‘I just don’t give a damn about al­go­rithms’

ArabAd - - INDUSTRY TALK -

The march of ad tech and the pro­lif­er­a­tion of awards cat­e­gories are is­sues that the Dubai Lynx and all other awards shows have to deal with head on.

My ad­vice to the Lynx and Cannes is that ul­ti­mately they need to de­cide who they re­ally want at their event. Hu­bert Bou­los If Dubai Lynx be­comes a show where only big spenders can win big, it would be dis­as­trous for the in­dus­try and not at all good for the show’s rep­u­ta­tion. Ni­co­las Geahchan

The Dubai Lynx may have walked hand-in-hand with the devel­op­ment of the re­gion’s ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­try, but that doesn’t mean it is with­out its own chal­lenges. From the de­bate over whether re­gional judges should be in­cluded, to fake or proac­tive work, it faces a num­ber of is­sues.

“I know many peo­ple will still de­bate about the is­sue of ‘ghosts’, but we have now learned to live with them like a chronic

dis­ease with no cure,” says Hu­bert Bou­los, CEO for the Mid­dle East at DDB. “We now all un­der­stand that ‘proac­tive’ work is here to stay. The lev­els of cre­ativ­ity on main­stream work are still so low in the re­gion that you could not have any award show with­out proac­tive work.

“My real is­sue with all awards shows, in­clud­ing Cannes and the Lynx, is that they have be­come in­creas­ingly about ad tech. I be­lieve Jeff Goodby [co-chair­man and part­ner at Goodby, Sil­ver­stein & Part­ners] called Cannes 2015 the equiv­a­lent of a roof tilers’ con­ven­tion, be­cause he could not even de­scribe to a lay­man what he saw. I am 100 per cent with him on that.

“Ad tech prob­a­bly yields more money for the or­gan­is­ers, but whether or­gan­is­ers like it or not, this is go­ing to drive ad­men away from such events. I per­son­ally used to love the con­fer­ences and would try to spend as much time as pos­si­ble lis­ten­ing to the speak­ers. Now I can hardly find any­thing in­ter­est­ing and, be­lieve me, this is not be­cause I am more knowl­edge­able. I just don’t give a damn about al­go­rithms and nerds or­gas­ming about new ways to stalk con­sumers with­out an ounce of an idea or cre­ativ­ity.

“So ba­si­cally my main is­sue is that if I wanted to hang out with a bunch of nerds and listen to their dorky point of views or cre­ativ­ity, I would have never picked ad­ver­tis­ing in the first place. So my ad­vice to the Lynx and Cannes is that ul­ti­mately they need to de­cide who they re­ally want at their event.” For Ni­co­las Geahchan, re­gional ex­ec­u­tive cre­ative di­rec­tor at J. Wal­ter Thomp­son MENA, the pro­lif­er­a­tion in awards cat­e­gories is of con­cern.

“Year on year we’re wit­ness­ing the cre­ation of new cat­e­gories and sub­cat­e­gories at Lynx (and all other global shows),” he says. “As a re­sult, in­vest­ment from the agencies’ side is also grow­ing and be­gin­ning to reach al­most un­re­al­is­tic amounts. With the tough eco­nomic con­di­tions we are go­ing through as a re­sult of fall­ing oil prices, we might be see­ing more net­works and agencies re­visit their award bud­gets or sim­ply de­cide not to par­tic­i­pate. If Dubai Lynx be­comes a show where only big spenders can win big, it would be dis­as­trous for the in­dus­try and not at all good for the show’s rep­u­ta­tion.”

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