Special Report articles

A revolution’s commercial openings

Following the global economic crisis, the Arab uprisings of last year have been felt like a body-shot combination in the solar plexus for the advertising industry in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Though winded by the beating, the industry is still on its feet, and is exploring new opportunities the turmoil has created

The mechanics of creativity

A starving artist is a good artist. That romantic but ludicrous notion has been retired in the last century, but the view that harsh times bring more creativity in business may still ring true. The Middle East advertising industry, which has experienced a range of economic challenges since 2008, has started 2012 on quite humble

Complementary or contradictory

Public relations and advertising seem to have similar aims. As a result, there is a perception in the market that they compete with or replace one another — that one is better than the other or, worse, that they are somehow the same — that PR is advertising in sheep’s clothing or a cheap form

The rewards of risk

Rizkgroup, a Beirut-based communications and advertising holding, has played a high stakes game in recent years that few other firms have dared follow. Since 2007, the Rizkgroup has expanded in four markets: First, they opened in Damascus; then they plotted a course to Sanaa in 2008, and from there leapt into Khartoum the next year.

A direct line to the big time

Digital has dominated the discussion in the world’s advertising industry recently, but in the Middle East, the economic adoption of cyber marketing has occured haltingly: spending on electronic advertising in 2011 still thrashed about in low percentages of marketing budgets.  However, this did not void the region entirely of success stories in the digital marketing

Lebanon and outsiders: Time for some benign disassociation

Lebanon is presented with the most serious challenges it has faced in the past decade. The economy is struggling, the internal security situation is deteriorating and the country’s neighbors pose real threats. In these circumstances the very fact that the country continues to operate can be seen as a success. And amidst everything, there are opportunities — not just

A clear and present solution

Tensions between Iran and the world powers should prompt reconsideration of Iran’s 2003 letter to the United States proposing a ‘grand bargain’.  Drafted by Sadegh Kharrazi, then ambassador to France, it had been discussed by a small group including Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the rahbar (‘leader’). Iran offered intrusive inspection of its nuclear facilities, recognition of

Mapping a tinderbox of possibilities

Attempting to predict whether a war between Iran, Israel and the West will occur is an exercise in speculation akin to asserting that the uprisings in the Arab world will lead to real freedom and democracy in the Middle East — obviously no one has either answer yet; Executive does not pretend to either, not

No shelter from the storm

An attack on Iran that blocks the Strait of Hormuz would clearly have an impact on the Gulf economies. But when it comes to the possibility of a Gulf conflict, companies are extremely reluctant to talk about whether they have contingencies in place.  American technology firm Emerson, which works with the energy industry, replied to

Cashing in on conflict

The oil crisis in 1973 saw oil prices quadruple, equivalent today to a jump from $125 to $500 per barrel at late February prices. If Iran is attacked and oil tanker traffic is disrupted through the Strait of Hormuz, some 17 million barrels per day (bpd) would be taken off line and the markets would

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