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Politicking ‘holds back’ ad industry

Starcom boss Matt Blackborn claims the future growth of the Middle East advertising market is under threat from ‘politicking’.

Starcom boss Matt Blackborn claims the future growth of the Middle East advertising market is under threat from ‘politicking’.

Blackborn, the CEO of Publicis Groupe Media for the Middle East and North Africa, said he has been frustrated by the lack of progress on industry research since he arrived in the region last summer.

“Behind the scenes there seems to be a lot of politicking about reasons not to do it, which I find a bit frustrating,” he said. “People are holding themselves back, and holding the industry back, at a time when there is so much else going for us.”

Blackborn, who moved to Dubai from Starcom Mediavest in London, said that people talked up the idea of trading currencies in meetings but hidden agendas were holding progress back.

“Clients are demanding more of the agency environment. The GCCAA seems to be a clear indication of that and the agencies haven’t responded as quickly as they should do,” he said.

“I can only see it as ultimately being damaging to the growth opportunity. If clients are demanding it and we don’t respond, that will be damaging to the agency business. Why would you do that? You have got to change.”

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