Why American brands rule the hearts of Saudis

McDonald’s branch in Qassim. (Photo courtesy: McDonald’s Facebook)
Updated 20 May 2017
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Why American brands rule the hearts of Saudis

JEDDAH: American brands stand tall in the Saudi market against international counterparts. Apple and Microsoft reign supreme in technology, and Ford, GMC and Jeep are at the forefront among car brands.
In fashion there is Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Nike, Gap, Coach and American Eagle.
Maybelline and MAC have a strong presence in cosmetics. As for food, McDonald’s, like anywhere else in the world, is widely popular among Saudi millennials.
“What I like about American brands is that they go viral around the world,” said Nada Al-Shehri, a Saudi student pursuing her master’s degree in the US.
“I think the reason behind that phenomenon is the way American brands represent the US in terms of diversity, independence and affordability. Those brands advocate for the American dream, which is still a widely accepted theme of the 21st century.”
A recent Arab News/YouGov poll found that eight in 10 Americans are unable to point out the Arab world on a map. But Saudis are quite knowledgeable about American culture via movies, music and products.
According to the YouGov Brand Index, the Apple iPhone ranked fifth in Saudi Arabia in 2016, while its South Korean rival Samsung was seventh.
Sameeh Qasem, managing director at the TIMA digital advertising agency, said American companies and brands know that the Saudi market is vital, massive and fiercely competitive.
“Brands need to always… prove their presence in the market to maintain their status in light of many international brands,” Qasem said, adding that big US brands should engage more with local influencers in the Kingdom.
“Many companies we deal with ask us to recommend local influencers to promote their products.”
Among several US brands that have used local influencers in their campaigns is Nike. In February, it launched a campaign that featured five Arab influencers, including Fatima Al-Banawi, a Saudi social researcher, artist and actress.


Makkah workshop approves 27 initiatives to enhance religious moderation and tolerance

Updated 24 min 59 sec ago
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Makkah workshop approves 27 initiatives to enhance religious moderation and tolerance

  • Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal receives book on “Following the Steps of the Role Model”
  • Second workshop tackles use of technology in crowd control

JEDDAH: Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal has inaugurated the “mithaq” initiative, the first of its kind to be held at the Holy Mosques, and received the book on “Following the Steps of the Role Model” from the General President of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais.

The initiative included three workshops: The first workshop, Creating Initiatives in Moderation and Tolerance, was managed and supervised by the Prince Faisal Center for Moderation. It attracted many scholars and academicians and approved 27 initiatives to enhance moderation and tolerance.

The second workshop was on using technology in crowd control — engineering solutions for better crowd flow and for enhancing security control.

The third workshop was about the media and the global mission of the Holy Mosques. It was attended by many media personalities and university professors, and was characterized by serious discussion before agreement on quality initiatives with tangible results.

During the Makkah cultural days, Prince Khaled inaugurated the pact of the role model, which represents a holistic commitment to quality service from leaders, employees, security personnel and everyone serving at the Holy Mosques. This pact is an interpretation of the directives of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Prince Khaled toured the exhibition and praised the efforts of each department in the service of the pilgrims and visitors of the Holy Mosques.

Al-Sudais held a conference about the impact of the Holy Mosques in enhancing the role model, presided over by Sheikh Saleh Al-Taleb, imam of the Holy Mosque. It was attended by Sheikh Saad Al-Shathri, adviser at the royal court, and Sheikh Hassan bin Abdul Hameed Bukhari.