This September I completed my sixth year of working in Saudi Arabia as Planning Director for DDB. Through the years I have come across many different perspectives and researches on the country and it was not so long ago that I tried to assimilate my learning and chalk out a point-of-view. It was triggered by the need to give an “outsider” – a client based out of Saudi Arabia an inside scoop on the market. The presentation was never made for whatever reason. Not seeing any use for it just lying around offline I decided to put it in the public domain online and share my perspective with the world.
Simply stated I believe Saudi Arabia is a very distinct country from a social and cultural context. It is unlike any other society where there would be minor extremes on both ends with a large majority in the middle. The parameters could be anything like the divide between modernity and tradition, rich and poor, from being culturally exposed to being culturally deprived etc. to name a few. For simplicity however, let’s just say that white is on one end, black on the other with gray in between. To my mind Saudi Arabia is one of those unique places in the world where there is a large white and a large black on either end, with a small gray in the middle. This is what makes Saudi Arabia a society of paradoxes, a society with extreme opposites co-existing together in large numbers. I cannot say if Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world which is so but I can surely say it is one of the few!
Below is my effort to put this perspective in a presentation form with supporting facts. Hope you find it both interesting and useful.