Creative journey of Danny Azzi and his take on AI and Metaverse in advertising

The advertising and marketing industry is currently experiencing a significant upswing, primarily due to the widespread adoption of AI, particularly in the field of advertising. Danny Azzi, a seasoned creative leader with more than 23 years of experience, has recently taken on the role of Executive Creative Director at AGA-ADK (The Network Communication Group). He has an extensive background working with multinational networks such as FP7McCann, DDB, Memac Ogilvy, and Drive Dentsu in the Middle East and GCC.In an exclusive interview with Adgully, Danny Azzi, Executive Creative Director at AGA ADK, shares insights into his professional journey, outlines his goals, and discusses upcoming ad campaigns for the new organization. He also provides his perspective on the topics of AI and the Metaverse. Excerpts: You have worked with many top companies. How has your professional journey been so far?I was fortunate to work with leading multinational agencies in the Middle East and the GCC, and to be exposed to different schools of thinking and multiple agencies’ cultures.In addition to this, working with top global and regional brands from diversified industries has enriched my experience and brought forward campaigns that were recognised in leading global and regional award shows. So, I can say that my professional journey was fulfilling and rewarding at all levels.    AGA-ADK ranks among the top communication networks in the MENA region. What are your aspirations on joining it as the Executive Creative Director?AGA ADK is part of The Network Communication Group, the largest independent network in the region; so joining them at this stage of my career offers a promising opportunity to take my professional journey to unprecedented heights.AGA ADK management and I both share the same vision on the need to foster talents and to instill a creative culture that champions brave ideas and disruptive thinking. Our aspiration is to become the go-to destination for creativity, whether it is for brands or talents.What are your basic responsibilities as the ECD of AGA-ADK? What are your target areas for the organisation?My main duty as a creative leader is to focus on the big picture by implementing a creative culture and setting a clear vision to guide the team and steer all efforts in the same direction.On a day-to-day basis, I am overseeing the creative product and managing the creative teams across different offices and markets in the Middle East. My main target areas for now are people and products, which are interlinked. Brave and meaningful ideas are byproducts of a talented team. At AGA ADK we take pride in having a diversified pool of talents, and we are working relentlessly to help them grow their careers further and sharpen their skills. In fact, we have an extensive development plan for the coming year that consists of a series of seminars and workshops, covering different topics related to communication, digital, social, AI and many more. What changes can be expected at AGA-ADK in the coming year? What are your future plans?They are not changes, but rather areas of focus. We are already present in multiple markets, and we have an ambitious plan to further grow our operations.In addition to the expansion plan, we want to be famous for the work we do. So next year is going to be all about growth and fame. What all iconic brands does AGA-ADK cater to? What are the forthcoming campaigns that we should look forward to?We have a diversified portfolio of global and regional clients across different industries like FMCG, retail, medical, governmental, real estate, destination, entertainment, transportation and many more. I don’t want to pinpoint any specific campaign as there is a lot of passionate work going into the creation of several and hopefully you will see them live in due time.What are your views about the advertisement and communication industry of MENA region? How is it shaping up?Our industry in the MENA region is facing a lot of setbacks against the backdrop of a challenging economic situation. Budgets are shrinking, the competition is getting tougher, and agencies are expected to offer more for less. On the other hand, there is always a bright side, and our region is leaving its mark on a global level through the work that is being recognized in leading award shows.Our industry is always changing and evolving. However, the way it shapes up differs from one country to the other. For instance, Lebanon is starting to witness a creative renaissance, and the UAE just like KSA is seeing tremendous growth and transformation on all levels.What changes has AI and Metaverse brought about in the ad industry? How is AGA-ADK adopting it for its progress? There is no doubt that AI is reshaping our life on all levels, especially the way we conduct business. We all should embrace it, and learn how to harness its power. In our industry, AI is making waves and having a great impact on complicated and time-consuming jobs by turning them into easy tasks.However, for me, AI is a tool, and I believe in our industry, a brave idea will always be essential to creating meaningful work, hence the importance of curious and insightful human intelligence.When it comes to AGA ADK, and similar to other agencies, we are using AI to simplify certain tasks and optimize our time. Nonetheless, I regularly advise against the team’s full reliance on AI tools and technology, in order not to hinder their creative capabilities but rather to expand them and perfect their execution through AI.

Mandiant showcases AI-driven cybersecurity solutions at GITEX 2023

As GITEX 2023, the leading technology event in the Middle East and Africa, prepares to open its doors, Mandiant, part of Google Cloud, announces its participation to guide businesses and individuals on their cloud transformation journeys. Leveraging state-of-the-art AI technologies and insights gained from frontline incident response engagements, Mandiant aims to advance cybersecurity postures for organizations, whether they operate on-premises or are transitioning to the cloud.  Mandiant's participation in GITEX 2023 aligns with Google Cloud's ongoing investment in the Middle East and Africa, following the launch of Google Cloud instances in Qatar and upcoming launches in Saudi Arabia and South Africa. Mandiant plays a crucial role in securing customers' cloud journeys, making its presence at GITEX 2023 a strategic move for both Mandiant/Google Cloud. At the exhibition, Mandiant will focus on the pressing cybersecurity issues of today, including supply chain vulnerabilities, ransomware, and geopolitical threats. The company will showcase its Mandiant Advantage platform, an integrated solution covering Threat Intelligence, Attack Surface Management, Security Validation, and Breach Analytics.  Visitors to GITEX 2023 can engage with Mandiant consultants and experience the Mandiant Advantage platform firsthand. The company has been involved in mitigating some of the world's most high-profile cyber-attacks. Mandiant aims to address key challenges such as the shortage of skilled resources, the increasing sophistication of threat actors, and the complexity of managing security controls.  As companies navigate through the lasting impact of what Mandiant terms a 'Zero-Day Summer,' the cybersecurity landscape is becoming increasingly complex. This year has already seen 62 zero-day vulnerabilities, up from 55 last year. A significant portion of these zero-day vulnerabilities are targeted at governments and sectors like technology and telecommunications, which are typical targets for cyber espionage by nation-state actors. Cybercriminals, on the other hand, are leveraging zero-days in financially motivated attacks like ransomware, as they typically don't target governments where there's no money to be made. The threats are evolving; social engineering attacks are becoming more sophisticated due to the adoption of Generative AI, and there's a rising trend in the theft and sale of valid credentials. “The UAE, like many other regions of the world, is a desirable target for cyber threat actors because of its dominant position in the Middle East and its advanced economy. Local or regional disputes are a source of cyberattacks on the global stage, particularly when they have either a political or financial goal. This year at GITEX, we are committed to assisting enterprises in acquiring a thorough grasp of their current and emerging threat actors, the efficient security measures they have in place, as well as the knowledge and intelligence supporting them. The key takeaway Mandiant aims to impart is the importance of being prepared: do not test the preparedness of your security team in a security incident. Leverage Mandiant to help you detect, investigate, and respond to cyber threats more efficiently," commented Jamil Abu Aqel, Head of Mandiant systems engineering for MEA and Emerging region, Google Cloud. Mandiant emphasizes the need for a layered defense strategy. The first layer focuses on identifying and protecting assets, while the second layer is geared towards detecting, responding to, and containing breaches. Given the evolving threats, organizations should operate under the assumption that breaches are inevitable, preparing accordingly. In this challenging cyber landscape, Mandiant is pioneering the use of AI, particularly generative AI (genAI), to augment defenses. Mandiant is committed to harnessing gen AI to stop threats, reduce toil, and scale cybersecurity talent. It enables quicker threat detection and response, reduces the burden on security specialists, and bridges the talent gap in the cybersecurity industry. By leveraging genAI, Mandiant aims to give defenders a significant edge, allowing them to stay ahead of evolving threats and respond more effectively,” commented Renze Jongman, Threat Intelligence Advisor, MEA at Mandiant.

Etlisalat by E& brings ‘Smiles’ in hard times

Etisalat UAE, the telecommunications division of E&, formerly known as Etisalat Group, has launched a new advertisement campaign to promote its new home service offerings through the Smiles rewards and deals app.Initially, Smiles was primarily a rewards platform, but it expanded its services to include food and grocery delivery. With this campaign, it is signaling its entry into the home service sector. This strategic move aims to bolster the position of the rewards app and diversify its business. Smiles' home services complement its existing range of offerings, which includes online food and grocery delivery, lifestyle offers, deals, and a reward points system that can be used at various stores in the United Arab Emirates. <div class="video-container"><iframe src="" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe></div>The new campaign features a series of videos that put a fun twist on the concept of home services. These advertisements depict various frustrating scenarios, such as a broken tap flooding the kitchen or food spilled on the carpet. In typical situations, anyone would understandably feel angry and frustrated. However, in these ads, people are dancing with joy, thanks to the arrival of Smiles. The videos demonstrate that instead of getting stressed or upset when things go wrong, you can turn to Smiles' home services to bring happiness to the situation.Notably, Etisalat by e& had previously acquired the UAE-based household marketplace, Service Market, which is renowned for offering services like home cleaning, handymen and moving services. The home services was added to Smiles with the aime of strengthening the rewards app’s position and diversifying its business.

Sav and forge pioneering partnership to revolutionize travel savings

Dubai: Sav, the UAE's leading goal-based savings app, has joined forces with, the leading online travel agency in the UAE, to bring a groundbreaking approach to travel savings. This transformative partnership is set to reshape the travel landscape, making it more accessible and affordable for UAE residents.A Travel Savings RevolutionIn an era where financial responsibility and smart spending are paramount, Sav and introduce an innovative paradigm shift—"Save Now, Buy Later for Travel”. This trailblazing feature empowers users to embark on a journey of financial discipline while planning their dream vacations.Sachin Gadoya, CEO and Co-Founder of said, "At, our mission has always been to make travel dreams a reality. Through this partnership with Sav, we aim to empower our customers to save effortlessly for their dream vacations. This partnership is a testament to our commitment to providing unforgettable travel experiences while making the journey towards them more accessible and convenient.”Unbeatable Travel commits to contribute to users’ goals across hotels, holidays, domestic and international Visas, which will redefine their travel experiences:10% Off on UAE Visas: Seamlessly apply for UAE visas and enjoy an unprecedented 10% contribution from off on International Visas: Explore the world with ease and save significantly on international visas.5% contribution on Hotels: Secure your stay at top-notch hotels with an unbeatable 5% contribution from 300 contribution on Booking Holidays: Plan your dream holiday and save AED 300 on your booking.This partnership epitomizes Sav's unwavering commitment to helping users save on their travel aspirations. joins this mission as one of the pioneering companies promoting sustainable affordability in the travel category.A Unified Vision for Financial EmpowermentThis partnership between Sav and is about fostering sustainable financial practices in an era where saving and accessibility are paramount. It is particularly significant that both Sav and are based in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), reflecting the alignment of their vision with the Sustainable Finance charters outlined by the Future Sustainability Forum, Dubai.Accessible Travel for AllAt a time when the travel industry in the UAE is experiencing exponential growth, this partnership takes center stage. The UAE is poised to welcome a record number of visitors this year, and an impressive portion of UAE residents are gearing up for both domestic and international journeys. More than 40% goals created on Sav are towards travel as well.According to Purvi Munot, co-founder of Sav “The need for accessible and affordable travel solutions is more significant than ever. Sav’s partnership with Musafir Travels has answered this call with a resounding solution. By offering users a platform to save and embark on unforgettable journeys, we're making the dream of travel a reality while ensuring financial well-being for all.”How it works?Sign Up: Users sign up on the Sav app using their iOS or Android devices.Create a Goal: In the app's "Shop" section, users create a goal for their holiday with Contribution: After setting up the goal, users can immediately see the contribution made by towards their goal.Claim Contribution: Users can claim the brand contribution from once they have saved the target amount.

Saudi Fashion Commission convenes investors in New York

 Investors and fashion stakeholders met in New York City this week at a roadshow hosted by the Saudi Fashion Commission. Designed as a platform to discuss Saudi’s growing fashion ecosystem and opportunities to invest, the roadshow saw the announcement of strategic partnerships facilitated by the Fashion Commission.Held at the St. Regis, the event saw newly minted agreements, including investments into two brands by leading consumer-focused private equity firm, Turmeric Capital: Saudi-founded elevated streetwear brand 1886 and ethical luxury label, Abadia.  The first-of-its-kind involvement in Saudi fashion brands by an international investor will see 1886 and Abadia’s founders supported by cash incentives from Turmeric Capital and matching support in services from the Fashion Commission.The collaborations between Turmeric Capital and the two brands are complemented by a Memorandum of Understanding between the PE firm and the Fashion Commission.  Intended to create an ecosystem that supports the growth of local SMEs in the fashion with high scalability potential, the partnership will see both organizations share resources and expertise to enable the development of globally competitive brands rooted in Saudi culture. Burak Cakmak, CEO of the Saudi Fashion Commission, said:“From Paris to Milan, to New York, the Saudi Fashion Commission is traversing the globe to support the Saudi fashion sector as it grows and supports diversification of the Saudi economy.“The return to New York this year is an incredible moment where we are witnessing key milestones – for Saudi brands as we help them secure international investment, for the Commission as we continue to put our mark on the global stage and for the Saudi fashion industry as public awareness grows.”Commenting on the Memorandum of Understanding, Ravi Thakran, Chairman of Turmeric Capital, said:“I am very proud of our collaboration with the Saudi Fashion Commission. With our complementary skill sets, we are contributing to the Saudi fashion eco-system and working towards the objectives of Vision 2030. There is no better way to do this than by backing future Saudi entrepreneurs.“The momentum I see in Saudi Arabia today is very similar to what I noticed in China when working there with LVMH from the early 2000s.“A decade from now, I believe books will be written about the colossal changes as Saudi increases its economic presence across Asia.”The roadshow’s day-long agenda included keynotes by HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, Ambassador to the United States, Saudi Arabia, panel sessions attended by the likes of Jeffry Aronsson, Founder & CEO, Aronsson Group and Huda Al Lawati, Founder & CEO, Aliph Capital and Karla Martin, US Fashion & Sustainability Lead, Deloitte. Bringing together fashion investors and luxury goods companies, designers, and sustainable manufacturing experts, the Commission sought to build on and accelerate the progress made in attracting foreign investment.Saudi Arabia’s fashion currently industry holds the largest projected growth rates of any other large, high-income market, according to the ‘State of Fashion in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (2023)’ report. From 2021 to 2025, retail fashion sales in Saudi are expected to surge 48% to $32 billion, representing an annual growth rate of 13%. This growth is expected to be fueled by the Kingdom’s economic expansion and growing population with apparel, accessories, footwear and luxury goods poised for significant gains. The value of luxury fashion purchases in the GCC hit $9.6 billion in 2021, with Saudi Arabia posting 19% growth.The Fashion Commission departs New York with Riyadh Fashion Week due to take place 20-23 October in the Saudi capital. The inaugural event will exclusively focus on showcasing domestic talent, setting a new precedent in fashion while celebrating local creatives and sustainable craftsmanship.é-and-florist-concept-coffee-roses-to-debut-in-dubai

Café and florist concept Coffee & Roses to debut in Dubai

Dubai: Coffee & Roses, a unique blend between a café and florist, is set to open its doors next month, debuting as Dubai’s first café and floral concept store. Nestled within the B1 Mall in Al Barsha, Coffee & Roses promises an extraordinary experience where the realms of gourmet coffee, exquisite cuisine, and artful blooms intertwine.The eagerly anticipated venue will be found on the first floor of Al Barsha’s newest retail destination and will provide both indoor and outdoor seating options. Radiating elegance, the interior is outfitted with white marble counters, tables, and flooring adorned by opulent gold columns and accents. The enchanting walls will be adorned with grand floral arches and accompanied by floor-to-ceiling floral backdrops, all meticulously crafted to capture the perfect Instagram moment. At the heart of the café will stand a central florist booth, offering patrons the opportunity to receive fresh flower arrangements expertly crafted by the in-house florist team.Patrons can anticipate an extensive all-day menu with an array of breakfast and lunch options. The menu will encompass dishes curated from around the globe tailored to refined palates, showcasing authentic flavours and generous serving sizes. The menu will present a culinary escapade designed for savvy budgets and includes hand-thrown pizzas, sandwiches, and fresh salads. For those who enjoy the sweeter pleasures in life, patrons will have the chance to delight in freshly baked desserts, pastries, and cakes.Raffi Farajian, the Founder of Coffee & Roses and an industry veteran with over a decade of leadership experience in the hospitality sector, conveyed his excitement regarding this new venture. "We are delighted to bring the region's first and only high-end florist café concept to the perfect location in Al Barsha’s newest B1 Mall and look forward to welcoming you next month”.With the opening approaching, Coffee & Roses is primed to redefine the realms of dining and floral encounters, heralding a new era of elegance and refinement within Dubai's dynamic culinary tapestry.

Dubai Media City calls for design, leave imprint on Media City Amphitheatre.

Freelancers and professionals within Dubai Media City’s vibrant ecosystem are officially invited to be part of something extraordinary and literally leave an indelible imprint on the city’s iconic Media City Amphitheatre.Dubai Media City, a dynamic cornerstone of TECOM Group PJSC and the epicentre of content creation in the Middle East, has launched an exhilarating competition to spotlight the most talented design champions within its community by taking over the Dubai institution as an exciting 2023/24 events season beckons.The creative ecosystem is on the hunt for visuals that not only dazzle the senses, but also champion sustainability and the beauty of green spaces. The winning artwork will be installed across Media City Amphitheatre – right at the heart of Dubai’s thriving media community – as the 15,000-seat venue space gears up for a sensational line-up of live concerts, exciting festivals, enlightening workshops, and knowledge-sharing sessions in the coming months.But that's not all – this competition goes beyond artistry and is about making an impact on globally meaningful trends. The winning design at Media City Amphitheatre is required to shine a bright spotlight on sustainability and environmental awareness as global climate awareness grows and Dubai prepares to host of the prestigious United Nations Climate Change Conference 2023 (COP 28) from 30 November to 12 December.To secure the winning entry, design ninjas within Dubai Media City’s ecosystem must craft original, awe-inspiring pieces that raise awareness about environmental sustainability and the wonder of green spaces. The submission should align with UAE's cultural guidelines, and be emailed in PDF format, along with its creator’s full name, company details, and phone number, to The final date to submit entries is Friday, 6 October 2023.The winning entry will be selected by a jury panel comprising Majed Al Suwaidi, Senior Vice President of Dubai Media City at TECOM Group PJSC; Jon Barber, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at TECOM Group; Thea Skelton, Director of Dubai Lynx Festival; and Sahar Rafique, Managing Director of NordStella.“Dubai Media City, home to the world's most creative minds in the media and content sectors, is uniquely positioned to tell an engaging story of the need for environmental sustainability,” says Majed Al Suwaidi, Senior Vice President of Dubai Media City at TECOM Group PJSC.“Our community is brimming with talented creatives, and we’re inviting them to join us in driving forward the global mission to make the world a greener place by creating engaging, memorable designs that strengthen Dubai’s efforts towards greater climate awareness and eco-consciousness. The winning design from this competition will be a visionary visual treat that transforms Media City Amphitheatre into a platform that highlights our planet’s environmental needs for now and the future.”Media City Amphitheatre draws thousands of people from around the world every year as the region’s leading destination for exclusive stand-up shows, electrifying live concerts, and unforgettable festivals. Renowned artists like Eric Clapton, Amr Diab, and Jennifer Lopez graced the stage during the 2022/23 events season, when the RedFestDXB and Chill Out festivals also made triumphant returns.Established in 2000 by TECOM Group, Dubai Media City enables the UAE and the region’s creative economy by providing a platform dedicated to high-quality media and content production. It is the address of global media organisations such as CNN, and Thomson Reuters, and the BBC.Dubai Media City is among TECOM Group’s portfolio of 10 business districts, including Dubai Internet City, Dubai Industrial City, Dubai Production City, Dubai Science Park, Dubai Studio City, Dubai Knowledge Park, Dubai International Academic City, and Dubai Design District (d3).

Generative AI to have majorimpact on UAE businesses in the next five years

Ahead of GITEX Global 2023, Cisco revealed the UAE findings of the Cisco State of Global Innovation Report 2023, showing that 95% of CIOs, IT decision makers, and developers surveyed across the UAE consider their organization as innovative.When looking at the top tech trends that are most likely to significantly impact businesses, the study revealed that the UAE-based respondents believe generative AI (43%), next-generation networks, including 6G (38%), and cybersecurity (38%) are the top technologies impacting businesses in the next 5 years in the UAE.While the global average of respondents who find value in their technology investments is 57%, 63% of respondents in the UAE take a positive view, and even plan to invest on average 14% of annual revenue in innovation projects over the next 12 months – again, beating the global average.Under the theme of “Experience the Power of AI to Shape the Future”, Cisco is participating in GITEX GLOBAL 2023 to showcase its latest technologies, demonstrating the power of innovation in helping businesses accelerate their digital transformation and navigate emerging technological shifts at scale.Reem Asaad, (pictured above), Vice President, Cisco Middle East and Africa said: “According to our study, IT professionals in the UAE rank generative AI as the technology most likely to have a significant impact on their business, with 92% feeling confident they're prepared for its impact. Cisco recognizes the important role AI will play to revolutionize industries and drive innovation, and it has been an important element across our portfolio for over a decade. We had the foresight to reimagine silicon from the ground up to power AI infrastructures, years of expertise in deploying AI solutions at scale, and an AI-driven portfolio to responsibly power, connect, secure, and observe AI — in all its various forms.”This year at GITEX, visitors will be able to engage with subject matter experts at Cisco’s stand and discover demos that demonstrate how Cisco AI technology empowers industries like education, healthcare, financial services, retail, and manufacturing.Abdelilah Nejjari, Managing Director for the Gulf region at Cisco, commented: “The UAE has made great strides in its journey, building a robust digital economy, driven by the country’s unwavering dedication to a culture of innovation across industries. For more than 25 years, Cisco has been working together with our customers and partners in the UAE, helping to shape a tech-enabled future and support the nation realizing its vision. GITEX continues to be a significant platform for us to highlight Cisco's commitment to promoting collaboration and accelerating innovation.”Cisco is set to showcase its latest innovations spanning networking, security, collaboration, and applications; outlining its strategy to securely connect everything to make anything possible and do it in a sustainable way.Visitors will also learn about Cisco’s contributions to support the UAE’s transition to a digital economy via the Cisco Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) program, active in the country since 2018. The CDA program is a global long-term collaboration of Cisco with national leadership, industry, and academia to actively invest in strategic programs that align to national digitization agendas.GITEX GLOBAL presents an opportunity to network and connect with leaders, industry influencers, and key government stakeholders. Cisco stand will be located at booth #H22-C20.

Impact Electronics to transform visual narratives in UAE with LED screen

Impact Electronics, the UAE representative of leading conglomerate Inspur and a specialist in LED screen solutions, held a launch event on 26th September at the Serdaal Ballroom, the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina. Business persons, luminaries and stalwarts from across sectors in attendance were treated to mesmerizing, immersive visuals, courtesy of Impact Electronics’ extensive portfolio of state-of-the-art LED screens. "We are here to redefine the visual experience," stated Sujatha Dake, Co-founder of Impact Electronics. "It is more than just screens; it is about creating memories, fostering understanding, and enhancing business engagements," Dake added as attendees from sectors as diverse as event production, education, and real estate caught a glimpse of the imminent future dominated by visual-first storytelling. At the heart of modern education is the blend of technology and pedagogy, a sentiment epitomized by Impact Electronics' ‘Smart Classroom Solution’ showcased during the launch. Smart Classroom isn't just about introducing large screens but facilitating adaptive, intelligent learning environments. Institutions like the Larsen Group of Schools recognized its transformative potential. Education wing specialist at Impact Electronics, Mr Michael highlighted that true genius lies in creating intelligent environments that cater to students' needs and emphasize not just enhanced teaching but also real-time adaptability to omnipresent IoT, advanced cloud computing, and Big Data analytics. The solution is set to redefine the essence of education.Ms Xiong, Co-founder of Impact Electronics, urged Dubai's media landscape to embrace Impact Electronics' immersive screens, highlighting their potential to revolutionize virtual studios and slash traditional production costs. The solutions are poised to make Dubai a global hub for filmmaking. Congratulating Impact Electronics on the commencement of operations, the Middle East Representative Office of the Chinese Government and the China Council for the Promotion of Trade said the time-honoured economic, political, and cultural relations between China and the UAE have set the stage for collaborative innovation and technology transfers. Impact Electronics is equipped with a range of top-tier products like 3D Naked Eye Billboards and precise Exhibition Screens with 2.6 and 3.9 pitches for event production. So, events needn’t be constrained by projections any more. Impact’s technology can transform events into immersive visual journeys, creating memorable experiences and setting high standards for audience engagement. Likewise, corporates hoping to effectively communicate with clients or launch a product will benefit immensely from 3D immersive screens that can deliver clear and vibrant messages.“Corporates can ensure their messages aren't just seen but remembered,” Impact Electronics asserted before breaking down the screens' utility in real estate, where digitalization is revolutionizing how business is conducted. From interactive tours to detailed 3D walkthroughs, real estate presentations are becoming more engaging, helping potential buyers visualize and connect with spaces. Impact Electronics vowed to help developers showcase properties like never before. At the event, the spotlight was on the COB series, which elevates 4K screens, offering a fresh perspective to boardrooms by replacing traditional projectors. These ultra-definition screens, boasting clear imagery, wireless projection, and touch capabilities and spanning over 216 inches, are the highlights of the Android 11 COB series. Available for LED rental companies, these screens can add a new dimension to exhibitions. The innovation garnered significant appreciation from various corporations in attendance.Notable among the attendees, Marwan Al Sarkal, Strategic Advisor at Dake Rechsand, a Dubai-based company specializing in sustainability solutions, said that brands will continue to draw the water of marketing from the well of storytelling, adding, “But ‘how’ they do it is evolving with the advent of immersive screens. Today, we are embarking on a journey of visual-first storytelling in the UAE, with Impact Electronics leading the charge.”‘Elektra Pixel’, Impact Electronics’ official mascot, too, struck a chord with the attendees. Through Elektra Pixel, the company promises that every story — a brand message, an educational lesson, or a property tour — will be vivid, memorable, and, above all, impactful. Beyond products, Impact Electronics envisions a future where screens become a crucial interface between individuals and the world. Supported by global tech titan Inspur, Impact Electronics is poised to transform visual narratives in the region, with plans for community engagements, tech education initiatives, and more.

Mall of the Emirates undergoes brand refresh

Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping malls, communities, retail, and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, has launched a transformational brand refresh of its flagship Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, embracing a unique human-first approach to offer customers a 360-degree lifestyle destination for today and tomorrow where they are celebrated as individuals and feel valued for their choices and preferences at every moment.Building on its legacy as the Mall of Firsts, the pioneering concept at the heart of the Mall of the Emirates’ brand refresh focuses on the incredible human experience that revolves around the unique array of outstanding retail options, shopping rewards, conveniences and digital services that transform the idea of a shopping mall into a personalised space of unfettered possibilities and unlimited discovery.As a part of the campaign, the iconic logo of Mall of the Emirates has also been elevated and simplified to give it a refreshing new look.“The launch of our brand refresh campaign is an extraordinary moment for Mall of the Emirates, as we firmly position ourselves at the heart of the region’s lifestyle of the future and strengthen our reputation as the Mall of endless possibilities,” said Michelle Walsh, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications at Majid Al Futtaim — Asset Management Business Unit. “This disruptive brand refresh stems from our belief that shopping is just the beginning at Mall of the Emirates – at the heart of this campaign is our unique individual-centric approach to our customers. With a wealth of distinct features, the reimagined Mall of the Emirates invites customers to explore their own personal version of the mall through high-touch experiences that go beyond conventional shopping. Through this brand-new positioning, we invite our valued customers to embark on an inspiring journey to experience what’s yet to be tried, tasted, or watched, and a glimpse of our exciting future.”For those seeking an opulent customer experience , two conveniently located VIP lounges – Cle D’or and The 9, allows a luxury respite as they dip in and out of the world’s most iconic brand stores, and ensures that shoppers do not need to go out of their way to access luxury shopping. An unbeatable range of mainstream brands located in close vicinity to luxury brands provide shoppers with a wealth of options for personal style curation, making Mall of the Emirates their preferred destination.The unique experience of visiting Mall of the Emirates is backed by unmatched conveniences that have become a hallmark of the mall. The foremost among these is its signature facility to reserve exclusive parking spots in advance, along with ticketless Smart Parking, hands free shopping, and more. Thanks to Mall of the Emirates’ highly sought after Digital Concierge service, its unrivalled shopping experience now extends to customers who want to shop the whole mall from anywhere. Using the service, customers can coordinate with a dedicated concierge through WhatsApp to select items of their choice from anywhere in the mall, and receive their shopping delivered for free within four hours.The new campaign also highlights innovative, attentive services and the human-first focus that set Mall of the Emirates apart. This includes pampering guests with industry-leading loyalty points, perks and partner benefits through the SHARE lifestyle rewards program to make shopping for anything at the mall an instantly rewarding experience. Leisure and entertainment also take on an enticing new dimension at Mall of the Emirates, with the award-winning Ski Dubai indoor snow park and ski resort providing the perfect backdrop for snowfights and snow chalet retreats in the desert.Whether big or small, every experience and interaction at the newly-rebranded Mall of the Emirates is transformative for customers in one way or the other – from refreshing the mind and refueling the body over a stimulating cup of coffee with a side of exceptional service, to discovering a brand new self and reigniting a passion for life, or experiencing exclusivity with the mall’s members-only lounges. With the brand refresh , Mall of the Emirates once again takes the lead in embracing the endless possibilities of the future with a personalised customer experience at the heart of it.

McLaren Racing expands partnership with Merchants Fleet

McLaren Racing today announced a partnership extension and expansion with Merchants Fleet. Merchants Fleet will continue as an Official Partner of the NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team, while expanding to become an Official Partner of the NEOM McLaren Formula E Team for Season 10 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.Merchants Fleet is North America’s fastest growing fleet management company. The partnership with the NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team began in November 2021 and focuses on accelerating both brands’ sustainability journeys, and goals to promote DE&I (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion).McLaren Racing and Merchants Fleet initially launched the partnership at COP26 and have since gone on to collaborate at Merchants Fleet Annual Fleet and Strategic Summits in 2022. McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown and NEOM McLaren Extreme E driver Emma Gilmour have spoken alongside Brendan P. Keegan, Chairman, CEO & President of Merchants Fleet, about both brands’ focuses in ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance). Zak and Brendan have also recently joined forces on a regular podcast series, the Fast & Fearless: Accelerating Leadership, discussing the tools of leadership, growth and business.The partnership will see McLaren continue to support Merchants’ ACCELER8 ESG programme, focussing on electrification and DE&I. Merchants Fleet branding will continue to be present on the NEOM McLaren Extreme E race car, and on the race suits of the drivers.Ian James, Managing Director, NEOM McLaren Electric Racing and Team Principal, NEOM McLaren Formula E Team, said:“We are delighted to expand our partnership with Merchants Fleet. Adding this valued partner of our NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team to our NEOM McLaren Formula E Team is a significant step for our collaboration as we enter our second season in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. We look forward to working together to continue to drive positive change across our industries.”Brendan P. Keegan, Chairman, CEO & President, Merchants Fleet, said: “This exciting partnership underscores our joint commitment to sustainability through electrification, and our deep dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). We are excited to showcase how a partnership based on the genuine alignment of values, has the potential to drive awareness for these important issues on a global scale.”

Monsha’at and Saudi entrepreneurs take part in Global Entrepreneurship Congress

A Saudi Arabian delegation comprising some of the nation’s leading entrepreneurs recently participated in the Global Entrepreneurship Congress 2023 (GEC23), led by Monsha’at, the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The event was held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre in Australia, and organized by the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN).The key objectives of Monsha’at at the event included supporting the attending delegation of Saudi entrepreneurs, discussing opportunities with the world’s drivers and facilitators of the global SME sector, and fostering partnerships and collaborations that will help to advance entrepreneurship, both in the Kingdom and the rest of the world.As one of the major highlights of the Kingdom’s participation in the event, Saud Al-Sabhan, Vice Governor for Entrepreneurship at Monsha’at, participated in the closing session of the first day, titled “Change your world: outlook to the future ahead”.During the session, Al-Sabhan spoke about the important role played by SMEs and start-ups in advancing innovation and stated: “SMEs are principal drivers of the local economy, but the right ecosystem must be in place and they must be engaged with supportive opportunities that allow them to effectively achieve their goals.”He added: “Cooperation with local and international partners from public and private institutions is also vital to enable SMEs to integrate across diverse sectors, with the aim of overcoming challenges and spreading a culture of entrepreneurship in a faster and more effective way.”Also representing the Kingdom at GEC23, were several successful national entrepreneurs. One of these was Salem Aljawini, Founding Partner at RasMal, a subscription-based all-in-one platform to automate equity management, facilitate fundraising and enhance governance to a simple click process for companies. Saving time and cost on non-operational tasks, it is a unique service in the Middle East.“It is an exciting time at the moment for the Saudi start-up scene”, says Aljawini. “There are a number of key pillars which are creating the right conditions for the Kingdom’s rise as a global hotbed for start-ups. These include elements such as access to capital, a supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem, and the rising quality of founders and their teams, with the next generation increasingly joining them.”Another participating company at GEC23 was WakeCap,a technology and construction firm with offices around the world that enables construction companies to have real-time field reporting by connecting and tracking materials, equipment, and workers at the construction site.WakeCap Founder & CEO, Hassan Al-Balawi, says: “Persistence is a trait that any successful entrepreneur must have to in order to succeed. From raising funds from investors, to hiring and leading the right team, to staying at the forefront of competition, this is an entrepreneurial value that will see you achieve your dreams, as long as you work smart and learn from your mistakes along your business journey.”GEN also announced that the next edition of the Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC) will be hosted in the Kingdom, at the Biban Forum 2024. Co-hosted by GEN and Monsha’at, EWC is one of the world’s largest pitch competitions and startup support programs that sees over 200 countries compete for mentorship opportunities, as well as the opportunity to win up to $1 million in cash prizes.The Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) is a gathering of startup champions from around the world – where entrepreneurs, investors, ecosystem builders, policymakers, researchers and others share ideas and work together to bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and evolve entrepreneurship.

International Esports Federation unveils HRH Prince Faisal as new AP

The International Esports Federation (IESF) today announced HRH Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud as its new Acting President. The news follows Vlad Marinescu’s decision to step down from the position. HRH Prince Faisal will assume his new role with immediate effect having previously been the organization’s Global Vice President in the interim until the upcoming general assembly, where the new president will be voted in. It is worth noting that the decision of President Marinescu to step down stems from the evolving demands to serve the global esports community, and he believes that a heightened level of dedication is required, firmly entrusting this responsibility to His Royal Highness Prince Faisal, the newly appointed interim president.“I believe what we need now is a total unity of Esports at the International Level, which will lead to recognition by the Olympic Movement and closer relations with Publishers. I believe that the right person to lead us to this unity is H.R.H Prince Faisal. Vlad MarinescuHe added: “He is a person that I respect and appreciate, who breaths and bleeds esports. He has set an example in Saudi of what a National Federation can achieve. He is well respected and also holds high positions in the Global Esports Federation. He is a friend, who I trust with this heavy next task and to further develop and promote the IESF.”“I am honored to have been trusted with this key position within the Federation and look forward to continuing the magnificent work that has been driven under Vlad’s remarkable leadership in recent years.Looking ahead, I am greatly enthused by the opportunities to elevate the world of sports to greater heights. With a strong emphasis on strategy, governance, and growth, the IESF will continue organizing exceptional tournaments and events, uniting the world’s elite esports athletes, and fostering an inclusive environment of fair competition to support the global esports community and drive our industry forward.”HRH Prince Faisal“Working alongside Vlad has been a true please,” he added. “The IESF would not be in the brilliant position it is today without his ideas, influence, and impact. I echo the sentiment of all my colleagues and friends at the Federation in wishing him the very best for the future.”Along with his interim presidency, HRH Prince Faisal will retain his position as Vice President of the Global Esports Federation. Additionally, he brings in vast experience and expertise in the esports space from his other roles in the sector. He has led both the Saudi Esports Federation (SEF) and Arab Esports Federation (AEF) since their establishment in 2017, combining his roles and responsibilities with those of the IESF Global Vice President.

Allianz Initiates Global Media Agency Pitch Amid Industry Speculation

Insurance powerhouse Allianz, a key player within the global Allianz Group, has recently opened a pitch for its media agency account, industry insiders have disclosed.The final round of this competitive selection process reportedly includes media agencies such as Wavemaker, Carat, and Hearts and Science, all vying for this prestigious partnership opportunity.Australia has been serviced by Publicis Groupe's Spark Foundry in the incumbent role.It is understood that this global pitch is exclusively available to agencies with established global master service agreements. This move by Allianz comes at a time when the insurance sector is undergoing significant transformation and competition is high.For further updates on this developing story, stay tuned.

Netflix Appoints Amy Reinhard as President of Advertising; Jeremi Gorman Quits

In a strategic move, Netflix has promoted Amy Reinhard to President of Advertising, succeeding Jeremi Gorman, who played a key role in launching Netflix's advertising division last year. Gorman, a veteran executive with experience at companies like Snap, Amazon, and Yahoo, has exited the company.The change in leadership comes as Netflix's ad-supported tier gains traction, with 5 million subscribers globally. While this represents a small percentage of Netflix's overall subscriber base, it's a crucial component of the company's strategy, especially as it implements paid password sharing.Amy Reinhard, who has been with Netflix since 2016, will now lead the advertising division. She brings a wealth of experience in content acquisition and studio operations. Reinhard's deep understanding of the entertainment industry positions her well to lead Netflix's advertising efforts.Jeremi Gorman, who built Netflix's advertising business from scratch, expressed confidence in Reinhard's leadership and the future of Netflix's advertising endeavors. Gorman is known for her ability to develop businesses from the ground up and is excited to embark on new challenges.Overall, this transition in leadership reflects Netflix's commitment to its advertising business, which is expected to generate substantial revenue in the coming years.

PubMatic Expands Programmatic Offerings with Activate in Asia-Pacific

PubMatic Introduces Activate, an End-to-End Supply Path Optimization Solution for Programmatic Video and CTV in Asia-PacificPubMatic, a leading technology company in digital advertising, has announced the availability of Activate, its new end-to-end supply path optimization (SPO) solution, in the Asia-Pacific region. Activate allows buyers to execute non-bidded direct deals on PubMatic’s programmatic platform, gaining access to premium video and CTV inventory at scale. This offering, which has already seen success in the US and EMEA, is now launching in Asia-Pacific with key partners like dentsu APAC, iQIYI, KINESSO India, Madison Digital, and Wishmedia.Activate aims to streamline digital media transactions by connecting buyers and sellers directly, enabling a smooth transition from traditional direct transactions to programmatic private marketplace (PMP) or programmatic guaranteed (PG) deals. The platform enhances media buyers' control over omnichannel video investments by facilitating transactions across PubMatic’s premium CTV and online video inventory within a unified platform.Rajeev Goel, Co-Founder and CEO of PubMatic, said, “PubMatic’s launch of Activate in the Asia-Pacific region marks a significant milestone in our efforts to revolutionize the industry’s programmatic marketplace. Activate is an extension of our successful SPO strategy that addresses advertiser demand for solutions that deliver a better return on video and CTV investments.”Sunil Naryani, Chief Product Officer, Media at dentsu APAC, stated, “With PubMatic’s Activate, we anticipate delivering enhanced value to our clients by bridging the gap between buyers and sellers and further streamlining the supply chain, unlocking opportunities to maximize working media for their video and CTV investments.”Andy Sun, General Manager of Sales Operations, International Business Department at iQIYI, said, “We’re excited to be a launch partner for PubMatic’s Activate solution and look forward to continuing to work closely together to drive effective programmatic CTV advertising.”Paras Mehta, Business Head at KINESSO India, commented, “PubMatic is a key player in the programmatic ecosystem, and we’re excited to explore how Activate can benefit our CTV clients.”Suchi Jain, General Manager and Head of Programmatic at Madison Digital, expressed, “We’re excited to see their continued innovation in streamlining video and CTV buying for our clients.”Meejoo Na, Chief Operating Officer at Wishmedia, said, “We’re thrilled to be a launch partner for PubMatic’s Activate and look forward to our clients benefiting from a more efficient digital supply chain, and greater ROI on their video and CTV spend.”Activate expands PubMatic's total addressable market significantly, addressing the growing importance of programmatic video and CTV in the advertising landscape.

SoftBank Launches Major IoT Expansion in APAC With 1NCE Partnership

SoftBank Corp. has unveiled plans to launch a comprehensive expansion of its global IoT business in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region starting in October 2023. This expansion will encompass 19 countries and regions, including Japan. SoftBank's primary focus in this initiative will be the promotion of IoT services, particularly the "1NCE IoT Flat Rate" offered by German company 1NCE GmbH, targeting enterprise customers. The telecom giant aims to secure a total of 2 million 1NCE IoT Flat Rate connections across APAC and other regions by the end of the 2025 fiscal year, which concludes on March 31, 2026.As part of its "Beyond Carrier" growth strategy, SoftBank is diversifying beyond its core telecommunications business and is actively driving digital transformation (DX) in various industry sectors. Within the IoT domain, SoftBank made an equity investment in 1NCE GmbH in April 2022 and secured an exclusive agreement to market the 1NCE IoT Flat Rate in 19 APAC markets. The 1NCE IoT Flat Rate offers highly cost-effective global IoT connectivity, allowing customers to roam on 1NCE's extensive global network spanning over 160 countries and regions at no additional cost. This service has gained traction among enterprise customers, including Japanese companies like Pocketalk Corporation.While SoftBank initially focused on promoting the 1NCE IoT Flat Rate within Japan, it is now broadening its reach to include 19 countries and regions in APAC, intensifying its global IoT business efforts. The company will bolster its IoT salesforce by quadrupling its team, launch a dedicated online IoT shop in partnership with 1NCE, and enhance advertising and marketing campaigns across the region. In addition, SoftBank will leverage its IoT platform to propose solutions related to smart meters and work towards further expanding its global IoT business presence.SoftBank is committed to building a comprehensive support framework to address the challenges faced by various industries in different countries and regions. The expansion of its global IoT business, starting with the APAC region, aligns with SoftBank's broader "Beyond Japan" initiative aimed at expanding its global presence.Daichi Nozaki, Senior Vice President overseeing the global business at SoftBank Corp., expressed enthusiasm about the comprehensive expansion of the company's IoT business in the APAC region. Nozaki stated, "We’re extremely pleased to be able to fully expand our IoT business in the APAC region. While we’ve been providing IoT services primarily in Japan and contributing to the DX of various industries there, going forward we’ll collaborate with strong business partners like 1NCE and leverage our expertise gained in the Japan market to fully establish ourselves in APAC. Doing this, we’ll work to contribute to the digitalization of the entire region and solve social issues."

Saudi Tourism Authority expands collaboration with Huawei Mobile Services

Riyadh: The Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) expands its strategic collaboration with Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) and Petal Ads, the advertising arm of HMS, to enhance tourists' travel experience and boost Chinese tourism to Saudi by creating a smarter and more immersive travel experience for tourists visiting Saudi. The partnership aims to revolutionize the way tourists explore the country through increased digitization of travel services, with a special focus on attracting Chinese tourists to the Kingdom.Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) and Saudi Tourism Authority have signed an MOU during the Approved Destination Status (ADS) launch ceremony held in Beijing. Mr Fahd M. Hamidaddin, CEO of the Saudi Tourism Authority, was the signatory of the MOU along with Mr. Walter Ji Rengui, President of Huawei Consumer Cloud Service Global Ecosystem Development & Operations. The signing reflects both parties' ongoing collaboration and continued shared commitment to promote Saudi as a unique and dynamic destination to Chinese audiences.Choon Yang Quek, Chief Technology Officer, Saudi Tourism Authority said, "The partnership with Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) and Petal Ads is part of Saudi’s wider novel approach to marketing tourism and travel experiences that transform the visitor experience. Huawei has a deep connection with its consumers, which combined with Saudi’s dedication to visitor experiences, we are now able to reach new audiences more effectively via established Huawei channels and tap into new insights on Chinese travelers to better tailor their journey in Saudi.”Alhasan Aldabbagh, President of APAC Markets at Saudi Tourism Authority said, “We are thrilled to partner with Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) and Petal Ads to enhance the travel experience of tourists visiting Saudi. By making Huawei’s cutting-edge technology an integral part of the travel experience, we can tap into established channels to reach a much wider audience and develop a deeper understanding of potential visitors. Through this partnership, we are reaffirming our commitments set out under Vision 2030 and are delivering tailored and custom experiences for Chinese travelers.”Mr. Walter Ji Rengui, President, Consumer BG, Global Ecosystem Development and Operations Department, said, "We are delighted to partner with the Saudi Tourism Authority in this exciting collaboration. By integrating our advanced technology solutions, we aim to provide tourists visiting Saudi with an enhanced and seamless travel experience. This partnership reflects our commitment to innovation and our dedication to transforming the tourism industry for the better."By integrating Huawei Mobile Services’ advanced technology solutions, tourists visiting Saudi Arabia will enjoy a smarter travel experience and will have access to a range of innovative tools and applications that simplify their travel journey. From seamless navigation and language translation services to augmented reality-guided tours, this collaboration aims to ensure that tourists can make the most of their time while traveling.Through this groundbreaking collaboration, the Saudi Tourism Authority seeks to leverage cutting-edge technology to offer tourists an unparalleled experience while showcasing the rich cultural heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and warm hospitality that Saudi has to offer. It further represents Saudi’s commitment to deliver tailored and seamless experiences for Chinese visitors with accessible support available throughout the duration of the visitor journey.In partnership with Petal Ads, the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) is making substantial efforts to welcome an increasing number of Chinese tourists to explore the beauty and wonder of Saudi. The collaboration includes targeted marketing campaigns across various platforms to raise awareness about the diverse tourist attractions and unique experiences the country has to offer to the Chinese audience.In addition, and in an endeavor to strengthen ties with China and promote Saudi as a premier tourist destination, VIP guests from the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) participated in the VIP panel discussion at the HDC ‘Together 2023 in China’. The panel discussion aimed to highlight the mutual benefits of tourism collaboration between the two nations and explore new avenues for cross-cultural exchange.

Six Senses Southern Dunes appoints Yasser Al-Dhaheri as Director of HR

Saudi Arabia: Six Senses Southern Dunes, the first property set to open in Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Project, which will open its doors in late 2023, is thrilled to announce the promotion of Yasser Al-Dhaheri to the role of Director of Human Resources.Yasser has been an integral part of the team, leading the Human Resources department with diligence and expertise throughout the pre-opening phase and beyond. His exceptional dedication and remarkable results have made him a standout talent within the Six Senses family.Yasser's educational background in Engineering and his experience in the Finance Department have provided him with a solid foundation to excel in his role. His previous experience in leading international five-star hotels in various locations has given him a deep understanding of the labor market's demands and how to succeed in the field of human resources.Since joining, Yasser has implemented protocols that have enhanced the efficiency of the Human Resources Department, played a crucial role in developing HR strategies, and fostered a culture of teamwork and excellence. His ability to build relationships and lead with empathy has earned him the respect and admiration of his colleagues and superiors.One of Yasser's proudest moments was obtaining an Executive master’s degree in international Hotel Management from Les Roches Marbella, Spain. He was selected and sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism as one of the top local leaders in the hospitality sector, showcasing his commitment to personal and professional growth.Outside of work, Yasser finds joy as a loving father to his newborn son Saleh and takes pride in his role as a supportive husband to his wife Amal, who has been his partner throughout his journey to success. Cars have been a significant part of Yasser's lifestyle, from his previous Mustang adventures on the highways to his newfound passion for exploring untouched and magnificent off-road attractions with his custom-modified Wrangler Rubicon monster.

Deloitte hosts inaugural financial crime symposium in Riyadh, KSA

Riyadh:– Deloitte hosted its first Financial Crime Symposium in Riyadh, KSA, bringing together key stakeholders and representatives from across different sectors within the Anti-Financial Crime ecosystem.This symposium served as a platform for industry experts to actively participate in panel discussions, where they explored the most recent regulatory changes and emerging trends shaping the financial crime landscape. These discussions included topics such as the strategies and regional challenges related to Anti-Money Laundering, Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) and fraud, the adaptation of AML/CFT and fraud practices to suit the digital economy, and the advancement of innovation through technology."As highlighted during our Financial Crime Symposium in Riyadh, the pursuit of financial crime compliance is not merely a legal obligation; it is a moral and strategic imperative. We need to embrace technology, stay vigilant to the ever-changing risks in the region, and develop innovative solutions to address them, all while managing the risks of the digital economy. Together, we can ensure a prosperous, secure, and compliant financial landscape that will not only serve the interests of Saudi Arabia but also contribute positively to the global economy," said Muzzi Ebrahim, Partner and Leader of Financial Crime and Data Analytics at Deloitte Middle East.The symposium brought to the forefront the critical role of technology in addressing AML/CFT and Fraud typologies. Regulatory mandates now require the implementation of monitoring systems to detect financial crimes. Successfully deploying these systems involves a customized approach that takes into account the organization’s unique characteristics and risk factors. With SAMA actively promoting open banking initiatives throughout the Kingdom, a wealth of data points becomes accessible, allowing for the creation of robust customer risk profiles. The symposium discussions highlighted the importance of such profiles in identifying instances of financial crime.Rana Shashaa, Partner and Forensic Leader at Deloitte Middle East commented, "In a rapidly evolving regulatory and innovative environment, the Financial Crime Symposium shed light on how leveraging technology, analytics and collaboration optimize detection, prevention, and monitoring processes. This approach not only provides a transparent and efficient platform, but also contributes to supporting the Kingdom’s undeniable growth and emerging position as a global leading economy."

From social to virtual: The influencer marketing revolution in the Middle East

In the realm of modern marketing, influencer marketing has emerged as a dominant force. Major brands are increasingly forming partnerships with influencers to drive their marketing strategies. These "Social Influencers" are everyday individuals like us, but possess the exceptional ability to wield influence over large audiences through their active presence on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and more.This article aims to explore the landscape of influencer marketing in the Middle East, highlighting its significant impact on prominent brands in the region. Additionally, we'll delve into the rising phenomenon of virtual influencers, a trend that is gradually eclipsing traditional social influencers.A strategic approachInfluencer marketing is a strategic approach that involves collaborating with individuals, often referred to as 'influencers,' who boast a substantial and engaged social media following. These influencers are tapped to endorse and promote products or services. In light of its ever-increasing popularity, brands are now going a step further by compensating influencers for their role in promoting their products.Influencer campaigns have indeed surged in popularity, wielding significant potential for brand success, points out Karolina Slowikowska, Director of Communications, amana.“Collaborating with trusted influencers who possess a deep understanding of the financial world can be a powerful strategy. These influencers can play a vital role in educating and guiding audiences on complex topics like investing, ensuring that individuals make well-informed decisions regarding their financial future,” says Karolina.<img src='\50e6aa89cd492d34a6b3a21da0a0518d.png' class='content_image'>Influencer boom in the Middle EastThe recently unveiled report, "The State of Influencer Marketing in UAE 2023," a joint effort between prominent marketer YAAP and Khaleej Times, provides a comprehensive overview of the latest trends and market dynamics within the realm of social influencers. This report offers a profound insight into the evolving landscape of influencer marketing in the UAE.According to the report's findings, the influencer marketing industry in the Middle East is on track to achieve a significant market valuation of $1.3 billion by 2023. The report highlights the various supporting trends, technologies, and favorable market conditions contributing to this growth.YAAP’s research methodology included attaining sector-wide perspectives of CMOs, marketing heads, and digital marketers from leading brands in the region. A few findings reinforce the UAE’s competitive edge globally in influencer marketing and the absorption of supporting technologies. According to 76.9% of marketers, influencer marketing was a top priority for their brands whereas 76.5% of marketers said that they’ve shifted their budgets from TV, print and outdoor to influencer marketing. These figures underscore the growing significance of influencer marketing in the UAE.Dubai as the hubDubai is undeniably the Middle East's top tourist destination, boasting cutting-edge infrastructure, a luxurious lifestyle characterized by a high disposable income, and a vibrant city atmosphere. It's not just a tourist hotspot but also the global epicenter of influencer culture, drawing both established and up-and-coming social media figures seeking to seize remarkable opportunities.As per Global Media Insights, a staggering 98.98% of the population in the UAE actively engages with social media. Furthermore, the 11th annual Arab Youth Survey revealed that 9 out of 10 young individuals regularly use at least one social media platform on a daily basis, primarily through mobile devices.Moreover, a recent survey by revealed that 75% of UAE residents follow some form of social media influencer. A few years ago, a survey of 1,000 UAE residents conducted by the Dubai PR agency BPG Cohn & Wolfe indicated that 71% of residents between the ages of 18 and 40 consider influencer recommendations before making a purchase. The sectors of beauty, fashion, lifestyle, food, latest technology, and entertainment are not only attractive to social influencers but also hold the attention of consumers.Ibrahim Hamieh, Account Director - Social Lead at Dentsu Creative MENA, feels that the UAE serves as the epicenter of technology, futurism, and the digital realm within the region.“It's widely recognized that the government's visionary approach aligns seamlessly with this trajectory, offering substantial support to businesses moving in this direction. Amidst this, a plethora of social media influencers has emerged, playing a pivotal role in amplifying the country's vision and championing the inevitable avant-garde spirit of the UAE. Moreover, the nation's unique character consistently highlights and rewards its diverse pool of talents.”<img src='\29c27e2cb6368336a31eae76d36120b1.png' class='content_image'>Anastasiya Golovatenko, PR Director, Sherpa Communications, commenting on the same, says: “The emergence of various social media personalities in the UAE is a testament to the nation's diverse and digitally savvy population, which is quite unique in comparison to any other market. These influencers represent a range of cultures, interests, and narratives, which makes the digital dialogue so special. Their growing presence also provides brands with unique opportunities to engage with varied audiences at the same time making the UAE a truly unique place.” Building partnerships between brands and influencersEvery brand aims to establish an authentic and culturally resonant voice among consumers. For this, they are now tapping social influencers as they are the prominent voices that people listen to. Therefore, having strong networks of influencers allow brands to market consistently, build effective affiliate programmes, test concepts with their target demographics and create a resilient revenue stream driven by social commerce.Ibrahim Hamieh comments: “It is unquestionable that influencer marketing has become indispensable for nearly all businesses. Both agencies and clients have strategically incorporated it into their plans, particularly those seeking robust and sustainable growth. However, the primary focal point should always be the audience, which has grown more discerning, informed, and diligent in fact-checking. Consequently, the foundation of partnerships between agencies and influencer firms, as well as the selection of activated influencers, should revolve not only around relevance and authenticity but also around aligning with this increasingly discerning audience.”Anastasiya Golovatenko says that in recent years, the Middle East market has indeed witnessed a surge in efforts to foster authentic partnerships between brands and influencers.She believe this shift signifies a deeper understanding of audience expectations.“Today's consumers seek genuine content, and they can differentiate between organic endorsements and forced promotions. Authenticity not only enhances credibility but also resonates more profoundly with audiences, driving stronger engagement and loyalty. As a PR agency, we always advocate for genuine brand-influencer alignments because they yield more sustainable and impactful results in the long run,” she adds.<img src='\829a936c985e4be8f3235f6a1f01f906.png' class='content_image'>Women’s roleAccording to data released by Statista in 2022, a majority of social media influencers, specifically 82%, are female.Women are the trailblazers, the dynamic force making social media platforms so compelling.Ibrahim Hamieh adds that while this may have been the case primarily in the early stages, industries like beauty, fashion, and skincare provided a strong initial platform for influencers, and for good reason. However, he adds, in recent times, we've witnessed a significant rise in male influencers.“Sectors such as gaming, sports, travel, and food have contributed to a more gender-inclusive landscape, reshaping dynamics. What's even more intriguing is that industries are no longer confined to a specific gender; women can engage in discussions about gaming, and men can delve into skincare, breaking down traditional boundaries,” he says.Brands partnering with social influencersInfluencer marketing is steadily gaining popularity, as brands increasingly collaborate with influencers and content creators to endorse their products and services. Influencers possess substantial followings on social media platforms, making them instrumental in assisting brands to expand their reach and enhance engagement with their target audience.Commenting on this, Anastasiya Golovatenko says: “For B2C brands, influencer partnerships can significantly drive traffic and expedite the sales cycle. To truly capitalize, brands should ensure alignment with influencers who genuinely resonate with their ethos. If everything is done correctly, such collaborations can offer immense value.”According toIbrahim Hamieh, several factors come into play when considering these partnerships.First and foremost, he points out, defining the objective is paramount.He says that brands must ask themselves what they aim to achieve through these collaborations. “Once this objective is established, along with a deep understanding of the target audience, various metrics can be leveraged to benefit the brands. These metrics include but are not limited to exposure, increased Share of Voice (SOV), engagement, shareability, fostering brand affinity, and building brand loyalty. Tangible outcomes can be observed in terms of sales, foot traffic, product trials, and more. In summary, partnering with the right influencers, after clarifying objectives, can greatly benefit brands,” says IbrahimProfit ratio for influencersSocial influencers are becoming more deeply involved in collaborating with brands. What advantages do they gain from this partnership?In the UAE, says Hamieh, many individuals have made the choice to leave their corporate jobs behind in favour of pursuing careers as influencers.“It often begins as a hobby, evolves into a 'side hustle,' and can eventually become a full-time endeavor that demands a significant amount of time and effort. The financial rewards, particularly for those who maintain relevance and authenticity, can be substantial. The influencer industry operates on a principle of reciprocity: the more you invest in it, the more it rewards you in return,” he adds.On the contrary, Anastasiya Golovatenko, feels that social influencers in the UAE can't solely rely on luck for campaign success. While many brands are still figuring out campaign management, influencers should lead by setting benchmarks and ensuring quality checks. They hold a responsibility to optimize partnerships, rather than delivering semi-cooked campaigns.”Flip side of influencer marketing Undoubtedly, influencer marketing has brought about significant social changes, especially among younger generations. However, we must also consider its negative aspects.While influencers can be a source of inspiration and motivation, there's a flip side that we must address, points out Anastasiya Golovatenko.“The influencer-driven culture has a huge impact on young people, leading them to question their looks, skills or existence in general. This effect is being increasingly highlighted in media, with movies like 'Barbie' addressing these concerns as well. As professionals in the PR sector, it's essential we advocate for responsible awareness campaigns, ensuring that the content shared promotes positive values and doesn't harm or influence our social values,” she says. Entry of virtual influencersA notable shift in the realm of brand marketing strategies is the emergence of virtual influencers. With the boundary between reality and virtuality becoming increasingly blurred, brands are leveraging the influence of virtual personas to craft campaigns and tap into the surging trend of digital escapism.Virtual influencers are computer-generated characters who possess their own personalities, lifestyles and online personas but are created and controlled by a team of artists and developers. These virtual influencers are gaining popularity on social media platforms, captivating audiences with their unique aesthetics, storytelling, and engagement. A perfect example is Lil Miquela, a virtual influencer with 2.8m Instagram followers and major brand deals with Prada, CK and Pascum.Furthermore, notable brands such as Burberry, Gucci, and Maybelline have also engaged in partnerships with virtual influencers for their marketing campaigns.<img src='\9183cfd889251c8d7624bbfcb2d0759a.png' class='content_image'>Virtual influencers and AI-driven avatars remain a fresh addition to the marketing and advertising realm in the Middle East, says Barbara Soltysinska, Co-founder & CEO of indaHash.She feels that there is still potential for growth in the region.“Currently, virtual influencers in the UAE serve more as intriguing entities rather than dominant influencers, particularly when considering their follower count, engagement rates, and overall activity. For instance, the most recognizable Meta Kira boasts under 4k followers. Compared to globally recognized computer-generated influencers, there's substantial room for growth in the Middle East,” she says.According to her, whatever brands select, whether social or virtual influencers, it's crucial to exercise caution.“Trust and reliability are paramount, as influencers bear a substantial responsibility when discussing topics like investments, where sometimes people's life-savings are at stake. To conclude, we can take an advise from Warren Buffett, a renowned American business magnate and investor, who said: "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things different,” she concludes.

Dubai Chambers reveals four key pillars shaping agenda at Dubai Business Forum

Dubai: Dubai Chambers has announced details of the Dubai Business Forum’s key thematic pillars ahead of the eagerly anticipated event, which will bring the global business community together at Madinat Jumeirah from 1-2 November for two days of insightful discussions, networking, and dealmaking.Hosted under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the forum will be held under the theme ‘Shifting Economic Power: Dubai and the Future of Global Trade.’Dubai Chambers has identified four key pillars that will form the basis of the event’s far-reaching agenda: Globalisation, Foreign Direct Investment, Digital Transformation, and Emerging Markets. Each of the forum’s sessions will be categorised under these verticals, ensuring participants are able to easily identify and attend the sessions that are most relevant to their individual areas of interest and expertise.Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers, commented: “Our carefully curated agenda is designed to ensure participants maximise their time together by focusing on topics that will play a fundamental role in transforming business for the future. This innovative event will unite key public and private sector stakeholders from across the globe to engage in networking opportunities, explore new partnerships, and forge significant deals.”Lootah added: “The forum is envisioned as a unique platform to explore pressing global issues in depth, enabling the business community to take proactive steps to shape a future where business can thrive in an ever-evolving economic landscape.”No international business forum would be complete without addressing Globalisation, which has reshaped the business environment to create both opportunities and challenges. Businesses that effectively navigate the complexities of global markets can expand their reach, boost profitability, and access valuable resources. However, these advantages come with a need to address the unique challenges that come with operating on a global scale, all of which will be placed under the spotlight during the Dubai Business Forum.While Dubai continues to attract record-breaking amounts of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), ongoing geopolitical issues, rising food and energy prices, and other economic pressures are impacting levels of FDI on a global scale. These trends require concerted efforts if they are to be addressed effectively. This is particularly true in the case of developing nations, with emerging markets poised to play a vital role in driving investments in priority sectors. The Dubai Business Forum creates a unique opportunity for participants to hear more about what the future holds for FDI from heads of state, policymakers, and leading financial experts.The crucial topic of Digital Transformation will also be examined during the forum. Advanced digital technologies are contributing to the growth of business, trade, and investments by automating processes, reducing waste, and optimising supply chain management. The forum’s Digital Transformation pillar will bring together thought leaders, innovators, and policymakers for a deep dive into the implications of emerging technologies and their impact on the global business community.It is widely predicted that Emerging Markets will represent six of the world’s seven largest economies by 2050. As these important markets further enhance their capabilities, they will grow to form an integral part of the global economy. The Dubai Business Forum will explore effective strategies to embrace this shifting world order and do business with emerging markets.The inaugural edition of the Dubai Business Forum builds on the success of Dubai Chambers’ series of ‘Global Business Forum’ events and is set to play a key role in contributing to the ambitious targets outlined in the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33), which seeks to double the size of the emirate’s economy over the coming decade.The event creates a unique platform for influential international figures from the public and private sectors to gather, identify emerging trends, and shape a better future for business, further cementing Dubai’s position at the heart of the global economy. Featuring two days of high-level plenary sessions, speeches, talks, workshops, and networking opportunities, the forum will serve as a catalyst to transform business and shape the future of global trade.The Dubai Business Forum will be hosted at Madinat Jumeirah from 1-2 November.

Dubai Watch Week appoints Houbara Communications as PR partner

Dubai: Dubai Watch Week, the leading global non-commercial horology platform, has appointed Houbara Communications as its PR partner for its upcoming sixth edition set to take place from November 16 to 20, 2023, at The Gate, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).Houbara will work alongside Dubai Watch Week to raise awareness of Dubai Watch Week’s largest iteration yet with the highest participation to date, featuring over 55 brands, tapping into community, tradition, and innovation.Houbara will support Dubai Watch Week in its communication efforts locally, including strategies to reflect its position as a key cultural and lifestyle event on Dubai's calendar, playing a central role in positioning the city as a leading global cultural, retail, and luxury hub. Loretta Ahmed, Founder and CEO of Houbara Communications added: “Having worked with the Seddiqi Holding group for six years, we are well versed in the realm of horology, have an in-depth understanding of their brands and the sector. We look forward to creating award-winning work with them in their biggest season to date.”

Experience Abu Dhabi welcomes visitors to enjoy a Diwali getaway

Abu Dhabi: Experience Abu Dhabi, the destination brand of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has announced package deals, offers, and a full calendar of events for residents and tourists to enjoy this holiday season.Visitors can enjoy special experiences in dining, adventure, and retail on offer this Diwali. The World Trade Centre Mall will spice up the retail experience with a Diwali shopping festival and traditional Punjabi masti, Rajasthani dances, Bhangra and Bollywood dancing. Adventure seekers can get their adrenaline pumping with Circuit X adventure parks offering 50 percent off entry across its Skate, Splash, Ropes and BMX parks. Visitors can then unwind with a Diwali dinner hosted by the Olive Tree Restaurant, Aloft Al Ain Hotel, and Ramsa restaurant in Erth Hotel. Travellers spending their Diwali holiday in Abu Dhabi can enjoy exclusive packages and offers. EaseMyTrip’s Limited Edition offer with three nights includes a half-day city tour and a desert safari experience. Thomas Cook and SOTC Travel offer a buy-one-get-one-free package on a four-night stay in Abu Dhabi and on tickets to various attractions. Aaryan Leisure offers a package for a seven-night stay in Abu Dhabi covering hotel accommodations and attractions.Arijit Singh, King of Bollywood Playback, will provide the perfect end to the Diwali holiday season with a live performance at the Etihad Arena on Yas Island on 18 November. Whether you’re a culture enthusiast, a food connoisseur, an adrenaline seeker, or a music lover, there is something for everyone to do in Abu Dhabi.

Al-Futtaim IKEA's 'Bring on the Mess' campaign embraces the beauty of chaos

Al-Futtaim IKEA, the franchisee operating IKEA stores in the UAE, Qatar, Egypt and Oman, in alliance with FP7 McCann, has launched its latest campaign ‘Bring on the Mess’.The new promotional ad wants people to change their mindset about being messy. It encourages them to get messy as well as be happy with mess around them. FP7 Mc Cann, which recently acquired IKEA’s global ad account, has executed both the video as well as print campaign for Al-Futtaim IKEA. The campaign has been launched in video and print across the UAE, Qatar, Egypt and Oman.The ad film encourages everyone to get messy, be it a kid playing with toys or a husband making a romantic dinner for his wife. It supports the idea that ‘mess is freedom’ and ‘mess is your happy place’ and finally ends with the slogan that ‘IKEA’s got your back’.The advertisement illustrates how IKEA's storage solutions can effectively organize and manage clutter. This video campaign is complemented by a print campaign featuring everyday individuals in their regular living spaces, demonstrating the transformative effect of these solutions on their clutter.Carla Klumpenaar, General Manager – Marketing, Communication, HF and Retail Design in UAE, Qatar, Egypt and Oman at Al-Futtaim IKEA, shares: “Our campaign is the story of mess throughout life. But let’s remember, mess isn’t just about things and stuff. It’s about life’s surprises, the things that make it unpredictable and uniquely special. It’s that feeling when we don’t know what’s coming next, when we’re not in control for a moment. It’s exciting, emotional, and always changing. And with every mess, there’s a new possibility to make life better. It’s one of the things that makes life extraordinary.”The campaign aims to share the message that people’s space is a canvas and to fill it with their life is to fill it with their mess and embrace it.Federico Fanti, Chief Creative Officer, FP7 McCann, said: “Bring On The Mess is an ode to the beautiful messes of our lives that give character to every corner of our homes, making them unique, unexpected, and endearingly us.”

Amazon's $20.6 Billion Media Account in Global Pitch

Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, is putting its massive media account up for pitch after spending $20.6 billion on advertising and promotional costs in 2022. This figure marked a significant increase from the previous year's $16.9 billion. Procter & Gamble, once considered the world's biggest advertising spender, has fallen behind with advertising costs of $8 billion in 2023, compared to $7.9 billion in 2022 and $8.2 billion in 2021, according to its financial filings.IPG Mediabrands has held Amazon's media buying account since 2017, but the company has decided to review its options. Amazon stated, "We routinely review existing business relationships with third-party vendors and partners, and based on those reviews, may decide to solicit proposals from vendors interested in working with us." The retail giant uses a variety of advertising channels, including sponsored search, social and online advertising, third-party customer referrals, and television advertising, to attract buyers to its platforms. Amazon is also a significant player in the ad space, ranking as the world's third-largest digital advertising platform, behind Google and Meta. In the June quarter, its advertising services grew by 22% to reach $10.68 billion.

Najm partners up with iot squared to advance insurance services

 Najm for Insurance Services has signed an agreement with iot squared, a leading company in providing Internet of Things (iot) solutions for smart logistics and cities, to advance insurance services in the Kingdom. The agreement was signed by the Acting CEO of Najm, Mohammad Al-Shehri, and the CEO of iot Squared, Osman Al-Dahsh.The agreement aims to enhance ways of cooperation between the two parties and provide the latest electronic services through an integrated platform that enables insurance companies to keep pace with technological developments and benefit from them. This agreement will also develop and improve insurance services, as well as positively impact the interests of all stakeholders and partners within the insurance sector. This step aligns closely with and acts as an enabler of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, the Quality-of-Life Program.Through this agreement, Najm seeks to keep up with the latest technologies and innovations and provide modern solutions that meet the insurance sector’s needs and contribute effectively towards increasing the demand for the sector’s services.iot Squared is a joint entity between the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and STC Group. It provides leading iot solutions in the logistics service field, offering real-time insights in the Kingdom, with an aim of enhancing the adoption of iot technologies in the region.Najm for Insurance Services is a closed, unlisted joint stock company established in 2007 as a result of a cooperation between the Insurance companies, Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) and the General Department of Traffic. It aims to promote the vehicle insurance sector and achieve road traffic safety in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.Najm offers a diverse range of solutions and services for citizens, residents, and visitors in the Kingdom, and serves 40 Saudi cities through a skilled Saudi workforce specialized in reviewing accidents and providing relevant insurance-related services. Headquartered in Riyadh, Najm operates according to the regulations set by the law of Saudi Arabia, and the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA).

Franklin Templeton announces leadership appointments in Global Distribution

Franklin Templeton is delighted to announces key leadership appointments within Global Distribution, effective October 2, 2023. These appointments will support the rapid and continued expansion of the USD 1.4 trillion global asset manager and will further position the firm to benefit from future distribution opportunities.Adam Spector, EVP and Head of Global Distribution, Franklin Templeton commented, “Over the last several years, we have been purposefully transforming and strategically expanding our firm. In crucial markets including UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia-Pacific (APAC), we have made significant strides in growing our distribution channels. Building on this momentum, it is important for us to evolve our leadership talent as we focus on delivering long-term value to our clients.”Matt Harrison has been appointed as Head of Europe & UK Distribution. In his new role, he will be responsible for developing the company’s distribution strategy and further expanding our business in this important region. The distribution leaders in Europe and UK will report to him with immediate effect. Harrison will relocate to London over the next few months and will report to Spector.Harrison was previously Co-Head of APAC at Franklin Templeton, based in Sydney.  Prior to joining the firm in 2018, he held senior roles at various firms including Colonial First State, Commonwealth Bank and ING. He has over 25 years of experience within the industry and has developed client relationships across multiple markets including Asia Pacific, Australia, India, Japan and UK.As a result of Harrison’s new role overseeing Europe and the UK, Tariq Ahmad’s responsibilities have been expanded and he has been named sole Head of APAC Distribution reporting to Spector. Going forward, Ahmad will have ownership and accountability of APAC strategy to best serve the firm’s clients in a region that is critical to the global growth strategy of Franklin Templeton. Singapore-based Ahmad was previously Co-Head of APAC Distribution and has over 20 years of experience in the asset management industry.Dubai-based Sandeep Singh has been appointed Head of CEEMEA & India Distribution, also reporting to Spector. Singh was previously Head of CEEMEA Distribution overseeing the leadership and development of the firm’s retail and institutional business in Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA). In his new role, Singh will expand his responsibilities to oversee the Indian market. Singh held several leadership roles within the firm previously in India and Malaysia and has over 25 years of experience within the asset management industry.  Both Harrison and Singh take over the distribution responsibilities held by former Head of EMEA distribution Julian Ide, who has been appointed Vice Chair, EMEA reporting to President and CEO Jenny Johnson.  In his new role, Ide will engage with senior decision makers at the largest global financial institutions in EMEA to cultivate mutually beneficial long-term partnerships.  Spector added: “Harrison, Singh and Ahmad are seasoned and proven leaders and I am thrilled to work closely with them to further expand our distribution footprint at this exciting time. In addition, I would like to thank Julian for his efforts and dedication as Head of EMEA distribution and look forward to partnering with him in his new role as Vice Chair EMEA.”

Triterras welcomes Vinay Kapoor as Executive Vice President

Triterras, Inc. (“Triterras” or the “Company,”) a leading fintech company focused on trade and trade finance, today announced the appointment of Vinay Kapoor to the role of Executive Vice President. Mr. Kapoor joins the C-suite to lead the Company’s global corporate development efforts.Mr. Kapoor will directly oversee several strategic initiatives for Triterras. He will be in pursuit of external collaborations and other expansion efforts that will continue to advance cross-border trade opportunities. Mr. Kapoor will also have global oversight over potential opportunities that will expand the Company’s presence into new business areas that reach into and out of emerging markets.Prior to joining Triterras, Mr. Kapoor held roles as Managing Director at Bank of Singapore, Managing Director at Citigroup, and Senior Vice President at Merrill Lynch. Mr. Kapoor was also a Board level Advisor for one of the largest Canadian alternative Asset Management firms, as well as Vice Chairman for a NASDAQ-listed entity.Organizations under Mr. Kapoor’s administration have been awarded for outstanding achievement as top-performing overseas subsidiaries. From early level startups to the most successful subsidiaries on a global scale, Mr. Kapoor has a proven track record with the creation and successful exit of numerous complex, structured financial vehicles.“Vinay is an extremely well-respected and trusted industry leader with great stature in the business community,” said Srinivas Koneru, Chairman & CEO at Triterras. “Vinay’s extensive experience in capital and financial markets makes him eminently qualified to lead our efforts. Triterras is on an exciting and pivotal journey as we deliver on our promise to expand access to trade and shape global development. Vinay will be a great complement to our executive team.”Vinay Kapoor stated, “I’m honored to join Triterras and be a part of the endeavor to meet the growing demand for financial and business services in the Middle East. The MENA region has always been a cornerstone of the global trade landscape and is in the midst of experiencing a moment of unprecedented growth. I’m very excited to be working with such talented and deeply engaged leadership.”Aside from being well-known as a seasoned banking professional, Mr. Kapoor has been an investor and board member on various economic empowerment projects, which includes the launch of Barclays “Smart Start” education program, a community investment initiative that builds financial capability within local communities. Mr. Kapoor had also implemented a program that specifically focuses on reaching individuals in the prison system. Since then, he has continued to support underserved groups by offering training and guidance on basic financial acumen.Mr. Kapoor holds a Bachelor of Science, along with a Master of Science in Finance from the Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, University of Bombay. He will remain based out of Dubai, UAE.

Dyson expands retail presence in UAE with City Centre Mirdif store

 Dyson has announced the grand opening of its latest demo store in the popular City Centre Mirdif mall in Dubai. The new immersive store is a hub of innovation and commitment to technology, displaying the company's full portfolio of products and helping customers discover and better understand how Dyson technology works.The City Centre Mirdif Dyson demo store provides an immersive experience with its unique styling room. This is a private space where customers can feel comfortable trying any of Dyson’s haircare technology, such as the Dyson Corrale™ cordless hair straightener, the Dyson Supersonic™ hair dryer, and the Dyson Airwrap™ multi-styler. Technology lovers can seek advice from the Dyson experts on hand and explore the brand’s iconic haircare collection with ease.Visitors can shop Dyson’s innovations across all main product ranges – Floor Care, Environmental Care, Hair Care, and Wearables with the new audio range featuring the Dyson Zone™. The store allows for interactive demonstrations that bring to life the science at the core of Dyson technology. The store features a space to test Dyson’s high-performing cordless vacuums and its range of intelligent, connected air purifiers, offering customers the ultimate ‘try-before-you-buy’ retail experience.By buying directly from the Dyson store, shoppers have the chance to personalise the case of their haircare products, as well as giftwrap their purchases with exclusive Dyson-branded wrapping paper free of charge.The City Centre Mirdif demo store, located on the first floor in the home appliance area of the mall, joins Dyson’s Mall of the Emirates and Dubai Mall demo stores, as well as several Dyson demo zones in the UAE. These include The Galleria, Yas Mall, and Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi, and City Centre Al Zahia in Sharjah.

Starbucks' Canvas of Pride campaign celebrates Saudi heritage

Starbucks has recently launched a new campaign known as 'Canvas of Pride,' which was a grand tribute to Saudi National Day throughout the entire month of September. The brand showcased Saudi national heritage on their cups, thanks to the remarkable artistic talents of local artists, with the winning design created by Saudi artist Joud Yahya Al Sultan, selected through a competition jointly organised by the Ministry of Culture and Starbucks.The design, showcasing Saudi landscapes and heritage, adorned Starbucks cups throughout Saudi Arabia during the previous month. A heartfelt video featuring Joud Yahya Al Sultan sharing the story and significance behind her artwork accompanied the cup's unveiling.Starbucks partnered with Saudi artists, providing dedicated spaces in select stores for them to express their interpretations of national pride through various art forms like visual art, poetry, writing, and music. These expressions of Saudi pride resonated not only within Saudi Arabia but also reverberated across neighboring Gulf countries, thanks to Starbucks' online platforms.In the spirit of continuing this creative initiative, a new competition has been launched with the theme of 'Arabic Poetry,' and the winning design will be featured on Starbucks cups in the upcoming national day celebration.As a brand that fosters community, this endeavor offers a platform for Saudi nationals to express their profound connection to their country, inviting them to celebrate National Day in their unique ways, using the coffee brand as a medium.Starbucks partnered with the Ministry of Culture, and Socialize Agency to develop this innovative concept.Olena Lemeshko, Marketing Director – Starbucks at Alshaya Group, said that it is for the first time Starbucks has let the iconic cup be a canvas to celebrate national pride of Saudi Arabia. “This campaign speaks to what we strive to do within the communities we serve, which is to give local youth a platform where they can express themselves and celebrate culture. We are truly proud of this campaign which goes beyond a cup of coffee, Joud’s story has touched hearts, inspired others, and moved the nation,” said Olena.

Netflix to release New Saudi Voices' short films

Netflix is launching the second volume of short films of its “New Saudi Voices ” collection, as part of its efforts to support the flourishing film industry in Saudi Arabia. The collection features 13 short films by Saudi talent, spanning a vast selection of genres including feel-good movies, drama, fantasy, romance, and more. The films are crafted with unique storylines and highlight cultural nuances within the Saudi community, showcasing the artistic minds of the creators.The films in this year’s collection were picked from the Red Sea International Film Festival. Two of them, ‘When Red Blooms’ by Tala Alharbi and ‘The Child in His Closet’ by Khaled Zeidan, were winners in the festival’s 48-hour Filmmaking Challenge. ‘VHS Tape Replaced’ by Maha Saati, and ‘Yallah, Yallah Beenah’ by Mohammed Hammad were also supported by the festival’s Red Sea Fund. The collection includes the works of award-winning writer Faisal Buhaishi, whose film ‘Last Chance to Fal in Love’ follows the touching story of an old man reuniting with his first love after 50 years. Fictional dramas such as ‘Old Phone Number’ by Ali Saeed and ‘Zabarjad’ by Hussain Almutliq, explore the themes of character growth while holding on to parts of one’s past life. Movies from the fantasy genre include ‘A Swing’ by Raneem and Dana Almohandes follows the journey of a 10-year-old girl trekking through the woods to find a magical swing her father used to tell her about. Nora Abu Shusha highlights the untold struggles of married life with ‘Lucky you’re mine’, while Mohammed Baqer uses ‘Tea Leaf’ to artistically articulate the pain and regret that comes with failed relationships. ‘Requiem for Silence’ by Majed Z. Samman, ‘Forward’ by Fahad Alotaibi, and ‘Othman’ by Khaled Zeidan, see storylines filled with drama, changing each respective character’s life trajectory.  Nuha el Tayeb, Director, Content, Middle East, Africfa and Turkey, Netflix notes: “The second volume is not just a collection of short films; it is a celebration of untold stories, and a testament to the creative prowess of the emerging filmmakers. As these captivating tales find their home on Netflix, they transcend borders and allow viewers  to experience the beauty and dynamism of Saudi culture. We believe great stories can come from anywhere and be loved by anyone.”The entertainment landscape in the Kingdom is rapidly evolving and Netflix continues to amplify Saudi voices by launching Netflix originals such as ‘Al Khallat +’, ‘Masameer County’, ‘Whispers’, and more recently, ‘Ras B Ras’. The New Saudi Voices 2 films will be available on Netflix on October 6, 2023.

Trademark Dispute Erupts as X Corp Faces Lawsuit from X Social Media

X Corp, formerly known as Twitter, is facing a federal lawsuit in Florida from X Social Media, a legal-marketing company, which alleges that the social media giant's new name infringes upon its trademark incorporating the letter "X."X Social Media's lawsuit claims that the rebranding of X Corp to X by owner Elon Musk in July is likely to create consumer confusion. This legal action marks the initial in what could become a series of trademark disputes involving Musk's company and the letter "X," which is frequently used in tech branding.The letter "X" is part of hundreds of federal trademarks owned by various companies, including Microsoft and Meta Platforms. X Corp recently applied for its own US trademarks related to the letter.X Corp has not yet responded to the complaint, while X Social Media has chosen not to comment on the matter.X Social Media, based in Windermere, Florida, specializes in mass-tort litigation advertising. Established in 2015 by Jacob and Roseanna Malherbe, the agency aimed to connect Florida panhandle residents with attorneys following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The agency has been using the name "X Social Media" since 2016 and holds a federal trademark for it. According to the lawsuit, the company has invested over $400 million in Facebook advertising to reach potential clients.The legal action alleges that Twitter's rebranding has already led to customer confusion and a decline in revenue for X Social Media. It seeks a court order to compel Musk's company to cease using the "X" name and requests unspecified monetary damages.

RAKEZ and Amazon UAE collaborate to empower SMEs to grow online

Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) and Amazon UAE have entered into a strategic collaboration to enable businesses registered within the hub to sell their products to millions of customers across the UAE on The initiative is aimed at supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to scale their businesses online, by enabling them to leverage Amazon’s capabilities, tools, services, programs and people to navigate the digital economy.The collaboration was cemented through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between RAKEZ Group CEO Ramy Jallad and Amazon Seller Success Director in MENA Jasmin Frick.As part of the collaboration, members of the RAKEZ business community will have access to a suite of Amazon’s services including tools for seamless seller registration and onboarding; seller education through on-site training, in-person workshops and live webinars; and support teams to ensure a smooth digital journey.RAKEZ Group CEO Ramy Jallad said, “With the UAE’s e-commerce industry expected to reach USD 9.2 billion in 2026, SMEs operating in the online space have a huge potential to unlock greater success. In this light, we are thrilled to collaborate with Amazon, to provide the SMEs in our community the opportunity to gain access to Amazon’s array of capabilities to reach new heights.”RAKEZ is home to over 18,000 companies, with a significant number of SME businesses focused on product sales. Jallad added, “By providing SMEs with the tools to scale up, we anticipate a surge in online sales, innovations, and the strengthening of the UAE’s online retail landscape. This aligns with our ongoing mission to support the SME sector in Ras Al Khaimah and underscores our commitment to bolstering the UAE’s overall non-oil economic diversification.”Jasmin Frick, Director of Seller Success at Amazon MENA, said, “At Amazon, SMEs are core to our customer-centric mission. Our sellers play a pivotal role in enriching our customers’ experience, offering a wider selection of products and competitive prices. Selling on offers sellers an opportunity to expand their footprint as they tap into our business model to better serve the millions of customers that visit Amazon every day across the UAE. This is closely aligned with our goal of hosting products from 100,000 businesses, including local SMBs, on by 2026, in alignment with Dubai's Economic Agenda D33.”

Ananth Narayanan: Charting the course for Mensa Brands in the UAE and beyond

Mensa Brands, a company known for partnering with digital brands to help them grow significantly, has recently made its entry into the UAE market. In this move, they have introduced some of their brands on various digital platforms within the country. Mensa Brands has launched three brands – Villain, Pebble, and Folkulture – on platforms like Amazon and the Saudi e-commerce platform Noon. Additionally, they have introduced MyFitness peanut butter, which is part of their Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) portfolio, on quick commerce platforms Talabat and Noon Minutes.In an exclusive interview with Ananth Narayanan, the Founder and CEO of Mensa Brands, Adgully delves into the company's future plans in the UAE. Narayanan, who previously served as the CEO of Myntra, discusses the motivation behind digitally launching these brands in the UAE, his future goals, and how the UAE market differs from the Indian market. Excerpts:Mensa Brands has recently entered the UAE market. What are your goals and aspirations for the Middle East?The UAE's strategic location as a crossroads connecting Asia, Europe, and Africa positions it as an ideal entry point. This geographical advantage enables us to efficiently reach not only the local market but also extend our products to the broader Middle East and beyond. Furthermore, the cosmopolitan population in the UAE aligns perfectly with Mensa Brands' commitment to delivering premium products to a discerning consumer base. The market appreciates quality, which aligns with our brand values. The substantial expatriate community in the UAE is another asset. Leveraging this multicultural community offers us a remarkable opportunity for paving the way for comprehensive regional expansion plans.What prompted MENSA to launch its brands like Pebble, Villain and Folkulture on Amazon UAE? What can you predict about their success?Our decision to launch brands like Pebble, Villain, and Folkulture on Amazon UAE is underpinned by a strategic rationale. This choice derives from Amazon's robust logistical capabilities, a widespread marketplace presence with access to a diverse consumer base, the wealth of market research and insights it offers and the potential to enhance brand visibility and credibility. Our research and analysis support the success of these brands on Amazon UAE, as they align well with local preferences.You've introduced MyFitness peanut butter on Talabat. What are your expectations and goals for it?With a population which has a preference for healthier alternatives, and substantial purchasing power, the UAE market presents an exceptional opportunity for MyFitness. Talabat's commitment to operational excellence and their expansion into Q Commerce and dark stores across the UAE make them an ideal partner.You are the man behind the success and international expansion of Mensa. What are the strategies and campaigns that have been initiated for the UAE market?We aim to expand our product offerings to cater to a wider range of customer preferences. Building customer loyalty is crucial in the competitive e-commerce landscape, and we plan to initiate targeted activations, such as partnerships with local influencers, to boost engagement and raise brand awareness in the UAE market. Additionally, we plan to collaborate with top-tier marketing agencies to execute data-driven, culturally relevant campaigns that resonate deeply with the UAE market, aligning our messaging with local values and trends.What are your views about the UAE market? How is it different from India?The UAE market, though smaller in population compared to India, offers unique advantages. Its higher per capita income and significant purchasing power set it apart. This concentrated consumer base allows businesses to tap into a financially capable and receptive audience, offering opportunities for growth and profitability that may be harder to attain in larger but less affluent markets.Will you be employing any social influencers in the UAE for establishing Mensa the country?We plan to implement an influencer activation strategy by collaborating with renowned UAE-based lifestyle and fitness influencers. Through these partnerships, we aim to promote our brand, products, and values to the target audience, enhancing brand recognition and establishing a genuine connection with consumers who resonate with these influencers.What are your strategic plans for Mensa in the Middle East in the coming years? Where do you envision the company in five years?Our vision for the next five years is centred around several key initiatives. We are committed to introducing our other brands in the Middle East. Local collaborations with celebrities and influencers will not only enhance our brand's cultural relevance but also strengthen community engagement. Furthermore, we intend to capitalise on opportunities such as the 'Yellow Friday Sale,' 'Black Friday Sale,' and other noteworthy events to establish deeper connections with our target demographic. We are also exploring opportunities to establish manufacturing capabilities within the UAE to streamline operations.

ALDO recognized with Superbrand status at Superbrands Awards

In a spectacular celebration of branding excellence, – Apparel Group’s Leading global fashion footwear and accessories brand, ALDO, is proud to winning the illustrious Superbrands status. Along with other 9 brands, Aldo received this recognition at a grand ceremony held on 28th September at the Intercontinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City. The Superbrands organization, renowned globally as an independent authority and arbiter of branding brilliance, is dedicated to honoring exceptional brands and fostering the discipline of branding. The accolade is a testament to the relentless pursuit of quality, innovation, and customer satisfaction that each of the winning brands epitomizes. Neeraj Teckchandani, CEO of Apparel Group, shared his strategic perspective on the recognition, stating, “Receiving this prestigious Award is both an honor and a valuable affirmation of our strategic commitment to excellence and innovation. This recognition underscores our relentless pursuit of delivering unparalleled quality and value, reflecting the strength and resilience of our brand portfolio. I am immensely proud of our dedicated team, whose consistent efforts enhance our brand’ s reputation and strategically position us for continued growth and success in the competitive global market.”This award bear witness to Aldo’s exceptional ability to grow and exceed in the competitive market, reinforcing its status as a leading brand in the global fashion and lifestyle industry. The award demonstrates Aldo’s unique ability to resonate with consumers, offering products and experiences that stand out in the marketplace. This recognition capitlises Apparel Group’s exceptional ability to nurture and grow brands in the competitive market, further solidifying their position in the global market.

Millennium Hotels and Resorts appoints Konstantinos Michail as COO

Dubai: Millennium Hotels and Resorts MEA are thrilled to announce the appointment of Konstantinos Michail as the Chief Commercial Officer, leading the brand's commercial growth across the Middle East & Africa region.With an extensive career spanning over twenty-five years, Konstantinos Michail brings a wealth of invaluable experience to his new role. His remarkable journey in the industry includes diverse exposure across UAE and Europe, where he has consistently demonstrated excellence in marketing, sales, business transformation, and project development.Konstantinos' appointment marks a pivotal moment for Millennium Hotels and Resorts MEA as he takes the reins to guide the group into an exciting new phase of growth and development. His impressive track record will undoubtedly contribute to furthering the brand's prominence within the region's competitive hospitality landscape.Prior to joining Millennium Hotels and Resorts MEA, Konstantinos held senior positions with several prominent organizations, including the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) Abu Dhabi, Meydan Group, Meraas Holding, Majid Al Futtaim Properties, Samsung, Royal Numico. His diverse background and strategic expertise have uniquely positioned him to lead the brand's commercial efforts."We are delighted to welcome Konstantinos as our new Chief Commercial Officer," said Fahad Kazim, CEO of Millennium Hotels & Resorts. "His extensive experience and visionary approach align perfectly with our company's goals. We are confident his leadership will further elevate our brand and contribute to our ongoing success." Upon his appointment, Konstantinos expressed his gratitude: "Being named Chief Commercial Officer of Millennium Hotels & Resorts, MEA, is a true honour. I have closely observed the brand's journey to becoming a key contender in the regional hospitality industry. I'm eagerly anticipating the opportunity to bolster the brand's commercialization strategy, emphasizing revenue generation, operational efficiency, third-party collaborations, industry best practices, vertical synergy, stakeholder alignment, and strategic KPI definition in alignment with our overarching objectives." Konstantinos Michail's insights and commitment underscore Millennium Hotels and Resorts MEA's dedication to delivering exceptional experiences and driving innovation in the ever-evolving hospitality landscape.

Balancing quality & sustainability in the eco-friendly beauty industry

Nablus: In a rapidly growing cosmetics industry, quality and sustainability have become paramount considerations for consumers. As this industry continues to expand, consumers are increasingly aware of the impact of these products on their health and the planet's environment.Quality in cosmetics means that a product meets safety and efficacy standards, including the safety of its ingredients and the preservation of its properties throughout its shelf life. Sustainability, in this context, implies that cosmetics are environmentally friendly, both in their production methods and the ingredients used in their manufacture.According to specialized studies, the global market value of eco-friendly cosmetics and skincare products is expected to reach $22.5 billion by 2028. This growth is driven by the increasing awareness of sustainability among consumers, with 73% of them believing that companies should be socially and ethically responsible.In a statement regarding this topic, Nagham Zalabia, the entrepreneur and influencer in the field of beauty and owner of the renowned brand "Nagham Pro" stated, "Quality and sustainability are indispensable elements in the cosmetics industry. They have become some of the most sought-after factors by consumers in cosmetic products. Many cosmetics companies are now incorporating environmentally friendly materials in their makeup production, contributing to sustainable economic development."She added, "The recent growth in the makeup and cosmetics industry over the past few years has coincided with a heightened awareness of sustainability, environmentally friendly materials, and their effects on consumers. This has been further accelerated by advancements in technology, leading to the emergence and utilization of new materials and products in this industry, along with the increasing use of social media, and the growth of e-commerce. These impacts are evident in the Arab region, with a rising demand for high-quality, eco-friendly cosmetics."The GCC is one of the primary markets for eco-friendly cosmetics, with 50% of consumers in the region willing to pay more for sustainably produced products. It is expected that the eco-friendly cosmetics and skincare market in the region will reach $2.6 billion by 2028, with Saudi Arabia expected to exceed $1 billion, UAE at $750 million, Qatar at $500 million, Kuwait at $200 million, and Bahrain and Oman each at $200 million.Nagham Pro's products rely on environmentally friendly materials and are developed in collaboration with the leading Italian laboratories of Unifarco. They offer a wide range of diverse products, including over 100 items in skincare, haircare, makeup, fragrances, and accessories. The leading brand aims to expand its presence in the GCC countries, with a particular focus on the Saudi Arabian and UAE markets.