Moe Jawhar

Moe Jawhar

Creative Director, Serviceplan Middle East


We don’t need to draw upon representative surveys to confirm that pets have become serious business for marketers – thus more and more brand managers take notice.

Even if you don’t own a cat or dog – you are surrounded by pets every day: on TV, on Social Media, in magazines… By creating brand campaigns not only for pet-related products but also for automotive, apparel as well as food and beverages brands, pets are everywhere. Remember Ikea’s cat viral? Or Subaru’s ‘Dog Tested’ TV commercials? They made our four-legged friends the hero of their communication, thus made a stronger connection with their potential customers. It’s a genius move – who wouldn’t love a furry friend?

But this is really the crux of the matter: Besides the fact that some people tend to like dogs more than cats or vice versa, there are countries where displaying a dog in advertising is completely out of question and would not have the desired effect as described.

Even though pet dogs are generally accepted or – depending on the specific country – rather tolerated in many countries in the Middle East, especially in cosmopolitan cities like Dubai, displaying them in advertising is considered a big Faux Pas. Dogs are considered ritually unclean in the religion of Islam. So even if you see families with dogs on the street – never even think of showing a dog in a campaign. You would be considered ignorant and offensive. If you were a client would you hire an agency that doesn’t seem to understand your culture and is too ignorant to make a proper research before working on a campaign? Probably – not.

That is why it’s so important for us to work in teams of advertising professionals who come from the respective cultural background or have at least lived long enough in the region to know what’s a ‘Go’ and what’s a ‘No-Go’! It’s also much more fun and keeps our job interesting, right?