Robins mocks local complaints

John Robins, the managing director of Aether Media in Dubai, has answered complaints from local independent producers that agencies are to blame for big budget commercials being made abroad instead of locally.

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By  Peter Conmy Published  August 5, 2000

John Robins, the managing director of Aether Media in Dubai, has answered complaints from local independent producers that agencies are to blame for big budget commercials being made abroad instead of locally.

After several Dubai-based media persons accused advertising agencies of spending production budgets on International companies while only allowing the smaller productions to be done locally, Robins disputed these comments by placing the blame firmly at the door of the local producers.

"Agency staff using TV commercials as an opportunity to go on holiday when budgets allow is something that has been going on since I first arrived in the region in 1985 and no-doubt before," said Robins in an exclusive interview with digital studio.

"However, the problem for this lies with the local production companies. Agencies do require the highest of production standards and the truth is that for high-end 35mm TV commercial production and high-end digital post-production the talent doesn't really exist here."

"Some of the equipment does, but in most cases not the operators. Anyone claiming it does exist here either doesn't have much international experience or is displaying sufficient lack of judgement that would scare any agency away."

Increased Capability

Robins, who runs an independent production company himself, went onto further defend the agencies in the face of any accusations:
"The capability of the market is increasing, but for the most part agencies can't afford to take a chance with a client's brand. In my experience, agencies have a good idea of what can or can't be done in the UAE and, if they don't, it is up to the production companies to let them know. "

He also gave some of those unhappy producers a piece of advice for the future: "If more production companies held on to reasonable rates, budgets would rise to a reasonable level for everyone. Anyone doing work for low budgets only have themselves to blame. It is far more effective to trade on talent than it is on price."

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