TikTok highlights the most authentic brands of 2021

TikTok highlights the most authentic brands of 2021
The app was downloaded 3 billion times, and was the most downloaded non-game app in the first six months of 2021. (Supplied)
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Updated 29 December 2021

TikTok highlights the most authentic brands of 2021

TikTok highlights the most authentic brands of 2021
  • Internet’s most popular platform celebrates the brands that performed best this year

DUBAI: TikTok emerged as the world’s favorite social media platform of 2021, overtaking Google as the most popular destination on the internet. The app was downloaded 3 billion times, and was the most downloaded non-game app in the first six months of 2021, hitting 383 million installations from January to June 2021 alone, according to SEO consultancy Backlinko.

Brands have been integral to the growth of TikTok, with more and more advertisers embracing the short and entertaining formats that it offers. “This year, we were inspired and humbled to see trends and culture come to life through the TikTok community, and businesses no doubt played a huge role in this,” said Shant Oknayan, TikTok’s head of global business solutions for Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

At its first global virtual event, TikTok World, the company revealed key data points reflecting consumer attitudes on the platform.

For example, 46 percent watch TikTok without distractions, making it the most conducive environment for advertisers to reach existing and new customers. Advertising on the app is well received and effective, with 70 percent saying TikTok ads are enjoyable and 92 percent taking action after watching a video.

The data also revealed what audiences are looking for from brands, with 44 percent saying they want branded content to be fun. As the year ends, TikTok is celebrating the brands that used the platform most effectively and authentically to reach new audiences, start or tap into trends, and create commerce opportunities through TikTok.

Small businesses have taken to social media as a cost-effective way of connecting with audiences. One such example is Dubai-based Japanese cheesecake company Uncle Fluffy, which amassed an impressive following as soon as it debuted on TikTok. The brand currently has over 2 million followers on the platform.

In order for brands to succeed on TikTok, they have to embrace its nuances such as the latest challenges and formats like Duet and Branded Effects, which help them co-create with audiences through interactive experiences. Starbucks, for example, created a Ramadan campaign where users were asked to show how much they miss their cup of coffee during the fasting hours through lip-syncing.

Nike engaged with audiences by asking people to flaunt their favorite Air Max with a unique Nike Air Max HTC soundtrack and transition. The video garnered a massive 3.9 billion views.

The popularity of TikTok has made brands think like creators, and it is paying off. For example, Kraft created “Kraft Remixes,” which are recipes modeled around familiar tracks and rhythms. The lyrics are essentially a detailed recipe but one that can be easily sung.

Capitalizing on the trend of creators showing off their shopping hauls and outfits, Max asked its fans on White Wednesday to share the different outfits they had curated from their purchases.

Live streams are the most authentic way to connect with audiences, and retail giant Alshaya used this format to create its first-ever online shopping event #ShopTillYouTok. The campaign ran for eight days; each day, a different brand from the group ran a live stream on the brand’s TikTok channel, with the best deals for Black Friday and other content that drove audiences to shop.

“Brands across the MENA region brought us joy and encouraged us to get creative. They reminded us of the importance of being authentic when connecting with the community and were able to engage with a wide global audience. 2021 was the year that TikTok became a launchpad for must-have brands and products that the community loves,” added Oknayan.


Sky News Arabia launches new Arabic-language digital platform

Sky News Arabia launches new Arabic-language digital platform
Updated 23 May 2022

Sky News Arabia launches new Arabic-language digital platform

Sky News Arabia launches new Arabic-language digital platform
  • SNABusiness.com will cover business and economic news and analysis

ABU DHABI: Sky News Arabia has launched a new Arabic-language digital platform SNABusiness.com, featuring breaking news, economic analysis and in-depth reporting.

The launch of the platform is in response to “consumer demand for objective and actionable economic intelligence and insights,” according to a company statement.

“The launch of SNAbusiness.com reflects Sky News Arabia’s commitment to provide our audiences with the economic news and analysis they need,” said Youssef Tsouri, head of news at Sky News Arabia.

He added: “We are witnessing an increasing demand for business news at a time when the whole world is in greater need of this genre of information.”

The digital publication will cover all topics relating to business and economy across industries including financial technology, energy and oil, tourism, real estate, agriculture and other sectors.

The website’s content will include diverse content types including reports, videos and exclusive interviews. SNABusiness.com aims to present complex data in an easy-to-understand manner through charts, infographics and digital videos.

Tsouri said: “Our aim is to provide fast and accurate reporting to our viewers and deliver our brand promise to be ‘your reliable source of economic information’.”


Disneyland’s new advert calls Arab audiences to Paris this summer

Disneyland’s new advert calls Arab audiences to Paris this summer
Updated 23 May 2022

Disneyland’s new advert calls Arab audiences to Paris this summer

Disneyland’s new advert calls Arab audiences to Paris this summer

DUBAI: Leading entertainment resort Disneyland Paris has released its first advert specifically for Arab audiences featuring Dubai-based influencer Sara Karrit.

Airing in the UAE and KSA, the advert is produced by Dubai-based local agency ArabyAds, and features Karrit sharing her dream of visiting Disneyland with her son on the occasion of the destination’s 30th anniversary.

Samira Tachfint, sales and marketing director at Disneyland Paris told Arab News: “Arab audiences, especially those based in the GCC, have always been a major part of our international audience base.

“There is a strong appetite among Emirati/GCC families for Disney destinations and at Disneyland Paris they have access to the ultimate magical experience just 6 hours away by air.”

A large number of Arab families visit every year, particularly during summer, said Tachfint. “Our bespoke luxury offerings and our ever-evolving entertainment encourage repeat visits.”

Disneyland Paris’ 30th-anniversary celebrations include Premier Access Ultimate, a digital service being launched this summer that will provide guests with one-time expedited access to 12 of the most popular attractions, in addition to new shows and experiences.

Tachfint said: “As we mark our 30th anniversary, we produced this ad to celebrate the connection we have forged with our GCC visitors over the past three decades. The ad, produced completely in the GCC and starring local talent, showcases how the magic of Disneyland Paris is alive for different generations and genders.”

Disneyland Paris is the most visited tourist destination in Europe — ahead of the Louvre and Eiffel Tower combined — with more than 16 million annual visitors, according to the company.


Netflix launches new collection and features on Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Netflix launches new collection and features on Global Accessibility Awareness Day
Updated 23 May 2022

Netflix launches new collection and features on Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Netflix launches new collection and features on Global Accessibility Awareness Day
  • “Celebrating Disability with Dimension” collection features 50+ shows and films about people with disabilities

DUBAI: Netflix is marking Global Accessibility Awareness Day (May 19) by launching a new collection, “Celebrating Disability with Dimension” that features over 50 shows and movies highlighting characters and stories about people living with disabilities.

The collection includes shows such as “Raising Dion,” “Special,” and “Atypical” and movies that include “The Fundamentals of Caring” and “Feel the Beat.”

“How we access stories has changed a lot,” said Heather Dowdy, Netflix’s director of product accessibility, in a blog post.

“Whether it’s video conference calls, texting, or the flashing doorbell, nowadays technology can build bridges to access for many people living with disabilities.”

Netflix is therefore expanding its language availability of Audio Descriptions (AD) and Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (SDH). These features will be made available across more of the streaming giant’s catalog in languages including Spanish, Portuguese, and French.

“For decades, your access to entertainment was determined by where you lived and what language you spoke, meaning that until recently people who needed AD or SDH could only enjoy a story if it was made in their local language,” said Dowdy.

“By increasing our SDH and AD language availability to over 20 languages, we hope to give all of our members the ability to see their lives reflected on screen, no matter where you’re from, what language you speak, or what abilities you have.”

Netflix will also display badges for shows and films that have AD and SDH on web and iOS, as well as host accessibility screenings in select countries around the world.

“With over 1 billion people living with disabilities globally, the opportunity to tell more inclusive stories and bond within our communities over storytelling is tremendous,” said Dowdy.


Saudi Arabia’s largest theater chain launches Muvi Studios

Saudi Arabia’s largest theater chain launches Muvi Studios
Updated 23 May 2022

Saudi Arabia’s largest theater chain launches Muvi Studios

Saudi Arabia’s largest theater chain launches Muvi Studios

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s leading theater operator Muvi Cinemas launched Muvi Studios on Monday, and appointed Saudi film industry pioneer Faisal Baltyuor as its CEO.

Muvi Studios will focus on developing both Saudi and Egyptian films for the Saudi public, concentrating on films for the big screen. 

Muvi Cinema announced this step as part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to build a stronger film industry since theaters reopened in 2018.

“I have been collaborating with Muvi Cinemas in various ways since it launched three years ago,” Baltyuor said. “Its growth in Saudi Arabia has been extraordinary. It has captured the imagination of the nation with 46 percent box office market share tapping into the pent-up demand for a globally inspired theater experience, complemented by local execution.

“Now, through the creation of Muvi Studios, we are intent on producing world class Arabic movies to entertain audiences in the Middle East and around the world,” he added.

“At the same time, this is another exciting development for the rapidly expanding Saudi film production sector, as the country evolves rapidly into a vibrant society.”

Formerly CEO of the Saudi Film Council, Baltyour also previously led an initiative with the Ministry of Culture to develop the Saudi film industry before founding the largest specialized Saudi film distribution company, CineWaves Film, in 2020. 

He is a board member of Manga Productions and holds several other roles in the Saudi film industry.

“The Middle East region, and especially Saudi Arabia, is witnessing a renaissance of its movie industry and we are excited to have Faisal onboard to lead the company into this new venture to develop Saudi and regional film content to the big screen,” Muvi Cinemas’ chief executive, Adon Quinn, said.  

“The cash we’re investing in Muvi Studios will be used to produce a slate of top-quality Arabic movies and we aim to release a minimum of three films within the next 12 months.”

Since its launch in February 2019, Muvi Cinemas has expanded to 22 locations across the Kingdom, operating 205 screens featuring the latest movie experiences, including Samsung Onyx, 4DX, ScreenX, Dolby Cinema and Xperience powered by CGS technology.


WEF unveils Global Collaboration Village to improve public-private cooperation

WEF unveils Global Collaboration Village to improve public-private cooperation
Updated 23 May 2022

WEF unveils Global Collaboration Village to improve public-private cooperation

WEF unveils Global Collaboration Village to improve public-private cooperation

DAVOS: An initiative to improve the functionality of the metaverse and increase public engagement within it was announced at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Monday.

The Global Collaboration Village, which was launched in partnership with Accenture and Microsoft, will improve public-private cooperation, a WEF statement said.

The initiative will provide immersive spaces where stakeholders can convene, create and take action on critical global challenges, it added.

“The metaverse will influence the way people, governments, companies and society at large think, work, interact and communicate for the purpose of collectively addressing issues on the global agenda,” said Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of WEF. 

“The Global Collaboration Village will be an extension of the World Economic Forum’s public private platforms and in-person meetings and will provide a more open, more sustained and more comprehensive process for coming together,” he added.

Julie Sweet, Chairwoman and CEO of Accenture, said: “While the metaverse is only in its early days, it already holds great promise, not only for redefining how organizations work and interact but also for fostering effective public-private partnerships.”

According to the statement, WEF wants to be a pioneer within the metaverse space and bring together others to co-create within it.