Archives for posts with tag: dubai

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Pardon my ignorance, but I thought Sizzler was a pure US brand. The Salad bar, the mediocre (I’m being nice here) steak, the plastic diner atmosphere. Oh, and the soft ice cream. Well, I was wrong. It’s a global brand. As usual: I know that I know nothing.

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Holsten is a beer brand from Hamburg, sold all over the world. I’m sure you’ve seen the brand on soccer shirts.

So, as you might know, alcohol is illegal in the U.A.E. (Besides in hotel bars where the booze is apparently flowing freely.) Knowing that, I was pretty surprised to see Holsten in a supermarket. But, don’t get too excited. This is no beer, this a malt drink with lemon flavor. No alcohol, just another soft drink. A line expansion for Holsten. Having said that, I had to try it. It was actually a pretty good choice for a hot day. Highly recommended.

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I expected McDonalds and KFC. Not Fatburger. Really?

Well, after researching UAE a bit more, it made a lot of sense: More than 50% of children in the UAE are considered obese, 71% of the adult population. I guess the name “Fatburger” taps into the UAE mindset.


Attending ad:tech Tokyo last week, I wandered through the streets of Tokyo, discovering the lovely old parts and the stunning new architecture.

And I was thinking: Remember when everybody talked about Tokyo as the city of the future? It was replaced by Dubai very quickly (until nobody couldn’t pay for the Real Estate anymore) and now it’s Beijing. Some folks in the media and advertising industry still hold on to the idea and imagery of Tokyo being the future: ambient voices, large screens with smiling faces – you know, the Minority Report thing. Applying old thinking of the power of disruptive advertising to a new century, world and mindset. It’s just easier to put lipstick on a pig than coming up with an idea how the world will really evolve and change. And how advertising will evolve with changing habits, desires and needs. We could blame Hollywood but we have to take part of the blame because you attend any marketing conference and here it is: Tom Cruise, ambient voices, screens. Again.

When people think about the future, they often assume that people change rapidly. We will turn into the Jetsons. In reality, we’re still the caveman family. We’re hardwired to think, feel and act a certain way. It took millions of years for us to become the way we are right now. Any smartphone or iPad won’t change that. Technology just amplifies certain behaviors, changes daily routines, and makes us behave differently. No matter how advanced technology will become in the future, we’re still cavemen trying to crawl out of our dark hideout. We’re not social because of Twitter and Facebook. We’re social because we’re human beings. We like to play games and get acknowledged by others, that’s why we check-in. (I’m sure there’s something deeper going on. But I leave that to anthropologists.) And, guess what, we’re damn lazy. When you had to know HTML to have a web presence, nobody was socializing. Now everybody is social because it’s so easy and doesn’t take any effort.

When you think about the future, when you think about how to connect to people, how to engage them: forget about the Jetsons. Forget about Minority Report. Forget about the city of the future. Think about a campfire. Think about caves. Tell a good story. Tell something they want to share with others because it’s so interesting. The more things change, the more they stay the same.