Thursday, September 27, 2012


End of the Advertising World

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly - Richard Bach
Now that civilization and humanity are about to perish, what did you leave behind?

May be we should not be leaving anything at all as the knowledge and the methods of this era will not be of any value in a different time and a different context. By the time Humanity finds another planet or the few survivors manage to build a new civilization they will definitely invent new ways.

However, One Idea might be worth sharing and I will now put it in the ArabAd time capsule for the posterity:

Connection needs 2 things: Common Ground and a Convenient Channel and we have to be better in Both to beat the competition – “Common Grounds” are very human and very slow to change; while Channels are changing at a very high speed following technology, innovations, and lifestyle. This is the lesson that was relevant for Don Draper, it is valid today and will be valid after the end of the world as we know it. Advertising people, go find a bright insight.

What is your footprint to be remembered by? What has been your legacy during the last 25 years of working in the communication field in the Arab region?

ArabAd is celebrating its 25th anniversary and it is still going stronger and younger while the years are making their marks on the rest of us.

“Legacy” is a big word and better left for the big egos of the industry to talk about.

Over the past 25 years we have done our jobs to best of our knowledge and above all we followed our passion to this business. We loved what we do, we have done it in the best way possible and with every idea and every presentation we thought that we were changing the world.

Good years and not so good years but overall we have reinvented ourselves and the industry several times in those 25 years. And yet we still need to invent marketing communication every day till the end of days.

Let the future generations’ judge the past 25 years of Advertising in the region. What I am going to do before the end of the world we know is to remember few things from this period that passed so quickly that I cannot believe it’s already 25 years:

• We remember advertising before desktop publishing with typesetting and bromide machines.

• We remember advertising before satellite TV and now with hundreds of stations.

• We remember the days where “copy strategy” was all the strategy needed.

• We remember big names in advertising today carrying artworks and running to their clients.

• We remember advertising before the internet and advertising after the internet.

• We remember big pitches and presentations being finalized and rehearsed at 3 am in the morning.

• We also remember fake pitches and tons of wasted hours and ideas.

• We remember flights before dawn and black suites in 45 degrees Celsius.

• We remember winning new business and adrenaline reaching the sky.

• We remember times when there was no strategic planning and how those 25 years changed planning to what it is now.

• We remember all the real geniuses who built advertising in the region and we also remember the crooks and thieves who tarnished the industry reputation.

• We remember when advertising in the region was a Lebanese club – and how it is not anymore.

• We remember the empty heads and the empty suits.

• We remember the golden age of the MBUs followed by the invasion of Branding agencies.

• We remember the crisis of 1998 and 2008 and the ones that will follow.

• We remember the buzz about Digital, like it is now about Social Media Marketing and the next trend that will affect how brands will be talking to customers yet the core of brand communication remains the same.

We remember all that and more. We look at a life spent in Advertising with no regret and no remorse. Let the world end Now.

Do we have to leave any of this in the ArabAd time capsule? – If this is really the end of the world, let me finish my presentation…

Jean-Claude Saade

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