Dubai: Etoile Group, the luxury fashion retail group, today marked its 40th anniversary and shared expansion plans, including the launch of six new stores across the GCC in the first quarter of 2024. The Group’s strategic growth focuses on strengthening key partnerships while nurturing the next generation of talent to strengthen its luxury retail presence on a regional scale.This year, Etoile Group will open new stores in key locations across Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Kuwait. The group’s growth and expansion plans are underpinned by an ongoing commitment to digitalisation and sustainability with further investment in e-commerce platforms and ongoing collaborations with local and global designers. These efforts represent the Group’s wider plan to double its revenues and workforce within the next five years, leveraging its 60 ongoing and upcoming projects.Founder and President of Etoile Group, Ingie Chalhoub, said: “When I launched Etoile Group 40 years ago, we stepped into unchartered territory for luxury fashion retail. Over the last four decades the market has grown and matured and this region is now well established for luxury. I believe that Etoile Group played a pivotal role in that progress bringing some of the world’s most renowned luxury brands to the Middle East all those years ago and continuing to collaborate with global luxury brands and regional designers. Our success at Etoile Group stems from a history of strong client relationships and partnerships with brands who value innovation, design, and artisanship. That will continue in 2024, when we plan to further leverage key partnerships. This year is not just a celebration of our shared history but marks our commitment to ensuring the continued growth and dynamism of the luxury sector as we expand our regional footprint and provide platforms for creativity and innovation for emerging talent."Etoile Group's commitment extends beyond physical luxury retail environments to digital and e-commerce platforms, with plans to expand its omni-channel presence in 2024 as the group continues to innovate its e-commerce experience to increase interaction and engagement with its clients. Sustainable fashion represents another priority for the Group, evidenced by its partnerships and through its partnerships with an array of designers dedicated to sustainable practices. This year, Etoile Group will continue to prioritise procurement from partners and suppliers that are compliant with the rules of the Fashion Pact, a global initiative that was launched in 2019 and is aimed at reducing the fashion industry’s environment impact.2024 is set to be a landmark in Etoile Group’s history, driven by significant expansion, innovation, and a steadfast commitment to luxury.
Adgully Middle East is proud to announce the launch of a new column, Offbeat Corner, dedicated to delving into the lives and insights of industry leaders. Our debut feature showcases Ahmed Elgebaly, Regional Head for MENA at Globale Media. In this exclusive interview, Ahmed opens up about his childhood career aspirations, life lessons learned, favorite books, noteworthy accomplishments, and more. Dive into the fascinating world of Ahmed Elgebaly and gain valuable insights into his journey.As a child, what career did you aspire to pursue when you grew up?Growing up, I’ve always wanted to be an athlete. I have always loved physical activity, and the competitive nature of sports. Sports impart valuable life lessons, like teamwork and discipline which shape up your personality at a very young age. Though you may underestimate its importance now, you'll come to understand its true value as you grow up.What has been the biggest life lesson?Life lessons are different for each individual. For me, I think learning from challenges and adapting to life every day are the big lessons. It’s part of the learning curve which enhances individual development but also helps me work effectively.What sparks your enthusiasm for the media?My enthusiasm probably stems from the fact that the media serves as a powerful tool for communication, and expression. It has the power to inform, educate, and connect the world, impacting individuals and society as a whole.If you had the opportunity to take a year-long break from work, how would you spend it?I love traveling and reading. So, I would probably spend my time on a relaxing journey all over the world. I would also like to utilize my break in learning new skills so that I don’t get rusty after such a long break.Could you suggest a must-read book for young people?My personal favorites are "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger and "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee. They both share very similar thematic elements, especially for the young audience. To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic of modern literature. Despite talking about serious issues and societal challenges like inequality, it is known for its warmth so much so that it is even taught in schools and colleges.Reflecting on your experiences, what has been your most significant and enlightening mistake, and what lessons have you gained from it?Making mistakes is very normal, but it’s crucial to reflect on them and learn from them. By embracing mistakes as opportunities for learning, we can navigate challenges and build a strong foundation.What stands out as one of your most noteworthy accomplishments?Noteworthy accomplishments can widely vary. From personal achievements to professional milestones, depending on individual goals, there are always new goals and targets to achieve in life that never end. But to bounce back from setbacks, and persevere in the face of adverse challenges is one of my most noteworthy achievements.If given the chance, whose shoes would you step into for a day?I would definitely love to step into Elon Musk’s shoes for a day. Even though he is from a different industry background that I am not even familiar with, his life story and journey is almost unbelievable. When I read his story and how he split all his resources into both SpaceX and Tesla, I can only imagine what a nightmare it must have been for him to run two companies. And he still doesn’t want to stop after having created so many successful businesses. So, I would like to take on his role for a day.
Cenomi Centers announces the signing of a non-binding agreement with GIB Capital to operate the Barakah Mall in Makkah, which is set to open for business in 2026.Boasting a gross area of 80,000 sqm within a larger built up area of 250,000 sqm development and located strategically near Masjid Alharam and accessible to historical sites, the Barakah Mall aims to redefine the shopping experience in the Kingdom introducing an exceptional mixed-use development by seamlessly integrating retail, dining, and entertainment elements.Cenomi Centers as the leading owner, operator, and developer of contemporary lifestyle centers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is perfectly positioned to manage and operate this iconic world-class destination. Alpha Development, in partnership with FAS Holding Company and GIB Capital will lead on the development of the mall, utilizing their experiences in designing and building architectural masterpieces, in keeping with the important historical nature of this location.The development of Barakah Mall is the first phase of the two-phased Barakah Project, a mixed-use landmark in Makkah. This follows the signing of an agreement between GIB Capital and FAS Holding Company who established a new real estate fund, valued at SAR 4 billion, dedicated to the project.The MoU and future binding agreement will represent a milestone in Cenomi Centers’s strategy to grow its portfolio in the Kingdom. Using an “asset light” model, Cenomi Centers will leverage its expertise in successfully operating lifestyle destinations with no capex nor funding obligation towards the project.The Real Estate fund will lead the second phase, which will encompass 16 residential and hospitality towers that are designed to complement the retail component, creating a fully integrated experience for visitors and residents. The residential towers will feature luxury living spaces with advanced amenities and panoramic views, while the hospitality units aim to deliver world-class service, elegance, and comfort.Alison Rehill-Erguven, CEO, Cenomi Centers said: "We are honoured to be entrusted with the management of the Barakah Mall, an endeavour that extends beyond conventional retail. Our goal is to create a space where every visit is not just a shopping experience, but a journey filled with memorable moments. From retail to entertainment, the Barakah Mall will stand as a testament to our commitment to excellence and innovation.”Mr. Hatim Moumna, CEO and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Alpha said: "By combining our strengths and resources with GIB's strategic guidance and financial support, we aim to revolutionize the real estate sector in Saudi Arabia and contribute significantly to the nation's Vision 2030 objectives. Together, we are committed to launching innovative real estate projects that will not only shape the Kingdom's landscape but also foster community well-being and sustainable development."Osamah Mohammed Shaker, CEO of GIB Capital, said: “This agreement marks a significant milestone for us at GIB Capital as we aim to diversify portfolios in the Saudi market while offering unique investment opportunities and competitive returns to our clients.”
LG Electronics (LG) held an exclusive event in Bahrain on February 6th, when it highlighted its continuous efforts to advance the HVAC sector, promoting innovative solutions that cater to evolving consumer needs. Attendees of the seminar at the Diplomat Radisson Blue Hotel in Manama gained insights regarding LG's strategic vision, product innovation, and the pivotal role Bahrain plays in LG's regional growth strategy. The event set the perfect stage to showcase LG's Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) solutions’ cutting-edge technology, which offers unmatched efficiency, comfort, and control for both commercial and residential spaces. Featuring advanced features like simultaneous heating and cooling, individual zone control, and energy-saving innovations, LG's VRF systems provide tailored climate solutions while reducing energy consumption and operational costs. With a wide range of indoor unit options, including sleek ducted units and versatile ceiling cassettes, LG ensures seamless integration into any environment.Furthermore, LG's VRF systems prioritize sustainability, boasting high SEER ratings and utilizing eco-friendly refrigerants to minimize environmental impact. With their commitment to innovation and sustainability, LG continues to redefine comfort and efficiency in HVAC solutions with their VRF offerings.Another focus of the seminar was LG’s Retrofit Solution and Inverter Technology. As Bahrain moves towards implementing sustainable building practices, retrofitting old HVAC systems is one of the key methods for achieving low energy consumption. LG has been at the forefront of providing solutions that support global environmental care mandates.LG’s inverter compressor technology ensures consistent temperature and airflow and has been proven to provide up to 50% electricity consumption savings over conventional air conditioners. Retrofitting enables parts of the recycled and reused existing frameworks to be utilized, saving not only initial costs but also long-term operational expenditures. Owing to the method’s ability to utilize existing infrastructure, retrofitting is a popular choice for decision-makers and business owners as it saves time, cost, and effort.The excitement surrounding the event was added to during the introduction of the newly appointed General Manager for the Gulf Region, Mr. Brandon Sung. Armed with a wealth of experience garnered in the Asia and Pacific markets, Mr Sung is poised to lead LG Gulf towards further growth and success."We are thrilled to welcome Mr. Brandon Sung to spearhead LG's endeavors in the Gulf region. His extensive experience in the Asia and Pacific markets position him as a key assetin continuing LG's upward trajectory," remarked Ahmad Abed, Sales Director Air Solutions B2B at LG Electronics Gulf.LG is committed to fostering partnerships, sharing knowledge, and collaborating to create a sustainable and comfortable future for consumers in Bahrain and beyond. This seminar marks a significant step in LG's journey towards solidifying its leadership in the System Air-Conditioning sector in Bahrain, said Mr. Brandon Sung, General Manager of Air Solutions B2B, LG Electronics Gulf.
His Excellency Dr. Khalid Omar Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Media City (Shams), discussed cooperation with a delegation from South Korea, which included Guan Wang, CEO of the “Geng G” E-Sports Academy, and Heesuk Kang, Business Director. At Never-Z.The visit comes following the signing of Memorandums of Understanding between “Shams” and the Korean companies, which were witnessed at the time by His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and Chairman of Sharjah Media Council.H.E Dr. Al Midfa welcomed the guest delegation, highlighting the role of Sharjah Media City “Shams” in developing Media and E-sports, making it a Hub of creativity that will nurture new generations of media professionals and E-sports enthusiasts who will be equipped with the necessary skills and expertise to compete in the labour market.Al Midfa accompanied the visiting delegation on a field visit to Shams, where they learned about its institutional experiences, smart media developments, ambitious expansion, sustainable success stories, available capabilities, and progressive opportunities for future generations.The delegation met with several officials at “Shams” who presented the various tasks undertaken by their departments, which helped the media improve the level of service and media performance. The two parties discussed the work mechanism intending to implement several joint projects during the current year in the fields of training and artificial intelligence.For its part, the Korean delegation praised the level of balanced services provided by “Shams” and the great media, technological, and training role it provides in the local arena, stressing that the future will witness fruitful cooperation between the Republic of South Korea and the United Arab Emirates.The delegation also participated in presenting several workshops at the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival, supported by Shams as a partner in media, creativity, and startup competitions, within the course of promoting growth within the field of entrepreneurship.
Dubai: LuLu Group International, the Middle East's leading hypermarket chain headquartered in Abu Dhabi, is reportedly exploring a potential initial public offering (IPO) that could raise at least $1 billion. This move signals the company's aspirations for further growth and expansion across the region.IPO plans confirmed: LuLu has officially invited banks to pitch for roles in its planned IPO, confirming earlier reports about a potential listing in 2024.Fundraising target: Initial estimates suggest the IPO could raise at least $1 billion, injecting fresh capital to fuel the company's growth ambitions.Multiple listing possibilities: While confirmed for the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX), previous reports hint at a possible dual listing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, awaiting official confirmation.Global presence: With close to 260 stores across 26 countries, LuLu boasts a strong regional and international footprint, catering to diverse consumer needs.Financial strength: The company reports an annual turnover of $8 billion and employs over 70,000 people, showcasing its established market position and robust workforce.The Middle Eastern retail sector is anticipated to witness significant growth in the coming years, driven by factors like rising disposable incomes and burgeoning e-commerce. This scenario creates a favorable environment for established players like LuLu to expand their reach.Recent IPOs in the region, such as DEWA and ADNOC Drilling, have garnered strong investor interest. This bodes well for LuLu's potential offering, considering its brand recognition and established track record.Sustainability and e-commerce are emerging as key priorities for regional retailers. LuLu's initiatives in these areas can potentially enhance its attractiveness to investors.LuLu's planned IPO signifies its intention to leverage the growth potential of the Middle Eastern retail landscape. The success of the offering will hinge on the company's ability to articulate its expansion plans, address sustainability concerns, and capitalize on e-commerce opportunities. The IPO could propel LuLu's regional leadership and pave the way for further international expansion.
One of India's leading packaged drinking water brands, Bisleri has recently launched in the UAE across major modern format retail chains, general trade outlets, restaurants, and cafes. In the past year, Bisleri has collaborated with some of the biggest sporting events and franchises in India as hydration partners. Using the similar strategy in UAE, Bisleri has forged tie-ups with one of the most prestigious international marathons in the world, “Dubai Marathon” and renowned ILT20 sports franchisees, including Sharjah Warriors, Dubai Capitals, MI Emirates, Gulf Giants, and Abu Dhabi Knight Riders.Commenting on the association, Tushar Malhotra, Head of Marketing, Bisleri International Pvt. Ltd., said, "We are delighted to start our foray into the UAE with sporting associations such as the iconic Dubai Marathon and partnering with some of the most exciting teams - Sharjah Warriors, Dubai Capitals, MI Emirates, Gulf Giants, and Abu Dhabi Knight Riders. This is in continuation of the robust sports marketing programme we have built in India. This exercise has helped in strengthening the connection between Bisleri, hydration and sports as we endeavour to promote a fit and healthier lifestyle for our consumers.”As the official Hydration Partner, Bisleri will play a pivotal role in ensuring the players and fans stay hydrated throughout the sporting events. The association will be further amplified with on-ground branding presence, visibility, consumer experiences and exciting digital content with partner teams to bring the association and fan-fare alive.
Dubai: Homegrown gaming platform GameCentric is set to ignite the gaming scene in the Middle East with a series of tournaments featuring a prize pool of USD 2600 (AED 9500). Running until the 21st of March 2024, this gaming extravaganza is attracting widespread attention from gaming communities, promising a thrilling gaming experience across popular game titles.Who: GameCentric, a leading gaming platform (Register for free only at https://gamecentric.io/tournaments.)What: A thrilling series of gaming tournaments with a USD 2600 (AED 9500) prize poolWhere: Online, through your mobile or laptops When: Running until the 21st of March, 2024How: Participants aged 13 and above can register for free on the GameCentric websiteGaming enthusiasts and novices alike can partake in the excitement by engaging in a variety of games, including FC 24 Mobile, BrawlStars, Rocket League, Clash Royale, Chess, Dominoes, Valorant, League of Legends, and PUBG. From intense action in popular titles to the strategic play of Chess and Dominoes, the tournament caters to a diverse gaming audience.Entry is open to all participants aged 13 and above, with a simple and free registration process on the GameCentric website.Saad, Founder & CEO of GameCentric and GamersHub, said: “Our vision is to align GameCentric’s energetic appeal with the ‘Dubai Program for Gaming 2033,’ propelling the region to become a top-tier global gaming hub. GameCentric’s cutting-edge platform provides an opportunity for gamers worldwide to showcase their skills and contribute to the program’s goal of generating a $1 billion incremental GDP impact. We aim to build a vibrant community of gaming talent, consisting of gamers, developers, and enthusiasts, empowering them to contribute to a greater cause.”Gear up for an electrifying online gaming tournament experience where participants have the chance to not only compete but also win exciting rewards. Secure your spot in your favorite game today and be part of the gaming extravaganza that is set to redefine the gaming landscape in the Middle East.
Savola Group, a leading Saudi conglomerate with interests in food and retail, has announced its plans to list its subsidiary, Panda Retail Company, on the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul). This move underscores the company's strategic focus on expanding its retail footprint and leveraging digital initiatives to capitalize on the growing Saudi retail market.Key takeaways: • Unlocking shareholder value: The listing of Panda Retail aligns with Savola's strategy to create additional value for its shareholders. This follows the company's recent distribution of its stake in Almarai, another major player in the regional dairy industry. • Positive financial performance: Panda Retail boasts a "healthy recovery in profitability," according to Savola's statement. The company plans to sustain this momentum by expanding its physical presence and embracing digital transformation. • Market leader in Saudi Arabia: Panda Retail currently operates over 185 stores across Saudi Arabia, serving more than 90 million customers annually in both Saudi Arabia and Egypt. • Rights issue to precede listing: Prior to the IPO, Savola plans to raise 6 billion riyals ($1.6 billion) through a rights issue. This capital injection will support the company's financial position and potentially facilitate debt reduction. Saudi Arabia's retail market is projected to reach $268 billion by 2025, making it one of the fastest-growing retail markets globally. This growth is driven by factors such as a rising population, increasing disposable income, and a growing preference for online shopping. Digitalization is becoming increasingly important in the Saudi retail sector. Savola's focus on digital initiatives reflects this trend, and the company has already launched several e-commerce platforms and mobile apps. The IPO market in Saudi Arabia has been witnessing a surge in activity in recent years. This trend is expected to continue, driven by government initiatives aimed at diversifying the economy and attracting foreign investment. Overall, Savola's decision to list Panda Retail signifies its confidence in the potential of the Saudi retail sector and its commitment to capitalizing on growth opportunities. (Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay)
AppsFlyer unveiled a new report which reveals that UAE consumers are easily disenchanted by the mobile applications offered by brands — the majority (56.44%) of Android1 applications are uninstalled within just 30 days of being downloaded. This figure is notably higher than that for more mature markets such as the United States and United Kingdom, where the average 30-day uninstall rate for Android apps stands at 46.76% and 47.82% respectively.Commenting on the implications of the above-average rate of app uninstallation in the country, Paul Wright, General Manager Western Europe and MENAT at AppsFlyer, said: “Research we conducted in early 2023 indicated that the vast majority (84%) of UAE business believe that mobile apps are a ‘must’ to stay relevant to their customers and consequently 9 in 10 UAE businesses now offer an app as a means of engaging with customers. However, as our latest research shows, earning, and then maintaining, a spot on customers’ smartphones is becoming immensely difficult. The harsh reality is that with a multitude of competitors and rising user expectations, apps that fail to deliver quickly and effectively are at an increasing risk of being uninstalled.”The company also shed light on which types of apps are most susceptible to rapid changes in user perceptions. Looking at non-organic installs — driven by successful conversions of marketing efforts — Lifestyle apps fared the poorest with 86% being deleted within 30 days. Even the top 10% of these applications suffered an uninstall rate of 50%. Interestingly, Finance, Shopping, and Food & Beverage applications all showed high uninstall rates for non-organic downloads at 70%, 66% and 62% respectively.These figures were all significantly better for apps that had been organically downloaded by users. In these instances, just over half (52%) of Lifestyle apps remained on users’ smart devices for over 30 days, while 58% of Finance apps, 64% of shopping apps and 46% of Food & Beverage apps achieved this desirable outcome. "Organic users have higher intent than non-organic users and therefore it is no surprise that across categories, their uninstall rate is much lower. That said, in the Middle East, for Android, non-organic instals account for the larger portion (55%) of all app installs. This significance of non-organic install cannot be overlooked. Rather, mobile marketers should recognise that their efforts cannot stop at simply driving installs. They need to work with other stakeholders to ensure that hard earned users are retained as this will yield greater ROIs on their campaign investments,” explained Wright.To enable app marketers to plan user retention campaigns more effectively, AppsFlyer worked to pinpoint exactly when users are dropping off the most. Globally, the company's data shows that the first day is when most users uninstall apps, likely the result of unmet expectations or false promises. Although all verticals display a similar trend over the first 30 days, Finance apps set the pace early on with 23% higher day 1 rates compared to the average of other verticals.“As the highest uninstall rate occurs on the first day, nailing the onboarding process becomes paramount. To reduce the uninstall rate within the first day and the first week, brands must ensure a seamless and engaging onboarding experience that fosters a strong and lasting connection with users," said Wright. "Moreover, as these high uninstall rates for UAE consumers demonstrate, brands should avoid over-promising in an attempt to maximise downloads, as it can lead to frustration and potentially damage your brand irreparably."
The "Birth Days" promotion by Impact BBDO and Brave Heart Fund in Lebanon is a powerful initiative that aims to raise awareness and funds for pediatric heart surgeries. In Lebanon, where over 600 babies are diagnosed with heart disease annually, the campaign sheds light on the urgency of the issue, highlighting that one infant is diagnosed every 12 hours with a life-threatening condition.The campaign creatively utilizes the concept of birthdays to convey its message. By incorporating 4-digit numbers on birthday cakes, typically associated with celebratory milestones, viewers are prompted to question the significance behind them. Through a touching film showcasing children joyfully blowing out candles on these cakes, the campaign effectively juxtaposes the innocence of childhood celebrations with the harsh reality faced by children battling congenital heart disease.The QR code system implemented alongside the cakes allows people to easily donate to the cause, encouraging community participation and support. By emphasizing that every day lived by these young warriors is akin to a birthday, the campaign delivers a poignant reminder of the importance of celebrating life and rallying together to ensure that economic constraints do not prevent families from accessing critical surgeries.Moreover, the campaign extends beyond a mere call for financial assistance, aiming to foster a sense of unity within the community. By urging individuals to recognize and support the ongoing struggle faced by children with congenital heart disease, the initiative not only raises vital funds but also promotes empathy and solidarity in tackling this pressing issue.Overall, the "Birth Days" campaign is a heartfelt and impactful endeavour that effectively combines creativity with a noble cause, striving to make a meaningful difference in the lives of children and families affected by heart disease in Lebanon.
Jahez International Company (“Jahez-Kuwait”), a pioneering platform that connects customers with their favorite restaurants through online orders, concluding its end of year campaign, revealing the grand prize winner of the luxurious Lexus LX600 SUV. During the grand prize draw, Jahez-Kuwait announced Wejdan AlMutairi as the winner of the luxury SUV, a prize unparalleled in its magnitude amongst food delivery service campaigns in Kuwait. This achievement highlights the Company's dedication to customer appreciation but also sets a new benchmark for promotional giveaways in the industry.The winner of Jahez-Kuwait’s end of year campaign, Wejdan AlMutairi was selected at random in the draw that was run by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) representative, ensuring a fair and transparent process in awarding the grand prize of a brand-new Lexus LX600 SUV. This meticulous selection procedure was conducted under strict supervision, with every entry being given equal consideration to uphold the integrity of the draw. The electronic system used for the draw was designed to randomly select a winner from the multitude of entries, each representing an order placed through the Jahez-Kuwait app during the campaign period. Displaying the name of the lucky winner marked a momentous moment for both winner and Jahez-Kuwait, demonstrating the Company’s commitment to customer satisfaction and engagement.Throughout the campaign, Jahez-Kuwait reinforced its commitment to enriching the customer experience. Aside from the grand prize draw, Jahez-Kuwait organized a series of draws, which included chances to win a variety of substantial prizes. The draws were met with overwhelming enthusiasm from the Company’s valued customer base who were eager to win one of the valuable prizes. Over the campaign's duration, a total of KD10,000 in credit and KD40,000 in cash were awarded to lucky customers. A cash prize of KD10,000 was also awarded to one lucky winner in the first grand prize draw held towards the end of December.With the conclusion of the campaign, Jahez-Kuwait indicated in a statement that the Company aspires to strengthen its position in the Kuwaiti market by providing customers with a range of experiences that extend beyond its core services. Jahez-Kuwait formed numerous fruitful collaborations throughout 2023 with various restaurants, institutions and companies within the private sector to engage with its growing customer base. The Company has also effectively updated its mobile app to deliver exceptional value-adding services to its customers while introducing a variety of promotions. These initiatives, as well as activities such as the end of year campaign, align with the Company’s ethos, with the optimal goal of creating a comprehensive and enriched user experience. As Jahez-Kuwait continues to evolve, it remains committed to delivering innovative solutions and fostering a strong community connection, thereby solidifying its status as a leader in the food delivery industry in Kuwait.Faisal Alsaei, Marketing Manager at Jahez-Kuwait stated, “We at Jahez-Kuwait would like to thank our customers for the remarkable success of our end of year campaign and are delighted with the positive responses that we have received. Our objective in organizing this end of year campaign was to reward our loyal customers for selecting Jahez-Kuwait as their preferred food delivery service in Kuwait. It provided us with an opportunity to give back to customers by rewarding them with various prizes, along with an advanced app that offers unique features. On behalf of Jahez-Kuwait, I would also like to congratulate Wejdan AlMutairi on winning the grand prize, the luxurious Lexus LX600 SUV.”Alsaei added, “As Jahez-Kuwait moves forward, we remain dedicated to pioneering new standards in the food delivery sector. With our customer-centric approach and innovative solutions, we aim to continue shaping the future of food delivery in Kuwait, offering unparalleled convenience and exceptional experiences. Jahez-Kuwait’s unwavering dedication to customer satisfaction, combined with its ability to adapt and respond to changing market dynamics, positions us uniquely in the industry. In this regard, we will continue to introduce value-adding experiences that will enable us to engage with our customers on various levels.”It is worth mentioning that Jahez-Kuwait entered the competitive food delivery industry with an innovative approach that focuses on enhancing the delivery experience for customers and restaurants. By allowing customers to simply drop a pin for delivery without needing to enter an address, Jahez-Kuwait provides a seamless and intuitive experience that takes convenience to a new level. The platform further empowers its users with flexible payment options, offering the freedom to pay anytime, whether before or after delivery, putting the control squarely in customers' hands. Additionally, in collaboration with select partners, Jahez offers up to 50% off at some restaurants, providing unmatched value and making it a truly compelling choice for food delivery in Kuwait.
Middle East Film & Comic Con (MEFCC), the region’s largest pop culture festival organised in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, has revealed that Golden Globe-winning actor and producer Oscar Isaac will headline the all-star lineup of MEFCC 2024, taking place from 9-11 February at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.In an extraordinary journey spanning from the Star Wars saga to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the world of X-Men, Isaac has tackled an array of fan-favourite roles.It was his portrayal of X-wing fighter pilot Poe Dameron in the Star Wars sequel trilogy (2015–2019) that made Isaac an endearing global star and a household name. His role as the eponymous struggling folk singer in the musical drama Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) earned him a Golden Globe nomination, while he received a Golden Globe award for his performance in the HBO miniseries Show Me a Hero and an Emmy nomination for his role in HBO's Scenes from a Marriage.Marking Isaac’s introduction into the Marvel Cinematic Universe was Moon Knight, where he played the lead character in this six-episode series about a vigilante with an otherworldly connection to an Egyptian Moon God. This was followed by more iconic roles, where he voiced Miguel O’Hara/Spider-Man 2099 in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, and Duke Leto Atreides in the Hollywood Blockbuster, Dune.Isaac’s presence in Abu Dhabi will be a thrill for MEFCC fans and patrons, with the Stanley Kubrick-inspired actor being a part of Meet the Stars attraction, where visitors can meet the headline celebrity, snap a selfie, and create the memory of a lifetime.The legendary Manga artist and creator of Captain Tsubasa, Yoichi Takahashi, will also be making his way to Abu Dhabi to delight life-long fans at MEFCC. Better known as Captain Majid in the Middle East, Takahashi’s manga has inspired generations of, not just anime and manga fans, but professional football players too including Messi, Zidane, Iniesta and many more. His impact on the region is quite evident, with so many fans having grown up with the franchise in the region, and it being one of the cornerstones for Anime’s popularity in the Middle East.The latest announcement and joining the headliner is Sophia Di Martino, portraying Sylvie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe television series, Loki. Di Martino was awarded ‘Breakthrough Performance’ and Best Team with Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson at the 2022 MTV Movie & TV Awards. Her standout performance and show-stealing charisma made her an absolute fan favourite, with viewers actively requesting for her role to be more prominent moving forward in the MCU.Toru Furuya joins Japanese Voice Actor Line-upToru Furuya is a legend in the Japanese voice-acting world, having made his debut at age 10 and played many famous characters over a fifty-year career. He is best known for voicing Tuxedo Mask in Sailor Moon, Amuro Ray in Mobile Suit Gundam, Yamcha in Dragon Ball, Sabo in One Piece, Pegasus Seiya in Saint Seiya, and Rei Furuya in Detective Conan. Besides these characters, Furuya has voiced over a hundred characters in the world of anime.MEFCC 2024 is also set to welcome a stellar line-up of voice actors, including Japanese actor, voice actor and singer Show Hayami; Frank Welker, the voice behind Transformers’ Megatron, Garfield and Scooby Doo; Peter Cullen, the voice actor behind Optimus Prime, the protagonist of Transformers; as well as American voice actor and musician Troy Baker.Simone Di Meo joins Comic Creator line-upAlso making his way to Abu Dhabi next week will be acclaimed comic creator Simone Di Meo. As a DC Comics exclusive artist, Di Meo is currently working on a new series for Batman and Robin and will regale the audience with the inside story of his acclaimed journey as a comic artist.Di Meo will join a star-studded line-up at this year’s event that includes legendary Brazilian comic creator Ivan Reis, and other acclaimed artists such as Mark Brooks, Carlo Pagulayan, Stephen Segovia, Steve McNiven, and Kode Abdo, also known as BossLogic.Ensemble cast at MEFCC 2024The ensemble cast of guest celebrities at the convention this year includes Olivier-nominated actor Taz Skylar and his One Piece co-star Iñaki Godoy. Also taking part this year are Harry Potter’s mischievous Weasley twins, James and Oliver Phelps, and iconic Star Wars actor Temuera Morrison.Ultimate fan experience at MEFCCBoasting a 12-year legacy of celebrating film, TV, sci-fi, anime, manga, gaming, comics and collectibles, MEFCC aims to create the ultimate fan experience in Abu Dhabi, with memorable attractions including the Comic Creators Club, where avid fans can get their own unique commissions; the Artist Alley, featuring local and regional emerging and established artists showcasing and selling their latest work; and the Gaming Arena, where enthusiasts can level up with the latest challenges.The Main Stage at MEFCC will host celebrity panels, interviews, community sessions and fan screenings, while the Festival Plaza is where visitors will get to enjoy live entertainment, music, activities, and lip-smacking food and beverages.
Publicis Groupe Middle East announced the appointment of Ahmed Younis, more commonly known as Fizo in the industry, as its new Chief Creative Officer for Publicis Communications KSA, overseeing Leo Burnett and Saatchi & Saatchi. Recognised as one of the top 10 Creative Leaders in MENA, Fizo will drive the Groupe’s creative agenda in the Kingdom and foster collaborative teams that deliver extraordinary work for clients. Fizo has an impressive 25-year journey in creative leadership, digital strategy, social media marketing. His campaigns have left a significant impact on the advertising landscape in the region. Prior to joining Publicis Groupe ME, he served as the Head of Creative Strategy at Meta MENA, where he played a key role in developing strategies and campaigns that advanced digital marketing in the region. With direct experience leading global cross-functional teams, Fizo contributed significantly to generating millions of dollars in revenue for major moments like Ramadan and the World Cup.Commenting on the appointment Bassel Kakish, CEO, Publicis Groupe ME&T said, “Fizo, is one of the most celebrated creative leaders in this region and he has been instrumental in showcasing regional creative excellence globally. With Saudi Arabia fast emerging as a thriving creative hub, Ahmed taking the creative helm ensures we not only stay ahead of the curve but help define the creative narrative of the Kingdom. Under his leadership, we are well-positioned to deliver transformative work for our clients”. Before Meta, Fizo was with FP7 McCann Cairo for almost a decade where he worked on high-profile clients Coca-Cola, Orange, Nestlé, McDonald's, and the UN World Food Programme. He comes highly decorated winning awards from key shows like Cannes Lions, D&AD, MENA Effies, Andy’s and LIA. “It’s exciting to join a team I’ve admired for so long. The Groupe’s work has always inspired me, and this feels like a homecoming as everyone is so welcoming. I’m looking forward to utilising my creative leadership and experience to build stronger connections and drive success with our partners”, said Ahmed Younis, Chief Creative Officer, Publicis Communications KSA.
Merkle, dentsu’s leading technology-enabled customer experience management company, has today announced the key appointment of Sameer Poonja to the newly created Head of Experience and Platforms role. In his new position, Sameer will lead the Experience Platform capability for Merkle, with a focus on helping clients create omni-channel content-driven experiences. His responsibilities include delivering high quality, integrated experiences and championing the principles of headless content and digital asset management to deliver customised experiences. Sameer will lead the delivery of these outcomes by connecting the dots across Merkle’s pillars of analytics, data, CX, UX creative and performance marketing. Poonja is an experience pioneer, with several career highlights including launching Emirates Airlines' first consumer-facing application, building Canada's first wireless machine with Coca-Cola, and spearheading the launch of Canada's first cloud-based hotel management system. His entrepreneurial spirit also led him to co-found Spades, a contactless web-based dine-in solution, in response to the growing demand for frictionless payment experiences.Commenting on his appointment, Sameer remarked, "I am thrilled to join Merkle MENA and embark on this exciting journey of shaping transformative digital experiences. By focusing on the 'why' I believe we can redefine the boundaries of what’s possible in the region’s digital landscape. Merkle holds a distinctive position in the market, offering our clients a comprehensive blend of strategic insights, creative ingenuity, design and technical proficiency, and effective commercial strategies to advance their growth agendas." Prior to joining Merkle, Sameer served as a Senior Advisor at Roland Berger, where he played a pivotal role in establishing growth strategies for prominent entities such as Entertainer and various Saudi Government institutions. He has also demonstrated a commitment to fostering innovation and driving tangible results by mentoring, incubating, and accelerating new entrants on the Fintech Fast Track Program while leading Innovation, Partnerships and Design for Visa CEMEA. Andreas Skopal, Managing Director Merkle MENA said, “Sameer brings unparalleled experience and a proven track record in strategy, experience platforms and innovation. I have no doubt that under his guardianship we will be able to set new standards in digital experience delivery by harnessing platforms and fostering collaboration across UX, business upskilling, performance, and cross-channel connectivity to facilitate seamless interactions across digital touchpoints for our clients and their customers.” Poonja commences the role with immediate effect. This appointment follows the earlier announcements of Stacy Anderson as Deputy Managing Director, Omar Khan of Head of Data & Analytics and Andreas Skopal as Managing Director, and forms part of a growing Merkle MENA executive team.
Kibsons, the UAE’s homegrown e-commerce grocery retailer places customers front and centre in its new fully-integrated, brand campaign, launched today.Four families, filmed at their homes in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, celebrate the joys of wholesome food and togetherness in the campaign titled, “Life Unboxed”, which celebrates both everyday life and the undeniable brand hero of the ‘big blue box’ - the mainstay of many families weekly planning across the UAE.A 45-second video has been released featuring Kibsons customers from all walks of family life; including mums, dads, children, and a person of determination. The UAE-focused omni-channel campaign will run through the month of February on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. Consolidating the online campaign, an original, conceptualised pop-up experience will tour around Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as mega Kibsons Life Unboxed boxes will land in parks and public spaces and make an appearance at the upcoming Taste of Dubai, from February 23-25, offering customers exciting prizes worth AED 45,000 when they share their #LifeUnboxed moments on their platforms. Broadcast amplification for the campaign will see #LifeUnboxed running across ARN radio channels during February offering exclusive prizes and promotion of the pop-up experience across the UAE.Halima Jumani, Director, Kibsons said “Everything we do starts and ends with our customers, so it seemed very natural to take a customer centric approach to this campaign, and place some of our most loyal customers at the very centre. In showcasing their stories and how Kibsons helps them live #LifeUnboxed, we champion physical, emotional, and social wellness and inclusion, as well as the importance of leading a life brimming with health, contentment and togetherness. We are grateful to the families that opened their homes to us, and to the thousands, who choose Kibsons and receive our blue boxes every day.”A new, limited edition Kibsons #Lifeunboxed box will be launched for the span of the campaign featuring a distinct blue gingham check pattern, familiar across various cultures and countries, symbolising the accessibility of Kibsons and the diversity of the families and communities it serves. The pattern is also frequently connected with picnics and outdoor living, highlighting the perks of leading simple and wholesome lifestyles. <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7hfY2m8pJ_U?si=Gqjt-p0GW68JjEGV" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Elias Karam, Strategy Director at Grey Dubai, stands at the forefront of advertising innovation, constantly challenging conventional norms. In this exclusive interview, he sheds light on a critical aspect of AI in advertising—its inability to generate captivating positioning or creative ideas. From his journey spanning finance to marketing and now advertising, Elias shares insights into his passion for understanding human psychology and crafting strategies that resonate. Join us as we delve into his experiences, strategies, and vision for the future of advertising.Please share your professional journey with us. How has it been with its highs and lows?It’s been nothing short of a rollercoaster, I’ve always been about having a job that excites me and challenges me, and I’ve dedicated my career so far in search of that. I started out in finance in a tobacco company, and found it too mechanical, lacking the human relationships that I found more interesting.After completing my master’s programme, I transitioned into marketing in hopes of finding what I was looking for in that field, but it wasn’t long before realized that the aspect of the work that I enjoyed the most was the one around brand perceptions and consumer behaviour, and, amusingly, it was there that I discovered the world of planning in the advertising field. Like a puzzle that finally fit, I discovered a profession dedicated to my love of writing and deep interest in consumer psychology.Making the shift though was an incredible challenge for me and it was only later that I realized that planners were not only a scarce commodity in the industry but also one without a clear linear path to break into, so understandably few agencies were willing to take a bet on me. By serendipitous fortune, after a series of interviews and a case study, I got a chance at Publicis to be a planner.Ever since, I’ve been hitting the ground running and grateful for every moment I’ve been a planner.As you have mentioned you started with finance, then marketing and now in advertising. So where does your real passion lie? How would you rate yourself in advertising?My passion lies in decoding human psychology, what motivates people, what interests them, and, more importantly, why it does. I've recently been fascinated by the signals and behaviors that many platforms capture to paint a personalized portrait of people. I see the potential for marrying my role as a planner with technology to transform our conversations with consumers, shifting from generic shots in the dark to ones of intimate understanding.It's hard to say how I would rate myself in advertising, but I do love smart campaigns, ones that zero in on an insight and then through the power of creativity and technology deliver on something impactful. A great example is Cadbury’s ‘Shah Rukh Khan My Ad’ which brilliantly blends all three components. The industry is constantly evolving, and the lines between where advertising starts and stops is getting blurry; so what we may have known about advertising a few years ago may not apply today.Can you describe your experience in developing and implementing successful advertising strategies at Grey Dubai? What is your approach to understanding a client's business and target audience when developing a marketing strategy?I’ve had a great time developing both campaign and brand strategies at Grey Dubai. We have such a diverse set of clients across different industries from FMCG to retail to fintech, and the approach is almost entirely different each time.Going back to consumer behaviour, within each category there is a sandbox of emotional territories to tap into that the brand can credibly deliver on to its target audience. At Grey, we employ our 'Famously Effective' Methodology to uncover and pinpoint that space within the context of culture, ensuring it holds unique and relevant meaning for our consumers.Can you provide an example of a campaign where your strategic direction significantly contributed to the client's success? What challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them?Out of respect for my current clients and the confidentiality of our recent projects, I'll share an example from a previous campaign I led for Nescafe.Around two years ago, Nescafe was gearing up to launch a second burst of its Nescafe Ice product, and they sought to adapt the previous campaign to fit the summer season. The challenge presented itself twofold: how to uphold the essence of the previous campaign's line and look & feel while infusing it with freshness, and how to avoid succumbing to the temptation of portraying the ice beverage as merely a means to cool off in the scorching Gulf heat.By delving into what the category did and how people’s lifestyle changes during the summer season, I noticed that people struggled to maintain that coolness and cheerful state during the season as everything became indoors; friends and family were out of town, and all iced beverages could do was keep them refreshed during the heat. So we leveraged those two realities to create a new take on the season that fit well under the ‘Be Ice’ platform for the product. It was one of those moments where the creative work and strategy were harmonized and in sync that it immediately got bought in by the client from the first round.In the rapidly evolving landscape of digital advertising, how do you ensure that your strategies remain innovative and effective? Do you think AI is the next step for innovations?I often work on an integrated level, getting insights and data from media, social agencies, and platforms to understand what elicits the best results and what is trending. A big part of planning is research and staying up to date on the latest campaigns, new approaches, and new trends across social to best leverage where it's relevant for our brands.AI is indeed becoming increasingly indispensable in our daily operations. However, its Achilles heel, in my view, lies in its inability to make the creative leap when it comes to crafting intriguing positioning or generating innovative ideas. While AI text generators like Bard and Chat GPT can offer smart and logical strategies, they often fall short in presenting something truly creative or disruptive.What role does consumer research play in your strategic planning process, and how do you ensure that insights are effectively incorporated into campaigns?It’s the cornerstone of any campaign or strategic task, that serves as our starting point for what the brand can do for a consumer. Consumer research comes in many forms, and at Grey we try to collate as many different sources as possible from focus groups to commissioned studies to trends tools to create a data-driven approach from the smallest moment marketing campaign to a brand repositioning strategy.Obtaining data is one aspect of the equation; the other lies in transforming that data into actionable insights for the creative team. I typically ensure insights are integrated into the work through two methods. Firstly, during the briefing, I showcase references that encapsulate a similar insight and initiate discussions with the creatives to gauge their thoughts on it. Secondly, when the creatives present their concepts, I reverse engineer the idea to verify if the insight I arrived at aligns with the one used in the briefing.As a strategy director, how do you balance the need for creativity with the need for measurable results in advertising campaigns?What really matters here is understanding what ‘measurable’ results we’re looking for to help inform the type of creativity we need. My role as a planner is to keep adjusting the thermostat on the creative license as we go through the funnel, helping them dial it down when giving way to more specific messages that have little flexibility.What emerging technologies or platforms do you believe will have a significant impact on the advertising industry in the next few years, and how are you preparing for those changes?Generative AI is revolutionizing our industry, with tools like Runway and Midjourney becoming essential not only for creatives with an art background but also for planners seeking to bring their strategic propositions to life. These tools have democratized the visualization process, granting individuals without an art background the ability to act as visual creators with just a few prompts.Another key platform to watch out for is TikTok which has redefined what content should look like. Once upon a time, classic 30-second films needed high production budgets and a very staged look. As TikTok took the world by storm, we saw more and more consumers want authentic raw content, demanding the insights, the casting, and the content to feel closer to home. This had larger implications on how consumers wanted to see content, even outside TikTok.While these are just two of the many new and changing faces that are impacting the industry. We have already made great strides in embracing those changes rather than pushing them away. We work closer with the platform, using different tools to understand new trends and content formats that best serve the consumer. Regarding Generative AI, an increasing number of team members across departments are enhancing their capabilities through these tools to streamline processes. However, it's crucial to ensure that despite the utilization of AI, the creative and human touch remains integral to our work.Where do you see yourself in five years from now?I don’t think I’ve ever been able to answer this question with any degree of accuracy; I often change my point of view within months! While I don't know where I’ll be, I certainly know that what I’ll be doing will revolve around data & technology and using it to better understand human behaviour to help brands genuinely get closer to its audience.
Matthew Dicks, Executive Director of Music and Talent at MDLBEAST Records, highlighted the growing influence of Arabic music on the global stage, reaching European countries like Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom.Speaking at "Balad Beast" music festival that was held recently in Jeddah, Matthew emphasized the unique platform MDLBEAST festivals provide for discovering young talents and fostering the local artistic community. Matthew Dicks stated, "We are proud that 30 of our artists are Saudis. In just two years, we have achieved remarkable milestones, including over 200 million streams on digital platforms, collaborations with 37 international artists, including Arab diaspora and 43 regional artists from the Middle East and North Africa, and the release of 159 singles, four albums, and nine EPs. Also, through our talent development and management, we are already exporting our talents and music worldwide where they have performed in 2023 across Europe, UK and the US at festivals and legendary clubs."Expressing his delight in participating in Balad Beast, he said, "It has been an incredible opportunity to connect with the remarkable community of artists and music enthusiasts in the Kingdom. The support for various music genres, from hip-hop to house and R&B, is impressive and continues to evolve within a dynamic and creative music scene."He praised MDLBEAST's exceptional ability to identify promising voices and talents, creating a global appeal through collaborations with renowned international artists. He highlighted the successes of MDLBEAST Records and its imprints, showcasing the rise of Saudi talents like Cosmicat, Dish Dash, Baloo and Vinyl Mode, who have become shining stars in the Saudi music scene. He further emphasized MDLBEAST Records' mission to discover local talents, collaborate in the Kingdom with international and regional artists, and provide growth opportunities for emerging talents.In conclusion, Matthew commended the MDLBEAST Records team, which comprises of predominantly local Saudi team members and a diverse mix of international, regional executives. Their expertise and dedication have contributed to the achievements and world-class level of MDLBEAST Records.
Market research company Ipsos has appointed Ziad Issa as the new Media CEO, succeeding Elie Aoun, who has decided to step down after an exceptional 32-year tenure at Ipsos in MENA.In his new capacity, Ziad will lead and manage the media research business and the audience measurement at Ipsos across the MENA region. Ziad will play a crucial role in advancing the media business with a primary focus on commercial activation and the introduction of new media services. In his new role, Ziad reports directly to Edouard Monin, the CEO of Ipsos in MENA.“With his expertise in Media Research, Ziad is well-positioned to accelerate our progress. I am delighted to welcome such a seasoned and respected leader to our executive team. Together, we will foster a collaborative spirit for our clients and a bright future for our talent,” commented Edouard Monin, CEO of Ipsos in MENA.Ziad, who joined Ipsos in January 2005, has demonstrated unwavering dedication and strategic thinking throughout his tenure. Progressing through various roles, including Media Research Manager, Director, Chief Client Officer, and Chief Media Officer, Ziad is well-equipped to lead the media business and drive further success for Ipsos in MENA.“As someone who has proudly chosen Ipsos as my second home for the past two decades, prioritizing our clients' needs has always been my priority. I am dedicated to delivering exceptional service by embracing the dynamic changes within the media landscape. Our pursuit of excellence will persist as we strive to offer innovative solutions to our region,” explained Ziad Issa.
Creative and digital marketing agency Alternative has appointed Yash Ganatra as Client Service Head. With an illustrious career and an innate understanding of clients' needs, Yash Ganatra is poised to elevate the agency's client service department to new horizons of excellence.He brings an abundance of experience and wisdom to his new position at Alternative. His professional journey has been a symphony of dedication to perfection and a relentless commitment to delivering extraordinary outcomes for clients. He boasts an impressive track record of forging robust client relationships and crafting ingenious solutions to address their distinctive challenges.Yash Ganatra’s mastery in client service and his strategic acumen seamlessly align with the agency's core mission, providing exceptional creative and marketing solutions to our clients. He possesses an uncanny ability to decipher clients' needs, foresee market trends, and construct effective strategies, making him the linchpin in taking Alternative Agency's client service department to uncharted zeniths.Yash Ganatra’s appointment comes at a juncture when Alternative is experiencing a meteoric rise, expanding its client roster across diverse industries. His leadership will be instrumental in ensuring that the agency continues to deliver world-class services, retaining its vanguard position in the industry.Alternative stands as a pioneering force in the realm of creative and digital marketing solutions. Specializing in brand activation, digital video content, social media management, mobile applications, wearable technology, innovation marketing, online advertising, and the artistry of bespoke websites with custom CMS, the agency boasts a dedicated coterie of creative virtuosos.
Google is launching a new short video series to answer the top searched questions on AI on Google by users in the Middle East and North Africa. The six-episode short video series in Arabic which aims to demystify the most common misconceptions around AI will be hosted by popular Saudi content creator, Abdullah AlAlawi and will feature veteran AI experts from Google including Mehdi Ghissassi, Director of Product Management at Google DeepMind.According to Google, Arabic queries on AI by users in the Middle East and North Africa region rose significantly in the last 12 months, and many of them are related to its daily practical uses. The six episodes will address the top searched questions -Episode 1: What is Generative AI?Episode 2: How can I use AI in my studies?Episode 3: What is the difference between AI and Machine Learning?Episode 4: How can I use AI everyday?Episode 5: How can I protect my data while using AI tools?Episode 6: How can I use AI to be more productive and creative?Googleyat will be published every week starting February 5th and will run on Google Arabia’s channels on YouTube, Instagram and X, as well as the channels of Abdullah AlAlawi on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.
Guerlain, a brand known for its perfumes and make-up, has announced the appointment of Balqees Fathi as the first Emirati regional ambassador for Guerlain Middle East. It is touted as a significant milestone for both the artist and the brand. Fathi's values strongly align with Guerlain's, particularly in terms of sustainability and appreciation for craftsmanship, which are becoming increasingly important in today's consumer landscape. Fathi's long-standing support for Guerlain further underscores her genuine connection with the brand, making her appointment as ambassador a natural progression.On her appointment, Balqees Fathi, Guerlain Ambassador, says: “I’m thrilled to start off this year with this exciting announcement. More than an ambassadorship, my work with Guerlain is a very personal collaboration - the values of the Maison are very close to my own, and its products have been on my vanity for as long as I remember. It’s with great pleasure that I embark on this new journey with Guerlain.”For Guerlain, this partnership signifies a strategic move to connect more deeply with women across the region, leveraging Fathi's status as a cultural icon and her resonance with contemporary audiences. Jenny Dumoulin's welcoming words highlight the excitement surrounding this collaboration and the recognition of Fathi's beauty, personality, and influence.Overall, this collaboration between Balqees Fathi and Guerlain represents a harmonious blend of two forces — the timeless elegance of the brand and the enchanting charisma of the artist — and is poised to resonate with consumers in the Middle East and beyond.
IndiaCast Media Distribution Pvt Ltd, the content asset monetization arm of TV18 and Viacom18, is proud to announce the launch of DesiPlay TV, a South Asian ‘FAST’ (Free Ad Supported Streaming Television) Channel on Shahid in HD format. This groundbreaking partnership between IndiaCast Media and Shahid, the world’s leading Arabic streaming platform by MBC Group will bring the vibrant world of Hindi entertainment to audiences across the globe, except for India.DesiPlay TV is set to revolutionize the way viewers access and enjoy South Asian content by offering a diverse range of programs, including movies, drama series, and much more with English subtitles. As a FAST channel, it is completely free and supported by advertisements, making it accessible to audiences from any device or locations.Key Highlights of DesiPlay TV on Shahid:1. Global Accessibility: DesiPlay TV is available to audiences around the world (except India), providing a unique opportunity for South Asian content enthusiasts to connect with their roots and explore the rich tapestry of South Asian culture.2. Evergreen Hindi Content: Viewers can expect an exciting array of content that spans genres and caters to a broad audience, from classic Bollywood movies to cutting-edge original series and culturally rich reality shows. The channel line up boasts of some of the most loved and popular shows like Na Ana Is Des Laado, Uttaran, Comedy Nights with Kapil etc.3. Free to View: DesiPlay TV is free to access, ensuring that viewers can enjoy high-quality South Asian content without any subscription fees.4. Continuous Engagement: The channel will regularly update its content library, providing fresh and engaging entertainment to keep viewers entertained.Mr. Govind Shahi, Executive Vice President, and Head of International Business, IndiaCast Media, expressed his excitement about this groundbreaking collaboration, saying, "We are thrilled to bring DesiPlay TV to South Asian entertainment enthusiasts in the Middle East and around the world. Our partnership with MBC and Shahid is a testament to our commitment to delivering high-quality, accessible content that caters to a global audience. This marks the beginning of an exciting journey, and we look forward to providing an unparalleled viewing experience to fans of quality South Asian entertainment."Lina Matta, Director of AVOD at MBC GROUP added: We are excited to introduce DesiPlay TV, a South Asian FAST channel on Shahid, in collaboration with IndiaCast which has proved to be a significant addition to our diverse content offerings. We pride ourselves in delivering high-quality, global entertainment experiences, and DesiPlay TV aligns perfectly with our mission. We look forward to welcoming viewers from around the world to enjoy the rich tapestry of South Asian entertainment, available on Shahid."
Social Clinic has appointed Rayyan Jamjoom as Chief Executive Officer (CEO).In his social post on LinkedIn, he shares: “My professional journey has been nothing short of fascinating! It all began with a solid foundation at a multinational company, Unilever, where I honed my business skills and developed my professional identity. Despite being on a promising trajectory at Unilever, in 2013 I made a bold decision to embark on a completely different path joining a local media company – FADEN MEDIA. Joining Faden was irresistible to me because of its challenging environment and the passion and sheer drive exuding from its leadership; my bosses-turned-partners. As one of the first Saudi commercial talents in the field of media, I faced numerous challenges during my time at Faden, but these experiences have undoubtedly shaped me into the leader, investor, partner, team player, and go-getter that I am today. My growth hasn’t always been due to successes. Along the way, I have also learned a great deal from experiences that were not successful including a venture in the fashion retail industry and an investment in a food-tech company.”Rayyan Jamjoom, on acquiring Social Clinic in 2017, said: “I bid farewell to the world of offline media and embrace the exciting realm of advertising and communication as the CEO of my own company, Social Clinic. I, along with an extraordinary team, have grown Social Clinic from a small digital media boutique to a full-fledged communication agency with more than 100 employees. I am thrilled to be part of a talented group of young, intelligent, and passionate individuals who are shaping the future of the communication sector.” Jamjoom's optimism and enthusiasm for contributing to Saudi Arabia's progress under the leadership of HRH Prince Mohammed Bin Salman reflect his dedication to leveraging Social Clinic's expertise to support ambitious national initiatives. His vision for the future of advertising and communication underscores his commitment to making a meaningful impact in the industry.As Social Clinic enters a new chapter under Jamjoom's leadership, it is poised to continue shaping the advertising and communication landscape, driving innovation and delivering value to clients and stakeholders alike.
Dubai-based speech AI startup CAMB.AI has raised a $4 million seed round. CAMB.AI specializes in instantaneously dubbing any performance in over 100 languages, dialects, and accents using the original voices with their nuances. Led by Courtside Ventures, the investor group includes TRTL Ventures, Blue Star Innovation Partners, Ikemori Ventures, and Eisaburo Maeda. Dubai Future District Fund were early investors in CAMB.AI, and the company was part of the Dubai Future Accelerator cohort in 2023, as well as named a Future 100 Company of the UAE.The funding will power CAMB.AI’s continued growth and progress seen since the company was founded in 2022. Since then, CAMB.AI has broken several technological barriers with their MARS TTS and BOLI Translator, built from the ground up for voice localization.CAMB.AI’s state-of-the-art techniques don’t just translate speech; they capture and convey the speaker’s original tone and nuance – preserving emotion with less than three seconds of input. This ensures that the translated content remains as powerful and engaging as the original, maintaining the speaker’s intended impact. The largest collection of resource languages, CAMB.AI has the ability to translate Afrikaans, Malay, and Basque, a testament to the company’s commitment to making global communication more inclusive.“This technology is truly remarkable,” said Vasu Kulkarni, Partner at lead investor Courtside Ventures. “Growing up in India, a land of over 700 languages, I saw first-hand how difficult it was to consume the plethora of content out there when you couldn’t understand it. For NBA fans in India to now potentially be able watch Steph Curry while listening to the indelible Mike Breen commentating in Hindi is going to globalize the game even further.”Founded in the UAE by father-son duo of Avneesh Prakash, CEO, and Akshat Prakash, CTO, who spent a half-decade researching and building the technology, CAMB.AI has seen over 100M views of its dubbed content and already counts Major League Soccer, Tennis Australia, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Nick DiGiovanni, Narin Beauty, BeerBiceps, and many other live sports properties, media companies and individual mega-creators as clients.CAMB.AI was also used in Emirati director Nayla Al Khaja’s horror film Three, which debuted two months ago at the Red Sea Festival in Saudi Arabia as the world’s first, fully AI-dubbed multilingual feature film.“I wanted to ensure my movie was able to be viewed by a global audience in any language,” said Nayla Al Khaja. “Only CAMB.AI could capture the emotional nuances blended with the horrific content and create a truly authentic experience for my viewers.”Despite the expansive reach of top-notch digital content, a substantial segment of the global population misses out on the essence of that content due to linguistic barriers. Traditional methods of translation and dubbing sometimes fall short in preserving the original emotion, subtleties, and colloquialisms that render each piece of content unique. CAMB.AI offers revolutionary dubbing, using proprietary state-of-the-art Generative AI technology to deliver colloquial, contextual translations, zero-shot cross-lingual voice cloning, cross-lingual time sync, background score preservation, and more, at a fraction of the time and cost of others in the space.“This is a monumental day for CAMB.AI and we are excited to have an investor group that sees our vision and will help us grow,” said Avneesh Prakash, CAMB.AI CEO and Co-Founder. “We’ve already seen amazing adoption of our technology and we expect this funding to fast track further development and global expansion.”The company was recently selected, from a pool of 600+ companies, by Major League Soccer to be part of the inaugural cohort of the MLS Innovation Lab; with MLS planning to test CAMB.AI’s translation technology across their vast media ecosystem. The company was also selected for the exclusive 2024 AO Startups Program, a joint-venture between Tennis Australia, Wildcard Ventures and Techstars, with CAMB.AI’s technology most recently used to provide AI multi-lingual dubbing and translation from the 2024 Australian Open."Making content that is more accessible and personalized for our global fans is an absolute priority for the AO,“ Machar Reid, Head of Innovation, Tennis Australia. “CAMB AI has the potential to deepen our connection with these audiences in a way not previously thought possible."
Barracuda Networks, Inc., a trusted partner and leading provider of cloud-first security solutions, today announced Nell O’Donnell as its new Chief Legal Officer and Kim Mota as its new Chief Human Resources Officer. Both leaders bring extensive years of executive leadership experience to Barracuda, with successful track records of leading companies through business growth and expansion.As Chief Legal Officer, Nell is a seasoned general counsel with a wealth of experience in the areas of cloud technology and data security. Nell comes to Barracuda from her recent role as SVP, Chief Legal Officer at ServiceMax (acquired by PTC). She has also served as SVP, General Counsel for McAfee and Brocade.As Chief Human Resources Officer, Kim brings extensive experience in human resources leadership where she has successfully managed global teams in multi-site enterprises of varying sizes. Kim joins Barracuda most recently from Integrated Device Technology (acquired by Renesas Electronics Corporation) where she led the worldwide Human Resources function. Prior to that she held HR leadership roles at Poly (acquired by HP).“As we continue to accelerate growth in our business and people teams, we are thrilled to expand the executive leadership team with these new leaders,” said Barracuda President and CEO, Hatem Naguib. “The invaluable expertise that Nell and Kim bring aligns perfectly with our business vision and commitment to our team.”
Since the recent launch of its beIN FORUM initiative, beIN MEDIA GROUP (‘beIN’), one of the foremost sports and entertainment networks in the world, has revealed that thousands of people from across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have already signed up to join its exclusive online research community as panellists.The beIN FORUM was launched with the aim of providing beIN subscribers and viewers a louder voice. As a member of the platform, each panellist is invited to give their opinion on a variety of subjects, from ideas for new shows to their personal experience of watching current shows. By playing a pivotal role in enhancing the broadcaster’s products, services, and programming, members not only have a dedicated platform to share their views on beIN presenters, pundits, and commentators, but are also guiding their own unparalleled viewing journey.With thousands of members from across the broadcaster’s 24 MENA markets, the diversity of the panel ensures the entire region is represented and that beIN’s offerings will be better positioned to appeal to the many MENA cultures and nationalities. The initiative aims to put the customer’s voice at the very heart of decision-making at beIN. The broadcaster will soon be calling all existing members, and urging new members to join the community, to provide feedback on its coverage of the ongoing AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023TM and TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations Côte d'Ivoire 2023™, as well as the various packages offered and customer engagement with various aspects of the events.Consisting of group discussions and online surveys, the beIN FORUM – which is being operated on behalf of beIN by Verve, the global specialist online research community agency – is also providing participating members with exclusive updates and opportunities to receive monetary incentives.
Makana 360 is honored to announce its partnership with the World Defense Show (WDS) 2024, providing unparalleled social listening and monitoring services to one of the leading global defense and security events. Makana 360 will also offer benchmarking media analysis against similar global events and occasions. Set under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, WDS 2024 represents the pinnacle of innovation and future trends in the defense industry, spanning land, sea, air, space, and security sectors.As the defense industry continues to navigate through a rapidly evolving technological landscape, the demand for strategic insights and real-time analytics has escalated. Acknowledging this critical need, WDS in partnership with Memac Ogilvy has engaged Makana 360 to deploy its sophisticated digital and social listening methodology. This initiative aims to enrich the event’s strategic planning, media coverage abd audience engagement by tapping into deep insights from a plethora of digital media platforms.Strategic Insights for a Global Defense PlatformMakana 360’s cutting-edge approach will provide WDS 2024 with an in-depth understanding of media coverage, audience engagement, competitive dynamics, and industry trends. By analyzing data from diverse digital channels, including News, Magazines, Blogs, Forums and and media like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and more, Makana 360 will deliver actionable intelligence, supporting WDS in having targeting global influence and engagement with key stakeholders in the defense sector.“This collaboration with the World Defense Show 2024 underscores our dedication to leveraging social listening for profound insights,” said Abdurrahman Al-Husami, Founder and CEO of Makana 360. “Our goal is to empower WDS with a comprehensive understanding of their audience and industry trends, and how media capture the event, ensuring the event’s continued success and global impact.”
Home Centre’s new promotional ad, created by Leo Burnett MEA, is a significant and impactful initiative addressing an often overlooked aspect of family dynamics in the Middle East. By shedding light on the topic of remarriage and stepfathers, the campaign not only celebrates the role of stepdads but also aims to break social and cultural taboos surrounding this issue.The film's narrative, depicting the emotional journey of a child coming to accept his stepfather, is likely to resonate with many families who have experienced similar situations. By portraying the stepfather as a positive figure who ultimately earns the child's acceptance and love, this ad challenges stereotypes and encourages acceptance and understanding.The original soundtrack, "The Lighthouse and the Boat," adds depth to the storytelling, capturing the emotions and complexities of the relationship between a stepfather and a son. This metaphorical representation of their bond as lighthouses guiding each other through life's challenges is both poignant and relatable.In addition to the film, the broader initiative includes valuable content from a psychologist, Dr Saliha Afridi, providing insight and support for individuals navigating the journey of remarriage. This multi-faceted approach, incorporating storytelling, expert advice, and social content, demonstrates a comprehensive effort to raise awareness and foster dialogue around a sensitive topic.The involvement of Home Centre, a leading furniture retailer in the Middle East, in this campaign aligns with its brand purpose of enabling every home to tell its unique story. By addressing topics such as single motherhood, adoption, and now remarriage and stepfathers, Home Centre demonstrates a commitment to inclusivity and diversity, while also filling a gap in the conversation within the region.Overall, this campaign has the potential to spark meaningful conversations, challenge societal norms, and ultimately contribute to greater acceptance and support for families of all compositions in the Middle East.CreditsBrand: Home CentreSiddarth Sivaprakash: Head of Marketing, Home CentreAtharv Ruparel, Hassan Khan: Marketing Team, Home CentreCreative Agency: Leo Burnett MEA (Middle East & Africa) DubaiChief Executive Officer – Publicis Groupe MENAT: Bassel KakishChief Creative Officer: Kalpesh PatankarChief Strategy Officer – Publicis Groupe MENAT: Tahaab Rais Associate Creative Director Creative: Farhan SiddiquiHead of Production: Shereen MostafaChief Executive Officer – Publicis Communications: Nathalie GevresseBusiness Lead – Communications Consultancy: Vicky KriplaniSenior Producer: Judy LamaaSenior Manager – Communications Consultancy: Maria Jabbour Manager – Communications Consultancy: Nahla JaberHead of Strategy & Insights: Aakriti GoelSenior Manager – Strategy & Insights: Anna Sadykova Production Company: Prodigious MEChief Executive Officer: Sami SalehFilm Director: Tahaab RaisProduction Lead: Myriam Abi WardehProducer: Ralph MatarDirector of Photography: Aeyaz HasnAssistant Director: Vanessa MghamesProduction Manager: George KhalafProduction Coordinator: Nour HelouProduction Assistants: Rami Noureddine, Nader Al ZohbiArt Director: Bora BaturWardrobe Stylist: Windy IshakChild: Tanmay Rishi ShahThe Creature: Mascot Maker, Cristy, Larry and MujahidGear: Gamma EngineeringGaffer: Sohail IftikarKey Grip: Ibrahim ToumaHair & Makeup: Natalie TufenkjianLocation: Bassel AlzoubiBTS: Ralph Jigger Post Production: Optix MEPost Production Lead: Nayla ChacraPost Producer: Megan MarkelEditor (Cold Cutz): Neda AhmedOnline Supervisor: Eddy FarahOnline Artist: Rita Mechedjian, Priyanka BhathejiColorist (LZRD): Karim Mira Music: Magma Music AgencyLyricist and songwriter: Tahaab RaisMusic Creative Director: Seppl KretzMusic Supervisor: Michael BertoldiniComposers: 22ghostsSound Design: Bram Van BergenVocalist: Joseph Bills
Get Outfit, the next-generation fashion discovery app, powered by a generative AI stylist and enriched with curated creators' content, is thrilled to announce the launch of the "Get Outfit for Creators" program. This initiative not only redefines the shopping experience for users with an AI stylist but also opens up new ways for monetization for influencers.Creators boasting an audience of over 1000 followers can seamlessly join the platform and start earning commissions from a diverse array of over 2000 contemporary brands and authentic designers, ranging from Nike to Jacquemus. Get Outfit enables creators to launch their personalized pages, curate collections of their favorite fashion items and share the link on social media, whether it's a selection of sneakers, bags, a capsule wardrobe for a European trip, or sharing style inspirations for special events."In our customer development discussions with creators, we uncovered a pressing issue: over 90% of them struggle to monetize their content. You share a stylish Instagram post, engage with followers about your fashion choices, but it doesn't translate into earnings. We decided to change that and give creators the opportunity to monetize their passion for fashion. Fashion is the favorite category for the emerging Gen Z, and we genuinely believe this initiative will foster a new cohort of young entrepreneurs, offering them an additional avenue to monetize their passion." said Kim Sanzhiev, founder of Get OutfitGet Outfit for Creators has already been launched, with over 50 influencers actively using the platform, including both major influencers with over 1 million followers and niche fashion micro-influencers or stylists with community pages of 2000 followers. In addition to the commission model, the team is currently testing a subscription model with creators, allowing them to create exclusive content for their audience and utilize Generative AI tools for content creation. The startup plans to introduce a dedicated section in the app featuring User-Generated Content (UGC) from the fashion community, as part of its Social Commerce mechanics development within the mobile application.Moreover, Get Outfit is committed to investing over $5 million in the next 3 years for payments to creators. This significant financial commitment underscores the platform's dedication to recognizing and rewarding the creativity and influence of content creators.This aligns with the initiative by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the UAE’s vice president, prime minister, and ruler of Dubai, who has unveiled a fund of Dh150 million ($40.8 million) dedicated to supporting content creators and influencers.
This investment emphasizes Chalhoub Group's commitment to exploring innovative virtual retail avenues and strengthening its presence in the metaverse.In 2022, Chalhoub Group initiated its journey into the metaverse and Web3 by launching a collection of 529 exclusive NFTs for its French luxury silverware brand, Christofle. These NFTs sold out within 5 minutes. Following this success, the Group introduced phygital sneakers for Level Shoes’ 10th anniversary celebration. In 2023, Chalhoub Group continued its pioneering efforts by unveiling the first-ever web3-native streetwear label SOL3MATES. .Expanding upon the successful exploration of the Metaverse, Chalhoub Group's investment in Boltable Studio is a key element of a holistic strategy to integrate web3 and virtual retail into its business model. This strategic move positions the Group to navigate future market changes effectively while mitigating resource risks. Furthermore, it represents a significant stride toward the future of virtual Shopping. Prior to their partnership, Chalhoub Group & Boltable Studio collaborated on the virtual Roblox collection for Christofle. In 2023, fifteen virtual items, created by Boltable Studio, sold over 120,000 times on Roblox, highlighting the platform’s significant potential.The partnership with Christofle is a testament to Boltable's ability to translate traditional luxury into the digital space, resonating with a new generation of consumers. Chalhoub Group has additional partnerships in progress to introduce (luxury) brands to Roblox.Nick Vinckier, Director of Corporate Innovation at Chalhoub Group, commented: “Our investment in Boltable Studio is a strategic step towards understanding and leveraging the metaverse and platforms like Roblox. These digital spaces are not just gaming platforms; they are the community centers and shopping destinations of the future, where we can connect with the customers of tomorrow, today. Partnering with a leader like Boltable Studio, renowned for their Roblox expertise and successful in-game brand Prince Clothing, aligns perfectly with our vision to be at the forefront of retail innovation.”Zain Tambe, founder and CEO of Boltable Studio added: "Partnering with Chalhoub Group is a game-changer for Boltable Studio. Our years of experience in Roblox position us uniquely to bring luxury retail into this vibrant digital world. This partnership is more than an investment; it's a fusion of Chalhoub Group's luxury expertise with our innovative approach in Roblox, setting a new standard in virtual retail. Together, we're not just entering the Roblox ecosystem; we're redefining luxury retail for a new, digitally-savvy audience,"Based in Abu Dhabi, Boltable Studio has been a trailblazer in the Roblox world since 2016. Their in-house brand, Prince Clothing, has sold over 30 million virtual items, demonstrating their profound understanding and success in this domain.
Elie Aoun has decided to step down from his position as Media CEO at Ipsos in MENA after 32 years of service. This marks a significant transition in his illustrious career. Having joined Ipsos in Lebanon in 1992, Aoun's journey within the organization has been characterized by continuous growth and contribution to the media landscape in the region.Over the years, Aoun's leadership and strategic vision have been instrumental in shaping Ipsos' media business in MENA. His tenure saw him taking on various roles and responsibilities, showcasing his versatility and deep understanding of the industry. Notable milestones include his appointment as Global Adex Lead in 2020 and becoming a partner at Ipsos in MENA in 2015, underscoring his significant contributions to the organization's global and regional operations.Aoun's departure from the role of Media CEO does not mark the end of his association with Ipsos in MENA. Rather, he will transition into an advisory role, leveraging his extensive experience and industry knowledge to support the organization's continued success. Additionally, Aoun's future plans involve exploring personal ventures across multiple industries, indicating his readiness to embark on new endeavors while continuing to contribute to the business landscape.Overall, Elie Aoun's legacy at Ipsos in MENA is one of leadership, innovation, and lasting impact on the media sector. His departure signifies the end of an era, but his ongoing involvement and future ventures promise to further enrich the industries he chooses to engage with.
Rotana, one of the leading hotel management companies in the region with over 100 properties in the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Türkiye (MENAT), announces today the appointment of Philip Barnes as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective 1 March 2024.Commenting on the announcement, Selim El Zyr, Vice-Chairman of Rotana, said: “We are proud to welcome Philip Barnes as the new CEO of Rotana. With a rich history of leadership and a deep understanding of the global hospitality landscape, Barnes is poised to elevate our brand delivery and levels of excellence. We eagerly anticipate his innovative direction and vision that will shape Rotana’s next chapter and build on our growing pipeline across key markets.”Completing almost 25 years as part of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Barnes held several senior leadership positions worldwide, including Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. Most recently, he held the role of Regional Vice President of Southern California (2020 – 2022). Previously, he also worked with leading hospitality brands such as Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts and Shangri La Hotels & Resorts among others.In the Middle East, Barnes was Fairmont Hotels & Resorts’ Regional Vice President of the United Arab Emirates (2009 – 2011). In this role, he oversaw the operations for Fairmont Palm Dubai, Fairmont Bab al Bar Abu Dhabi, Fairmont Ajman, Fairmont Fujairah, and pre-opening Fairmont Abu Dhabi. Prior to this, he also held the position of Vice President of the Middle East (2007 – 2009) for the group, overseeing the developments and planned openings in South Africa, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman.“I am privileged to join Rotana – a homegrown brand synonymous with providing guests with the highest service levels across the region. I look forward to working closely with the wider team to grow Rotana’s legacy and firmly position it as one of the leading hospitality players in the region. Together, we will embark on a journey to redefine hospitality, creating Treasured Time for our guests and setting new benchmarks for the industry,” added Barnes.Rotana’s portfolio currently spans 19,602 keys and six superlative brands, including an impressive 10,159 keys across 36 hotels in the UAE and 2,183 keys across eight hotels in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Netskope, a leader in Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), has appointed Jenn Jakubowicz as Senior Director of Global Channels & Alliances Marketing, with worldwide responsibility for all aspects of global partner marketing execution. The role will be integral to the company’s go-to-market scalability, accelerating growth with its channel.Ms. Jakubowicz joins Netskope with over 20 years of marketing experience, where she held pivotal senior marketing leadership roles most recently with cybersecurity companies including LastPass and BlueVoyant. Her extensive knowledge and experience in scaling hyper-growth marketing initiatives will be instrumental in leading the ramp up of channel development plans, co-marketing partner strategies, and Netskope’s new MSP partner program, while also driving continued growth with the company’s partner community.“We are thrilled to have such an experienced leader join us as we continue to accelerate our through-channel go-to-market efforts,” said David Rogers, SVP, Global Channel Sales, Netskope “Jenn’s rich 20-year partner marketing career will be invaluable to us. She is an established operator, having built and led successful teams, brought innovative demand generation campaigns to fruition, and rolled out CRN 5-Star-rated partner programs.”Ms. Jakubowicz shared her excitement about her new role, stating “I am thrilled to join Netskope at such a pivotal time in the cybersecurity landscape as we look to expand our market presence collaboratively with our partners. We have already seen enterprises step up their investment in a zero trust approach to cybersecurity, and Netskope is at the forefront of this transformation with its platform predicated on a Zero Trust Data Protection Engine.”
IMPACT BBDO has once again demonstrated its dominance in the MENA region by clinching the No.1 spot at the 2023 Loeries. Their impressive haul of awards, including a Grand Prix, underscores their creative prowess and commitment to excellence. The campaign "Newspapers Inside the Newspaper Edition" for Annahar particularly stood out, earning the prestigious Grand Prix in the Print category.Notably, fifteen members of the IMPACT BBDO team have been recognized in the rankings, with individuals like Chief Creative Officer Ali Rez leading the charge. This recognition highlights the agency's depth of talent and the caliber of its creative minds. Dani Richa, Chairman and CEO of BBDO EMEA, expressed his delight at the agency's continued success and the individual achievements of its team members. He emphasized the importance of talent, dedication, and passion in driving excellence within the agency.IMPACT BBDO's commitment to pushing creative boundaries and delivering exceptional results underscores its reputation as a premier partner for brands seeking innovative and impactful communication strategies. As they continue to lead the industry, their dedication to fostering innovation and delivering outstanding campaigns remains unwavering.
The Saudi Venture Capital Company (SVC) celebrated its 5th anniversary and the Kingdom’s achievement of 1st rank across MENA for the first time in terms of the amount of Venture Capital (VC) funding in 2023. The ceremony was held in the presence of SVC’s partners, including leadership of related government entities, investment fund managers, entrepreneurs, and SVC’s team.The ceremony witnessed a presentation by Nora Alsarhan, Chief Investment Officer at SVC, in which she showcased SVC’s achievements since its inception and outlined the company’s future directions. Meanwhile, Vice President of Investment at SVC, Haifa Almoqbil, presented regional and global VC market insights and trends, and compared it to the Kingdom’s VC market positive position.Dr. Nabeel Koshak, CEO and Board Member at SVC, pointed out SVC’s strategic role in developing the VC ecosystem in the Kingdom. He stressed that the Kingdom’s leading position in the VC scene across the region comes as a result of the economic and investment evolution witnessed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a result of government support led by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, in line with the objectives of the Saudi Vision 2030 to strengthen and diversify the national economy.Koshak added: “Because success is the effort of an integrated ecosystem, I extend my sincere thanks to the government entities that launched unique programs and initiatives to support the VC ecosystem, developed the legislative and regulatory environment and created an environment that helps startups to innovate and launch with greater flexibility and support. Also, we would not have achieved this without the active investors and fund managers who backed startups during their various growth stages. Certainly, all these efforts would not have achieved results without the innovative entrepreneurs who worked diligently to launch companies capable of fast growth inside and outside the Kingdom.”
The world’s largest privately held media and communication agency network, Local Planet, marked its entry into the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region. ‘Local Planet MEA’ strategically headquartered in Dubai, is powered by the Middle East’s leading independent full-service creative marketing agency- Tonic International, along with RMS Media and Curiosity Africa, for Middle East and Africa respectively. This move completes Local Planet's global expansion effectively to address the diverse needs of the dynamic Middle East and Africa markets.‘Local Planet MEA’ will operate across 63 regional markets, catering to the needs of regional as well as international clients through 37 offices in locations, including the UAE, KSA, Egypt, Algeria, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. The network will further utilise the resources, expertise, and tools offered by Tonic International, RMS Media, and Curiosity Africa – all of which are supported by Local Planet International on a global scale.According to industry reports, the Middle East marketing and advertising agency market is projected to reach USD 9.87 billion by 2030, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.94 per cent from 2024 to 2030. Additionally, in Africa, entrepreneurs and companies are increasingly seeking specialized services due to the burgeoning growth of local and regional brands. Reports state that Africa Advertising market is projected to grow at a 4.9% CAGR by 2029. Marketing professionals can benefit from the Local Planet MEA’s thorough understanding of the local markets and the subtleties of customer behaviours that are essential to brand success both regionally and globally.Martyn Rattle, Global CEO of Local Planet, commented: “We are delighted to join forces with Tonic International and two alliances to power our Local Planet MEA operations, owing to their extensive expertise across the whole region. The rapidly evolving digital ecosystem and numerous cutting-edge technologies have had a significant and profound impact on the marketing, advertising, and media agency landscape, bringing a paradigm shift in the way companies interact with customers as well as promote their products and services. At Local Planet, our overarching goal is to provide innovative solutions and successfully meet the varied needs of diverse markets globally.”The MEA region is regarded as a favourable destination for marketers and advertisers who seek to enhance brand visibility and awareness. This appeal of the market can be ascribed to a combination of factors, including the increasing number of businesses, rising brand competition, a large population, and high internet usage rates.Arnaud Verchere, Group CEO at Tonic International and Chairman of Local Planet MEA, stated: “We are delighted to partner with Local Planet as it expands into the MEA region. Our successful track record in the Middle East, has paved the way for this broader-scale strategic move. Our distinct understanding of the local markets, our entrepreneurial spirit, and our client-centric approach position us uniquely among the agency networks in the region. We are equipped to offer cutting-edge services ensuring consistency in operations and approaches and producing remarkable outcomes for brands in the region.”Carine Conradie-Haffejee and Alexei Pashkov, Co-Founders of Curiosity Africa, said: “We are thrilled to be a part of Local Planet MEA and contribute to the transformation of the advertising and marketing landscape in the region. With our ample resources, speed, and flexibility, we are well-prepared to strengthen business solutions in the region. Our expertise lies in effortlessly integrating global marketing technology solutions into daily operations, complemented by our capabilities in business intelligence, analytics, and marketing insights, enriching the portfolio of services offered by Local Planet MEA for clients in the region.”Today, businesses in the Middle East are making significant investments in data-driven marketing, to better understand consumer behaviours and preferences, with 68 per cent of marketers seeking to increase their data-related expenditure by 2024, as per the report published by Data & Marketing Association (DMA).To address these challenges and tap into the vast potential of the Middle East and Africa (MEA) market, Local Planet MEA will develop and execute media communication strategies, utilising a team of experts with a comprehensive understanding of business requirements and media landscapes, to ensure the successful implementation of impactful campaigns and communication solutions.
The Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) hosted a media delegation from India, involving 52 journalists, newspaper editors-in-chief, influencers from the film industry and magazine editors.The visit, planned from Tuesday to Friday, aligns with JTB’s strategic plan to showcase Jordan’s tourist and archaeological wonders to an international audience, a JTB statement said on Wednesday as reported by the Jordan News Agency, Petra.The JTB highlighted the importance of attracting influential figures from the film industry worldwide to explore Jordan’s historical, cultural and natural sites, for international film production.The media delegation’s itinerary included visits to iconic locations such as Wadi Rum, Aqaba and Amman, during the filming of segments of the international Indian film “Bade Miyan Chote Miyan”.The JTB, recognising the potential of the Indian market as one of the most promising for boosting tourism to Jordan, provided crucial support for the film crew.The Royal Film Commission (RFC), responsible for logistical services for international film productions in Jordan, ensured a seamless experience by offering comprehensive information on filming procedures, obtaining necessary permits, identifying suitable locations and assisting with customs clearance for technical equipment.Director General of the JTB Abdelrazzaq Arabiyat stressed that hosting the Indian media delegation underscores the joint interests of the tourism and film industries in Jordan.He highlighted the investment opportunities available in Jordan, a symbol of stability and security in the region, boasting tourism components, climate diversity, a prime geographical location and authentic hospitality.Director General of the RFC Mohannad Bakri referred to the close connection between the tourism and film sectors. Filming in Jordan showcases its picturesque locations and distinctive culture, serving as a powerful tool for marketing Jordan as a top-tier tourist destination, he added.The delegation expressed admiration for the richness of Jordan’s tourism offerings and historical heritage, praising the warm and generous Jordanian hospitality.
The Middle East has long been a melting pot of culture, history, and tradition, and its influence on the global fashion scene is undeniable. In recent years, a new wave of local fashion brands has emerged from the region, captivating international audiences with their unique blend of contemporary design and rich cultural heritage. These brands have successfully transitioned from local favorites to global sensations, challenging and redefining the perception of Middle Eastern fashion on the world stage.Traditionally, the Middle East has been renowned for its rich cultural heritage, exquisite craftsmanship, and opulent aesthetics. However, it is only in the last decade or so that the region has started to assert its presence in the global fashion arena.This transformation can be attributed to several key factors, such as:Cultural identity: Middle Eastern fashion brands leverage their rich cultural heritage as a source of inspiration, infusing traditional elements into contemporary designs. This fusion resonates with consumers worldwide who appreciate authenticity and diversity in fashion.Innovation and creativity: While rooted in tradition, Middle Eastern designers are not afraid to push boundaries and experiment with innovative techniques and materials. This bold approach to creativity sets them apart in an industry often dominated by established Western labels.Economic growth and investment: The rapid economic growth witnessed in many Middle Eastern countries has provided the necessary infrastructure and investment opportunities for budding fashion entrepreneurs. This has facilitated the growth of local fashion industries and enabled brands to expand their reach globally.Global success stories: Several Middle Eastern fashion brands have successfully transitioned from local favorites to global icons, captivating audiences with their distinctive style and craftsmanship.Middle Eastern magic goes globalIn recent years, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE have emerged as the hotbed of experimentative and innovative fashion hubs. From couture to streetwear, the emerging designers have used fashion as an art of self-expression, promoting social causes, creating political statements, and pushing a unique perspective. However, unlike their western counterparts, they have remained attached to their roots, proudly showcasing their heritage while making international waves.Let’s have a look at few of the fashion brands which have put the Middle East on the global fashion market:Elie Saab: Bridging elegance and modernityLebanese designer Elie Saab has become synonymous with luxury and sophistication. His eponymous brand, established in 1982, has gained international acclaim for its exquisite couture designs. Elie Saab's creations have graced red carpets and high-profile events globally, earning him a dedicated clientele that includes Hollywood celebrities and royalty. The brand's expansion into ready-to-wear collections has further contributed to its global appeal.Zuhair Murad: A testament to artistryAnother Lebanese fashion maestro, Zuhair Murad, has carved a niche for himself in the competitive world of haute couture. Known for his intricate embellishments and masterful craftsmanship, Murad's creations have become favorites among international celebrities. With flagship stores in major fashion capitals and a growing presence at prestigious events like the Met Gala, Zuhair Murad has successfully established his brand as a global powerhouse.Dolce & Gabbana Middle East: A fusion of culturesItalian luxury brand Dolce & Gabbana has recognized the significance of the Middle East market and has actively embraced it. The brand has launched special collections catering to Middle Eastern tastes, featuring elements of Arab culture in its designs. This inclusive approach has not only endeared Dolce & Gabbana to Middle Eastern consumers but has also garnered admiration globally for its celebration of cultural diversity.Bambah Boutique: Putting Dubai on the fashion mapHailing from Dubai, Bambah Boutique has rapidly gained recognition for its vintage-inspired designs infused with a modern twist. The brand has successfully blended Middle Eastern aesthetics with international trends, creating a style that resonates with fashion enthusiasts around the world. Bambah's unique approach has earned it a spot on the global fashion map, with a growing presence in leading luxury department stores.Madiyah Al Sharqi: Embracing elegance from the UAEThe UAE has also produced its share of global fashion influencers, with Madiyah Al Sharqi standing out. The daughter of the ruler of Fujairah, in the UAE, Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Sharqi, Madiyah Al Sharqi launched her eponymous label in 2012. Her brand reflects a contemporary interpretation of traditional Emirati style, characterized by feminine silhouettes and luxurious fabrics. Madiyah Al Sharqi has showcased her collections at prestigious fashion weeks and gained international acclaim for her distinctive approach to modern elegance. Her designs have been worn by celebrities and fashion icons, contributing to her brand's growing prominence in the global fashion scene.Sandra Mansour (Lebanon): Sandra Mansour is a Lebanese designer celebrated for her romantic and ethereal designs, often featuring intricate embroidery and unique patterns. She is known for her eponymous fashion house, Sandra Mansour, which specializes in intricate ready-to-wear and bespoke bridal wear. The brand focuses on artistically driven pieces, timeless silhouettes, delicate fabrics, and attention to detail, particularly in hand and thread embroidery techniques. Sandra Mansour's background in painting and her experience in the fashion industry have played a significant role in shaping her unique vision.Mochi (UAE): Mochi, the artisanal fashion brand founded by Ayah Tabari, embodies a unique fusion of vibrant colors, traditional techniques, and sustainability values. From its inception, in 2013, Mochi has been dedicated to providing accessible avant-garde fashion while prioritizing sustainability and craftsmanship. One of the key pillars of Mochi's sustainability efforts is its commitment to seasonless designs. By creating pieces that transcend traditional fashion seasons, the brand not only reduces environmental impact but also offers customers timeless and versatile wardrobe options.As Mochi continues to evolve, it remains committed to offering beautifully crafted clothing that reflects its values of sustainability, accessibility, and timeless style. With its unique blend of creativity, tradition, and eco-consciousness, Mochi stands out as a beacon of mindful fashion in the industry.Jeux De MainsSalim Cherfane, a multi-disciplinary artist born in Beirut, initially made a mark in the creative field as a graphic designer and art director. However, his creative journey expanded when he ventured into fashion design with his brand 'Jeux De Mains'. This transition showcased his versatility and artistic vision across different mediums. 'Jeux De Mains' quickly gained recognition in the fashion industry, and in a remarkable feat, the brand had the honor of styling the American pop icon Beyoncé in 2019. This significant collaboration catapulted 'Jeux De Mains' onto the global stage, solidifying its reputation for innovative and stylish designs.Salim Cherfane's own contributions to the fashion world have not gone unnoticed. He has been featured in prestigious fashion publications worldwide, underscoring his impact and influence as a designer. In 2019, Cherfane was bestowed with the title of Designer of the Year by L’Orient Le Jour, further affirming his talent and achievements within the industry.BouguessaBouguessa is a Dubai-based luxury, ready-to-wear brand spearheaded by Faiza Bouguessa. While the rest of the world thinks Middle Eastern fashion is all about traditional abayas and kaftans, Bouguessa was one of the first brands that took up the challenge to put forward a different perspective in front of the world, and they did it by reinventing the iconic abayas.Bouguessa's collections often feature tailored silhouettes, clean lines, and luxurious fabrics, catering to a sophisticated clientele. The brand's focus on timeless elegance and versatility has made it a favorite among fashion enthusiasts seeking refined, statement pieces. Bouguessa's designs are frequently seen on celebrities and fashion influencers, further solidifying its status as a prominent luxury fashion label. Their designs are so compelling that Melissa McCarthy, Sophia Bush, and even Beyoncé is a fan.The global fashion industry is undergoing a transformation, and Middle Eastern brands are at the forefront of this evolution. With their rich cultural heritage, innovative designs, and a keen understanding of the global market, these brands have successfully broken through geographical boundaries, captivating fashion enthusiasts worldwide. As they continue to redefine the industry norms, Middle Eastern fashion brands are poised to play an increasingly influential role on the international fashion stage.
Coca-Cola has announced a temporary initiative to remove labels from Sprite and Sprite Zero on-the-go bottles in a limited trial of 'label-less' packaging. The pilot project will involve the removal of labels from single 500ml bottles of Sprite and Sprite Zero, with an embossed logo replacing the label on the front of the pack. Product and nutritional information will be laser-engraved on the back of the pack.The primary aim of this trial is to simplify the recycling process. By removing labels, consumers won't need to separate them from the bottles during recycling, thereby reducing the amount of packaging material used overall. This initiative aligns with Coca-Cola's ongoing efforts to reduce packaging waste and enhance recyclability.The label-less bottles will be available for purchase at eight Tesco Express Stores located in Brighton and Hove, Bristol, London, and Manchester from January to March 2024. These bottles will maintain the familiar clear, 100% recycled PET material, with green and transparent attached caps indicating whether it's Sprite or Sprite Zero.Coca-Cola has been implementing various design changes aimed at reducing packaging waste, such as transitioning Sprite bottles from green to clear plastic for easier recycling. Additionally, they've introduced attached caps to prevent littering and invested in lightweight bottle designs to minimize materials used in external packaging.Stephen Moorhouse, GB General Manager at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, highlighted the company's commitment to creating a future where plastic drink packaging has multiple lives. He emphasized that while labels contain valuable information for consumers, technology allows for alternative methods of sharing this information while reducing packaging usage.Javier Meza, VP Marketing, Coca-Cola Europe, described the trial as a significant milestone for the industry, noting it as the first time these technologies have been combined in a pilot globally. He emphasized the potential for longer-term changes in how brands communicate with consumers.James Bull, Head of Packaging and Food Waste Strategy at Tesco, expressed support for initiatives aimed at minimizing environmental impact and reducing plastic and packaging. He sees the label-less packaging trial as a positive example of brand innovation in providing sustainable solutions.
Azizi Developments, a leading private developer in the UAE, has appointed Mr. Saurabh Bakshi, a renowned leader in the hospitality industry, as Chief Operating Officer of Azizi Hospitality.Azizi plans to invest up to AED 60 billion over the next five years, adding close to 20,000 new keys to Dubai’s hotel stock through the launch of 50 upmarket luxury hotels and resorts and an ultra-luxury, seven-star hotel in Dubai, operated by Azizi Hospitality.Mr. Saurabh Bakshi, a seasoned hotelier with a distinguished career, brings with him over 23 years of management experience in the hospitality industry. From his early days at the Grand Hyatt in New Delhi to his most recent role at Vinpearl Resorts, Mr. Bakshi’s has also held several other senior leadership positions across the world’s most prestigious hotels and resorts chains, including Kempinski, St. Regis at Marriott International, Aldar Hotels and Hospitality, Sheraton Hotels, IHG, Radisson Hotels, and Rotana, among others. His profound expertise in leading hospitality brands through periods of growth and innovation across the UAE and China, among other dynamic high-tourism markets, his strategic approach to operations, his ability to seamlessly drive the success of multiple assets, and his customer centric mindset are among the qualities that Mr. Saurabh brings with him to his new role and that position him as the ideal candidate to spearhead Azizi’s debut into the hospitality sector. He has also received numerous accolades throughout his career, including a recognition as General Manager of the Year, Outstanding Talent Developer of the Year, and Best Professional in the Industry.In his comments, Mr. Farhad Azizi, CEO of Azizi Developments, said: “We are proud to announce the hiring of Mr. Saurabh as the new COO of our hospitality division. We see his remarkable skillset as the perfect fit for our endeavors in the realm of high-end hotels and resorts, and are excited to soon launch our hospitality brand with his help and guidance.”Azizi Developments recently announced the start of construction of its tower on Sheikh Zayed Road, soon to be the second tallest skyscraper, which will feature a vertical mall, luxury residences and opulent penthouses, a seven-star hotel, a one-of-its-kind observation deck, and numerous high-end F&B options, among other unique and exciting features and amenities.Azizi Developments’ Sales Gallery can be visited on the 13th floor of the Conrad Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road.
Zain KSA was ranked as one of the 50 most socially responsible brands in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A list published by Forbes Middle East, in cooperation with the National Center for Responsibility and Studies (Saudi CSR), sheading the light on public entities, private companies, and NPOs in Saudi Arabia for their responsibility initiatives impact.The ranking is a result of Zain KSA’s diligent efforts and initiatives as part of their integrated social responsibility strategy. Aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the best global practices in the field of Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG), Zain KSA’s strategy supports Saudi Vision 2030’s goals for sustainable development and improved life quality.Embedding ESG across their entire value chain, Zain KSA’s sustainability actions included targeted programs for improving the quality of life for all segments of society. The Women in Technology (WIT) program supports recent female graduates in STEM fields. Through the ‘EVOLVE’ training program, Zain KSA provides recent graduates with practical experience and global know-how to prepare them for the job market. Through a collaboration with the ‘E7twa22’ charity group, Zain KSA employees made in-kind donations to more than 3,000 low-income families during “Kiswat Farah” initiative.Additionally, Zain KSA is a strategic partner of the “Family Safety Program”, which enhances their role in assuring child safety by endorsing the “Saudi Child Helpline” initiative with a comprehensive framework to support future generations in both the physical and digital worlds. The initiative targeted more than 3500 children along with their families through awareness campaigns.Zain KSA recently signed an MoU for a strategic partnership with “Kebar” Association. The partnership aims to bridge the digital divide and empower the elderly to embrace a tech-driven society through a targeted training program.
Cyber Gear and Bellamy Alden Institute for AI-Enablement have partnered to create an AI Workshop for executives who wish to learn the power of ChatGPT and GPT-4 to boost the productivity of their operations. The workshop will be held on 5 March from 9 am to 1 pm at Villa Rotana Hotel in Dubai.According to Sharad Agarwal, CEO of Cyber Gear, “This workshop focuses on helping senior executives grasp the transformative power of Large Language Models (LLMs) like GPT-4 and ChatGPT to drive operational efficiency and strategic innovation in your business.”About the TrainerFahed Bizzari is the founder of the Bellamy Alden Institute for AI Transformation and ChatGPT Accelerator.With a track record of 18 years in software development, over 3,000 hours mastering ChatGPT, two decades in entrepreneurship, and years in consulting and training, he is an international thought leader in the professional application of ChatGPT. This diverse and substantial experience makes him the authority on ChatGPT you'll want to listen to. Moreover, he's fine-tuned his communication skills with significant investments, ensuring that you're learning and truly engaged.He has a genuine mastery of ChatGPT, an intuitive understanding of its practical applications, and a knack for making the complex easily understandable. He can relate to those who are new to ChatGPT and can speak the language of professionals from all walks of life. When you learn from him, you're getting insights that are deeply informed and exceptionally well communicated.Course CurriculumEmpower Your LeadersGain LLM clarity to integrate AI seamlessly into strategic planning.Harness practical, innovative LLM applications for departmental growth.Adopt a visionary mindset for a culture of continuous AI advancement.Experience hands-on LLM tools to drive effective unit-specific solutions.Build risk awareness to navigate AI implementation challenges.Advance Your OrganisationLeverage LLMs for strategic insights, enhancing decision-making and efficiency.Boost operational productivity and cost-effectiveness through AI integration.Elevate customer satisfaction and loyalty with LLM-enhanced service models.Upskill your workforce with AI literacy, fostering a culture of innovation.Mitigate risks and protect operational integrity during AI adoption.
The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), the cultural custodian of northwest Arabia, has launched a new, inclusive heritage conservation campaign that aims to deepen and enrich the public's knowledge, awareness, and desire to protect and uplift AlUla's ancient history.The I Care campaign, which launches 1 February, shines a local, national, and global spotlight on the importance of RCU's diverse and ongoing heritage protection projects in AlUla as the county continues to be developed into the world's largest living museum.I Care will promote the need to safeguard AlUla's diverse landscape of cultural assets, including natural and manmade monuments, as a means of boosting economic development, driving community engagement, and expanding people's knowledge and appreciation of their AlUla's storied past – goals that align with the aims of Saudi Vision 2030.As an iconic first phase of the campaign, RCU has partnered with the acclaimed US artist David Popa to create a unique, landmark piece set within the landscape of AlUla itself. The artwork, which takes the shape of two protective hands, is constructed around the iconic Tomb of Lihyan, Son of Kuza, at Hegra which was designated as Saudi Arabia's first World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2008.An impressive and ephemeral piece of creativity constructed using exclusively natural elements, including yellow earth from Europe and red earth from the Middle East, it is one of Popa's largest to date. Designed to disintegrate in a matter of weeks, Popa's artwork highlights the pressing need for collective action to safeguard cultural heritage locations in AlUla, Saudi Arabia, and the wider world.Dr Abdulrahman Alsuhaibani, Executive Director of Archaeology, Conservation and Collections at RCU, said: "The roots of Saudi culture and tradition can be traced back millennia, influenced by civilisations as diverse as the Nabataeans, Minaeans and Lihyanites. The I Care campaign is an important and inclusive step towards increasing the AlUla community's awareness and appreciation of the incredible history that exists on their doorstep."The Kingdom has made great strides to conserve and develop its cultural heritage and rich collection of assets, including AlUla with its 200,000 years of human history. As guardians of this unique crossroads for civilisations, RCU is focused on raising people's awareness of the need to engage with conservation efforts through the new I Care campaign. This will help to deepen RCU's connection with our community as we work towards a common, shared, and inclusive purpose – to protect and celebrate our heritage so it can be enjoyed for generations to come."US artist David Popa said: "Working on this project has been an immense privilege. I Care is not just a campaign; it is a celebration of AlUla's and the Kingdom's legacy and traditions. AlUla's heritage is a treasure for the entire world, and I have been enriched by the enlightening conversations I have had with the local storytellers, the Rawis, the Heritage Rangers, and the young ambassadors being trained in the Hammayah programme to take on guardianship of this invaluable heritage."A key audience of the I Care campaign is AlUla's younger generation. RCU will provide schools with comprehensive toolkits to educate and empower youngsters and their teachers through a series of carefully designed workshops that focus on the importance of heritage protection and how landmarks connect with the community stories, life, and traditions. RCU will also host school visits and community activities at AlUla's diverse collection of historic landmarks, such as Hegra.The community, young and old, have an active and key role to play in helping to conserve AlUla's cultural landscape, with the I Care campaign seeking to fill any knowledge gaps and promote future discovery amongst residents, visiting tourists, and Saudi citizens.AlUla is now established as a new global destination for culture, history, archaeological discovery, and the sharing of ancient knowledge.AlUla is home to the extraordinary Nabataean city and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hegra; the city of Dadan, which was the capital of the Dadanite and Lihyanite kingdoms; the Jabal Ikmah open-air library, whose ancient inscription are now included in UNESCO's Memory of the World Register; and AlUla Old Town, which has been named as one of UNWTO's Best Tourism Villages.
Cressida Pickavance, formerly a key member of Cheil UK's leadership team, has been appointed as the Director of Direct-to-Consumer Strategy at Cheil MEA. With a strong background in e-commerce and digital expertise, Pickavance brings a wealth of experience to her new role. Her responsibilities include spearheading strategic initiatives and leading cross-functional teams across various digital disciplines.Given her extensive track record, Pickavance is poised to drive innovative and effective digital solutions for Cheil MEA's clients. In her statement, she expressed enthusiasm about her new role and the opportunity to contribute to the agency's growth within the dynamic digital landscape of the Middle East and Africa region. She highlighted the region's significant eCommerce growth rate and Cheil's strategic position to help clients capitalize on these opportunities.Pickavance looks forward to collaborating with the talented teams at Cheil MEA to achieve business growth objectives for both existing and prospective clients. Her appointment signifies Cheil MEA's commitment to staying at the forefront of digital innovation and delivering value to its clientele.Cressida Pickavance, formerly a key member of Cheil UK's leadership team, has been appointed as the Director of Direct-to-Consumer Strategy at Cheil MEA. With a strong background in e-commerce and digital expertise, Pickavance brings a wealth of experience to her new role. Her responsibilities include spearheading strategic initiatives and leading cross-functional teams across various digital disciplines.Given her extensive track record, Pickavance is poised to drive innovative and effective digital solutions for Cheil MEA's clients. In her statement, she expressed enthusiasm about her new role and the opportunity to contribute to the agency's growth within the dynamic digital landscape of the Middle East and Africa region. She highlighted the region's significant eCommerce growth rate and Cheil's strategic position to help clients capitalize on these opportunities.Pickavance looks forward to collaborating with the talented teams at Cheil MEA to achieve business growth objectives for both existing and prospective clients. Her appointment signifies Cheil MEA's commitment to staying at the forefront of digital innovation and delivering value to its clientele.
In the new age of podcasts and audio streaming, radio remains a popular medium in the UAE, with one study revealing that about 8 million listeners tune in to radio stations in the UAE every week, representing 97 % national reach.According to a 2021 study by Nielsen Data Research, listeners of all ages tune in to the radio nearly 8 hours every week, with 70% of listening at home, 20% while traveling, and 10% at school or college. Interestingly, 85% listen to the radio online, mobile apps and the web.The enduring popularity of radio across the UAE has prompted universities to offer specialized programs in mass communication with a traditional focus on radio broadcasting.The American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK) has adopted a unique approach in which radio is not just a legacy medium; it has been reimagined and revitalized as a multimodal platform. The curriculum goes beyond traditional broadcasting, integrating new media technologies and dynamic content creation strategies to provide a comprehensive, modern learning experience in radio communication.“In the evolving mass communication world, radio continues to hold sway over people all over the world, more so in the UAE, where a large and diverse expatriate population has given rise to niche radio channels,” said Prof. Stephen Wilhite, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success/ Provost, AURAK. “The format of radio programs has changed over the years, making it necessary for aspiring radio professionals to learn new skills in digital technologies. In this scenario, AURAK offers one of the most comprehensive mass communications bachelor programs, incorporating intensive radio-specific elements.”The AURAK Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication has been meticulously designed to offer a comprehensive education in radio, segmented into three core areas. First, the production aspect delves into the technical intricacies of radio broadcasting, covering skills in recording, mixing, and overall sound production. Second, the focus on content creation equips students with the expertise in programming, news and journalism, fostering talents in areas like being a Radio Jockey (RJ) and on-air presentation. Finally, the marketing & promotions component immerses students in the creative process of advertising, teaching them to craft compelling scripts for commercials and develop effective marketing strategies.Through this structured approach, the program prepares students for a wide range of career opportunities in the radio industry. Graduates can aspire to roles such as DJ/presenter, radio producer, broadcast journalist, program director, copywriter, and specialists in sales, advertising, marketing, and promotions. Each career path reflects the diverse skill sets honed through our dedicated segments of radio education, ensuring our students are well-prepared for the dynamic landscape of broadcast media.In the crowded media space, radio still holds many advantages. It offers the ability to reach a highly targeted audience and address a specific demographic. Radio advertising is relatively inexpensive, ideally suited for small businesses or startups that have a limited marketing budget.During the first quarter of 2021, according to the study, 7.82 million people in the UAE tuned in every week to listen to the radio. These listeners spent an average of 7 hours and 28 minutes each week on the radio.Radio manages to reach a diverse audience, both in terms of nationality and age group. The study found that the youngest listeners range from 10 years and above, and they spend on an average of 6 hours and 12 minutes per week listening to the radio. People in the age group of 25-34 years spend 7 hours and 44 minutes weekly.The Nielson study also offered some other interesting statistics about radio in the UAE. Over 1 million UAE residents aged 35+ listen online each week. Over 427,000 UAE residents turn on the radio every 15 minutes. More than 85% of the UAE’s population listen to UAE radio online, or through mobile apps, websites, or smart speakers and 15% listen on FM.“The focus of our Bachelor of Mass Communication is to produce well-rounded and versatile digital media professionals, of which radio is a key component,” said Prof. Hariclea Zengos, Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences, AURAK. “The program offers critical tools needed to carve a niche for oneself in the expanding field of mass communication.”
The Sports Boulevard has launched Riyadh’s immersive cycling experience, RIYDE, in partnership with global technology company the pioneering virtual cycling simulator and sports technology innovator, to develop a cycling experience aimed at increasing fitness rates in Riyadh.RIYDE, which has been created by the Sports Boulevard, will use cutting-edge technology to bring cycling to Riyadh’s residents, allowing them to ride virtual routes and compete against one another in an immersive cycling booth. It will also feature world-class hardware, delivered by implementing partner.With a total of 220km of cycling pathways being created as part of the Sports Boulevard, RIYDE has been designed to encourage a culture of cycling and sports in the capital whilst construction of the Sports Boulevard is underway.Opening for an initial period of two weeks, the RIYDE booth will be at a number of public places and offer the opportunity for friends, family, and colleagues to socialise, exercise and compete against each other whilst enjoying a new sport in an indoor, air-conditioned booth.The booth will be open for residents to visit and the cycling experience will consist of a virtual 5.24km route, the equivalent of 10-15 minutes of cycling, that can be tailored to differing fitness abilities. In addition to participating in the RIYDE experience, visitors to the booth will also be able to use virtual reality technology to explore how the Sports Boulevard will transform Riyadh once completed. Jayne McGivern, CEO of the Sports Boulevard Foundation, said: “Promoting grassroots sports and unlocking the benefits of exercise for Riyadh’s residents is at the centre of the Sports Boulevard’s mission. Fitness technology has played a key role in improving people’s access to sports and exercise, so I am delighted to be launching RIYDE today, the immersive RIYDE experience is a fantastic way for the Sports Boulevard to provide residents with cycling facilities and to boost sports participation whilst we’re building the Sports Boulevard’s city-wide infrastructure.”Alvaro Galindo, Head of Business, BKOOL, said: “We are proud to announce our partnership with the Sports Boulevard, bringing the RIYDE experience to life for the residents of Riyadh. We are passionate about cycling and we want to inspire a new generation of cyclists. Our innovative, immersive technology will make this a reality, offering residents a new and fascinating opportunity to learn a new sport and passion.”The Sports Boulevard is one of Riyadh’s mega projects launched by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz on March 19th, 2019. Supported by HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. The project extends more than 135km on Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Road connecting Wadi Hanifah in the West with Wadi Al Sulai in the East through a grid of safe green pathways for pedestrians, cyclists, athletes, and horse-riders. The project includes more than 4.4 million square meters of greenery and open spaces, and up to 50 multidisciplinary sports facilities.
Day one of the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open included the main draw for this year’s competition, with Grand Slam-winner Emma Raducanu handed a tie against Czech Republic’s Marie Bouzkova. Spectators were also treated to fantastic on-court action as Wimbledon mixed doubles champion Heather Watson produced a brilliant performance and Australian Open finalist Danielle Collins cruised to victory.The second edition of the WTA 500 tournament officially began at the International Tennis Centre, Zayed Sports City, where Grand Slam-winners Watson and Sofia Kenin went head-to-head in the headline game of the day.American Kenin, the 2020 Australian Open champion, claimed the first set 6-3, before Watson took control and dominated proceedings, eventually brushing her opponent aside comfortably to run out 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 winner.Elsewhere in qualifying, Collins eased to a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Despina Papamichail, with wins also for the likes of Ashlyn Krueger, Linda Fruhrvirtova, Cristina Buc?a and Mai Hontama.Saudi star Yara Alhogbani, meanwhile, was beaten in straight sets by Sara Sorribes Tormo, the Spaniard easing to a 6-1, 6-0 win.Backed by a large proportion of the crowd on the stadium’s main court, Alhogbani showed glimpses of her sporting prowess but ultimately fell short against her more experienced opponent.Off court, the main draw for the competition took place this afternoon and with Raducanu set to face Bouzkova, there is the possibility of two highly anticipated second-round matches, which would pit the Brit against fan favourite Ons Jabeur and Naomi Osaka, who faces a qualifier, against Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina, the highest-ranked player in the tournament.Japan’s Osaka, former World Number. 1, recently returned to the sport following the birth of her daughter and having competed at both the Brisbane International and Australian Open, the wild card entrant will now hope to progress in Abu Dhabi and set up a huge clash with World Number. 5 Rybakina.Raducanu also enters as a wild card after recently returning following a spell of injuries. The 21-year-old kicked off the year by playing in the ASB Classic in Auckland, before participating in the Australian Open.Xiyu Wang, a late wild card entrant, helped conduct the draw and finds herself facing sixth seed Beatriz Haddad Maia.The tournament’s four top-seeded players - Rybakina, Jabeur, Maria Sakkari and Barbora Krej?íková - are awarded byes to the next stage of the competition.Tournament Director, Nigel Gupta, said: “We are pleased the main draw for the competition has now taken place, which only adds to the sense of excitement and anticipation.“This year’s event is blessed with a wonderful field featuring some of the world’s best players, many of whom will be confident of going all the way, and fans attending are guaranteed to see some brilliant matches.”"The draw for this year's Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open features a formidable lineup of talent poised to deliver a captivating tournament. Each match promises to showcase the grit, skill and athleticism that define women's tennis at its very best”, said Umayma Abubakar, Executive Director of Executive Communications & Corporate Center at Mubadala.“We extend a warm welcome to our returning players and introduce the next wave of talent to the Abu Dhabi stage. This year's event will strengthen Abu Dhabi's reputation as a premier destination for world-class tennis and as a place where fans can experience sporting excellence first-hand”.Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, confirmed that organizing the WTA 500 event for the second time in a row reaffirms Abu Dhabi’s prowess in hosting major international events, and comes as a natural result of the confidence of international federations, institutions and sports bodies in the capital city. This makes the tournament one of the most prominent global events hosted by the capital throughout the year, in accordance with the highest professional and international standards.Al Awani praised the “Road to the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open” community initiative, which was launched last September on the sidelines of the upcoming edition of the World Championship and aims to advance the sport of tennis in the UAE by developing local emerging male and female talents.While naturally much of the opening-day focus centred around the tennis action, there was plenty of entertainment away from the courts with musical performances from the likes of Melissa Jeffrey and DJ Akmaral, candle making classes and tea demonstrations, along with tennis-themed activations for all the family in the Fan Village.
Singapore-based WRISE Group has officially launched WRISE Middle East, a subsidiary office based in Dubai. This office is specifically designed to cater to the operational requirements of high-net-worth individuals and their family offices in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the broader Middle East region. The establishment of WRISE Middle East follows the acquisition of the Category 3C license in 2022."The UAE is set to see an increase of 24.6% in the number of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) by 2025," said Derrick Tan Chairman, WRISE Group. "With an increasing congregation of the wealthy in this part of the world, we are excited to offer our services, expertise and technology to the ultra-wealthy community to meet their myriad wealth management and estate planning needs."Concurrently, WRISE Group has appointed Dhruba Jyoti(DJ) Sengupta as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of WRISE Middle East. Sengupta, with over 25 years of experience in the financial industry across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, brings valuable expertise. Having held senior wealth management positions at international financial institutions such as Citibank N.A. and serving as the CEO of a family office, he is well-positioned to lead the growth of the Dubai team of client servicing experts and expand WRISE's offerings in these dedicated markets."Dubai has traditionally been a hot spot for UHNWIs in the European and the Mena regions to live and work, so with more of the world's wealthy expected to migrate here, I strongly believe that our depth of investment and wealth management expertise, together with TREX, our highly customisable wealthtech platform, will be key to meeting their modern wealth management demands in this digital age," said DJ Sengupta.
Property Finder, the leading property portal in the MENA region, has revealed its market performance highlights for January 2024, showing a positive start for Dubai’s fast evolving real estate sector. According to Property Finder’s proprietary data, the market witnessed a YoY increase of 17% in recorded sales transactions, over 11,000 compared to 8,712 in January 2023. Building on momentum from 2023, January also showed a significant surge in the value of transactions reaching almost AED 35 billion, marking an increase of 27% compared to the same month last year. Key data highlights: Apartments vs Villas/Townhouses: 58% of interested property buyers were searching for an apartment, while 42% seeked villas/townhouses. In contrast, 80% of tenants in the rental market were found to be looking for apartments, while 20% were searching for villas/townhouses. Sales property type Preferences inJanuary 2024Tenants' property type PreferencesJanuary 2024 Furnished vs Unfurnished: Roughly 62.2% of tenants seeking apartments were found to choose furnished properties, while 36.1% were searching for unfurnished options. In contrast, tenants who are able to afford villa/townhouse rentals revealed the opposite, with about 57% seeking unfurnished units and 42% looking for furnished options. Sizeable units in demand: Approximately 36% tenants searched for one bedroom units, 31% for two-bedroom apartments and 22% for studios. For villas/townhouses, 43% tenants were looking for three-bedroom units, 34% seeked four bedroom or larger options. As for ownership, 33% were seeking one-bedroom units, 36% searched for two-bedroom apartments and 14% for studios. Regarding Villas/Townhouses, 40% were primarily looking for three-bedroom units, while 44% were searching for four-bedroom or larger options. Ownership vs rental choices: Top areas searched to own apartments were Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai, Jumeirah Village Circle, Business Bay, and Palm Jumeirah. Dubai Hills Estate, Arabian Ranches, Palm Jumeirah, Al Furjan and Damac Hills were the most desired areas to own villas/townhouses. Leading areas for rentals were Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Village Circle, Downtown Dubai, Business Bay and Deira. Dubai Hills Estate, Al Barsha, Damac Hills 2, Jumeirah and Umm Suqeim were popular when it came to searches to rent villas/townhouses. Support from existing market: Existing property transactions revealed a YoY increase of approximately 8% in volume, with over 5,000 transactions. The value of these transactions surged by 31% YoY, touching AED 21 billion, compared to AED 15.7 billion in January 2023. Growing demand for off-plan: Off-plan showed more demand, with a YoY increase of approximately 25% in volume and 6,000 recorded transactions. Values experienced a surge of around 21% YoY, reaching roughly AED 15 billion, compared to AED 12.2 billion in January 2023. Cherif Sleiman, Chief Revenue Officer at Property Finder, said: “We are delighted to see January build on the great momentum from last year, revealing positive scope for sustained successes in 2024. It’s interesting to see off-plan gain further traction, promising demand for new projects. As a leading proptech portal, we continue to keep our eyes on evolving consumer choices, with an aim to empower our partners and property seekers to make more informed decisions within this thriving real estate landscape. ”All the latest information for January’s top listings and communities are available on Data Guru by Property Finder that can be accessed at https://www.propertyfinder.ae/ or on the Property Finder app, available for download on Google Play and Apple Store.
Gerety Talks with Joe Abou-Khaled, Atiya Zaidi and Ali Rez from Impact BBDO. In 2023 they were awarded with UAE Agency of the year.Agency & Production Company of the year by country is chosen by the local juries from the portfolio cut and requires a single film no longer than five minutes in length and includes up to three pieces of work from the past 12 months. Impact BBDO were awarded for their portfolio Cut entry that included the following spots: Election’s Edition for AnNahar Newspaper; Schoolgirls Newscasters for EBM and Despair no More for TENA.Ali RezChief Creative Officer MENAPImpact BBDO GroupNamed Creative Person of the Year twice by Campaign magazine, Ali Rez is the most awarded creative leader in the Middle East, and currently leads creative output for the IMPACT BBDO Group across the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan region. Rez’s work has been instrumental in Impact BBDO being named the No.2 Agency In The World on the WARC report, while winning 29 different Agency of the Year accolades in 2022 and 2023 for bringing tremendous business success and creative excellence to the Group, and positive impact to social causes.Rez has won more than 900 international accolades in his career spanning four continents over 20 years, which include Grands Prix at all the major shows including Cannes Lions, Clio, OneShow, Loeries, Effies – awards which have led him to be ranked No.1 ECD in MENA and APAC on several creative rankings. In 2023, he was the first jury president ever at Cannes Lions to represent the Middle East.Moving from California, Rez currently lives in Dubai, where he is an avid mountain biker. Besides lecturing at Oxford University, Rez has exhibited at Tate UK, spoken at Tedx, and has traveled to 139 countries.Joe Abou-KhaledIMPACT BBDORegional Executive Creative Director - MENABorn, raised and based in Beirut, Joe leads a big chunk of the agency business in the Levant, the GCC and Africa. He has a diverse work background covering fully integrated multilingual campaigns across the MENA region.With more than 20 years’ experience at BBDO, he has won awards across most categories and major festivals, including 3 Grand Prix at Cannes Lions in the last 4 years.Today, Joe is ranked #1 ECD in MENA by the One Show 2023 Global Rankings and #14 in the world by the Drum World Creative Rankings 2023.Atiya ZaidiChief Executive Officer/Chief Creative OfficerBBDO PakistanAtiya is a creative who loves to create. She has over 20 years of experience in the advertising industry working on an array of local and international brands. Winner of the first ever Glass Lion at Cannes Lions 2023, for Pakistan, she is also the first Pakistani woman to be selected for Cannes Lions See it Be it program, D&AD’s Rare creative program and also the Pitch magazines’ 100 Superwomen list 2019. She also wrote a film which is available on Netflix.