Campaign Middle East : 2020-06-28

NEWS : 30 : 30

NEWS

30 June 28, 2020 A VIEW FROM Ramsey Naja A VIEW FROM Claire Beale There is no disconnect between equality and success A CRISIS IS NOT A MEDIA CHANNEL Ramsey Naja was CCO at JWT MEA @geminisnak­e O ne thing about large-scale crises is that they tend to sharpen people’s built-in cynicism into the kind of instrument prized by meticulous Japanese chefs. And nothing, absolutely nothing, draws that instrument out of its sheath quicker than the whiff of commercial vested interest. Here you are, confined for an eternity with a posse of stir-crazy children, turning your spare bedroom into the equivalent of a small neighbourh­ood grace of a paté de fois gras producer. At a time when people are in desperate need of tangible reassuranc­e, the last thing they want is a salesman disguised as a shrink, a headmaster or, worse, a goody two shoes. And what they want even less are brands who, for lack of built-in, long-term purpose, jump on any passing bandwagon that their armies of trend spotters detect (and jump off it the moment it drops down the Twitter rankings) without so much as a meaningful gesture beyond, well, words. This, in fact, is what years of neglecting the ABCs of brand management has done: most brands today stand for a blank space to be filled with whatever is the cause du jour, for which their communicat­ions becomes an excitable spokespers­on as long as the audience’s attention span is focused on it. A global crisis, a pandemic or any cross-cultural unpleasant­ness is not seen by such people as a call for action: it is treated as media. And this is the heart of the matter. Because unless brands have earned the right to espouse a cause through years of relevant positionin­g, their right to speak about it can only be obtained through actual, tangible action, with hard currency and profit sacrifice to back it up. Otherwise, they will be no better than perverts who stand for office on a platform of family values. And the moment they are seen as such, it is not surprising to see the very audience they seek cutting them to shreds. This must be a tipping point. Many of us have spent time listening, learning, thinking. Now everyone in the ad business needs to work together to make this industry actively anti-racist, fairer, more equal, more diverse, more inclusive. Some have more power than others right now to push ahead, yet we can see from IPA census data that this isn’t happening. And early evidence suggests that furloughin­g and job losses are exacerbati­ng inequality. Active anti-racism is an urgent necessity. But when progress is so slow, we need to make it a businesscr­itical issue. So how about marketers decide they are only prepared to work with agencies that can demonstrat­e an ongoing commitment to equality, diversity and inclusivit­y. How about marketers make it a condition of doing business with an agency. How about they make it business-critical for agencies to sort this out. Some marketers already do this; how about it becomes the norm, written into every RFI, every contract. Regularly monitored. I’d like to think agencies would do the same: only put their talent to work with marketers who can also demonstrat­e the same commitment. Does that sound naïve? Perhaps. But how powerful it would be if a great agency walked away from a pitch because the brand owner wasn’t truly committed, throughout its organisati­on and supply chain, to active anti-racism. Perhaps all this sounds fanciful in the face of harsh economic realities. But the case has already and frequently been made that – besides (even perhaps because of) being more interestin­g, rewarding and fun to work in – diverse, inclusive teams deliver better business results. There is no disconnect between equality and success; they are united. most brands today stand for a blank space to be filled with whatever is the cause du jour. Claire Beale is global editor- in- chief at Campaign Wallmart with a fixation on toilet rolls, trying to work out the minutiae of mask-wearing etiquette while franticall­y drenching your underwear in disinfecta­nt gel and, hello, here comes Brand X cheerfully inviting you to notice a tenuous connection between its corporate slogan and the need for social distancing. I don’t know about you, but this is the kind of behaviour I find to be not so much in bad taste as simply wrong. You see, it is one thing to spot an opportunit­y and quite another to force it down one’s throat with the vicious Motivate Publishing Group Head Office: Dubai Media City: Abu Dhabi: 34th Floor, Media One Tower, Dubai Media City, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 4 427 3000, Email: motivate@motivate.ae Motivate Publishing FZ LLC, Office 508, 5th Floor, Building 8, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 4 390 3550, Fax: +971 4 390 4845 Motivate Advertisin­g, Marketing & Publishing, PO Box 43072, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Tel: +971 2 677 2005, Fax: +971 2 677 0124, Email: motivate-adh@motivate.ae Motivate Publishing Ltd, Acre House, 11/15 William Road, London NW1 3ER. motivateuk@motivate.ae London: www.motivateme­dia.com EDITORIAL DESIGN ADVERTISIN­G ENQUIRIES Obaid Humaid Al Tayer Olga Petroff Tel: +971 4 427 3000 Nadeem Ahmed Quraishi S. Sunil Kumar Kevin Costello Ian Fairservic­e Thokchom Remy Anthony Milne Austyn Allison Editor-in- Chief Senior Art Director Managing Partner and Group Editor Art Directors Junior Designer Chief Commercial Officer (+971 50 6453365) Group Marketing Manager Assistant Production Manager Managing Director Editor Clarkwin Cruz Anusha Azees Binu Purandaran Jane Macken Group Sales Manager General Manager Chairman PRODUCTION HAYMARKET MEDIA GROUP The publishers regret that they cannot accept liability for error or omissions contained in this publicatio­n, however caused. The opinions and views contained in this publicatio­n are not necessaril­y those of the publishers. Readers are advised to seek specialist advice before acting on informatio­n contained in this publicatio­n which is provided for general use and may not be appropriat­e for the readers’ particular circumstan­ces. The ownership of trademarks is acknowledg­ed. No part of this publicatio­n or any part of the contents thereof may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitte­d in any form without the permission of the publishers in writing. An exemption is hereby granted for extracts used for the purpose of fair review. includes material reproduced from the UK Edition (and other editions) of which is the copyright of Haymarket. is a trademark of Haymarket and is used under licence. The views and opinions expressed within this magazine are not necessaril­y those of Haymarket Magazines Limited or those of its contributo­rs. CampaignMi­ddleEast Campaign Campaign,

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