Karim Sioufi, a seasoned Business Director at VML, brings a wealth of expertise garnered over an illustrious 15-year career across the global advertising and marketing landscape. He navigates seamlessly through diverse cultural terrains, establishing effective communication with stakeholders. His passion for collaboration, creativity, and excellence is the driving force behind innovative solutions tailored for clients in government, healthcare, FMCG, real estate, and entertainment. His remarkable journey, marked by the successful management of award-winning projects and the groundbreaking “The Subconscious Order” campaign for HungerStation, attests to his strategic acumen and unwavering commitment to authentic communication.
This exclusive interview unfolds as a captivating exploration of his extensive experience, offering profound insights into the ever-evolving landscape of advertising and marketing.
How did your journey in the advertising and marketing industry lead you to become the Business Director at VML (formerly Wunderman Thompson)?
My journey commenced in Paris before I ventured into the regional scene and transitioned to the agency side. This shift injected a fresh energy and dynamic into my career. The agency environment, with its emphasis on creativity, diverse projects, and a fast-paced atmosphere, kept me consistently engaged, motivated, and yes, a bit tired too.
Seven years ago, my strategic decision to join VML (formerly Wunderman Thompson) was a pivotal move aligned with my career goals and aspirations. Opting to work with one of the best players in Riyadh and globally, I knew I was becoming part of a team committed to making a significant impact and fostering innovation.
The diversity of experiences gained from working across various markets has added valuable perspective to my role. Adapting to different environments and markets has equipped me with a versatile skill set, expanding my portfolio, and nurturing a spirit of teamwork.
Big Congratulations. With the agency securing numerous awards across various platforms, the recent accolades of ‘Agency of the Decade’ and ‘Network of the Decade’ at the Athar Festival stand out as a significant accomplishment. Could you shed light on the key factors that played a role in this success, and how does it showcase the dedication and contributions of your team?
We were keen to participate in the inaugural edition of Athar. Actively contributing to three talks, we showcased our expertise and played a role in the exchange of ideas within the creative community. Our involvement in the festival not only underscores our commitment to the creative industry but also contributes to the growth and recognition of the creative Saudi community at large.
Winning both Agency and Network of the Decade was truly amazing! It stands as a remarkable testament to the collaborative spirit and dedication of our team. Achieving success at Athar is indeed a significant milestone, crowning years of hard work, creativity, and the combined efforts of both local and international talents.
We hope this success serves as a catalyst for even more opportunities and collaborations in the future. May our team continue to thrive in the dynamic and vibrant creative landscape.
The Subconscious Order for HungerStation, winning Saudi’s first-ever Grand Prix at Cannes Lions in June 2023, is a remarkable achievement. Can you share insights into the creative process behind this amazing campaign and how it aligns with VML’s (formerly Wunderman Thompson) commitment to innovation?
We began by searching for an insight or a human problem that we could address—a meaningful solution to an existing issue. This led us to the widespread problem of choice overload in online food delivery, something we all face daily.
Delving deeper, we discovered that, on average, people spend about 132 hours a year perusing mind-numbing menus online before deciding what to eat, often resulting in the wrong choice. Further research led us to a study by Dr. Bruce Lipton, revealing that the conscious mind can only process 40 bits of information per second, while the subconscious mind processes information at a rate up to 500,000 times faster. This discovery sparked the idea of helping people better connect with their subconscious mind to find the answers they seek, leading to the launch of “The Subconscious Order”: the very first food delivery placed by your subconscious mind. We collaborated with our tech team at VML (formerly Wunderman Thompson) Seattle and embarked on a journey to find the best and most effective approach to bring this idea to life. We were delighted with a statement made by Nancy Crimi-Lamanna, the Creative Commerce Jury President at Cannes Lions, regarding the project:
“In today’s world, brands have to apply meaningful value in order for people to offer use of their facial data, and ‘Subconscious Order’ did this beautifully. It’s a wonderful example of AI being applied to commerce and is a bold, brave way to change the user experience: turning transactional experiences into emotional ones.”
Personalization has become a key focus in advertising. How do you utilize AI to tailor campaigns to individual consumer preferences, and what challenges and opportunities does this level of personalization present?
Indeed, the potential of customizing customer needs with AI is immense, though the implementation is still evolving. As we increasingly gather and assess vast amounts of data, the objective is to refine and tailor offerings more precisely. While ideas are being presented, the challenge lies in technical execution and navigating customer concerns, especially those related to privacy breaches.
A noteworthy example of a safe and innovative use of AI for customized needs is the “subconscious order.” In this context, the concept involves leveraging AI to understand and anticipate customer preferences at a subconscious level. Through analyzing various data points and behavioral patterns, AI can discern individual tastes and preferences, allowing for a personalized and tailored experience.
However, customer resistance to sharing information remains a hurdle. The fear of manipulation or misuse of personal data is a legitimate concern. Striking the right balance between utilizing AI for customization and ensuring customer trust is crucial. Transparency in how data is collected, processed, and utilized, along with robust privacy measures, is key to overcoming this resistance.
As technology continues to advance, there is an ongoing responsibility to address these concerns, ensuring that AI-driven customization is not only effective but also respectful of individual privacy and autonomy.
The date of 2030 coincides with a key milestone in Vision 2030. How does this impact the agency’s strategies in promoting and capitalizing on the success of the Riyadh Expo 2023?
It’s truly remarkable to witness the evolution and progress that Saudi Arabia, particularly Riyadh, has undergone on the world stage. The hosting of Expo 2030 stands as a testament to visionary efforts and a commitment to showcasing the best the country has to offer. Our agency’s early involvement, focusing on campaigns related to art, culture, entertainment, and tourism, has played a crucial role in setting the stage for this momentous event. Notably, the Saudi National Day campaign, “We Dream and Achieve,” perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Saudi Arabia’s journey toward Vision 2030 goals. This ethos is not just reflected in words but in tangible projects and initiatives in which we actively participate.
The giga projects of Vision 2030 present unique opportunities. Being part of these transformative endeavors allows us to contribute to the positive changes and advancements occurring in Saudi Arabia. The readiness to welcome the world is not only an opportunity for the country but also for our agency to connect, collaborate, and engage in international cooperation.
As VML (formerly Wunderman Thompson) continues to play a pivotal role in these endeavors, it contributes not only to the success of Expo 2030 but also to the broader narrative of Saudi Arabia’s transformative journey on the world stage.
Given your proficiency in branding, how do you balance maintaining a brand’s core identity with adapting to evolving market trends and consumer preferences?
A brand is not a static entity; it thrives within a dynamic environment shaped by ever-changing factors like consumer behavior, market trends, cultural shifts, and technological advancements to name a few Authentic communication forms the bedrock of a brand’s connection with its audience. When a brand stays true to its essence, it establishes genuine connections, fostering trust—a vital foundation for enduring relationships. It’s a straightforward equation: consumers are naturally drawn to brands that mirror their values, making authentic communication paramount.
Successful brands exhibit adaptability and responsiveness to evolving needs, positioning themselves for continued success. Being agile without compromising core values enables brands to remain relevant and resonate with shifting consumer preferences. However, alongside adaptability, maintaining consistency in identity and messaging is equally crucial. This consistency cultivates a robust brand image and recognition. Striking the delicate balance between adaptation and consistency is an art mastered by successful brands.
In essence, a brand attuned to its environment, attentive to consumer needs, and committed to authentic communication is well-equipped to navigate the dynamic market landscape. By doing so, it not only adapts to current needs but also possesses the potential to shape and influence the evolving landscape for the better.
Can you share an example of a project where your skills in marketing, creative strategy, communication, and branding all came together to deliver exceptional results?
I take immense pride in showcasing a pivotal accomplishment in my career—the oversight of communications during the visit of the President of the United States to Riyadh. This momentous event unfolded within the context of a global summit, where I played an integral part of a small committee comprising five individuals. Together, we successfully managed the coordination and alignment of over 8 companies, each specializing in diverse fields such as PR, Creative, Digital, Media, and Production. Remarkably, this substantial task was accomplished just ten days prior to the President’s visit.
The magnitude of this project, combined with the diversity of expertise involved, presented a unique set of challenges that demanded strategic thinking and effective communication. The successful execution of such a multifaceted endeavour not only enhanced the reputation of our team but also left an indelible mark on my professional journey.
Spearheading a project of this scale, with international significance, has proven to be transformative for me. It has provided invaluable insights into my capabilities and potential that I might not have fully realized before.
The lessons I learned and the skills I developed are undoubtedly valuable assets that continue to positively influence and shape my career. I am grateful for the opportunity to have played a key role in such a significant project.
If there were an alternate reality where campaigns are immersive experiences, how would you design one to not just engage but transport the audience into a new dimension?
In essence, the evolving landscape of communication is about fostering a symbiotic relationship—one that goes beyond the transactional exchange of goods or services. Brands that recognize and embrace this paradigm shift are not just providers but compassionate companions, actively participating in and contributing to the consumer’s pursuit of self-expression, fulfillment, and well-being.
The rise of individualism in consumption reflects a desire for autonomy and a rejection of mass trends. Brands that understand and respect this inclination are better positioned to build lasting relationships with their audience. The shift towards collaboration and inclusivity in communication reinforces the idea that brands and consumers are partners in a shared journey.
A success factor for brands today is to speak less about ‘sales’ and more about ‘souls’. My recommendation for effective immersive experiences today would be centered around concepts related to customers’ mental health and simply the right to exist with all their differences.
By prioritizing genuine connection, shared values, and understanding, brands can transcend the transactional nature of their interactions with consumers and become integral companions in their personal journeys.
Tarek Sharafeddine, the Director of Client Leadership at Mindshare, brings 15 years of dynamic experience in the media industry, he possesses invaluable insights. His impact spans various sectors, from Telecom to FMCG, where he employs a strategic approach focused on continuous learning, strategic partnerships, and creating customized media solutions for the distinct challenges of each industry.
In an exclusive and candid interview, he delves into the ever-evolving Saudi media landscape. His strategic expertise extends to comprehensive campaigns, fostering key relationships, and embracing the latest innovations.
In your 16 years in the industry, how have you witnessed the Saudi Arabian media landscape evolve, and what specific challenges and opportunities has this evolution presented?
The media and advertising landscape has undergone a transformative shift, largely influenced by the rapid adoption of digital technologies. Traditional media outlets, such as television and print, have faced challenges as online platforms gained traction. Social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat have become integral to communication and advertising strategies. Additionally, Saudi Arabia has witnessed increased investment in local content creation and a focus on cultural relevance in advertising campaigns. The lifting of the ban on cinemas in 2018 has also contributed to a more diverse entertainment landscape, impacting how advertisers reach and engage with consumers.
Reflecting on your career, can you share an instance where your strategic relationship-building skills were instrumental in not just project success, but in fostering long-term partnerships?
I vividly remember receiving a call from a new client inquiring about a straightforward cost estimate for a small InMall campaign. While it could have been perceived as a routine request, we went the extra mile by securing a meeting with them. During the meeting, we thoroughly discussed the array of services we could offer to contribute to the growth of their business. Subsequently, we presented a comprehensive strategy complete with committed KPIs and additional value. Our aim was to ensure that this campaign not only became a prominent topic but also a success. Fortunately, our efforts paid off, leading to the successful negotiation of a three-year contract with a respectable budget.
In working with Telecom, Governmental, Banking, Automotive, and FMCG, how do you customize media solutions for each industry?
Customizing media solutions for each industry involves a comprehensive approach to align strategies with the unique characteristics and challenges of the target sector. This begins with an in-depth analysis of industry trends, competitive landscapes, and regulatory environments. Audience personas are then developed, detailing demographics, preferences, and media consumption habits specific to
the industry. Content is crafted to be industry-relevant, incorporating sector-specific terminology and examples that resonate with the target audience.
Careful consideration is given to the selection of media platforms, tailoring distribution strategies to where the industry’s audience is most active. The tone and style of messaging are adapted to match the industry’s cultural norms, whether formal and professional or casual and conversational. Solutions are positioned as addressing industry-specific challenges, with integration into relevant events or
conferences to enhance visibility.
Collaboration with industry influencers and thought leaders is sought to boost credibility. Data analytics inform decisions, ensuring strategies remain effective and aligned with evolving industry dynamics and regulatory compliance. Continuous feedback collection and iteration based on insights gained contribute to the ongoing optimization of media solutions for sustained impact within each unique industry landscape.
Given the dynamic nature of the media industry, how do you ensure you stay informed about the latest trends and innovations? Can you share an instance were staying updated led to a strategic advantage for a client?
In addition to the pivotal role of connections and relationships in our business, active participation in conferences, events, and professional networks, coupled with subscriptions to key marketing trend sources, provides a significant advantage. This approach ensures early access to new products and beta versions, enabling clients to be pioneers in testing them. I’ve witnessed numerous instances where introducing clients to “first-time use products” resulted in remarkable outcomes, achieving nearly three times the anticipated key performance indicators (KPIs). This underscores the strategic importance of staying informed and leveraging innovations to consistently deliver exceptional value to
Can you highlight a particularly successful media campaign and outline the key strategies that made it successful?
We initiated a comprehensive full-funnel campaign, placing primary emphasis on achieving lower-funnel outcomes during the Ramadan period. Our approach to the brief involved meticulous identification of objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs), followed by a thorough analysis of the target audiences. This enabled us to tailor our media strategy for optimal reach and resonance.
Employing a multichannel strategy, we carefully selected a mix of traditional, digital, and influencer channels. This encompassed the utilization of multiple regional TV channels and a diversified set of integrated solutions, including sponsorships, special on-screen executions, and a compelling call-to-action for launching the offer. The call-to-action design incorporated multiple creatives,
specifically targeting different packages with varying commercial lengths.
To ensure effectiveness, we employed special solutions for tracking and optimizing the performance of each TV channel, sponsored program, and spot. Notably, we successfully measured the return of on-screen executions within a selected series on an active channel for the first time. Direct conversions in the lower funnel were measured, affirming the efficacy and efficiency of our new channel mix. This achievement translated into a 12.3% increase in website visits and a 12.7% surge in app downloads in the lower funnel. Additionally, our efforts contributed to an impressive 86% increase in awareness and a 29% boost in consideration in the upper funnel.
The strategic use of TV as a performance tool played a pivotal role in driving tangible results and high-quality traffic to the client’s website.
Given the rise of interactive and immersive technologies, how do you envision incorporating virtual experiences or augmented reality into future media campaigns to enhance client engagement?
Expanding on the incorporation of virtual experiences and augmented reality (AR) into future media campaigns, the potential applications are vast. For instance, virtual events and trade shows can provide immersive brand interactions, allowing attendees to explore virtual booths, attend product demonstrations, and engage in real-time conversations with representatives.
In retail, augmented reality can revolutionize the shopping experience by enabling customers to virtually try on clothing, accessories, or even visualize furniture in their own living spaces. Furthermore, incorporating gamification elements within virtual and augmented experiences can transform campaigns into interactive challenges or quests. This not only captures users’ attention but also encourages repeat engagement and social sharing.
The future of media campaigns lies in creating participatory brand experiences through virtual and augmented realities, aligning with evolving consumer expectations for more engaging and interactive content.
Looking ahead, how are you strategically positioning yourself and your team to adapt to the future trends and opportunities in the evolving media industry in Saudi Arabia?
To strategically position ourselves for the evolving media landscape in Saudi Arabia, continuous learning and skill development are paramount. We prioritize staying updated on industry trends, fostering a data-driven mindset, and embracing digital transformation, including emerging technologies like virtual experiences.
Actively participating in industry events and networks allows us to understand local preferences and cultural nuances, while encouraging collaboration within cross-functional teams. This holistic approach positions us to leverage future trends, capitalize on emerging opportunities, and navigate the dynamic media industry landscape effectively.
In a major victory for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of the Kingdom, the capital of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, will host World Expo 2030 working to change the authoritarian nation’s reputation abroad. Following the World Cup of Soccer in Qatar last year, the vote results indicated that a Gulf nation had achieved yet another diplomatic win. Rome, Italy, and Busan, South Korea’s port city, were also considered to host the event. It takes place every five years and brings in billions of dollars in investment and millions of visitors.
World Expo 2030 Ballot
Through electronic voting, a secret ballot was cast, and Riyadh was officially confirmed as Osaka’s 2025 successor host. Results from 182 members of the Paris-based Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) showed that Riyadh won 119, Busan 29, and Rome 17. For Saudi Arabia to prevail in the first round, two-thirds of the votes were required. It was the first time a candidate had won in the first round of voting, with two-thirds of the votes in twenty years. The victory is the cherry on top of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s massive Vision 2030 initiative, which tries to wean the nation off its reliance on oil.
Dubai congratulates Saudi on their successful bid
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the United Arab Emirates, congratulated the Saudi Arabian government and people on this momentous occasion. It is anticipated that the occasion will symbolize the realization of Vision 2030. Furthermore, it will highlight the Kingdom’s accomplishments, with a special emphasis on hospitality, tourism, and culture.
I extend my sincere congratulations to King Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and the people of Saudi Arabia for the Kingdom's successful bid to host Expo 2030. Through resounding support for Riyadh Expo 2030, the international community continues to…
— محمد بن زايد (@MohamedBinZayed) November 28, 2023
Previous World Expo Fairs
The theme of the previous Expo 2020 was “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.” It was hosted in the dazzling Persian Gulf emirate of Dubai. For the first time in the Expo’s more than 170-year history, it brought together 192 nations. This made it a global success and a testament to the country’s achievements. For the first time in its history, the fair was held in an Arab country. Over 24 million people attended. Expo 2020 is currently known as Expo City Dubai.
Examples of Innovative Inventions at the World Expo
Winning the vote in the French capital, where the Eiffel Tower was constructed for the exposition in 1889, offers nations the chance to draw attention from around the world, millions of visitors, money, and prestige, as well as develop infrastructure and jobs. Since its founding in 1851, Expo has been used as a venue for the introduction of innovative inventions. The light bulb and the Ferris wheel are a few examples of these. Furthermore, the Eiffel Tower itself—which was built for the 1889 Exposition Universelle is also included in these.
Here’s what they said
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said
I would like to thank the 130 countries that have already announced their support for the Kingdom’s bid. Distinguished dignitaries, you have all acted as indispensable partners providing insight, feedback, and support throughout the Kingdom’s campaign. We had a fantastic team of ministers going around the world, engaging our counterparts in a very, very active way to understand what they expected, what they were looking for, and what we should deliver in order to gain their trust.
A third investment was disclosed by SRMG Ventures, the venture capital division of the Saudi Research and Media Group (SRMG). The integrated media group has announced plans to invest $5 million in Anghami, a music and entertainment streaming service with offices in the UAE and founded in Lebanon. SRMG is dedicated to fostering the media and entertainment ecosystem in the MENA area. It plans to do so by spotting market possibilities, satisfying consumer wants, and developing new revenue sources. The venture represents a major advancement for the region’s music and audio sector, which is expected to grow at an 11% CAGR. The consistent rise is also credited to local talent, rising Arab stars, and the tactical presence of foreign record firms. This is solidifying MENA’s role as a key participant in the global music industry.
The SRMG-Anghami Strategic Venture
The group’s investment approach, which focuses on creative developers, and virtual and interactive entertainment is aligned with SRMG Ventures’ investment in Anghami. The focus will also be on the digital media platforms and drivers that are at the pinnacle of technical innovation. SRMG Ventures’ broad media reach, content library, and portfolio of top audio/podcast assets will accelerate Anghami’s growth trajectory. Additionally, they will receive a bigger slice of the quickly expanding market, anticipated to reach $700 million in 2026.
Anghami has a sizable subscriber base (120 million, up from 75 million in 2021) and a library of more than 100 million songs. It is the premier source for Arabic and international music, podcasts, and entertainment. Anghami has expanded its offerings across music streaming since its 2012 inception. At the moment, it offers live events, concerts, branded music, and video content. Additionally, it offers renowned music streaming services, podcasts, a music lounge with live entertainment, record labels for Arab musicians, and exclusive and original Arabic material.
Anghami will employ SRMG’s large media networks to speed up growth by offering users fresh experiences. Additionally, it will increase legitimate listening to music audio content in the MENA region and empower artists. Billboard Arabia, the newest addition to SRMG’s media portfolio will introduceseveralf charts employing information from the top digital streaming platforms. It will work with Anghami to help promote the musicians and songs that are shaping the local and international music scene. Additionally, all of SRMG’s content creation channels that are presently accessible through the Anghami portal will pave the way for future partnerships between the two.
Here’s what they said
Jomana R. Al-Rashid, CEO of SRMG, said:
Audio consumption is growing fast in the MENA region. In 2022 alone, the market size for audio increased by 35%. This demand coupled with the commercial opportunity it presents makes digital audio and media one of the investment priorities for SRMG Ventures. These opportunities are also demonstrative of our strategy and commitment to support and develop the media ecosystem, act as a catalyst for further growth and enhancement of SRMG’s offerings and services. Today, Anghami has been able to secure one of the largest user bases in audio streaming in the region, and has developed an impressive platform with extensive technological capabilities – a testament to the leadership of founders Elie Habib and Eddy Maroun. We’re looking forward to working closely with the Anghami team to realize our shared vision of elevating the region’s media and entertainment industry.
Eddy Maroun, Co-founder & CEO of Anghami, said:
This investment from SRMG Ventures marks a significant milestone for Anghami. We have continually evolved to meet our audience’s changing demands and support the region’s rising entertainment and music industry. Working together with SRMG, a leader and innovator in regional media, Anghami will be able to unlock further opportunities to champion the music ecosystem. This partnership will propel regional artists to greater heights, expand their global reach, and create new touchpoints for our users and artists alike.
Large IT businesses and nations are vying for NVIDIA to dominate the semiconductor chips market as a result of the development of generative AI. Most recently, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have expressed interest in purchasing NVIDIA processors to support their AI aspirations. They have joined an ever-expanding line of tech purchasers in the hunt to acquire these chips alongside Elon Musk and China.
With their purchases of thousands of NVIDIA graphic processing units (GPUs), Saudi Arabia and the UAE have both demonstrated their desire to become significant players in the AI industry. These components are crucial to the generative AI revolution that has recently swept the market.
The GPU chips
In the contest to stock NVIDIA chips, the two Middle Eastern nations will face competitors from throughout the world. They will go off against rivals like China and Elon Musk. At least 3,000 NVIDIA H100 chips costing $40,000 each were bought by Saudi Arabia. Additionally, it has ordered new semiconductors to power the nation’s large language models (LLMs).
Earlier this month, it was reported that Alibaba and ByteDance, the parent of TikTok, had purchased $5 billion worth of GPUs as concerns grow about the Biden administration limiting their access. The Chinese tech giants are scrambling to get their hands on these chips with the US government’s restrictions on investing in Chinese technologies. They include semiconductors, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing. The aim was to reduce China’s military access to American technology and price. The four core Chinese tech titans- Baidu, Tencent, Alibaba, and ByteDance ordered $1 billion worth of chips to be delivered in 2023. Additionally, another $4 billion worth will be delivered in 2024. Elon Musk, the owner of Tesla and an acclaimed entrepreneur, has also expressed a strong interest in purchasing thousands of chips for his generative AI project called xAI.
Craving NVIDIA chips fear a shortage
Since ChatGPT started the AI craze, NVIDIA’s profit performance has increased. The company’s valuation has now reached over $1 trillion. NVIDIA holds 95% market share in the specialist GPU industry, which has grown significantly as a result of AI. These chips are extremely expensive attributing to their innovation, training, and implementation. This gives a huge advantage to big tech companies over small businesses and startups. However, the company’s supply of semiconductor chips may soon be depleted due to the rise in demand for its GPUs. Top executives have issued a warning that supply may soon fall short of demand. The supply of the H100s is facing several limitations. Some analysts predict that the corporation will run out of chips by the end of next year.
The Gulf states’ interests only confirm that NVIDIA may not be able to keep up with GPU demand. They already cost a fortune and are in short supply. Because of this, venture capitalists have begun directly purchasing them for their company portfolios. The price of NVIDIA’s stock has approximately tripled this year as investors bet that its highly coveted processors would be a critical component of the AI revolution. In 2023, the graphics chip specialist led the S&P 500 with gains of more than 200%.
Saudi Aramco has announced a partnership with Samsung Electronics, a leading Korean conglomerate, to establish a localized industrial 5G technology ecosystem in Saudi Arabia. The collaboration will begin with the development of private networks within the country. The two companies have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the proposed partnership plans.
The main objective of the collaboration is to contribute to the digital transformation of various industrial sectors in Saudi Arabia, including energy, petrochemicals, and manufacturing, by utilizing advanced 4G and 5G technologies that provide secure, fast, and reliable communication to meet critical business requirements.
The MoU follows the recent launch of Aramco Digital Company, which aims to accelerate the digital transformation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as well as the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. This partnership between Saudi Aramco and Samsung Electronics is expected to bring about a significant boost to the technological capabilities of the industrial sector in Saudi Arabia, further driving its economic growth and development.
Interesting Read: Adform and Digiseg offer new ad tool for Saudi Arabia advertisers
Adform and Digiseg offer a new ad tool for Saudi Arabia advertisers. Adform and Digiseg have formed an exclusive seven-month partnership in Saudi Arabia. Adform is a global, independent, and fully integrated advertising platform built for modern marketing. Digiseg, on the other hand, is a global provider of cookie and ID-free audience data, which helps advertisers reach their target audiences without relying on third-party cookies.
As part of their partnership, Adform’s clients in Saudi Arabia will access Digiseg’s unique audience data that segments entire countries into 100-500 household neighborhoods This data includes information about home type, life stage, household income, and more. This data is unique because it is privacy-compliant and does not rely on cookies or deterministic identifiers like UUIDs or MAIDs. Advertisers can use this cookie-less data to better target and personalize their advertising campaigns across various display, video, and mobile channels.
As quoted by Campaign Middle East, Mazen Khalil, Account Director at Adform said,
“Our exciting partnership with Digiseg will give our clients in Saudi Arabia unique cookie-less data capabilities. With Digiseg’s data, we can help our clients better understand their audiences and deliver more effective advertising”
The partnership between Adform and Digiseg is significant because it highlights the increasing importance of privacy-compliant audience data in the advertising industry. With the impending demise of third-party cookies and increased focus on privacy regulations, advertisers need alternative solutions to reach their target audiences effectively. This partnership will give advertisers in Saudi Arabia a new tool to improve their campaigns. Using Digiseg’s household audience data, brands can reach relevant audiences more effectively with higher conversions and improved cost efficiency. Advertisers can use this data to target their desired audiences with precision and accuracy, resulting in more effective campaigns.
Interesting Read: The Adtech Landscape in 2023
BeIN Media Group, a sports broadcaster inks a partnership with Riyadh-based media representation firm SMC as its exclusive advertising partner in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Qatari-based beIN signed an agreement with SMC which covers advertising for all of its channels, including its flagship sports channel beIN Sports. A source familiar with beIN told Reuters, “The deal is in the region of $150 million.”
The strategic deal comes nearly two years after Saudi Arabia and three other Arab countries ended their dispute with Qatar, which had seen them sever all political, trade, and travel ties. SMC Chairman Mohammed bin Abdulelah Al-Khuraiji and BeIN Group CEO Yousef Al-Obaidily signed the agreement at BeIN’s MENA headquarters in Doha.
During the strategic partnership, local and international advertising companies will benefit from the promotion of an environment that stimulates creativity and innovation in the digital industry. In this way, they will gain a competitive advantage through various opportunities. The agreement runs from that covers the period before, during, and after the tournament up to the end of 2023, which is a great outcome for both groups.
And that’s what they said
Mohammad Al-Subaie, CEO of beIN MENA, is delighted to partner with SMC as they prepare for the world’s largest sporting event, the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, said,
“The agreement is not only commercially significant, but will also enable advertisers to reach a huge audience who are tuned into beIN’s various channels within the MENA region, through a leading media sales agency. More so, this partnership is a testament to the success of beIN’s growth strategy and its advancement both in MENA and globally. This is simply the beginning of our plans at beIN, and this agreement is just one of many great success stories which have been announced this year, with more to come.”
Khalid Waleed Alkhudair, CEO of SMC, further commented,
“This agreement with beIN provides us with an opportunity to implement SMC’s strategy of flexible and effective advertising and marketing services. We plan to utilise our top-of-the-line service models, which comprise the latest in advertising systems, in-line with the global developments in the industry, and evolving market demands.”
BeIN Sports is the official broadcaster of the 2022 soccer World cup. It is the only place to watch all 64 matches in most countries in MENA and France with coverage in Arabic, English, and French. Reuters reported that Saudi equity firms and US investors were considering an investment in BeIN sports. It has also been attracting the attention of the Saudi wealth fund PIF earlier this month, according to Bloomberg.
A group of over 120 presenters, reporters, commentators, and analysts will cover the World Cup, making it the greatest and most diverse team assembled in the history of the event.
Twitter brings Branded Likes to all managed advertisers reaching consumers in Saudi Arabia. It also rolled out in other countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan.
👋 We're launching #BrandedLikes, a feature that lets advertisers customize Twitter’s Like button animation for 24 hours.
Branded Likes will appear on any organic or promoted Tweets that contain the advertiser-selected hashtags after an individual has liked that Tweet. pic.twitter.com/mBRRTWtAru
— Twitter Business (@TwitterBusiness) June 30, 2022
As it can be seen in the tweet, Branded Likes let advertisers transform Twitter’s Like button into a delightful, custom animation for 24 hours. Twitter explains that several brands like Disney, Tesco, and more have tested Branded Likes. The results show that it drives conversation and engagement around the biggest launches and brand moments, and create memorable, interactive experiences with consumers.
Interesting Read: Lemma Partners With Continuum, Expand DOOH Presence In The Middle East
How does this new feature work?
- Branded Likes are available in Twitter’s Timeline Takeover ad offering, which ensures a brand’s ad is the first ad to appear when someone opens Twitter for the first time that day. The pairing helps advertisers to maximize brand exposure and drive additional engagement.
- As part of the Takeover ad, advertisers can select a hashtag (and up to 10 translations of the hashtag) for their Branded Like animation. Bare Tree Media is the partner for activations running in Saudi Arabia, the U.S, and the U.K to create custom artwork for the campaign.
- The custom branded like will appear when a consumer taps the like button on an organic/promoted tweet with the pre-selected hashtag.
- Finally, it will appear for up to 24 hours in the same geography as the brand’s Timeline Takeover.
Twitter stated that during testing the new feature delivers ad effectiveness for brands when paired with Timeline Takeover.
“Branded Likes generated positive impact when paired with Timeline Takeover, seeing a +277% lift in the recall, and +202% lift in purchase and consideration intent.”
Even though Branded Likes add personality to the tweets and spark interest but involves high cost and scale. Twitter has not provided any price range as of now. It is certainly an intriguing offering that will add some variety to the tweet stream.
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MCN Mediabrands,IPG/MCN’s media and marketing solutions division, announced a collaboration with Snap Inc. to launch a mobile video measurement initiative. Mediabrands and Snap aim to provide clients with rich insights on how Saudi Arabian communities consume and interact with mobile video.
Why the joint collaboration?
Together, the companies will combine the expertise of their marketing science experts to provide original research and analysis on the scale of mobile video usage. A study will be conducted to examine how Saudi Arabian brands use mobile video to engage audiences. Increasingly, communities in Saudi Arabia rely on mobile video as a primary source of information and entertainment. As a result of the initiative, video advertising across platforms will also be evaluated for effectiveness and impact on growth.
Snap and Mediabrands put the learnings into practice by helping brands identify opportunities to enhance performance. Based on their insights, they will create more engaging and effective campaign assets that thrive in a mobile-first environment.
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That’s What They Said
Shadi Kandil, CEO of MCN Mediabrands expressed pride in the longstanding relationship with Snap in MENA. He commented,
“Our collaboration has always focused on building critical knowledge in the areas of mobile video and communication to the benefit of our clients. We see this collaboration as a strategic step in this direction, and one that will help our clients win in their respective industries”.
Amer Chehab, Head of Agency Development MENA at Snap Inc., commented
“There’s a rich legacy of storytelling in Saudi Arabia and we already see that visual, camera-led, vertical communication on mobile really resonates with local audiences.”
Furthermore, Chehab explained that advertisers – whether they are multinationals or Saudi-owned brands – enjoy access to tools that help them gauge, rank, and optimize their campaigns. Nonetheless, they are often asked to provide detailed insights. He also added –
“We are often asked for deeper insights, seeking to understand the complexity and depth of mobile video, which is what we are going to provide through this exciting collaboration with Mediabrands.”
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