Coming soon: ‘live action’ version of Google Earth

September 16, 2009

The beginnings of a new ‘as live’ version of Google Earth is in its formative stages, thanks to efforts being made by a US university.

Academics at Georgia Institute of Technology are in the process of augmenting the mapping service with dynamic information, which will show realistic ‘live’ action to users zooming into areas such as sports stadiums, shopping streets, theme parks and motorways.

The technology could present a host of new marketing opportunities to brands and businesses looking to promote their services in life-like online scenarios.

The university has posted a YouTube video highlighting their progress so far.


Lineveldt joins Saatchi as regional creative director

September 15, 2009

Marc Lineveldt, formerly executive creative director at FP7 Dubai, has joined Saatchi & Saatchi Dubai as regional creative director. lineveldt

The post was previously occupied by Ed Jones, who departed the agency earlier this year following a shake-up of operations in the MENA region.

The agency has actioned several hirings of top tier management in a bid to improve its product.

Prior to his 3-year stint at FP7, South African-born Lineveldt was creative director at Team Y&R. His accolades include trophies at Cannes, D&AD, Clio, One Show,Dubai Lynx and Mena Cristal.

Lineveldt will also continue to serve as chairman of the Creative Club in Dubai, a group established to give a united voice to the region’s creatives and raise creative standards.

Is BBC Worldwide about to be put up for sale?

September 14, 2009

BBC Worldwide could be about to part privatise, according to the BBC’s director general Mark Thompson.

In an interview with the UK’s Guardian newspaper, Thompson said the BBC would review “whether 100% ownership of Worldwide is essential going forward”.

According to reports, options being mooted include a stockmarket flotation or selling a stake to a rival broadcaster or international partner.

BBC Worldwide is the commercial subsidiary of the BBC and last year made profits of AED 625 million from licensing programmes and formats such as Top Gear, Blue Planet and Dancing with the Stars.

It describes itself as a ‘global showcase for the best of British creative talent including actors, journalists, presenters, writers, directors, musicians, designers and technicians.’

Memac Ogilvy cuts its business cards down to size

September 10, 2009

Recessionary down-sizing is a phenomenon the whole region’s agencies Ogilvy business cardshave had to face. But Memac Ogilvy Dubai have taken their reductionist efforts above and beyond the call of duty.

A new range of business cards designed in-house at the agency, have turned the downturn into a positive by becoming a physical example of the agency’s recession-managing know how.

The significantly under-sized cards use 78 per cent less paper than previously and have been sent to current and potential clients to highlight the agency’s drive to cut costs without compromising on output.

The cards are also direct users to a website which gives business managing strategies in a tough economic climate.

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.

Consolidation of Dubai’s media begins

September 8, 2009

The consolidation of Dubai’s media assets appears to have begun, with ownership of Al Bayan newspaper switching from the Arab Media Group to Dubai Media Inc (DMI).

Najla Al Awadhi (pictured), deputy CEO of DMI, said in an interview with Campaign in June: “I would think in the next couple of months you will see some interesting changes in the media landscape of Dubai. There definitely is going to be a drive to consolidate media assets, with synergies between the Dubai media assets, us being one of them, amongst many other assets which are media related.”
najla 059
The switch of ownership of Al Bayan, including assets, properties, commitments and rights, is the result of a directive from Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai.

According to the announcement, all employees of Al Bayan will be transferred from the Arab Media Group to DMI in order to offer the best service for readers. Further consolidation is on the cards.

Remind us: whose Metro is this again…?

September 7, 2009

The Dubai Metro’s decision to open only to VIPs on its much-vaunted launch date of 09/09/09 makes a mockery of the high-profile campaign proclaiming it ‘My City. My Metro’.

The line presumably sets out to establish the new public transport system as a user-friendly means to access Dubai, putting the consumer in the driving seat, albeit metaphorically.

You would think then, given the strategy, all efforts would have been made to make the Metro appear as consumer-friendly as possible – and that’s to the likely regular paying commuters, not the high profile one-day-only crowd.

That the general public have been excluded on its landmark first day compounds the image its garnered in the pre-launch period as something that’s anything but in ‘My’ control.

Puzzlement still surrounds the decision to open only ten seemingly arbitrarily selected stations; the means of access to and from those stations is still mystifying; and in a recent phone call, the RTA was unable to answer Campaign’s query whether parking at the stations themselves would be free.

Shouldn’t the Metro at least try to kick things off by staying true to the ‘democratic’ premise sold to it by its agency? Until it does, the only message it seems to be sending is that it’s very much ‘Their City. Their Metro’.