Saudi marketers and advertisers join forces in the name of chairty

A group of Saudi marketers and advertising executives have banded together to increase the standards of social and cause-based marketing in the Kingdom.

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By  Tim Addington Published  October 13, 2005

A group of Saudi marketers and advertising executives have banded together to increase the standards of social and cause-based marketing in the Kingdom. The non-profit volunteer group called Albayareq was formally launched in mid-September, and is made up of more than 100 industry professionals who give up their time to work on a range of projects designed to empower the country’s large youth population, as well as raising the profile and standards of the marketing and advertising disciplines. The Jeddah-based group was the brainchild of former Proctor & Gamble marketer Hani Khoja, who took nine months unpaid leave from the company to pursue the project. Khoja has since left P&G to set up his own marketing consultancy. Albayareq is made up of marketers from some of the Kingdom’s most well known firms and representatives from many of the country’s advertising agencies. “The concept started two years ago when a group of people working in the marketing industry realised that there was very few locally based social marketing or cause related marketing efforts in the region,” said Khaled Tash, one of the founder members of Albayareq. “Most of us studied abroad and saw public service announcements on TV and realised that there wasn’t anything like that in Saudi, so we got together and decided to use our skills to replicate that idea.” The group’s first project was creating a TV show called Yalla Shabab, which focuses on Saudi youths aged 18 to 25 who want to do something for their community. The programme was started by the group of friends two years ago, and is still being aired on MBC. Tash, whose day job is as a corporate communications manager at food manufacturer Sunbulah, said the group is currently working on projects that highlight the problem of speeding drivers, the importance of prayer, encouraging mothers to read to their young children and the value of working in blue collar jobs. Albayareq, which currently relies on donations, hopes to be financially independent within three years and have a membership of some 1,000 marketers and creative professionals. Inquires about the group can be made at khojahani@yahoo.com.

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