AD­VER­TIS­ING FACES TO WATCH 2017

MEET THE YOUNG TAL­ENT RIS­ING THROUGH THE RANKS OF RE­GIONAL AGEN­CIES.

Campaign Middle East - - FRONT PAGE -

REA S OWAN 24 JU­NIOR PLAN­NER, MULLENLOWE DUBAI

Rea Sowan grew up a third- cul­ture kid, per­pet­u­ally ask­ing too many ques­tions and seek­ing new ways to ex­pe­ri­ence and un­der­stand the world around her. Twenty- four years down the line, it si­mul­ta­ne­ously seems an ut­ter co­in­ci­dence and makes com­plete sense that she would find her­self sit­ting at her desk as a ju­nior plan­ner at MullenLowe Dubai. With a back­ground in psy­cho­log­i­cal and brain sciences, Sowan brings to the ta­ble a true ( read: truly geeky) pas­sion for un­der­stand­ing hu­man be­hav­iour, while a life­long col­lec­tion of eclec­tic ex­pe­ri­ences and in­ter­ests make her at home in an in­dus­try that is con­stantly push­ing boundaries and rein­vent­ing it­self.

In her six months since join­ing the MullenLowe team, in­dus­try rookie Sowan has al­ready earned her own port­fo­lio of brands, de­vel­op­ing strate­gic frame­works for the likes of Unilever, Red Bull and Pizza Hut.

“If I am to sum­marise the best of the new gen­er­a­tion,” says Mounir Har­fouche, CEO of MullenLowe MENA, “Rea is the way I would de­scribe it: pas­sion­ate, in­tel­li­gent, multi- cul­tural, an­a­lyt­i­cal, in­tel­lec­tual and dis­ci­plined – then add to it confident and fun. Rea is a great as­set to us and her con­tri­bu­tion will al­ways stand out. Peo­ple like her reignite my pas­sion in ad­ver­tis­ing and re­mind me that no mat­ter how much tech­nol­ogy we in­vest in, noth­ing re­places the ge­nius of the hu­man mind.”

NOORA AL QASSIMI 26 AC­COUNT EX­EC­U­TIVE, MULLENLOWE DUBAI

When Noora Al Qassimi fea­tured in Cam­paign’s Grad­u­ate is­sue in 2012, talk­ing about the chal­lenges of find­ing a ca­reer in ad­ver­tis­ing as an Emi­rati, she def­i­nitely did not ex­pect to find her­self on the mag­a­zine’s pages again a short five years later. An event­ful few years down the line, Al Qassimi, now a se­nior ac­count ex­ec­u­tive at MullenLowe Dubai, is noth­ing short of a suc­cess story.

In her time at the agency, Al Qassimi has man­aged an im­pres­sive port­fo­lio of lo­cal client groups, in­clud­ing Ma­jid Al Fut­taim, mGovern­ment, Abu Dhabi Me­dia, and its sub­sidiaries. In ad­di­tion to ob­sess­ing over per­fectly- struc­tured pre­sen­ta­tions, she has brought a much- needed lo­cal per­spec­tive to the team, truly carv­ing a place for her­self as a GCC ex­pert and quickly be­com­ing a go- to re­source for her clients.

Mounir Har­fouche, CEO of MullenLowe MENA, says: “Noora is the sym­bol of re­silience, am­bi­tion, ma­tu­rity, com­mit­ment and be­ing self- made. Her pas­sion and ded­i­ca­tion are rare. Her think­ing abil­i­ties, com­bined with her great man­age­ment skills and a truly gen­uine per­son­al­ity, make her a unique tal­ent and an es­sen­tial team mem­ber. I am proud to have a col­league like Noora, who some­times teaches you things while learn­ing, a leader in her own way with a successful fu­ture crafted by mind and heart.”

NISHANT S HAH 29 CREATIVE DI­REC­TOR, MULLENLOWE DUBAI

A sto­ry­teller, a com­pul­sive gram­mar­ian and a se­rial op­ti­mist, Shah’s af­fair with writ­ing started long be­fore any sign of his sig­na­ture mous­tache. With an MBA in mar­ket­ing and that diploma in “chat­ting-up- ran­dom­peo­ple”, he has grown from a bul­lied pro­duc­tion as­sis­tant on the streets of Mum­bai to an award-winning creative di­rec­tor in the emerg­ing Asian scene. His jour­ney through ad­ver­tis­ing has taken him to agen­cies such as JWT, MullenLowe, Y& R, Bates and Publi­cis, cre­at­ing ac­claimed work on global brands in­clud­ing Unilever, Nike, Pepsi, Red Bull, Qatar Airways, Al Jazeera and Nokia. Apart from be­ing a winning pitch­maker, he has also man­aged to add some chrome to his cabi­net at cre­ativ­ity con­ven­tions in In­dia, Singapore, Thai­land, France and Dubai. But when he’s not writ­ing a sales pitch, he is desk­top surf­ing around the world. So while his dream is to be a travel di­arist, he is happy be­ing a guide to any In­di­ans who visit Dubai.

Mounir Har­fouche, CEO of MullenLowe MENA, says: “Nishant brings back au­then­tic­ity to ad­ver­tis­ing. A great thinker who has a good grip on strat­egy, only to turn it into a bril­liant con­cept. Then comes the part where he uses the magic of words that makes one ’feel‘ in­stead of read or hear the mes­sage.”

AL AN HONG 24 DE­SIGNER, SAATCHI & SAATCHI DUBAI

Straight from grad­u­a­tion into ad­ver­tis­ing, one year and eight months on, this young creative is hun­gry to make a change to the world. In un­der a year, he won a Bronze at Dubai Young Lions, com­peted in Young Lynx and is cur­rently await­ing re­sults for D& AD Young Blood. He is con­stantly striv­ing not just to win awards, but also to cre­ate work that can make a pos­i­tive im­pact on the world.

Prior to his suc­cesses in ad­ver­tis­ing, he worked across four dif­fer­ent con­ti­nents, in creative com­pa­nies in­clud­ing Lan­dor and Nexus Pro­duc­tions. He was com­mis­sioned to ex­hibit at London Sci­ence Mu­seum, show­cas­ing his cre­ativ­ity to ed­u­cate and make a change.

It is only the be­gin­ning. As a young creative, Hong un­der­stands suc­cess will not come straight away and that it has its fail­ures.

He con­tin­ues to pur­sue great­ness ev­ery day, re­gard­less of day- to- day strug­gles, which will lead to his goal of be­ing one of the best.

That’s what makes him one of the Faces to Watch. Not just his ac­com­plish­ments so far, but the pas­sion and de­sire to em­brace the grind and con­stantly chal­lenge him­self, un­til he makes it to the top.

Ko­mal B. So­hal, chief creative of­fi­cer of Saatchi & Saatchi Dubai, says: “Alan Hong, a young, hun­gry de­signer, smart and sharp, thinks out of the box with a big po­ten­tial to cre­ate and shine. He has no lim­its.”

Tala Ali, se­nior copy­writer, says: “Alan is one of the most pas­sion­ate hu­man be­ings I’ve worked with. His en­ergy and spirit feeds into the stars – the ones that oth­ers can’t help but look up to.”

C ARL BOU ABDALL AH 29 SE­NIOR STRATE­GIC PLAN­NER, FP7/BEY

As a plan­ner, Carl Bou Ab­dal­lah is a bit of a mis­fit. He is creative who be­lieves in the power of strat­egy. He is rig­or­ously an­a­lyt­i­cal and re­lies a lot on the power of in­sights. And he de­scribes him­self as lik­ing to eat din­ner for break­fast in the af­ter­noon. His col­leagues say he is some­one who is ver­sa­tile enough to find what he loves in his job but is look­ing for new roads to ex­plore and master.

“Carl is not just a plan­ner, he’s what I like to call an all- en­com­pass­ing ad man, the real thing,” says Emile Atal­lah, MD of FP7/BEY. “His pas­sion and ded­i­ca­tion are sec­ond to none. I am so happy I have the chance to work close to him, as his con­tri­bu­tions to our brands are noth­ing short of in­spi­ra­tional. Carl still has lot of con­tri­bu­tions to make, and will only grow stronger.”

ALI CHEIKHALI 28 STRATE­GIC PLAN­NER, TB WA\ RA AD

With an MSc in Mar­ket­ing Strat­egy in hand, Cheikhali only made the switch from ac­count man­age­ment to ac­count plan­ning af­ter spear­head­ing his ac­count plan­ning bootcamp at Miami Ad School just a year and a half ago. He hasn’t looked back since.

A cou­ple of months into join­ing the plan­ning depart­ment at TBWA\RAAD, he be­came an in­stru­men­tal el­e­ment to his col­leagues, to the depart­ment, and to the agency as a whole.

Be­fore be­ing a great plan­ner, Cheikhali is a great per­son, say his col­leagues. He is the friend, the help­ful col­league, the trusted part­ner, the Fifa op­po­nent – and also the charmer – for many at the agency.

Chei­hali has al­ready helped build brands, pro­posed work that shapes cul­ture, fore­casted trends, held workshops, led train­ings, and won more than 15 awards, among which are a Gold at the Effies and a Grand Prix at the Lynx.

The Key? His wit­ti­ness, ma­tu­rity be­yond his years, cul­tural in­tel­li­gence, and dis­rup­tive think­ing. Col­leagues say his smart hu­mor – of­ten sar­cas­tic – and dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive on ev­ery­thing in life can turn the agency around and pro­duce great work.

GHIDA ARNAOUT 30 SO­CIAL ME­DIA MAN­AGER, SA AT CHI& SA AT CHI DUBAI

“I took a leap of faith and com­pletely changed my ca­reer in 2015 to join Saatchi and Saatchi and start my creative jour­ney,” says Ghida Arnaout. “I jug­gle be­tween my job and my out­doors and ad­ven­ture blog ( monky­seemonkydo. com), mak­ing my life re­volve around con­stantly cre­at­ing con­tent for brands and for my­self and fol­low­ing up with the ever- chang­ing trends in the so­cial and dig­i­tal world.”

She adds: “The best ideas come when you are dis­con­nected from your sur­round­ings and closer to where you orig­i­nally came from. That’s why you will al­ways find me climbing rocks and moun­tains.”

JEAN-PIERRE DE VIL­LIERS 28 ART DI­REC­TOR, M& C SA AT CHI

JP de Vil­liers is an in­te­grated Art Di­rec­tor at M& C Saatchi, from Jozi, South Africa.Hav­ing worked with var­i­ous award-winning agen­cies, and pick­ing up a few shiny stat­ues him­self, he wanted to try some­thing dif­fer­ent. Way dif­fer­ent. Af­ter googling where on earth it was, he soon found him­self on a flight to Abu Dhabi,to work on Abu Dhabi’s tourism ac­count. Which, iron­i­cally, he has now helped put on the map with his ‘Ex­tra­or­di­nary Story’ cam­paign. His work in the tourism mar­ket in­spired him to start an Instagram ac­count called @ southbest, which cu­rates the best pho­tog­ra­phy con­tent of his home coun­try,and has man­aged to at­tract a few thou­sand fol­low­ers. He is hop­ing that af­ter this ar­ti­cle it will grow fur­ther.

ANI KAMA R YA 29 ART DI­REC­TOR, SAA AT CHI& SA AT CHI DUBAI

There’s a joke at Saatchi & Saatchi Dubai: Anika Marya can make a bag of fertiliser look awe­some. She won’t back down from a chal­lenge. Thought and idea, craft and graft, she puts this into ev­ery­thing she takes on. She’s led a de­sign team right from when she was just three years into the busi­ness.

She’s worked with some of the best, has been quick to pick up from them and put it into prac­tice. Her work has been recog­nised and awarded at Dubai Lynx and the Cannes Young Lions.

“Driven and pas­sion­ate about her work, she gives it her all. The best part is, she has a great time do­ing it,” says Ko­mal B. So­hal, CCO, Saatchi & Saatchi Dubai.

Adil Khan, CEO, Saatchi & Saatchi Dubai, adds: “Anika is su­per tal­ented, smart and works hard, re­ally hard. I’ve known her from her first day here at Saatchi & Saatchi, and her quiet en­ergy has been con­sis­tent; it helps her in be­ing dis­ci­plined and re­li­able. Anika’s skills are ver­sa­tile, she is aes­thet­i­cally sound and is able to con­sis­tently ex­ceed ex­pec­ta­tions. She is ea­ger to do bet­ter and be bet­ter, ev­ery day.”

FABIO TRI­DENT I 29 SE­NIOR ART DI­REC­TOR, Y&R DUBAI

You can eas­ily tell that Tri­denti is a tal­ented art di­rec­tor – from his port­fo­lio, list of awards and mous­tache.

But there are a few things you won’t get just by look­ing at him. “First of all, work­ing with Tri­denti is fun,” says Y& R ECD Kalpesh Patankar. “We laugh a lot, and we laugh out loud. It doesn’t mat­ter how dif­fi­cult, chal­leng­ing or in­tri­cate the brief might be. Whether it’s a pitch, a spell to sum­mon a de­mon or a cru­cial, world- sav­ing politi­cian’s speech, with Fabio you al­ways feel that ev­ery­thing will be OK. And it will.”

Patankar adds: “I started work­ing with Fabio in 2010, long be­fore the ad­vent of his per­fectly art- di­rected curly hair. His en­ergy has al­ways been con­ta­gious and im­pos­si­ble to ex­tin­guish. Late nights, end­less meet­ings and seem­ingly in­sur­mount­able prob­lems don’t come close to damp­en­ing his spirit. He’s into ev­ery­thing: art, de­sign, an­i­ma­tion, cin­ema, pho­tog­ra­phy. And his work em­braces all of them.”

An “ag­gres­sively friendly” at­ti­tude means Tri­denti is al­ways pre­pared to fight with any­one for the sake of great work. And they only love him the more for it.

“To be clear, he’s also an­noy­ing,” adds Patankar as a pro­viso. “He al­ways asks for shorter head­lines, he’s ex­ces­sively ac­cu­rate and overly- picky with food. But at the end, it doesn’t mat­ter.

“In ad­ver­tis­ing, all you need are great ideas and some­one who be­lieves in them as much as you do. And we have that.”

ANS HU­MAN B HAT TA CHAR YA 27 SE­NIOR COPY WRITER, THE CLAS­SIC PART­NER­SHIP

Guns ‘n’ Roses ‘n’ Mi­crosoft Word seems to sum up Anshuman Bhattacharya’s pri­or­i­ties.

He has con­sis­tently worked to­wards break­ing the con­ven­tional norms of main­line and dig­i­tal ad­ver­tis­ing and de­vel­oped a skill set that helps him adapt to the ever- chang­ing in­te­grated land­scape. He is a writer by pro­fes­sion, but mu­sic has al­ways been his first love.

“I al­ways feel that be­ing an ef­fec­tive creative is about more than be­ing a copy­writer/art di­rec­tor, and Anshuman is a good ex­am­ple of that,” says Alok Gad­kar, gen­eral man­ager and ECD of the Clas­sic Part­ner­ship. “He con­stantly in­dulges in other artis­tic av­enues to keep his right brain well oiled. Back in Mum­bai he used to play bass for a death metal band named Orion. Here in Dubai, he plays for one of the city’s most sought af­ter hard rock bands named Point of View.”

Last month, Bhattacharya’s band opened the show for the leg­endary Guns ‘n’ Roses in Dubai, per­form­ing in front of 22,000 peo­ple.

Over his seven-year ca­reer, Bhattacharya has also been awarded some AAAI Goafest Abby Awards and D& AD Blue Ele­phants. He has also won the Cam­paign Dig­i­tal Crest Award and the Pro­max Me­dia Award.

With a diploma in sound engi­neer­ing, Bhattacharya has given voice- overs to pop­u­lar TV shows such as Chota Bheem. For al­most two years, he was also the voice of Coco the Mon­key, the Kel­logg’s Coco Pops brand mas­cot.

His take on the in­dus­try is: “The only hope for brands to sur­vive in this dig­i­tal age is to be­come more hu­man. The time has come to stop cre­at­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion and start hav­ing con­ver­sa­tions.”

Z AM INDH AR SI 29 BRAND DI­REC­TOR, AL SA YEG HMEDI A

Zamin Dharsi packs al­most a decade of agency ex­pe­ri­ence and has proven him­self an in­valu­able mem­ber of the ad­ver­tis­ing and me­dia com­mu­nity in the UAE. Ever the pi­o­neer, Dharsi built the first fully- ded­i­cated in­fo­graph­ics di­vi­sion in the Gulf for Al­sayegh Me­dia af­ter launch­ing and man­ag­ing the creative depart­ment for We­ber Shand­wick MENA.

His mul­ti­fac­eted back­ground in creative, so­cial me­dia and PR made for an­other shift once Al­sayegh Me­dia’s in­fo­graph­ics di­vi­sion was well es­tab­lished – to brand and com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor for the agency. To­day, Dharsi is cred­ited as the mae­stro be­hind the move­ments of the agency, from help­ing it win a mul­ti­tude of awards to lead­ing its brand strat­egy, to man­ag­ing both its in­ter­nal and external com­mu­ni­ca­tions both online and off­line, to lead­ing its train­ing and devel­op­ment strat­egy, and most re­cently de­sign­ing a nurs­ery in the of­fice to ac­com­mo­date a surge in new mums.

“Zamin is the ideas man and a creative prob­lem solver at his core. Put him in a room with a tough dead­line and give him a tar­get au­di­ence and he will work out the rest,” says CEO Ab­dul­latif Al­sayegh. “The cul­ture and en­ergy of an agency is its heart­beat, and Zamin brings op­ti­mism and joy to ours.”

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