Jawadullah credits Amir for reverse swing in ILT20 S2

For Muhammad Jawadullah, a rising star in UAE national side, the exposure at the recently concluded DP World ILT20 Season 2 was all about learning leaps and bounds from stalwarts in international cricket. He particularly cherishes the time he spent with Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir who represented the Desert Vipers, calling Amir his ‘guide.’“I have been working on reverse swing and Mohammad Amir has been a guide for me. I was fortunate to learn from his skill and expertise. It does require a lot of effort, but I am getting better with each session. In the UAE, fast bowlers sometimes struggle in the middle and death overs, so I think reverse swing is a very good option for us.”Jawadullah cemented his status as a promising figure in the Sharjah Warriors' bowling line-up during the exhilarating Season 2 of the DP World ILT20. The tournament finished with the MI Emirates lifting the glittering trophy in front of a packed Dubai International Stadium on Saturday, 17 February.Though Sharjah Warriors campaign didn’t go as planned in season 2 of the DP World ILT20, Jawadullah believes there were a lot of positive from this outing. “It is not the result we wanted, but when we look back at the season, there are a lot of positives and lessons from it. I think we lost a few critical matches in the middle phases and that made things difficult for us,” he added.Elaborating on his individual performance, the 25-year-old said, “I was quite happy with the pace I was generating throughout the tournament. I was consistently bowling at the 140 kmph mark, sometimes even touching 145 kmph. The first two matches I went wicketless, so my focus was to keep my pace and hit the right lengths, once I started doing that my performance improved.”Ending the season with an enviable tally of 10 wickets in just eight matches, at an impressive strike rate of 13, Jawadullah, the left-arm pacer once again proved his mettle with the ball. His stellar performance positioned him as a strong contender for the "Best UAE Player" accolade for the second consecutive season, securing yet another spot in the top 10 rankings. Jawadullah’ s standout moment came when he showcased his bowling prowess with figures of 3/5 in a gripping match against the Abu Dhabi Knight Riders.Jawadullah made his debut in professional cricket at the inaugural season of the DP World ILT20. Months later he was debuting for the UAE national side. He praised the ECB’s initiative of the DP World ILT20 and called it a catalyst for unearthing and growing talent in the region. “It is a massive opportunity for young players in the UAE. I think it is one of the best leagues in the world in terms of quality. Unlike other leagues, franchises are only mandated a minimum of two local players, as a result the overall quality of the league is very high and therefore it helps us improve quicker.”He further added, “I think the next frontier for us as UAE players is to use these opportunities to find our way in leagues around the world and make an impact while also helping UAE improve more and more as an international team.”Shedding light on an area of focus for him, the pacer emphasized on restoring his fitness to a 100% following a recent surgery. “It is a challenging time for any professional athlete when they are nursing an injury. Not able to work on your game and practice can be tough physically and mentally. I am just sticking to the process and hopefully will be back in action in about 2-3 months. I am confident that I will be back to my best once I recover fully.”

Threat actors deliver malware via YouTube video game cracks: Proofpoint research

Threat actors often target home users because they do not have the same resources or knowledge to defend themselves from attackers compared to enterprises. While the financial gain might not be as large as attacks perpetrated on corporations, the individual victims likely still have data like credit cards, cryptocurrency wallets, and other personal identifiable information (PII) stored on their computers which can be lucrative to criminals.Proofpoint Emerging Threats has observed information stealer malware, including Vidar, StealC, and Lumma Stealer, being delivered via YouTube in the guise of pirated software and video game cracks. The videos purport to show an end user how to do things like download software or upgrade video games for free, but the link in the video descriptions leads to malware. Many of the accounts that are hosting malicious videos appear to be compromised or otherwise acquired from legitimate users, but researchers have also observed likely actor-created and controlled accounts that are active for only a few hours, created exclusively to deliver malware. Third-party researchers have previously published details on fake cracked software videos used to deliver malware.The distribution method is particularly notable due to the type of video games the threat actors appear to promote. Many of them appear to be targeted at younger users, including games popular with children, a group that is less likely to be able to identify malicious content and risky online behaviors.Proofpoint Emerging Threats reported over two dozen accounts and videos distributing malware to YouTube, which removed the content.Example AccountSuspected compromised accounts (or potentially sold to a new “content creator”) are used to deliver malware. Indicators of a suspected compromised or otherwise acquired account include significant gaps of time between the videos posted, content that vastly differs from previously published videos, differences in languages, and descriptions of the videos containing likely malicious links, among other indicators.One of the accounts has around 113,000 subscribers, and it displays a grey check mark that indicates the account owner has met verified channel requirements, including verifying their identity.When Proofpoint researchers identified the account, the majority of the account’s videos had been posted one year or more previously, and all had titles written in Thai. However, when the account was identified, twelve (12) new English language videos had been posted within a 24-hour period, all related to popular video games and software cracks. All of the new video descriptions included links to malicious content. Some of the videos had over 1,000 views, possibly artificially increased by bots to make the videos seem more legitimate.Empress ImpersonationProofpoint identified multiple videos purporting to distribute Empress video game cracks. Empress is a well-known entity in the software piracy community. In one example, a user purported to distribute cracked “League of Legends” content on the video-sharing platform. The video description contained a Telegram URL that led to a post containing instructions on how to download the content and a MediaFire URL leading to a RAR archive containing an executable. The file was named “empress.exe” to appear to come from the popular software piracy resource and appear to be “legitimate.”Discord Server DistributionAnother payload distribution method via YouTube video descriptions that differs from MediaFire URLs is Discord URLs. Proofpoint observed threat actors creating and managing a Discord server that has different malware for each game. The Discord link in the video description will direct users to a Discord channel that hosts the files available for download and includes instructions on how to download and install them.Proofpoint observed multiple distinct activity clusters distributing information stealers via YouTube and does not attribute the activity to a tracked threat actor or group. The techniques used are similar, however, including the use of video descriptions to host URLs leading to malicious payloads and providing instructions on disabling antivirus, and using similar file sizes with bloating to attempt to bypass detections. Based on the similarities of the video content, payload delivery, and deception methods, Proofpoint assesses that the actors are consistently targeting non-enterprise users.Proofpoint does not currently have visibility on how the identified YouTube accounts may have been compromised and YouTube has been quick to remove accounts reported by the Proofpoint Research team.End users should be aware of the techniques used by threat actors to entice users into engaging with video game content purported to help them cheat or bypass paid functionality.

Jonathan Glickman named Chief Executive Officer of Miramax

 MIRAMAX, the award-winning global film and television studio, has appointed Jonathan Glickman as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective immediately. In connection with the appointment of Glickman as MIRAMAX’s CEO, MIRAMAX also acquired certain film, television and other projects of Panoramic Media.  MIRAMAX is a joint venture between beIN MEDIA GROUP (‘beIN’) and Paramount Global and has a first-look deal with Paramount Pictures.Glickman, the former President of MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) Motion Picture Group, founded the independent film and television production company Panoramic Media in 2022, where he previously served as its CEO.With over 25 years of experience in entertainment, Glickman has a strong track-record of creating premium and commercially successful new films and television from intellectual property (IP), with expertise spanning all content platforms. His deep knowledge of both traditional studios and streaming platforms makes him uniquely suited to lead MIRAMAX into its next chapter with plans to further exploit MIRAMAX’s legendary library, as well as continuing to produce new and original projects.Glickman has delivered some of the biggest hits of the past two decades, having produced more than 40 films including the Rush Hour franchise. As President of MGM Motion Picture Group, he oversaw the production of the three highest grossing installments in the James Bond franchise – Skyfall, Spectre, and No Time To Die – as well as the revival of the Rocky franchise with the Creed movie series, starring Michael B. Jordan.Through Panoramic Media, Glickman produced Creed 3, as well as the Emmy-nominated television series Wednesday, which is currently the second most watched English language show in Netflix’s history. Glickman is also the Executive Producer of Zero Day, a limited series political-thriller in production for Netflix starring Robert De Niro and Angela Bassett.Today’s announcement adds to a strong start to the year for MIRAMAX:The Holdovers receiving 5 Academy Award nominations and 7 BAFTA nominations.The Holdovers winning 1 Academy Award, 2 Golden Globes, 2 Critics Choice, 2 BAFTA awards and 3 Independent Spirit Awards.The Beekeeper grossing $150 million across 30 markets since its premiere in January.The Gentlemen series, which launched in March, is the #1 English-language program on Netflix.MIRAMAX’S library comprises over 700 titles, including 64 Academy Awards – notably 4 Best Pictures – Chicago, No Country For Old Men, The English Patient, and Shakespeare in Love, plus fan favorites including Pulp Fiction, Halloween, Scary Movie, Rounders, and Gangs of New York.Jonathan Glickman, CEO of MIRAMAX, said: “With its world-renowned library and the united desire from its shareholders to produce IP-based as well as original projects, MIRAMAX is uniquely placed to be the leading independent film and television studio for the years to come. I cannot wait to join MIRAMAX’s dedicated team, alongside my partners at beIN and Paramount Global, and continue this company’s tradition of creating unforgettable stories for film, TV and beyond.”Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, Chairman of beIN MEDIA GROUP, said: “We are proud how MIRAMAX has developed under our ownership into a leading independent movie and TV studio; and we are delighted to appoint Jonathan to continue this trajectory of growth and fantastic Award-winning success.“Jonathan’s leadership will see MIRAMAX broaden our already-extensive IP base and build upon our commitment to compelling original content. We will also focus on expanding MIRAMAX’s footprint across the globe, with local story-telling and production outside of Hollywood, across movies and series. Together with our partners at Paramount, we welcome Jonathan to the team and look forward to continued creativity, innovation and growth.”Brian Robbins, President and CEO, Paramount Pictures, said: “I’ve known and worked with Jonathan for over two decades and I couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome him in this new role. With his combination of creative and commercial instincts, he will undoubtedly build on MIRAMAX’s recent successes and deliver a new generation of iconic hit films and series. Under his leadership, MIRAMAX is poised to build on its incredible legacy of top-tier library properties, films, and television projects.  Along with our partners at beIN, we are confident in Jonathan’s ability to lead MIRAMAX into the future.”

ITHCA group makes strategic investment in Mubashir

ITHCA Group, a prominent investment firm, has made headlines with its recent strategic investment in Mubashir, a leading digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising network headquartered in Oman. This significant investment signifies a pivotal moment for Mubashir, injecting essential resources to propel its expansion and technological advancements while equipping its clientele with comprehensive advertising solutions.Mubashir's pioneering platform, which spans a network of strategically positioned digital screens across Oman, has been at the forefront of revolutionizing advertising in the region. Through cutting-edge technology and a deep understanding of consumer behavior, Mubashir delivers targeted campaigns that yield tangible results for advertisers while engaging audiences with dynamic infotainment content.Ameer Al-Alawi, Group Director of Investments at ITHCA Group, emphasized the transformative nature of Advertising Technology (AdTech), noting how innovative companies in this domain leverage data analytics, automation, and AI to precisely target consumers in the physical world. Expressing excitement about the investment in Mubashir, Al-Alawi affirmed the firm's support for Mubashir's pioneering journey to establish itself as a global leader in the industry.Raif Al-Harthy, Chief Growth Officer of Mubashir, hailed the partnership with ITHCA Group, recognizing the investor's profound understanding of the region's growth potential. Al-Harthy emphasized that the investment not only validates Mubashir's vision but also accelerates its expansion, facilitates investments in cutting-edge technologies, and enhances its offerings to clients.The collaboration between ITHCA Group and Mubashir underscores the growing significance of DOOH advertising in Oman and beyond, as well as the pivotal role of strategic investments in fostering innovation and market growth within the advertising technology sector. With this infusion of resources and expertise, Mubashir is poised to solidify its position as a dynamic force in the global advertising landscape.

Sharjah Animation Conference invites entries for SAC Awards 2024

The Sharjah Animation Conference (SAC), a premier event celebrating the creative world of animation, has announced its awards programme and call for submissions for 2024. For their second edition of the conference, taking place from May 1st to 5th at the Expo Centre Sharjah, SAC invites animators, creatives, and storytellers to showcase their talent and contribute to the vibrant animation industry through two challenges, the “Pitch the Project Award”, and the “Book Trailer Award”. Submissions are open until April 15th, with the awards ceremony scheduled for the final day of the conference, May 5th.The top three winners in each award will walk away with exciting prizes, as well as the prestigious recognition that comes with being chosen by the Sharjah Animation Conference jury. This recognition can open doors to future opportunities, industry connections, and a chance to showcase their talents on a global stage. The deadline for submissions for both categories will be April 15th, 2024. Pitch the Project Award: A celebration of Middle Eastern animationThe Pitch the Project Award challenges local artists, authors, producers, and creative minds to develop a captivating pitch document for a potential animated series aimed at preschoolers or kids. This series should be themed around the rich cultures and traditions of the Middle East.The pitch document, in PDF format and no longer than 15 slides (20Mb maximum), should present a compelling title, an enthralling series concept, and detailed descriptions of the show's lively characters and immersive settings. Outlining a typical episode's structure with key plot points will give the judges a glimpse into your storytelling flow.While not mandatory, including bonus materials like character sketches, environment designs, or mood boards that capture the series’ overall aesthetic can significantly enhance one’s pitch.The top three finalists will receive fantastic prizes to take their animation dreams a step further. First place walks away with a cash prize of AED 9,000 alongside a Wacom drawing tablet as well as a professional animation software licence for Toonboom Harmony, and second place will receive a cash prize of AED 5,000, and a Wacom tablet and Toonboom’s Storyboard software, while third place takes home a cash prize of AED 3,000 and a Toonboom Harmony licence, giving them the tools to hone their animation skills.This challenge is an opportunity to showcase the depth and beauty of Middle Eastern cultures through animation. The organisers are seeking innovative ideas that translate into beloved children's stories, promoting diversity and cultural understanding through engaging entertainment. Submissions can be made via the following link on the SAC website Trailer Award: Bringing stories to lifeThe Book Trailer Award invites individuals, groups, and creative agencies to create a promotional video for the “Kharareef” book series by Emirati author Dubai Abulhoul, published by Kalimat Publishing Group. Submissions can focus on either a single book or the entire series. The duration of the video must be between 30 and 60 seconds, and the quality must be at least 1080p and 30fps.The award also offers a lucrative prize pool, with the winning submission taking home a cash prize of AED 9,000 alongside a Wacom drawing tablet and a professional animation software licence for Toonboom Harmony. Second place will receive a smaller Wacom tablet, a cash prize of AED 5,000, and a licence for Toonboom’s Storyboard software, while third place will win AED 3,000 as well as a licence Toonboom’s Harmony software, providing fantastic opportunities to further develop their creative talents.This award recognises the art of promotional advertising and its ability to capture the essence of a book. It celebrates artists who use their skills to ignite the reader's imagination and reflects the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, to elevate the importance of books on the global stage. More information about the "Kharareef" book series and submission guidelines can be found on the SAC website at the following link by the bestThe Pitch the Project Award will be evaluated by a distinguished panel of judges including Krist of Serrand, a renowned artist; Kamel Weiss a Business & Content Director at Spacetoon; as well as Andrea Bozzetto producer and director from Studio Bozzetto, and Olivier Dumont President of Hasbro Production. These jury members will also be joined by Pietro Pinetti and Khoula Al Mujaini, the Artistic Director and Executive Director of SAC, respectively.For the Book Trailer Award, the jury comprises artists Kristof Serrand and Sandro Cleuzo; producers, Giorgio Scorza, CEO, Director and Art Director at Movimenti Production and Abdulaziz Othman the Founder and CEO of Zeez Production House, with additional insights from Dubai Abulhoul, author of the “Kharareef” book series, Mariam AlObeidli, Managing Director of Kalimat Group, joined by with Pietro Pinetti, and Khoula Al Mujaini the Artistic Director and Executive Director of SAC, respectively.

Lulu Group announces new hypermarkets in Makkah and Madinah

UAE-based retailer Lulu Group has announced plans to expand its presence in Saudi Arabia with two new hypermarkets in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah.Yusuff Ali MA, Chairman of Lulu Group, made the announcement during a signing ceremony in Makkah. The agreements were signed with Badr Nadershah (COO, Jabal Omar Development Company), Eng. Waleed Ahmed Al Ahmadi (CEO, Al Manakha Urban Project Development Company), and Shehim Mohammed (Director, Lulu Group KSA).Makkah Hypermarket: Located within walking distance of Masjid al Haram, this project is part of the Jabal Omar development, a massive mixed-use project encompassing hotels and branded apartments. The Lulu store will reside in Souq Al Khalil upon completion of the project's seven phases.Madinah Hypermarket: This hypermarket will be developed by Al Manakha Urban Project Development Company and will cover an area of approximately 2161 square meters.Both projects are expected to create significant employment opportunities for Saudi citizens.Yusuff Ali MA expressed his enthusiasm about the new projects:  "Contributing to the development of amenities in Makkah and Madinah has been a long-cherished dream of mine. Lulu Group is committed to bringing world-class shopping experiences to the people of Saudi Arabia. We are grateful for the support of the Saudi government and believe their vision for development is boosting investor confidence."Lulu Group is currently finalizing the Makkah Commercial Center project, which will also include a hypermarket.The company currently employs 3,300 Saudi nationals across its existing hypermarkets and plans to create an additional 1,000 jobs with the completion of these new projects.

Vegan baby care brand PureBorn forays into Europe

PureBorn, the UAE-founded vegan baby care brand, has expanded its reach into Europe following demand. After recently announcing its partnership with Swiss distributor Laboratoire Naturel, PureBorn’s new European website marks the next step in its international expansion, delivering eco-friendly products directly to consumers across the EU.PureBorn, known for its hypoallergenic, ultra-absorbent nappies (diapers) made with up to 43% organic bamboo, has expanded its dedicated eCommerce platform,, to include country-specific portals for frictionless access to its products. This one-stop-shop solution was built with convenience in mind, making it easy for families in all major countries across four regions in Europe to order PureBorn’s products for delivery straight to their doors.PureBorn’s success in retaining customers will be key to conquering the European market. It aims to increase repeat purchases by 20% focusing on the subscription model, and onboard 20,000 new customers per month. Over the next twelve months, it expects to achieve a 3- 5% market share in the EU.Stepping into Europe is a major milestone for PureBorn, whose customer base now covers countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece, France, and more. This is only the start, as PureBorn is set to add even more nations as it continues to grow.PureBorn Founder and CEO Hannah Curran says, “We’re pleased to bring PureBorn products to Europe after receiving high demand from the region. Our mission is to support families by offering the highest-quality products that are kind to babies’ skin while doing everything we can to protect the environment; the new European website is a pivotal step to achieving this.”In the UAE, PureBorn is available at all major retailers, including Carrefour, Lulu Hypermarket, and Union Co-Op. Customers can also purchase directly from

Lubrizol announces Nitin Mengi as Vice President, Lubrizol Additives, IMEA

As part of its growth commitment in India, the Middle East and Africa (IMEA), Lubrizol is pleased to announce that Nitin Mengi will join the company as Vice President, Lubrizol Additives, IMEA as well as Chairman & Managing Director, Lubrizol India Private Limited. This appointment reinforces the organization’s commitment to strengthen its focus on growth in India while ensuring success with our customers, suppliers and other key stakeholders. In this role, Nitin will work with our customers in the region to propel growth for the company’s Additives’ business, serving transportation and industrial markets, and drive opportunities for customers across the region. He will also collaborate with Bhavana Bindra, who recently joined the team as Managing Director, Lubrizol IMEA to advance our strategy in the region. “Lubrizol has continued to advance its priorities throughout IMEA, adding to our regional leadership team will help accelerate our work,” said Flavio Kliger, SVP, President, Lubrizol Additives. “We are committed to growth in IMEA and supporting our customers with sustainable solutions that advance mobility, improve well-being and enhance modern life.” Nitin brings more than 20 years’ experience leading cross-functional teams in the gas and oils industry in several regions, including Asia Pacific, India, the Middle East and Africa. He received a Bachelor of Engineering degree from the Maharashtra Institute of Technology, with a focus in petroleum and petrochemicals. He also received an MBA from the Institute of Management Technology in Ghaziabad, India. “Lubrizol’s leadership in the industry is something I have known about and respected for some time. I’m delighted to now be part of the truly impressive plans for Lubrizol’s future,” Nitin said. Lubrizol continues to bolster its IMEA operations and capabilities, augmenting the company’s current capacity, commercial and technical capabilities. This includes a $150 Million investment in India to promote growth, most notably the construction of a new, state-of-the-art CPVC resin plant in Vilayat, India, which will be the world’s largest CPVC resin plant when operational in 2025 and a Global Capacity Center (GCC) in Pune, India, a strategic investment to support Lubrizol innovation in the region.

Hyundai’s IONIQ 5 robotaxi becomes first driverless car to ace its driving test

Campaign by Jung von Matt proves the vehicle is just as good as a human driver, or even better. After excelling in thousands of technical trials, Hyundai's IONIQ5 robotaxi has achieved a new milestone: it became the first autonomous vehicle to take and pass a standard driving license test in Nevada. As shown in a surprising and delightful film by agency Jung von Matt, the car was put through its paces in Las Vegas by a real-life driving examiner, undergoing a road test around the famous Las Vegas Strip and some suburban areas of the city. The results? IONIQ5 robotaxi aced the test with a perfect score.The storyline of the film, directed by Park Pictures’ Daniel Mercadante, features a visually impaired former Paralympian, Pearl Outlaw, together with her mother Ruth.Their personal story emotively illustrates how Hyundai’s autonomous driving technology will be able to help Pearl in future with her daily transportation challenges. The goal of the campaign is to change perceptions of autonomous driving technology, which currently suffers from a lack of trust in comparison with human drivers, and to show how it can benefit people’s daily lives enormously. With the story of Pearl, it underlines how Hyundai is committed to designing driving solutions that enhance the quality of life for individuals unable to drive independently, aiming to empower them with greater autonomy and mobility. “As a company that pursues freedom of mobility, we at Hyundai aim to exhibit the safety and trustworthiness of the IONIQ 5 robotaxi through this very campaign,” said Sungwon Jee, Senior Vice President and Global Chief Marketing Officer at Hyundai Motor Company. “We will continue our efforts to communicate about our AI-based autonomous driving technology, which is set to provide positive changes in the everyday lives of our customers.” In the film, the Hyundai IONIQ5 robotaxi navigates its way through an official driving evaluation, autonomously performing maneuvers under the watchful scrutiny of Kandice Jones, a certified driving examiner with the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) who, in her career as an examiner, failed in her career as examiner almost 90% of the students.Starting on grade, Shifting, keeping in lane, left turn, right turn, overtaking, speed control, reaction time, Focus and attention, emergency brake, parallel parking - these are few of the test the driverless vehicle had to face.To Kandice's surprise, the vehicle not only meets but exceeds expectations, achieving a flawless score, and the vehicle is issued with its own personal Nevada’s drivers licence. This achievement underscores the robotaxi's reliability and safety, opening a new era of trust and technological reliance that could transform millions of lives. The film underines how advancement holds particular promise for individuals like Pearl and all those people that due to physical or mental limitations, might never have the chance to undergo a driving test. Invited to experience the IONIQ5 robotaxi firsthand after the examination, Pearl's journey symbolizes the potential for enhanced independence through innovation, offering a glimpse into a future where technology broadens horizons for everyone. Jung von Matt was awarded the project following a competitive pitch and worked on the campaign from creative concept development to production and post production, with three of its agencies – Jung von Matt Neckar, Jung von Matt Spree and Jung von Matt Sports – collaborated seamlessly, contributing to every phase of the campaign, from conceptualization and execution to the final production. "Autonomous driving technology would be a game changer for a large part of the population. And whilst there are great achievements being made in the development of the technology there are major trust issues in the general public. We hope this project will spark a conversation around who would benefit from driverless cars and what it would take to get someone stepping into a car with no one behind the steering wheel."adds Jung von Matt CCO Daniel SchäferThe film will be running online and on the Hyundai Worldwide social media channels.

Visa Everywhere Initiative applications now open to Oman fintech startups

 Applications are now open in Oman for the Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain edition of the 2024 Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI), a global open innovation program and competition that sees fintech startups pitch their solutions to solve tomorrow’s payment and commerce challenges.In addition to equity-free funding, VEI winners gain access and exposure to Visa’s vast networks of partners in the banking, merchant, venture capital, and government sectors. The winners also benefit from receiving recognition from one of the world’s most trusted and valuable brands.With applications open until April 22nd , this year’s Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain edition of VEI will see an in-person competition for finalists from all three countries in mid-June in Riyadh. The winner will progress to a virtual Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa (CEMEA) competition on July 17th. The startup that wins at the CEMEA finale will participate in the global finale – competing against winners from Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and North America – at the TechCrunch Disrupt event in San Francisco on October 29th, 2024.For fintech participants in Oman, this year’s edition of VEI brings back the Impact Prize, which goes to a competitor who has innovated a solution that has a positive social impact on the communities it operates in. Examples include initiatives that boost financial inclusion, promote sustainability, or safeguard the environment. Last year, Saudi-based fintech Lamaa won the Impact Prize for providing SMBs with technological, financially inclusive embedded finance and payment solutions.This year’s edition also introduces the Fintech Innovating in Risk Excellence, or ‘FIIRE’ award which goes to innovative fintech specialized in fraud management, cybersecurity, and credit risk, among others.“The Visa Everywhere Initiative is a powerful platform that empowers and uplifts fintechs and entrepreneurs to showcase the most ground-breaking, impactful solutions solving tomorrow’s challenges in the world of payments and commerce. We are delighted to bring VEI back again for a second year to Oman,” said Manish Gautam, Visa’s Country Manager for Oman.“Fintechs have the potential to offer broad social benefits to the markets they operate in – particularly when it comes to providing financial services to those who have traditionally been underserved. At Visa, we believe access to the digital economy drives equitable, inclusive growth, and VEI is an important means of supporting the growth journey of fintechs in Oman – helping them take small but significant steps towards making an impact.”The program first launched in the US in 2015 and quickly expanded into a global program. To date, nearly 15,000 startups have participated, and have collectively raised over OMR18.4B ($48B USD) in funding. VEI 2023 saw Nigeria’s Drugstock take home the VEI global grand prize of OMR19,200 ($50,000 USD), as well as the Audience Favorite prize of OMR3,800 ($10,000 USD).

Google to delete billions of data to settle privacy lawsuit

In a settlement resolving a privacy lawsuit, Google will destroy billions of data records collected during alleged private browsing sessions.According to a Reuters report, the terms of the settlement were submitted on Monday in the federal court in Oakland, California and await approval from US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.Lawyers representing the plaintiffs estimate the settlement's worth to be between $5 billion and $7.8 billion. Google will not pay damages, but individuals retain the right to sue the company for damages.The class action lawsuit, initiated in 2020, encompasses millions of Google users who engaged in private browsing since June 1, 2016. The allegation is that Google's analytics, cookies, and applications enabled the Alphabet unit to inappropriately monitor individuals who activated Google's Chrome browser's "Incognito" mode or other browsers' "private" browsing modes.This alleged behaviour transformed Google into an "unregulated repository of information," allowing the company to glean insights into users' social circles, preferences, hobbies, shopping patterns, and even their most private and potentially embarrassing online searches.As part of the settlement, Google will revise disclosures regarding its data collection practices in "private" browsing, a process it has already initiated. Additionally, it will enable Incognito users to block third-party cookies for a period of five years.According to the plaintiffs' attorneys, this settlement will result in Google collecting less data from users' private browsing sessions and consequently earning less revenue from data monetization.Google spokesman Jose Castaneda expressed satisfaction with the settlement, asserting that the company had always viewed the lawsuit as lacking merit.David Boies, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, hailed the settlement as "a significant stride toward demanding transparency and accountability from dominant technology corporations."A preliminary agreement was reached in December, forestalling a scheduled trial on February 5, 2024. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed at that time. The plaintiffs' legal team intends to subsequently pursue unspecified legal fees from Google.

Supercar Blondie launches first global auction platform

Since starting out as a Content Creator in 2017, Alex Hirschi has become the world’s leading automotive entertainer, and has scaled the brand into a global media franchise reaching more than two billion viewers monthly across the Supercar Blondie network of social channels and website, With 110 million followers to date and growing, Supercar Blondie channels upload daily videos and articles on the rarest vehicles, technology, and luxury. As part of Hirschi’s growing empire co-founded with her husband Nik Hirschi, SB Media Group CEO, Supercar Blondie is launching a new global digital car auction platform called SBX Cars on April 2.With more than $100 million in consignments confirmed pre-launch, the SBX Cars digital auction platform will go live with several world first exclusives and other phenomenal lots, including the world’s first Mercedes–AMG One and world's first Hyperion XP-1 prototype at public auction. The auction also features a one of three La Ferrari prototypes, Tyde's first hydrofoiling electric glass yacht designed by BMW as well as the Tesla Cybertruck at no reserve. The auction not only features a one of nine Lamborghini Veneno Roadster but also a one of three ever made Lamborghini Veneno Coupe. SBX Cars is the only platform to specialise in classic cars, hypercars, supercars and special vehicles. Apart from the incredible line up of hypercars, the main highlight for launch is a legendary collection of genuine John Player special racing cars from the Lotus F1 team from the ‘70’s and ‘80’s. The collection includes grand prix cars driven by Nigel Mansell, Elio de Angelis, Ronnie Peterson, Johnny Dumfries and more, as well as the transporters and F1 team leader Colin Chapmans personal airplane the Lotus team used in that period. There’s never been a single collection sale of such incredible Formula One history all at once. On the classic car side, the auction also features cars such as the Mercedes 300SL Gullwing, a Lamborghini Miura, a BMW 507, an Aston Martin DB5 and an Isdera 036i spyder.The quality and size of consignments is an unprecedented world's first for a new auction company and continues Alex Hirschi’s trajectory for breaking through industry norms in the automotive arena.“For years, collectors and enthusiasts have reached out to us asking where they could buy the extraordinary cars and other vehicles that Supercar Blondie features. Unfortunately, there was no centralized community or platform connecting those buyers and sellers from all over the world. With SBX Cars, we’ve addressed that by providing a global auction site focused on giving our audience the chance to acquire these amazing dream machines from anywhere in the world,” comments SBX Cars Co-Founder Alex Hirschi. “Creating SBX Cars comes as the natural next step for our company in that everything under consignment is something that Supercar Blondie channels regularly cover, ranging from one-of-a-kind prototypes to a Japanese multi-million dollar robot.”With it's HQ in California, SBX Cars acts as a global marketplace for the world's rarest automobiles and serves as the world’s most exclusive digital auction marketplace for buyers and sellers to conduct the kind of multi-million-dollar transactions previously only reserved for in-person live auction events. On top of that the low industry standard fees are a fraction of the price that in-person auctions would charge.Unlike high-volume online auction sites, SBX Cars stands out by dedicating itself solely to the very finest luxury consignments. Dedicated to quality over quantity and providing global access, SBX Cars is auctioning only the very best automobiles and other related vehicles while allowing users the opportunity to avoid the exorbitant fees, logistical challenges, and significant time spent traveling to in-person auctions for the global collecting community.With over 110 million dedicated followers across Supercar Blondie’s myriad socials (Facebook: 56 million, Instagram: 16 million, YouTube: 18 million, TikTok: 18 million, Snapchat: 3 million, Website: 6 million), the new SBX Cars auction site is a natural extension of Supercar Blondie’s incredibly popular content gained from years of experience tracking down the most incredible vehicles on the planet.In founding SBX Cars, Hirschi quickly recognized that there was nowhere in the international car collecting community where exceptional hypercars and other luxury transportation could be auctioned and exchanged in a convenient and timely way. Many times, sellers and buyers are forced to wait on the traditional auction houses’ schedules for a major auction event that may be several months away on the other side of the world, also requiring complicated automobile transport, time-consuming travel to get there, and an uncertain result. As an alternative, SBX Cars consignors can expect a much timelier live auction date of just a few weeks for their vehicle to become available globally. Sellers and buyers will also have dedicated auction specialists and customer care representatives to guide them through the process. With dedicated teams based in Los Angeles, Dubai, and London, SBX Cars users will have 24/7 end-to-end support for each live auction.Another advantage SBX Cars sellers will have is the opportunity for their vehicle to be featured by Supercar Blondie ahead of their auction, providing them access to the world’s largest audience of car collectors and enthusiasts. Supercar Blondie channels reach an average of two billion people per month, which will make sure the vehicle is seen by millions before it goes live for auction.All vehicles consigned for auction will also be featured and promoted on the SBX Cars' website and social channels. SBX Cars auctions will last on average between 7 - 14 days. For each SBX Cars auction, prospective bidders will have the opportunity to view vehicles by video or in-person upon request. As an additional courtesy and benefit, Supercar Blondie’s global network of photographers and videographers will be available to showcase each lot in detail as part of the consignment agreement.SBX Cars will be overseen by Auction Director Lance Butler. Prior to joining SBX Cars, Butler worked extensively in both traditional and digital auction spaces with a focus on the world’s most exclusive collectible and luxury cars.  “SBX Cars affords the high-end collector community an invaluable tool by way of creating an online network that introduces our clients to a far easier buying and selling process all while accessing one of the world’s largest global audiences by way of Supercar Blondie,” says SBX Cars Auction Director Lance Butler. “SBX Cars will redefine what collectors in the high-end of the marketplace have come to expect when buying and selling cars online. Our focus is in offering the pinnacle of quality paired with convenience and an international focus that caters to enthusiasts all around the world, not just in one market.”

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.