Dubai duo launch new creative web portal

Dubai: Call it the Google for the creative side of the advertising industry. Or how about it being a Facebook for ad industry professionals? Or even a Wikipedia for all the ad campaigns out there, past and present.

Online PR News – 12-June-2011 – – For Dubai-based Niket Parekh and Kate Dombroski, such descriptions of what they are trying to attempt with comes with the territory.

Just weeks into its formation, their portal is creating its own identity, its own niche, so to speak.

The portal offers a compendium of campaigns and creative work right from the 1920s all the way down to the present ones in print, on the air waves and on TV.

"The site was originally dedicated to only advertising films, then we added radio and print," said Parekh.

"However we then thought: ‘Why only target the advertising world when we can target the entire creative communications industry?'"

"You will find creative ideas from Fortune 500 brands, but you will also be able to find unique local brands from different countries. You may even stumble across controversial ads from your favourite brands."

Dedicated pages

Currently, the site hosts over 100,000 pieces of work. It is categorised by the ad agency which did it, by brand and by country of origin and category. The promoters are now working on creating dedicated pages on-site for individual agencies.

And it need not be just the established names who can get to display their wares. "We recently moved away from the "campaign" concept as we felt this didn't suit creative people outside of the advertising circle," said Dombroski.

"We believe everyone is creative, therefore we want to encourage everyone to upload their creativity be it one piece or a series."

But won't that open the portal to all sorts of ‘wanna-be creatives'? "That may be a little too harsh a word to use," said Parekh. "We wanted to create a platform where people can showcase all different kinds of creativity — we are not here to judge as something that one person might find creative another may not."

"You will not only find ads, but professional and amateur photographers, food styling, innovative ways of doing everyday things, interior design, creative writing and much more." As of now, not surprisingly, submissions from the Gulf are growing. But the majority are from the leading ad markets as well as from China and Brazil. The portal promoters are also working on creating multi-language features to broaden the user base.

Down the line, the site will have customised features targeted at advertising agencies and design houses, initially from within the region and then from elsewhere. Universities and design schools will be roped into the mix at a later stage.

The promoters have been dipping into their own funding resources so far, and the time may come when they would need to look elsewhere. That will be the time when they are likely to get a fair indication of the portal's commercial possibilities.


"We are getting to the point where we are in a catch-22 position — we have all these ideas we would like to implement and the quicker you do it the better," said Dombroski. "But all of this takes time, money and resources.

"On the other hand we are giving away so much free space already and the more work that gets uploaded the more our server bills increase. So, yes, we would always be open and interested in outside funding and backing behind us.

"When it comes to on-line, all websites have a draw a fine line between giving out free information and how they make money."

That would be the moment when the portal finds out conclusively whether it has made the cut as a commercially viable venture.

Promotion: In-house revenue

Rather than depend entirely for future funding needs on outside sources, the promoters of are intent on creating in-house revenue generation.

On the drawing board are plans to offer e-versions of books related to the advertising and other creative pursuits.

Their version, named BookShelf, allows readers to view, bookmark pages, and write notes. Whatever is bookmarked or posted on a note on goes into a separate "book" of notes or bookmarks. The site currently charges $24.99 (Dh91.77) for an unlimited number of books a month, and intends to charge per book shortly. "We are also signing up with a lot of artists to create their own reference books," said Niket Parekh. "These will be priced from $0.99 to $9.99."

The portal is also creating books for other e-bookstore operators. "We have sent out formal letters to the corporate companies whose work we would like to publish and when they say they are OK with it we publish the books," he added.

The current books include The Nike Collection, and the portal's first, Best of Ambient Advertising, and Best of Corporate Identity.
These are priced at $4.99 to $19.99.

Another revenue stream is by selecting the top 100 radio jingles of all time and putting them up on e-music stores.

Another nascent plan is to get publishers of advertising and design books to sell their books online through it.