Joao Camacho, creative director of Tonic International describes Dubai as home, which to him means being in a place that allows room for doing what he loves to the best of his abilities. Despite the fact that there was nothing specific that drove him to move there other than his gut feeling, which years later, he concedes, was spot on. What follows is his view on what the industry leaders need to do to move the market forward.
What sets Dubai apart from other countries in the Middle East-- especially when it comes to crafting award-winning campaigns?
Dubai works a bit like a trend benchmark when it comes to keeping up with global trends. The brands (I don’t like to call them clients) are getting more demanding and responding to an equally increasingly demanding consumer. The lines between Media/Creative/PR are getting more and more blurred. This means that our creative focus on crafting and award-winning ideas is open to our everyday work and no longer on just 360 multimedia campaigns. There is plenty of talent in Dubai and that, along with edgy marketers, has a huge impact on the work outcome. As for Tonic, I can tell you we profoundly believe in the blurred line between the many creative opportunities across media/creative/PR.
It is this openness that brings an edge to all creatives in Dubai. When something as small as a Christmas card can become famous and become award-winning material.
What adjectives best describe Dubai’s advertising scene and what is still missing/needed for greater success?
It is a talented market that needs more trust from brands when it comes to results. Good ideas that sell results in the form of growth and awards and that loop into trust and so on. It’s a growing cycle.
With Dubai being a widely diverse landscape of people and cultures, is there an effort to craft ad campaigns within a certain framework for the widest appeal?
Dubai is also following global trends in this regard. Targets are getting more and more specific and that requires more specific measures, like absolute focus on human truth being a must and empowering creative effectiveness. It is definitely wise for brands to localise their creative efforts, but even then we need to search for that human truth that connects with consumers. Also, here is where we see how blurred the lines are between media/creative/PR and we can multiply success simply by riding this trend.
What are the greatest challenges facing ad creatives today?
Taking risks. Especially brands stay hidden a lot behind old data and research that is not necessarily relevant. It is crucial for all to stay updated. We need to continuously learn, experiment and make mistakes. This is the only way to succeed. So I would say the biggest challenge would be to challenge what we already know.
Are there any trends in Dubai’s advertising scene that you specifically dislike?
Trends aside, we would love to break the bad radio cycle that has been going on in Dubai for years now. It is a market with such creative potential. Such great opportunities for brands to explore and agencies to win awards, but for some reason it is a challenge and not a good one. It is dull, old school and boring.
Do you find it professionally rewarding and personally interesting to be located in Dubai?
I am home. And home is nothing but where you are happy doing what you love, as best you can.
What made you pick Dubai?
Gut-feeling and the love of risks.