Rabie Soubra

Communication and marketing specialist


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Will smartphones affect our evolution?

Posted by rabie soubra on May 11, 2015 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (64)

Everywhere you go, people are looking down on their phone screens

Everywhere you look, people are looking down on their phone screens

In the elevator, but to avoid eye contact

On the bus, but to avoid human contact

In airports, probably to kill time

On the beach for no reason at all

in their beds

While having dinner

In meetings, hallways, even in the movies.

They used to say that the eyes are the windows to the soul

the phones are the windows to the new false reality

and we are looking down on this new false reality

will we develop longer necks?

Bigger eyes?

Night vision?

New social codes?

I'll tell you what, I will just Google it and see.

Google, Plato's cave and reality

Posted by rabie soubra on May 11, 2015 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (105)

One of Western Philosophy's more famous allegories is the allegory of the cave by Plato

The cave, in which prisoners have been kept there since childhood, and each of them is held there in a peculiar manner, they are all chained so that their legs and necks are immobile, forced to look at a wall in front of them. Behind the prisoners is a fire, and between the fire and the prisoners is a raised walkway, on which people live and walk normally.

The fire behind the walkway projects shadows of whatever passes in front of the fire, and the chained prisoners can observe those shadows and, with time, start to recognize them and distinguish them and deal with them as the true reality, because they are unable to turn and see the real world behind them.

The prisoners do not see people, they see shadows of people and think they are people.

They do not see dogs, they see shadows of dogs and think they are dogs.

And if they happen to be released and actually see real people and real dogs, they would not recognize them as such.

Today, that wall is Google search results, and only the first page. Little by little, reality to us is defined by that search. Whether the results are true or false is irrelevant. This is a routine undetaken daily by billions of people and affects the decision making process among those people.

The only difference between Google and the cave allegory is that in the allegory, Plato suggests a possibility of a way out, while today at least, there is no way out. 

Because, what is the alternative to Google?


gecko on my wall

Posted by rabie soubra on August 26, 2014 at 6:40 AM Comments comments (0)

special eulogy for my mom

Posted by rabie soubra on August 26, 2014 at 6:30 AM Comments comments (0)


onomatopoeic story

Posted by rabie soubra on August 26, 2014 at 6:30 AM Comments comments (0)

iAdz infographic

Posted by rabie soubra on August 19, 2013 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (98)

Saudi brands Kudu

Posted by rabie soubra on January 10, 2012 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Saudi brands Kudu

Why is Kudu an important brand.

A customer metric-less testimony.

First of all, what is KUDU.

Kudu is a fast food brand, 100% Saudi, with a very good penetration in the Saudi food market, close to 200 restaurants which is a very good level in relative terms to the Saudi market.

Imagine a brand that was conceived to rival McDonalds and Burger King and other multinational giants, and succeeded in establishing a very respectable market presence.

Why is it a good brand?

First of all it is everywhere.

So the people in charge of this brand got it right as far as “place” is concerned and established a good spread, and still growing.

Second of all, it exudes value. They also got the “price” right. The perceived value is huge compared to the actual product. For the equivalent of 5 dollars you can really stuff yourself silly.

Third, it tastes awesome. So they also got the “product right”.

I am a secret fast food junkie. There, I admit it.

Secret because I hide this craving for fast food from my wife, my kids are co-conspirators with me on eating fast food. We simply love it.

But I tell you, while McDonalds and Burger king are huge international brands, they come no where near Kudu when it comes to taste. Actually on several occasions, while eating food from those two brands, I would stop right in the middle of my meal and say to myself, “this tastes awful”.

Not with Kudu, it really tastes great.

Fourth, to get out of the “P” classifier, it seems and feels healthy, or healthier, than its rivals. And this is a great advantage in my opinion.

The bread is definitely tastier than that of its rivals.

The vegetables are always fresh and crispy, unlike the sad and wilted vegetables you find in McDonalds and Burger King.

And the meat, chicken or beef, is tender, succulent and leaves a very velvety after taste.

I like it.

Fifth, you get the feeling that it is clean. Really clean.

While McDonalds and burger king score good points on hygiene, I still believe that Kudu trumps them in this area.

From a customer’s perspective this is extremely valuable.

Sixth, the personnel qualifications level in dealing with Saudi customers and in conducting themselves while working, is visibly better.

Seventh, their innovation is outstanding.

Someone there is doing something right.

The new products they launch are tasty, intelligent and mist importantly, relevant.

But this is not where the magic is. The magic is in the expectations. When you eat from McDonalds or Burger King, the expectations are not disappointing but they are flat. At Kudu, the expectations are pleasant every time. This makes me, as a customer, happy with my experience, and most of all, want to re-order fro Kudu real soon.

Can Kudu improve? Of course they can.

Their logo needs to be revitalized. The colors are nice, blue and yellow, really intimate and appealing, but the logo design is to 80’s. This is an area of improvement.

Also, their packaging materials are somewhat on the cheap side, flimsy and collapsible. Poor industrial design there.

But on the whole, it makes me feel proud that, as a Saudi brand, to reach this level of quality and success, rivaling giants in its field, is a commendable feat and I wish them more and more success.

Dinosaurs step aside

Posted by rabie soubra on December 3, 2011 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (1)

The perils facing our industry

Never before in the history of the communication industry has there been a state of shock so prevalent as is the case today.

Suddenly the communications industry in the middle east found itself disoriented and severely crippled, unable to fathom what is going on and unable to chart a clear course ahead.

Personally I think that those times that we are passing through right now as communications professionals in this part of the world is the best of times, not the worst of times. Now the sifting begins.

Now is the time of real creativity. Yes. The answer to the new problems facing our industry is in the core of what we all believed this business is about. Creativity.

Now is the time to be relevant.

Our customers has finally and officially beaten us. Our customers, traditionally the weaker link in the old communication model, where we relentlessly shoved all sorts of messages and promotions down their throats. And we did it with such lack of taste and finesse that we failed to see them gagging and throwing up.

Now is the time to be relevant. To be creative. Not to conduct more research because that will do no good to no one.

By the time the research finishes and the results are formatted, not to say " influenced" the customers will have changed their mind and adopted a totally new set of desires and discovered new motives that they did not know they had because they just read a blog somewhere, probably while the research was going on.

Our customers don't need ads any more. They have each other. But I believe they are willing to give you a chance if you are relevant again.

For over three decades the communication business has been ruled by accountants and finance people. This has got to change. Agency heads must embrace the fact that now it is not about the money anymore. It is about relevance. And I believe that when you are relevant you will make money. I always believed that.

Of course I always clashed with agency heads whom I can best describe as peddlers. But those are the people that unfortunately call the shots, called the shots.

But here is the thing. Step aside dinosaurs, and make way to the creative egos and to the intellectual wizards.

This is what your client needs and certainly what your customers needs. Dinosaur agency bosses trampled so much on the dignity of this industry.

Client is king they taught us.

No. Client is not king. Customer is king.

And now, content is king.

Get it?

Content, the fourth wave

Posted by rabie soubra on November 17, 2011 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Content, the fourth wave

We are now living in historic times, without some of us noticing.

We are in the midst of the fourth wave of change that is impacting our society, economy, culture and even humanity.

This wave is the information wave.

The first wave that impacted our existence was the agricultural wave. When human society learned how to grow their own crops and tame their livestock, therefore the need to forage, the model that our existence was based on, was no longer necessary.

The second wave was the industrial wave. When we learned how to manufacture gods and products quicker, cheaper, faster and more profitably.

The third wave was the technology wave. The fax, the computers, the laptop, the cellular phone.

Now we are living in the information wave.

The information Tsunami that is sweeping across borders and cultures and traditions and convictions and opinions and feelings and everything else. This wave and its enormous ramifications is what we really need to fathom and to wield its powers and to avoid being swept overboard.

Especially in the field of advertising and marketing. The people that belittle the effect of this wave on the advertising and marketing business are dreamers or fools.

One “like” click on facebook is stronger than a TVC, one tweet is stronger than a campaign. One recommendation on linked in is stronger than a job interview.

People trust each other much more than they trust an intrusive form of communication or any other form of persuasion.

This trust now has a milieu of exchange that is free, versatile, and instant.

How many brands and agencies understand what this means to their marketing and communication efforts?

Very few.

And this is reflected by what they are saying and doing. Which is not much, or not relevant.

If we look at most websites we are immediately struck by the most clueless representation of meaningless information that does not tell much to the customer.

This is due to the fact that clients haven’t really grasped yet this information wave. They haven’t yet understood that to best ride this information wave, the surfboard that is required is called content.

Content, or what is the story of that brand or company or government department. Content that is created, curated and delivered seamlessly to customers on their terms and in their contextual relevance.

Telling the story instead of selling it.

The customers will not only believe, they will advocate and recommend.

This is not the future.

This is right now.


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