Elie Jabre: Advertising’s Good Old Days Are Long Gone
Posted on August 07, 2016

With over three decades of experience in the advertising field, former Chairman and CEO of DDB Lebanon Elie Jabre recalls the good old days of an industry, which he back in 2001 described as a shadow of its former self. Opening his heart to ArabAd, he recounts the things he misses most and the lessons he continues to draw on in his current position as communication consultant in MENA region and a lecturer at Saint Joseph University (USJ).

After reaching the top of the advertising ladder I left because... I have always applied a golden rule: transparency and objectivity in order to maintain my clients’ confidence and trust. The AbouAdal Group was a major client of mine for 25 years. The day the L’Oreal group and Colgate Palmolive became associated with the Abou Adal group and immediately moved their business to their aligned partners. The same thing happened the same year with another client of the agency, “The Cigarrera la Moderna” our client for seven years. The company was sold to B.A.T. and we lost our business. Unfortunately, our DDB partners could not interfere enough in order to switch the entire Henkel account and other accounts to our agency. Believing at a local level that maintaining a wonderful relation with your client can save you, 
at that point in time, this was no longer possible.

The things I miss most about advertising is… Our independence and spirit of revolt, which at times used to see us defying the client so that he/she would adhere to our point of view.

What is still left from all those years are... Smiles and tears.

The tools acquired from advertising, which I employ in my current role are... The ones I used at DDB such as R.O.I., relevance, originality and impact that drive me to think in a more strategic and creative way.

Some of the good old things that don’t exist anymore... Is the freedom to cry, the freedom to say no and the freedom to believe in my own insight.

Though I left that industry, I still am... Working as a political consultant for companies in the MENA region.