New technologies spur advertising in Saudi Arabia
By M. Nasir Jawed 05 Feb 2012
JEDDAH - Saudi Arabia's advertising market represents 45 percent of the Gulf region's SR8.4 billion market, the recently held "Saudi Advertising Market Symposium 2012: Expectations and Challenges," in Jeddah revealed. The symposium was organized by Okaz Organization for Press and Publication under the patronage of the Ministry of Culture and Information.
Sami Rofool, a keynote speaker, said: "The Kingdom ranks second in the Arab world in terms of the volume of its advertising market, which he expects to rank 43rd in the global advertising market, with a total volume of over $2 billion."
According to a report, the entire corporate world is focused on Saudi Arabia, which comprises 70 percent of the Gulf economy.
With a population of around 24 million and being at the heart of an expansive regional market that includes the GCC, the wider Arab world, and the Indian subcontinent, Saudi Arabia poses both a challenge and opportunity for global capitalists.
Bakhtiar Khan claimed that 38 percent of the total woman fashion brands in the region is consumed by Saudi Arabia alone.
The Kingdom is a highly attractive market for the multinational advertising agencies and forms the bigger part of the Middle East advertising expenditure, which invested $1.7 billion in 2002.
A G Danish, managing director, Drive Direct, a Dentsu Network agency, said "it is a case study for students and marketers across the globe that a country, which is portrayed as having tough laws for advertising etc., has given a new meaning to advertising work within socially accepted norms."
All the elements of marketing - advertising, promotion and public relations seem to be booming in the Kingdom.
The Saudi retail industry, for instance, is one of the largest and most dynamic in the region. In 2008, total retailing sales hit a high of SR90 billion, surpassing the SR60 billion forecast.
Projection for 2012 stands now at SR130 billion.
Panda, Al Othaim Commercial Group, Axiom Telecom, Fawaz Al Hokair Group, Al Sawani Group, M H Alshaya, and Al Bandar Trading are more talked about companies today.
The PR business has recorded a 500 percent growth rate in five years between 2000 and 2005, said Khan.
Advertising too gained in popularity and importance. Saudi companies now use all the advertising methods available to them, including TV, newspapers, trade magazines, billboards and trade promotion events, of which newspapers grab the biggest chunk with 64 percent of advertising share.
Out-of-home (OOH) advertising is new to Saudi Arabian marketing, but is visible at every nook and corner of the main cities.
In fact "the outlook of advertisement and marketing in the Kingdom shows a positive trend with a shift toward accountable media," Danish said.
Gone are the days when placing an advertisement in a newspaper meant marketing. Today agencies will have to adapt to newer technologies. Internet is the media of the future even if it is not going to "kill newspapers as the main news medium," said Abdul Rahman Al-Hazaa, undersecretary for Information in the Ministry of Culture and Information, who was present at the Okaz symposium.