Carat expands with operation in Riyadh

Media agency Carat MENA is continuing its expansion across the Middle East and North Africa with the opening of an operation in Riyadh.

The move has been made in order to support the agency’s growing portfolio in Saudi Arabia, with the operation wholly owned by Aegis Media, Carat’s parent company, and working in partnership with the Jeddah office, which was set up in 2006.

Ahmed Haidar, who was previously managing director in Jeddah, has been appointed managing director for Saudi Arabia and will lead the Riyadh office. Haidar has already hired Jean-Claude Gholam, previously at MEC, as head of operations, and together they will spearhead the growth of the Riyadh office, which opens with an existing client base that includes Total, Nokia, Kellogg’s, Ikea and Philips.

“The advertising market in Saudi Arabia grew over 10 per cent in the first quarter of 2011,” said Haidar. “This is fuelled by clients that are stretching marketing budgets across the entire spectrum of communication channels and demanding partners who can think across bought, owned and earned media. Carat has such capabilities, but only by being close to our clients and the media in Riyadh, can we combine creativity and local insight with global scale.”

In March, Aegis Media launched Isobar in the region in order to meet demand for full-service digital solutions.