Snap Inc. appoints head of UAE operations

Jake Thomas takes on the new role, having previously served as head of agency development for the Middle East and North Africa at Snap. (Arab News)
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Updated 10 September 2020

Snap Inc. appoints head of UAE operations

  • Jake Thomas takes on the new role, having previously served as head of agency development for the Middle East and North Africa at Snap

DUBAI: Snap Inc. has appointed Jake Thomas as head of its UAE operations as the company rapidly expands its local partner ecosystem and seeks to deliver more opportunities to consumers and brands than ever before.  

Based in Dubai, Thomas joined Snap three and a half years ago as one of its first hires in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. He was previously the head of agency development for Snap MENA. He has played a key role in building the MENA business, working with local and regional agencies and brands.

Thomas has been in the region for the last eight years, previously overseeing Marketing Solutions in MENA for LinkedIn. Prior to that, Thomas was instrumental in driving digital transformation with Telegraph Media Group, based in the UK.

Since Snap set up its regional headquarters in Dubai in early 2017, the UAE has been a crucial launchpad for the company in producing more locally relevant content, introducing new creator platforms and products, and unleashing creative campaigns with local and pan-regional brands. Currently, Snapchat reaches around 60 percent of 13-24-year-olds in the UAE and more than one in three people between the ages of 13-34.  

Hussein Freijeh, general manager of Snap Inc. for MENA, said: “Over the last few years, we have been thrilled to grow our presence across the MENA region from the UAE, which remains our business hub for many regional clients and agency partners. We also have a highly engaged audience of Snapchatters in the UAE. We see a significant opportunity to grow that audience even further by empowering people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world, and have fun together. Jake is the right evangelist to carry Snap’s vision forward in the UAE as we move from strength to strength.”

Thomas added: “As a team, we believe that reinventing the camera represents the greatest opportunity to improve the way people connect and communicate in the UAE. We are known for creating products that have become standards across mobile communication and content, including vertical video and Stories. As we continue to lead in the mobile space, I am excited to work with our UAE-based clients and partners, to further unlock the potential of Snapchat, for both brands and our community.”

Cannes Lions answers big questions ahead of LIONS Live

Updated 16 min 34 sec ago

Cannes Lions answers big questions ahead of LIONS Live

Ahead of the return of LIONS Live from Oct 19-23, Cannes Lions partnered with WeTransfer to answer several questions put to its talent back in June 2020. The respondents include Quiet Storm’s Trevor Robinson, BBDO’s Josy Paul, Project Everyone’s Gail Gallie, Isobar’s Jean Lin, Google’s Lorraine Twohill, among others. Here are excerpts from the report:

What is the best form of activism? Can some activism set causes back, rather than bring progress?

Richard Curtis, writer, director, co-founder of Red Nose Day and UN Sustainable Development Goals advocate: All forms of activism play an important role in influencing and creating change. The most important thing is to strategize with everyone in mind. For example, if amazing change was happening at a political level, but nothing at all on a grassroots level, that wouldn’t create the best possible outcome. Activists might be doing their work with the best of intentions, but are not focused on collaboration. This may not necessarily set causes back, but is likely to be less effective and therefore hinder progress.

What will the creative approach look like post COVID-19?

Lorraine Twohill, chief marketing officer, Google: The elements that make really great work have always been the same and that will never change. Great work is great work. That being said, good creative work has always leaned on truth and shared experience and, right now, there is more of that than ever. Although everyone has experienced COVID-19 differently, we are living through a unique shared experience, which gives us more inspiration for powerful storytelling that resonates with people. In addition to that, COVID-19 has introduced so much chaos and new information into our lives, and people’s time is so valuable. I think that will lead to an increased focus on the messages that really matter in creative work. And, ultimately, to more human work.

As the market shifts toward e-commerce, what approach should be taken by the brands to design better consumer experiences in the new normal?

Jean Lin, global executive chairman, Isobar: The trends we’ve seen over the past few years will accelerate: from e-commerce, to Everywhere Commerce, to Total Commerce — every brand moment can become a moment to shop. You need technology to create experiences at scale, but you can’t underestimate how important creativity is in shaping customer experience in commerce. Brands should ask these key questions: How will my commerce offering make people’s lives better and easier — what problem does it solve? What will make my brand memorable and what do I want to be remembered for? What will ensure my product offering and brands resonate so people don’t get bored of my products?

It all comes down to bringing together the point of inspiration with the point of transaction. Use every brand moment as a shopping moment, but unleash creativity to avoid commoditization and mediocrity. Marketing conversations that focus too much on efficiency, and not on values and transformation, will have consequences and brands could suffer as we move to a new normal.

How should brands who are worried about putting out fake news navigate deep fakes? How do they do it safely?

Mike McGee, co-founder, Framestore: Advertisers and brands rely on building trust with their consumers and fans. Any mistakes and they are likely to be punished. In our clips, Boris and Donald were designed to be provocative, to start a conversation about their fidelity and likeness. But we didn’t use them to make any political statements, the content was designed to be amusing rather than a hoax.

What are you looking for when hiring creative talent? What stands out in a creative portfolio?

Josy Paul, chairman and chief creative officer, BBDO India: The truth is that you hire people, not portfolios. You are looking for difference, you’re looking for diversity. You’re looking for people who can bring you new influences and new backgrounds so that your work can be richer. And often a portfolio may not reflect that, because the portfolio tells you about the past. The person tells you about the future.