It turned out that we Arabs being fascinated by foreigners (especially Europeans & Americans) and Arabs who either worked or studied there is not happening in Jordan only, I was reading an article in Campaign ME about clients in Gulf who turned their backs to local agencies and decided to work their major projects with agencies overseas.

Etisalat, the UAE’s telecom operator granted their re-branding process to a British company based in London called Rareform (which already handled the re-branding of Saudi Mobily). While Emirate’s new telecom operator DU recruited another London based firm called Turquoise to develop its brand identity. I guess Jordan Telecom hired a French agency to do their re-branding couple of years ago; they are re-branding again but this time with Team Y&R – Amman.

And it’s not only about branding and identity, Etihad Airways which is based in Abu Dhabi needed the services of a London based firm called Carlson Marketing to create its online presence. Moreover, a German firm; Plenum, Stoll & Fischbach was assigned to lead a multi-billion dollar project for Dubai Roads & Transport Authority which is Dubai Metro railway project.

And it’s not only about branding, identity, online presence or project management, reading more in the news, the UAE Chapter of the International Advertising Association (IAA) needed a respected partner such as the Cannes Lions to gain credibility for their annual advertising awards as many agencies accused the IAA of being injustice and bad organizer for such an event, the IAA totally denied that saying that agencies who didn’t win will never be satisfied.

Local firms don’t believe in local expertise for strategic project, but on the other hand the daily work is being assigned to local agencies; Etisalat’s day-to-day work is handled by Promoseven – Dubai, while DU’s daily work is being handled by Leo Burnett – Dubai; so in other words local expertise are good for simple jobs only.

This outsourcing phenomena might be resulted by the weak belief in local expertise or the lack of agencies, but certainly not the lack of talents. Many agencies in the Middle East have been awarded by international advertising festivals. Lots of brands have been created by local expertise, creative campaigns are being rolled-out more and more and the results were amazing.

Speaking about Jordan, I saw many creative campaigns totally created by Jordanian agencies such as Team Y&R, Publicis-Gaphics, Intermarkets, Wunderman, Adpro and many more. There are many examples of local clients who believed in local expertise, who I believe are more qualified to build our brands rather than someone living overseas.

And what applies on Marketing Communications & Advertising applies on all sorts on life, don’t you think?

MidEast advertising | Lost Identity of Arabia

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About The Author
- Digital Media Superhero, Online Marketing Pro, Mad-Men Fellow, Tech Junkie, Advertising Whiz, Chief-Blogging-Officer, Bilingual Copywriter, Amateur Photographer

4 Comments

  • MommaBean

    It seems like everywhere in the world you see this. In the US, rather than out of country, we see trends to go use “big city” agencies from New York or Chicago. It’s is often only the government that requires or favors local vendors. Unfortunately, here even that doesn’t always seem to be the case. Perhaps there shoudl be more focus from the government in making sure that at least part of the revenue stays at home.

  • Samer Marzouq

    Ah forget about the government here, its no good at all. But even in the private sector they prefer foreigners or at least locals who studies or worked abroad it is going no where :(

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