From sand, to Ti­ta­nium…

Close-up with Memac Ogilvy’s Ramzi Moutran

Campaign Middle East - - FRONT PAGE -

The ex­ec­u­tive cre­ative di­rec­tor of Memac Ogilvy & Mather UAE has had lit­tle time to spend in Dubai, or in any one place for that mat­ter, of late. Work has kept the agency, and the cre­ative, rather busy. Pun­ish­ing hours have been the norm ever since he came back from OgilvyOne in London to join Memac Ogilvy in the re­gion as a ju­nior art di­rec­tor in 2002. He’s not re­gret­ting it one bit, be­cause the jour­ney has been grat­i­fy­ing. But it’s far from over.

Look­ing back, look­ing for­ward

After fin­ish­ing his ed­u­ca­tion in Beirut and South Africa, Ramzi Moutran headed to London. It seems nat­u­ral that he joined another Ogilvy of­fice, al­beit one that had a spe­cialised fo­cus – OgilvyOne. But as part of one of the eight to 10 teams there, he had to be con­tent ‘hav­ing a re­la­tion­ship with the traf­fic man­ager’ in­stead of one with clients. He got to see the cre­ative direc­tors, ‘but mostly at the bar’. He’s grate­ful though that he got to meet the likes of Rory Suther­land.

“I wanted to start work­ing with clients. And Dubai, at the time, was just about start­ing to pick up pace. And be­ing half Arab, I didn’t want to raise my kid in London. It all came to­gether then,” says Moutran, on his move to Dubai 12 years ago.

Things were dif­fer­ent back then, as one would ex­pect. Moutran re­calls the ‘lots of small briefs’ with not much time to craft work. What has re­mained con­stant is the phi­los­o­phy, he un­der­lines: ‘To be an agency of amaz­ing brands’.

“Back then, it was all about ex­e­cut­ing work. A lot of work was adap­ta­tion, with clients ask­ing us to ‘lo­calise it a lit­tle bit’. It was around that time that I started to dis­cover what our cul­ture was. I started build­ing my view on it. We re­alised that we needed to have an agency of peo­ple who be­lieve in the same thing, in sim­i­lar belief sys­tems and cul­ture. So many times, back then, we were ar­gu­ing on things. That has changed. We started hav­ing con­ver­sa­tions on where we needed to go next, be­cause we agreed in prin­ci­ple,” ex­plains the cre­ative head.

Asked if he has ever re­gret­ted not work­ing in a non-Ogilvy of­fice, Moutran of­fers a ‘Yes and No’ re­sponse. He’d like to have, per­haps, he rea­sons, be­cause he’s con­stantly ask­ing peo­ple how some­thing would be done else­where. The cre­ative also points to Ein­stein’s fa­mous def­i­ni­tion of ‘in­san­ity’ to ex­plain his case: ‘con­tin­u­ing to do the same thing over and over, and then ex­pect­ing dif­fer­ent re­sults’.

“But then, I feel so close to the Ogilvy and Memac Ogilvy way of work­ing – of belief in brands, in re­la­tion­ships, in peo­ple and in what we do – that I don’t miss any­thing. We’re in the business of us­ing ad cam­paigns to sell prod­ucts, and I’m happy to look at the sales re­ports ev­ery month from clients,” he adds.

From a team of eight or 10 cre­atives, in­clud­ing il­lus­tra­tors, fi­nalis­ers copy­writ­ers, CDs and ACDs in 2002, Memac Ogilvy has across its UAE of­fices over 50 cre­atives to­day.

Moutran un­der­lines, while out­lin­ing the num­bers, that whether it’s the team at Memac Ogilvy or other Ogilvy of­fices, the Ogilvy style and struc­ture al­lows them to work as one unit, and col­lab­o­rate when needed.

“There’s no se­cret to the suc­cess of Ogilvy, whether it’s at Cannes or some­where else – it’s the cul­ture,” he says.

From cre­ative, to cre­ative lead­er­ship

“Ev­ery cre­ative in­dus­try should be led by a cre­ative leader,” un­der­lines Moutran, on the phi­los­o­phy that drove him to the Berlin School of Cre­ative Lead­er­ship’s eMBA. He adds, “It’s eas­ier to teach a cre­ative

Moutran... ‘When clients com­ple­ment the work, they are re­ally com­pli­ment­ing the peo­ple.’

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