Marwan Arban CEO of Origin on the imperative of understanding Saudi Arabia
Posted on 2024 Jan,02

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As a local agency, ORIGIN has already established itself as a significant player in the kingdom’s adland. Marwan Arban CEO of ORIGIN seems to know well what it takes to ace it in this business.


How would you describe the current general ad business mood in Saudi Arabia?
The advertising industry in Saudi Arabia is experiencing substantial growth and, notably, it is gaining increasing significance. Saudi Arabia is advancing across various sectors, with particular maturity evident in the advertising sector. The presence of western companies entering the Saudi market, combined with the Vision 2030 initiative, is serving as a catalyst for Saudis to place a greater emphasis on branding and advertising.


Any fears/apprehensions with regard to the Saudi increasingly crowded agency landscape? 

Certainly not. The Saudi market is growing at a pace far exceeding the capacity of medium to large enterprises to keep up. I anticipate that this expansion will continue, and demand will keep surging until the local market can adequately meet these demands.


What sets your agency apart from competitors in the KSA, and how do you maintain a competitive edge in such a dynamic competitive market?

We stand as the singular agency in the region to seamlessly blend neuroscience with communication. Our approach delves deep into data, harnessing both the intricacies of neuroscience data and the nuances of human-level data through cutting-edge technology and the latest in research methodologies. This unique approach empowers us to deliver invaluable and precise insights to our partners, propelling our service pillars towards the creation of precise strategies and efficient execution.


What specific struggles or challenges are unique to KSA ad market? And what is its most interesting aspect? 

The Saudi market operates at an exceptionally rapid pace, characterized by its heightened demands and sky-high ambitions, perhaps reaching unprecedented levels. In Saudi Arabia, the quest for being the fastest, tallest, strongest, and the most creative in all endeavors is a continuous pursuit. The nation is always eager to demonstrate its true potential to the world, and for us, this constant quest for innovation and excellence is what makes it truly intriguing. The challenge lies in consistently delivering the most creative, fastest, and best solutions every single time.


What do you think agencies need the most to succeed in a market like Saudi Arabia? 

Understanding Saudi Arabia. 

When it comes to grasping the essence of Saudi Arabia, localization stands as the foremost imperative. The Saudi populace possesses a distinctive culture, particularly evident as one delves into the younger generations, resulting in a fusion of Saudi identities. The real challenge lies in striking the right equilibrium between catering to the older and younger generations through effective localization, a task that proves to be a stumbling block for many agencies.


What in your opinion Saudi advertising is still lacking?

Local talent.

Saudi Arabia is in the early stages of nurturing this industry from the ground up. While some initiatives are underway, the momentum is still lacking.

I firmly believe that it is our responsibility, as agencies, to take the lead in fostering local talent. We aspire to witness local talent taking the center stage in global awards and receiving recognition, with Saudi names shining brightly in the realms of the art and advertising industry.


How would you picture the kingdom 10 years from now? 

A decade can seem like an extended period in the context of Saudi Arabia. However, I am confident that the spotlight will shift within the next few years.

Looking ahead to the Kingdom in 2032 is truly thrilling. Saudi Arabia appears to have strategically bided its time, enabling it to learn from the mistakes of other players in the region and poised for accelerated growth. Over the next 10 years, Saudi Arabia is poised to host the world's premier advertising events right in the heart of Riyadh, with numerous Saudi talents taking center stage and being recognized at these awards.


What role do you see your agency playing in the overall Saudi Vision 2030?

As a local agency, we have already established ourselves as a significant player in the industry. Our primary focus is assisting Saudi companies in shaping their outlook towards communication and advertising. Furthermore, our commitment to nurturing and guiding local Saudi talent is a critical facet of the industry's long-term sustainability.