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Pulling teeth: the unenviable task of getting basic information out of an inhouse PR department

Getting basic information from an in-house PR agency in Dubai can prove a Herculean task. We challenged 10 of them to provide Kipp with some tricky, but not impossible, bits of company information.


June 30, 2008 10:16 by

Despite a notional opening up of the UAE economy, despite Dubai business aspiring to international standards of competency, it can sometimes be a soul destroying task trying to extract the simplest of information from local businesses. Kipp wanted to see just how difficult.

The test was very simple: call the head office number listed on the company’s website, then ask to be put through to someone who would deal with press enquires. We explained we had a couple of questions, and that we couldn’t find the information on the company website or in previous articles published online

We started calling on the Sunday, and made clear we had a deadline of Thursday. We would fax or email the questions if required, and call back to chase up a response. It wasn’t a competition, but we’ve rated the responses just to give an idea of good and bad. Here’s how it played out


Q: A pack of Marlboro Lights costs Dh20 at Jumeirah Beach Hotel and a Dh25 phone card costs Dh28 at Bab al Shams. How come?

Surprisingly, we got the answer by the end of the day. The PR department explained that the hotel does not sell cigarettes, but vendors in the hotel’s retail space do. The pricing is their business, not Jumeirah’s. As for the phone card, here’s the statement from Marcel Hendriks, general manager of Jumeirah Retail (which reached our mailbox by the end of the day

“Due to the service charge and additional costs added on top of the Dh25 price, Jumeirah Retail had to increase the retail price of phone cards in order not to lose on the revenue. Our customers’ satisfaction is paramount for us, however the increase in the price was unavoidable.”

(5 stars)

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