World Intellectual Property Organization

Famous Arab Brand Names

June 2008

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Al Jazeera was launched in 1996 as an Arabic
satellite TV news channel with a US$150 million
grant from the Emir of Qatar. Now a global
network, broadcasting news and entertainment
in multiple languages, Al Jazeera is distributed
to some 100 million homes worldwide.

March 2008 saw the launch in Jordan of the Famous Arab Brand Names Group, an initiative inspired by the increasing success of Arab brands in both domestic and international markets. The brainchild of Mr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, chairman of the Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization, the Group will be headed by the Arab Society for Intellectual Property (ASIP) together with leading Arab enterprises and organizations. Its activities will include exhibitions to promote new products, workshops on the protection of trademarks and trips to help its members promote their brands in overseas markets.

Mr. Mutasem Dmour, Executive Director of the ASIP, explains that the Group came about as a result of the increase in the number of trademarks being registered in the Arab region, plus the growing recognition that the value of a successful trademark is worth more than a company’s fixed assets. “ASIP is very proud of being part of this initiative,” he said. “It complements our objectives in promoting intellectual property (IP) protection in the Arab world through modernization of IP systems, laws and regulations.”

ASIP cites Al-Jazeera (news network), the Emirates (airline), Almarai (dairy produce), and Al Arabiya (broadcasting) among the best known Arab brands. The same names head a list of the 40 top brands created and owned by Arab companies, which was published in 2006 by the Forbes media company. The Forbes ranking drew on an online survey of 1,200 consumers across the region to gauge which well known brands were most admired and trusted by consumers. Also high on the list were the spectacular Burj Al Arab hotel, which dominates the Dubai coastline, and the Saudi-based Jarir chain ofbookstores.

Arab companies, notes the Forbes research team, have to cater to culturally sensitive and complex markets of national residents and expatriates. “The key question for those building Arab brands is how to think globally and act locally.”

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Emirates

The Emirates Group – which includes the flagship
Emirates Airline and Hotel – reported its 20th consecutive
net profit in 2007/08, amounting to US$1.45 billion. The
Emirates Airline carried over 21 million passengers last
year, and was voted Most Popular Airline in
ArabianBusiness.com
’s 2008 travel survey.

 

 

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Almarai.

In 1976, Almarai (“green pastures” in Arabic) set out to
transform traditional methods of dairy farming in order
to meet the demands of an expanding Saudi market. Today,
the Saudi company claims to be the largest integrated dairy
foods company in the world, reaching over 34,000 retail
outlets a day in six Gulf countries.

 

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Al Arabiya

Established in Dubai in 2003 by the Saudi-controlled
Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC) to compete with
Al Jazeera TV, the Al Arabiya news channel is likewise
known for breaking fast-moving news stories. It is consistently
rated among the top pan-Arab stations by Middle East audiences.

 

 

Iraq's Ancient brands

Branding is widely assumed to have begun in the West with the Industrial Revolution. Challenging this assumption, U.K. anthropologist David Wengrow has presented evidence that labels on ancient containers, as well as practices surrounding the distribution of commodities, may have functioned as branding strategies with cultural origins in the early civilizations of Egypt and Iraq. David Wengrow’s study, Prehistories of Commodity Branding, is published in the February 2008 Current Anthropology journal.

 
By Elizabeth March, WIPO Magazine Editorial Team, Communications and Public Outreach Division.
Acknowledgements: Mu'tasem Dmour, The Arab Society for Intellectual Property.

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