Alain Shou­cair

Re­gional ECD - Drive Dentsu

ArabAd - - COVER STORY -

It was a dif­fer­ent ball game. Big clients, big bud­gets, mil­lion dol­lars pro­duc­tions… Crazy times.

How and why I joined the ad industry…

I started at Leo Bur­nett as a trainee in 1991 upon a teacher’s in­vi­ta­tion to do a sum­mer in­tern­ship while I was still at univer­sity. I guess I was so good at the pho­to­copy ma­chine at the time, they de­cided to pay me the in­tern­ship and make me an of­fer to stay with them, which I did for two years as a part-time art di­rec­tor. Great peo­ple. Great work. Great times. Great be­gin­ning.

The one thing I have al­ways loved and still do about this pro­fes­sion…

Find­ing cre­ative so­lu­tions to prob­lems or com­ing up with ideas of course. Peo­ple out­side the industry think our job is the coolest ever. It is in­deed, but they don’t know how stress­ful and frus­trat­ing it can get some­times. Find­ing a great idea, sell­ing it to the client, craft­ing it and watch­ing it come to life, is al­ways ex­cit­ing and very re­ward­ing. I guess it’s the one thing that keeps you go­ing on and on in this busi­ness.

The good old things about the ad busi­ness back in the 1990s, which no longer ex­ist to­day…

Every­thing was much sim­pler back then. A full-fledged cam­paign con­sisted of TV, print, ra­dio and in the worst case some ad­di­tional am­bi­ent and BTL stuff. Lay­outs were rough sketches, so it was much more chal­leng­ing to fi­nalise them, and there was a cer­tain charm in work­ing with films be­fore the dig­i­tal age. Our job ended when it was on air or in print. To­day, the so­cial me­dia rev­o­lu­tion and new tech­nolo­gies have changed every­thing. There are so many things to think of and so many chan­nels to con­sider. We have to be more en­ter­tain­ing, more vis­i­ble, more com­pet­i­tive, much faster and less ex­pen­sive. And to top it all off, any­one has the right to judge you and com­ment on your work in real time. But even though things seem a lit­tle harder th­ese days, ad­ver­tis­ing has al­ways been about chal­lenges, so bring it on!

My ‘Won­der Years’ in ad­ver­tis­ing…

were the first four years I worked at Grey from 2003 till 2007, as I had the chance to meet some of the most ta­lented peo­ple of the industry, and to cre­ate and pro­duce some of my finest works.

The cra­zi­est story to come out of all my time of ser­vice…

Just for the anec­dote in 2005, our CEO Philippe Skaff had brought fold­ing beds to the cre­ative depart­ment be­cause we were prac­ti­cally spend­ing ev­ery week­end there. It was the year I rented a chalet in Faraya but only got the chance to use it for New Year’s Eve, which makes it by far the most ex­pen­sive in­vest­ment I ever made. But it was also the year we won 14 pitches in a row. Asian Games, Qtel, Alara­biya… to name a few. So it was a dif­fer­ent ball game. Big clients, big bud­gets, mil­lion dol­lars pro­duc­tions, trav­el­ling to far away coun­tries, dis­cov­er­ing new places and cul­tures and meet­ing in­ter­est­ing peo­ple… crazy times. On a much sad­der note but just as crazy, I was dev­as­tated in end of 2005 by the as­sas­si­na­tion of Ge­bran Tueini who had been my client for two years. Para­dox­i­cally it fell on me to con­ceive his com­mem­o­ra­tion film; ‘Voice of Free­dom’ be­came the piece of work I’m most proud of, maybe be­cause it’s much more than an ad .

Peo­ple out­side the industry think our job is the coolest ever.

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