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UK and United Arab Emirates (UAE) advertising share the common view that together we can achieve amazing things.

JULY 11, 2023

The advertising industry thrives on collaboration, innovation, and global perspectives. In today’s interconnected world, cross-border partnerships and dialogues are crucial for fostering creativity, sharing best practices, and expanding market reach. One such significant exchange took place recently, at Cannes Lions 2023 with the UK  as the United Kingdom (UK) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) advertising sectors came together in a roundtable discussion hosted by the UK Advertising Export Group (UKAEG) in partnership with The Marketing Society.

Moderated by Reuters’ Content Director, Arif Durrani representatives from both markets were Ramzi Sleiman, MD, Saatchi & Saatchi UAE; Natalie Shardan, MD, Serviceplan MENA; Mike Fairburn, GM, Saudi Retail Media Group (former GM of Sony Music); Vikram Krishna, Co-founder of Sacred Groves (former CMO of Emirates NBD); Nouf, Marketing Director, Abu Dhabi Department Culture Tourism; Mitin Chakraborty, Head of Marketing, Babyshop; Jason Foo, CEO, BBD Perfect Storm & Marketing Society Fiduciary Board Member; Mark Wilson, Executive Producer, Chrome Productions; Jes Men, Business Development Manager, PingPong Digital; Tom Grogan, Chief Executive Officer, MDRx; Jeremy Read, Group Business Director, BrandFuel; Preya Shah, Digital Commercial Director, EMEA & APAC, Reuters  and Anne Batz, Founder, Talent Republic.  

The roundtable discussion between advertising professionals from the UK and the UAE shed light on the challenges and opportunities for both markets. Moderator Arif Durrani, Reuters’ Content Director, commented that “the session covered both how to expand and how to work better in the UAE. It is clear from the discussion that the heritage, talent and creativity of the UK’s creative economy, has influenced the region’s outlook on the market.”

The session encompassed a diverse range of topics including;

Nurturing Creativity and Innovation:
Advertising thrives on creativity and innovation, and the roundtable was an ideal platform for UK and UAE advertisers to explore new avenues for inspiration. By bringing together diverse minds from different backgrounds, the discussion sparked fresh ideas and creative approaches. Sharing success stories, case studies, and strategies proved mutually beneficial, stimulating innovation in both sectors. As a result, attendees gained new perspectives on storytelling, design, technology, and consumer engagement. The bravery of clients in the UAE market was discussed with Jeremy Read , BrandFuel noting that he was impressed by “how creativity is valued and how many brands in the region are willing to be brave.”

Promoting Cultural Exchange:
The UK and the UAE boast rich cultural landscapes, and advertising plays a pivotal role in shaping and reflecting these cultures. The roundtable provided an invaluable opportunity for professionals from both countries to exchange insights and perspectives, ultimately leading to a deeper understanding of their respective markets. Ramzi Sleiman, MD, Saatchi & Saatchi stated his takeaway from the session is all about “creativity, collaboration & growth between both markets.  The group agreed that there was a need for more awareness of the UAE sector and the global growth opportunities that can be found in market. “The UK advertising has the energy and desire to do great things in the Middle East” said Jason Foo, BBD Perfect Storm.  

Exploring Market Expansion:
The UK and the UAE are significant advertising hubs, each offering unique opportunities for market expansion. The roundtable discussion facilitated networking and collaboration, allowing industry professionals to explore potential partnerships and business ventures. By leveraging the collective expertise and insights of the participants, attendees discovered avenues for growth in both countries. Tom Grogan, MDRx said it was “important to see how the UAE region had matured post-pandemic” and all present agreed that they share the same challenges which allows for similar opportunities going forward. Mark Wilson, Chrome Productions noted “there is so much ambition and opportunity in the middle east for UK Advertising.”

The roundtable between the UK and UAE advertising sectors was not a one-time event but a stepping stone towards building long-lasting partnerships. The exchange of ideas and knowledge fostered the development of ongoing relationships and collaborations. Professionals from both countries established valuable connections, laying the groundwork for future joint ventures, and continued dialogue. As the advertising industry continues to evolve, such collaborative endeavors will undoubtedly play a vital role in shaping the future of the creative economy.

To find out more about UKAEG can support your UK business contact Aisling Conlon, International Trade Director, Advertising Association

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