AHEAD OF THE PACK

Kuwait 2019 | TELECOMS, IT & MEDIA | INTERVIEW

In offering a revolutionary and out-of-the-box method of advertising, M2R has set the bar for interactive advertising in the region.

Shadi Al-Samad
BIOGRAPHY
Shadi Al-Samad is the founder of M2R Company, one of the leading media companies in Kuwait, specializing in outdoor screens and pioneering in mall advertising with most of the country’s malls’ exclusive advertising rights. M2R Company, headed by Al-Samad, was appointed as the exclusive media representative of Marina FM in 2018, reaching a new milestone of excellence. Since the establishment of M2R Company in 2005, Al-Samad has been playing a pivotal role in sales and acquisition, further to contributing directly to the development and management of his enterprise. He first moved to Kuwait in 2003 and assumed the role of a sales manager at a printing press, magazine and TV. Al-Samad graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Balamand, Lebanon.

How has consumer behavior and people's receptiveness to mass advertisement evolved?

There have been a number of stages that have had a large impact on this evolution. A decade ago, the basic tools were outdoor and publication-based advertising; 90% of the budget was spent on this aspect of the business, and 10% was spread across other miscellaneous advertising tools, such as mall and interactive advertising and event sponsorship. When we started our business in 2008, we came up with solutions to advertising in malls. We focused on the top five or six malls in the country, because opportunities were there. We realized we could target customers in malls and get direct feedback, where that solution was cost-effective, reduce companies' spending up to 85%, and put us on the top list of the best substitute that offered higher and more effective exposure with better return on investment. We kept working gradually until we reached a point where clients see the benefit of advertising in malls. The expenditure grew from 10 million to 30 million within four years.

What new technologies will be implemented in the near future?

Now we are developing a new software for our screens' circuit that will allow us to have better centralized control over media development and deployment. This software will increase the efficiency of operations and reduce costs while also improving our effectiveness and our ability to monitor our messages and infrastructure. This software will be customized to allow clients to access their ads through our website and have advertising space via popular social media channels. All this is to facilitate our sales job and increase the efficiency and flexibility of our deployment channels. We have a demand that outstrips our ability to serve this demand, but we are pleased because we are growing and developing our capabilities. Our main suppliers are located in Kuwait, Dubai, and China; they have high quality services and technologies. Although I prefer local market suppliers, we invest more in quality hardware to ensure that we have durability and longevity.

What have been the key factors in allowing you to develop exclusivity contracts with certain malls?

In truth, it all started with a strong will and hard work. When I started with my partner, there were no other competitors in the market. We developed interactive ideas, and clients were immediately interested. Most of the companies in Kuwait are aggressively creative, especially telecoms, and this new offering really appealed to them. We worked with these companies to develop out-of-the-box ideas that could work really well with our media. Due to our hard work and consistency, we have become, by default, the only company in Kuwait that offers such a service. By the time, we took our position to be the main media service company in the market who provides high quality in mall service.

What were the key steps in your expansion across the region?

I was looking for Dubai Market, but we did not target it with the goal of operating, so we started activations in malls there just to have a presence there. Moreover, as long as 90% of the marketing budget decisions go through Dubai offices, our presence was a must to access big, important clients. We did the same in Qatar, entering the country through certain activations for telecoms companies then to a wider and bigger scope of clients. We planned to expand our presence there, but decided to focus more on the Kuwaiti market. We have an office in Lebanon as well, and we expect to add the same M2R products there in the near future.