Why ad­land has to be­come more Arab

For this re­gion to re­ally de­fine it­self in cre­ative mar­ket­ing it needs more Arab lead­ers in the cre­ative depart­ment, says

Campaign Middle East - - FRONT PAGE - Paul Shearer

For this re­gion to re­ally de­fine it­self in cre­ative mar­ket­ing it needs more Arab lead­ers in the cre­ative depart­ment, says Paul Shearer.

The United King­dom has it, Amer­ica has it, and Swe­den has it. A cul­ture that de­fines its ad­ver­tis­ing cre­ativ­ity. So why doesn’t our re­gion have it? Be­cause we haven’t fully em­braced Ara­bic. For this re­gion to re­ally de­fine it­self in cre­ative mar­ket­ing it needs more Arab lead­ers in the cre­ative depart­ment. Peo­ple with real power to in­stil Ara­bic in­sights.

For my part I feel hon­our bound to make sure this hap­pens. With­out in­sight and cul­ture in our work we will al­ways be seen as copiers. Al­ways chas­ing what other trends and fads are fash­ion­able. You only have to look at Egyp­tian di­rec­tors like Omar Hi­lal and Ali Ali to truly un­der­stand how im­por­tant it is to be­lieve in your own cul­ture and its val­ues. Th­ese guys along with many more are glob­ally renowned.

Not just from where they come from but how they use it. It is no co­in­ci­dence that they have both come from ad­ver­tis­ing back­grounds. I would haz­ard a guess that they both strug­gled to ex­press their cul­ture through ad­ver­tis­ing.

Also, Mar­wan Hamed is the di­rec­tor of one of my favourite bad guy movies, The Blue Ele

phant. Why is it so good? Why is he so good? Be­cause it’s the cul­ture within the story. This cul­ture makes it unique and de­fines his own unique­ness. If we can take th­ese lessons and sup­port Ara­bic in our ad­ver­tis­ing more then there is no rea­son why we can­not achieve the same re­sults.

Look, I am not say­ing there are no good Arab cre­atives. Areej Mah­moud, Fi­ras Medrows, Mo­hamed Ham­mady and our very own Sum­mer El­bosraty are to name but a few. What I am say­ing is they are not us­ing their cul­ture enough. We rely too much on Western-type ideas when right in front of us is a gold mine of lo­cal ways of look­ing at things. We spend too much time analysing what type of work wins awards in­stead of re­al­is­ing that orig­i­nal work is the only thing that will.

I have the good for­tune of work­ing for a great Arab cham­pion. Some­one who knows the power of the lan­guage and the cre­ativ­ity that lives around us. It is a pow­er­ful tool in our locker and some­thing that grounds us. I am re­minded daily why it is im­por­tant. Our of­fice is full of in­cred­i­ble Arab tal­ent.

Be­ing a cre­ative, I can also see how Ara­bic can help our work stand out when it comes to award shows like D&AD and Cannes. The Brazil­ians have been clean­ing up with their unique per­spec­tive and the Swedes have been qui­etly do­ing the same for many years. Why? Be­cause the rest of the cre­ative world knows hardly any­thing about our cul­ture and what it does is usu­ally a cliché. The more we pri­ori­tise where we are from the more chance we have to win at the top shows. And isn’t this what most cre­atives want?

So if you ask me, it’s time to make the pen­du­lum swing. Be more Arab. Em­ploy more Ara­bic speak­ers and let them ex­press them­selves. Let them lead meet­ings and dic­tate strate­gies. And I mean let them. It is not enough to have an Arab in a meet­ing to ap­pease an Arab client. They must be the voice and eyes of the agency.

Okay, so a few coun­tries in the Arab world are al­ready do­ing this. But why can’t the Kuwaitis do what the Egyp­tians are do­ing? Why can’t the Saudis do what the Le­banese are do­ing? They can if they look down at the ground they stand on. Use the thoughts, hu­mour and in­sights that they have at their dis­posal. And most im­por­tantly, if the agen­cies they work for give them the power to do so.

Power to the Arabs if you ask me.

Iden­tity… Egypt has em­braced its cul­ture and lan­guage, so why hasn’t the Gulf?

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