People check in at the Mena Cristal Festival in Faraya, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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The festival falls somewhere between an awards ceremony and an industry networking event where executives and creators from around the region mingle in the scarcely snow-strewn mountains.The ad, commissioned by the Tourism Ministry after several countries issued warnings against travel to Lebanon, discreetly addressed the increasing unrest in the country.Saad emphasized the importance of turning potential sticking points into gems of opportunity. After he received a promotional video for a Gilette product targeting men with sensitive skin soon to be released in the MENA region, Saad immediately saw a problem. Throughout the region, advertising agencies are relying more and more on market-research and data, particularly user information gleaned from social media, several experts told The Daily Star.The regional audience is diverse, with vastly different expectations and social conventions, said Raja Trad, CEO of advertising agency Leo Burnett's regional arm. Lebanon and MENA countries in general lag far behind global markets on investment in digital media, particularly because educated citizens tend to immigrate, Rouhana posited.Regional crises have also affected business.
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