Ramzi Haddad, Managing Director of media agency Carat UAE and Lower Gulf highlights the transformations sweeping the print industry and offers valuable insights about how content has become the most valuable commodity.
Do you believe that good advertising in a good newspaper still works?
It certainly does since I still notice a lot of good advertising in newspapers. It also has ‘ogling’ power because it’s bigger than a mobile phone and easier on the eyes than a screen and that’s a scientific fact! However, it’s the role the format plays that’s changing, not how effective it is in connecting with the audience.
Do you think the reports about the "death of print" are exaggerated?
Print is not dead. It’s going through a repurposed rebirth. It’s lost its place as a ‘reach provider’ in return for a more strategic role in what I term ‘extended storytelling’. A luxury auto manufacturer recently used print successfully to launch a new model, complementing the beautiful visuals of the car with an augmented reality experience that is mobile enabled. That’s the kind of extended storytelling that makes the entire experience more rewarding, thereby increasing the chances of generating a sale with a potential customer.
Digital news sites are constantly experimenting with different kinds of advertising, so what are the advertising formats that are paying off the most?
I’m a skeptic when it comes to running ads on news portals because I simply believe that we go to these sites or apps that provide up to the minute updates on the latest that’s happening around the world. We’re there for fast consumption, several times a day, in and out quickly. If advertisers want to reach customers on news portals, they should include ‘additional’ sponsored content tied to great news-worthy stories. Only then can you know for sure that the customer is going to take the time to watch that content and might just interact with the advertising placed around it.
How much do you encourage your clients to buy advertising online as opposed to print?
We’ve very digital driven in our communication and for some of our clients, digital represents over 30 percent of their annual budgets. Again, we prefer using print more strategically. You need to start thinking of a well-read magazine offering quality content as if it were a book. It is something you want to hold on to and put on your coffee table as part of your display because it contains cool things you’ve enjoyed reading and fantastic photography that you want to keep.