Cairo’s infamous 6th of October Bridge is mainly known for its vast variety of advertisements. Hundreds of billboards decorate a commuter’s hour-long drive from the beginning to the end of the bridge – and usually, they are spammed with all sorts of advertisements.
But beginning 2013, a noticeable phenomenon has taken over: several billboards have nothing to offer anymore. Over 40 blank, grey or white spaces replace what once used to be colorful, blinking – sometimes even annoying – posters and fiber sculptures. The same goes for several other “advertising-boulevards”.
What caused the sudden change? There could be two explanations for this occurrence:
1. The companies and businesses do not have enough money to lay out an all-covering marketing and advertising strategy due to lack of budget. The last two years have definitely not been easy on businesses – be it multinational big-shots or local start-ups and tailors. Budgets changed, people were let go, laborers went on strike and the overall stability of the country was shaken, putting off investors and decreasing consumerism.
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2. The overall marketing budget remains the same, yet companies started investing in other types of advertisement – mainly online presence. With an internet penetration of 37.92%, and over 31 million users, Egypt has a large audience for online marketing. Online penetration increased about 28% from 2011 to 2012 – and this percentage is not planning to decrease anytime soon. This niche has received way too little attention from businesses, only 6.8% of this budget is addressed at online advertising, and regional manager for North Africa for Google Wael El Fakharany claims that the percentage lies even further down at 3.5% – 4%. On the contrary, developed countries spend 17% – 18% of their budget on online marketing.
Which option is more plausible and why?