Feb 18 - 2010

Ogilvy head says support crucial for advertising needs

Edmond Moutran, Chairman and CEO of Memac Ogilvy & Mather Holding, the Middle East based communications company, said he would like to see the advertising industry be given more priority when it comes to payments.

“The only thing I’m shouting out for is to give me as much importance as the contractor who is building the building because he takes priority at the moment,” he said during a media roundtable on Tuesday.

Moutran said that the issue is not a matter of bad debts. “It’s a matter of seriously delayed payments. What worries us is how long it’s going to take to collect this money.”

He called for government action to help the industry. “All it takes is just for the government to say ‘these are people who helped build the economy in the past’,” he said.

“If they just notch us up one or two places, it’ll solve our problems so much faster and everyone else will get paid. Now they [the real estate clients] are talking about paying us in five years, I’d like to make it three if possible.”

Prospects for 2010

While the company’s revenues dropped less than 10 per cent last year, Memac Ogilvy is expecting 2010 to be a record year in terms of growth and revenues, Moutran said.

“2010 is looking fantastic,” he said, especially with growth in the Levant and North Africa markets such as Jordan, Egypt and Syria, as well as in places such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Memac Ogilvy’s new Abu Dhabi office has not been officially opened yet, however it is already in operation.

The company is not very concerned about last year’s drop since it had witnessed an increase of 30 to 40 per cent growth over the past four years. “However, we’re becoming a lot more cautious in whom we give credit,” he said.

“We’ve learned our lessons from 2009,” he said.