TRKKN MENA becomes a Google Cloud platform premier partner

Dubai: TRKKN MENA, the leading analytics, marketing & cloud consultancy part of Omnicom Media Group (OMG), is now a Premier Partner on the Google Cloud Platform, leveraging its expertise both locally and across Europe to provide data and marketing analytics solutions to their clients. This underscores TRKKN MENA's commitment to delivering seamless, end to end customer experiences from the Google Marketing Platform (GMP) to Google Cloud solutions. In doing so, they help their clients derive and apply invaluable customer insights, under-pinned by data, which lead to increased marketing efficiency and ROI. As a Premier Partner, TRKKN MENA joins an elite group of technology firms recognized for their exceptional performance, customer success, and expertise in utilizing Google Cloud products and services. This milestone, which involved technical interviews and assessments, validates TRKKN MENA's dedication to maintaining the highest standards of technical proficiency, customer satisfaction, and product expertise within the Google Cloud ecosystem.TRKKN MENA is recognized for offering marketers in the region enhanced technical expertise, thanks to the deep knowledge and proficiency in Google Cloud technologies of its team of certified experts. This means its clients get tailored solutions that meet their specific business needs and challenges. TRKKN MENA will now enjoy priority access to Google Cloud resources, support, and training, enabling faster resolution of issues and continuous improvement of services. They also enjoy early access to new Google Cloud products, features, and updates, allowing clients to stay ahead of the curve and leverage the latest advancements in cloud technology to drive business innovation. Premier Partners procure a seamless and hassle-free experience for clients, from the initial consultation and deployment to ongoing management and optimization, thanks to end-to-end support throughout the cloud journey.TRKKN is leveraging its successful track record with the Premier Partner status in Europe to offer competitive rates for GCP in MENA. With these, marketers eager to embrace the next big thing can, for example, explore the benefits of the cloud on their digital marketing maturity and the return on their online investments. The consolidation of data across multiple touch points into GCP allows customers to gain a more holistic view and gather invaluable insights into customer journeys. It also helps leverage the built-in ML tools to enable advanced customer segmentation, improve marketing efficiency and personalize customer journeys.“Achieving Premier Partner status on the Google Cloud Platform is a testament of TRKKN MENA's unwavering dedication to excellence, innovation, and customer success. This milestone reflects our ongoing commitment, Working hand in hand with the Google MENA cloud team, we empower businesses in the MENA region with cutting-edge cloud solutions that boost efficiency and drive digital transformation,” declared Vimal Badiani, managing director of TRKKN MENA. “It’s by being best-in-class ourselves that we can propel our clients in that same position in their own industry by deploying cutting-edge marketing and tech solutions. This latest certification by Google is more than a seal of approval, it’s the beacon that guides the choice of a GCP partner.”

ATI to tap the USD-108-million Middle East and Asia apple cider vinegar market

American Trading International, Inc. (ATI), a leading player in the USA-branded food distribution industry, has announced its participation in the 29th edition of Gulfood.As part of its expansion strategy, ATI has successfully established a broad distribution network that caters to diverse markets and ensures an efficient supply chain. ATI has exported to more than 85 countries and markets worldwide including 14 countries in the Middle East, delivering high-quality made-in-USA products. This development aligns with the company's vision to provide high-quality food products to consumers worldwide.Due to the increasing demand for health-oriented products in the Middle East, organic Apple Cider Vinegar has become a popular choice due to its wide application and health benefits. As part of its expansion strategy, ATI has solidified its position as the exclusive exporter of Bragg products in key international markets. It also aims to tap into the growing Middle East and Asia Apple Cider Vinegar market, which is estimated to grow over USD 108 million by 2026 - this is attributed to its growing popularity among Arab, Mediterranean, and Asian cuisines.In addition, ATI will announce the first-ever Bragg Partners Meet at Gulfood - bringing together partners from over 35 countries and celebrating the winners of the 2023 Bragg Race.Imran Mohammed, COO, ATI said: "Our presence at Gulfood reflects our commitment to meet the evolving health-conscious needs of consumers in the Middle East. We have become a trusted provider of premium health food products worldwide and our partnership with Bragg reflects that further. We are excited to showcase our portfolio of premium brands and explore opportunities to expand our distribution channels, furthering our mission of delivering excellence to consumers worldwide."ATI will showcase its extensive range of Bragg offerings, highlighting their exceptional quality and health benefits. Taking place from February 19-23, ATI will be present at the leading F&B exhibition at the USA Pavilion in Sheikh Saeed Hall, Booth # S3-136.

Publicis Groupe unveils Publicis Pro with Octopus Group Integration

Publicis Groupe has launched Publicis Pro, marking a significant step in its commitment to B2B creative services. By integrating Octopus Group and harnessing the expertise of 400 B2B specialists from its global network, Publicis Pro aims to provide comprehensive solutions in B2B strategy, creative, influence, and commerce.Heading Publicis Pro are Jon Lonsdale as Chief Executive and Pete Hendrick as Managing Director. Lonsdale, Co-Founder of Octopus Group, will report to Demet Ikiler, Publicis Groupe's EMEA Chief Executive. The core team of 60 specialists will initially focus on the UK, Germany, and France, with plans for expansion across the EMEA region.The move follows Publicis Groupe's acquisition of Octopus Group in 2021, recognizing B2B as a significant growth area. Octopus Group, known for its expertise in tech, telecoms, financial services, logistics, and manufacturing sectors, brought on board notable clients such as Siemens, Adobe, Logitech, and Rolls-Royce.The integration of Octopus Group into Publicis Groupe's UK creative practice demonstrated a strategic shift towards bolstering B2B capabilities within the agency. This move aligns with Publicis Groupe's aim to become a center of excellence for both B2B and B2B2C clients, leveraging new data and marketing services to drive growth.Publicis Pro's vision includes the development of innovative services tailored to complex B2B audiences, such as AI tools. With Octopus Group's tech-first capabilities and Publicis Groupe's extensive resources, Publicis Pro aims to deliver enhanced value to clients, offering access to talent, technology, and data to drive success in the B2B space.

OpenAI unveils Sora which can create instant videos

OpenAI has unveiled Sora, its text-to-video model. Sora can generate realistic and imaginative scenes from text instructions.The AI model can create videos up to a minute long while maintaining visual quality and adherence to the user’s prompt. OpenAI announced that Sora is able to generate complex scenes with multiple characters, specific types of motion, and accurate details of the subject and background. The model understands not only what the user has asked for in the prompt, but also how those things exist in the physical world. Regarding weakness, the company stated: “Simulating complex interactions between objects and multiple characters is often challenging for the model, sometimes resulting in humorous generations.”“We’ll be engaging policymakers, educators and artists around the world to understand their concerns and to identify positive use cases for this new technology. Despite extensive research and testing, we cannot predict all of the beneficial ways people will use our technology, nor all the ways people will abuse it. That’s why we believe that learning from real-world use is a critical component of creating and releasing increasingly safe AI systems over time,” said OpenAI in a post.The featured image above is the screenshot of this prompt given: A stylish woman walks down a Tokyo street filled with warm glowing neon and animated city signage. She wears a black leather jacket, a long red dress, and black boots, and carries a black purse. She wears sunglasses and red lipstick. She walks confidently and casually. The street is damp and reflective, creating a mirror effect of the colorful lights. Many pedestrians walk about.

Kia announces partnership of FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Dubai

Dubai: Kia Corporation has announced its partnership of the 12th edition of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2024TM, solidifying its longstanding partnership with FIFA. The event will take place in Dubai, from February 15 to 25, at Dubai Design District (D3).Kia said it is committed to aligning with the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2024TM, a tournament that showcases skill, athleticism, and the spirit of competition. This partnership underscores Kia's dedication to supporting international sports and fostering unity through the shared love for soccer. Kia will also be supporting the tournament operations with an official event fleet of 49 Kia vehicles.The event will feature a dynamic display of Kia's latest award-winning all-electric flagship SUV, Kia EV9 and the Kia EV6. This display invites participants to engage with Kia’s cutting-edge industry-defining all-electric vehicles, offering a firsthand experience of the innovation that defines Kia's automotive excellence.Yaser Shabsogh, Vice President, Commercial Operations at Kia Middle East and Africa, commented: "Kia is delighted to be part of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2024, a continuation of our successful collaboration with FIFA including the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ and the FIFAe Finals 2023, recognized as one of the premier events in the esports industry showcasing the world's top gaming talent. This partnership, continuing until 2030, demonstrates our dedication to global sports, uniting people through shared passion and the thrill of competition."The tournament will feature 16 qualified teams from around the world, promising an exhilarating competition that will captivate soccer fans globally. Participating countries include the host nation UAE, along with Senegal, Egypt, Argentina, Colombia, Tahiti, Belarus, USA, Mexico, Brazil, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Iran, Japan, and Oman.Ahmed Soudodi, Vice President, Product & Marketing at Kia Middle East and Africa, added: "As we showcase our sustainable lineup of vehicles at this prestigious event, we look forward to creating memorable experiences for fans and customers alike. Kia's commitment to innovation and performance aligns seamlessly with the dynamic and thrilling nature of beach soccer."

Hisense strengthens MENA presence, plans Dubai R&D centre

Global home appliance maker Hisense reaffirms its commitment to the MENA region with ambitious expansion plans. The company solidified its position as the No. 2 global TV brand in 2023, witnessing remarkable growth in MENA specifically, with revenue surging by 335% and brand equity by 177% since 2018.MENA in focus:Investing in the region's potential, Hisense plans to establish new production facilities in North Africa and the Levant, fostering local manufacturing and job creation.Flagship stores are planned across GCC and Levant countries, offering customers a premium brand experience.Recognizing unique MENA preferences, Hisense will launch a dedicated R&D Center in Dubai this year, developing products tailored to the region's needs.Celebrating success and deepening sports engagement:Hisense earned over 30 awards at CES 2024 for its innovative TVs, including the ULED X and Laser TVs.As the official sponsor of EURO 2024, Hisense will launch cutting-edge TVs for an immersive viewing experience and deepen its connection with football fans.Jason Ou, President of Hisense Middle East, said: "MENA is a key growth market for us. By establishing local production, opening flagship stores, and launching a dedicated R&D centre, we aim to offer regional consumers innovative, high-quality products that cater to their specific needs and preferences. We are excited to contribute to the region's economic development and create meaningful engagement with our customers."

Inaugural I-Film Festival showcases Abu Dhabi as a global content hub

The I-Film Festival (IFF) concluded at the Yas Creative Hub. This inaugural event highlighted Abu Dhabi's role in fostering innovation and collaboration within the film industry, bringing together professionals, emerging talents, and enthusiasts to strengthen the creative industries ecosystem.The festival showcased Abu Dhabi's evolving status as a global content hub, with significant contributions from the Abu Dhabi Film Commission (ADFC) and Creative Lab (CL).Mohammed Dobay, Acting Director General of the Creative Media Authority, and Sameer Al Jaberi, Head of the Abu Dhabi Film Commission at ADFC, spotlighted the festival's display of Abu Dhabi's advanced infrastructure and the appealing financial incentives available to filmmakers and content creators worldwide.Khalid Khouri, Director of Talent Development at the Creative Media Authority, commented on the festival's impact on talent growth: "The level of engagement and enthusiasm we've seen from emerging talents at the IFF has been remarkable. It underscores Abu Dhabi's capability to cultivate creative careers and establish meaningful industry partnerships."Saravana Prasad, Founder of the Innovative Group, shared his vision for the festival: "The I-Film Festival is more than an event; it's a catalyst for creative innovation and talent development in the region. We are immensely proud of the collaborative spirit and the breakthrough achievements of this inaugural festival. It marks the beginning of a new chapter for the film industry in Abu Dhabi and beyond."Workshops led by celebrated Cinematographer R. Rathnavelu and Manoj Paramahamsa, along with sound designer Resul Pookutty, emphasised the critical role of storytelling in film, providing attendees with invaluable insights into the cinematic arts.The success of the I-Film Festival affirms Abu Dhabi's dedication to creating a thriving environment for the creative industries, further establishing the Emirate as a leading global destination for film and media.

Mubashir and Al Meera Oman forge strategic partnership

Mubashir, a prominent Digital-Out-of-Home (DOOH) company in Oman, has recently announced a strategic partnership with Al Meera Oman, a renowned international retail chain. This collaboration aims to provide enhanced advertising opportunities for brands across key locations in the capital region of Oman.Through this partnership, Mubashir extends its network to include prime positions within high-traffic Al Meera locations in Muscat, including Al Muzn Mall, Panorama Mall, and Al Meera Malls in Athaiba and Al Amerat. The installation of smart DOOH screens in these locations offers brands the flexibility of scheduling and enables them to reach their target audience effectively during peak hours, thereby maximizing the impact of their advertising campaigns.Both Mubashir and Al Meera emphasize that this partnership ensures brands access to highly engaged consumers actively seeking products and services. This collaboration presents a unique opportunity for brands to capture the attention of potential customers and establish deeper connections with them in high-traffic areas around the hypermarket.This strategic partnership between Mubashir and Al Meera Oman signifies a significant advancement in the realm of digital advertising in Oman, providing brands with innovative avenues to engage with their target audience and drive business growth.

TikTok promotes media literacy at MENAT Youth Mental Health Summit

TikTok MENAT recently hosted an enlightening discussion with safety experts from across the region, delving into topics such as youth well-being, media literacy, and critical thinking skills in today's digital landscape. The event, hosted on 13 February at Warehouse 4 in Al Qouz, Dubai moderated by Omar Butti, served as a platform for valuable insights into the influence of digital communities on the mental health of the upcoming generation and strategies to engage with social media content in a meaningful and critical manner.The first panel named "Equipping Young Digital Citizens with Media Literacy and Critical Thinking Skills" attended by Lynn Sutton, TikTok’s Head of Outreach & Partnerships, Trust & Safety EMEA, as well as TikTok’s Safety Advisory Council members Naila Hamdy and Akin Unver. Together, they delved into the significance of media literacy, particularly for younger audiences, emphasizing the need for informed conversations about safety and the ability to respond appropriately to crises.The second panel called "Building Digital Communities for Youth Well-being" welcomed Lynn Sutton along with TikTok's Safety Advisory council member Maitha Mohamed and Lecturer of Educational Psychology, Trainer & Speaker on Leadership and Mental Health Jana Bou Reslan. They explored how digital communities cultivate compassion among users and highlighted the importance of constructive dialogues surrounding mental health, supported by robust content moderation processes, in establishing a nurturing environment for all.TikTok’s Head of Outreach & Partnerships, Trust & Safety EMEA Lynn Sutton shared, “TikTok is constantly striving to make our platform a safer and more welcoming space for everyone, ensuring that all users have the necessary tools and support to engage with content safely and responsibly. Our community guidelines are designed to ensure that the platform remains a positive and inclusive space for everyone. We take action to address potential challenges, and conversations like the ones that took place in TikTok's MENAT Youth Mental Health Summit are critical to ensuring a safe environment for everyone, most importantly youth."Naila Hamdy, Safety Advisory Council (SAC) member, emphasized the importance of media literacy in navigating various types of content, particularly in an age where information spreads rapidly. She stated, "It's crucial to critically assess content and take appropriate action. We encourage young people not only to create content but also to become responsible digital citizens. Parents and educators play a central role in equipping young individuals with media literacy."Jana Bou Reslan, Lecturer of Educational Psychology, Trainer & Speaker on Leadership and Mental Health, also shared, "Engaging parents is paramount to creating safe digital communities for the younger generation. Parents' insights are valuable in not only creating important safety processes, but also in guiding how the youth can interact with digital platforms in a healthy and responsible manner."TikTok is at the forefront of introducing features to help support the community's mental well-being, both on and off the platform. The platform has been proactive in promoting mental health awareness and encouraging users, especially teenagers, taking steps to prevent instances of trolling and bullying, and set daily screen time limits. awarded the “Most Secure Broker” award at “Oman Smart Vision” Summit, the global FinTech and financial services provider for online trading and investing, has been recognized with the award for "Most Secure Broker" during the “Oman Smart Vision” Summit which took place on February 14th and 15th.The event where the global multi-asset broker was featured as Global Sponsor was organized by Smart Vision Group at the esteemed “Sheraton Oman” Hotel in Muscat, Oman.The highlight of the event was being honored with the esteemed "Most Secure Broker" award, a testament to its efforts in prioritizing the security and safety of clients’ funds and information.Expressing excitement and gratitude for the recognition, Mr. Shadi Salloum, the Regional Director of in the MENA region, stated:“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the remarkable event organizers of “Oman Smart Vision” Summit. It is with immense honor and gratitude that we accept the award for "Most Secure Broker". This award is a testament to our efforts, and we are truly humbled to be recognized among such distinguished peers.”Presenting its cutting-edge products and services at the “Oman Smart Vision” Summit, the’s Global Sponsorship shone a spotlight on its dedication to online investments. In addition, they provided invaluable insights into the latest trends and advancements within the dynamic landscape of the Fintech industry.Dr. Mohammed Elnozamy, Chairman and Managing Director at Smart Vision, Said:“I am thrilled to announce as the "Most Secure Broker" at the first edition of Smart Vision summit in Oman 2024. This award stands as a testament to the efforts of in providing a safe and secure trading environment for traders”.As Global Sponsor, the multi-award winning broker had a prominent presence throughout the “Oman Smart Vision” Summit, where they showcased a comprehensive suite of services and expertise in the Financial Services industry. The Global Market Leader is known for prioritizing the security and safety of clients’ funds and information by continually investing in its infrastructure and implementing advanced security protocols to maintain the highest security standards and safeguard these funds.In addition to its multiple regulations in various jurisdictions around the globe, provides clients with additional insurance protection to cover losses in excess of USD 10,000 and up to USD 5,000,000 against claims against omission, fraud, negligence and other risks that may lead to the financial loss of clients. This Civil Liability Insurance Program is underwritten by Lloyd's of have also invested heavily in its infrastructure and implemented advanced security protocols to ensure that its systems comply with the most stringent global security standards.

MOTAD bags Arabian Farm’s digital, creative & social mandate for SAHA

Motad, a leading Dubai-based creative and digital marketing agency, has secured the digital mandate for Arabian Farms' SAHA brand, known for its fresh and locally produced poultry products. Arabian Farms, boasting over 40 years of excellence, sought a robust digital strategy to reach its health-conscious audience effectively.Motad crafted a targeted campaign highlighting SAHA's commitment to quality and freshness. Targeted campaigns, engaging social media content, and strategic influencer partnerships were meticulously crafted to solidify SAHA's position as a leader in the premium poultry market. By combining impactful messaging with creative materials, MOTAD aims to significantly enhance SAHA's social media presence and solidify its brand recognition across the region.Commenting on the partnership, Engr. Tareq Sallam, CEO of Holding company, Arabian Farms said, "Arabian Farms is dedicated to delivering the freshest poultry in the UAE and KSA. Motad's digital expertise will deepen our connection with the audience, and we believe their data-driven approach will solidify SAHA's position as a leading brand in the region."

Emirates Pride partners with master perfumers to create unique scent

Dubai: Emirates Pride has announced a groundbreaking collaboration with two internationally acclaimed master perfumers, Nathalie Lorson and Olivier Cresp, to create a unique scent, marking a historic moment in the fragrance industry in the UAE. This collaboration captures the essence of creativity and craftsmanship in the world of perfumery for a homegrown UAE fragrance house. Master perfumers play a pivotal role in the creation of fine fragrances, combining various aromatic elements to produce unique compositions. These artisans possess an acute sense of smell, creativity, and extensive knowledge of rare and exotic ingredients. Globally, there are only approximately 500 perfumers recognized by the industry, making this a rare occurrence. With a passion for perfumes and a shared love for Emirates Pride, Nathalie Lorson and Olivier Cresp combined their unparalleled expertise and artistry to craft a fragrance that embodies the harmonious blend of their creativity.The fragrances market in the United Arab Emirates is projected to generate revenue of US$142.60 million in 2024, with an expected annual growth rate of -0.91% (CAGR 2024-2028). This market, catering to an affluent consumer base, is undergoing a shift towards niche and luxury brands.The Middle East fragrances market has experienced substantial growth, driven by a young demographic, rising disposable incomes, and improved standards of living. However, the recent impact of the coronavirus outbreak has affected the personal care and cosmetics industries. Despite challenges, demand for premium and upmarket perfumes in the Middle East remains strong.Emirates Pride takes pride in bringing together two exceptional talents, Nathalie Lorson and Olivier Cresp, to create a fragrance that celebrates the art of perfumery for a homegrown UAE brand. This exceptional scent is not merely a fragrance; it is a piece of art that captures the spirit of the UAE.Olivier Cresp, a Master Perfumer, hails from a long line of fragrance artisans in Grasse, France. With a family legacy dating back to the seventeenth century, he has cultivated a deep understanding of perfumery from an early age. Olivier's work has earned him the title of Perfumer of the Year in 2007 and Master Perfumer in 2006. He continues to mentor young talents in the industry.Nathalie Lorson, known for her generosity and creativity, believes that the exchange of ideas is essential for fragrance creation. Her approach involves expressing and sharing emotions through scent. A prolific Master Perfumer, Nathalie's work speaks for itself, and her ultimate reward is seeing her compositions become a part of people's lives. She believes in the power of simplicity and the art of subtraction in her creations.Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said: "Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing else to add but when there is nothing else to take away." Nathalie Lorson's creations are like pieces of a puzzle, each contributing to her unique identity.Image by andreas N from Pixabay

Erika Doyle on elevating Ramadan with premium non-alcoholic offerings

Drink Dry, the leading non-alcoholic drinks marketplace in the Middle East, curates the finest alcohol-free beverages globally, spearheading the 'No and Low Alcohol' (NOLO) movement. Based in Dubai, the brand is preparing to honor the significance of the upcoming Holy month of Ramadan. Adgully recently interviewed Erika Doyle, the Founder of Drink Dry, to explore their strategies and preparations for Ramadan. Here are the excerpts:How are the brands in the Middle East tailoring their marketing strategies/campaigns to resonate with the cultural nuances and significance of Ramadan?Drink Dry launched a very unique and successful Golden Month campaign last year for the month of Ramadan. Instead of trying to bring something new to Iftar meals we went after the traditions of Ramadan and Iftar meals and made our products fit the traditions, instead of creating something entirely new.Can you discuss specific examples of how you are incorporating traditional elements of Ramadan into your exclusive collections or marketing campaigns?Our most successful Ramadan drink last year was Natureo Vimto Fizz. We took the classic Vimto drink that people enjoy during Iftars and have created a mocktail with a twist – we paired it with one of our best sellers Natureo Muscat Sparkling Grape. It was a perfect combination of classic and new mixed together.In what ways are brands leveraging social media influencers and digital platforms to connect with consumers during Ramadan, while maintaining authenticity and respect for the occasion?I think for Western brands this is always the biggest challenge. The brands have to be incredibly aware of the cultural nuances and make sure the influencers they work with are unique themselves. Drink Dry is a luxury F&B brand, and last year we partnered with female Arab chefs and influencers who are known for hosting dinners and sharing content around the same. We wanted to make sure that we partner with people who focus on tradition and host throughout the year and not just for a month during Ramadan. It must feel natural for the consumer; it can’t be fake or pretentious.What challenges do brands face in balancing commercial objectives with the need to honour the spiritual and cultural aspects of Ramadan, and how are they navigating these challenges?For us, this is very simple: the month of Ramadan is a time to honour our Muslim clientele. We eagerly anticipate making their Holy Month even more beautiful than it already is, showing respect and appreciation for their year-round support. Rather than commercializing our Muslim clients during Ramadan, we focus on gifting and sharing throughout the month. We also collaborate with local brands that share our values.

Dubai Harbour Marinas Achieve Triple Accreditation - A Global First

Dubai Harbour is the proud recipient of three prestigious accreditations from The Yacht Harbour Association, including the coveted Gold Anchor award - a credible measure of marina quality; alongside renowned titles for Clean Marinas and Super Yacht Ready, a first in the region. The region’s largest marina achieved an unprecedented feat of securing all three accreditations, not only on its very first try, but simultaneously, marking a world-first achievement under The Yacht Harbour Association (TYHA) and demonstrating the high standards of marina excellence at Dubai Harbour.The global marina accreditations awarded by The Yacht Harbour Association have been a trusted industry evaluation, based upon the belief that the marina industry needs a customer-centric focus for marina businesses and recreational boating to grow and prosper. To arrive at the accreditation, a marina is evaluated against six key evaluation categories including Ambiance, Customer Service and Environmental, amongst others.The prestigious flags of recognition were presented by Jon White, General Manager of The Yacht Harbour Association to Dubai Harbour in a special ceremony. “When we first conceptualised Dubai Harbour years ago, our aim was to design and deliver a seafront residential district that rekindled Dubai’s connection to the sea and acted as a gateway for extraordinary maritime lifestyle and journeys. With world-class facilities and services, Dubai Harbour Marinas is providing a full home port solution enabling local and international boat owners, passengers and crew to enjoy Dubai’s spectacular cruising grounds. We would like to thank The Yacht Harbour Association for this recognition and our Dubai Harbour Marinas teams for their unwavering commitment to yachting excellence rewarded with these three prestigious accreditations,” said Abdulla Binhabtoor, Chief Portfolio Management Officer at Shamal Holding, Owner and Curator of Dubai Harbour. Jon White, General Manager of The Yacht Harbour Association added; “The 5 Gold Anchor, Superyacht Ready and Clean Marina awards that I am pleased to have presented to the Dubai Harbour Marinas team, are designed to advise and educate with the objective of raising standards within the marina industry and assisting boaters in their choice of marina.To achieve any one of these accreditations represents a significant challenge; to be awarded all three at once is highly impressive. This is a great credit to the Dubai Harbour Marinas team who are strong advocates of such accreditations and long-standing Certified Marina Managers, spearheaded by Director – Marinas Wayne Shepherd (CMM). My congratulations go to all who contributed to this excellent achievement”.Dubai Harbour is the region’s largest marina, featuring close to 700 berths that can accommodate yachts up to 160m in length, in addition to a dedicated superyacht marina. Offering a fuelling station capable of taking vessels up to 50m, as well as providing guests and crew with a full home port solution in one of the world’s most spectacular cruising grounds, Dubai Harbour Marinas enables direct access to the open waters of the Arabian Gulf with ample water depths and no air draught limits.As part of its commitment to offering a premier and multifaceted seafront experience, Dubai Harbour is welcoming a new era of green innovation, recently announcing the introduction of the UAE’s first ever floating waste collector called PixieDrone. Dubai Harbour also has a dedicated sustainability committee, ‘Seaguardians’, who ensure sustainable practices are followed across all operations, educating boat owners on environmentally-friendly initiatives and driving better ESG awareness for the industry.Later this month, Dubai Harbour will host the Dubai International Boat Show for the third consecutive year, taking place from 28th February - 3rd March 2024.

Canon ME & Turkey unveils 'Let There Be Life' promotion

Canon Middle East & Turkey's latest marketing initiative, titled "Let there be life," introduces a compelling narrative that intertwines two fundamental Japanese concepts: Ikigai and Kyosei. These concepts serve as the foundation for showcasing how Canon's products not only enrich individual lives but also foster a meaningful collective impact.At the heart of the campaign is the Japanese principle of 'Ikigai,' which underscores the pursuit of purpose and fulfillment in one's life. Canon correlates this philosophy with its own corporate ethos of 'Kyosei,' which underscores the importance of collective impact and collaborative efforts for the greater good.Canon emphasizes that its diverse array of products, particularly its cameras, plays a pivotal role in capturing life's most precious moments, spanning from intimate personal occasions like weddings to global spectacles such as the Rugby World Cup. However, Canon's influence extends far beyond the realm of photography, encompassing various industries including printing, manufacturing, sports, art, and even semiconductor chip production. Their products find utility in a myriad of settings ranging from film production sets to hospitals to space exploration missions.The campaign endeavors to transcend mere technological innovation, focusing instead on Canon's commitment to creating products imbued with kindness and care. This emphasis is particularly evident in Canon's medical imaging solutions, designed to enhance patient experiences and improve healthcare outcomes.Through this marketing effort, Canon aims to underscore its dedication to enriching lives and making positive contributions to society through the provision of innovative products and services. This narrative aligns with the broader societal trend of seeking purpose-driven brands that prioritize social responsibility and collective well-being.

Yango unveils AI-powered entertainment super App Yango Play

Yango, transforming global technologies into everyday services tailored to local needs, today announced the launch of Yango Play, the first AI-powered entertainment service that combines video streaming, music, and mini-games in one place. Yango Play offers a diverse range of entertainment options, featuring exclusive premieres of both Arabic and international movies and series, personalized music streaming, and interactive mini-games, all enhanced by Yasmina, an AI-based Arabic voice assistant. Now available in the KSA, UAE, and other GCC countries, the service provides subscribers with cross-platform access on smartphones and TVs. The new super app places significant emphasis on upholding authentic content, celebrating regional production studios and artists. The platform not only serves as a launchpad for local talent but also ensures the diversification of the current entertainment landscape by providing its subscribers with a selection of original content that resonates with their cultural identity.  Yasmina: The Arabic-Speaking AI Assistant Yasmina, the bilingual AI assistant integrated into Yango Play, interacts with users in Arabic and English and redefines their entertainment experience. Fluent in Khaleeji and able to understand major Arabic dialects, including Egyptian and Lebanese, Yasmina suggests the songs for listening, chats with you, and answers all kinds of questions — anything from today’s weather to this year’s Ramadan dates. Yasmina guides you through the Yango Play app and makes your experience more enjoayble. Personalized endless music streamCentral to Yango Play's innovation is an AI-powered endless music stream that tailors personalized playlists for users, spotlighting regional gems based on their preferences. This ensures each user's experience is unique and reflects their personal choices. As the product continues to evolve, its recommendation technology will also adapt, ensuring a highly personalized and relevant user experience that resonates with unique preferences and cultural nuances. Commenting on the launch of the super app, Roman Shimansky, MENA Region Business Director at Yango Play, "At Yango Play, we're devoted to crafting a joyful entertainment experience, offering a selection of diverse content that turns every moment into a delightful adventure. Our ever-evolving platform uses AI to provide more seamless and intuitive experiences by understanding your preferences—whether by curating uplifting music for your drive, engaging shows for family time, or quick games for a brief pause in your day. We are deeply committed to enhancing these experiences through our original content and strategic collaborations with regional creatives, ensuring that each choice on our platform is a step towards discovering vibrant new emotions." With titles like the biggest Arabic blockbuster of 2023 ‘Mr. Ex’ and the sequel of the beloved classic ‘Awlad Harim Kareem’ already in its lineup, Yango Play is set to reveal the full catalog with the best acquired and produced films and series in the near future. Upon joining, every user receives a 60-day free subscription, followed by a paid plan (29.99 AED for multiple devices per month in the United Arab Emirates).

Tamkeen launches Young Entrepreneur Program Mashroo3i

The Labour Fund Tamkeen announced the opening of applications for the latest edition of its Young Entrepreneur Program (Mashroo3i), which helps passionate young Bahrainis turn viable creative concepts into sustainable businesses.Individuals aged 18 to 35 with entrepreneurial aspirations or existing startup ventures will benefit from comprehensive guidance and training aimed at bolstering the growth of their projects. They will receive intensive advisory sessions to refine their business concepts, coupled with training sessions tailored for their specific needs. Candidates advancing to the final stages of Mashroo3i will have the chance to secure grants to finance their ideas.“We are delighted by the success of the previous iteration of the program, which saw 11 participants advance to the final stage,” said Ali Hasan, Executive Director of Programs and Partnership Development at Tamkeen.“These talented individuals had the opportunity to showcase their innovative project ideas at the Demo Day, in front of a distinguished audience comprised of investors and experts in a range of fields.”Mashroo3i includes an intensive advisory component by a panel of mentors in various entrepreneurial sectors to support participants’ entry into the market and improve their prospects for growth and business expansion.The program's initial six-week phase includes intense training focused on idea generation to help participants develop and refine their business concepts. The program will subsequently shift towards consultations tailored for emerging enterprises, which will equip participants with the skills they need to accelerate the launch of their ventures and develop product prototypes.“The current edition is a continuation of our efforts to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit among Bahraini youth by supporting them with their initial steps into the business world,” added Ms Mofeez.“It includes diverse mentorship programs in collaboration with entrepreneurs and specialists who bring valuable experience and knowledge to the table. Their expertise helps us optimize our programs and deliver maximum value.“We look forward to another round of successful business models emerging from this program, each making significant contributions to the Kingdom’s business landscape and creating job opportunities for Bahrainis."Participants who advance to the final stage will showcase their revised business models to potential investors during a Demo Day, potentially receiving financial grants to support the launch of their projects.Mashroo3i has played a pivotal role in the development and expansion of numerous ventures by providing participants with the skills they need to succeed in sectors such as the health, and creative and technical industries, and align their projects with prevailing market trends.

Study reveals consumer trends and behavior during 2024 Ramadan & Eid

Dubai: Toluna, in collaboration with MetrixLab, released the findings from their study, "2024 Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr Insights”, providing a comprehensive understanding of consumer behavior in the UAE during the upcoming festive season. As the UAE gears up for the 2024 Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr period, the study offers an extensive analysis of consumer behavior, shedding light on the significant shifts and emerging trends.General Behavior and Perceptions Around Ramadan and Eid:The study highlights shifts in consumer behavior from 2023 to 2024, with heightened enthusiasm for special Ramadan events in stores, Ramadan brand editions, and shopping during the festive season. While special offers and prices continue to be the top two factors influencing shopping destinations, this year there’s a notable surge in residents prioritizing 'hassle-free returns' and 'multiple counters for faster payments.' Specifically, 18% express a preference for easy product returns in 2024 compared to 13% in 2023, and 14% favor multiple billing counters, up from 10% in 2023. Additionally, 48% emphasize the allure of offers and promotions, and 25% value the convenience of free home deliveryImpact of Winter Ramadan on Spending Behavior:The predominant sentiment around Winter Ramadan is of excitement, with 52% stating they are excited due to multiple outdoor options available in Winter during Ramadan. Owing to Winter Ramadan, respondents expect to consume more dates (51%), hot beverages (47%), and chocolates and sweets (46%). As for beauty and personal care products, about one-third plan to use more moisturizers and oral care products compared to Ramadans in the Summer months.Consumer expectations from brands & banksWhen it comes to shopping, consumers in the UAE are enticed by brands that provide discounts (56%), bundle offers (49%), and gifts/services (38%). In terms of banking expectations for the same period, UAE residents are keen on offers related to shopping (55%), signing up for new credit cards (43%), and dining (42%). Notably, there's a substantial increase in the number of individuals seeking advantageous offers on car loans, with 35% expressing heightened interest.Shopping and Activities Planning Around Ramadan & Eid:Residents strategically plan their purchases ahead of Ramadan, covering a range of items including groceries, household cleaning supplies, and home décor. Eid gift shopping is anticipated to span the entire holy month, with specific plans in place. Before Ramadan, 44% intend to purchase bulk groceries, while 50% plan to acquire bulk household cleaning items. Additionally, 24% opt to shop for new outfits for Iftars/Eid, with a consistent 25% planning to do so in the last 10 days. Furthermore, 43% have outlined plans to purchase new home decor for Ramadan/Eid.Social plans are also in the works, as 35% intend to commence inviting friends and relatives throughout the month. Travel aspirations are evident, with 19% planning to book a trip abroad for Eid before Ramadan, while 17% aim to book a staycation. The process of buying Eid gifts will be spread out throughout the season, with 24% planning to start the process, 26% intending to continue throughout the month, and another 26% planning to do so in the last 10 days.Eid Festivities: Consumer EngagementIn 2024, a significant portion of UAE residents expresses heightened interest in diverse cultural activities during the Eid period. The enthusiasm for participation is evident across various activities, with 84% planning to visit relatives and friends, 81% intending to explore shopping malls for retail experiences, 76% opting for fine dining or restaurant visits, 64% engaging in cultural activities, 63% planning visits to theme parks, 57% expressing a desire to travel abroad, and 47% keen on attending concerts, live shows, and events.Spending Plans for Global vs. Local Brands Due to Recent Geo-Political Events:46% of UAE consumers plan to buy the same as before from local and global brands in UAE. However, 47% of UAE residents plan to buy more from local brands mainly groceries (64%), apparel (clothing, footwear, accessories, etc., 50%), fragrances (45%), household cleaning items (42%), dining out -fast food restaurants (41%), and coffee shops (40%).Likely Gifting Behavior During 2024 Eid Al-Fitr:In 2024, a significant majority of UAE residents (92%) are planning to get Eid gifts for their children, spouses, and parents. The breakdown of this total shows a likely heightened demand for children's gifts, with 68% (+4% than in 2023) planning to pamper their kids, while 64% will buy gifts for their spouses, 50% for parents, 46% for friends, and 39% for themselves. In terms of what they are planning to gift, chocolate, dates, and sweets are preferred by 53% of respondents with fragrances a very close second also with 53%. 44% plan to give money, and 37% will go for toys and games. Also of note: there is a substantial increase in the ‘home goods & furniture’ and ‘pre-owned cars’ categories when compared to 2023:The data also shows that UAE residents will spend more on Eid gifts: 53% expressed their intention to spend more than last year. The motivations for this are multi-faceted, ranging from a conscious decision to adopt a more generous approach, as indicated by 39% versus 30% in the previous year. Additionally, the surge in prices compared to the previous year prompts 40% of respondents to acknowledge the necessity of increased expenditure on gifts. Notably, 36% cite personal financial improvements as a factor contributing to their augmented spending plans, while 31% articulate their intent to purchase gifts for a larger circle of individuals this year compared to the norm.Brand Communications and Social Media Engagement:In comparison to the social media habits during Ramadan in 2023, residents are anticipating a reduction in the time spent on specific social media platforms including Telegram (34%) X (previously Twitter) (32%), Instagram (33%), and TikTok (32%). When examining the brand communications expected during the upcoming Ramadan, there is a noticeable increase, with 53% expressing a keen interest in promotions and offers, as opposed to the previous year's figure of 49%. This signals a heightened interest among residents in receiving information on promotions and offers from brands during this period.Commenting on the results, George Akkaoui, Enterprise Accounts Manager and Head of the Middle East and Africa Office at Toluna, stated: “As we delve into the rich insights derived from the 2024 Ramadan & Eid al-Fitr study, a profound narrative of consumer behavior in the UAE unfolds. The data not only unveils the evolving trends but also serves as a compass guiding businesses through the intricate landscape of consumer expectations. You can infer the strategic planning evident in residents' pre-Ramadan purchases, the nuanced shifts in gifting preferences, and the amplified resonance of brand communications in the digital sphere. As Ramadan transitions into the winter months, the study becomes a cornerstone for understanding the subtle dance between tradition and adaptation in consumer choices. These findings underscore the imperative for businesses to not only acknowledge but embrace the evolving consumer mindset, tailoring strategies that resonate with the pulse of the UAE residents during this festive season”.Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash

Valentine’s Day: A hyped yet super successful gimmick!

Authored by Dipankar Zalpuri, President MENA Region, KaizzenI have a question for you. Is Valentine’s Day one of the most successful PR activations or most hyped gimmick, ever? I know what you are thinking, but let me say that for you: It is a hyped gimmick that has been a super success! As a marketer, I strongly believe that B2C brands need to make the most of this global event. Not just to generate sales but also to inch closer to their consumers’ hearts. Importance of campaigns during Valentine’s DayWe all need a reason to celebrate, and Valentine’s Day allows brands to play matchmakers to help consumers find the perfect gift. It might seem superficial considering the grave commercialization over a period of time. But now brands, both brick-and-mortar as well as online, have understood that they need to add value to the process rather than just hard sell their products. Crafting a central campaign that showcases the essence of the brand, thus tapping into the emotional motivations behind purchasing their products, is undoubtedly the cornerstone strategy to initiate with. Remember the tag line: A Diamond is Forever? AI: The new marketing avatar Many brands are now continually using AI for performing trend and sentiment analysis on their previous campaigns and offers. This data mining is allowing them to hyper personalize online campaigns and generate useful offerings in a bouquet of the most ordered products, combining them with slightly lesser preferred items. People prefer personalized gifts and hand-crafted special experiences over generic gifts or greeting cards. And don't forget, Valentine’s Day is not just for lovers anymore. In 2023, consumers spent $7.1B on teachers, friends, classmates, and coworkers. On-ground events are being leveraged to ignite interest among those who enjoy immersing themselves in the "love is in the air" phenomenon. What better approach to engage with individuals who appreciate this type of marketing and crave to feel valued! Every person is included and no one is overlooked!And of course, social media is the new driver of Valentine's marketing stunts with campaigns such as #TweetHeart and Krispy Kreme's Love Roulette having amassed millions of impressions online. But remember not to overdo the excitement as customers do get turned off by over-the-top stuff that does not align with the brand’s messaging.

Valentine's Day blooms in the emirates: A fusion of tradition and modernity

Valentine's Day, once considered a Western tradition, has become increasingly popular in the UAE in recent years. What was once a niche celebration has now transformed into a significant event marked by widespread enthusiasm and commercial activity across the country. This shift reflects evolving cultural attitudes, globalization, and the UAE's status as a melting pot of diverse influences.Western Influence on the global hubIn the UAE, in recent times, there has been a noticeable shift in attitudes towards romance and love, especially among the younger generation. Social media, international travel, and exposure to Western culture have played crucial roles in shaping these changing perceptions.One of the primary factors driving the popularity of Valentine's Day in the UAE is the increasing influence of Western customs and traditions. As the UAE continues to position itself as a global hub for business, tourism, and culture, it has embraced aspects of Western lifestyle, including holidays like Valentine's Day.Retail frenzy and Cultural evolution:Retailers seize this opportunity to capitalize on the festive spirit by offering special promotions, discounts, and themed merchandise, ranging from flowers and chocolates to romantic dinners and luxury gifts.Femique, a Swedish Lingerie brand, approaches Valentine's Day in a way that aligns perfectly with their brand ethos and target audience. By recognizing the unique needs and challenges faced by expectant mothers and individuals with children, they emphasize the importance of self-care and nurturing love in all aspects of life. Their focus on providing stylish and comfortable maternity and nursing lingerie speaks directly to the desires of their customer base, who are likely seeking ways to feel both confident and cared for during a busy and chaotic period in their lives.Miriam Lindholm and Angelique Fihn, co-founders, Femique, say: “Our customer base primarily consists of expectant mothers or individuals with children, which brings about a busy and chaotic period in their lives. Many of our followers face the challenge of striking a harmonious balance between family, friends, their partner, and themselves. As co-founders, this is an ongoing concern that we continuously address and evaluate. Consequently, during this time of year, Valentine's Day serves as a timely reminder for us to prioritize maintaining balance and nurturing love in all aspects of our lives. This entails fostering relationships with us, our significant others, and our loved ones.“ Valentine's Day is a beautiful occasion that prompts us to extend love to all, particularly ourselves, having experienced the transformative journey of parenthood. We observe that during this period, our customers seize the opportunity to indulge in self-care activities they may usually neglect, including treating themselves to our high-quality lingerie. Witnessing the radiance and self-assurance they exude when wearing something both comfortable and beautiful brings us immense joy. Therefore, let us raise a toast to Valentine's Day and the essence it represents—a celebration of love that should be embraced every single day," they add.Velvet Desert, a popular Jewellery brand in Kuwait, has come up with a new range of jewellery on the occasion of Valentine’s Day.<img src='\cc22f16d5ae950d38187caca2e62f191.png' class='content_image'>Fai and Shaima Goudarzi, co-founders, Velvet Desert, say: “We have recently dropped our new collection, and the clients will have a lot more unique and stylish options to choose from. This time, we do not have any special discounts other than signing up and getting 10% off on your first purchase as a new Velvet Desert client.”On the rise in sales during this period, they say: “Sales increase during valentines by around 10%. During Valentine’s there are more of male buyers as compared to female customers”<img src='\1ed1431f0377239282bb110990344fe7.png' class='content_image'>FNP UAE, a well-known gifting and flower gifting brand in the UAE, with many retail outlets and online presence, has witnessed tremendous spike in orders during the Valentine week.“This Valentine's season, we're transforming the essence of love in Dubai, presenting a month filled with romance and surprises," says Vijay Ghadge, Vice President of FNP UAE, enthusiastically."Our collaboration with different brands and the introduction of Valentine kiosks across Dubai's iconic locations are just the beginning. At, our commitment is to spread love and happiness, making every moment of this Valentine's season truly special and memorable for all."<img src='\e862afa5c970bda5e513a15d54fb1ff7.png' class='content_image'>IGP - International Gifts Platform, has curated an exclusive 'Love Redefined' collection, featuring luxurious gifts like majestic bouquets, heart-shaped wonders, delectable cakes, and personalized treasures. This carefully crafted selection offers the perfect expressions of love tailored for every personality.Tarun Joshi, CEO & Founder of IGP, says: “As we expand into the MENA region, drawing from our extensive product range that includes cakes, flowers, and personalized gifts, we’re poised for significant growth, mirroring the remarkable trajectory we’ve seen in other markets. With an impressive 80% growth during the Valentine’s season across our product lines, we’re confident about our prospects in the UAE as we introduce our ‘Love Redefined’ campaign.This collection of over 1500 curated SKUs is a testament to our commitment to delivering heartfelt gifting experiences that transcend borders. From the opulent 365 red roses bouquet to the decadence of our diamond box with secret messages, each product in our Love Redefined collection embodies a unique facet of love.”<img src='\aa7f7e30df8bee4e4550243d7ef20e26.png' class='content_image'>Shift in societal normsIn addition to commercialization and cultural influences, there is a growing emphasis on personal expression and emotional connection in Emirati society. Many young couples view Valentine's Day as an opportunity to express love and affection openly, challenging traditional norms surrounding romance and relationships. This shift is evident in the increasing number of individuals exchanging gifts, organising romantic outings, and publicly declaring their love on social media platforms.Navigating criticism, embracing growthHowever, it's essential to recognize that the celebration of Valentine's Day in the UAE is not without its critics. Some conservative voices argue that the holiday promotes Western values at the expense of traditional Emirati customs and Islamic principles. There are concerns about the commercialization of love and the pressure it places on individuals to conform to societal expectations.Despite these criticisms, the popularity of Valentine's Day in the UAE continues to grow unabated.

M2L Concepts Launches Ramadan District Season 2 at Jumeirah Emirates Towers

M2L Concepts, a leader in entertainment, leisure, and technology, is hosting the second season of Ramadan District, a celebration of the Holy Month of Ramadan. The event will take place at the prestigious Jumeirah Emirates Towers Plaza Terrace from March 15 to April 4, 2024. Visitors are invited to immerse themselves in a diverse array of cultural experiences daily, from 5:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. The Ramadan District Season 2 is a 20-day event designed to celebrate the cultural and spiritual significance of Ramadan while fostering community engagement and unity. This year’s theme centres around highlighting the customs, traditions, and spiritual essence of Ramadan, offering attendees an immersive experience filled with vibrant decorations, traditional music, and delicious culinary offerings.The occasion combines traditional elements with modern entertainment. Families can enjoy the fun board games, get in touch with their artistic side with an array of arts and crafts, and feel nostalgic playing arcade games. For the younger guests, the event is packed with engaging activities, including stage performances, face painting, interactive games, and cooking classes, ensuring a memorable experience for all ages. Highlighting the significance of cultural experiences during the Holy Month, M2L Concepts has meticulously designed the district to reflect traditional Middle Eastern aesthetics, including authentic seating and décor that resonate with the region's heritage. Emphasising the beauty of ancient arts, the district will host skilled artists dedicated to producing exquisite henna designs and captivating calligraphy, offering visitors a tangible connection to these enduring cultural traditions. A global staple in the beauty industry, Maybelline will be part of the shopping experience, offering visitors the opportunity to explore the latest beauty trends. Visitors can also explore culinary delights from popular names like PappaRoti, Keventers, Zaroob, and Biryani Pot, among others. Alongside this, retailers such as French luxury brand L’Occitane, Caspian Jewellery, Joyful Candles, Skin Story, and Rewind Apparel, among many others, will be showcasing their exclusive collections, offering a unique shopping experience that blends luxury, craftsmanship, and style. Thomas Gateff, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at M2L Concepts said: "The Holy Month of Ramadan is a deeply revered and culturally rich period in the UAE. Ramadan District Season 2 is all about bringing people together, revelling in communal harmony, and spending quality time with your loved ones. Our goal is to craft experiences that celebrate Ramadan's traditions while fostering a sense of shared joy and community. Building on the success of our previous events like the Ramadan Majlis, FIFA World Cup activities, and Winter District, which drew over 40,000 visitors, we're excited to bring this celebratory spirit back to the iconic Jumeirah Emirates Towers Plaza Terrace.”

Ali Rez honoured as 2024 Advertising Person of the Year by Dubai Lynx

Ali Rez, the Chief Creative Officer at IMPACT BBDO for the MENAP region, has been recognized as the Advertising Person of the Year for 2024 by Dubai Lynx. This prestigious award celebrates individuals who have made significant contributions to the advertising industry in the MENA region in the previous year. Rez's leadership and commitment to elevating creative standards in the region have been widely acknowledged.The presentation of the 2024 Dubai Lynx Advertising Person of the Year, Outstanding Contribution Award will take place during the Dubai Lynx Awards Ceremony at the Emirates Golf Club on Wednesday 6 March.Philip Thomas, Chairman of Dubai Lynx, expressed delight in honoring Rez, highlighting his role as a trailblazer and his dedication to enhancing the region's global reputation for creative excellence. Rez is renowned as the most awarded creative leader in the Middle East. Under his leadership, IMPACT BBDO has achieved remarkable success, including being ranked in the Global Top 10 by both the WARC and World Creative Rankings in the same year.Rez's achievements extend to numerous international awards, totaling close to a thousand accolades throughout his career. His work has contributed significantly to the UAE's recognition as one of the Top 10 Creative Countries in the Cannes Lions rankings. Notably, he has won 23 Grands Prix at Dubai Lynx and two Grands Prix at Cannes Lions. In 2023, he made history as the first Jury President from the Middle East at Cannes Lions.Rez's ambition to propel the UAE to the No.1 Creativity Ranking spot has led to several groundbreaking accomplishments, including winning prestigious awards such as the Glass: The Award for Change at multiple LIONS Festivals. He attributes his success to his exceptional team and acknowledges the support of influential leaders like Dani Richa and David Lubars.éalis-appoints-new-president

AtkinsRéalis appoints new president

AtkinsRéalis avalin Group Inc., a fully integrated professional services and project management company with offices around the world, announces the appointment of Christine Healy, a seasoned global executive, as President for Asia, Middle East and Australia (AMEA), effective February 19, 2024.“We are delighted to welcome Christine to this new leadership role. With her wealth of experience and exposure to diverse regions throughout her career, she brings a distinctive global perspective and background which will enrich our strategic approach,'' said Ian L. Edwards, President and CEO of AtkinsRéalis. “I look forward to working with her to serve our clients in the AMEA region as we continue our journey to provide solutions to meet the most pressing global challenges of our time.”Ms. Healy’s primary focus will be on advancing AtkinsRéalis’ engineering services offering, spanning infrastructure, transportation, and clean energy segments. She will report to the President and CEO and will also be a member of the Executive Committee.AtkinsRéalis has a strong presence in the Asia Pacific and Middle East and its involvement in projects in these regions include Neom’s THE LINE; the Hong Kong - Shenzhen Western Rail Link and the International Airport; the Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport project; the Dubai opera; the Landmark 81 building, named one of the World's Top 10 Skyscrapers in 2019, in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and the Riyadh Metro. Last December, AtkinsRéalis was appointed to support the design of the New Murabba masterplan, the world’s largest modern downtown in Riyadh, and the Mukaab, an immersive destination that will revolutionize the way in which people experience hospitality, retail and leisure.

SOCIALEYEZ expands client portfolio with the fifth edition of Gov Games

For the second consecutive year and after its success at the 8th Annual Global Shorty Impact Awards for its outstanding performance at Gov Games, digital agency SOCIALEYEZ has announced its client win with the 5th edition of Gov Games. Taking place from 29th February – 3rd March, Gov Games, which falls under Sheikh Hamdan’s Office (The Executive Council), is a series of physical and mental challenges that bring together people from the UAE and beyond.As part of this partnership, SOCIALEYEZ is offering a wealth of expertise including social media management, event coverage, hero and teaser video production, and an overall campaign strategy. Additionally, SOCIALEYEZ is committed to delivering an all-inclusive campaign creative direction.This year, SOCIALEYEZ has been entrusted with a two-year contract, highlighting the agency's continued dedication to delivering outstanding results. Handling the creative campaign, social media management, and event coverage reflects the agency's deep understanding of Gov Games' vision and goals.Tarek Esper, Managing Director at SOCIALEYEZ, said: "We are thrilled to welcome Gov Games for the second consecutive year. As we embark on this journey for another year, we look forward to capturing the essence of Gov Games, delivering an unforgettable experience and amplifying the event's impact across digital platforms. It's not just a collaboration; it's a testament to the strong synergy between SOCIALEYEZ and Gov Games, and yet again we are committed to exceeding expectations and creating lasting memories."Known for pioneering innovative digital marketing strategies and its ability to foster meaningful engagements across diverse social media platforms, SOCIALEYEZ's partnership with Gov Games represents a significant milestone, further cementing its position as the trusted partner for businesses seeking to leave a mark in the digital field.

GoDaddy launches new email automation for Saudi entrepreneurs

Small businesses in Saudi Arabia today have a lot of competition when it comes to getting and keeping the attention of their customers. Entrepreneurs are always looking for ways to stand out and according to a recent survey, 55% of consumers say email is their preferred digital channel for business communication. To help small business Saudi owners enhance their email marketing efforts, GoDaddy, the company that helps entrepreneurs thrive, launched Email Automation for websites and marketing.This powerful new tool allows businesses to customize, schedule and trigger email communication automatically using intuitive templates, freeing up time to allow entrepreneurs to focus on growing their business. A few of these email templates include: Welcome emails for email subscribers, members, and new customers.  Commerce emails for order confirmations, order shipments and order cancellations.Appointment booking confirmations and appointment reminders.Abandoned cart emails to prompt customers to complete their check out. With each template completely customizable, entrepreneurs can ensure their brand’s color scheme, imagery and tone of voice are clearly reflected in all emails. Plus, entrepreneurs can personalize these automated emails to include the recipient's name, phone, email, and other personal details, so their customers feel seen and valued. “Sending the right message at the right time to the right audience is key to standing out in your customers inbox” said Eric Johnson, senior product manager for GoDaddy. “GoDaddy’s Email Automation streamlines the customer communication process, giving small businesses a more professional touch and adding value to their customers experience.”  To start using Email Automation, existing Websites + Marketing customers can login to their GoDaddy account, locate the “Connections” option in the dashboard and then click “Automations”.

Nearly a quarter of online daters experience digital stalking: Kaspersky

A new survey, commissioned by Kaspersky of 21000 people worldwide, reveals shocking data about the extent of digital abuse. Almost a quarter of respondents (23%) had experienced some form of online stalking from a person they were newly dating. A third (34%) of respondents believe that Googling/checking social media accounts of a person you had started dating as a form of due diligence is acceptable and 41% admitted to doing so when they started dating someone.According to the study – which interviewed 1000 people in 21 countries around the world – online daters are keen to take steps to protect themselves in the quest for love. However, people are still vulnerable to an alarming rise in stalking and abuse this Valentine’s day from risks posed by location settings, data privacy and more broadly, oversharing.The types of abuse are varied, with well over a third (39%) of respondents having reported some form of violence or abuse from a current or previous partner: 16% of respondents had been sent unwanted emails or messages and perhaps most concerningly, 13% had been filmed or photographed without their consent. A further 10% admitted they had had their location tracked, 10% that their social media accounts or emails had been hacked, and worryingly, 7% having had stalkerware installed on their devices without their consent.Proportionally more female respondents had experienced some form of violence or abuse compared to male respondents (42% versus 36%). More of those currently dating had experienced violence or abuse compared to those in a long-term relationship (48% versus 37%). In fact, 34% of respondents said they worried about the prospect of being stalked online, and female respondents being slightly more concerned at the prospect than males (36% were worried compared to 31% of male respondents).“The Internet of things, or connected world is brilliant and offers a myriad of possibilities. But with opportunity comes threats and one of those threats of a connected world is the ease of access to traceable data which leaves us vulnerable to abuse”, commented David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky. “Whilst the blame for these horrific behaviours never lies with stalking victims, unfortunately there is still a burden upon them to take steps to minimise risks. I think it’s great that people are taking steps to verify identities online, but would encourage people to just stop and do a quick sense check on any information, passwords or data they share, to just think through how that information could be used in nefarious hands.”Kaspersky has gathered some top tips for staying safe whilst dating online below, for more details, please take a look at our safe dating guide or for further ways to stay safe from Stalkerware, visit passwords to yourself and make sure they are complex and uniqueIf it seems too good to be true, it might just be – if in doubt check!Take a moment to check your own digital privacyThink before you share – the internet has long memory and sharing too much too soon can leave you vulnerableCreate a ‘safe plan’ if you move from digital to real worldsKaspersky works with experts and organizations in the field of domestic violence, ranging from victim support services and perpetrator programs through to research and government agencies, to share knowledge and support both professionals and victims. Kaspersky is one of the co-founders of the Coalition Against Stalkerware, an international group dedicated to tackling stalkerware and combating domestic violence. Since 2021, Kaspersky has been a consortium partner of the EU project DeStalk, co-funded by the Rights, Equality, and Citizenship Program of the European Union. Kaspersky has also launched and maintains TinyCheck, a free, safe and easy-to-use tool to check devices for stalkerware and monitoring apps.Survey DetailsIn January 2024 Arlington Research, on behalf of Kaspersky conducted 21,000 online interviews, 1,000 in each of the following 21 countries: The UK, Germany, Spain, Serbia, Portugal, The Netherlands, Italy, France and Greece, the USA, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico, Asia-Pacific: China, Singapore, Russia, India and Malaysia. Respondents were aged 16 years and over. All were either in a long-term relationship (62% of the sample), dating someone (16%) or not currently dating/in a relationship but had been in the past (21%).

Fuze appoints Akshay Chopra to Board of Directors

 Fuze, MENA’s pioneering digital asset infrastructure provider, has announced the appointment of industry expert Akshay Chopra to its Board. Chopra is well-known as a prominent angel investor, fintech patent holder, and as the Founder and Managing Partner of 237 Ventures, which builds, invests in, and advises start-ups. He also serves on the Boards of MENA FinTech Association and Visa, Akshay built and led the Innovation & Design teams serving more than 90 countries in Visa’s fastest growing region (CEMEA), and also oversaw blockchain solutions in the region. He spent over eight years in Singapore, leading a multinational team of experts, before spending nearly five years in Dubai heading Visa’s Innovation Centres. He was also responsible for introducing models that solved intricate challenges by combining design thinking, management consulting and analytics. Prior to his time at Visa, Chopra held senior roles at Deloitte, CEB (now Gartner) and S&P Global. As an angel investor, he currently holds investments in a variety of cutting-edge businesses, which operate out of the UAE, USA, India, Singapore, France and Nigeria. His extensive experience across finance, payments, cryptocurrency and digital technology, is extremely valuable in helping start-ups to navigate the challenges of scaling their innovative and transformational ideas. Mo Ali Yusuf, CEO and Co-Founder of Fuze, says Chopra’s strong knowledge and network within the industry will enable greater opportunities for Fuze as it continues to scale.“Akshay brings a wealth of experience and will help us accelerate our strategy across the region and beyond. By bringing Akshay onto our Board, we add another great mind who can add deep insight, guide our approach and ultimately support our rapid growth. We hold a shared vision to transform the future of finance through digital assets and together we can spark innovation and adoption across this exciting asset class,” said Fuze CEO and Co-Founder, Mo Ali Yusuf.Speaking about his appointment, Akshay Chopra said, “We have only just scratched the surface of blockchain use cases in financial services. Fuze is an exciting business that is building crucial digital assets infrastructure that will enable this environment. I’m passionate about driving the adoption of transformational financial technology that solves real world problems. With the right team and technology to support banks, institutions and fintechs, Fuze is completely changing the game for digital assets and I’m thrilled to embark on this journey.”Chopra was also recently appointed as the Co-Chair of the MENA Fintech Association’s (MFTA) payments working group, known as SHIFT. This follows his appointment to the MFTA’s Board in 2023.éal-groupe-secures-exclusive-worldwide-license-withmiumiu

L'Oréal Groupe secures exclusive worldwide license with Miu Miu

L’Oréal Groupe and Prada S.p.A announced today the signature of a worldwide long-term license agreement for the creation, development, and distribution of the luxury beauty products for the Miu Miu brand. Following the successful collaboration with Prada brand, Miu Miu is now joining the L’Oréal Luxe division for a new beauty chapter. Miu Miu was born in 1993 from the independent and unconventional spirit of Miuccia Prada. Since then, this unique luxury brand has been the incarnation of experimental creativity in fashion.With a light but always sophisticated touch, Miu Miu leads fashion, representing the courage to take risks, a razor-sharp instinct to respond to shifts in contemporary fashion and culture. The brand is an infinite source of inspiration for beauty and will resonate with an emancipated, sophisticated and conscious audience. This partnership marks the sign of a new era of interpretation of the beauty facet of the brand. The first fragrances under L’Oréal are expected to be launched in 2025. The agreement will be effective after customary regulatory approvals, if any. Cyril Chapuy, President of L'Oréal Luxe comments: “Over the past years, we have successfully established a very strong partnership with Prada teams. We are now thrilled to welcome Miu Miu and unleash together its outstanding potential in beauty. With its unique positioning, fueled by limitless creativity and experimentation, Miu Miu will perfectly complement L’Oréal Luxe’s portfolio of iconic brands and reinforce our worldwide leadership in Fragrances.”Benedetta Petruzzo, Miu Miu CEO comments: “We are excited to announce this partnership with a distinctive and leading beauty player such as L’Oréal. This new chapter will sustain the brand’s growth and help to further untap Miu Miu’s full potential in the category.”

IKEA UAE's 'Vallen Key' revolutionizes romance with Allen Key proposals

This Valentine’s Day, Al-Futtaim IKEA has initiated a fun promotional ad ‘Vallen Key.’ Al-Futtaim IKEA's 'Vallen Key' campaign is a brilliant fusion of romance, creativity, and brand engagement. By incorporating the iconic Allen Key into a marriage proposal, IKEA adds a playful twist to a timeless tradition, showcasing their products in a memorable and emotional context. This initiative not only promotes brand awareness but also deepens the emotional connection between IKEA and its customers.The accompanying Instagram contest further enhances community engagement by inviting customers to share their love stories and participate in the brand's narrative. By leveraging user-generated content and social media interaction, IKEA fosters a sense of inclusivity and belonging among its audience, ultimately strengthening brand loyalty.Moreover, Al-Futtaim IKEA's broader social media marketing strategy demonstrates a keen understanding of their target audience's interests and values. Promotional campaigns like "Monsters not included" and "Bring on the Mess" tap into seasonal themes and consumer sentiments, showcasing IKEA's products in a relatable and engaging manner. These initiatives not only drive sales but also position IKEA as a brand that understands and celebrates the everyday experiences of its customers.Al-Futtaim IKEA's approach to social media marketing exemplifies the power of storytelling, creativity, and community building in driving brand success. By consistently delivering meaningful and memorable experiences, IKEA establishes itself as more than just a furniture retailer but as a trusted companion in the lives of its customers.

Alpha Dhabi Hits Record AED 13.3B Profit with Strategic Expansion

Alpha Dhabi Holding PJSC (“Alpha Dhabi” or “the Group”), one of the MENA region's most rapidly expanding investment holding companies, and proudly listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX: AlphaDhabi), today unveiled its stellar financial achievements for the year ended 31 December 2023. Strategic Execution Fuels Impressive Financial PerformanceAlpha Dhabi has delivered impressive full year 2023 financial results, reporting a Group Net Profit of AED 13.3 billion, marking a significant increase of 25% year-on-year. These outstanding results reflect the Group's strategic implementation across key verticals and its unwavering commitment to generating enhanced shareholder value. Eng. Hamad Al Ameri, Managing Director and CEO of Alpha Dhabi Holding, said: “Alpha Dhabi's impressive performance in 2023 is both a reflection of our strength and capabilities as well as a validation of the depth, resilience, and diversity that's found across our growing portfolio. Reporting a Net Profit of AED 13.3 billion, an increase of 25% year-on-year, shows full well the pace of our growth momentum. As we advance into 2024, we are on a strong footing to enhance our core investment activities through strategic partnerships and acquisitions. Our joint ventures with ADNOC Drilling and Mubadala is a testament to this ambition, as we will deploy up to AED 2.1 billion into oil field services and AED 1.7 billion into global credit opportunities." Alpha Dhabi’s Revenue also saw substantial growth, reaching AED 45.4 billion, a 14% increase year-on-year from the same period last year. Throughout 2023, all business divisions delivered excellent performance which is reflected by the increased revenue reported across these segments. 2023 was also marked by the positive impact born out of the strategic acquisitions and investments made since 2022, most notably the consolidation of Aldar Properties PJSC starting Q2 2022.  Joint Venture with Mubadala Investment Company: A Global Credit PowerhouseAlpha Dhabi has also forged strongly forward within the investment space, forming a joint venture with Mubadala Investment Company to co-invest in credit opportunities. Both Alpha Dhabi and Mubadala plan to collectively deploy up to AED 9 billion over the next five years, utilizing Mubadala’s strategic partnership with Apollo (NYSE: APO), one of the world’s largest alternative asset managers, to access high-quality private credit investment opportunities. This venture positions Alpha Dhabi and Mubadala as global leaders in the credit sector. Joint Venture with ADNOC Drilling: Pioneering Technology Solutions in Oil and GasOf equal significance, the Group formed a joint venture in collaboration with ADNOC Drilling Company PJSC (ADNOC Drilling). This venture will spearhead the development of an oil field services technology and solutions platform with commitment amounting to AED 5.5 billion. As part of this, the Group contributed its 25% stake in Gordon Technologies LLC to Enersol Rsc Ltd for a consideration of AED 320 million. Hospitality Acquisitions: Expanding Portfolio with Renowned Hospitality BrandsAdditionally, the Group made strategic acquisitions in companies including ADMO Lifestyle Limited, and National Corporation for Tourism and Hotels (NCT&H, demonstrating Alpha Dhabi's commitment to expanding and diversifying its investment portfolio. These acquisitions and partnerships underscore Alpha Dhabi's commitment to catalyzing growth within the luxury and lifestyle verticals. By integrating renowned hospitality brands such as Cheval Blanc Randheli, St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Nammos, Em Sherif and Ce La Vi into its portfolio, Alpha Dhabi is poised to deliver world-class, holistic, luxurious guest experiences on a global scale.  The Group's Balance Sheet remains resilient with AED 140.4 billion in Total Assets and a strong Cash position of AED 20.2 billion. The diversity and depth of Alpha Dhabi's increasing portfolio has been a significant driver of its revenue growth, with all segments delivering notable performance and contributing to the increase in profit. The company’s portfolios in Industrial, Real Estate, Construction, contributed significantly, representing 37%, 23%, 19%, of the total revenue, respectively. Strategic Growth and Robust Financials Propel Alpha Dhabi's Impact and SuccessGuided by its strong operating model, financial strength, and agile investment approach, Alpha Dhabi continues to be well-positioned to drive further growth and capitalize on investment opportunities. The Group’s focus on strategic acquisitions, geographic diversification, and rigorous corporate governance practices across the board ensures that the company continues to deliver strong and sustainable returns for its shareholders. "Fundamentally, we are in a position where we can confidently assess and invest in growth opportunities across a diverse spectrum of sectors and geographies, as well as ensure that these investment decisions add value to our portfolio, benefit our shareholders, and deliver real-world impact,” concluded Al Ameri.

BBC announces Chris Achilleos as Executive News Editor, Streaming

Chris Achilleos has been appointed Executive News Editor, Streaming. This new role will play a key part in the BBC’s digital transformation plans as it grows streaming on BBC iPlayer, BBC News live pages and on will oversee this work and will lead three teams focused on single-story live streams; curation and amplification of the most important moments in broadcast; and the development of new streaming-first formats.With audiences increasingly live-streaming news, the appointment reflects the BBC’s commitment to radically enhancing its news offer on BBC iPlayer and to making news content easier to discover, navigate and use. This will ensure the BBC can go live whenever stories break and bring audiences closer to the story, making the most of the best live moments on digital platforms.Chris joins the BBC from ITV News, where he has been Head of ITVX, leading the broadcaster's news service on their streaming platform. Before that, he was deputy head of digital at ITV, focusing on innovation and launching digital products aimed at reaching new audiences.Chris was involved in the launch of The Rundown, ITV's social media news service for young people, and led the expansion of ITV News' social team, and was previously digital output editor. He began his career as a producer at Sky News, working in a range of roles including editing its breakfast programme.Chris Achilleos says: “I’m thrilled to be joining the BBC to lead its expansion of streaming news. BBC News has ambitious plans to grow its streaming output, and I’m really looking forward to working with talented teams across the organisation to grow the offer for audiences on iPlayer, the BBC News website and app.”Naja Nielsen, Digital Director, BBC News says: "Chris is an excellent leader in news streaming as evidenced by his work at ITVX and we’re delighted he has chosen to join us at this pivotal moment.As well as extensive editorial and digital experience, Chris brings drive and imagination to this role that will be crucial as we grow our streaming offer. We want our digital platforms to be the stand-out streaming service globally for news and journalism so we are excited to see the positive impact his strong vision and editorial judgement will have as we work to realise our ambitious plans.”

McLaren Racing unveils Optimum Nutrition as sports nutrition partner

McLaren Racing has announced Optimum Nutrition, the world’s number one sports nutrition brand, as Official Sports Nutrition Partner of the McLaren Formula 1 Team for the 2024 season and beyond.With a key focus on the McLaren F1 Team drivers and pit crew, the partnership unites two brands with high human performance at their core, constantly striving for better. Optimum Nutrition will support the team’s performance, health and wellbeing with science-led sports nutrition products driven by innovation, ensuring the team can unlock its potential throughout the 2024 season.Building on the team’s accomplishments in the 2023 season – including breaking the Guinness World Record for the fastest ever pit stop, with a 1.80-second stop at the Qatar Grand Prix, Optimum Nutrition will support the McLaren team to help everyone stay at the top of their game.Optimum Nutrition branding will feature on the pit crew overalls and set-up kit, and the driver overalls of McLaren Formula 1 Drivers Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri.Matt Dennington, Executive Director, Partnerships & Accelerator, McLaren Racing, said:“It is great to welcome Optimum Nutrition to the team. We operate in a high performance environment and our people are our most important asset, so it’s fantastic that Optimum Nutrition will support our continuous push for improvement and excellence across everything we do.”Colin Westcott-Pitt, Global Chief Brand Officer, Glanbia Performance Nutrition, said:“We’re delighted that Optimum Nutrition, which has been trusted by all types of athletes across many sports for 35 years, has joined McLaren Racing as Official Sports Nutrition Partner. Both McLaren and Optimum Nutrition are dedicated to peak human performance and excellence so we are thrilled to be working together during the forthcoming F1 season.”

Abu Dhabi Gaming hosts Tekken 8 showdown impact at MEFCC

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi Gaming, the gaming arm of DCT Abu Dhabi, celebrated the emirate’s growing e-sports community by hosting a Tekken 8 showdown match at their booth at the Middle East Film and Comic Con (MEFCC).With seven EVO titles between them, the showdown match between Arslan Ash from the Saudi esports team Twisted Minds, and Knee from the South Korean esports team DRX, was a legendary clash of two titans. This showdown marked their first clash since the release of Tekken 8, with the audience eagerly watching to see which characters they would choose and what their playstyle would be in the new game.James Hartt, Director of AD Gaming, said: “The esports scene in Abu Dhabi has stepped up massively in recent years, and it now represents one of the most exciting segments of the emirate’s dynamic gaming industry. These showcase matches will help to deepen Tekken’s regional roots, strengthen local player networks, and highlight that esports and gaming are open to everyone."Casting the match was the popular British commentator Hassan ‘Spag’ Farooq, who has commentated many leading global tournaments within the Tekken franchise. He said: “Hosting the showdown was eye-opening. I got to see intense passion for competitive gaming from the Abu Dhabi crowd while they watched one of the best showcases of Tekken that we have ever had.”The showdown matches at MEFCC come following a year of incredible successes for Abu Dhabi’s esports teams. Abu Dhabi-based Nasr Esports saw two of its players, AngryBird and BigBird, win major global tournaments, including Amjad “AngryBird” Alshalabi, who made history by becoming the Street Fighter 6 World Champion at Evo 2023 in Las Vegas, one of the largest international fighting game tournaments globally. Meanwhile, the all-women Counter Strike team at Abu Dhabi’s Nigma Galaxy won multiple A-Tier tournaments throughout 2023.AD Gaming is home to a diverse and thriving community of gaming businesses from across the world. Including gaming giants such as Unity, Ubisoft and My.Games, as well as local gaming SMEs and entrepreneurs, over 70 gaming companies are part of the AD Gaming ecosystem in Abu Dhabi.AD Gaming is a government-led initiative that amasses the broad efforts throughout Abu Dhabi to transform the emirate into a global gaming hub. With a focus on talent development, game development and esports, AD Gaming is accelerating the growth of the region’s gaming industry, providing career opportunities for aspiring talent and creating world class content from the capital of the UAE.Fostering an environment of innovation and knowledge, AD Gaming provides a support system for the next generation of game developers and players, businesses, and fans alike.AD Gaming is powered by the collaboration of multiple Abu Dhabi-based government and commercial organisations, as well as content creators and gamers, all with the shared passion to see locally produced content on the world’s gaming stage.

Property Finder appoints Himanshu Niranjani and Vladimir Malugin

Property Finder has appointed Himanshu Niranjani as Chief Technology Officer and Vladimir Malugin as UAE Country Manager. As proptech continues to evolve its role within the real estate sector, the recent appointments seek to pave the way for more informed decision-making among property seekers, powered by trust, transparency, technology and talent.Taking on a newly created role at Property Finder, Himanshu has led several businesses in the Silicon Valley previously. A passionate engineering executive, Himanshu holds over 23 years of experience in the industry, having first started as a software engineer. He has led multiple organizations at Meta and was also the first CTO at Visible where he successfully scaled transformation for the all-digital telco platform owned by the Verizon network. Prior to that, Himanshu played an instrumental role in launching the video recommendations engine across more than 180 countries during his time at Amazon. His expertise includes creating seamless user experiences that are capable of delivering upon both, customer retention and business revenues in the longer run. A highly skilled technology leader with extensive large-scale engineering/architecture experience, Himanshu has also founded two successful start-ups, a capital fund advocating talent-based investments and a nonprofit focused on tech-leadership development.“I am thrilled to be at Property Finder, now more than ever as the brand evolves into its next era of growth, having successfully achieved its position as a lighthouse tech company. Together with the great talent we have here, I look forward to unlocking newer customer experiences for partners and property seekers alike, with the intent to offer greater trust and transparency in the years to come,” said Himanshu.Working towards accelerating business operations in the UAE, Vladimir Malugin has also been appointed as the UAE Country Manager for Property Finder. Having spent 14 years in the technology sector, Vladimir has contributed to a number of private-equity, public and private companies. These include HTC, Polaroid and Eastman Kodak across several general manager, product, marketing and business development roles. Before joining Property Finder, Vladimir spent 11 years in fintech as Chief Commercial Officer at PayU - a fast growing digital payments provider.“As one of the biggest markets for Property Finder, the UAE continues to inspire all of us with its massive growth across sectors,especially in real estate. I am thrilled to be in charge of our growth in the nation, as we seek to get more people to live the life they deserve. Together with our partners, I am excited to achieve more milestones and continue to grow in an ever evolving market, home to limitless opportunities,” added Vladimir.“I’m really pleased to welcome Himanshu and Vladimir to our team of talented individuals, each committed to empowering people on their property search journey. They’re joining us at a pivotal time as we continue to evolve from a startup to a leader in tech innovation. Talent is key to our strategy, focusing on bringing in diverse skills and fostering growth. With Himanshu and Vladimir’s expertise, I’m confident in our journey ahead, especially as we look to develop more innovative products. It’s an exciting time for Property Finder as we enter a new phase of growth.” commented Ari Kesisoglu, President, Property Finder.

A human touch still holds the mic at Mirchi Dubai: Preeti Phalke

"Listeners will never share their day with a robot; they will happily do so with an actual presenter," says Preeti Phalke, Director of Programming at Mirchi Dubai, underscoring the unmatched power of human-to-human interactions in a medium like radio. According to Phalke, AI cannot replace the human touch as human presenters on radio are inevitable and irreplaceable. In this exclusive interview with Adgully Middle East, she dwells on how radio remains relevant with its unique blend of surprise, spontaneity, and human touch. She also shares her insights on the integration of AI and other innovations into radio broadcasting and the station's experience with AIRAH, its AI radio host. Excerpts:On-demand platforms like podcasts offer vast content diversity and personalized listening experiences. In this context, how can radio stand out? How does Mirchi Dubai see AI and other technological advancements as tools for innovation and adaptation, ensuring the station's continued relevance in the evolving media landscape?Radio is dynamic and adapts to changing times at a very cellular level. The DNA of radio doesn’t change, whether it's internet radio, streaming or AI. Radio stands out for its simplicity and accessibility. The beauty of the medium is its surprise element, the spontaneity, and the human touch. Technological advancements are mostly peripheral to the medium. AI right now can be extremely handy is creating original tracks for jingles and music beds considering copyright and PPL issues. Some radio stations are already contemplating using AI-generated voices for spots and promos, mostly with a thought of having a voice different from their regular presenters or as a syndication method for smaller stations.Last year, Mirchi Dubai launched AIRAH, the AI radio host. How has the audience responded? Has there been any formal research or surveys conducted to gauge audience response to AIRAH? If so, what were the key findings?Mirchi Dubai launched AIRAH as an experiment to fill into the shoes of a jock who went on her pregnancy leave. We were aware that the limited duration of the AI-hosted show wouldn’t provide sufficient opportunity to accurately assess its performance. Radio is a slow medium. It takes time for things to gain traction on radio, and three months is a relatively short period. However, the listeners in Dubai are extremely responsive to anything new on radio, and we did manage to create a dialogue while the show was on air. Some of the clients wanted to engage AIRAH in their radio campaigns, some listeners wanted to come and meet the presenter. We realized how AI is still a very Utopian concept for a layman. Because of social media and movies, most people assumed AIRAH would be a hologram or a robot or something. They were inquisitive about how the process worked. This curiosity was good enough for us.How do listeners compare AIRAH to human presenters? What are the perceived strengths and weaknesses of each?AI is far from intruding on the radio space right now. As opposed to other industries where AI can potentially replace human labour and save not just cost but time and effort, radio needs the human touch. Listeners will never share their day with a robot; they will happily do so with an actual presenter. Radio presenters can chat with their listeners, uplift their mood, and have genuine connections. Radio presenters will each have heartwarming stories about how they have touched a listeners’ life, how they made them laugh, cry or made a moment immemorable. AI will never be able to do that. Due to the current technology in Voice AI, the show had no interactivity because voice AI is not designed to be interactive. To be honest, listeners missed that in the three hours of the show, and we are glad to be able to bring back a human presenter.Does Mirchi Dubai see AI as a potential replacement for human presenters, or rather as a tool to enhance the listening experience?Radio is an interactive live medium, and voice AI is not yet designed to operate in that manner, which is its biggest drawback. AI is limited to making soundtracks and filling in for a specific kind of voice-over style right now. AI has managed to stir the music industry in both good and bad ways. The technology is still evolving for radio. As mentioned, human presenters on radio are inevitable and irreplaceable.What will be the trends emerging on the FM radio front: such as interactive ads, hybrid radio (blending FM broadcasting with internet streaming offering on-demand content alongside live broadcasts), immersive experiences using AR, VR, etc.?Until a few years ago, radio was a standard feature on phones but was phased out as music streaming apps became more popular. Radio is predominantly consumed during drive times, especially in cars. If radio tuners were available on cell phones, there would be potential for AI or technology to enable features such as real-time engagement, AI-generated playlists based on mood, noise cancellation, addressing signal disruptions, etc.We currently rely on research conducted by human resources, which can be subject to biases. Personally, I anticipate technology that can provide insights into listening habits, content preferences, frequency duration, and daily hours dedicated to radio listening, all in real-time.ürkiyeafrica

Kaspersky appoints Toufic Derbass as MD for Middle East, Türkiye, Africa

Kaspersky has appointed seasoned IT leader, Toufic Derbass, as the Managing Director for the Middle East, Türkiye and Africa (META) region. With nearly three decades of experience, Toufic aims to build on Kaspersky’s strong regional presence of over 16 years as the company aims to double its B2B and large enterprises business segment in the next five years.Toufic is committed to bettering relations with regional governments and policymakers, in addition to promoting Kaspersky’s award-winning products and services as the region rapidly adopts digitization. His efforts will also focus on elevating the level of cybersecurity awareness in the region, contributing to Kaspersky’s mission of building a safer world.Prior to joining Kaspersky, Toufic held leading positions at multinational software companies, where he was responsible for scaling businesses by forging strategic partnerships and executive relationships with leading private and public sector organizations.Commenting on his appointment, Toufic Derbass, Managing Director for META at Kaspersky, said, “I’m honored and excited to lead a brand that is globally known for its innovation and is built on a legacy of over 26 years. Kaspersky’s strong market footprint in the Middle East, Türkiye and Africa region is a testament to its breadth and quality of products and services, that blend technology with human expertise. My vision for Kaspersky in the region is to showcase its unique capabilities, such as the revolutionizing concept of Cyber Immunity which plays a crucial role in reimagining cybersecurity.”Robert Cataldo, VP Global sales at Kaspersky, said, “We are delighted to welcome Toufic to the company. For the past few years, Kaspersky’s operations in the region have been on an upward trajectory, with the expansion of our market footprint year on year. With the extensive experience he brings on board and his values that align with ours, we believe Toufic to be a perfect fit to further unlock Kaspersky’s potential through promising opportunities.”

Enso Arabia partners with Rebecomms for Invest Saudi at MIPIM

Enso Arabia, one of Saudi Arabia’s leading event management agencies, has appointed Dubai-based Rebecomms to manage PR and communications for Invest Saudi’s presence at MIPIM 2024.Under the partnership, Rebecomms is leading Middle East, UK and European media relations in the run up to and during MIPIM, the world’s leading – and largest – real estate event, taking place in Cannes, France, 12-15 March.Invest Saudi will showcase KSA’s unprecedented investment in infrastructure, tourism transformation, world leading destinations and prime investment opportunities across three spectacular MIPIM pavilions. With more than 1,000 square metres of seafront exhibition space, it is Invest Saudi’s largest presence at MIPIM since its event debut in 2022.Headquartered in Riyadh, Enso Arabia is a full-service event management agency providing 360-degree services for KSA participation in national, regional and global events, including trade shows, road shows and corporate events. Enso’s assignment for Invest Saudi at MIPIM is led by Elie Daccache, who has worked with KSA government and private entities to deliver highly creative, comprehensively-managed events since 2014, including Invest Saudi’s previous participation in MIPIM.Rebecca Rees, Founder of Rebecomms, has more than 30 years’ media relations and communications experience, including 18 years in Dubai’s real estate, tourism and hospitality sectors. She also led Nakheel’s MIPIM PR and media relations strategy for four consecutive years as part of her decade-long corporate comms role at the Dubai-based master developer.

DMCC & QX Lab AI Join Hands to Offer Hybrid AI Solutions to Businesses

Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) – the world’s flagship free zone and Government of Dubai Authority on commodities trade and enterprise – has partnered with the Dubai-based artificial intelligence firm QX Lab AI as it gears up to launch the DMCC AI Centre later this year.Through its ‘Ask QX’ platform, QX Lab AI offers generative AI capabilities that can be integrated into services such as online chat functions or used by businesses and individuals to enhance productivity. Ask QX’s unique neural architecture offers unprecedented scalability for the product, providing a digital infrastructure that can benefit firms by reducing overall computational power costs, building up platform security, and creating a protective shield against potential data breaches. With this groundbreaking technology, QX Lab AI aims to become the first AGI company in the world to access and leverage 372 billion parameters. Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, DMCC said: “In a short space of time AI has emerged as the single biggest force reshaping the way we do business – and we have barely scratched the surface of its potential. As we prepare for the imminent launch of DMCC’s AI Centre, I am delighted to be partnering with QX Lab AI whose unique generative AI platform and revolutionary neural architecture will provide DMCC and its members with unprecedented opportunities to enhance efficiency, productivity, and platform security at scale. This is just one example of the innovations we are pioneering from DMCC, reinforcing Dubai’s status as one of the world’s leading technology and AI hubs for years to come.” Tilakraj Parmar, Co-Founder and CEO, QX Lab AI, added: “The significant amount of money invested globally in AI research and deployment is just the start of a seismic shift in the way we all operate – both professionally and personally. We are glad to bring our AI capabilities to DMCC and its 24,000 member companies as we position Dubai at the forefront of AI research and deployment.” DMCC has created a range of innovation-focused ecosystems to advance Dubai’s status as a driving force in the development and adoption of next-generation technologies and industries. The DMCC Crypto Centre is home to over 600 Web3 firms, making it the largest concentration of crypto and blockchain companies in the region. Since its launch in 2023, the DMCC Gaming Centre has welcomed over 100 gaming companies, from developers and publishers to esports teams and software engineers, positioning Dubai as a hub for the immersive form of entertainment.

SenseTime MEA partners with Mawhiba Foundation to empower SA's AI talent

SenseTime MEA, a leader in artificial intelligence (AI) software and a Joint Venture with the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the King Abdulaziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity (Mawhiba) to nurture talented students, enhance their digital skills, and empower them to contribute to the future development of the Kingdom in the field of AI.This partnership demonstrates SenseTime MEA's commitment to fostering the skills of the next generation in AI, supporting local talents in advanced technology fields, and enriching the abilities of gifted students. By broadening their horizons and helping them understand global perspectives in AI, SenseTime MEA aims to enable them to contribute to the realization of the Kingdom's Vision 2030.The MoU was signed on the sidelines of the National Olympiad for Scientific Creativity Exhibition "Ibdaa 2024," held at the King Saud University in Riyadh. The memorandum was signed by Eng. Turki Al-Anazi, Chief Strategy Officer, SenseTime MEA, and Dr. Basil bin Abdullah Al-Sadhan, Deputy Secretary-General of the Mawhiba Foundation.The cooperation between the two parties encompasses several areas, including the Artificial Intelligence program in Shanghai, which aims to bridge the gap in digital talent by providing training opportunities for Mawhiba graduates. SenseTime MEA and Mawhiba will also collaborate on designing an enrichment program for talented students focusing on AI in conjunction with Mawhiba’s awareness programs on technology to increase understanding of advanced technologies like AI and emerging technologies like Metaverse.SenseTime MEA will provide an online training program in cooperation with Mawhiba to enhance the digital skills of Mawhiba students. Successful students will be granted accredited certificates, and the two sides will participate in selecting qualified participants in each selected field to join the training programs. A technology awareness program will also be launched for Mawhiba students. The MoU is a continuation of the partnership between SenseTime MEA and Mawhiba in which 2 people from Mawhiba were sent to the SenseTime Shanghai lab last year.Turki Al-Anazi, Chief Strategy Officer at SenseTime MEA, expressed the company's commitment to developing top-tier artificial intelligence programs and continuous technical innovation for its customers. Commenting on the development of technologies in Saudi Arabia he said, “We are also pleased to cooperate with the Mawhiba Center, especially in light of the expansion witnessed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”Al-Anazi emphasized that this collaboration aligns with the goals of the Kingdom's Vision 2030, aiming to develop local competencies and talents through various training and educational programs. He said, “These developments will ultimately contribute to the Kingdom's economic and technological development and the achievement of its future vision”. He further noted that continued cooperation with strategic partners and local experts enhances artificial intelligence capabilities and contributes to real progress in the Kingdom.Dr. Amal Al-Hazzaa, the Secretary-General of the Mawhiba Foundation, welcomed the collaboration with SenseTime MEA, expressing anticipation for the opportunity to work together to provide Saudi talents with the chance to participate in the development of advanced artificial intelligence programs. She said, “The collaboration will provide a platform to Saudi minds to contribute to the technological advancement in line with the vision of Saudi Arabia 2030 and its targets”.SenseTime MEA is dedicated to supporting digital transformation in the Kingdom by developing innovative artificial intelligence solutions in various fields such as smart spaces, smart tourism, smart cars, and smart healthcare. The company also places great importance on developing local competencies and talents by launching training and education programs with educational institutions and various research, aiming to create a better future based on artificial intelligence and provide effective applications and innovative solutions that contribute to enhancing economic and technological development in the Kingdom.

TII launches ‘Falcon Foundation’ to champion open-sourcing of AI models

The Technology Innovation Institute (TII), a leading global scientific research center and the applied research pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), today announced the launch of the ‘Falcon Foundation’. The non-profit Falcon Foundation is dedicated to advancing the development of open-source Generative AI models and to building sustainable ecosystems around open-source projects that accelerate technology development. As a founding member, TII is committing to provide US$300 million to fund these projects.The launch of the Falcon Foundation took place at the prestigious World Governments Summit (WGS) 2024 and marks a critical juncture in convening stakeholder collaboration to establish transparent governance models and encourage knowledge exchange as AI continues to chart a relentless growth path.Commencing with TII’s powerful homegrown Falcon AI models, the Foundation will convene stakeholders, developers, academia, and industry, as well as individuals, and will help realize the power of cooperative decision-making among the contributors. It will accelerate the democratization of AI with the help of notable Falcon Foundation Ambassadors – eminent AI professors in universities around the world, as well as key industry players in the field of AI.The Foundation is to support the customization of the Falcon models to address specific industries or sectors. By enabling open computing resources for the continued research and development of Falcon AI, the Foundation will provide a robust ecosystem to ensure the adaptability of the models across a broad spectrum of applications and contexts.Remarking on the announcement, H.E. Faisal Al Bannai, Secretary General of ATRC, said: “In a world where AI continues to advance at an unprecedented pace, initiatives like the Falcon Foundation play a crucial role in steering the trajectory of AI development towards greater transparency and accessibility.”Dr. Ray O. Johnson, CEO of TII, stated: "We're committed to fostering transparency and collaboration in AI. Extending the UAE's collaborative spirit into AI development, we set new standards for openness and we encourage all other entities who support open source from around the world to join us."The Foundation’s beneficiaries will encompass all entities that work with and champion open-source responsible AI. In minimizing dependence on external vendors, the Falcon Foundation ensures business continuity through enabling independent technological choices. As an organization open to all and every stakeholder committed to open source, the Foundation will leverage global best practices as part of its regulatory and legal framework for artificial intelligence.The Falcon Foundation's commitment to open-sourcing and innovation in AI reflects a forward-thinking approach that helps Abu Dhabi and the UAE leapfrog into a technology-driven future and supports the global community in harvesting cross-industry collaborations for seminal AI advancements.

Snap Inc. to take center stage at Web Summit Qatar 2024

Snap Inc. has confirmed its participation at the prestigious Web Summit Qatar 2024, bringing to life the story of its deeply engaged GCC community that have chosen Snapchat as their go-to platform to authentically connect with those who matter most to them. To support the region’s ambitious digital transformation goals, Snap Inc. will showcase how its creators and partners from the industry are using augmented reality to push the boundaries of creativity and engage their audiences. The technology company is gearing up to unveil an AR journey that brings to life three immersive experiences; a money-can’t-buy creator masterclass; as well as a fireside chat with EMEA President, Ronan Harris.Today, over 85% of MENA daily users interact with lenses everyday on Snapchat and Snapchatters open the platform more than 45 times a day on average in the GCC. As a key player in the ecosystem, Snap Inc.’s strategic presence in the region including markets like Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia gives it the responsibility to empower not only their GCC community, but also local businesses and partners alike. Through its augmented reality technology, Snap Inc. continues to support the ambitious digital transformation agendas taking shape in the region, enabling partners to innovatively connect with their audiences and drive results. This is helping governments meet their digital transformation goals, including Qatar’s 2030 National Vision, which remains focused on more diversified economies led by the power of technology.“It is very exciting to see a major tech event such as Web Summit Qatar debut in the region for the first time. This is a pivotal milestone in the burgeoning technology landscape of the GCC and a testament to the remarkable growth the technology ecosystem has been witnessing. At the heart of this dynamic landscape is Snapchat, deeply rooted into the daily lives of GCC locals'. Snapchat holds a special place in the region by being the platform of choice for the GCC community to stay connected with their family and friends,”“With our highly engaged audiences and our disruptive augmented reality technology, we believe we have a responsibility to support our community, creators and partners to stay ahead of the game with the ongoing digital transformation taking place in the region. Web Summit Qatar promises to be a nexus of innovation, collaboration, and inspiration, amplifying the impact of technology in the GCC region and we at Snap Inc. are looking forward to taking part in this dialogue.” said Hussein Freijeh, Vice President of Snap in MENA.A host of curated AR experiencesA range of engaging activities throughout the summit will showcase the transforming role of AR as a communications tool in both the physical and digital world. On ground experiences will feature an AR wall to demonstrate Snap’s relationships with Creators, showcasing AR lenses from AR Creators across the region through Snapcodes and live AR experiences. Snap BillboARds will also display best-in-class AR experiences from partners across different industries such as sports and fashion. Finally, a dedicated photo booth will offer visitors a chance to discover the future of AR.In conversation with Ronan HarrisDesigned to be different from the start, Snapchat’s mission has always been to offer an alternative to the norm. Attendees can join Ronan Harris, President of EMEA Snap Inc. in an exclusive fireside chat titled ‘Snapchat: Where Relationships Have Real Influence’ as he discusses the growing role of Snapchat in the lives of the GCC populations and how the company’s innovative augmented reality technology is pushing the boundaries of communications to drive real results for brands and creators.A masterclass to support budding and established creatorsCreators looking to upgrade their content game will have the opportunity to take part in an exclusive masterclass, offering insights and best practice for content creation. Leading creators will join Julie B, Head of Talent Partnerships in EMEA to share their experiences, tips and tricks for thriving on Snapchat, from monetizing creativity to launching successful businesses and maximizing features. These sessions will provide practical scenarios that resonate with both seasoned creators and those who are starting their journey on Snapchat.

Fragrance, camel milk and brow mastery on day two of Beautyworld Saudi Arabia 24

 For International and regional fragrance houses, the booming GCC fragrance market is led by the Saudi Arabian consumers' sophistication and appreciation for quality scent and niche formulations, day two of Beautyworld Saudi Arabia revealed.At the 4th edition of the Kingdom’s largest international trade fair for the beauty and wellness industry, Beautyworld Saudi Arabia 2024 is being held at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Centre (RICEC) until February 13th, and is dominated by specialists amongst five key dedicated industry segments, Fragrance; Hair, Nails & Salon Supplies; Cosmetics & Skincare; and Supply Chain & Services as well as Personal Care & Hygiene. “Saudi Arabia is one of the few markets that truly focuses on quality fragrance” said Mehmet Celik, Perfumer at exhibitor Froma Fragrances and Flavors. “It is in the blood here, they understand quality and know how to ‘smell’ - even as a perfumier I am always surprised at how educated the people here are on fragrance” he continued.“International brands are adapting fragrances specifically for the KSA market” said Labeeb Kuttiamu, COO and CFO of Fragrance World. “In the past decade we have seen the GCC market usurp the European one in terms of growth, but one thing is sure, an ‘Arabic’ touch to fragrance is now a must, not a niche idea,” she added.Stevi Lowmass, Founder and CEO of the UAE based Camel Milk Company focused on local beauty and harnessing regional resources for sustainable skincare as she shared the benefits of Camel Milk as an ingredient whilst closing day two of the Next in Beauty Conference. “It's an amazing ingredient, but it isn’t for every product - it’s too heavy for hair care, however it is amazing used in balms,” she said. “Being able to utilise such a uniquely regional natural resource in our beauty and skincare regimen is an honour. It’s a growing market, and if we look at the rise in popularity of Argan oil for example, I truly foresee more and more products using Camel milk as the key ingredient - we are just at the start of the growth of its popularity” she explained.SheBeauty.Arabia presented on the BeautyLIVE! stage to an appreciative audience of makeup lovers, with Anastasia Tkachenko demonstrating eyebrow shading tips and techniques to a packed house. Alexandra Al Khoury, from Kingdom of Eyes followed with an interactive demonstration of lash lifting and brow lamination and tinting after the ever-popular WAHL Barber Battle continued for its second day.At the Next in Beauty Conference, the latest trends in skincare and beauty products were revealed by an expert panel including representatives from Coty, ilik Health and Labothercaire, led by Daphne Lamberts from ALAM Health and Beauty, kickstarted the day, followed by another fragrance industry focus. Sustainability, safety and design were discussed by a panel including speakers from Centdegres, Parfex, Finemakers and Beautyworld Middle East 2023 Award Winner Dominique Moellhausen.The Next in Beauty Conference and the BeautyLIVE! stage continue to run throughout the whole of the 3 days Beautyworld Saudi Arabia 2024 exhibition.Saudi Arabia is the 5th Beautyworld event globally, following annual shows in Dubai (Beautyworld Middle East) and Japan (Beautyworld Japan, Beautyworld Japan West, and Beautyworld Japan Fukuoka). Beautyworld Saudi Arabia is licensed to 1st Arabia Tradeshows & Conferences by Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH.

Havas acquires ledger Bennett, eyes global growth

Havas has made a strategic move to bolster its B2B capabilities with the acquisition of Ledger Bennett, a leading B2B marketing agency with a unique "fluid talent" approach. The merger creates a formidable entity poised to scale in the US and expand into new markets, particularly in APAC.Key takeaways:Clients: Ledger Bennett is an SME B2B agency with clients like GE Digital and LinkedIn.Unique model: Ledger Bennett utilizes a "fluid talent" model, embedding team members within client organizations for deeper understanding and collaboration.Enhanced B2B focus: Havas Business merges with Ledger Bennett, forming "Ledger Bennett, a Havas Company" and solidifying Havas' B2B commitment.Global expansion: The new entity plans US expansion and entry into new markets, with a focus on APAC.Combined strengths: Ledger Bennett's B2B expertise merges with Havas' B2C firepower, offering clients a comprehensive service.Data-driven growth: Andrea Glenn, CEO of Ledger Bennett, sees access to Havas' data and analytics as a key competitive advantage.Market potential: Havas views B2B as a strategic growth area, citing increasing B2B marketing budgets and the convergence of B2B and B2C approaches.Acquisition spree: Ledger Bennett marks another successful acquisition in Patrick Affleck's three-year strategy, following Search Laboratory, Additive+, and Expert Edge.Andrea Glenn, CEO of Ledger Bennett, said: "Havas is a great place to accelerate our growth with a combined offering of progressive B2B capabilities and B2C firepower."Patrick Affleck, CEO of Havas Media Network UK & Ireland, said: "Ledger Bennett brings further skills, scale, and capability, particularly in the US, which is where it all started to fall neatly into place."Yannick Bolloré, Chairman and Global CEO of Havas, said: "Bringing together marketing, sales, customer, and product teams under the goal of maximizing customer lifetime value is going to be critical for the best brands. Ledger Bennett brings a go-to-market solution that perfectly supports our One Havas strategy."Overall, this acquisition marks a significant step for Havas in becoming a major player in the B2B marketing landscape. As B2B budgets rise and marketing strategies converge, Havas and Ledger Bennett are well-positioned to capitalize on this growing market.

Carolina Herrera's 'Good Girl Blush' soars with innovative Shahid partnership

The new collaboration between MBC Media Solutions (MMS), Starcom Middle East, and Carolina Herrera for the launch of the "Good Girl Blush" fragrance on Shahid's top-performing Turkish adaptation 'Crystal' demonstrates a groundbreaking approach to marketing and brand communication in the GCC region. By employing a multi-format connected TV strategy and digital post-production integrations, the partners achieved impressive results.Carolina Herrera became the first luxury brand to digitally integrate its fragrance, 'Good Girl Blush,' into product placements and outdoor visuals throughout the show. This innovative approach significantly contributed to increasing brand awareness, favorability, and perception in the GCC by notable percentages.The marketing campaign's success translated into tangible business growth, with 'Good Girl Blush' experiencing a significant increase in sales, becoming the top SKU for Carolina Herrera in 2023 and ranking in the top 5 SKUs in the region among feminine fragrances.Amir Salaheldin from Puig Middle East praised the partnership for elevating brand visibility and setting new standards for impactful brand communication and business growth in the GCC region. Romy AlAlam from Starcom ME highlighted the innovative digital approach taken on Shahid's platform and the successful results achieved, including significant increases in brand awareness and recent usage.Sarah Nammour from MMS expressed excitement about the outcomes of the partnership and emphasized the role of premium content in facilitating meaningful connections between brands and consumers to drive business success. Overall, this collaboration showcases the power of strategic partnerships and innovative marketing techniques in achieving remarkable results in the competitive fragrance market.

QuantumFy launches in the Middle East and joins MENA Fintech Association

QuantumFy, a global technology hub, today announced its expansion into the Middle East and its membership in the MENA FinTech Association (MFTA), aimed at driving business growth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).Founded in 2018, the MENA Fintech Association has earned recognition as one of the top 4 fintech groups globally. With a strong presence in the Middle East and Africa, the association has been at the forefront of driving innovation and fostering collaboration in the fintech industry. The MENA Fintech Association (MFTA) is an inclusive, not-for-profit association that fosters an open dialogue for the MENA Fintech community, shaping the future of financial services in the region.Aligning with its strategy to extend its reach into new emerging markets, QuantumFy's collaboration with the MENA Fintech Association is a step towards leveraging its expertise in the region. QuantumFy specializes in tailored banking, payment, and investment technology solutions, and plans to adapt these to meet the specific needs of the Middle East market.Margit Gulyas, CEO of QuantumFy, shared her thoughts on the expansion: "Entering the Middle East with our partnership with the MENA FinTech Association is a key step in our strategy. We're looking to bring our technology solutions to a market that's showing rapid growth in fintech. Our goal is to be more than just a participant; we want to contribute to the region's fintech development." As a member of the MFTA, QuantumFy is committed to contributing to the regional fintech ecosystem by offering unique software engineering insights. Our focus is to support digital transformation in sectors such as finance and payments, providing innovative artificial intelligence, system integration platforms, and transaction monitoring for fintechs. This partnership is expected to bolster the development of the entire fintech community, fostering more innovative solutions and projects in the MENA region. Additionally, QuantumFy will take a leading role in the SHIFT Payments and Digital Assets working groups, collaborating with industry peers. We plan to host panel discussions, workshops, and produce reports, all aimed at advancing the industry.Nameer Khan, Chairman MENA Fintech Association and Founder of FILS stated the following in regards to this partnership,” We are honoured to welcome to Quantum Fy to the MENA fintech community. We believe that our association will provide an invaluable platform for the expansion and growth of their business endeavours in the region. In the current landscape, where digital banking activities and financial services innovation are reaching new heights across the Middle East and Africa, Quantum Fy's strategic entrance aligns perfectly with the industry's soaring standards. We are confident that Quantum Fy has chosen the opportune moment to establish its presence in the region, and we eagerly anticipate witnessing the remarkable success that is sure to unfold as a result.”The move into the Middle East aligns with QuantumFy's aim to broaden its market presence and respond to the diverse needs of different regions. The MENA Fintech Association, established in 2018, plays an integral role in the fintech industry, connecting various industry players and promoting an environment of growth and innovation.This partnership marks a significant step for QuantumFy in its efforts to expand its operations and impact in the financial technology sector.

ROSHN Platinum sponsor of leading retail summit in Riyadh

ROSHN Group, Saudi Arabia’s leading real estate developer and a PIF-owned giga-project, played a leading role as Platinum Partner in bringing together global and regional retail leaders last week at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Riyadh Digital City for the RLI Connect MENA 2024 forum, which took place from the 4th to the 7th of February.RLI Connect MENA brought together thousands of retail real estate professionals to connect, explore and develop business opportunities worldwide. After previous events in Dubai and Istanbul, ROSHN played a key role in bringing leaders to Riyadh to build these relationships and explore the Kingdom’s dynamic and growing real estate landscape. As part of the four-day event, the inaugural RLI MENA Awards 2024 followed RLI Connect MENA on the 7th of February where ROSHN won two awards: “Best Mixed-Use Development” and “Developer of the Year.” Forum participants also visited key Riyadh retail destinations, including ROSHN Front, on a ‘retail safari’, alongside members of ROSHN’s senior leadership team, to gain insight into Riyadh’s steps forward in the sector.RLI Connect MENA is the sister event of RLI Connect Global. ROSHN is committed to sponsoring key events like RLI Connect in the Kingdom as part of its Vision 2030 commitment to boosting promising economic sectors and establishing the Kingdom as a destination of excellence.Founded as the Kingdom’s mixed-use real estate developer and key enabler of Vision 2030, ROSHN’s retail strategy is seizing and expanding opportunities in Saudi Arabia’s growing real estate sector while also enhancing its own ability to deliver its transformative, integrated developments. ROSHN’s projects integrate retail and other vital and lifestyle amenities, including education, healthcare, entertainment, and sports facilities. Its recently relaunched ROSHN Front (formerly Riyadh Front), is an example of this strategic approach with its 80,000 sqm of mixed-use lifestyle retail and F&B outlets integrating with neighbouring SEDRA, ROSHN’s flagship community to enhance both residents’ and visitors’ options as well as traders’ customer bases.

Ooredoo celebrates network triumph during AFC Asian Cup Qatar

Ooredoo Qatar has announced its successful support during the AFC final match, marking a milestone in fan connectivity. The electrifying final was held at the iconic Lusail Stadium, where over 86,492 fans witnessed the Qatar National Team win the prestigious tournament for the second time in a row, with Ooredoo ensuring seamless connectivity throughout.The momentous final match saw total data traffic soaring to 35TB, equating to the same digital engagement levels of the opening match of The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. This achievement underscores Ooredoo's cutting-edge network infrastructure's capacity to handle massive data demands, providing an uninterrupted, high-quality experience for all fans. A significant portion of this success was attributed to Ooredoo's advanced 5G network, which accounted for 53% of the connectivity, delivering an average downlink speed of 244 Mbps and an uplink speed of 50 Mbps. This match-winning performance facilitated an immersive and connected experience for all attendees, further solidifying Ooredoo's position as a leader in 5G technology.The event also witnessed a new record in voice calls, with 726K calls made, of which a staggering 91% were high-quality VoLTE, achieving a Call Setup Success Rate (CSSR) of 99.97% and a drop rate as low as 0.01%. This level of reliability and clarity in communication is unparalleled and highlights Ooredoo's commitment to the highest service standards. The success extended beyond the stadium, with various hotspots across Qatar, including Lusail Boulevard, Katara, The Pearl, Souq Waqif, Doha Port, and Al Bidda Park, experiencing record-breaking data traffic and voice calls, turning every corner of Qatar into a hub for sharing the nation's success with the world.

DMCC-Qx Lab AI Partnership Advances Hybrid Generative AI Solutions for Businesse

DMCC – the world’s flagship free zone and Government of Dubai Authority on commodities trade and enterprise – has partnered with the Dubai-based artificial intelligence firm Qx Lab AI as it gears up to launch the DMCC AI Centre later this year. Through its ‘Ask Qx’ platform, Qx Lab AI offers generative AI capabilities that can be integrated into services such as online chat functions or used by businesses and individuals to enhance productivity. Ask QX’s unique neural architecture offers unprecedented scalability for the product, providing a digital infrastructure that can benefit firms by reducing overall computational power costs, building up platform security, and creating a protective shield against potential data breaches. With this groundbreaking technology, QX Lab AI aims to become the first AGI company in the world to access and leverage 372 billion parameters. Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, DMCC said: “In a short space of time AI has emerged as the single biggest force reshaping the way we do business – and we have barely scratched the surface of its potential. As we prepare for the imminent launch of DMCC’s AI Centre, I am delighted to be partnering with Qx Lab AI whose unique generative AI platform and revolutionary neural architecture will provide DMCC and its members with unprecedented opportunities to enhance efficiency, productivity, and platform security at scale. This is just one example of the innovations we are pioneering from DMCC, reinforcing Dubai’s status as one of the world’s leading technology and AI hubs for years to come.” Tilakraj Parmar, Co-Founder and CEO, QX Lab AI, added: “The significant amount of money invested globally in AI research and deployment is just the start of a seismic shift in the way we all operate – both professionally and personally. We are glad to bring our AI capabilities to DMCC and its 24,000 member companies as we position Dubai at the forefront of AI research and deployment.” DMCC has created a range of innovation-focused ecosystems to advance Dubai’s status as a driving force in the development and adoption of next-generation technologies and industries. The DMCC Crypto Centre is home to over 600 Web3 firms, making it the largest concentration of crypto and blockchain companies in the region. Since its launch in 2023, the DMCC Gaming Centre has welcomed over 100 gaming companies, from developers and publishers to esports teams and software engineers, positioning Dubai as a hub for the immersive form of entertainment.

National Health Insurance Company, Daman appoints Khaled Ateeq Al Dhaheri as CEO

The National Health Insurance Company – Daman, a subsidiary of PureHealth, has appointed Khaled Ateeq Aldhaheri as Chief Executive Officer.Aldhaheri previously held the role of Acting Chief Executive Officer at Daman, and has more than two decades of experience in healthcare, business, finance and management. He has undertaken several leadership positions in Abu Dhabi Health Services (SEHA), a subsidiary of PureHealth, including Chief Commercial Officer and Chief Financial Officer at SEHA, Chief Financial Officer for Al Ain Hospital (part of SEHA), and Acting Executive Director for Health System Financing at the Department of Health Abu Dhabi (DoH).His Excellency Khaled bin Shaiban Almehairi, Chairman of the National Health Insurance Company – Daman, said: “We are proud to announce this appointment, reinforcing our commitment to investing in, and empowering national talent to play key roles in the country’s healthcare sector. In his position as Acting Chief Executive Officer at Daman, Khaled Aldhaheri’s extensive leadership experience has successfully driven the team forward as we remain focused on expansion, as well as improving services to ensure we provide only the best quality in healthcare services, in line with PureHealth’s vision.”Shaista Asif, Group Chief Executive Officer, PureHealth Group, said: “This is a critical announcement for the group, reaffirming PureHealth’s commitment to appointing top national leadership talent into upper management roles. Aldhaheri has a long history of pioneering business growth and leading healthcare facilities, and we are confident he will continue to play a significant role in leading Daman as they continue their mission to strengthen the UAE’s healthcare sector, aligned with the PureHealth vision to promote longer, healthier and happier lives for the citizens and residents of the country.”Khaled Ateeq Aldhaheri, Chief Executive Officer at Daman, said: “It has been a great experience working with the Daman team as well as the wider team at PureHealth. I want to express my thanks for all of the support and trust the Senior Management Team and Board of Directors have placed in me. Daman already has a proven track record of pioneering achievements that have contributed to the advancement of the health insurance sector in the UAE, I look forward to continuing to work with the Daman team as we remain focused on providing even more innovative solutions to enable easy and affordable access to the highest quality of healthcare services as we remain united to our shared goal of longevity for the people of the UAE.”Daman aims to play a key role in advancing the health insurance sector as a leading health insurance company in the UAE and the region, with a membership base of more than 2.8 million and a network of over 3,000 medical facilities. The company’s ongoing growth and consistently enhanced services are attributed to its strategic vision, which aims to create a healthy and sustainable future through innovative smart solutions allowing members to access high-quality healthcare services.

Generative AI becoming more human: Accenture Technology Vision

New research from Accenture finds the world is in the midst of a massive technology shift, as AI and other disruptive technologies become “Human by Design”—much more human-like and intuitive for people to use— and usher in a new era of unprecedented productivity and creativity. The research further suggests that as human-centric technologies wield even greater capabilities, are easier to interact with and become even more seamlessly embedded across every aspect of our lives, we are moving toward a world where the technology around us will become more omni-present, yet also more invisible.Accenture’s Technology Vision 2024: “Human by Design: How AI Unleashes the Next Level of Human Potential” explores how after years of exponential innovation, technology—especially generative AI—is becoming more human in its nature. And as technology evolves to be more human-centric, it drives substantially greater capabilities for people to amplify their potential and reinvent business as we know it. According to Accenture research, generative AI has the potential to impact 44% of all working hours across industries, enable productivity enhancements across 900 different types of jobs and create $6 to $8 trillion in global economic value.“As AI, spatial computing and body-sensing technologies evolve to a point where tech appears to imitate human capabilities and seem invisible, what you’ll see left are the people – empowered with new capabilities to accomplish things they once considered impossible,” said Paul Daugherty, chief technology and innovation officer at Accenture. “This important seismic shift in the way people work, live and learn will accelerate a wave of unprecedented change across industries, from retail and entertainment to medicine and manufacturing. Organizations that act now to reinvent their business and ways of working using ‘human by design’ technologies will redefine what it means to be an industry leader.”The study identifies four key trends in the move to “human by design” technologies:A Match Made in AI: Reshaping our relationship with knowledge – ushering in a world where data is reorganized in ways that facilitate human-like reasoning and even mimic creativity. Instead of combing through mountains of search engine results, people will receive curated, personalized responses in the form of advice, a summation of a vast set of results, an essay, an image or even a piece of art. Searching now becomes synthesizing and business leaders who reimagine how information works in the organization and equip their people with AI-enabled enterprise knowledge tooling will realize exponential performance gains and competitive advantages.Meet My Agent: Ecosystems for AI – envisioning a world where AI-empowered agents work on behalf of individuals and are part of an interconnected ecosystem. These automated agents not only assist and advise us, but also take decisive actions on our behalf in both the physical and digital worlds. Working together, they multiply the collective output of workers and generate immense value for enterprises that choose to participate. 100% of executives in Saudi Arabia (vs. 96% globally) agree that leveraging AI agent ecosystems will be a significant opportunity for their organization in the next three years.The Space We Need: Creating value in new realities – creating rich, new immersive worlds of personal interaction by extending our physical, 2D worlds into new 3D environments created using spatial computing, metaverse, digital twins and AR/VR technologies. These new places and experiences will fuse our digital and physical worlds, bringing us together in new ways, fueling innovation and improving the way we work, live and learn. In the world of retail, 57% of Saudi Arabian consumers (vs. 33% globally) indicated they are, or would be interested in, using spatial computing technologies or devices for shopping today.Our Bodies Electronic: A new human interface – using innovative, embedded technologies – such as AI-powered wearables, brain-sensing neurotech, and eye and movement tracking – to unlock a better understanding of us, our lives and our intentions and using those deeper insights to enhance the way we work and live. 100% of Saudi Arabian executives (vs. 94% globally) agree that human interface technologies will let us better understand behaviors and intentions, transforming human-machine interaction.“Human-centered technologies like generative AI are poised to unleash human potential and deliver a staggering array of business and societal benefits, but only if we take a balanced, ‘human by design’ approach that ensures these technologies are used fairly and responsibly,” added Daugherty. A full 99% of executives in Saudi Arabia (vs. 93% globally) agree that with rapid technological advancements, it is more important than ever for organizations to innovate with purpose.

The opulent oasis: A journey through Dubai's luxury landscape

In the heart of the Arabian Desert lies a city that has become synonymous with opulence, extravagance, and grandeur: Dubai. Renowned as a playground for the rich and famous, Dubai boasts a vibrant luxury retail scene that rivals the world's most elite destinations. From towering skyscrapers to sprawling malls adorned with the finest couture, Dubai's allure for luxury brands knows no bounds.Dubai synonym with shoppingOne of the most prominent fixtures of Dubai's luxury landscape is its array of high-end shopping destinations. The Dubai Mall, for instance, stands as the largest mall in the world by total area, boasting over 1,200 retail outlets, including flagship stores of prestigious fashion houses such as Chanel, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton. Similarly, the Mall of the Emirates houses an impressive collection of luxury boutiques alongside attractions like an indoor ski resort, catering to the city's affluent residents and visitors alike.Dubai's population comprises high-net-worth individuals from various parts of the world, creating a magnet for luxury brands, observes Simon Hacker, CEO and Founder, Alpha Nero, a leading firm in the manufacturing and design of shop fixtures, shop-in-shops, boutiques, and pop-up stores for high–end, global and regional luxury brands, having a portfolio of over 50+ luxury brands spanning the Middle East, Asia, Africa & Europe.“The city's reputation for top-notch infrastructure, luxurious lifestyle, and expansive shopping malls, housing a diverse range of high-end brands, further contributes to its appeal as the perfect setting for luxury retailers,” says Hacker.Concurring with Hacker on this, Gian Paolo, Co-Founder of Vision Industry and Managing Director of Optitalia Group, said: “Dubai's global reputation as a shopping destination stems from its cosmopolitan appeal and unparalleled luxury offerings. VISION INDUSTRY's successful journey in Dubai is rooted in understanding and adapting to the city's diverse consumer base. Our exclusive eyewear experience, combining customization and a curated collection of luxury brands, aligns seamlessly with Dubai's penchant for innovation and luxury. The city's global influence and the unique shopping culture make it an ideal environment for VISION INDUSTRY to thrive and set new standards in the eyewear industry.”Erika Doyle, Founder of Drink Dry, a luxury non-alcoholic brand, putting across her thoughts on the Dubai luxury market, said: “Dubai is home to over 200 nationalities and it is a highly populated city with the population increasing at a rate unseen anywhere else in the world. This makes Dubai the perfect launch platform for global visibility. And of course, it would be naive not to acknowledge the fact that people have strong spending power. For us as Drink Dry and our luxury brands, being visible in Dubai also has a very strategic element to it too. It opens the door to global expansion.”Local luxury brands going globalIt's fascinating to see how Dubai has become a hub for luxury shopping, with various malls and boutique brands catering to fashion enthusiasts. Some prominent local luxury brands which have made the whole world look towards the region are:Michael Cinco: Known for its couture collections and exclusive bridal wear, Michael Cinco is a Filipino brand that originated in Dubai. The brand has gained global recognition with top celebrities like Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga adorned in its creations.Bambah: Offering modern and elegant pieces, Bambah is another notable luxury brand in Dubai. It provides a range of dresses, gowns, tops, pants, and skirts, allowing shoppers to make a strong fashion statement. Bambah has a physical boutique in City Walk and an online store for convenience.Zayan The Label: Founded by Dubai-based fashion designer Zayan Ghandour, Zayan The Label offers trendy outfits with hand-embroidered motifs and vibrant prints. The brand features dresses, tops, jumpsuits, kaftans, skirts, pants, and more, catering to those who seek unique and fashionable attire.All Things Mochi: With contemporary pieces handcrafted by local artists, All Things Mochi stands out for its distinctive designs inspired by various cultures worldwide. The brand offers dress sets, jackets, skirts, and more, showcasing vibrant and eclectic styles.Bougessa: Bougessa is a luxury label known for its sleek, minimalist dresses with a modern twist. The brand offers collections for different seasons, featuring a mix of classic designs and vibrant palettes to cater to diverse preferences.These are just a few of the local luxury brands contributing to Dubai's vibrant fashion scene, offering shoppers a wide array of choices to express their style and individuality.Tax-free shopping policiesDubai's tax-free shopping policies have cemented its status as a haven for luxury consumers. With no value-added tax (VAT) on goods and a reputation for offering competitive prices, Dubai attracts shoppers seeking exclusive items ranging from haute couture fashion to rare timepieces and fine jewelry. The annual Dubai Shopping Festival further enhances the city's allure, drawing crowds with extravagant promotions, fashion shows, and celebrity appearances.The city's status as a tax-free haven serves as a significant attraction for international shoppers, says Simon Hacker.Balancing exclusiveness with mass popularityTraditionally, luxury brands were associated with exclusivity, targeting only the elite class of society. However, with the advent of globalization and the rise of affluent middle-class consumers in emerging markets, the luxury market has expanded significantly.Luxury brands now face the challenge of maintaining their aura of exclusivity while also appealing to a broader consumer base. This delicate balancing act requires them to carefully manage their brand image and marketing strategies.Democratizing accessOne approach luxury brands have taken is to democratize access to their products through various means such as expanding their retail presence, offering lower-priced or entry-level products, and engaging with consumers through digital channels. By making their products more accessible, they can attract a wider range of customers without diluting their brand's prestige.At the same time, luxury brands continue to invest in maintaining their exclusivity through limited-edition releases, personalised experiences, and collaborations with high-profile artists or designers. These tactics help to preserve the sense of luxury and desirability associated with the brand while also catering to the evolving tastes of consumers.On maintaining this balance, Simon Hacker said: “Alpha Nero in essence is all about bringing the balance between form and function. We adopt the detail-oriented, tailor-made luxury approach that mirrors our customers’ brand values while also combining an industrial approach that allows brands to roll out their concepts through the region – allowing room for consistency, a standard finish as well as elevated aesthetics and customisation where required.”<img src='\40125cb2962e5e3045298e8113c69dc2.png' class='content_image'>Gian Paolo, said: “VISION INDUSTRY strikes a delicate balance by offering an exclusive Design Lab experience for customization, catering to discerning individuals seeking a unique eyewear journey. Simultaneously, our curated collection of over 60 luxury brands, including exclusive names like Celine and Bugatti, ensures accessibility and diversity in choices. This approach allows us to maintain an air of exclusivity while serving the desires of a broad spectrum of consumers, ensuring that everyone can find their perfect eyewear at VISION INDUSTRY.”Erika Doyle, about the non-alcoholic drinks category, says: “We understand that there are different occasions of consumption - some require the ‘crème-de-la-crème’ of what we have to offer, such as weddings, anniversaries or a special birthday celebrations; and some are less significant: romantic dinner with your partner or a little bit more casual get-together with friends. Therefore, we have a wide choice of products to satisfy all requirements. The one critical part that we do not compromise on is quality. This is what helps us maintain our customers and to always be their ‘go to’ for all things non-alcoholic drinks.”<img src='\0d961d63eb581d7b77b85407d5742be6.png' class='content_image'>Experiential retail: Latest fad in luxury retailIn addition to material possessions, consumers in Dubai are increasingly seeking experiential luxury, encompassing personalized services, immersive brand experiences, and exclusive events. Luxury brands are tapping into this trend by curating bespoke experiences, hosting VIP events, and fostering a sense of exclusivity to cultivate brand loyalty and differentiate them in a competitive market landscape.Simon Hacker, who has been in the industry for over a decade, says: “I have seen experiential retail, digital integration, personalisation, pop-up stores and limited-edition lines or products, at the forefront of successful retail experiences.Stressing on experiential retail he said: “Experiential retail is crucial for brands in a saturated market like Dubai, where luxury online platforms are thriving. Creating memorable in-store experiences helps differentiate brands from online competitors, offering customers something they cannot get through online shopping alone. This approach fosters a deeper connection between the brand and the consumer.”Seconding Hacker’s views, Erika Doyle said: “Experiential retail is extremely relevant to what we do. When we examine our hospitality partners, particularly in the UAE where we have a wide array of exceptional, award-winning unlicensed venues offering phenomenal cuisine crafted by Michelin Star chefs, it's evident that the beverage options remain notably limited. First and foremost, the customers are looking for a full experience. The biggest trend growth we see is that the emotional connection between the luxury brand and the customer is paramount, this is what matters the most if we are looking to maintain customer loyalty.”<img src='\5d30b8ba0d59d7628f872a14efaf5ed9.png' class='content_image'>Glancing at the futureHowever, amidst the glitz and glamour, Dubai's luxury sector faces challenges ranging from economic volatility to shifting consumer behavior. The COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, has had a profound impact on the city's tourism and retail sectors, prompting luxury brands to adapt their strategies to navigate the uncertainty.Simon Hacker says: “Looking to the future, the success of luxury retail may hinge on the integration of technology and the continuation of experiential strategies. Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and augmented reality are likely to play increasingly significant roles in enhancing customer experiences. Moreover, brands will need to continuously innovate to stay ahead, exploring new ways to surprise and delight customers, both in-store and through digital channels.”He further said: “While there is a mindset shift, we are yet to see tangible data that is enhancing brand environmental performance. This is where the Alpha Nero carbon calculating software stands ready to contribute. Our software is customised for the manufacturing process and uses greenhouse gas protocol to efficiently deep dive into data by project, by build, while also making recommendations on materials that are better suited for a brand’s journey to becoming net zero. The software leverages AI, greenhouse gas protocol, and smart learning to effectively input and analyse a high volume of data across scopes, generating a streamlined report that shows how various decisions throughout the project will affect its emissions (electrical, manpower, material, transport etc.) thereby assisting brands no matter how far along or advanced they are on their path to sustainability.”As the city looks towards the future, one thing is certain—Dubai's journey towards unparalleled luxury has only just begun.Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash