Dubai Consumer Mirror

Friday, January 20, 2006

Public Service Advertising

Its a shame that we live at the centre of the region's advertising industry and Public Service Advertising (PSA) here is so little, its almost non-existent.

There are so many issues in the UAE that really needs to be addressed by either the government, private organizations that are trying to build a "corporate governance culture", or both public and private sectors together.

Yes, we do have issues here. They are affecting everyone: Nationals, expats, women, men, children .. they all suffer from issues like racism, drugs, DWI, profiteering, bad traffic behavior, illiteracy, health care malpractices, pollution and the lack of good citizenship. Take driving for example..

Every year, Dubai Police runs a "safe driver award" campaign from time to time. I truly commend the efforts. But why is it that we see death-on-roads is still on the rise?

Dubai Police is addressing a problem which the entire UAE is suffering from.. Such a campaign should be on a federal level, running all year long and endorsed by the private sector (especially the advertising/media moguls).

Advertising and media industry in the region is a disgustingly lucrative multi-billion dollar industry that (with few exceptions), have been doing nothing but ridicule our intelligence, mislead our purchasing decisions and jacking up tag prices for the past 30 years.

I call on those advertising/media tycoons to take a short break from bragging your palm villas, Austin Martins and Cuban cigars and do something good to your community for a changeā€¦

Here are some of the things that can be done:

  • Set up a PSA Association. I would call it PSA UAE (or something) with headquarters in Dubai and local chapters across the emirates.
  • Work closely with government bodies, NGOs and planning & research centers to get to know who/what issues that need to be addressed.
  • Force media (print/web/broadcast/outdoor) to allocate a certain percentage of their medium for PSAs - percentage varies according to medium. This could be a privilege for founding media members to be seen as active in corporate social responsibility.
  • Create workshops for students/young entrepreneurs on the importance and significance of PSA and its impact on society.
  • Run an annual competition for small ad shops on CSR and PSA campaigns.

These are some ideas .. I am sure we can do more ..

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