Dubai Consumer Mirror

Friday, April 28, 2006

Spelling Bees

A friend insisted that I blog this telephone conversation:

- Hello, can I talk to Paul please?
- Baul?
- No, Paul...
- Baul?
- Paul.. PPPPaul
- Yes, Baul
- Not Baul....Paul... with a P
- Oooooh ... B as in Boy or B as in Beoble?
- *silence*

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The Underdog of Dubai Media

Few weeks back i read a really interesting article on Mike Gillam who was claiming that everyone within the media buying industry is 'out there to get him'. The reason is that he refuses to play what he describes as 'media buyers dirty and corrupt games'.

Now, according to Communicate magazine website, the same person is under investigation and alleged accusations of unethical dealings.

"Gillam was allegedly turned in by a person he had prior business dealings with who had recorded a phone conversation where Gillam is said to have made an unethical offer or suggestion."

The whole story should be out next week in May's Issue of Communicate. But I couldn't wait. I did my own bit of investigative work.

I met up with friend of mine who can be described as The Underdog of Dubai Media Buying business. For security reasons, I can't reveal his name so we will just use 'TONY'.

(Dark wet alley and The Godfather soundtrack music playing in the background)

- Hey Tony.. whats up?
- Hey Moryarti.. good to see ya ol pal
- Whats the deal with this Gillam character?
- Its pure and simple .. dis guy was dis-respectin us i tell ya
- What did he do?
- He was yappin his yank sayin tings like we are crooks.. Someone had to take care of da situashon.
- So what did you do?
- We did nothin. But let me aks you.... if someone bad mouths your family, wouldn't you bug his house and gave em an offer he couldn't refuse?
- I guess..
- I tell ya Moryarti, no one disrespects the Don, no one disrespects da family! Now kiss my ring.

Monday, April 24, 2006

My sixth sense

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Friday, April 21, 2006

The endangered 'agencies' list

There is a new player in town that everyone in the agency business is talking about... An agency that is attracting people from right, left and center! G... WONder which agency they are talking about.

Its not only snatching clients from other agencies, its also placing too-tempting-to-say-no-to offers to top talents in other Tier 1 PR agencies.

Word on the street is that some heads of other agencies are applying sudden and desperate counter-tactics to hold on to their overworked and under paid staff. So desperate to the point some of those heads made up new positions in the org-chart just to promote their people onto.

Suddenly, those salary-reviews that were promised 3 years ago, are being scheduled to happen next week. And for the first time in its history, the MD of one particular agency informed his employees that they are all invited to staff party by the end of the month.

Other Agency heads are contacting some of their talented ex-employees, who already moved on to other agencies or clients 3 or 4 years ago, and offering them salaries they can’t even dream of. Just so that 'new comer' agency would not attract them instead.

This brings me to a question I always wanted to ask ... Isn't it about time to introduce a "profit sharing" rewarding scheme in advertising and PR agencies here? Isn’t it about time to show those hardworking mid-layer (client services, creative ..etc) troops some fair treatment and appreciation for a change?

I mean lets face it. Everyone knows that the average life-cycle for any mid level account handler in any agency here varies from 1 to 3 years tops! Why? cause they are so frustrated, it takes very little persuasion for them to move on.

Why? Well dig this...

In any typical agency, there is a huge gap between the paycheck of an Account Director and the next position down the line (Account manager). Sometimes that difference could reach Dhs 10k and above. What even worse is that, in some cases, the difference between an AD and an AM doesn't go beyond 2 years of experience.

Preferentialisim rulz in the agency world here. I know it for a fact that western expats are automatically 5k to 7k (if not more) higher paid than their Arab counterparts. Subcons fall even lower than that… Imagine working in a place where you have 3 account managers: one is driving a brand new CLK, another is driving a 1990 BMW and the third driving a sunny… can you feel the love in the air?

Appreciation and motivation are things of the past. Account handlers are the ground troops, foot soldiers, men and women on the frontlines. They work the longest hours, they put up with client arrogance, media intolerance and supplier incompetence.

Not only that, they have to report to people with a severe case of New-Manager syndrom. So-called "Team-leaders" that, in most cases, don't know anything about what they are doing and don't care about anything but making sure deliverables are delivered.

Though there are places that are great to work for, but such places are so hard to find, they should be on the endangered 'agencies' list.

Maybe this 'New Kid on the block' is not such a bad thing after all..

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Gotta luv Gulf News

Click on photo to enlarge image

Friday, April 14, 2006

A chance to save someone's life

I just got this on SMS; we need any negative blood, preferably A-, to be donated to Jad Abou Sawan, PIN# 160048. Please head to Al Wasel Hospital in Dubai tomorrow from 12 to 1pm to donate.

Please use his name and pin as a reference.

Note: I do not know Jad or his medical condition, but I hope he gets well soon. Sadly, my blood group doesn't match. I hope whoever sees this post can help or inform someone who can. Otherwise, text this message or forward link to your contacts list. Make a difference!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Working with the right people

It is really frustrating when your success/performance is heavily dependant on others' ingenuity, intelligence or competence.

This is why when working with a contractor, for whatever project, its makes a load of difference to work with ones that have a decent reputation.

For example today, we are running a big event for our partners. I am not involved in the organization of the it, but was asked if I could help arranging a photographer for the entire event.

I told my agency who sorted it out to have 2 photographers covering the event from 8:00am till 11:00pm in 2 shifts.

First photographer arrived, all is fine. Second photographer arrives at around noon time. Photographer 1 goes like "but i was told to stay till 11:00pm".

So, the events team (who are already maxed out) call me asking why do we have 2 photographers, we don't have the budget ... bla bla

I call the agency who called the photography studio who called the photographer who called the studio back who called the agency back who called me back so that I call the events team back to tell them this:

"The receptionist at the photography studio forgot to tell the photographer that he only has to stay half day."

Putting aside the unwanted distraction to much more important things at the event, how much billable time did that waste for at least 9 people across 3 organizations?

A quick $ per man-hour count lead to a atleast $500 worth of wasted time - just because someone simpley forgot.

This is why, when you are looking for an agency, a contractor or any form of 3rd party organisation, make sure you end up with one that saves your time.

Because time, my friend, is your most valuable asset.

Friday, April 07, 2006

me and my big mouth!

Sky had a really nice post about herself a couple of days ago. I told her that her post was so nice, it should be a tag... Doh!

So, as a punishment, I was the first to be tagged by Sky. I do apologize in advance for all those who will be tormented by this massive wave of TMI* attack!

Here it goes

I am not: getting enough sleep these days
I love: my 8 weeks old babygirl... and my wife too ;)
I hate: having to be nice to people I don't like/respect
I fear: that one day I might do something I regret to a
I hope: I will make my parents proud
I hear: too much noise caused by the neighbors upstairs
I crave: good restaurants
I regret: leaving Kuwait ... sometimes
I cry: in my dreams
I care: for what people may think, can't help it
I always: thank God
I feel alone: on business trips
I listen: more than I talk
I hide: that annoying Ketchup stain on the floor when the boss drops by my office
I drive: at least 4hrs a day
I dance: dabkeh, salsa and the 'El Lemby' dance

I write: for a living
I act: really funny in weddings
I miss: my parents
I learn: a new thing everyday, I think
I feel: sleepy
I know: too little
I sleep: less than I am supposed to be
I wonder: what's tomorrow is gonna be like
I want: to get a new car
I worry: when I drive in dubai streets with my baby in the back seat
I have: to get a new car
I fight: the temptation to keep my mouth shut when I see/hear something that's not right
I need: a new car
I am: a what you see is what you get kindda person
I think: no one deservs to be tagged :)

*TMI: too much information

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Tea Time

With all the talk on how devastated our friends in Karama are for banning plastic tea cups, I wanted to highlight to our friends abroad this teeni tiny tea tip…

In Dubai (and the UAE in general), if you ask for TEA, you will be served tea with milk and sugar, all boiled together. It is also known as Chai Karak – and if you were a Wasta or Nafarat Arbab Kabeer, then your tea could be cardamom flavored.. (go figure)

On the other hand, if you are a regular-only-tea-with-nothing-else kind of a person like myself, then you demand Chai Sulaimani.

I honestly do not know who Mr. Sulaiman is and why do I have to drink my tea as per his recipe and taste... If anyone knows, please inform the ignorant

Monday, April 03, 2006

Thank you Dubai Police

This is EXCELLENT news!

A great move by Dubai Police to crack-down on those morons I have to deal with every day. I just can't find a word to describe the frustration I go through every single day on Dubai roads.

Seriously, I make it a point that I always:

1. drive in middle lanes
2. slow down for pedestrians to safely cross the road
3. never use the hard shoulder
4. never cut lines or traffic queues
5. when i see a parked car trying to back up, i slow down to give the driver a chance to get on the road
6. don't race other cars
7. change lanes in advance
8. slow down to allow other cars ahead of me that are changing lanes
9. park like decent people and between lines
10. never block parked cars

Still, I have to deal with

1. flashers and tail-gators in all lanes at all speeds
2. morons behind who start honking, yelling and screaming whenever i slow down to allow an old woman to cross the road
3. getting stuck in traffic queues for at least 20 to 30 minutes more
4. spending 5 to 10 minutes sometimes just to back up my car (try that in SZR service road)
5. facing the wrath of line cutters because for some odd reason, they believe its their right of way.
6. being a victim of others engaging in street racing
7. people who decide to change lanes at the last minute from extreme left to extreme right, or viceversa
8. people who accelerate just to make sure i can't change lanes
9. spending 20 to 30 minutes looking for a parking space because some moron blocked 2 or 3 spaces
10. having to wait for that inconsiderate bastard to finish whatever useless errand he is running to move his/her car that is blocking my car, along with 3 others

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Producers

Original, hilarious and highly recommended!
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Corporate Events, Safety and Liability

This is really heartbreaking... A company celebration that turned into a national disaster. What's even more devastating is the fact it wasn't because of faulty machinery, a decaying body/vessel or an unavoidable collision with another boat... It was because of 'passenger overcrowding' - something that could've controlled, hence a tragedy could've been avoided.

But of course not! With a 'big budget' contracting company looking to entertain its staff, the boat owner/operator made sure he is making the most of it. Sadly, the Grim Reaper (Bahrain division) had similar plans.

Event managers and event management companies- have a huge responsibility to bare when organizing corporate off-site entertainment or team building activities. Poorly managed activities such as desert safaris, kayaking, go-carting, snorkeling or even harmless sea cruises are split seconds away from turning into catastrophes.

I have heard of many events-gone-bad because of blind confidence in the ability of event management companies to offer safe corporate entertainment and take full responsibility of the wellbeing of people who are just there to have fun.

Until today, the only organization that I know is spot on when it comes to safety is Emirates' Arabian Adventures. These guys are so caught up on safety regulations, they almost take all the fun away from any event they organize.

Needless to say, I rather be less entertained knowing that I am in safer hands.