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The kingdom and the crisis
Saudi Arabia’s advertising executives say they’ve changed the way they do business because of the economic crisis, and that the days of “babying” are over, reports Communicate.
November 12, 2009 3:58 by Rania Habib
“We are in a crisis that is affecting everything we have believed in for the past 25 years, especially in [Saudi Arabia]. Every day we have a surprise, clients cutting budgets, changing the course of the way they work; to tell you the truth, there’s been nothing positive for the past eight or nine months.”
Aboud Shami, CEO of Impact BBDO in Jeddah, hardly minces his words about a crisis he says has changed consumers, clients and agencies alike, and will determine the winners from the losers. “No one expected the consumer to change so drastically,” he explains.
“The mantra is reduce reduce reduce, reuse, recycle, anything to save money. Who said Saudis have money to spend? We went through a different crisis here; they were little battles that got us here, starting with the capital market crisis that started a couple of years ago, immediately followed by a worldwide crisis. So there is a different profile of a consumer reaction to communication, how he analyses it in his psyche, and what drives him to do or not do. ”
Shami adds that since consumers and clients have changed, agencies have had to follow through and become stronger partners to their clients. “I can’t tell you how difficult it is for agencies who have been working in a certain style for 30 years, who now have to change fairly quickly to adapt quickly to the crisis,” he says.
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