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The advertising and marketing industry in Mauritius has seen rapid growth, in response to increased competition in the consumer market. The country has almost 200 agencies in operation, including many specialists in public relations, media advertising, branding and design. The sector is highly competitive and challenging due to the size of the Mauritian market. A few high-profile firms hold a large proportion of the market, including local firms partnered with major multi-nationals through affiliate programmes. Prominent amongst these are Maurice Publicité, affiliated to Ogilvy Worldwide, and Saatchi & Saatchi’s Mauritius office, P&P Link Saatchi & Saatchi. Both are among the most prosperous of the advertising agencies, both in Mauritius and the wider region. They cater mainly for the Mauritian market, from medium sized businesses to the largest corporate organisations. Notable local firms include Cread & Co. which pioneered the use of Mauritian Creole as an effective tool for marketing and advertising.
The Association of Advertising Agencies of Mauritius is the professional body for the industry. The Association published the Advertising Code of Ethics in 1994, and it is adhered to by agencies, clients and the media. It also operates an Advertising Awards Night, which continues to expand, and ‘The Flame’ Mauritius Design and Advertising Festival.
The public relations industry has historical importance on the island, having played a role in reducing misunderstandings around the sugar industry in the 1970s and 1980s. The sector has continued to develop and diversify, and in 2008 the Public Relations and Communications Professionals Association was officially launched.
The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report (2012-13) gave Mauritius a value of 4.2 out of 7 with regard to the extent of marketing, just above the world mean of 4.1. This suggests that companies in the country are very slightly more likely to use sophisticated marketing tools and techniques than the norm, placing it 62nd out of 144 countries. Buyer sophistication in the country was also slightly above world mean (3.5), valued at 3.7 out of 7, with a higher value indicating that buyers are more likely to make purchases based on a sophisticated analysis of performance attributes. The country placed 49th in the rankings, a comparatively high regional position, coming below only South Africa and Liberia in relation to sub-Saharan African nations.
Advertising in the country’s press reveals the diverse nature of the island. Daily newspapers and periodicals reflect the country’s wide cultural mix, including those published in French, English, Hindi, Urdu and Chinese. The Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation provides public TV and radio, which is to a large extent funded by advertising, along with license fees. There are also several private TV channels and radio stations.
Firms on the island are increasingly putting a special focus on digital advertising, in response to the high penetration of digital media amongst the younger generations. The country also has a well established network utilised for billboard advertising.