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Why are advertising execs calling out research claims now?

Why are advertising execs calling out research claims now?

Media companies, ad agencies, advertisers and media monitors in the Middle East have always somehow agreed to dance to their own tune. So why change the music now?

January 9, 2012 4:38 by

In a kind of ‘get your act together’ kind of statement, bigwigs in the advertising world have spoken out about claims two research companies have made that the Middle East’s advertising industry grew last year.

Ipsos MediaCT claimed the ad industry grew by 9.5 percent while Pan Arab Research Centre (PARC) reported a more conservative 4 percent.

If you thought there is much to be lamented about these single-digit reports, the ad execs are up in arms saying things are actually much worse than what the research firms purport.

Memac Ogilvy chief executive Eddie Moutran estimates a drop of of “between 10 and 17 percent” in the industry last year while Omnicom Media Group MENA chief executive Elie Khouri sees the figure at “no less than 10 percent.”

So is it 17 percent or 10 percent? Hmm…‘tis a funny thing, calling out discrepancies in numbers, isn’t it?

Having worked in the media industry in the region for far too many years than I’d like to admit—clue: I remember the time when there was still much optimism about PeopleMeters in the region—it’s not a surprise that transparency in sales figures remains a sensitive matter.

So I can appreciate that left only with just the rate cards to base these research figures on, reports from the likes of Ipsos and PARC when it comes to adspend, the final results may just be alluding to the ‘ideal’ scenario of the current advertising landscape.

Without lack of even the most basic form of transparency in media and advertising contracts between the media companies, ad agencies and brand owners, it doesn’t seem right to expect anything other than the ‘rate card’ figures from what could be deemed ‘independent monitors’.

If there’s anything that can’t be disputed it’s that there are a lot of factors to consider in whether or not it’s the right time to spend of advertisers. To say that the Middle East advertising landscape is volatile is an understatement, for sure. But this should really only push brand owners to look for different ways to communicate with audience—keyword here is ‘different’. This could possibly mean those with the purse are still looking to spend they just want other ways of spending it.

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