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Afghanistan has become a hot market for the Iranian brands for quite a while now and several brands present different products in that country. However, product supply in a country is also subject to attracting more customers: Customers to whom advertising is highly effective to attract their attention. This very matter has encouraged brands to be highly inclined towards advertising in Afghanistan, something that needs a sponsor or a medium for the sound and principled implementation.

Recently the Media Sources Company has undertaken this role and concluded a contract with Afghanistan’s Tolo TV in an effort to facilitate the process of marketing for the Iranian brands. On this occasion, we interviewed Mehdi Hatefi, Iran’s Branch Manager of Media Sources (active in the field of purchasing media consultation) and Shapour Sadr, Regional Sales Manager of Alifard Company, one of the brands that has benefited from the outcomes of this contract.

Facilitation of Advertising Process in Afghanistan

Commenting about the process of cooperation between Media Sources Company and Tolo TV network of Afghanistan, Mehdi Hatefi said: “Most TV networks in Afghanistan are run privately and a few of them are administered by the government. This managerial trend has affected the quality of the networks and the condition of each network is specified according to the amount of its budget and costs. This issue has caused some of the networks to have a more successful performance than the others. Tolo is the first most viewed network in Afghanistan with diverse programs being broadcast through its channels. In the meantime, Afghanistan has turned into a good market with high income for the Iranian brands most of which are running broad commercials in order to attract customers. Advertising for the broadcast of which no professional medium was needed and the brands were forced to either get involved directly or send a representative there. This process had made cooperation difficult for both the brands and the TV network. Therefore, the Tolo TV network decided to sign a two-year contract with Media Sources Company in Dubai. Therefore, the Media Sources Company was chosen as the official agency of Afghanistan’s Tolo TV network as of late 2016 and for a period of two years and is supposed to render services in this respect.

“Media Sources is expected to provide all advertising services for the Iranian brands in Tolo TV network. Media purchase consultancy is the number one priority of these services. However, the company would provide further expanded services upon request of a brand. This is the first time a cooperation between an Iranian advertising agency and a foreign network takes place in the country. It is a development which in my opinion Iranian brands can take advantage of in the best possible way. Of course, some of the agencies are active in foreign countries but the fact that an agency officially cooperates with a network has so far had no precedence.


Advertising Effects on Exports Increase

Hatefi says: “Presence of an official has numerous benefits such as facilitating the payments for the brands. Presence of a representative from Iran will ease the work process in this field. On the other hand, the brands could obtain a more accurate report on their performance. Absence of a fellow agency had led to some people confusing the brands with wrong guidance. Moreover, in the course of their cooperation with foreign networks, the brands sometimes encounter rules and regulations about which they have no comprehensive information. Such lack of information has created problems for their cooperation. Now if a representative agency has thorough information about those rules and regulations, many problems will be prevented. Furthermore, cooperation with an Iranian agency would help the brands to use better services: Services which would certainly have positive effects for them. Nonetheless, the Iranian agencies are well informed of the type of activity and products of the brands and through such information could better guide them.”

Concerning the welcome accorded by the brands to such development, Hatefi says: “Many of the brands have accorded good welcome to such a development and cooperation. Such a welcome has been more on the part of the brands that have cooperated in Afghanistan for long and are familiar with problems there. Active brands outside the country are divided into two categories: the first group is brands with good market inside Iran as well and many customers already know them. The second group is the brands that are seemingly produced for the mere purpose of export to Afghanistan and are not known in the Iranian market. There are also others with the potential of being exported to Afghanistan but lack of information has prevented them. If a group gives the brands accurate information on Afghan customers’ demands, they can prepare products for export accordingly.

“Afghanistan is a virgin market for Iran which should be used more. Otherwise, competitors such as Turkey and India would take over the market. Afghan customers are more inclined to use Iranian products and this has led to some countries such as China and India to make copies. Of course no matter to what extent these countries make copies, they have not entered the field of foodstuff yet. This is the area where the Iranians can have most profitability. In any case, one way to create job opportunities is to develop exports and this would occur with increase in consumption and advertising is one way to increase consumption. Therefore, paying more attention to advertising outside the country will result in obtaining more foreign currency from different aspects. Of course, advertising in countries such as Afghanistan is very different from Iran and their media behavior varies from that of Iranians. The cost of advertising (in this country) is also cheaper than Iran. Therefore, the brands can easily take advantage of these opportunities and further expand their active presence. Afghanistan is the best opportunity for creativity and expansion of brands activities.”


Sunich Brand’s marketing in Afghanistan

Shapour Sadr, the Regional Sales Manager of Alifard Company speaking on the process of advertising about Sunich brand outside the country says: “ Sunich brand usually takes advantage of peripheral and TV advertisement to transfer its message to the customers outside the country.” With respect to the process of preparing Afghanistan TV advertising campaigns in Iran, he added: “These campaigns have good trends provided they are inspired by the culture and dialects of the same country according to a database in order to have more effects on the audience.” In response to a question whether or not the content preparation trend of the advertising by domestic agencies in Iran would help increase the quality of the campaigns, he replied: “Yes, hundred percent. This collaboration would enhance the quality.”

Asked if they have encountered any difficulties in preparing the advertisement for outside media, Sadr said: “No specific problem has been witnessed yet.”

The Regional Sales Manager of Alifard Company, commenting on the trend of preparing Afghanistan advertisements in Iran and their effects on attracting more audience, said: “Certainly if the activities are more regular, their effect on the audience would be more.”