Areej Mahmoud: "Always change the brief!"
Posted on May 10, 2015

Get into the mind of Leo Burnett Creative Director Areej Mahmoud who opens his heart throughout this light-toned questionnaire, revealing some things we would have never known about the man behind some of the most notable campaigns created of the past years.

What first sparked your interest in advertising?
I hold Bechara Mouzannar responsible for this, when he taught me advertising in AUB. And I’ll never forgive him. 

What gets you up in the morning?
10 consecutive alarms, and sun on my face.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I work with the best people.

What is your greatest extravagance?
A spoonful of Nutella on top of an Oreo cookie with chocolate filling. 

What keeps you up at night?
Hypochondria.

What is the gadget you cannot live without?
A pencil.

What can we find on your phone?
Twitter, Instagram, Calendar, Email, Music, Chess with friends, Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Who would you like to sit next to on a seven-hour flight?
A mute who doesn’t snore.

What’s your motto in life? 
Play Harder.

If you were to be reincarnated, what would you like to come back as? 
An oak tree.

If you were to change profession, what would you choose to do?
An architect, a writer, or maybe a cook.

Where can we find you on a Friday night?
Hiding at home with a movie, a book, or a friend.

If you could choose one superhero power, what would it be?
Easy. Flying! Why would anyone choose any other?

What would you do if you won the lottery?
Bribe a politician into reforming. It would make for a good story.

What is the one word you catch yourself saying too often?
You think?

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
I hear New Zealand has beautiful things to see.

What is the one thing you wish you have designed?
The old IBM logo. 

Who do you ultimately want to become?
Retired on an island.

What music have you been listening to lately?
Róisin Murphy. I have a serious crush on her. I’ve also been exploring some funk and electronic music.

What quality do you most look up to in a woman?
Whether you are a woman, man, or undecided; the best quality in a person is humility, an open mind, and being honest with yourself.

What business tip would you give the newbies?
Always change the brief.


Who Are You?

I am.... clumsy most of the time. 
I like.... when things fail more than when they work.
I want.... a six-pack, but I hate the gym.
I have.... a crush on at least ten female singers.
I wish.... I did not need any sleep.
I hate.... preachers.
I fear.... losing my eyesight. 
I Google.... my symptoms and I always scare myself with the diagnosis.
I wonder.... what it would be like if the Lebanese were Norwegian.
I regret.... not mastering a musical instrument when I was younger.
I love.... food.Yes. I know my priorities. 
I need.... you to leave me alone.
If I ruled the world.... I would make a terrible dictator. 
I dream.... in full HD.

My Favourite…

Dream Destination: I didn’t see the northern lights yet. 

Restaurant: Home cooking usually wins. But every now and then, Fatté and Foul at Sousie in Mar Elias is a perfect way to waste your Sunday.

Hotel: Not a big fan of hotels. They play a functional role in my life.

Meal: Nothing beats fresh raw white fish with lemon dressing followed by a bloody steak with buttered new potatoes and rosemary.

Quote: “And now for something completely different.” from The Monty Python Flying Circus.

Book(s): Samarqand by Amin Maalouf, Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller.

Movie: Shawshank Redemption. 

Flower: Poppy.

Animal: All animals as long as they stay in the wild. My new favourite is the snow leopard. 

Poet: Zaki Nassif.

Music/band: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

Painter: Juan Miro.

Heroes: My heroes are my friends.