The Beginning of Journey
In 1998, we were just 4 and one room. We would produce TV shows. The names of those four were Reza Haddad, Maziyar Habibiniya, Mohammad Reza Ketabi and Shahab Majdi. IRIB decided to turn advertising over the private section. We changed our productions into TV commercials. Our journey almost started at this point. A passionate journey still going on, with the wings of communicational creative and innovative ideas.
Big Bang! Aftab’s birth
After separation of two from the initial group, our company formed in a new shape. Aftab Advertising Agency was established. Our initial core formed by partnership of Reza Haddad and Maziyar Habibiniya. Our dream was flying into Aftab (Sun). We started the job and what is called “Aftab Communication Group” today is the result of those days.
Two years after the beginning of our flight, we became an official member of IRIB Consortium of Commercials’ Sales and at the same time, we stood in the 5th rank among Iranian advertising companies in terms of the amount of airing and the number of contracts. Our journey was getting exciting.
Breaking with Tradition
We kept going on and on and the number of our wings got more and more, so that time passing couldn’t wear us down. Within this path, we would sometimes need new and updated tools, because in our philosophy, there was a clear definition of the business development in meeting the clients’ needs and this philosophy made us optimize our communicational and marketing tools into more updated and advanced ones. We established our Production House in 2002.
We had to rise gradually and our flight could not go on through traditional methods. Therefore, along with the production house, we launched Ayneh-ye-Aftab Media Agency. The journey path was winding, but we would move on with strong steps looking for new experiences. So we modernized our methods to become more professional and updated. In this way, “Aftabnet” became the only Iranian company member of “egta” (Association of TV & Radio Sales Houses). In egta, we would learn media new strategies.
Exploring the Other Side
The journey had reached its 5th year. 2004 was the year of stabilizing our business, but we had still distance from the tipping point and we were aware of the path we had stepped in. Moving on and taking off, both depended on our dynamic learning new methods. It was the time of increasing knowledge and exploring newer approaches. We sent the staffs of different departments such as media, creative, strategy and account to visit the well-known international agencies and see new horizons ahead. All because we wanted to continue our journey with stronger steps. Our personnel visited Ogilvy agency based in Brussels, EuroRSCG agency based in Istanbul and Y&R agency based in Dubai. Our wings got more energized to continue the journey.
In 2006, IRIB was a powerful medium for Iranian brands’ and companies’ advertising but the commercials themselves were not that much high quality. So we strengthened our production’s wings and flied higher in Aftab Production House. Soon enough, along with other sections, our production house was known as one of the best and largest companies of producing TV and radio commercials in Iran.
Turn on the Radio
As the best Iranian advertising company, we were the experts of making a medium with less effectiveness alive. So in the 8th year of our journey, we offered the advertisers a new area where they could maintain their relationship with their target groups and consumers. We increased our activities in radio. Based on the advertisers’ financial issues, we could turn this medium into one of the most effective ones. Our clients were satisfied as much as we were.
Power Brings Commitment
Our journey was 9 years old. We had become more powerful. We were fluttering strongly and moving on. We had become Aftabnet Communicational Group equipped with knowledge and experience, constantly developing and making progress. It was 2008. About one hundred clients, none of them competitor of each other, were working with us to receive various services in the area of marketing communications. They believed in Aftabnet. They knew they had chosen the best and the most powerful option. It’s wonderful: Famous and well-known industrial brands, all would like to cooperate with one company. Our credibility was their trust and that is how our wings and our commitment to continue the journey, got stronger. In this adventurous journey, we formed a new structure and developed some changes, so that each client could have their own full dedicated team, from account to creative and media. Because the client’s benefits were our concern.
We were so powerful that for the first time, our name stood at the top of the best advertising companies ranking. How many years more did we stay number 1? Keep reading our travelogue.
Our country faced an economic crisis in 2008. Also, one year later in 2009, the political incidents caused the Iranian market to encounter a downswing. Iranian brands and companies struggled with marketing issues and some of them had to cut their relationship with the customers. We were fluttering in the storm those years with all our might. We had to find a solution to make it easier for the clients to put those issues behind. No idea can be created in recession unless we move on. So flying forward, we would still think of efficient solutions. Stay our fellow traveler. We achieved interesting solutions.
Reaching Across the Country with Magic Box
Another two years passed. The trace of our journey could be widely seen everywhere. Everybody would notice our flight and then, it was other provinces’ turn for us to fly into. The IRIB’s and advertisers’ experiences caused Aftabnet to be chosen and known as a company which would strengthen commercial values of other cities’ TV and radio channels. Now, the advertisers were able to deliver their advertising to different cities’ media and consumers all over Iran.
Aftab Shines at “OOH Media”
How many years had been passed from our journey? How many ups and downs had we put behind? In 2012, we decided to build up a new section again and go ahead. New experiences were always breakthroughs. Aftab Communication Group extended its services into Out of Home media. Soon enough, we could gain the 1st rank in Tehran Beautification Organization ranking. This organization is the owner of the capital OOH media.
Development of Advertising into Underground
Thirteen years of our life was not a short time. We were the largest Iranian advertising company and we would go on and on through unknown and known paths. Then we arrived at subways. Tehran subway which transforms about three million individuals daily. It is the largest transportation service company in Tehran. We, as Aftab Communicational Group, detected the capability of this medium and recognized that a part of our clients’ target groups are using subway every day. Therefore, we developed our media services into the subway wagons to increase the interaction between our clients and their audiences and maximize our advertising touch points with target groups.
Also, many people were transformed by bus and there were a lot of buses moving across the city. We had to continue our journey. This time on the ground, with bigger and firmer steps.
We shouldn’t have missed anything. Before a trip to the heart of the city, a new idea raised in our minds. A journey on the paper to the world of culture and art, to the society. We had started our researches on publishing a magazine since one or two years before that and now, it was the time. We invited the best and most professional group of Iranian journalists and started publishing “Shabakeh-ye-Aftab” magazine in various areas of social issues, cinema, theater, music, fine arts, literature and photography. This magazine is still being proudly published with Maziyar Habibiniya as the chief editor.
Our magazine was published within the framework of a new company which we called it “Tasvir-e-Aftab Cultural and Arts Institute”. This company is also active in other fields such as cinema and theater which you will find more about them in continue of this journey.
Aftab Theater Company is one of the few private theater companies in Iran with the background of producing several significant performances of which some have been staged in different Asian, European, American and African countries.
In the field of cinema as well, Tasvir-e-Aftab Institute produced “Yahya Didn’t Keep Quite” with Kaveh Ebrahimpour as the director which faced a great welcome in the country’s movie theaters.
Crossing the Heart of the City by Bus
Iran capital is one of the most crowded ones in the world. Some days, Tehran is the host of twenty million people among whom, many are part of our clients’ target groups. What should have we done to continue our journey into the heart of the city? The coverage of this population in an area of about 700 Km² was not that easy. The consumers’ habits exposed to different media were not the same. In 14th year of our journey, we developed advertising on bus body and in this way, brands, companies and corporations could have access to the heart of this megacity. From north to south and east to west, what a journey!
Precise Monitoring of the Market Heart
In an adventurous journey, in addition to high-flying approaches, a closer look at the road is also a basic requirement. Therefore in 2014, in order to achieve more precise data and plan more effectively for the clients and by consultancy and interaction with Dr. Khanlari and cooperation with Faculty of Management, University of Tehran as one of the most reputable academic entities, we launched Aftabnet Research Department. This gave us an opportunity to have a precise media monitoring and measurement. The outcome of our cooperation with Tehran University was a comprehensive survey with the topic of “Media Consumption Habits in Tehran” which made our path safer and more creative to continue our journey. We optimized our planning process in high levels and decided to update this survey every year.
Providing New Facilities
2015 was an unforgettable year for many Iranian people and even the world, because after many years, people witnessed that controversies were replaced with negotiations. Negotiations led to a result in June of the same year and JCPOA agreement was signed by Iran and P5+1. This agreement turned to a hope for Iran industry as the international companies and brands started coming to our country after sanctions lift.
It was a breakthrough for our adventurous journey too. We developed our international department with two objectives: First, to support Iranian brands and companies for development of their transboundary businesses and second, to help foreign companies to extend their activities in Iran. It was a great opportunity for us as well to increase our international interactions.
Media Power Shifting
We would constantly add to the number of our wings, because our burden had become heavier and we needed stronger wings. This is why we joined several powerful media companies and launched another section under the name of “Iranian Media House”. We were ensured then that we had become the largest and most powerful sales house for TV, radio, OOH and transit media.
Huge Show Productions
Adventurous journeys are always accompanied by unpredictable events which bring excitement and fear, both. Our journey as well, faced hurricanes such as US president’s signing under JCPOA memorandum, enacting US departure from Iran deal in the springiest days of Iran in May 2018. Those very tilted and crooked lines of that signature, changed the destiny of millions of Iranians and caused thousands of industries to encounter crisis. Consequently, advertising industry faced many issues too. But our flight should not have stopped. The managers started thinking about a new sky to fly in: Content producing and show productions. With our equipped facilities and experienced experts we had (And we have), we could produce shows for IRIB, IPTVs and VoDs. We started to do so. We made think tanks and creative teams to develop ideas for producing top shows. For each medium, we created and suggested various themes. We cooperated with different sponsors. Our flying experiences of the past, would shine on the path ahead. As a start, we produced a show which would keep the audiences in front of TV for months: “Star Maker”. A show in national level with a huge production which we produced successfully and got proud of its flying. There are other ideas in our minds as well. Ideas far enough from the boring clichés. We can produce films and series. We can make popular TV shows. And we owe it to our own capabilities earned in the past years. Those tilted and crooked signature under “Departure from JCPOA” paper has not been able yet to overcome our high flight.
Entering Holding Contracts
2019-2020 arrived and our journey got 20. It was beginning of the winter and IRIB had defined massive contracts for holdings and large industries in the current year’s IRIB Rules , Legislations and Tariffs, which require these industries’ presence in advertising. In this way, some privileges are granted to those industries which sign such contracts. Also, each holding consists of smaller companies as their subsidiaries and these small industries under the mentioned contracts, can benefit from the new tariffs’ privileges as well. Aftab Communication Group, as the largest advertising holding of the country, in its 20th year of activity, was capable to join these contracts and undertake such a high volume of producing advertising. We had to flutter higher and equip ourselves 10 times stronger and more than what we do in ordinary contracts. We developed everything, from our HR to other departments and relevant companies. We even added a new building to the other ones to deal with this new experience and we did it! We were happy but unaware of what was going to happen later. Now, it has been 13 years in a row , that we are at the top of the best advertising company table in Municipality Beautification Organization ranking. We are truly happy but how can we keep flying happily in this winter when grief is thrown by the fate catapult? How can we forget November streets and those who didn’t see the end of fall and became eternal? How can we take a relieving breath when mourning for those 61 persons who lost their lives in Kerman congestion? How can we endure the death of 176 human beings who were flying on the wings of their dreams? We will keep flying with achy wings of November and December griefs but also we remain hopeful for a horizon where the spring puts barbed wires behind…