Ad­ver­tis­ing’s Good Old Days Are Long Gone

ArabAd - - COVER STORY -

With over three decades of ex­pe­ri­ence in the ad­ver­tis­ing field, former Chair­man and CEO of DDB Le­banon Elie Jabre re­calls the good old days of an industry, which he back in 2001 de­scribed as a shadow of its former self. In this Arabad in­ter­view, he re­counts the things he misses most and the lessons he con­tin­ues to draw on in his cur­rent po­si­tion as com­mu­ni­ca­tion con­sul­tant in MENA re­gion and a lec­turer at St. Joseph Univer­sity.

The things I miss most about ad­ver­tis­ing is our in­de­pen­dence and spirit of re­volt…

Af­ter reach­ing the top of the ad­ver­tis­ing lad­der I left be­cause…

I have al­ways ap­plied a golden rule: Trans­parency and ob­jec­tiv­ity in or­der to main­tain my clients’ con­fi­dence and trust. The Abou-adal Group was a ma­jor client of mine for 25 years. The day the L’oreal group and Col­gate Pal­mo­live be­came as­so­ci­ated with the Abou Adal group and im­me­di­ately moved their busi­ness to their aligned part­ners. The same thing hap­pened the same year with an­other client of the agency, “The Ci­gar­rera la Moderna” our client for seven years. The com­pany was sold to B.A.T. and we lost our busi­ness. Un­for­tu­nately, our DDB part­ners could not in­ter­fere enough in or­der to switch the en­tire Henkel ac­count and other ac­counts to our agency. Believ­ing at a lo­cal level that main­tain­ing a won­der­ful re­la­tion with your client can save you, at that point in time, this was no longer pos­si­ble.

The things I miss most about ad­ver­tis­ing is… our

in­de­pen­dence and spirit of re­volt, which at times used to see us de­fy­ing the client so that he/she would ad­here to our point of view.

What is still left from all those years are… smiles and tears. The tools ac­quired from ad­ver­tis­ing, which I em­ploy in my cur­rent role are… the

ones I used at DDB such as R.O.I., rel­e­vance, orig­i­nal­ity and im­pact that drive me to think in a more strate­gic and cre­ative way.

Some of the good old things that don’t ex­ist any­more…

is the free­dom to cry, the free­dom to say no and the free­dom to be­lieve in my own insight.

Though I left that industry, I still am… work­ing

as a po­lit­i­cal con­sul­tant for com­pa­nies in the MENA re­gion.

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