Media mourns Sheikh’s death

The UAE’s marketing and creative communities paid tribute to Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai who died last Wednesday.

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By  Tim Addington Published  January 8, 2006

The UAE’s marketing and creative communities paid tribute to Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai who died last Wednesday. Radio stations across the country immediately switched from regular programming to readings from the Koran, while television station’s carried rolling news of his death interspersed with prayers. Some newspapers increased their pagination and dropped sections after being inundated with condolence advertisements from businesses wanting to pay tribute to the late leader. Shezan Amiji, general manager at 7Days newspaper, said: “We decided to drop some elements of the newspaper such as entertainment and letters, that we felt were not appropriate. We express our deepest condolences to the people of the UAE and recognise the instrumental role he played in the development of both Dubai and the UAE.” Emirates Today, which is owned by the Maktoum family, was published entirely in black and white on Thursday. Tim Baker, client services director at Initiative Media Dubai, said he had experienced a rush of bookings from clients who wanted to offer their condolences to the historic leader. The start of the Dubai Shopping Festival, one of the most important periods of the year for advertisers and the media, was postponed. Among the other events postponed were the Fatboy Slim concert at Dubai International Convention Centre on Thursday night, and Ahlan! magazine’s Hot 100 party. Public relations agencies cancelled press events as a mark of respect. Paul Bruce, managing director of advertising agency Octopus, said flags for its client Ibn Battuta mall, a key sponsor of the festival, were being removed and press ads had been delayed. “It is important for us to remind clients about the importance of paying respect,” he said. “Anything that is vaguely celebratory is inappropriate.”

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