Manuel Borde: On Work and Creativity in Dubai’s Ad World
a country, willing to fight for and promote the best work from their market even if it´s not their own. I’m not sure we have reached this level in UAE yet. Dubai’s diversity is both awesome and troublesome or rather challenging. How to craft messages that fit so many cultures at the same time including that still important chunk of the population that are locals? And it gets even more challenging when you add other regional markets like KSA or Qatar. The challenge is left for us to find stories and insights that are universally relevant. I sometimes do feel we overestimate the term “culturally relevant”. Do I have to show Asian actors, to be relevant to Asian expats? Why??? I actually got told once while presenting a campaign, that a meteor was not relevant to the culture… I don’t think it’s a “thing” of any culture, it’s just as relevant as the planets and the stars I guess. I think the biggest challenge creatives have today is not falling into that zone of comfort and becoming stagnant, and a market like Dubai can dangerously put you there. You will probably get a better salary and quality of life in Dubai than in your own country, and win a couple of awards here and there, but it’s a clean slate every year and you have to be constantly hungry for great work. As they say, “you are only as good as your last ad”. I can’t think of any in particular… But I will tell you I dislike all the incredibly overacted radio spots here in the UAE. I honestly do not know how they make their way through the speakers into people´s ears. Such a waste of a truly fun media. Well I wouldn’t be here if I thought otherwise. I believe this is a market that will only become stronger, more competitive and more creative.