If You Want to Communicate in the Middle East, Think Young and Mobile

By February 08, 2012
Mains de jeunes

To reach people living in the Middle East, who are of diverse origins and many of them very young, it’s a good idea to create mobile communication campaigns using a common and quite simple language.


The Middle Eastout in front in interactive communication? This might well be how Publicis sees things. This French-based leader in digital and interactive communication has just bought Flip Media, a network of digital media agencies in the region, with a view to complementing the group’s worldwide digital presence. This sort of expansion obviously calls for a good understanding of local habits and ways of doing things, and buying a local player is one way to make that easier to achieve. One of the most significant features of this market is the age of the consumer there. "In some countries up to 40% of the population are under 16 years old ," points out Youssef Tuqan, Chairman and CEO of Flip Media.

Multicultural population

This means communication here has to concentrate, perhaps to a greater degree than in some other markets, on Mobile and innovation. "These young people are early adopters for whom the smartphone, which they see as something very private and free of control, is an essential tool," he adds. Communicating in the Middle East doesn’t just mean adapting to the habits of local youngsters. This part of the world is made up of countries where people speak different versions of Arabic. This multilingual aspect is accentuated by the prevalence of population groups of different nationalities, each with its own culture and standards. As far as Youssef Tugan is concerned, "communicating in France is about addressing people who as a general rule have quite similar cultural references." In the Middle East on the other hand, "you have to advertise in a way that everyone understands, you have to keep things simple."

Recruiting specific skills

This is why, according to Youssef Turgan, 90% of what Flip Media produces is in English or Arabic. Just a detail? Not really, because it means the group is more demanding of its staff. "We need to hire very good copywriters," he underlines. As a result of becoming part of the Publicis agency network, Flip Media intends to grow its business further. "In the short term, we want to expand more in our own region," he explains, adding:"but it’s clear that it’s a real opportunity for us to amplify what our clients do in the digital media space".

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