Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 9 July 2020

Flying squirrels reflect regional uptake of online advertising

The Mena online advertising market is growing, driven in part by the increasing use of internet classified e-commerce companies. But sometimes the ads on such sites can be a little bizarre.
Southern flying squirrel. Getty Images
Southern flying squirrel. Getty Images

According to this month’s Northwest University Qatar report Media Industries in the Middle East 2016, the total ad market in the Middle East was valued at US$5.5 billion in 2015.

The Mena region is seeing a gradual shift into the modern era of digital marketing, an area especially pertinent to the region’s 141 million internet users, the report says, led to an extent by online classified advertising.

From 2010 to 2015, total digital advertising in Mena increased from US$105 million to $550m, the report says.

Adoption of digital advertisement has been slow, but continues to increase each year. Mobile advertising is estimated at only 6 per cent of ad expenditures in the region, the report says, even though the Middle East has one of the highest rates of smartphone usage in the world.

Zenith Optimedia forecasts digital ad spend in Mena will reach $1 billion by 2017, given the increasing reliance of marketers on less traditional mediums.

In the UAE the rise of e-commerce platforms is helping to boost the growth of digital advertising and websites such as Souq.com, Dubizzle and EZHeights have become the norm for residents here – and in the wider region – to advertise goods they no longer want.

And the online classified market can throw up some very strange offerings.

EZHeights has listed some of the most outrageous classified advertisements that are posted on its website, and in some cases even sold.

“All classifieds advertisements posted on the website undergo a fact checking process before they are posted online. We do lookout for the extreme ones that may incite trouble, however, the quirkier ads do go up on the website,” said Adham Saleh, the chief executive of EZHeights.

And here are a few:

1. Very Playful Flying Squirrel (Dh400)

Although the age of this exotic pet is not mentioned in the advert, these tiny gentle squirrels are apparently “perfect pocket pets”.

2. Pair of Peacocks (Dh1,500)

In case your flying squirrel gets lonely, he would probably enjoy the company of a pair of majestic peacocks.

3. Dead, Old Handpicked Trafford Grass (price unknown)

Dead grass can never go out of demand, especially if it is from the Manchester United football pitch in the United Kingdom. Pretty sure Wayne Rooney and Marcus Rashford have left their imprints behind on the dried-up blades of grass, making it impossible to place a price on it. However, there are suspicions about this advertisement being the bait for a radio station prank.

4. Brass Pocket Pirate Compass (Dh59)

This brass pocket pirate compass is an antique reproduction of an original sundials used in the 1900s. A perfect piece if you are a collector of antiques, but not for those who have serious aspirations to join the high seas and loot ships.

5. Handcrafted Golden Aladdin Lamp (Dh79)

A few hard rubs on this flawless, handcrafted Golden Aladdin Lamp might summon a genie to grant you three wishes. On a more serious note, this decorative accessory is best placed over your mantelpiece.

6. Mobile Truck/Bus Wash Machine (Dh65,000)

Why take your truck, bus or trailer to a car wash, when you can get a mobile one at home? The top-of-the-line EZ Drive system makes the machine wash even faster and seem feather light, apparently. For a whopping Dh65,000, it even carries its own water, detergent and power for completely untethered operation.

chnelson@thenational.ae

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Updated: September 29, 2016 04:00 AM

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