Dubai's Desperate Housewife

Trials and traumas of a full-time mum in Dubai

Radio ads that drive me MAD

with 9 comments

It’s no secret to anyone who lives in Dubai that the quality of radio ads here is abysmal.

Everything from buying a car or taking out a loan to conserving water seems to be acted out by a smug family of ignorant parents who’re inevitably educated by smart-alec children with terrible accents. Dialogue invariably runs along the lines of “Ooh, Ahmed, you are a clever boy! Mummy’s 42 and even she didn’t know you should turn the tap off while cleaning your teeth! / should have banked at X bank / should have bought Y car!”

Someone, please shoot them all now.

Anyway at present there’s one ad in particular that makes me want to throw a brick at the radio. It’s the one for the Arabian Radio Network (ARN) Business Club seminars.

I can’t quote it verbatim as I usually shout abuse over it, but it goes something along the lines of: “Every morning, thousands of mums in the UAE get up and feed their children a healthy breakfast of branded items bought from their chosen supermarket. They dress in clothes they’ve chosen from their favourite malls, get in a large SUV and drive the children to a well-researched school.”

I think it’s supposed to tell potential advertisers what a great target audience these mums are – so far, so good. Most mums do make most of the decisions regarding these matters: We are a great target audience.

But then it all goes wrong. “And during that whole hour,” the ad continues, “the chances are those mums will be listening to the radio.”


What mum in the UAE can wake the children, feed them breakfast, make their lunches, get them dressed, ready and out the door, drive the average 70km round-trip school run and be back in ONE HOUR?

Unless you’re one of the handful of debentured families that lives a stone’s throw from the local school, the school-run alone takes an hour, forget all the other bits.

The irony is, the ad is for a seminar that teaches “effective radio advertising.”

If you asked me, the number-one rule of effective radio advertising would be to understand your audience. But what would I know? I’m just a housewife.


Written by mrsdubai

April 30, 2012 at 8:09 pm

9 Responses

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  1. Ahahahahahahaaa!
    My hubby wrote those.
    I love your critique 🙂


    April 30, 2012 at 8:43 pm

  2. Oh god, I should have known. Dubai is too small for this type of blog. Can he amend it to “and for these two hours” ? 🙂

    Mrs Dubai

    April 30, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    • Gosh, it’s not a problem. The fact that you’re even blogging about it means it has made an impact…but they’re not selling how to advertise effectively – they’re just selling advertising, showing that it IS an effective platform…and it can even reach frustrated bloggers who want to throw bricks 😛
      I remember when Potbelly’s had that disgusting ad. I stopped being a listener for some time…
      There’s another stupid “smart phone-phone” ad going at the moment *facepalm* but the problem is we lived in a mixed society, with mixed quality expectations and control…as usual.


      April 30, 2012 at 10:05 pm

  3. Well, definitely , it has been noticed in a sea of bad ads!

    Mrs Dubai

    April 30, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    • What drives me crazy (on air) is this new trend of pronoucing sixth…what’s with sick-th??? Has everyone suddenly developed a lisp?


      May 1, 2012 at 8:00 am

    • The radio ad that makes me want to crash my car into a tree is the ‘Shake Shack’ one.

      “it’s all because of Shake Shack… that keeps you coming baaaack”

      One pet peeve is they obviously record some of the ads abroad so the voice-over artist has no idea how to pronounce the names.

      The save water one: the boy is called Uckmed… and in another one: Khalidiya Mall is pronounced CarLydia Mall or in my case: when i first heard it Chlamydia…


      May 1, 2012 at 9:24 am

  4. I love the ones where the children have a completely different accent from their parents and an incongruous name for their nationality.


    May 1, 2012 at 9:28 am

  5. Oh and what about the Herbal Essence ad – I have banned that product in my home. It will never be bought. When it is on TV I switch the TV off. I am one customer that does tell people how I dislike things and its amazing how they all agree with this one being pathetic!

    Another, Pan Emirates Radio Ad…I used to shop there but since this ad – NOPE. And you may say oh good it has caused an impact…read the comment again….I used to shop there but since this ad NO LONGER!!


    September 21, 2012 at 7:38 am

    • The ones driving me crazy at the moment: Belhoul European hospital and Belhoul Speciality Hospital (“You are healthy”) and Pan Emirates – definitely!


      September 21, 2012 at 11:45 am

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