Interview- Nadim Khoury
Nadim Khoury - Chief Operating Officer at Grey Group MENA
April 30, 2014
Q: Tell us about some of the major changes in the UAE’s ad industry in the past year.
A: The ad industry overall, is at a turning point and this has been the case for some time now. A direct manifestation of this is noticeable in our day-to-day lives, not to mention its impact on the management of operations, type of resources needed and services to offer.
Media consumption is one of the major factors for the landscape change. Agencies are still thriving on the idea of advertising being a creative black box. Clients have always sought breakthrough campaigns rather than run-of-the-mill ones, and this will continue to be the case. While evolving in fundamental ways is healthy and creative, the “idea” remains the driving force in the advertising industry.
Q: Is advertising addressing the existing multitude of nationalities, languages, religions, histories and cultures? What are the advantages attached to such a diverse mix and what are the difficulties?
A: Good and powerful advertising is one based on a universal recognized truth that travels across nationalities, languages, religions and cultures. Look at all the films that circulate within our social media network. They either make us cry or laugh regardless of where and who created them. This is very much possible because they are based on a human insight or a thread that is common to diverse cultures.
People pay more attention to the product with respect to themselves; they want to know what’s in it for them. Creativity thus is associated with the ability to turn any commodity into a sheer necessity.
We should also not disregard local insights that always make our communication even more relevant. This is why a piece of communication should have the power to influence a diverse segment of people; of course without losing its ‘soul’.
Such a diverse market that is geographically dispersed and highly competitive, calls for in-depth understanding of the world around them.
Q: Digital is becoming the fastest growing sector in the communication industry which the UAE can easily adopt and adapt to from a technical point of view considering its advanced infrastructure. So, what have been the most promising strategies employed and which platforms show the biggest promise?
A: The consistent factor in advertising remains finding the effective media communication solutions that best serves the advertiser. We are of course propelled by a strong ongoing growth in the online market, and we are considering strategies that help us adapt more and more to this new trend.
There has been a bigger focus on websites, content for smartphones and tablets, all that thrives on convenience. The ad industry is going through major changes as I mentioned earlier and the future surely belongs to the bold, to the agencies that can evolve with the market requirements.
We are also noticing an interactive direction in various fields, including marketing, which is why high emphasis should go for social media. People are building alternative virtual lives and research has shown that advertising is a reality in this world. People do notice ads online and they go after them. That is why such platforms are seen as greatly promising.
Q: There is a clear absence of regional agencies at international award shows. Why is that?
A: Not really, this has not been exactly the case. We have seen big networks winning at regional awards show. This does not mean we do not aspire for more. Metal means more recognition and more exposure; they also increase the trust of clients and turn it into a more prestigious choice for them. It’s all about gaining good reputation after all.
One of creativity's goals remain to win awards or sell as much as possible, especially at a time when such a tool is being employed throughout the world to benefit and advance communities facing different kinds of problems. How will people know if you do not talk about it? Awards are like a small anecdote telling a success story about how hard work pays off.
Ultimately, award shows are the only glamorous aspect of our industry, away from the world of numbers and margins. Advertising agencies do need some acclaim and a gesture of appreciation can only push everyone further. We have to enjoy our victories and make the most of them.