Sabine Massaad, communication manager at Leo Burnett, Beirut reflects on the ads that paved the way to a promising career lying ahead.
The AD that got me into advertising
I did Business for three years but my time at AUB was mostly spent in the graphic design department. This is where I really wanted to be, but it wasn’t my major. It had this half creative mind that was trying to find its way. So when I graduated, I said: “I’m going into the most creative industry that a business student can get into.” A lot of times in my job, I sort of shift to the creative side and help them out with executions. I have some good creative skills, like editing or drawing.
I can work with Photoshop. It really helps when you give feedback to the creative team. Instead of being a business student that comes and says: “Yeah but try something else.” I know, in order to do this, you have to delete all of the layers. It helps a lot with the relationship. I don’t give stupid comments or irrational feedback. I’m the mid ground between client and creative.
My first real AD
Bank Audi spring account
My very first ad? Two months after joining, I worked on the Bank Audi Spring account, which is their youth account. I came in and they were already full force into the ideation of the campaign.
At that time, a lot of banks had already made a lot of ads about youth accounts. We were a bit of a latecomer. The stakes were high. I got to go to the shoot. It was a TVC with a cast of my age: 18 to 24. The crazy type of shoot. Not like you stop, fix up a set and start rolling. It was guerrilla shooting. You follow people on different locations. An insane experience. I didn’t know you put so much energy into 30 seconds. We shot like 20 hours with a cast of 20 and we got a nice edit out of it. It was my first baby and I was still a baby.
My Big Bang AD
Bank Audi we believe in small businesses
We recently released a campaign for small businesses with Bank Audi. It’s a huge message. Because we realised that 82% of the workforce of Lebanon is actually employed by small businesses. There’s always this weird relationship between a small business and the bank. They don’t feel they want to engage in such a relationship. There’s always this: “Maybe I’m too small to ask my bank for a loan.” That’s why we made this campaign. As Bank Audi, this big bank, this big institution, we say: we believe in small.
My Renaissance Ad
Mashrou Leila Ibn El Leil album cover
My account is mainly Bank Audi. Sometimes, they feel I’m too focused so they take me out and give me something out of nowhere. Last year, they threw me a curveball, working on Mashrou' Leila, the Lebanese pop band that were releasing their fourth album. As an agency, we created the album design, the cover, the inside posters, all of these things. We also worked with videographers and photographers to create the content that appears on a screen behind the band. And we made a campaign for their launch. It was different because the concept of the album was a bit eccentric and decadent. It was about the night, partying and things that in Middle Eastern media are kind of censored or frowned upon. We had this big challenge to launch an album that was already been shut off in places like Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon even. Given that their album release was done at Barbican in London, we decided to live broadcast it to Lebanon. And throw a party in Lebanon that was broadcasted to London. We wanted to create a link between the people. It was very exciting and it had a big idea: celebrating the cult of the night. Because in Middle Eastern life, who we are during the day doesn’t really reflect who we are at night. It was about celebrating the freedom that the night gives you.
The AD I wish I had on my showreel
Sometimes, before the Cannes Awards we go to the theatre and air the potential shortlists. We see what’s submitted before we know what’s going to win. We’re exposed to all these submissions and we do our own predictions. You get to give your opinion on work that still has to be judged by a bigger jury. You feel like: WOW! Some of the ideas are like ingenious!
I have a soft spot for some of the Budweiser ads with the small, golden Labrador and the horses. All these stories about Best Buds are spot on, because they go beyond the brand of beer and men. It’s about something very emotional, about the actual friendship between unexpected best buds.
P&G thank you Mom
Another one is P&G’s ‘Thank You Mom’, when you see all these kids doing sports and failing. It’s super emotional because it ends with all their achievements and giving credit to their moms.
Lebanon for sale
This year we won some awards, which is great, because I got a small contribution. Sometimes I was just passing through the hall or brainstorming. One of them was ‘Lebanon 4 Sale.’ When they tried to stop corruption in Lebanon, they created an actual market in Gemayzeh, which said: fake driving licenses and fake diplomas. For a while, people believed this. Because it’s so believable: this COULD happen in Lebanon.