Emile Atallah: These are Interesting Times
Posted on October 20, 2015

Emile Atallah, 
Managing Director of FP7 Beirut, believes this is the most interesting time to be in advertising--for the challenging side of the business, but not only!

 

Advertising is dead, long live advertising!!!

I’m using this term to proclaim the accession of a new era, a new era in advertising. A challenging era I might add.

Advertising hasn’t changed; it has evolved.

Just like it evolved through the 60s, the 70s and the 80s.

In fact, it would have been sad if advertising did not evolve. Imagine us without these modern mediums and tools such as Photoshop, or without advanced film editing tools.

The very thought of it sends shivers down my spine.

Advertising, like all industries, is adjusting to the inevitable evolution.

Sir John Hegarty, one of the founders of BBH and the author of ‘Hegarty on Advertising’ (highly recommended book) once wrote: “always remember, a brand is the most valuable piece of real estate, a corner of someone’s mind”. We advertisers should take him by his word, because that is the core of everything we do. We create brand value in people’s minds and hearts...

Advertising was, is, and will always be responding to changing business needs and market demands, media channels and technologies, as well as cultural contexts.

No matter how you put it or try to be smart about it, we all strive to do one thing: that is to create disruption and grab attention, and in order to do that we need to get with the times.

These are interesting times, which I am lucky to be part of.

Years ago, Ravi used to be my travel agent back when I was living in Dubai. All it took me was a phone call and all my travel plans were in order. Where is Ravi today? With Airbnb, Booking.com and Uber, Ravi is no more. In fact, Ravi became oold-school. That is in a way 
a sad notion if you think about it, but what’s the point of evolution if you can’t adapt? I genuinely hope Ravi is living on an island somewhere, sipping Mai Tai’s while organising other people’s travel plans through one of the dotcoms. We are witnessing the evolution of giant industries...

True, our business models have evolved and most of the old guards won’t recognise today’s advertising business, because it is driven by 
data and technology. But the very heart of our business is still called ‘advertising’. We can all look for digital talents, search for new data, introduce new training models or even design advanced tools, but these parameters are not going to help us change the game. It’s what we do with them that set us apart, and make us game changers.

Personally, if you ask me what makes and keeps an ad agency relevant and successful, I wouldn’t know how to answer. In a survival mode, we have to go back to our primal instincts, I for one still rely on my gut feeling, and the day I lose that feeling in my stomach, is the day I quit advertising.

Advertising is dead, long live Advertising!!!