Why did you choose Jordan?
My Middle East journey began in 2005, when I responded to a job ad for Wunderman in Jordan. All applications were going through to an ex-colleague of mine, who was creative director of Y&R Jordan. From there, the path to employment was rigorous but smooth. Three years later, in 2008, I was invited to join Publicis.
How are you finding it?
The most significant influence on my experience is non-payment of my salary. When working overseas, don't assume business ethics are the same as in your home country. Always sign contracts before you get on the plane to your new role.
What is the media environment like?
The media market has shrunk by about 30% year on year in 2009. Much of the media is the same as in any other market, but there is very limited quantitative/qualitative research to prove readership/viewership figures.
How proactive are media agencies?
Historically, there has been only limited proactivity. Since the credit crisis, all agencies have been forced to be more proactive and stimulate market need.
How developed is digital media?
The Middle East is an exciting and experimental region, particularly Saudi Arabia. The Jordanian market is quite mature, but we still sell "Hollywood" rather than media schedules. Clients still love innovation and theatre.
Culture and social scene?
There is a great divide between the haves and the have-nots. This is a Muslim country and most communications are in English and Arabic, so we need to be sensitive to regional culture.
Main differences in media?
Limited research makes it difficult to scientifically rationalise media recommendations and deliver post-campaign analysis.
One thing we can learn from Jordan?
Sign employment contracts: don't let the fundamentals of employment affect a fabulous overall work and personal life experience.