Dubai Consumer Mirror

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Stop talkin and keep walkin

In this week's Campaign ME, i came across an interview with Nick Leighton, MD of NettResults - a small Dubai based PR shop - on page 8. Mr Leighton was asked a number of PR related questions. I had to stop at one of his answers and share a short story with you.

Q. What is the biggest PR own goal you have ever witnessed or been involved in?

A. Press conferences where only one journalist attends are of course legendary - any PR agency that is unable to explain to their client that they do not have newsworthy material and are pushed into that situation are committing an own goal. I am not going to point fingers, but agencies that have had that happen know who they are (and we know who they are too).

But of course you do Mr. Leighton.

Arabs have a saying that goes something within the lines of: "he who lives in a house made of glass, should not throw stones at others".

A friend of mine was a client of Mr. Leighton's agency. My friend's company wanted to announce that their organization has been bought out by a larger, more prominent local IT firm.

M&A stories are quite newsworthy to local media here. They don't happen too often and are considered a nice change away from those 'product launches' and 'hand shake agreements' press announcements we see everyday.

So, the client was excited about the potential PR coverage this can generate and Mr. Leighton said a press conference is the best solution to maximise it.

Mr. Leighton assured that hoards of media will be attending because it was local company news since media here likes to support local companies by attending their events, covering their news ..etc. And -most importantly- they will all show up because of Mr. Leighton's "excellent" relationships with the media.

So, my friend checked his 'confirmed media attendees' list to the event and it included the following:

- A journalist that left the country for good
- A journalist that doesn't work for that newspaper for over 2 years ago
- A journalist that is based in London

The other glitch was with the media invitation. It said "come attend a press conference where we will announce that we are being acquired by company X". So, basically, my friend was told that our extremely busy
journalists will drive all the way through traffic congested roads, to spend at least an hour and a half listening to people and knowing what they are going to say... not the Dubai media i know :)

So, my friend asked Mr. Leighton if he can re-word the invitation to make it more appealing and attractive. Already scared by the media list embarrassment bit, Mr. Leighton was very offended by the fact that someone is doubting his "media relations" skills and dismissed any attempts to alter his well laid plans.

Only 2 journalists showed up at the event.
So, please sir, if you can't walk the walk, don't talk the talk.

Note: If you have this week's issue of Campaign ME, there is an EXCELLENT interview with Nancy Vonk about blogging. Its on page 20 - a must read.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Rent will NOT go down

Sorry to burst your bubble guys, but this is why ..

In today's edition of Emirates Today, a representative of the 'Rent Committee' in Dubai Municipality said "...We also check the neighboring buildings and compare the rents to see if he [the landlord] can increase the rents or not.”

Dear sir, please allow me to tell you that you are not only doing nothing to ease the exploding rent crisis here in Dubai (proof: rent complaints in 2005 doubled - same ET story), you are actually contributing to the crisis.

Let me tell you how:

1. New property law introduced in Dubai
2. Demand for property increases
3. Everyone discovers a new niche and wants a piece of the action - everyone wants to build a tower
4. Banks increase interest rates on investment loans
5. Building materials, suppliers, contractors, increase prices
6. New buildings end up costing 2 or 3 times what they did a year ago
7. Not because he is greedy, but in order to cover his inflated expenses, new building landlord is forced to charge more than neighboring 1 & 2 years old buildings.
8. Owner of older building sees that newer buildings are charging more rent. Though his building did cost less to build and is actually older, he gets greedy and starts charging more rent from existing tenants.
9. Tenant's head to Dubai Municipality to complain. They end up meeting a person like the one quoted above, who justifies the irrational and unjustifiable increase of rent in favor of the landlord.
10. Rent levels sour and everyone's chequebook end up with soars, bumps and bruises.

With Dubai's property cycle going at it in full throttle, above steps will keep on repeating themselves and rent will always go up as we speak without anyone doing anything about it ..

Thats it, end of story.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

N.C.I.S = C. R. A. P.

What a load of bull...

Hamas does not have "operatives" that work in Iraq to target US soldiers. Its virtually impossible for Hamas officials to move from one Palestinian town to another, let alone their military wing people.

Hamas can not build or own nuclear weapons. They are barely getting away with those Al Qassam pseudo-rockets using plumping pipes, and they rarely hit their targets..

Mossad does not really need highly trained double agents or spies that need 2 years to infiltrate Hamas in order to assassinate a top Hamas leader. Mossad usually blast em in their cars with air-born unmanned drones.

Oh, and one more thing, Israel DOES have nuclear bombs.

N.C.I.S. is -by far- one of the worst shows i was ever forced to watch on Showtime..

Friday, February 24, 2006

Savages, you are all savages

I tend to stay away from politics/current events related issues in this blog, and i do plan to keep it this way. This post will be an exception.

No normal human being can do this, this, this or this.. and those took place these last couple of days in Iraq. And PLEASE do NOT insult my intelligence and label it as resistance; This is 100% pure brutality against your own flesh and blood. Years and years of repressed hate, anger, frustration and racial & religious intolerance -unleashed in the most vicious forms against your own people.

And not only that, you also export your hate to nearby nations that have extended nothing but a helping hand for your people.

I am sure I will be receiving a lot of hate comments/mail for this, but I feel that the last 4 or 5 generations of Iraqis can not be ruled by someone other than the likes of Saddam, if not a 21st century version of Al Hajjaj bin Yusuf Al Thaqafi...

I am enraged!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


If you like to witness first class xenophobia... Try here

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Rain, Roads and Rampage in Dubai

Dubai motorists get high on rain drops.

I don't know if its something in the weather that gets mixed with the falling showers, but whatever it is, it makes Dubai motorists act as if they are on some kind of 'Halal' extasy.

There are 2 distinguished stages for this rain-high.

First, you have the hypnotizing effect of constant exposure to Hazard flashers (blinkers) of 10,000 cars for a minimum of 3 hours.

That, combined with mind numbing traffic gridlock thanks to the curvaceous bottlenecks of Dubai highways, will glide the bewildered driver into a deep journey of meditation, contemplation and tranquility.

At this stage, the driver will enjoy discovering trees, buildings and signboards he never noticed during his slow dull drives in the rest of the 364 non-rainy days.

Then it happens. After 4 or 5 hours, the roads are suddenly clear and stage two kicks in.

Cars are steaming and blood is starting to boil; our driver starts to accelerates. In his mind flashes of childhood fantasies of Starsky&Hutch's red Torino asphalt burning moves ... the gradual increase of rain drop thumbing on the hood ... The trance begins!

Shapes are forming on the windshield. The faster he goes, the more "fantasic" they get. Liquid shapes and forms caused by the spraying splatter splash of the car he is tailgating... "get closer" his mind tells him " you will see more groovy watery shapes".. He starts to tail-gate more. Those shapes aren't statisfying enough... What do to? He needs more.

Time to tailgate another one while in his mind, he is desperate to discover the potential of his (Echo, Sunny, Peugeot 206..etc) on wet surfaces. There is nothing better than a zigzag style trail motion to quench is thirst for slippery slops induced inertias.

He starts to flash everyone, making rights, lefts and sudden breaks with Hazard blinkers still on. No one knows if he is in some sort of emergency, if he is taking his in-labor wife to the hospital or maybe he is carrying an injured construction worker who he just pulled from under another collapsed wall, crane or wrecked bus?

None of that sadly... he is just another rain junkie driver on the road!

Going to Dubai: 10 minutes drive turns into a 4hr nightmare

Drivers on the left: stage one, drivers on the right: stage two

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Bird Flu Memo

I received this scan in my inbox today... Can anyone validate the integrity of this memo?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Its toot-e-licious

Do give the guys at toot a visit to check out Middle East's best.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Taxes! What taxes?!

With all the talk on 'VAT in the GCC' these days, expect to see the news reports below in your local newspaper soon...


GCC Will Always Be Tax-Free Heaven, Says Official

Capitals, GCC - A prominent government official denounced today the on-going street talk on the probability of introducing a VAT (Value Added Tax) in the GCC. The official added that one of the main attraction factors for FDI's (foreign direct investments) from abroad to the region, is the tax-free policy that is been adopted for decades.

"I can't imagine the government doing anything to distort the economic development boom the region has been thriving on for the past 10 years at least," said the official. "People should not be alarmed as there will not be VAT or any form of taxes."

The spokesperson disregarded the rumor stating that the new VAT policy will be publicly announced today by describing the rumors as "baseless" and "not true".

According to the spokesperson, all speculation on VAT is a natural reaction to people's and business's concern toward their wellbeing. He reassured that no taxes will be rolled out anytime soon.


Meanwhile, in the local news section of same newspaper on the same day, only a handful of readers spotted the tiny 3cm by 1 column news strip:

Agencies: In order to better serve the public, [insert gov org here] announced today the roll-out of VAF: Value Added Fee. The new fee will be automatically deducted as a lump sum fee straight off [rent contact, electricity bill, visa application employer contact, bank account ...etc].


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

sweet revenge

Have you ever "accidentally" scratched that fancy German coupe with double digits license plate that is parked in the handicapped parking space?

Did you ever "unintentionally" place your foot to trip over that b!tch who just gave that helpless waiter a piece of her narrow mind?

Are you a vigilante?

Share your stories - anonymous comments are encouraged ;)

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Forget marketing .. HR is more fun!


Dear hr

I will be happy to apply for a job In Your venerable company about deployed in newspaper.

Thank You


Hi All.......
I heared About your Company,So,I interest to be A Good Membership in your Team.


Dear Sir,

I have Bachelor.IT
Iam interested in getting on opprtunity
to work with you,sir Iam not Have Experience but
have brain can think for any problem and find solve
it,So I will send my C.V


Disclaimer: all above letters are 100% real and sent by 100% real people. Identities were removed to protect the innocent.

The above are examples of what NOT to write in a cover letter.

To all you job seekers out there, if you are not entirely, completely, absolutely, utterly and totally certain of your resume and cover letter drafting skills, do make the effort to show it to someone else. Sometimes Microsoft Office spell-check is not enough to write a proper job nailing letter or resume.

There are many online resources that one can use to brush up those job hunting skills. Websites like Monster or Bayt are loaded with tips and tricks on what to do and not to do when looking for jobs.

Good luck and thank you Buj :) is acting funny

Hope they fixed the glitch by now ..

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Its a baby girl

and she is gorgeous :)

Here is a digital baby chocolate thingi that they giveaway for all you bloggers out there :o)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

public transportation

Another world's first.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Rubber Necks

I can not remember the number of times i was stuck in a traffic jam for a good 30 minutes just to discover that the jam-causing accident is actually on the other side of the road!

This is caused by who are commonly known here as "Rubber Necks". They are morons-on-wheels who automatically slow down at the sight of anything unusual on the side of the road: An accident, a car with flat tire, a police siren flasher, whatever,whenever and where ever.

Not only that, they also make sure they drive at the slowest speed humanly possible, in order "not to miss anything", bringing traffic to a completely-uncalled-for halt.

And since this humble blog ain't a 'whine-&-whinge-only' joint, I would like to propose a practical, cost effective and revenue generating solution to Dubai Police to annihilate this whole 'rubber neck' phenomenon:

1. Get Dubai Police to stage a fake accident on the side of the road
2. Traffic cops in civilian to monitor and record all 'rubber necks', especially ones slowing down the traffic on the other side of the road.
3. Slap each one of them with an "Obstruction of Traffic" and "Driving without paying attention to the road" tickets with a side note of something within the lines of: 'issued due to driver slowing down to observe accident on other side'.

Very simple and effective. With such a program running for 3 - 6 months, rubber necks will be forced to toughen it up a notch and with time, they will ultimately become an extinct species.

Monday, February 06, 2006

broken promises

Last night at McDonald's drive thru
McDonald's: Good evening. Can i take your oder?
Me: 1 McRoyal combo please, but can you please double check my order is complete?
McDonald's: sorry sir?
Me: last time i was here, my order was missing a 9 piece McNuggets
McDonald's: You come back and we give you
Me: I was already at home and its really a pain to comeback all the way
McDonald's: OK

awkward moment of silence

Me: errm.. in case this happens again, who can i talk to or call?
McDonald's: When you come next time for order, you mention and we give you missing order from last time

Me: Oh okay .. then can i have it now? It was a 9 piece McNuggets - sweet n' sour dip please

starts screaming something to the people inside

McDonald's: sure thing sir, they will include it in your order
Me: Thank you.. you are very kind

I got to the other window

McDonald's: Here is your order sir - come again

reached home,
opened bag
no McNuggets inside

Sunday, February 05, 2006

This Danish thing again..

I have written 3 posts on this whole Danish cartoons mess, but left them saved as drafts and never published them - don't know why. Today, however, i think this issue has taken a whole new dimension in underlining the huge gap between the muslim and the western worlds.

I received an email today with this screen shot from by Al Jazeerah news channel quoting the Le Monde newspaper.

"Jyske Bank in Denmark is anticipating that if the boycott goes on for a whole year, 11000 jobs will be lost in Denmark along with EU 1 billion in financial losses."

A whole year?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Campaign ME awards

Oye! Where was my invitation? I mean, i think i deserve it, after all i still write for (not to) the publication from time to time. Does that mean I am not on the A-LIST anymore?! (shriek)

yallah .. what to do :)

Anyhoo, the much anticipated Campaign ME awards winners are out. The guys at were at the dinner and covered the whole shebang. Here is the winners list from their coverage of the event:


Advertising Agency of the Year
Face to Face

(Can't deny i was surprised to see that, especially following the this whole air arabia copycat frenzy)

Television Campaign of the Year
Gold – Saatchi & Saatchi Dubai for Crest
Silver – JWT Riyadh for Domino’s Pizza

Bronze - Leo Burnett Cairo for Mobinil Mercedes Raffle promotion


Print Campaign of the Year
Gold – Tonic for Sony Microvault
Silver – TBWA\RAAD for Whiskas
Bronze – JWT Bahrain for Zayani Motors

Outdoor Campaign of the Year
Gold – JWT Dubai for One TV
Bronze - TBWA\RAAD for Emirates Today
Bronze – JWT Dubai for Dubai Autism Centre

(Hey! What about the Emirates Today launch campaign, bronze? The neon sign at the 3rd or 4th interchange had the same headline of the day's newspaper every morning for about a week or two! Who can beat that?)

Radio Campaign of the Year
Silver - Team Y&R Dubai for Radio 1

(I was shocked to see any winners at this category)

Direct Marketing Campaign of the Year
Gold – Wunderman for Microsoft
Silver - Wunderman for Fed Ex
Bronze - Wunderman for Adobe

(You have to give it to Wunderman - these guys do wonders)

Integrated Campaign of the Year
Gold – Lowe Dubai for Axe

Silver – JWT Beirut for Heineken
Bronze - Face to Face for Barbican
Grand Prix – Tonic for Sony Microvault

(Grand Prix award?)

Young Creative of the Year
Avinash Sampath from Saatchi & Saatchi

Dubai Media Agency of the Year
Zenithmedia Cairo

Best Media Plan
Gold – Zenithmedia Cairo for Virgin Megastore

Silver – MindShare Beirut for Heineken
Bronze – Initiative Dubai for Barbican

PR Agency of the Year

(...the MD of Asda'a is on the judging panel, but i am sure objectivity was entertained :) )

PR Event of the Year
Gold - Traccs for Al Baik/Coca-Cola
Bronze – Asda’a for Adidas

(OKAY. Two things here: (1) What ever happened to Red bull Flugtag? That event was amazing, the coverage it generated was unbelievable! And Adidas? The media was ripping asda'a apart after that 'chip in a shoe' event! (2) Strategiy said "Among other winners were ASDA’A who were declared PR Agency of the Year and also won a Silver for their sucessful (typo) PR Campaign for Adidas" - so what did they win, silver or bronze?)

One observation is similar to strategiy's: - what happened to Best Online Campaign award - I would certainly give my vote to a couple of things by Flip media and eworks.

Also, why isn't there a category for PSA (public service announcements/advertising)? My vote goes for the Iraqi campaign.

Maybe the folks at Campaign ME could consider that for next year's awards...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

My first 'CUB'

I just got to know that 'Dubai Consumer Mirror' scored its first Cool UAE blog (CUB) of the week award :o)

Thanks to the folks at UAE Web of Life!