Come late November, there will be the start of the FIFA World Cup in Doha. And there will also be 'Black Friday' sales - for shoppers and retailers, this combo represents an opportunity not to be missed. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: The final 10 days of November – for brands, retailers and shoppers in the UAE, this period could represent the biggest opportunity of the year to cash in. Because along with the start of the FIFA World Cup on November 20, there will also be the ‘Black Friday’ promotions kicking off November 25.

And it would be difficult to miss out on such an opportunity, according to marketing and advertising industry sources. Shoppers, from both domestic and those coming into and out of the UAE for the football matches in Doha, will have a clear sight on special discounts and the various other promotions on offer.

“That would be a good time to bring out those 80-90 per cent discounts – whether online or at the stores,” said a marketing consultant.

While Black Friday (in the UAE, there are white, yellow and other colour options) tends to revolve around what the ecommerce giants such as Amazon and noon have to offer, malls and retailers are just as ambitious about this particular timeframe, which also marks the official start of the end-of-year holiday sales period.

“It’s historic that the FIFA World Cup is overlapping with Black Friday, which is a critical sales period for retailers in the region,” said Sandeep Ganediwalla, the Dubai-based regional Partner at Redseer Consulting. “Historically, the cost-per-click tends to go up for marketers during this period by 15-20 per cent.”

Finding the right bargain

For shoppers, this is about finding the product they are after at the right price. This will also apply to all those making a visit to the UAE and staying at hotels and short-stay homes, and fly over to Doha and back for the matches. This is what the UAE retailers are banking on – big.

“An estimated 1 million World Cup fans could arrive in Dubai,” said Amit Raj, COO at Dubai-based Binary Digital Media. “And then another million made up of the regular seasonal visitors.

Two million visitors in a 30-day timeframe is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for brands across sectors to make good.

- Amit Raj
Are you ready to upgrade the TV set?
Offers for 'bigger and clearer' television sets are already getting high visibility offers on the various channels targetting UAE audiences. World Cups and Olympics have also been a time retailers have made full use of to push the latest versions, and the next 4-6 weeks are about trying to convince consumers to trade up.

"The pricing on TV sets could get downright aggressive - if they haven't already," said a hypermarket retailer.

Where should brands focus?

With sporting mega-events, television commercials have always been the go-to choice for marketers. The big winner this time could be outdoor media – and there is talk that some of the most sought billboard and outdoor digital media spots are seeing a ‘doubling’ in their tariffs for the mid-November to end-December phase.

Digital and social media channels will also be raking it in. “Digital media will get to showcase its true potential,” said Ganediwalla. “While TV will continue to be the dominant channel for World Cup viewing, the top four platforms for product discovery will still be digital with TV coming in at fifth.

“Smaller brands now have multiple avenues to create brand awareness through multiple online channels and influencers. What should differentiate them is the kind of creativity they can bring it and the ability to adopt newer formats such as ‘short-form’, which is expected to see the highest increase.”


What Qatar's neighbouring markets could generate from FIFA World Cup visitors during the month-long event

Think taxis?

Raj says that brands and retailers should not confine themselves to tried and tested channels. “Including an innovative medium like binary digital screens inside RTA taxis is a perfect option to engage,” he added. “It’s affordable, location-based and interactive.

“Mega events like these are not easy for brands that are tight on budget for an SOV (Share of Voice). An innovative approach that engages audiences is a proven clutter-breaker, but it's easier said than done."