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Isn’t charity supposed to start at home? Or isn’t it just business?

Have been reading a lot of ink and pixels in the last couple of weeks regarding the new campaign of Qatar Airways, the land of FC Barcelona.


I personally don’t mind the ad. I can’t really see the link to Qatar Airways pathetic customer service but I digress. I also think Amsterdam 180 is one of the top agencies on this planet. So I guess I am not really on the side of the pundits who complain about another regional account going to a non-regional agency.

They say the work would have been better here. Where from? Which agency in this region can claim to do better work than 180? Don’t make me laugh! Most are not even trying. I also agree with Etihad’s selection of M&C Saatchi. They are slowly showing what they are capable of since their absolutely horrid launch copy.


I never quite understood Emirates appointment of Strawberry Frog but the work is mostly good considering they have to contend with, well, Emirates!

I thought for a second that maybe it’s because local agencies know better than to work with these clients, but I think I am giving them too much credit. We know how it goes here. Money does talk, loud.

But I digress again. What baffles me is that people are blaming a regional advertiser for not developing his advertising with a regional agency. What they completely forget are the vast sums invested in sports and other sponsorships. Where do you see Emirates, Etihad and Qatar these days?  Manchester City’s Premier League and FA Cup successes all look good on Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan since Abu Dhabi bought the club in 2008. Emirates Airlines is sponsoring Paris St-Germain, AC Milan and Arsenal. Qatar Airways of course partners with FC Barcelona.


Take a look at the sponsors of the Arabian Gulf League (a.k.a the UAE Super League, Etisalat Pro-League) where are these giant sponsors?Don’t bother checking. They are nowhere to be seen. Reuters rightly pointed it out this Summer in UAE League struggles despite riches splashed abroad. Of course we have Arabian Gulf Development, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Audi (Al Naboodah), Nike, and WaslProperties. As for the Qatar Star League, we have Qatar National Bank, Toyota, Alkass, Qatar Charity and Dana. Not really the same league, excuse the pun.

Surely it would take a fraction of the billions of dollars our local giants spend abroad to make a difference locally. A real difference.

Isn’t charity supposed to start at home? Or isn’t it just business. When it comes to sponsorship, of course it’s mostly the latter. It’s seldom about support, but mostly about ROI.

Why wouldn’t it be the same when selecting an ad agency. Do you want ROI or sponsor your Habibi? So from where I stand for it makes me laugh. Either as an agency you stand for principles and try to reach the level of said 180 Amsterdam or M&C Saatchi. I think this is not an unattainable target if we put our heart into it.  Or you decide to play the money game. In this case stop complaining when the ROI doesn’t go your way. You really should know better.

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