Ramadan has given the expected boost to media industry and it seems to be the beginning of a steady climb for the sector much affected by global financial crisis, believe industry professionals.
Companies across the sectors, especially retail, food and beverages segments, have increased their advertising and marketing expenses as they take advantage of the festive occasion.
While the food and beverages segment has seen a jump of at least 60-70 per cent in their advertising expenses, other sectors such as hospitality, banks and automobiles are also spending more, said industry executives.
"There is a substantial increase in demand and consumption of food and cooking material, for which food companies have to advertise, resulting in increased advertising by them," said Tanvir Kanji, Head of Inca Tanvir advertising company.
Supporting the view, Kamal Vachani, Director Almaya Group, said: "Retail stores and supermarkets are offering their best rates of the season and to convey that message to buyers, there's been a considerate increase in marketing and communication expenses."
He said: "As it is, rates have been the lowest due to the current recession, but our suppliers have also been very co-operative and have reduced their prices further.
"Of course, we have spent on communicating and broadcasting the new rates to our customers. In addition to regular advertisements in local papers, we have also been investing in in-store promotions with danglers and posters, direct mailers, SMSes and even e-mails."
He put this additional communication cost at almost more than double the previous months.
Television and radio stations have also seen an increase in their advertising revenues. Arabic television is witnessing as much as 140 per cent increase in advertising for their Ramadan-specific programmes, said a top executive from one of the leading media buying units based in the Dubai Media City.
"Ramadan-specific programmes and quiz competitions generate a lot of interest during the season and companies promote them to lure viewers. These specific programmes attract a lot of advertising," said Kanji.
"Special cook books and other similar supplements also see guaranteed sales. Arabic newspapers and magazines particularly cash in on this festive season that sees special cooking for 30 days of Iftaar," he added.
Kanji said some of the brands offer nothing as special packages but exploits the spirit of Ramadan with iconic symbols and pictures in their advertising. "There will always be some people and establishments that will use the festive and charitable mood of the audience, but that's a small segment and we should look at the larger picture and relish the boost that the country's economy and media industry as such is to gain during this period," he added.
In the charitable spirit of the holy month, banks are also offering special packages and advertising for them. Dubai Bank has announced a special rewards programme for all its Covered Card holders throughout Ramadan.
The promotion, which will run until September 30, will grant all Dubai Bank credit card holders an opportunity to win one million choice points every day on any purchase as well as exclusive gifts on balance transfers from other cards to Dubai Bank Covered Cards. The cards come with attractive benefits including zero interest for three months for new cards, free membership and no renewal fees.
Under the Ramadan promotion, every customer using a Dubai Bank credit card for any purchase is entitled to one entry in a daily raffle draw, where one lucky winner will stand a chance to win one million choice points everyday.
"At Dubai Bank, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to make the banking experience more valuable and rewarding for our customers, and this promotion is a perfect opportunity for us to convey our Ramadan greetings to our valued customers," said Mohamed Amiri, Head of Retail Banking at Dubai Bank. "During Ramadan, we usually witness an increased appetite for shopping among residents. Through this promotional campaign, we want to enrich the shopping experience for our customers by giving them the chance to win rewards and benefits while using their Dubai Bank Covered Cards."
Automobiles companies are also taking advantage of the festive month and are spending on advertisement.
Arabian Automobiles has announced a special promotion with savings of up to Dh10,000 on the purchase of new cars. The firm is also offering its current customers a free safety check, as well as a discount of 45 per cent on parts and 15 per cent on labour costs.
Commenting on the offers, Michel Ayat, CEO of Arabian Automobiles Company said: "I can think of no better time in the recent past when it had been better to consider a new car. The sales personnel at our 10 showrooms are ready to transact the very best deals for our customers this Ramadan and we encourage our existing customers to enjoy our offer of a free safety check and discounted parts and labour."
Etisalat also announced a special Ramadan mega promotion called '24 Millionaires'. Two lucky customers, recharging their Wasel accounts during the promotion will be selected every week to win Dh2 million, through an electronic raffle draw. The offer will kick off on Saturday and will continue until November 14, providing 24 customers an opportunity to win Dh24m.
Customers will also be automatically enrolled in the weekly raffle draw, based on their Wasel recharge.
A weekly raffle draw will take place at etisalat headquarters starting from August 30 and ending on November 15. Besides the chance to become millionaires, customers will also benefit from additional free credit on each Wasel recharge that can be used for all calls and SMSes (local or international).
Announcing the promotion, Khalifa Al Shamsi, Acting Chief Marketing Officer at etisalat, said: "Ramadan is the month of giving and a great time to connect with family and friends. Etisalat is enabling its customers to expand their reach and means during the holy month of Ramadan, while also providing them with a lifetime opportunity to become a millionaire."
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