Wherever there’s business to do be done there’s WPP. A few years ago it got into hot water by opening up in Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe and it was the first of the networks to go into Cuba (or should that be back into Cuba? Were any agencies there pre-Castro – maybe Lucky Luciano & Partners)? Now Sir Martin Sorrell’s intrepid outfit has gained a foothold in Iran, via an affiliation between research division Kantar and Rahbar Bazaar Market Research Institute.
Rahbar Bazaar was set up as a market research agency in 2003 by Afshin Vafadar and Azam Alibabaei, who both have backgrounds in market research. Rahbar Bazaar’s clients include MCI, Henkel, Unilever, Hayat, & BAT Pars.
Kantar Insights CEO MENAP Stephen Hillebrand says: “There’s been a very high level of interest in Iran among our clients since the easing of the sanctions. With a population of over 80 million people, Iran presents a significant growth opportunity for many of our global clients. This agreement heralds Kantar’s commitment to help develop new business opportunities for our clients in this important growth market. We look forward to working with Rahbar Bazaar to deepen the service offerings for both Kantar’s clients, and Rahbar Bazaar’s clients, in Iran.”
Afshin Vafadar says: “Rahbar Bazaar is excited about affiliating with Kantar in order to address the needs of our local clients and to attract new multinational clients. We believe that access to Kantar’s global network of market research experts, its proprietary consumer insight and technology tools and its market research ‘best practices’, together with our dedication, local insights and expertise, along with our young motivated team will make a compelling service offering.”
In the Middle East and Africa WPP companies plus associates generate revenues of over US$1 billion and employ around 37,000 people.