It is commonplace for businesses to partner up with other brands in order to strengthen marketing campaigns, run promotions or launch new product lines or services. But before doing so, and alongside the multitude of commercial considerations to be factored into such key business decisions, it is important to also get to grips with any relevant restrictions which your proposed partner, and perhaps your association, could be subject to.

In the context of advertisements broadcasted and published in the UAE, the media must refrain from publishing and broadcasting information that may be offensive to children, women and other social groups, or that which may incite hatred or violence. Some products by their nature therefore are not permitted to be advertised here, and, where they are permitted, must be marketed only in accordance with strict guidelines. The consequence of such cultural sensitivities could therefore effectively reclassify a brand or product as controversial, where in many other jurisdictions it is considered fairly innocuous. Whilst an association with such a product or brand elsewhere may be entirely ordinary, and indeed beneficial for both parties, in the UAE, such an association could not only be potentially harmful to a brand, but could also subject that brand to previously unknown and unforeseen regulation and restrictions in its marketing.

Given the subjectivity of what may be considered to be offensive, any possible brand partner, as well as each particular promotion or campaign, should be assessed on a case by case basis when brought to the UAE, with reference to the religious, cultural and political positions of the region.