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27 June, 2005

Ponytails and phantom projects

In the Olden Days of Arabia, when the oil-boom migration from tents to palaces was starting to take place, there are endless examples of wily westerners conning millions of oily dollars out of trusting sheikhs. Even in more recent times, fact and folklore turn up many a tale of bogus businessmen enjoying six months of Burj-luxury-hospitality at a local consortium's expense, only to vanish into the night along with their phantom projects.

One would imagine that in these more enlightened, more educated times, the average dishdash would have wised up. Apparently not.

So instead imagine the sheer glee of a bunch of ponytails, shovelling wheelbarrow-loads of dirhams into their bank vaults, after managing to cream eight million dollars out of a UAE company in a "rebranding" exercise.

What did they have to do? Merely cut out half of its name and doodle a logo looking like someone dragged a fork through British Gas.

Every year, billions of dollars are spent worldwide on branding. It is the phantom project of the 21st century: intangible, immeasurable, and as industry experts even admit, often an "obscene waste of money" for clients. To misquote the Bard:

"it is a tale
Told to an idiot, full, of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.



Blogger Dhabi Dabbler said...

Eight million for that! I'm in the wrong job. Where is my stick on ponytail?

28 June, 2005 11:03  

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