Emirates' ambitious vision will eventually take flight.

Riyadh Air and Artefact forge strategic partnership for AI solutions in aviation

Riyadh Air, Saudi Arabia’s digitally native, world-class airline and Artefact, a leading global consultancy in data and AI transformation services, have signed a strategic partnership aimed at revolutionising the aviation industry through AI applications. Utilising cutting edge cloud and AI technologies, the partnership will focus on building Riyadh Air’s data analytics platform and developing AI solutions across its main business and corporate functions.Through these AI solutions, Riyadh Air will be able to hyper-personalise its guest experience and elevate its guest service through intelligent channels, optimise its flight and ground operations through real-time data insights and predictions, and launch fit-for-purpose offerings of Air and non-Air products through highly efficient and targeted sales channels.Abe Dev, Vice President Digital & Innovation at Riyadh Air, added, "Our partnership with Artefact signifies Riyadh Air's dedication to leveraging cutting edge technologies to enhance guest experiences at every stage and every moment of their journey. This partnership with Artefact builds upon our recent collaborations with leaders in the aviation industry. Through AI integration, we aim to redefine travel standards, offering personalised, seamless digital-first experience to our guests ahead of our maiden flight in 2025."Commenting on the partnership, Rahul Arya, CEO and Managing Partner of Artefact MENA, said: "Our partnership with Riyadh Air marks a significant milestone in our commitment to pioneering AI solutions tailored to the unique needs of the aviation industry. By combining Riyadh Air's forward-thinking approach with Artefact's expertise in data and AI solutions, we're poised to set new standards for innovation in the airline sector."Riyadh Air, set to make its maiden flight in 2025, is poised to revolutionise the future of air travel and exceed guests' expectations of their travel experience. With an unwavering dedication to cutting-edge thinking and innovation, Riyadh Air aims to set new standards in the industry, connecting the Kingdom to over 100 destinations worldwide. This initiative supports the ambitions of both the National Aviation Strategy and National Tourism Strategy, which aim to bring 330 million annual visitors to the Kingdom by 2030.

Majid Al Futtaim launches ‘From City Centre to Gaza’ campaign

Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, communities, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, has unveiled a humanitarian campaign ‘From City Centre to Gaza’ with a host of initiatives aimed at giving back and supporting distressed communities in Gaza this Ramadan and Eid.Taking place at various City Centre malls across the UAE in coordination with several leading NGOs and charitable organizations in the country, the campaign stems from Majid Al Futtaim’s commitment to providing continued support to communities in Gaza through humanitarian initiatives. The activities under the ‘From City Centre to Gaza’ campaign include:Kaak El Eid Charity Sale: Visitors of City Centre Mirdif can bite into delicious Kaak El Eid cookies (traditional biscuits baked during Eid) served by the iconic Palestinian restaurant Mama’esh. All proceeds from the sale will be donated to provide pediatric medical assistance to children with physical disabilities from Gaza through the Al Jalila Foundation.When: April 5 Time: 7:00pm to 12:00amWhere: City Centre MirdifTarahum - for Gaza: A brilliant evening bazaar laden with products related to Palestine awaits visitors at this special initiative supporting the UAE relief campaign, Tarahum - for Gaza. All proceeds from the sale of the items will be donated to Emirates Red Crescent to provide emergency food assistance to people in Gaza.When: April 6Time: 7:00pm to 12:00amWhere: The Plaza at City Centre Al ZahiaMedia Contact:Sarah

Pfizer shakes up creative duties, moves global account to Publicis

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has announced the transfer of its global creative duties from Interpublic Group's FCB and IPG Health to Publicis, merely 10 months after consolidating its business with the two holding companies.While IPG retains Pfizer's PR account, including firms like Weber Shandwick and Golin under the Dxtra Health umbrella, Publicis will now take on the mantle of Pfizer's creative endeavors. Pfizer confirmed that this shift aims to fully integrate creative services into the existing Publicis structure, which already encompasses data, media, and production."A flexible, two-agency partnership" is how Pfizer described its arrangement with Publicis and IPG, emphasizing their respective roles in driving cutting-edge, data-driven integrated marketing communications centered around Pfizer's scientific innovations and breakthroughs.This move marks a significant evolution in Pfizer's marketing strategy. Last May, IPG was entrusted with global creative responsibilities, while Publicis Groupe was tasked with media planning and buying duties. The account, valued at a staggering $1.41 billion.Previously, Pfizer collaborated with various agencies globally, including Dentsu's Carat and iProspect for media, and WPP's bespoke unit Team Pfizer for creative endeavors. The decision to review these accounts was prompted by Pfizer's appointment of a new global CMO, Drew Panayiotou, in August 2022.Publicis has already been involved in creative production for Pfizer, notably spearheading the brand's Super Bowl commercial this year through Publicis Conseil and LeTruc/Publicis NY.Despite increased advertising expenses, reaching $3.7 billion in 2023 from $2.8 billion in 2022 according to the company's annual 10-K SEC report, Pfizer reported its lowest annual revenue since 2020. Revenue dipped by 41% to $58.5 billion in 2023, down from a record $100.3 billion the previous year.Pfizer's decision to shake up its creative agency lineup comes amid challenging market conditions and underscores its commitment to adapt its marketing strategies to navigate evolving landscapes.

ADIB appoints Talha Karim as Group Chief Risk Officer

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), a leading financial institution, announced the appointment of Talha Karim as its new Group Chief Risk Officer. In his role as Group Chief Risk Officer, Mr. Karim will play a pivotal part in further strengthening ADIB’s risk management capabilities, ensuring the bank continues to proactively identify and manage risks while supporting its strategic objectives for sustainable growth and value creation.With over 25 years of experience in Risk Management in the banking sector, Talha has worked in both developed and emerging markets. He has led and implemented comprehensive and effective risk related frameworks, ensuring all risks are effectively managed within the defined risk appetite.Commenting on the appointment, Mohamed Abdelbary, Acting GCEO at ADIB, said: “We are delighted to welcome Talha to ADIB as our new Group Chief Risk Officer. His extensive experience, strategic acumen, and deep understanding of global risk dynamics will be invaluable as we navigate the evolving landscape of financial risk and regulatory requirements. I am confident that Talha will make significant contributions to our risk management framework and help drive ADIB’s continued success in delivering exceptional value to our customers and stakeholders.”Talha Karim expressed his enthusiasm for joining ADIB, stating: “I am honored to join ADIB, a pioneering institution renowned for its commitment to Islamic banking and excellence in risk management. I look forward to collaborating with the talented team at ADIB to further enhance the bank’s risk management capabilities and support its vision of becoming the world’s most innovative Islamic banks”.Prior to ADIB, Talha was associated with the Bank of Montreal in Canada and then joined Toronto Dominion Bank. He later moved to Bank ABC, Bahrain where he held various senior roles in Risk Management. In 2009, he joined CIB Egypt and held multiple positions including Chief Risk Officer & member of the Executive Committee.

Tesla ventures into TV advertising

In a surprising shift, Tesla, the electric vehicle giant known for its unconventional marketing strategies, has recently delved into TV advertising. This move marks a departure from its long-standing practice of relying solely on social media and word-of-mouth to promote its products.For years, the debate over whether Tesla should embrace traditional advertising has raged on. Advocates argue that with the company's growing production capacity and expanding market reach, conventional advertising could further fuel its growth. However, skeptics contend that Tesla's strong online presence renders traditional advertising unnecessary.Elon Musk's recent concession to trial advertising, particularly targeting online platforms like YouTube, seemed to align with the company's digital-first approach. Yet, the sudden surge in Tesla ads on YouTube has left some questioning the effectiveness of this strategy.Critics argue that bombarding existing customers with ads may yield diminishing returns and could be perceived as wasteful spending. Instead, they propose that Tesla should focus on reaching new markets, particularly those less tech-savvy demographics who still rely on traditional media like television.As Tesla transitions from being a niche product for early adopters to a mainstream choice for the masses, the need for broader market exposure becomes increasingly evident. Proponents of TV advertising argue that it could normalize the brand and instill confidence in potential buyers who may still perceive Tesla as unconventional.With Tesla's growing presence on the roads and its products becoming more familiar sights, the timing for TV advertising seems ripe. As the company navigates this new frontier, the effectiveness of its advertising efforts will undoubtedly be closely scrutinized.In an ever-evolving landscape where innovation meets tradition, Tesla's foray into TV advertising underscores its willingness to adapt and evolve. Whether this bold move will pay off remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: Tesla is not afraid to challenge the status quo in its quest for automotive dominance.

Yango's New Feature: Prayer Time Alerts for Muslim Drivers

International ride-hailing service Yango, part of global technology company Yango, has rolled out a new feature within its driver app designed to help drivers adhere to their prayer schedules throughout the year, while also distributing Iftar boxes to them to break their fast-during Ramadan. The feature is now available to all partners’ drivers in the UAE, Morocco, and a few more countries, highlighting Yango's commitment to transform global technologies into everyday services tailored for local communities. Launching during the holy month of Ramadan, the new mode allows drivers to seamlessly integrate their daily schedule with their religious duties. Yango leverages cutting-edge technology, informed by extensive research on verified open resources, alongside bespoke algorithms fine-tuned through engagement with local communities across several countries to ensure precision. Innovative mapping and smart routing technologies enable drivers to identify and navigate to the nearest mosque with ease directly within the app, even in an unfamiliar location.  By activating this feature in the app settings, drivers receive a 15-minute reminder before each prayer time and automatic muting of any app notifications at the start of prayer times. The ability to pause order notifications ensures that they don’t miss any potential rides, which are then assigned to other nearby drivers. The feature also points to the direction of the Qibla and displays the prayer schedule for the upcoming two days. Drivers have the flexibility to set the prayer time calculation according to their preferred Islamic convention. Islam Abdul Karim, General Manager, Yango GCC, stated: "The introduction of the new mode for drivers, permanent beyond the Ramadan period, is a step forward in our ongoing effort to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for partners’ drivers. It enriches their work-life balance, blending advanced technology with local customs and practices. We are keen to not only enhance their daily experience but also set standards for cultural consideration within the tech industry." The ride-hailing service will continue to gather feedback to refine and improve its functionality. With the new mode feature, Yango aims to support the spiritual needs of its partners’ drivers by integrating world-leading technology with local traditions. The feature will soon be available for partner couriers as well. As a token of appreciation for the dedication and hard work of partners and their drivers during Ramadan, Yango ride-hailing service has set up a dedicated zone near its centre to distribute special Iftar boxes. This initiative ensures drivers on the road can break their fast, underscoring the company's support for the community during the holy month. The company’s commitment to innovation is reflected in its diverse range of services, including Yango Maps, Yango ride-hailing service, Yango Play, Yango Tech, the advanced Arabic human-like AI voice assistant Yasmina, and many more, all of which are designed to enhance the everyday lives of local communities.

Sony MEA announces the appointment of Jobin Joejoe as Managing Director

 Consumer electronics leader, Sony Middle East and Africa, has appointed Jobin Joejoe as Managing Director. Recognising his outstanding contribution to its business operations, Jobin will lead the regional teams to advance Sony's global growth strategy and drive overall operational excellence.Jobin Joejoe’s tenure with Sony spans almost two decades. He joined Sony MEA in 2007, rapidly advancing from Country Sales Manager to Head of Sales, leading brand strategy and exceeding sales targets across the region. He was promoted to Deputy Managing Director in 2022 and has since played an instrumental role in driving growth and innovation across Sony’s consumer tech business in the region.Takakiyo Fujita, Area Sales Marketing Officer, Sony Asia, Middle East and Africa said: “I am delighted to announce that Jobin will take over the reigns as Managing Director, Sony MEA. Jobin will continue to deliver exceptional results, strengthen our operations and grow the business through his extensive market knowledge and experience of the MEA region. With his proven leadership in fostering high-performing teams, I am confident Jobin will propel Sony to new heights.”Joejoe is a key business leader in the region. He has been recognised by prestigious awards such as "CEO of the Year" by CEO Middle East magazine and "Forbes' Top Global Meets Local Executives" in 2023.“Sony MEA has continued to thrive in the region, thanks to our stellar team and valued partners,” said Jobin Joejoe. “I’m incredibly optimistic about the future we are building and look forward to carrying forward Sony’s mission of filling the world with emotion through the power of creativity and technology.”

Etihad Airways launches non-stop flight to Boston

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, touched down for the first time in Boston on Sunday, marking the launch of regular services between Abu Dhabi and the US city, strengthening ties and enriching travel options for passengers.The inaugural flight, EY147, was celebrated at Abu Dhabi Airport before take-off, and on arrival in Massachusetts, Etihad’s captains waved UAE and US flags from the cockpit to celebrate the start of the carrier’s fourth non-stop service to America.The new service operates on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays using a state-of-the-art Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, featuring the airline's acclaimed Business Studios™ and Economy Smart seats. With 28 seats in Business and 262 seats in Economy boasting entertainment systems, in-seat power, and in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity, passengers can expect a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience, complemented by world-class service and hospitality. "We are thrilled to inaugurate flights to Boston, further extending our reach across the United States and enhancing connectivity for travellers," said Etihad’s Chief Executive Officer Antonoaldo Neves. "This new route not only brings the allure of Abu Dhabi and Dubai to the American Northeast but also signifies our commitment to delivering exceptional travel experiences and fostering global connections. “The new route is timed to offer convenient links to our growing network for corporate business travellers and leisure guests connecting to destinations across the Middle East and our 11 routes across India.” “Massport is pleased to welcome Etihad Airways to Boston Logan International Airport with their new flight to Abu Dhabi,” said Massport Interim CEO and Aviation Director Ed Freni. “This route provides a key connection between Boston and the UAE, and New Englanders now have even more options when planning a trip to the Middle East and beyond.” As one of America's most culturally diverse and dynamic cities, Boston offers a tapestry of historical landmarks, culinary delights, and vibrant neighbourhoods, enticing visitors from Abu Dhabi to immerse themselves in its rich heritage and warm hospitality. Boston joins Chicago, New York, and Washington as Etihad's fourth destination in the United States, complementing existing services and reinforcing the airline's dedication to facilitating seamless travel experiences. Additionally, flights to Toronto in Canada further expand Etihad's North American footprint, providing passengers with enhanced accessibility and convenience. Etihad's partnership with JetBlue ensures convenient connections to numerous cities throughout North America, unlocking endless possibilities for exploration across the continent. The launch of the Boston route signifies more than just a new travel option; it symbolizes the deep cultural and educational ties between Abu Dhabi and Boston. Emiratis, past and present, hold Boston dear to their hearts, with many having studied in its prestigious universities. Moreover, significant investments in healthcare and education sectors have fostered enduring collaborations, driving progress and innovation in both regions.

Disney Plus introduces new logo alongside addition of Hulu content to platform

Disney has introduced a new logo for Disney Plus, which was noticed by subscribers even before the official announcement. The updated logo features a teal-ish glowing green color called "Aurora," named after the aurora borealis and Sleeping Beauty. This change replaces the original Disney blue color.The new logo combines the iconic Disney blue with Hulu green, symbolizing the merger of the two entities. The deep blue color had been part of Disney Plus’ identity since its inception in 2019, marking its five years of existence prior to this rebranding.Additionally, Disney announced today that "Hulu on Disney+" is now supported for all Disney Bundle subscribers in the United States. This means that Hulu content is now accessible through the Disney+ app.

Omantel partners with TOD for sports and entertainment

Omantel, the leading integrated Telecommunications Service provider in the Sultanate of Oman, announced its partnership with TOD – MENA region’s leading OTT platform for sports and entertainment. Under the agreement, Omantel will provide customers with exclusive sports and entertainment from TOD. This partnership aligns with Omantel’s vision to expand its digital content offerings enhancing the viewing experience for its customers.The sports offerings include the much-loved UEFA Champions League, Premier League, Ligue 1, La Liga, Formula 1, Tennis Championships, and the National Basketball Association (NBA) competitions. Customers will also have access to 50,000+ hours of premium entertainment in Arabic, Turkish, and English offered by TOD.Through the partnership, Omantel will be offering its customers the flexibility to choose the plans as per their viewing preferences. For those who consume content on the go on their handheld devices, there is the option to choose TOD Mobile; on the other hand, those who prefer to have TOD across various devices such as smart phones and large screens can go for the TOD package. Even better, TOD 4K can be selected by avid football fans who prefer to watch their favorite matches in 4K clarity with Dolby Atmos sounds on supported devices.Saleh Mahmood Al Maimani, Caretaker General Manager Core Telco, stated:” "We're excited to announce our partnership with TOD, marking a first in Oman's telecom industry. This collaboration significantly offers a variety of sports and entertainment content available to our customers. It's a testament to Omantel's dedication to delivering wide solutions and playing a key role in advancing Oman's digital landscape."For his part, John Paul Mckerlie, Vice President of Marketing and Sales, TOD, said: "We are pleased to establish this partnership with Omantel. This collaboration allows us to further our reach in the country and offer unrivalled sports and entertainment. With interactive timelines, match highlights, watch-from-start features, and 4K matches on supported plans and devices – our range of offerings guarantees a second-to-none user experience for all of our viewers.”The partnership comes at the right time ahead of the platform’s remarkable lineup of sports and entertainment for the Holy month of Ramadan. It’s most anticipated Ramadan Gulf Original series “Zaman Al Ajaj”, directed by directed by the gifted Jasem AlMuhanna, enlists an A-list ensemble including Jassim Al Nabhan, Hussain Almahdi, Mona Hussein, and more. Additionally, it has other Original and acquired shows including Lunchox (Egyptian), Al Arbaji Season 2, Nokta Enntaha (Levant), Qalam Resas (Gulf) and cooking shows Bel’afya hosted by the famous chef Bader AlShayji, Wasfa Saeeda with Chef Sarah El Gendy and 30 Days of healthy transformation with Coach Nemo. Accompanied by Champions League, Formula 1, blockbuster western movies, Arabic, Turkish, English series and culturally oriented kids programming – the collaboration between Omantel and TOD provides a complete Ramadan viewing package for fans and families alike, proving to be a significant milestone for Omantel in its quest to offer state-of-the-art services. The partnership adds significant value to its customers, thereby playing a crucial role in the evolution of digital entertainment consumption in Oman.

MENA Young Lions PR: Alexandra Richards, Sara Al Dehni clinch the crown

PRCA MENA, the Public Relations and Communications Association in the Middle East and North Africa, has announced that Gambit Communications’ Alexandra Richards and Sara Al Dehni have won the MENA Young Lions Competition 2024 for their #LendTheirVoice campaign. The star duo will go on to represent the MENA at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.Responding to a brief set by Shamsaha, Alexandra and Sara beat a field of 16 teams. Each team had 24 hours to create a campaign that would help Shamsaha to target audiences from expanded regions, especially focusing on support to victims of GBV in Palestine and Sudan.Sylvia Marcus, the Partnerships and Business Development Manager at Shamsaha, commented: “At Shamsaha, we believe in the power of collaboration and innovation to drive positive change. Partnering with the PRCA MENA Young Lions Competition allows us to amplify our message of women's empowerment and protection throughout the Middle East, inspiring a new generation of advocates and change-makers.”PRCA’s Head of EMEA, Monika Fourneaux MPRCA said: “Each competing team has demonstrated exceptional skill and creativity. The breadth of innovative campaigns highlights the incredible diversity of young talent in our region. Congratulations to Alexandra and Sara for their outstanding achievement, and we extend our best wishes to them for success in Cannes. Thank you to all participants for your contributions, and we look forward to seeing you again next year.”

The Apparel Group launches Great Online Sale in Dubai

The Apparel Group has launched its second Great Online Sale in Dubai, taking place from March 29th to March 31st, 2024. In partnership with the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), this year's sale builds on the tremendous success of last year's inaugural event and promises to elevate the online shopping experience with up to 80% off on favorite brands like: R&B, 6thStreet, Aldo, Crocs, Dune London, Rituals, Tommy Hilfiger, Steve Madden, Beverly Hills Polo Club and F5 Global. Shoppers can look forward to exclusive online offers across a broad array of products, just in time for the spring season refresh.Neeraj Teckchandani, CEO of Apparel Group, emphasizes the significance of this year's sale, stating: "The Great Online Sale 2024 represents not just a continuation of our pioneering efforts in the e-commerce domain but a strategic enhancement of our commitment to providing customers with the most rewarding shopping experiences. This campaign focus is to cater to our diverse customer base's needs and preference, offering exclusive online offers in time for their Eid shopping across our portfolio of brands. It's a testament to our ongoing pursuit of innovation and excellence in the ever-evolving retail landscape."This year's Great Online Sale features a spectacular lineup of offers, including:  R&B: Dive into a wide range of fashion items with discounts ranging from 30%-70% off, plus an additional 15% off.  6thStreet: Enjoy 30%-70% off on selected lines, with an extra 10% off (up to AED 100) on selected lines.  Dune London: Explore 30% to 50% off on selected lines, with additional discounts.  Crocs: Discover 30% to 50% off on selected lines, with additional discounts.  Aldo: Enjoy 30% to 50% off on selected lines, with additional discounts.  Rituals: Pamper yourself with 30% off on selected items, plus an extra 5% off.  Tommy Hilfiger: Refresh your wardrobe with 30%-50% off selected lines, plus an extra 25% off.  Steve Madden: Make a fashion statement with 40% - 80% off on selected items, plus an extra 10% Off.  Beverly Hills Polo Club: Enjoy 30% - 50% off on select styles, with additional discounts.  F5 Global: Uncover 30% - 70% off on select styles, with additional discounts.Apparel Group's dedicated platform,, serves as the gateway to all the exclusive deals, seamlessly redirecting shoppers to their favorite brand's e-commerce site for a smooth and integrated shopping experienceThis season, a citywide registration platform is introduced, offering exclusive additional discounts for the Great Online Sale. Shoppers who register at will receive a unique code for further offers on top brands.

Celebrate Eid Al Fitr on Hudayriyat Island

On Eid Al Fitr, Hudayriyat Island invites residents and visitors to elevate their Eid experience with an extraordinary blend of heritage and modernity.  What to expect: ·      Firework display: The night sky will come alive with a spectacular fireworks display, adding an extra layer of magic to the joyous festivities.·      Instagrammable Eid Signs: Capture and share the vibrant spirit of Eid with specially curated Instagrammable signs scattered across the island.·      Outdoor Cinema: Enjoy the highest cinematic experience with comfy sofas, surround sound, and movies reflecting Arab culture.·      Family activities: Families can enjoy the all-day Henna Station while the little ones have Pop Corn, Cotton Candy, and Slush Machines at the Kids Zone.·      Gift Prizes & Eid Stations: Explore Eid-themed stations with exciting gift prizes, adding further joy to your celebration.·      Game Zone: Enter a world of fun at the Game Zone with a variety of inflatables for kids. Whether you're a child or a child at heart, the game zone promises entertainment and laughter for all.·      Program During Eid: Let the hilarious emcee set the mood, keeping the audience engaged and entertained for hours.·      Roaming Carnival Inspired Performances: Delight in captivating performances inspired by a roaming carnival theme. Hudayriyat Island will come alive with colorful and dynamic acts, adding a sense of excitement to the festivities.·      DJ Experience: A seasoned DJ will set the mood with an expansive music collection, creating a memorable experience for all. Fireworks Date: First day of Eid (most likely Tuesday, April 9)Fireworks Time: 9:00pmLocation: Marsana, Hudayriyat Island Eid Event Date: Second day of Eid (most likely Wednesday, April 10)Eid Event Timing: 5:00-11:00pmLocation: Marsana, Hudayriyat Island

Savills Egypt partners with Vantage Communications to elevate PR strategies

Savills Egypt, a leading property advisor, has announced its collaboration with Vantage Communications, a renowned public relations agency, to bolster its external communications.In a strategic move aimed at fortifying its brand presence and communication efficacy within the Egyptian property market, Savills Egypt has entrusted Vantage Communications with its public relations endeavors.Bringing a wealth of experience in crafting compelling narratives, managing media relations, and executing strategic communication campaigns, Vantage Communications is poised to play a pivotal role in enhancing Savills Egypt's engagement with stakeholders and target audience.Karine Kamel, Head of Marketing and Communications at Savills Egypt, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership, stating, "We are delighted to appoint Vantage Communications as our strategic PR partner in Egypt. Their deep understanding of the local media landscape and proven expertise in the real estate sector make them the ideal partner to support our communication goals and amplify our narrative in Egypt’s thriving real estate industry."In response, Nazly Shamel, Founder and Managing Director of Vantage Communications, conveyed excitement, saying, "We are thrilled to be selected as Savills Egypt’s PR agency. In Egypt’s dynamic real estate ecosystem, our team is committed to delivering on-point PR programs that set Savills Egypt ahead and support the company’s continued growth."The collaboration between Savills Egypt and Vantage Communications signifies a concerted effort to leverage expertise and strategic insights, aiming to solidify Savills Egypt's position as a key player in the Egyptian real estate landscape.

PRCA MENA restructures MENA Regional Board

The Public Relations and Communications Association Middle East & North Africa (PRCA MENA) has restructured its MENA Regional Board, a pivotal move aimed at fortifying strategic direction and industry representation in the MENA region.The MENA Regional Board serves as the guiding force behind PRCA MENA's initiatives, ensuring alignment with industry standards and fostering excellence in the field of public relations and communications. The restructured board brings together a diverse ensemble of esteemed industry leaders, poised to infuse their collective expertise and insights to propel the organisation to new heights. "We are delighted to unveil the restructuring of our MENA Regional Board, signifying our commitment to championing excellence and innovation in the public relations and communications landscape across the MENA region. The wealth of knowledge and experience brought forth by our board members will be instrumental in shaping the future trajectory of our organisation and advancing the profession as a whole,” remarked James Hewes, CEO of PRCA.The newly appointed members of the PRCA MENA Regional Board are:  Ahmad Itani, Founder & CEO, Cicero & Bernay Communication Consultancy. Chairman, PRCA MENA  Alexandre Beaulieu, Founder & CEO, TBWA DJAZ  Claire Micheletti, Founder & Joint Managing Director, Cosmopole Consultancy  Howard Kosky, CEO & Founder, Markettiers4DC  Ibrahim Al Mutawa, Co-founder and Managing Partner, Jummar PR  Imad Lahad, Managing Director, APCO Worldwide Dubai  John Rynehart, Managing Director, Seven Media  Joseph Nalloor, Discipline Lead - School of Communication, Murdoch University Dubai  Kamal Taibi, Founder & CEO, StratëusGroup  Khaled Alshehhi, Executive Director Marketing and Communications at UAE Government Media Office  Laureline Schwarz, Head of Global Corporate Communication, PR, Public Relations at Al-Futtaim Automotive  Louay Al Samarrai – Joint Managing Director, Co-Founder, Active (Digital. Marketing. Communications)  Natalie Amos, Managing Director - Lifestyle MENA at Four Agency  Natasha Hatherall-Shawe, Founder and CEO, TishTash Communications  Nick Sandham, Vice President, Corporate Communications, Alshaya Group  Petra B Spanko, Regional Director, Katch International  Samantha Bartel, CEO & Managing Partner, Instinctif Partners MENAThese professionals bring a rich tapestry of experiences and expertise to their roles, representing a diverse array of sectors and perspectives within the communications industry.

Saudi Tourism Authority teams up with Yandex Travel to attract Russian tourists

The Saudi Tourism Authority has forged a strategic alliance with Yandex Travel, a leading online travel agency and aggregator based in Russia. This groundbreaking collaboration seeks to entice Russian tourists, traditionally drawn to destinations such as Turkey and Cyprus, to explore the rich cultural offerings and scenic landscapes of Saudi Arabia.As part of the initiative, Saudi Arabia, buoyed by substantial investments in tourism infrastructure, is endeavoring to shed its erstwhile hostile image and emerge as a sought-after leisure hub for global travelers. Yandex Travel, valued at nearly $8 billion and renowned for its digital prowess and expansive global footprint, is poised to leverage its expertise to promote Saudi Arabia as an alluring destination through innovative digital campaigns.The focal point of this endeavour is an interactive map meticulously crafted by Alaa Alosaimi, the PR & media manager, and Ziyad Binjadid, the consumer marketing executive director, in collaboration with Yandex Travel's in-house creative and production team. Hosted on the Yandex Travel website, this immersive map showcases the myriad attractions Saudi Arabia boasts beyond its renown as the spiritual epicenter of Islam, encompassing the enchanting landscapes, cultural treasures, and vibrant experiences awaiting discerning travelers.Against the backdrop of geopolitical shifts precipitated by the conflict in Ukraine, which prompted EU states to restrict Russian tours, neighboring countries have intensified efforts to court Russian tourists. Historically, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has captivated Russian vacationers with its opulent offerings, epitomized by the glitz and glamour of cities like Dubai. Likewise, Iran has sought to entice Russian travelers with its rich historical heritage, albeit grappling with challenges stemming from cultural differences and stringent regulations.However, recent data suggests a burgeoning interest among Russian tourists in exploring Iran's diverse landscapes and cultural landmarks. Booking statistics for January-February 2024 reveal a notable uptick of 30% compared to the previous year, attributed to competitive pricing and an expanded array of tour packages. While experts acknowledge this encouraging trend, they caution that widespread enthusiasm for Iranian tourism among Russians has yet to materialize fully.As Saudi Arabia and its regional counterparts vie for a share of the lucrative Russian tourist market, the collaborative efforts between the Saudi Tourism Authority and Yandex Travel signify a paradigm shift in the Kingdom's approach to tourism promotion, aiming to redefine perceptions and beckon travelers to discover the undiscovered in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula

Luna PR and CEO Nikita Sachdev win industry accolades

 Luna PR, the Dubai-based PR and marketing agency specializing in web3 and emerging tech, is basking in the glow of recent industry accolades this March. The agency was awarded the "Web3 Consultant Of The Year" at the E-Business Award 2024. The founder and CEO, Nikita Sachdev, was also recognized for her contributions to empowering women across the world of emerging tech. She was honored with 'Most Influential Women in Crypto & Blockchain' and 'Women Leader in Media Excellence' at Filmfare Middle East and the 23rd Middle East Women Leaders Excellence Awards, respectively.These awards celebrate Nikita’s passion and the team at Luna PR's remarkable efforts to be at the forefront of web3 PR and marketing, attracting mainstream media and fostering mass adoption. As one of the early adopters, Luna PR has successfully consulted for multi-billion-dollar companies and unicorns by refining their approach, making them effectively reach a wider audience. Nikita has made significant contributions to the industry by expanding various ventures, including Luna Capital, Luna Foundation, Studio Thirty Six, Chief Block, and Crypto Polo Cup. Expressing her excitement on this occasion, Nikita said, "Our vision is to become one of the most well-respected PR agencies in the world of Web3 and emerging technologies. Winning these awards is a testament to our achievements. When we started our journey, the Web3 industry was relatively unknown. However, it has since grown and evolved tremendously, and we have found that to be incredibly rewarding. As an industry, we still have much more to accomplish, but we are committed to contributing towards the mass adoption of crypto by offering a wealth of growth opportunities. The journey ahead may be long, but we are determined to make a difference."The recognition of these awards and accolades serves as a testament to Luna PR and Nikita's unwavering commitment to making a positive impact as influencers and thought leaders in the ever-evolving web3 landscape.

UAE and Kenya sign Investment Memorandum to advance digital infrastructure and A

The Ministry of Investment of the UAE and the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Digital Economy of the Republic of Kenya have signed an Investment Memorandum establishing a framework for investment cooperation in the field of digitalization and technology.In addition to exploring investments in digital infrastructure and artificial intelligence (AI) services in Kenya, the cooperation may include the development of data centre projects with a total capacity of up to 1,000 megawatts. In the field of AI, the technical and investment potential of developing Large Language Models will be assessed.The Investment Memorandum was signed by His Excellency Mohamed Hassan Alsuwaidi, Minister of Investment of the UAE, and His Excellency Eliud Owalo, Cabinet Secretary at the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Digital Economy in Kenya.Kenya has witnessed significant growth in its digital economy, primarily driven by the ICT sector, which has outperformed all other sectors, expanding by 23 percent annually during the last decade. As the largest economy in East Africa, Kenya is also becoming a preferred investment destination for data centre providers, with the growing demand for cloud services prompted by improved business conditions and new market entrants, as well as the migration of many businesses to digital solutions. There are currently several operational data centres in the country, and the local data centre market is expected to witness a compound annual growth rate of 11.22 percent between 2023 and 2028.The Memorandum focuses on facilitating strong and effective relationships between public and private sector organisations in the two countries to enable cooperation in digital infrastructure projects. It additionally proposes the implementation of incentives to support pertinent initiatives.The “digital corridor” concept is integral to this Memorandum, representing an interconnected network infrastructure enabling secure data exchange, hosting, processing, and transmission between the UAE and Kenya.His Excellency Mohamed Hassan Alsuwaidi, Minister of Investment of the UAE, said: “A closer partnership between our two nations harbours remarkable opportunities in numerous fields that can contribute to the continued strengthening and advancement of our economies. Through targeted investments in digital infrastructure and artificial intelligence, this Investment Memorandum is set to accelerate the development of a sector that has the potential to become a growth driver for other industries, setting out a vision for the future defined by prosperity and progress.”His Excellency Eliud Owalo, said: “Collaboration between Kenya and the UAE goes beyond strategy; it is poised to strengthen the bonds between our two nations. With the potential to bridge the digital divide in Africa, expedite technological innovation, and foster a sustainable future for the ICT industry, this partnership will pave the way for a more inclusive and interconnected digital world.”The Memorandum was signed on the heels of the UAE and Kenya finalising a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), marking a milestone as the first CEPA between the two countries, deepening investment ties and boosting bilateral non-oil trade, which reached USD 3.1 billion in 2023, up 26.4 percent on 2022.

First Abu Dhabi Bank marks largest Ramadan Aftir campaign

First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB)’s Ramadan Aftir campaign has distributed more than 30,000 meals to families across the UAE in the first 17 days of the Holy Month, marking the bank’s most successful charitable Iftar meals drive to date.The Aftir campaign, which sees FAB staff, families and friends partnering with established charities nationwide, is one of four FAB Ramadan CSR initiatives. For 90 minutes every evening during Ramadan, volunteers in every emirate package and distribute between 200 to 300 meals to families registered with charities including the Zayed Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation in Abu Dhabi; Beit Al Khair Society in Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah; Aletihad Charity Foundation in Ajman; Sharjah Charity International in Sharjah; and the U.A.Q. Charity Association in Umm Al Quwain.With Aftir expanding to include all seven emirates this year, organisers expect to prepare and distribute 54,000 meals before Eid Al Fitr. Community leaders and influencers including ‘Green Sheikh’ HH Abdul Aziz Al Nuaimi, award-winning athletes from the UAE Jiu Jitsu Federation, and Emirati actor Habib Ghuloom have joined in FAB’s Aftir drive alongside FAB leadership. Members of the public are also welcome to join the Aftir campaign via FAB is also continuing its ‘Cycle for a Cause’ initiative that enables FAB partners and members of the public to turn their mileage into monetary donations towards Emirates Red Crescent. Individuals can register via to record their distances; weekly community rides can also be joined at Hudairyat in Abu Dhabi every Tuesday at 9.30pm and at the Meydan cycling track in Dubai on Thursdays at 9.30pm. More than 100 riders have contributed over 16,500 km so far this Ramadan.FAB will also organise organising several activities for orphans during Eid Al Fitr, including Eidaya gift distribution, shopping excursions, and a special fun day at IMG Worlds of Adventure.Other FAB Ramadan activities include the return of its ‘Minutes of Giving’ event for a second year, which saw 186 FAB employees pack 1,000 food boxes at the bank’s head office in Abu Dhabi at the start of the Holy Month.Marwa Al Rahma, FAB Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, said: “The Holy Month of Ramadan is a special time, when we should all feel encouraged to share our blessings. At FAB, our Ramadan initiatives reflect our belief in partnership and collaboration, creating spaces and programmes for people to come together and make a positive contribution.”In 2023, more than 6,750 FAB volunteers dedicated over 18,185 hours across Ramadan and Eid, distributing 46,000 meals.

Sabu Soumian on Hotpack Global's Ramadan marketing strategies

In the Middle East, Ramadan holds immense cultural and religious significance, marking a period of unity, sharing, and reflection. Hotpack Global, a leading provider of packaging solutions, acknowledges and embraces this significance by tailoring its marketing strategies to resonate with the essence of the season. Sabu Soumian, Head of Retail Operations- GCC at Hotpack Global, emphasizes the company's commitment to honouring Ramadan traditions while meeting the diverse packaging needs of its clientele. Hotpack offers special Ramadan-themed packaging solutions, including meal boxes, cups, paper bags, and stickers, designed to reflect the spirit of sharing and togetherness."We recognize the importance of aligning our products with the cultural values of Ramadan," says Sabu Soumian. "Our Ramadan-themed packaging solutions serve as symbols of cultural connection and tradition, fostering meaningful connections with our customers and communities."How does your company leverage the unique cultural and religious significance of Ramadan in the Middle East to tailor its marketing strategies for its packaging solutions?Hotpack recognizes and embraces the cultural significance of Ramadan in the Middle East. It's a period marked by sharing and coming together of communities, friends, and families. We offer special Ramadan-themed printed packaging solutions, including meal boxes, cups, paper bags, and stickers, designed to resonate with the essence of the season.We also introduced Ramadan meal and snack boxes, reflecting the spirit of sharing and unity that defines this month. These offerings are not only practical but also serve as a symbol of cultural connection and tradition. Additionally, we provide customization options for businesses seeking to align their products with the values of Ramadan, thus enhancing B2B sales opportunities.To amplify our message and engage with our audience effectively, we curate content centered around the Ramadan theme and leverage various marketing channels, including social media platforms. This ensures that our presence remains strong and resonant throughout the month, fostering meaningful connections with our customers and communities. Through these tailored strategies, we aim to honour the spirit of Ramadan while meeting the diverse packaging needs of our clientele.Can you share specific examples of successful marketing campaigns or initiatives your company has executed during the Ramadan seasons in the Middle East? How do you think these campaigns will resonate with the local audience?Our company implements a variety of marketing campaigns, both online and offline, that are strategically designed to engage with our audience and celebrate the significance of the occasion. We approach Ramadan as a phased journey, with distinct phases such as "Get ready for Ramadan" and "Ahlan Ramadan," each catering to different consumer needs and experiences. During these phases, we focus on preparing households, offering Ramadan-themed packaging solutions for businesses, and facilitating the distribution of iftar meals. We also launched a special Ramadan Iftar box which contains all the packaging needed for families to celebrate Iftar with their loved ones.We curate our communications and products to align with the cultural aspects of Ramadan, ensuring that our campaigns resonate with consumers in the Middle East. Additionally, we collaborate with top-level NGOs and government entities in the region for charity campaigns, further enhancing our outreach and impact. As a result, we have achieved significant success for our Ramadan campaigns, particularly in the retail segment, as demand for our products tends to peak during this time.What consumer insights or market research does your company rely on to inform its Ramadan marketing strategies for the packaging industry in the Middle East?Drawing from our extensive 28 years of experience in the market, we closely monitor seasonal trends, particularly during Ramadan, to anticipate shifts in consumer behaviour and preferences.Consumers show a heightened interest in exploring new brands and promotional packs and are more likely to make spontaneous purchases during Ramadan. To address their changing behaviour effectively we offer a variety of products and attractive promotions to consumers to enhance their experience and engagement with Hotpack.As manufacturers of consumables, we leverage our expertise to understand the specific needs and preferences of local consumers during this time This includes identifying the demand for customized branding options for meal boxes and other packaging solutions, which we validate through thorough research and feedback from existing and potential customers.Moreover, we conduct market research to collect comprehensive data and insights, including trends in online platforms such as search and social media, as well as consumer purchasing behaviour. This research allows us to keep abreast of market requirements and trends during the season, enabling us to develop targeted and impactful marketing strategies that resonate with our audience.How does your company adapt its product offerings or promotional activities to align with the purchasing behavior and preferences of consumers during Ramadan in the Middle East?We utilize a dedicated sales and procurement team to forecast and plan well in advance, ensuring readiness for the Ramadan season. This includes strategizing promotional activities at least six months in advance to establish clear objectives and timelines for execution.Market research and cart studies inform us about curating promotional bundles and offers that streamline the shopping experience for consumers while enhancing brand reliability and relevance during the period. We also introduce a collection of products printed in Ramadan-themed designs.Additionally, we adapt our product labels, store merchandising, and communications to reflect Ramadan visuals, ensuring relevance and appeal to consumers. We expand our production capacity to meet the increased demand for generic food packaging and customized solutions during Ramadan, leveraging our extensive network of warehouses for efficient storage and distribution.Our social media content during the season focuses on relatable themes such as iftar settings, charity, and meal preparation, resonating with consumers and enhancing engagement during this significant month.In a competitive market landscape, what differentiation strategies does your company employ to stand out and capture consumer attention during Ramadan in the Middle East?For starters, we maintain a continuous focus on packaging innovation. Each Ramadan, we introduce new designs to meet evolving market demands, ensuring our products stand out on shelves and attract consumer attention.Additionally, our research and development (R&D) team consistently works on new product lines and innovative designs, keeping our customers engaged and offering added utility, which enhances our marketing campaigns.Moreover, our commitment to delivering high-quality products consistently differentiates us from competitors and instils trust among consumers.We actively participate in Ramadan leaflet promotions with major hypermarkets, supermarkets, and discount centres, utilizing promo packs and eye-catching displays to attract consumer attention.Furthermore, we implement a 360-degree campaign that connects online and offline consumers to the same offerings across the GCC, enabling brand recall and recognition, and further enhancing our competitive edge in the market.With the rise of digital and social media platforms, how does your company integrate online channels into its Ramadan marketing efforts for the packaging industry in the Middle East? Can you elaborate on any successful digital marketing initiatives?We maintain a strong presence on social media, digital marketing platforms and conventional media channels. By utilizing our e-commerce platform and actively engaging on various digital channels, we ensure broad visibility and accessibility to our target audience.Our focus lies on creating creative and engaging content tailored for these platforms. Our dedicated content production team ensures relevance and resonance with our audience.As mentioned, we regularly run digital campaigns tailored to different phases of Ramadan, such as 'Get ready for Ramadan' and 'Ahlan Ramadan,' along with flash sales and weekend/month-end sales. These initiatives have proven highly successful in reaching and converting customers both online and offline, capitalizing on the heightened demand for our products during Ramadan.In addition to campaigns, we leverage influencer marketing to develop a community around our brand. By highlighting how our offerings and products can be helpful and used during the season, we connect with our audience on a deeper level.Moreover, we have an extensive presence across e-commerce marketplaces, with listings on over 70 platforms, expanding our reach and accessibility to customers across the region and driving sales during Ramadan.

Dubai Shopping Malls Group unveils ‘Shop. Scan & Win’ Eidiya campaign

Dubai Shopping Malls Group (DSMG) today announced the return of its ‘Shop. Scan & Win’ Eidiya campaign, in time to celebrate the joyous occasion of Eid. From April 1 to 2nd Day of Eid Al Fitr, shoppers can immerse themselves in an unparalleled shopping experience at any participating mall, with the chance to win remarkable cash prizes totalling up to AED 200,000.Participating in the campaign is effortless – shoppers simply need to shop to their heart's content and scan the QR code available in-store. Each scan automatically enters them into the raffle for an opportunity to win the grand prize.The excitement will peak on the final three days of Eid when a total of 22 fortunate winners will be announced, each walking away with fabulous cash rewards.Commenting on the Eidiya campaign, Majid Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Shopping Malls Group, stated: “Eid is a time of celebration and generosity, and we are thrilled to enhance the festive experience for our valued shoppers through our Eidiya campaign. With the opportunity to win up to AED 200,000 in cash, we aim to add an extra layer of excitement to the Eid celebrations and reward our loyal customers for their continued support.”The Eidiya campaign underscores DSMG's dedication to providing innovative and rewarding experiences for shoppers across Dubai's vibrant retail landscape. Through collaboration with leading malls and brands, DSMG remains committed to spearheading initiatives that elevate the shopping experience while fostering a sense of community and engagement.Malls participating in the campaign include renowned destinations such as Al Ghurair Centre, Al Khail Gate Community Centre, Al Quoz Mall, Arabian Center, Bay Avenue, Central Mall,Century Mall, Crown Mall, Dubai Festival Plaza, Jebel Ali Mall, Mudon Community Centre,Marhaba Mall, Serena MarketPlace, Shorooq Community Center, Silicon Central, Town Mall, Times Square Center and Villanova MarketPlace.

PhonePe Users Can Now Make UPI Payments in UAE via NEOPAY Terminals

PhonePe App users traveling to the UAE can now make payments using UPI at Mashreq's NEOPAY terminals, available across a wide array of retail stores, dining outlets, as well as tourist and leisure attractions. They simply need to scan the QR code for seamless and rapid payments. These transactions are facilitated by the Unified Payments Interface (UPI). The account debit will occur in INR, showing the currency exchange rate.Additionally, NRIs with UAE mobile numbers can also download the PhonePe App and link their existing NRE and NRO accounts to facilitate payments. This aims to enhance the ease and convenience of transactions for the Indian diaspora in the UAE.This collaboration is facilitated through Mashreq’s partnership with NPCI International Payments Limited (NIPL). Through this partnership, Mashreq has enabled NEOPAY terminals to accept UPI apps as a payment instrument, thus allowing Indian travelers to conveniently use UPI for transactions.This strategic alliance combines PhonePe’s cutting-edge technology with Mashreq’s commitment to incorporate best-in-class tech and innovation in their operations. It will play a vital role in providing a superlative customer experience at NEOPAY terminals. Speaking on the partnership Ritesh Pai, CEO International Payments, PhonePe said, “We are thrilled to announce our partnership with Mashreq. UAE is a very popular destination, with millions of Indian visitors every year. With this partnership, customers can now conveniently transact through UPI, a payment method they are familiar with. Enabling digital payments not only reflects PhonePe's commitment to convenience but also embraces the evolving needs of today's travelers. This collaboration opens doors to seamless transactions, ensuring a smoother and more enjoyable journey for visitors.”Vibhor Mundhada, CEO of NEOPAY at Mashreq added, “We are delighted to collaborate with PhonePe to offer yet another new payment solution for Indian tourists and visitors in the UAE, helping further cement the already strong financial relations between the two countries. This latest launch underscores our commitment to incorporating innovation and technology into our operations, and to providing the solutions and experiences our customers want and need.”Anubhav Sharma, Deputy Chief - Partnership Business Development & Marketing, NIPL said, “We aim to actively collaborate with financial institutions around the world, fostering partnerships to deliver convenient and secure cross-border payment solutions for consumers. This partnership encourages fintech collaboration and unifies the ecosystem to streamline payment processes for Indian travelers to UAE.”In addition to facilitating travel and local transactions, PhonePe will also introduce inward remittance services once the corridor for inward remittances is enabled. This will simplify the process of transferring money by leveraging the UPI infrastructure, thereby eliminating the need for details such as bank account numbers and IFSC codes.é

GymNation expands into the coffee market with Fit-Café

GymNation, the homegrown UAE fitness brand, has today announced that due to unprecedented growth, it is reaching capacity across its 12 UAE gym locations and diversifying into a new market, brewing up a storm with the launch of its first-ever branded coffee shop.By creating weighted coffee cups and utensils that double as dumbbells, The Daily Grind Fit-Café™ aims to promote active lifestyles by turning every sip and every bite into a rep. Other features include a queuing system that pushes you to run while you wait and espresso's that require some pulling power to grind down fresh coffee beans.Loren Holland, Founder and CEO, GymNation said, “GymNation launched because we felt for too long UAE residents had been overcharged for substandard gym facilities. We’ve now grown to 12 locations, with twelve more in fit-out and over 65,000 members, becoming the UAE’s largest gym. However, as we continue on our ambition to make going to the gym less intimidating, more affordable, accessible, and fun for everyone we are reaching the limits of our ability to take on new members.”“Core to GymNation’s DNA is to challenge tradition and coffee is ripe for disruption with the UAE’s coffee sector expected to grow to over $325m by 2028*. The Daily Grind café will do for coffee culture what GymNation has done for health and wellness. Some might think this is a tall order, but we’re serious about giving this our best shot. It’s a frothy market, but as we have done with the gym industry, we are ready to roast the competition by making even going for a coffee an opportunity to stay active and improve health and well-being, with the world’s first-ever Fit-Café concept™,” he continued.

Bahrain’s International Jazz Festival 2024 Unveils 'Jazz For All, All For Jazz'

Bahrain’s International Jazz Festival, the kingdom’s premier celebration of jazz music, is set to return for its 7th edition, taking place on April 26th, 2024, at Royal Golf Club. Since its inception, the festival has evolved into a beloved international music extravaganza, firmly establishing itself as a highlight on Bahrain’s event calendar. Having welcomed over 30,000 visitors over the past six years, the festival has showcased some of the finest talents in jazz music from around the world. This year, the festival announces its recognition as the only festival in the Middle East to be designated by the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz/UNESCO as a Global Organizational Partner of International Jazz Day. This esteemed recognition underscores the festival’s unwavering commitment to advancing the development of jazz in the Middle East.Under the theme "Jazz For All, All For Jazz," Bahrain’s International Jazz Festival 2024 celebrates the universal language of jazz that surpasses cultural and generational boundaries. Whether one is a seasoned aficionado or a curious listener, the festival extends an invitation to all to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of jazz music and experience its transformative power.The festival will feature an exciting lineup of world-class jazz musicians, encompassing a diverse range of styles and influences. From soulful melodies to improvisational virtuosity, attendees can expect unforgettable performances that showcase the boundless creativity of jazz artists.In addition to live performances, the festival will offer a variety of activities and experiences for attendees of all ages. From workshops and masterclasses to interactive jam sessions, the festival provides opportunities for both seasoned musicians and aspiring talents to engage with the vibrant jazz community.

Jeep's 'Call of Adventure' claims global top spot in awards

“Call of Adventure” campaign by Jeep has clinched the top spot in the automotive category of AdForum’s Business Creative Report, which ranks the most awarded campaigns across global, regional and specialist creative shows. Crafted by Publicis Middle East and Starcom ME, this unique campaign offers the Jeep community a distinct visual language to communicate with and fuel their love of adventure. The campaign has been globally applauded for its innovative storytelling and for connecting the brand’s thrill and nature-loving community. "This campaign encourages our community to spend more time outdoors, considering that people nowadays spend over 93% of their lives indoors. Our goal was to reduce this indoor time statistic through the language of adventure, uniquely spoken by our brand. The overwhelming response and recognition from global creativity festivals underscore the impact of our message. We are immensely grateful for this honor and for becoming the most awarded campaign in the automotive sector in 2023." —Melhem Najm, Chief Marketing Officer at Stellantis, Middle East & Africa.Inspired by the iconic dots and dashes of the Jeep brand grille, symbolising the brand's adventurous spirit, the "Call of Adventure" campaign introduces the Jeep Call of Adventure Font. This innovative font, meticulously designed to mirror the grille's distinctive pattern, serves as the foundation of a captivating print and outdoor campaign, aptly named 'The Call of Adventure.' Rooted in a profound understanding of the Jeep brand's heritage and values, this campaign goes beyond traditional advertising norms, inviting enthusiasts to decode hidden messages and embark on a journey of self-discovery.“It is a privilege to work with a global brand of this magnitude, and a privilege to be the agency at the helm of the Jeep brand in the region. The success of “Call of Adventure” is the result of all the stars aligning. We have a client who demands creativity. We have a creative team who expects nothing but the best from themselves. And we have the support of Publicis leadership, who believe in spearheading excellence in our field. I would like to thank my team for the efforts they put in every day to surprise our client and our consumers. I would like to thank Stellantis for their support. And lastly, I would like to thank every judging panel that saw the value in our campaign and awarded it. It was a pure idea with the Jeep brand and its consumers at its core. We are humbled and it gives us added motivation”, said Tuki Ghiassi, Executive Creative Director, Publicis Middle East.  AdForum’s Business Creative Report ranks the world’s most awarded campaigns by industry sector, providing advertisers and agencies with a benchmark for creative impact. With over 40 award shows monitored, including the newly integrated Ciclope Festival, the report highlights excellence across nine categories. This recognition not only promotes and motivates talent within agencies but also serves as a testament to creativity and expertise, driving industry standards forward.

PlanRadar's 'SiteView' AI: construction's bigger picture solution

PlanRadar, one of the leading digital construction, real estate and facilities management platforms, announces the upcoming AI-powered ‘SiteView’ feature, enhancing the platform's already robust documentation, communication and reporting capabilities. SiteView empowers users to capture 360° imagery of a project while walking the site, with the images automatically mapped onto a 2D plan, creating a detailed visual record of activity across every stage of the build.  Group Co-CEO Ibrahim Imam noted, “This feature’s a game changer for PlanRadar users, combining the easy to use experience with the highest levels of accuracy, making it possible to achieve complete visual as-builts and field, progress, and photo documentation, in place of taking thousands of photos. In addition with our core documentation, communication and ticketing platform, SiteView means anyone working on a project can now easily go back and look ‘behind the wall’ to see exactly what was built or installed, often reducing rework.”    While powered by cutting-edge technology, the simple solution means construction teams can walk a site with a 360° camera attached to a helmet, and SiteView does the rest. Reality capture images are automatically transferred from camera-to-app and ready to review in PlanRadar shortly after a site walk is completed, aligning the path walked onto the 2D plan. This provides a level of efficiency that makes it easy to document visual ‘as-builts’ in minutes, as well as quickly maintain any visual site documentation required.   Additionally, a compare feature makes it easy to view images captured on two dates side-by-side during the build to see progress and spot any deflections.  Clemens Hammerl, Chief Product Officer, comments, “SiteView reduces on-site inspection time and speeds up team collaboration, allowing a complete view of the site, even when working remotely. 360° photographic images provide all the documentation needed to see what has happened, delivering complete project transparency. With minimal training required, users simply set a starting position on a 2D construction plan within the PlanRadar mobile app, walk the site, and press stop when finished; our sophisticated algorithms take care of the rest.”  SiteView uses SLAM technology (Simultaneous Location and Mapping), the same tech used to power driverless automobiles, to survey unknown environments while simultaneously moving through them. It operates by estimating the path of the site walker on a digital construction plan, with algorithms constantly aligning sequential data to determine position and path. The path is then aligned to the plan, using AI-powered computer vision algorithms, which integrate depth estimation and accurate localisation.  Crucially, it provides project teams with a detailed, 360° overview of activity and progress, all within the easy-to-use interface of PlanRadar’s platform. The addition of SiteView adds another layer of functionality to PlanRadar, which already includes document management, reporting and integration features, enabling customers to connect all project processes in one place.  -IMAGE-  With a comprehensive view of works available throughout each phase of the build, all project stakeholders can experience full transparency of activities. This not only helps prevent miscommunication but also mitigates potential disputes. The upcoming launch is just the beginning for SiteView, with ongoing updates to follow, including BIM integration, and the ability to link to Tickets on the 360° images.

Digital asset exchange Fasset’s app goes live in the UAE

Digital asset exchange Fasset’s app is now officially available to users in the UAE. The app offers access to broker-dealer services for both early investors and experienced real-world asset investors seeking to diversify their investment portfolio with digital assets.Fasset’s platform allows secure and seamless transactions involving digital and tokenized real-world assets[1] from any location and in the user’s preferred currency. Users can buy and invest in digital and tokenized real-world assets, take part in spot exchange transactions, and transfer funds, all in a blockchain environment. Among available investment options are cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, as well as bundles. Potential investors can test the app and their investment skills in the safe learning environment of a digital playground - Fasset Play.The app goes live after the company became one of the first to be granted a VASP Licence by the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) in Dubai, UAE in November 2023. Completion of VARA’s rigorous multi-stage approval process authorizes the company to provide virtual asset services to both retail and institutional investors in a regulatory-compliant manner.Fasset CEO Mohammad Raafi Hossain comments: “UAE is experiencing a surge in digital asset investment as the government promotes innovation and entrepreneurship in the country. We are happy to extend our secure and transparent platform to customers in the UAE. Our goal is to empower people to have universal access to financial services, so they have more opportunities to build and manage their wealth.”UAE becomes the second country of operations following a successful launch in Indonesia in 2023, where the app gathered over one million customers on waitlist within the first week. By partnering with Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison, Fasset launched the world’s first embedded digital asset exchange in a telco app - available to over 100M users in Indonesia. The company has also partnered with Mastercard to offer a crypto card to users in the region.Fasset has accumulated a large digital assets licensing portfolio in emerging markets, connecting places like the UAE, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Türkiye. The VASP license by VARA grants Fasset permission to conduct virtual asset brokerage services out of Dubai for customers globally. The company plans to further expand its operations in the region and beyond in the near future.

The power of personal branding: Kelly Lundberg's evolution as a branding expert

Today, we delve into the world of entrepreneurship and personal branding with a true luminary in the field. Meet Kelly Lundberg, a seasoned business mentor, personal branding expert, athlete branding strategist, and style expert, whose passion lies in nurturing dreams and achieving goals.With an impressive track record spanning two decades and over 15,000 hours of mentoring experience (yes, that's right, she's been honing her craft since the Gucci-clad days), Kelly is more than just a mentor – she's a catalyst for success. Her mission is to empower entrepreneurs to not just thrive but to dominate in the digital marketplace. Kelly's expertise lies in creating that indispensable space in the digital arena, where entrepreneurs can amplify their value, personal brand, and profits. She's the voice of reason, the motivator, and the strategic guide that every ambitious entrepreneur needs on their journey to success.In this exclusive interview with Adgully Middle East, Kelly Lundberg, brand strategist, business mentor, talks about her journey of more than two decades, with many successful roles she played. She talks about being a brand strategist and business mentor. Whether it's saving time, providing invaluable insights, or simply being the driving force behind your business and life goals, Kelly Lundberg has the tricks up her well-tailored sleeve to make it happen.Kelly Lundberg is synonymous with style. What inspired your diverse career journey, spanning from celebrity stylist to business mentor to brand strategist? Could you share insights into your path toward becoming a brand strategist and the motivations driving this career choice?Style has always been more than just clothes; it's about confidence and the transformative power of self-expression. Style has been a huge part of my life, helping others feel more confidence in the clothing they wear and the impact it has on them. Over the past 20 years I have witnessed first-hand the profound effect that personal branding can have on an individual's confidence and success.I recognised that there are a number of elements beyond clothing that contribute to a strong personal brand. Over the years, I saw as I not only developed my own personal brand, that there are so many other elements to feeling good about your brand, and styling is just one element to this.In many ways, the transition to brand strategy is a natural extension of what I was already offering, but now I have found a means to expand a reach and help a broader audience. With the ability to help more people with not only their business if they were an entrepreneur, but also climbing the career ladder and the importance of your personal brand too. There is a huge amount of interconnectedness of style, personal branding, and professional success.What do you consider to be the essential qualities and skills for a successful brand strategist and business mentor?I would say a successful brand strategist and business mentor should possess the ability to envision the big picture; but not only that, but to have first-hand experience of building their own brand and/or other clients with results. A creative mindset to think outside the box and devise innovative solutions. I massively believe in ongoing learning and professional development. The ability to stay abreast of industry trends, attend conferences, and seek out opportunities to expand knowledge and expertise that you can also share with clients.Can you recount a challenging brand strategy issue you've faced in your career and how you navigated through it to find a solution?One of my client's challenges stemmed from a lack of visibility and differentiation in a competitive job market. Despite her impressive credentials, she was struggling to stand out among other candidates and capture the attention of potential employers, facing many rejection emails. Through the creation of, the development of an authentic video reel, and strategic promotion efforts, together we successfully revitalised the client's personal brand and created new opportunities for her in the job market. Read the full story in my new book ‘Deseed The Lemon, Elevate Your Personal Brand One Pip At A Time’ which is out in March!How do you keep abreast of the latest trends and shifts in the branding industry? Could you highlight a particularly effective brand strategy you've crafted and discuss the factors contributing to its success?As a firm believer in investing in experts and continuous learning, I employ various strategies to keep abreast of the latest trends and shifts in the industry, recognising the value of learning from industry experts who offer valuable insights and expertise. Whether through online courses, workshops, or mentorship programs, I seek opportunities to learn knowledge from other professionals. Innovation is also at the heart of effective branding strategies. By embracing new technologies, tools, and approaches, I strive to stay ahead of the curve and deliver innovative solutions to clients. At a recent conference, I was introduced to a simple yet highly effective quiz app that revolutionised our lead generation efforts. By leveraging this quiz app, we were able to engage our target audience in a fun and interactive way while capturing valuable data and generating organic leads.In your client work, how do you discern their unique brand identity and craft a strategy that resonates with itWhen working with clients to craft their brand strategy, I utilise a framework that breaks the process into seven easy-to-follow steps. These steps (or slices) serve as a roadmap for understanding the client's current position and charting a path toward their desired future.The first step in this framework is strategy. During this phase, I work closely with the client to assess their current situation and define their future goals. This involves understanding their values, objectives, target audience, and competitive landscape. Through collaborative discussions and exercises, we establish a clear understanding of where the client wants to go and how they envision their brand evolving.Additionally, I incorporate an anonymous brand audit into this process. This allows the client to gather feedback on how their personal brand is perceived by others, providing valuable insights into areas of strength and areas for improvement. By gaining a comprehensive understanding of the client's unique brand identity and positioning, I can then develop a strategy that resonates with their values, objectives, and target audience.By following this structured approach, I'm able to guide clients through the process of defining their brand identity and crafting a strategy that aligns with their goals. This ultimately leads to the development of meaningful connections with their target audience and the achievement of their business objectives.What role does storytelling play in crafting impactful brand strategies, and how do you integrate it into your approachI am a huge believer in telling stories; this might also be a Scottish trait too. I genuinely believe storytelling serves as a gateway for communicating a (personal) brand's values, mission, and vision in a compelling and memorable way. I love how it creates an emotional connection with consumers, fostering loyalty and advocacy and in today's digital age, where people are bombarded with messages, storytelling stands out as a powerful tool for brands to cut through the noise and capture attention.With the proliferation of digital platforms and social media, how has brand strategy evolved, and what aspects are now more critical than ever?It would be naive to think that employers and potential customers don’t frequently turn to social media and online platforms to learn more about individuals or brands before making decisions. Having no online presence can indeed raise red flags or signal disengagement in some cases. In my opinion, LinkedIn is a crucial platform for building your personal brand. To maximize its effectiveness, make sure your profile is up-to-date with current information and that you engage with the platform regularly.Are there any common misconceptions clients hold about brand strategy, and how do you dispel them in your consultations?I would say there are a couple of misconceptions, for example brand strategy is only relevant for large corporations or consumer-facing brands. In consultations, I highlight the significance of brand differentiation and positioning, regardless of the organisation's scale or sector.It’s also not just as a one-time project rather than an ongoing process. Effective brand strategy is iterative and dynamic, requiring ongoing refinement and adaptation to evolving market dynamics and consumer preferences. During consultations, I emphasise the importance of continuous monitoring, measurement, and the constant evolution of branding efforts.How do you manage situations where a client's vision for their brand diverges from your strategic recommendations?While I may offer expert guidance and recommendations, I ultimately respect the client's authority as the decision-maker for their personal brand. I strive to empower them to make informed choices that they feel confident in. I would however, present the client with alternative options that would perhaps align more closely with their vision while still addressing their objectives. I would also use my expertise and experience to educate the client about the rationale behind my strategic recommendations.

IKEA Al-Futtaim unveils pet-friendly campaign: 'Don't worry, you can afford it'

IKEA Al-Futtaim has embarked on an inventive campaign tailored to the growing demographic of pet owners in the UAE. This is in alignment with its commitment to enriching everyday life for its customers. Recognizing the profound role pets play in households across the region, the renowned furniture brand unveils a strategic initiative aimed at addressing the unique challenges and joys associated with pet ownership.Recent insights from the Pet World Arabia exhibition in Dubai underscore the burgeoning pet care sector in the UAE, which now boasts a staggering valuation of $300 million. With approximately 1.5 million devoted pet "parents" calling the country home, the influence of pets on domestic life has become indisputable.In response to this evolving landscape, IKEA Al-Futtaim introduces a pioneering campaign entitled "Don’t worry, you can afford it," designed to resonate with pet owners navigating the occasional mishaps that accompany pet ownership. Leveraging its global strategy, the campaign reassures consumers that replacing damaged items is both accessible and affordable, seamlessly aligning with IKEA's ethos of practicality and affordability.Featuring a series of endearing scenarios portraying everyday products inadvertently damaged by beloved pets, the campaign captures the essence of pet ownership while showcasing IKEA's diverse range of household offerings. From overturned plant pots to spilled mugs, the campaign humorously acknowledges the realities of living with pets while emphasizing the ease of finding affordable replacements.Carla Klumpenaar, GM Marketing, Communication & Interior Design, highlighted:"For the past few years we have noticed a growth of pets in households in the region and we wanted to introduce this topic through this campaign for the first time. Over the next few days, we will also launch a collection of household products for pets". The campaign, created by the creative boutique INGO Hamburg, will be published in different media throughout the region, highlighting out-of-home, print editions, different screen formats and the brand’s social channels. INGO’s Global CCO Tobias Ahrens said: "We are excited about this campaign, which, on one hand, brings the unskippable cuteness of pets, and on the other hand, challenges marketing conventions by showing the products damaged. An honest story that refreshes the usual IKEA price communication style.”As IKEA Al-Futtaim pioneers a new frontier in marketing communication, the campaign serves as a testament to the brand's unwavering dedication to meeting the evolving needs of its diverse customer base, reaffirming its status as a trailblazer in the realm of home furnishings and lifestyle solutions.

Ogilvy unveils new leadership for Ogilvy One with Next-Gen service

 The global boom in MarTech investment has enabled companies of all types to conduct relationship marketing. Yet, many have struggled to create distinction and customer relevancy, necessitating a better approach to building lasting relationships. It’s with this perspective that Ogilvy today announces new global leadership for Ogilvy One and next-generation services for creating more valuable relationships by design. Led by creativity, powered by data, and supercharged by AI, Ogilvy has a distinct approach to designing relationships that create business, brand, and customer value.Ogilvy One will serve as the global brand for Ogilvy’s current and next-generation customer experience and relationship service offerings to clients. Kent Wertime, a seasoned Ogilvy executive, has been appointed as the Global CEO of Ogilvy One. With nearly 25 years at Ogilvy, Kent previously led Ogilvy One in Asia and has since held various leadership positions. He will continue in his most recent role as Co-CEO for Ogilvy APAC. Ogilvy One’s leadership team includes Roberto Fara, who will take on an expanded role as the Global Creative Experience Lead for Ogilvy One and will retain his role as Chief Creative Officer of Ogilvy Spain, along with Rajesh Midha (NoAm), Clare Lawson (EMEA & Chief Client Officer), Ab Gaur (APAC & CEO of Verticurl; Global Chief Data & Tech Officer, Ogilvy), Mauro Caggiano (LATAM), Jason Davey (AUNZ), Ravi Pal (CTO), and Nate McNabb (Global Partnerships).Brands that create a positive relationship with a consumer are 3x more impactful than brands that don’t (source: Mesh Experience Research 2023). Ogilvy One offers a range of services to design relationships that are truly reflective of brands: Customer Acquisition, Service Design, Continuous Commerce, and CRM & Loyalty. This offering is underpinned by a unified global technology backbone powered by Verticurl, the leading marketing technology services agency Ogilvy acquired in 2013. Ogilvy One has approximately 3,800 specialists around the world spanning strategy, creative and design, UX/UI, data, media and performance, platform integration, creative technology, innovation, and AI among other areas. Ogilvy One currently works with a broad range of B2C and B2B clients including some world’s most iconic brands such as IBM, Mondel?z, Nestlé, Unilever, The Coca-Cola Company, Verizon, and Enterprise, as well as regional and local clients.Devika Bulchandani, Global CEO of Ogilvy, said: “When David Ogilvy first started talking about direct marketing decades ago, he recognized that some of the most effective marketing isn’t just directed at your target audience, it speaks to them on a personal one-to-one basis. Now we take that to a new level with a fresh leadership team for Ogilvy One and a commitment to designing relationships based on ideas that create enduring value exchanges between consumers and our clients’ brands.”“Over the last decade, companies invested heavily in technology, but that alone is not the solution. In today’s hyper-commoditized world, brands need to design relationships that create differentiation and relevancy with their consumers. That’s where the exponential power of creativity plays a vital role,” Kent Wertime, Global CEO of Ogilvy One, said. “Today's consumers, choose their points of interaction with brands, from discovery to purchase, and dictate more of the relationship. With a deep understanding of brands and full-dimensional view of consumers coupled with award-winning creativity and a strong data and technology backbone, Ogilvy One is uniquely positioned to design valuable relationships for brands that are impactful, relevant, and enduring.”

TBWA\RAAD names Catherine Bannister as new Chief Strategy Officer

TBWA\RAAD announced the appointment of Catherine Bannister as its new Chief Strategy Officer, effective immediately.Bringing a wealth of experience to the role, Catherine will lead the strategic initiatives across TBWA\RAAD's diverse client portfolio. Her appointment underscores the agency's commitment to crafting holistic brand experiences and driving strategic growth opportunities for its clients.In her capacity, Catherine will collaborate closely with the strategy team, overseeing the development of disruptive strategies aimed at fostering growth and creativity. Her emphasis on leveraging advanced strategic thinking to deliver transformative ideas will further augment TBWA\RAAD's mission to provide unparalleled creative excellence and innovative solutions.Reda Raad, Group CEO at TBWA\RAAD, said: "We are thrilled to welcome Catherine to our leadership team. Her proven track record in leadership and strategic expertise make her an ideal fit for this role. With Catherine on board, we are poised to elevate our strategic capabilities, driving unprecedented success for our clients."Commenting on her appointment, Catherine added: "I am honored to join TBWA\RAAD's esteemed leadership team. The agency's commitment to excellence and its deep-rooted presence in the MENA region resonate with my own passion for the area. As a senior female leader, I am proud to contribute to an organization that has been recognized as one of the Best Workplaces for Women in the Middle East."With a distinguished career spanning various global leadership roles in the UK and Malaysia, Catherine brings extensive expertise in brand development, market expansion, and talent cultivation. Her tenure of four and a half years in the MENA region has equipped her with invaluable insights into regional dynamics, further enhancing her ability to deliver insightful strategic solutions.

Manchester City, Etihad Airways launch community football initiative in India

Manchester City and global partner Etihad Airways have announced a brand-new community football initiative in cities across India.The joint initiative will see Manchester City work in collaboration with Etihad Airways, Club charity City in the Community and non-governmental partner organisation (NGO) Magic Bus India Foundation, to deliver health and life skills training for local young people through football.The project will launch this April in three cities from the airline’s network: New Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore, with more locations to follow.This marks the latest in a series of impactful community collaborations between Manchester City and Etihad since the launch of the Official Partnership between the two organisations in 2009, including global and regional summits in Manchester and Abu Dhabi, which upskill young leaders in community football coaching and leadership.The initiative will be delivered by local NGO Magic Bus India Foundation who have partnered with the club on various initiatives since 2016, including an Etihad supported programme in Kolkata, engaging 2,000 young people with health and hygiene education through football.To kick-start the impact, Etihad will fly coaches from City in the Community, the Club’s official charity, to India to deliver world-class football and leadership training to Young Leaders championing the projects. The trainees will then put their skills into practice, as part of their commitment to using football to uplift the health of young people in their cities.Tom Pitchon, Director of City Football Group’s global foundation, said: “We are proud to work with Etihad Airways to uplift the health and life skills of young people across India through the power of football.“Etihad are a long-standing supporter of our community football impact, and it’s great to have them on board, helping us create real impact for young people around the world.”Akhil Anumolu, Senior Vice President eCommerce, Digital, Marketing and Loyalty at Etihad Airways: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Etihad to work hand-in-hand with our partners at City Football Group to support the local community in India. Over the coming years, we’re committed to growing this programme across more locations in India, and we hope the unique power of football will have a lasting impact on the young people who take part and their wider community.”Jayant Rastogi, Global CEO, Magic Bus India Foundation, said: “Through the spirit of football, we are on a transformative journey with Manchester City, and Etihad Airways to enhance the life skills of young people across India. Together, we aim to create a lasting impact by empowering them through the universal language of ‘Sports for Development’. This initiative symbolizes our shared commitment to fostering positive change and building a better future for the Young Leaders and communities we touch.”

True Gamers and Takefluence Partner to Elevate Gaming and eSport Content Creator

The gaming sector within the Middle East has witnessed remarkable growth, with highest gaming penetration - over 60% of the population are game enthusiasts. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are leading this surge, with the sector expected to reach a valuation of $6 billion by 2027, according to the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre’s study. At the forefront of this evolution, True Gamers, UAE-based esteemed esports clubs network, has already established six clubs in Dubai, with a significant investment of $45 million to develop over 150 clubs across Saudi Arabia. Additionally, True Gamers is gearing up for further expansion, with plans to open new branches in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah within the next few months. This strategic expansion is not just about providing state-of-the-art gaming facilities but also creating a nurturing ecosystem for gaming content creators to thrive.The content creator economy in the Middle East underscores a pivotal shift towards authentic digital marketing strategies, with nano and micro-influencers and user-generated content (UGC) playing crucial roles. This trend signals a growing demand for a supportive ecosystem that caters to the aspirations of gaming content creators, values creativity, innovation, and collaboration.In response to this evolving landscape, True Gamers and Takefluence are launching an ambassador program specifically designed for the gaming community. This initiative aims to harness the potential of gaming enthusiasts and content creators, offering them a platform to showcase their creativity, engage with a wider audience, and ultimately, transform their passion for gaming into rewarding opportunities.“This partnership reflects a shared vision for the future of Gaming, eSport and content creation in the region, highlighting the synergies between technological innovation and community engagement. As the digital landscape evolves, collaborations like this are crucial in driving the growth of the eGaming and content creator economies, offering new opportunities for creators and brands alike.”, - Archie Rudyuk, CEO and Co-Founder of Takefluence. “By combining our resources and expertise, we are not just offering a platform for gamers and creators but also setting the stage for the next generation of gaming content. This initiative is about recognizing and amplifying the talents within our community, ensuring that the Middle East becomes a main hub of innovation and creativity in the global gaming scene.", - Vlad Belyanin, True Gamers Co-Founder and CPO.The collaboration between True Gamers and Takefluence marks the beginning of a new chapter in the eGaming content creation narrative in the Middle East. It is a call to action for creators to leverage their skills, embrace new opportunities, and be at the forefront of the digital revolution in the gaming world. With the support of this groundbreaking initiative, the region's gaming content creators are set to embark on a journey of growth, discovery, and unparalleled success.

Adidas creates the world’s first ‘Female Field’

In the Arab world, many young Arab girls from conventional families grow up believing that sports are not for them. This belief stems from the notion in traditional Middle Eastern society that sports are more suitable for boys and men. Sadly, this mindset has led to a startling statistic: an average of 73% of young Arab girls give up playing sports by the age of 14.To challenge this status quo and raise awareness about the transformative impact of sports on women and girls, adidas has pioneered the world's first "Female Field." This innovative concept stems from a fundamental insight: in the Arabic language, most words associated with sports are female in gender. For instance, words like "ball," "run," "kick," "jump," "goal," "shoot," "pass," and even the word "sport" itself are all considered feminine due to the ending letter, called the "Ta'Marbuta." This letter, written as a circle with two dots on top, imparts feminine gender to Arabic words.Drawing inspiration from this linguistic feature, adidas incorporated the "Ta'Marbuta" into the design of a football pitch. Just as this letter gives gender to words, it gave gender to the pitch, making it distinctly female. By adding two dots above the center circle, traditionally found on playing fields, adidas created a visible reminder that women belong in the world of sports just as much as men, sparking conversations about the importance of supporting women in sports. This simple yet powerful idea emphasizes representation and encourages society to see things from a female perspective.The Female Field initiative was launched in collaboration with Onyx FC, the UAE's first and only owned and operated football team, as part of their inclusion in the adidas family. The goal of this partnership is to embody the team's ethos: empowering girls to pursue their sports dreams and giving them the confidence to step onto the field.Soon enough, countless replicas popped up across Dubai, not just on football fields, but basketball courts, beach football pitches, even Ice Hockey rinks were among the many being turned into Female Fields.

IFZA welcomes His Excellency Ahmed Alattar to ‘Zukunftstag’

As a part of its partnership with German Federal Association for SME’s (BVMW), IFZA was the Diamond sponsor of the association’s key annual event, Zukunftstag, in Berlin.Playing host to thousands of German business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors, as well as German Government Ministers, and Heads of State from Thailand and Malaysia, Zukunftstag is the premier event for SMEs in the country.IFZA’s participation at Zukunftstag is a key part of its strategy to support the Dubai’s Government initiative D33 by bringing international businesses to Dubai to help growth of the UAE economy.Speaking at an invite-only event hosted by IFZA at the conference, UAE Ambassador to Germany, His Excellency Ahmed Alattar, commented on the dynamic role IFZA plays in bringing people from all over the world to Dubai. Referencing the analogy of a bridge, he talked about organisations such as IFZA opening doors for opportunity in the UAE, and the Government’s role in working hand in hand with the private sector to ensure companies establishing a business do not face any problems in Dubai.Through its partnership with BVMW and being the official representative of BVMW in Dubai, IFZA has positioned itself as the preferred option for German businesses looking to expand and internationalise in the UAE and Zukunfstag was the perfect opportunity to showcase Dubai’s business opportunities to the thousands of members of the BVMW.IFZA’s CEO, Jochen Knecht commented: “Working with BVMW and being present here at this conference represents an amazing opportunity for IFZA and for Dubai. Economic diversification is critical to achieving Dubai and the UAE’s vision and to do that it seeks to attract talent and companies from a host of industries, including new tech, sustainability, food security and other industries that German companies have a strong proven track record in. We have a great opportunity here to connect existing German companies with markets in the UAE and beyond.”IFZA’s purpose is to offer opportunities to businesses looking to expand and internationalise their offering. This represents a win–win situation for both UAE and German businesses as IFZA brings these companies to Dubai, Dubai wants these companies, and these companies relish this opportunity because it helps them to grow their business internationally.As the UAE takes an ever-increasing position in the global economy, IFZA aims to open additional offices in Austria, the UK, India, Africa, and Latin America this year to meet the growing demand from international businesses to open an office in the country and to grow their opportunities internationally.

Hisense and Xbox Collaborate for Next-Level Gaming with Laser Display Tech

Hisense, the global consumer electronics and appliances corporation, announces a new partnership with Xbox that aims to elevate the home gaming and entertainment experience with cutting-edge Laser display technology.As the pioneer in Laser display technology, Hisense is bringing the future of display into reality. The partnership with Hisense Laser display products and Xbox will bring the gaming community an unparalleled experience by introducing a more than 100-inch screen that consumers can enjoy at home for an eye-friendly, true-to-life colour and immersive gaming environment.“Hisense aims to provide not only superior products but an entire experience that’s designed specifically for gaming and home entertainment,” Jerry Liu, Vice President of Hisense International commented. “Our partnership with the “Designed for Xbox” Program seeks to truly level up the gaming experience and allow people all over the world to enjoy a larger-than-life experience with more than 100-inch of image display.”Consumers will be able to seamlessly connect their Xbox to Hisense Laser display products to enhance their gaming experience. Each moment and every detail is brought to life with exceptional clarity and precision.Jason Ou, President of Hisense Middle East & Africa, expressed his excitement about this collaboration, stating, "We are thrilled to partner with Xbox to bring cutting-edge Laser display technology to gaming enthusiasts in the GCC. This collaboration aligns perfectly with our vision of providing top-notch products and experiences that cater to the evolving needs of each and every one of our customers."Hisense's game mode technology for Laser display products provides a smooth and immersive gaming experience thanks to the high refresh rate and Auto Low Latency Mode. Hisense Middle East & Africa is proud to lead the charge alongside Xbox in bringing the future of gaming and entertainment to the region through excellent viewing experiences and sustainable displays, with the goal of transforming home entertainment and creating memorable experiences for all.

TheCarCrowd's classic car platform achieves Sharia compliance

TheCarCrowd has announced that its alternative investment model has been reviewed and certified as Sharia-compliant by the Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB), marking a significant milestone for the UK-based company. This certification underscores TheCarCrowd's dedication to offering ethical investment opportunities in the burgeoning market of classic cars, ensuring alignment with Islamic finance principles.At the heart of TheCarCrowd's operation is a unique fractional investment platform, focusing on the world of classic cars as passion assets. By acquiring collector cars and offering up to 1,000 shares per vehicle, TheCarCrowd democratizes access to this exclusive asset class, enabling investors globally to hold a stake in rare and appreciating automotive history. The Car Crowd have expertise in deploying private capital into investible classics as well as sourcing rare and collectable cars for global alternative investment platforms. "Receiving Sharia certification from SRB not only diversifies our investor base but also reinforces our commitment to providing inclusive and ethically grounded investment opportunities," said David Spickett, CEO of TheCarCrowd. "Our mission is to connect people with their passion for classic cars, offering a transparent, regulated, and now, Sharia-compliant path to investment."The Shariyah Review Bureau, a leading Sharia advisory firm, has been instrumental in this process, offering comprehensive Islamic financial solutions that align with Shari’a standards. With a distinguished track record in certifying and auditing a wide range of financial products and services, SRB ensures that TheCarCrowd's investment model and operations comply with Sharia law, thereby catering to a broader audience seeking ethical investment opportunities.Yasser S. Dahlawi, CEO of the Shariyah Review Bureau, expressed his enthusiasm for the collaboration, stating, "Our partnership with TheCarCrowd exemplifies our commitment to expanding the scope of Sharia-compliant investment avenues available in the market. It's a pleasure to support TheCarCrowd in aligning their unique collectible business model with Islamic financial principles, further enabling access to ethical investments in the classic car sector."This certification from SRB opens new doors for TheCarCrowd, inviting investors from around the world to explore the lucrative and passionate world of classic car investments within a framework that respects ethical and religious considerations. As TheCarCrowd continues to innovate and expand its platform, the Sharia compliance certification is a testament to its inclusive, ethical approach to investment in one of the world's most timeless asset classes.