Eurosport Arabia to launch online in partnership with du

November 1, 2009

Pan-European sports and entertainment group Eurosport is to launch Eurosport Arabia in a tie-up with UAE telecommunications provider du.

eurosportThe partnership with du’s Media Lab will develop Eurosport’s digital information services for the Middle East and North Africa, giving the region’s sports fans access to its sports news and data in Arabic for the first time.

Laurent-Eric Le Lay , chairman & CEO, Eurosport Group, said: “We are delighted to have signed this agreement with du. This partnership enables us to extend our Eurosport brand and bring our unique sports offer to this dynamic region where sports are key to development. We already have a significant online audience in the region and we believe it’s time to leverage this momentum.”

This year sees Eurosport celebrate 20 years as an international sports data provider, with its exisiting network of websites already produced in nine languages across Europe and China.

Osman Sultan, CEO of du, said: ” It is only natural for du to partner with a leading sports entertainment and information group to develop the next generation of information and sports entertainment for the Arab world.”


Coke to appoint ‘happiness ambassadors’ for social media mash-up

October 22, 2009

Coca-Cola has launched a new ‘social media mash-up’ campaign, that will see the brand appoint three ‘happiness ambassadors’ to travel the world and spread their happiness and enthusiasm wherever they go.

cokeAccording to Coke, the chosen group will meet ‘everyday people’ on their 150,000 mile journey and will share their experiences on Flickr, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as they go. Their mission is to ‘share their happiness and enthusiasm with the rest of the world’.

Nine people have been shortlisted to fill the positions and Coke is asking the public to vote on who they think is most suited to the job. The project, dubbed Expedition206, is part of the wider Open Happiness campaign.

During the year-long initiative, the chosen group will visit 206 countries, representing Coke’s various markets. According to the current proposed route, they’ll hit the region around July/August 2010, at the height of summer temperatures.

Coke hopes that people across the world will act as local travel guides, suggesting places for the group to go and helping them find the secret of happiness.

The group leaves Madrid on 1 January 2010 and culminates in the US on 31 December 2010 after visiting all corners of the globe.


Etisalat blocks access to Bill Gates-owned Corbis

October 11, 2009

Etisalat has blocked access to the Corbis website in the UAE, one of the world’s largest picture libraries.

The resource of stock film and photography footage comprising more than a 100 million images, is privately owned by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and is a vital art-buying tool for the region’s ad agencies and publishing industry.

Etisalat blockedIt is not known why Corbis has suddenly fallen foul of Etisalat’s censorship guidelines, having been freely available without restriction for several years, though sources say the  company is currently in talks with the telco giant to get its site unblocked.

The latest incident adds to an upsurge in criticism of Etisalat’s policies.

In July the company rendered the UAE’s Blackberry devices inoperable for several days after sending them a battery sapping ‘performance enhancement patch’.

The patch was revealed to be spyware potentially allowing Etisalat access to texts and emails sent by customers.


News Corp moves to ‘second phase’ in paid-for online content

September 29, 2009

News Corporation is reassured by research it has undertaken into the willingness of readers to pay for content online, and has moved to the ‘second phase’ of its switch away from free content.

Australian newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald, which is owned by a News Corp rival, reports that a memo has gone out to staff at the News Digital Media division saying that in Sydney “we are about to move into the second phase of the project”. It was sent by Richard Freudenstein, who was chief operating officer at BSkyB in the UK until 2006 and now runs NDM.

It comes just days after research conducted by Harris Interactive for Paid Content UK found that three quarters of online news readers would switch to an alternative free source if their favourite news site began charging for access and that only 5% said they would pay to continue reading their preferred source.

In the memo, Freudenstein says that the company is reassured by its own research. It said: “News [Corp] has conducted some audience research here in Australia and in the UK and US, which gives us confidence that, if we get the product and delivery system right, people will happily pay for news content online, on their computer, mobile, e-reader or other device.”

News Corp chairman and chief executive Rupert Murdoch has been at the forefront of the charge to make delivering news online a profitable business, as advertising-led models fail to deliver enough revenue.

News Corp plans to introduce charges for its properties across the globe. It owns newspapers such as The Sun and the News of the World in the UK; the Wall Street Journal and New York Post in the US, and The Australian and the Courier Mail in Australia.


Adwomen ME to hold ‘Behind the Brand’ conference

September 24, 2009

Adwomen Middle East, the first ever women’s marketing and advertising platform in the region, is holding its first conference under the banner ‘Behind the Brand.’    btb-logo

The conference by the not-for-profit organisation, aims to create dialogue around the importance of driving and growing brands in the region, as well as providing quality networking opportunities for women brand builders and stakeholders from advertising & marketing.

The event will be held on October 7  at the American University in Dubai and will see a host of speakers explore regional brand building from the ground up, discussing opportunities and risks, to expectations and the future for homegrown brands.

Attendance to the event is by invitation only. Those wishing to request an invite  can do so at the AdWomen Middle East website.


Dubai Metro makes it to number 1 in Twitter’s ‘trending topics’

September 9, 2009

The Dubai Metro has made it to the number 1 spot in Twitter’s ‘trending topics’, which indicates the subjects most discussed globally on the micro-blogging service on a particular day.

dubai-metro-1Thanks to a concerted effort by Twitter users in the region, the new Metro system, which launches today, has managed to overtake Jay-Z and The Beatles in terms of popularity.

The Middle East’s Twitterers used the hashtag #dubaimetro repeatedly within the 140 character message limit allowed by the service, with each use of the tag counting towards the Metro’s popularity rating.

An attempt is currently underway to keep Dubai Metro at the top of the popularity rankings as the USA begins its working day and goes online.


Cadbury joins push towards user-generated content

September 1, 2009

British confectionary firm Cadbury has joined the march towards user-generated content in their latest ad campaign, which launches a new chocolate bar called WispaGold.

Chocolate fans will be able to create messages which could have a chance of being displayed on a billboard in a location of their choice in the UK and Ireland. The work was created for Cadbury by Fallon, who also produced the multi-award winning ‘Gorilla’ spot on their behalf.

An email has already been sent out to the public permitting them a preview of the site wispagoldmessages.com.

Logged messages will be considered for inclusion once the site goes live on 7th September, to coincide with the availability of the chocolate bar in stores.


OMD win $1.3 billion Vodafone account

August 30, 2009

Vodafone, the UK-based telecommunications giant, has appointed OMD to handle its iternational media planning and buying account, worth around images$1.3 billion.

The deal covers all global markets where Vodafone is a wholly-owned business and includes Egypt and Qatar regionally.

Vodafone is the largest mobile telecommunications network company in the world by turnover, with its current market value estimated at $122 billion.

It has operations in 25 countries and partner networks in a further 42 countries.


Gap scraps TV in favour of social media

August 17, 2009

Gap, the fashion retailer famed for its TV ads, is scrapping them in favour of social media for a campaign to promote its new line of denim wear.

GAP adThe high-street chain, which made its name by featuring stars including Audrey Hepburn, Orlando Bloom and Liv Tyler in its TV ads, is shifting its focus to the web for its ‘Born to Fit’ campaign.

Instead of TV advertising, the initiative will see Gap put Facebook at the centre of an online campaign aimed at targeting consumers who are already using the web to talk about fashion.

The ‘Born to Fit’ campaign uses cinema, print and outdoor ads to drive consumers to a branded Facebook page where they can watch a video of Rada Shadick, Gap’s ‘fit engineer’ explaining how the new denim line, dubbed 1969 after the year Gap was founded, has been devised.

Internet users can also upload photos and videos featuring their own ‘born to’ statements before clicking through to gap.com to make a purchase.

The campaign, created by AKQA, features customised banner ads running across a selection of blogs. The banners say what each blog was ‘born to’ do. For example the ads on glam.com say ‘Born to set Trends’ and the ads on popsugar.com say ‘Born to strategise’.

Gap has also devised an iPhone app that allows consumers mix and match outfits and interact with friends on the brand’s Facebook page. In addition, the Stylemixer app targets consumers with special offers when in the vicinity of a Gap store.

Gap has been scaling back its marketing spend recently to focus on new product development after seeing same-store sales slump.


Texts, banners and search ads are least trusted

July 29, 2009

Text messages, web banners and search engine ads are the least trusted forms of advertising in the UAE, according to new research from Nielsen.

According to Nielsen’s survey of consumers, 70 per cent of people in the Emirates have little or no trust in text ads on mobile phones, 65 per cent feel the same about online banners and 61 per cent feel the same about ads attached to search engine results.

Recommendations by personal acquaintances and opinions posted by consumers online are the most trusted forms of advertising globally, according to the latest twice-yearly Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey of over 25,000 internet consumers from 50 countries.

In the UAE, the survey shows 95 per cent of internet consumers trust recommendations from people they know, making word of mouth the most trusted medium. Editorial content came in second place, with 84 per cent of UAE respondents trusting it completely or somewhat, ahead of newspaper ads (78 per cent), brand websites (72 per cent each), brand sponsorships (68 per cent) and consumer opinions posted online (66 per cent). Magazine ads, outdoor media, radio ads, cinema ads and TVCs came next in the UAE list.

Jonathan Carson, president of online, international, for the Nielsen Company, said: “The explosion in consumer generated media over the last couple of years – we are now tracking over 100 million CGM sources – means consumers’ reliance on word of mouth in the decision-making process, either from people they know or online consumers they don’t, has increased significantly.

“However, we see that all forms of advertiser-led advertising, except ads in newspapers, have also experienced increases in levels of trust and it’s possible that the CGM revolution has forced advertisers to use a more realistic form of messaging that is grounded in the experience of consumers rather than the lofty ideals of the advertisers.”

A press statement from Nielsen added: “Regional advertisers will be encouraged by the fact that brand websites and brand sponsorships are quickly catching up to newspaper advertising, the most trusted form of advertiser-led advertising in the UAE. Globally, the UAE is the 16th most favourable towards brand sponsorships (out of 50 countries surveyed), 18th most favourable towards brand websites and 31st for trusting consumer opinions online.”

Tahir Khalil, head of Nielsen Online for MENA, said: “It is clear from the survey that online is a medium on the move and the trust levels in it as a category are building momentum, not only here in the UAE but also globally. It is for this reason Nielsen has rolled out its new Market Intelligence offering, a service based on a precise site-centric measurement technology that provides competitive benchmarking and market-level information on websites for the publishing and advertising industries.”

Is anyone surprised by these results? Let us know what you think…


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