Ad­ver­tis­ing in one of the most Dig­i­tally-en­gaged So­ci­eties

ArabAd - - COVER STORY -

Ge­orge Mak­tabi,

the peo­ple be­have to­wards brands in gen­eral and to­wards the mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion ac­tiv­i­ties of th­ese brands in spe­cific. Saudi peo­ple are no longer buy­ing into pur­pose­less brand ac­tiv­i­ties; that are in­ter­rup­tive, pushed at them through one-way broad­cast com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the sole aim to over­sell prod­ucts and ser­vices.

We be­lieve that in our busi­ness ev­ery­thing that mat­ters starts and ends with two things: peo­ple and their be­hav­iour. And it is only when we deeply and truly un­der­stand peo­ple and their be­hav­iour, will we be able to come up with the kind of ideas that can trans­form peo­ple’s be­hav­iour, build pur­pose­ful brands and have the peo­ple fully en­gage with them. This peo­ple cen­tric ap­proach has proven to be even most ef­fec­tive in the dig­i­tal and mo­bile age. There­fore, the con­stant chal­lenge for us is to do work that is fu­eled by pop­u­lar Saudi cul­ture, rooted in peo­ple’s needs and an­chored by a brand’s hu­man pur­pose re­gard­less of the ex­act me­dia touch point be­ing used.

On award-win­ning work

On a pos­i­tive note, the rise of so­cial me­dia and the won­der­ful cre­ative con­tent on it (that is 100% made in Saudi by Saudis) has com­pletely trans­formed the def­i­ni­tion of cre­ative con­tent in Saudi. More im­por­tantly, it has changed peo­ple’s re­cep­tive­ness to cre­ativ­ity, es­pe­cially our clients. To­day, clients who in the past might have been a bit cau­tious about how their au­di­ence might re­act to more edgy cre­ative com­mu­ni­ca­tion, are wit­ness­ing all the pos­i­tive re­ac­tion of so­cial me­dia con­tent and are start­ing to want to join the club and have their brands be­come among the Saudi con­tent cre­ators. In fact, we look at the won­der­ful con­tent be­ing cre­ated and can­not help our­selves but feel that we, as a cre­ative in­dus­try, are lag­ging be­hind.

Now for cre­ativ­ity in Saudi to cap­ture the in­ter­na­tional jury's at­ten­tion and recog­ni­tion, we strongly be­lieve that all our work needs to be in­spired by lo­cal Saudi in­sights. More im­por­tantly, it needs to be led by Saudi tal­ents. This is how our of­fice in Egypt started cre­at­ing uniquely Egyp­tian work that has been recog­nised glob­ally with sev­eral awards at the Cannes Lions. This is also why to­day our cre­ative depart­ment is be­ing led by Saudi tal­ents. We were very proud last year when we an­nounced that Mo­hammed Bah­mis­han, one of our very bright Saudi tal­ents, has been pro­moted to lead our cre­ative de­part­ments in both Riyadh and Jed­dah as the Ex­ec­u­tive Cre­ative Di­rec­tor of Leo Bur­nett KSA.

The con­stant chal­lenge for us is to do work that is fu­eled by pop­u­lar Saudi cul­ture, rooted in peo­ple’s needs and an­chored by a brand’s hu­man pur­pose…

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