Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Prejudice in the media

(This is an edited post)

It's amazing how we live in a world where people all around the world of different generations, classes, races and cultures can connect with each other at any time of the day anywhere in the world, but still advertisers use (Enforce or create) heavily misconstrued stereotypes to push advertising. It's insane.
It's one thing to reflect what the society around you projects to eachother and it's another to reinforce it. To be fair, I am very guilty of making stereotypical based jokes , though I don't mean to cause offence, doesn't make it ok. Advertisers and their clients have a bigger responsibility to do the same, stop reinforcing negative / misconstrued stereotypes in your advertising and maybe, just maybe, your consumers will trust you more.

I had seen this post on Facebook:
"Urgent!!Cast required for an upcoming tvc:
Main Cast breakdown – 11 (main camera time)
1. Emirati family (all dressed in traditional local custom)
• Father 34-38
• Mother 24-29
• Son 8-10
• Son 6-8
• Daughter 4-6
1. Egyptian family (all dressed in traditional local custom)
• Father 35-40
• Mother 30-35
• Son 8-10"
I was really curious to see what they thought an Emirati, or an Egyptian family should "look" like.
  1. First of all, apparently these two cultures have very traditional backgrounds.
  2. What does a traditional Egyptian family wear-  who decides that? There are tons of variations in clothing depending on which part of Egypt they're from and their education level…etc
  3. Also, they're assuming that Emiratis marry women TEN YEARS YOUNGER THAN THEM.
  4. If you look at the age ranges of the "oldest" son and the "youngest" the mother could be… SHE'D BE 14 YEARS OLD WHEN SHE GAVE BIRTH TO HER FIRST CHILD. And obviously they HAVE to have two boys and one daughter, and have their first born be a son, for the family to be a successful one. BLEH
  5. And Egyptian women and men apparently like to marry within 5 years of their age ranges.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

My all time fav tweeple to follow

Here are a few Tweeps I think everyone should follow, some are from the UAE some aren't .
Most of these tweeple are either interesting, informative or fun... but it's just my opinion. 
Follow them to find out why :) No hard feelings?

Media Tweeps:
Great for Social Media and Media in General.
Chatty Tweeps:
These are the most fun tweeps to chat to for a variety of reasons, you'll have to find out yourself.
Tweeps to watch:
These are great to watch, they're always posting funny /ironic one liners and get you going through the day.
Must read blogs, for media, photography, keeping you up to date or just witty commentaries.

Personally, I suck at #FF , because I'm generally not checking up on Twitter on fridays!
So I guess these are my all time #FF 's

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Nice online activation by Emirates NBD

My Favourite bank hhas changed their website!

They've got some lady running around telling us about their services!

HOW's THAT for mordernity (banking wise) in the Emirates! Yippie!

Friday, April 22, 2011

The effort shows!

Found this half page banner on

What I LOVE about this advert is that, although it has the usual pretty picture and slogan and "low" price, it also has copy that makes you feel like the advertiser actually tried to make an effort to target it to the UAE (or at least Dubai residents) by adding "Designed for Sheikh Zayed Road".

At least they made an effort with the copy.


Friday, April 08, 2011

Cobone gives discount on outdoor advertising

Parapub International have teamed up with to give advertisers the chance to get two months worth of outdoor advertising for 49,500 AED instead of 99,000 AED...

$13,500. for outdoor advertising? for two months? That's great value! Depending on your audience of course... Diyafa has a very special type of audience.
If I was a planner I'd jump at the chance. 


Cobone is just another great example of how residents on the UAE are becoming less and less hesitant to make purchases online. 

Obviously the Cash on Delivery option is incredibly helpful in creating an incentive.

Cobone heavily relies on Social Media and word of mouth to generate traffic to their site, with a bit of ad spend here and there .. and they're doing a very good job at it as well!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The word '' Creative'' has become a Cliche


[kree-ey-tiv-i-tee, kree-uh-]  -noun

1.the state or quality of being creative.
2.the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination: the need for creativity in modern industry; creativity in the performing arts.
3.the process by which one utilizes creative  ability: Extensive reading stimulated his creativity.

The word "Creative" is such a cliche...
and so is the phrase "Think outside the box" . The phrase in itself it SO INSIDE the box that you would't be able to pull it back out if you had a super vacuum creating gun to suck it out.

I just over-heard some twerp talking about such and such an organization (let's call it Blah) being the leader in 'creative' thinking and needing to bring in more 'creative' people to keep up the image of the Blah mission of it being a 'creative' center.

 Seriously? I felt like giving him a good thwack.

The problem with the media industry Arab world (besides Egypt of course) is that more media agencies "strive" to be "creative"  and to be "leaders" in the media industry.

How much more boring, bland , and many more words beginning with  "B" can we get? How much more campaigns are going to get butchered by bad cliches, terrible translations, and badly selected imagery.

The U.A.E has such a large percentage of young people that you would think that the agencies here would always have "new" and "fresh" "insights" and "ideas" to apply to their bloody campaigns.

DON'T blame it on the censorship laws here. It should inspire people to actually think up of something different for once.

I know how difficult it is the come up with a good idea, convince everyone that it's awesome, convince the clients that its awesome, the convince them to spend the bloody money.
But why don't we have more appealing adverts? And why is the word "Creative" so over used?

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Virtual Miscommunication and its effect on relationships

Whether it's next door or across the globe, we have gotten used to being able to keep in touch with people.

Long gone are the days of pony express riders who would deliver the most urgent of messages within 'only' a few days, long gone are the days of snail mail , postcards and hand written love letters. Nowadays when a person says they prefer the 'traditional method' of keeping in touch they mean e-mails and instant messaging and phone calls.

Instant gratification.

But no, we wanted better, faster and easier ways to connect with people. Hence all the new Blogging, microblogging and social media platforms we use these days. Wordpress, Blogspot, My space, Facebook, Twitter, What's app, BlackBerry Messenger.. just to name a few.

Just before we get started, let have a quick look at some of our new/redefined terms:

  • Relationships:
    The interaction between two people through
    a connection, association, or involvement.
  • Virtual Grudge:
    A feeling of ill will or resentment as a result of harboured because of a real (or fancied) wrong, in the virtual world that is sometimes carried into the physical world.
  • Virtual Credit:
    To name or list one by one in order to determine a total number of times contact has been made and in turn deduce the number of times contact is owed.
  • Virtual Tone:
    The understood manner of speaking by the recepient of the sender.
    (Example described later in this blog post)

I was talking to a friend of mine over the phone the other day and he was arguing the point that virtual communication is one of the driving factors of most relationship problems.

He spoke about the 'good old days' when msn messenger and AOL were the latest online chat room craze. 

He said that ' You would find yourself chatting to your friends on MSN and all of a sudden you'd be involved in a competiton of who has the cleverest comebacks and the people you would talk to everyday would suddenly try to be the ones with all the smart-alec jokes...'

An example he used was: 
"If you had a girlfriend who always had a picture of the two of you up and you guys broke up she'd change the picture to a dog (for example)

You're then supposed to try to figure out if she was comparing your relationship to her to a dog? 

or if she's trying to prove that she doesn't care about the fact that you two have broken up and has just put up a quick picture.
.... then if YOU change the display picture to one of a dog (or any other animal) and try to play at the same game all of a sudden YOU look sad and pathetic"

He also spoke about the "Virtual Grudge" people would get if they felt offended as a result of a miscommunication in the virtual world. He also spoke about "Virtual Credit", where people would keep in mind the number of times each person has contacted them , or the number of times they had contacted another person.

His example of these two terms was of a person(F1) who contacts their friend (F2) via BBM.

F2 has just popped into bed and is about the fall asleep when he reads the BBM message and in F2s exaustion falls asleep. F1 see's that F2 has read the msg and hasn't replied. This drags on for a few days and F2 still hasn't replied (forgetting that the message exists.) F1 is still holding on to his "Virtual Grudge" and refuses to contact F2 directly, thinking that F2 OWES F1 a call/msg (Virtual Credit) and refuses to have an imbalance of this virtual credit.

This can go on for hours, days, weeks, or even years depending on the personality of said friend. My friends argument is that had the communication been made face-to-face or over the phone (where facial expressions, body language or at least tone of voice can be interpreted) then the likelyhood of such a problem happening would be lessened.

Which takes us to communication. (According to Wikipedia):

is a variety of verbal and non-verbal means of communicating exists such as body language; eye contact, sign language, paralanguage, haptic communication, chronemics, and media such as pictures, graphics, sound, and writing.

When you communicate to people via microblogging tools, such as mobile SMS  , BBM, What's App and Twitter, you are only left  with being able to interpret the writing, and sometimes, images. (When emoticons are beng used or pictures)
Therefore, there is no body language, eye contact or any other form of non-verbal and "heard" verbal (like tone of voice) communication, to add to the interpretation of the message.
(unless your using webcams which for the most part aren't reliable or clear)

My argument was that my friend's "Virtual Tone" sucked.

What I mean by virtual tone is hard to describe on e-paper! So I will try my best.

For example: On BBM You ask your friend to come out for lunch.

"Hey wanna go out for lunch?"


"Why not?"

"I don't feel like it!"

"Oh ok, I wasn't forcing you!"

"I know you weren't forcing me, I just don't want to!"

"So why are you yelling!?"

"Dude, I just don't feel like it ok!"

Here, the virtual tone is misunderstood. Let's say that this is a typical scenario. The use of exclamation marks indicates (to me) either a person yelling or excitement. Obviously the person wouldn't be excited to say "I don't feel like it!" so my interpretation may be that the person is yelling and just doesn't want to see me =(.

Had the same conversation been over the phone (where tone of voice can also be used to receive a message):

"Hey wanna go out for lunch?" (Happy go lucky)

"No" (dead pan)

"Why not?" (Confused/ concerned)

"I don't feel like it!" (Forceful, defensive)

"Why babe, what's wrong?" (Concerned caring)

"It;s just that....blah blah... so I'm really not in the mood" (Depressed/ down)

"Do you wanna talk about it?...over lunch maybe? " (Concerned/cheeky)

"Hahahaha I do, but not over lunch, do you mind coming over? I'll feed you" (Down but feeling uplifted)

"Sure, will be there soon!" (Excited, Friendly)

Can you see how the Fifth sentence has differed in both coversations? The Virtual Tone of the depressed friend (receiver) seemed Forceful, uncaring, defensive and unapproachable. It was difficult for the sender to interpret that solely through text.

On the other hand, when tone of voice was introduced (In the second conversation) the sender had more verbal communication to work with in order to understand the receiver better.

  • Click Here for some tips on avoiding virtual miscommunication from an online professor.
  • To learn how to avoid bad habits that lead to miscommunication Click Here 

What do you think? Have all these means of communication helped us? or hindered us?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

This-is-Madness! Saudi ban on blogs!

This is absoloutely ridiculous!

''Starting next month, a new law will be enforced by the Saudi Arabian government that will force all online bloggers and e-newspapers to register with the Ministry of Culture and Information.''

I get it...  Saudi is very very very tough on censorship and they pretty much want to know everything that goes on in their country, and make sure that none of the citizens of Saudi says anything with a negative spin.

But what about their Netizens?

Check this out, people who fall under a combanition/any of these catogories have to register for a 3 year LICENCE TO BLOG (or e-newletter =p )

Here are the categories:
  • Must be Saudi
  • Over 20 years old
  • High school degree holder
  • Documents testifying to their “good behavior”
Seriously? Thank God I live in the U.A.E

PS: click here for an interesting blogpost about the Saudi Blogosphere

    Sunday, January 09, 2011

    I'm in the #MENA daily

    So on Saturday morning I was browsing the net through my Blackberry, only to discover that I was mentioned in someone's tweet. Hopeing to God that it wasn't another one of those twitspams (Twitter spams ha-ha) that say something to the effect of " If your not making money out of Twitter click here" or " I can help you earn money through Twitter!", I clicked onto the button that would stop the incessant red light from blinking on my phone, accessed my Twitter through my BB App and saw the following:

    The Daily is out! ▸ Top stories today by @ @

    Obviously I was still skeptical, so I clicked on to the link to find out if this daily thing even existed. AND IT DID! Whoppeeeee. Now I have to make sure I keep tweeting relevant articles and maybe I'll be a regular! (I'm @squashedruby btw incase you didnt't know.... follow me!)

    It's interesting to see a newsletter that is purely a coallation of Twitter updates tailored towards media and the MENA area. If you know of any more of these types of newsletters , or the programs they use to collect the data please let me know! Maybe I'll make my own one day!

    You can check out The #MENA Daily here -->

    Sunday, January 02, 2011

    10 Twittiquette rules

    Some twittiquette rules
    Twittiquette: The unwritten laws of the acceptable and polite use of Twitter.

     Follow and be followed.
    The entire point of Twitter is personal contact, so if someone follows you it is a good idea to reciprocate.  

    If a follower leaves you don’t tweet about it.
    It's not the number of followers that matters here. You’ll also look incredibly annoying and are bound to lose more followers.

    Don't tweet about every single blog post you've written.
    I’m guilty!!! :o

    Don’t promote yourself too much.
    That goes back a bit to the previous point, people will get bored of constant self promotion and will not be able to think of you as a person. They may unfollow you!

    Thank someone that retweets your messages.
    It will make them remember you in a positive light and they may even RT more of your messages!

    Show it when you RT it!
    When you re-tweet, show it’s a re-tweet (by including "RT" in the text) and credit the original author in reply format (that is, add an @ before their Twitter handle).

    Don’t be rude.
    Unless it is part of your persona, people won’t appreciate it.

    Don’t keep tweeting the same message.
    You'll bore your followers (unless its a prize!) 

    Keep track of replies and direct messages and respond promptly.
    It will be appreiciated and the favour will be returned! I personally am terrible at this.

    Don’t publicize everything!
    Tweeple don’t need to know about your foot infection, how your goldfish cheated on you or what you had for breakfast this morning.