The times, they are a changin…

We live in interesting and contrasting times. The world is getting frenetically digital while concurrently we witness the biggest ever boycott in history: with over 600 million devices having ad blocking on them. Fake news, brand safety, sub optimal quality of advertising and the resultant trust deficit have a role to play in this.
Some staggering stats here: Globally the advertising industry stands at around 600 Billion US$. The M East region last year contributed a miniscule US$ 3.3 Billion of that while also witnessing a 4.8% decline in size. 40% of these were contributed by Digital and the figure is expected to touch 50% by 2021. With over 60% of the population in the region under 24, the skew is not surprising.
The unabashed march of the duopoly(read Google & Facebook) with almost a 70% market share has been somewhat thwarted by the emergence of Amazon as a serious contender for advertising revenues(being the platform rich with shoppers’ behavioural data for targeting and providing access to purchase data in real-time).
The elephants in the room still remain in the form of Radio, TV and to an extent Print. And the digital giants like Amazon, Google, Facebook etc have been using traditional media for their advertising to pretty good effect. The shoe is on the other foot, isn’t it? You scratch my back, while I scratch yours!
Brands have taken to ‘ in housing ‘ seriously though I don’t see that trend continue for much longer and one will witness brands going back to specialised creative and digital agencies to do what they know best.
Mobile Internet Advertising will emerge as a really potent force especially in a market like the UAE where the smartphone penetration is almost 100%.
Voice search is begining to get heard in the region Siriously(pardon the pun) and marketers have to gear up for that opportunity.
There is a distinct migration by consumers from being ownership oriented to experience driven resulting in a greater degree of personalisation in marketing and newer business models like subscription coming on stream across unheard of verticals including Furniture, Automobiles, Fashion etc.
Cord Cutting is increasingly in vogue and SVOD(Subscription Video on Demand) revenues in the region will continue to soar led by the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime and other players like Icflix, Starz Play etc. SVOD revenues across all of MENA are tipped to more than triple between 2018 and 2024 to reach US$2.13 billion.
Data is certainly the new oil while privacy will remain the biggest Achilles heel. Photos will become more important than reality as the arms race for Social Capital and Self Branding heats up.
Digital Minimalism and Conspicuous Isolation will come to the fore as a detox mechanism from the frenzied, ever and over connected world we live in.
Yes, the times they are a changing….
This article first appeared in Khaleej Times, Dubai on July 31, 2019

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About Author

Suresh Dinakaran

Suresh Dinakaran is the Chief Storyteller at ISD Global, a brand strategy & creative ideations entity based out of Dubai and Managing Editor, BrandKnew. With over two decades of insights, expertise and experience in building and growing brands across multiple geographies and media platforms. Passionate about innovation, disruptive ideations, creative leadership and imaging the future apart from writing, movies, music and sports. He can be reached on

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