Andrej Arsenijevic: ‘Dubai has an exciting energy’
Posted on 2024 Jul,01

Get to know of some of the GCC’s best creative leaders through this specially tailored ASKED & ANSWERED questionnaire designed to learn what are top agencies’ creative kitchen made of. Andrej Arsenijevic , ECD, Commonwealth McCann MENA shares his take on what it takes to win, his passion for creating standout work in the Middle East, and the importance of multiculturalism in agencies.


YOU x DUBAI

 

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Belgrade, Serbia.

 

What made you pick Dubai?

Dubai took me by surprise. Upon my arrival for an interview, I was unexpectedly upgraded to an opulent top-floor hotel suite with a stunning view of the Emirates Towers and SZR. This fortunate turn was followed by engaging discussions with sharp-minded agency people telling me their plans for crafting exceptional work. Deciding to relocate was, without a doubt, the obvious and exciting next step.

 

Okay, so what do you actually do? How would you explain your job to a taxi driver?

I work with a team of super creative people to find unique ways to promote brands, products, and services.

 

What makes Dubai so attractive for creative talents?

Sunshine, the opportunity to make world-class work, the lifestyle, ambition, and the fact that there is always something new in the city. Dubai also has an exciting energy and mix of cultures from the East and West. We, for example, have 66 nationalities across MCN.

 

What do you love most about Dubai?

All of the above. Also, how I was able to renew my driving license online in 5 minutes last week. Shoutout to RTA!

 

 

ON CULTURE AND DIVERSITY

 

How do so many cultures work together to create successful campaigns that speak their own language and fit so many cultures at the same time?

I often say Dubai is proof that all nationalities can live in peace and harmony, thanks to Dubai’s leadership and common goals. I encourage everyone to read Sheikh Mohamed’s eight Principles of Dubai. Also, having a diverse culture in the agencies is why work is relevant to many people.

 

Do you find it easy to work on campaigns that flex a cultural nuance truly distinct to the region, delivering the kind of hyper-relevance that you may struggle to land in a Western homogenized culture?

Yes, and I find it exciting that every brief is a learning experience about different people, behaviors, and cultures. One of the best parts of this job is that every brief can be executed differently.

 

 

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF AWARDS

 

Why do you think advertising awards matter so much?

Celebrating the best work in our industry and getting together is inspiring for everyone. I get energized meeting clients, production partners, and people from other agencies during awards.

 

Your take on this year’s Dubai Lynx…

I liked seeing people from other countries and regions visiting, even people from agencies in NY. The launch of Ad Net Zero in the UAE is an essential step to working on decarbonizing our industry. And, importantly, there was some great work. However, I wouldn’t say I liked seeing work whose only motivation was to win awards.

 

The one award every creative or agency wants to win?

Some clients give awards to the best partners, and if you, as an agency, manage to snatch one of these, that’s probably the best award you can win. We’re in the business of servicing our clients, after all. But in terms of advertising awards, everyone wants the Titanium Lion, which celebrates game-changing creativity.

 

Your top three awards…

Dubai Lynx-because it celebrates regional work; Cannes Lions-because it’s where industry comes together; and Webby Awards-because it’s judged by more than 3000 experts from different fields of creativity.

 

One of your favorite creative projects that you didn’t work on but that was awarded at the Lynx and that you admire.

I love Frequencies of Peace. It is such meaningful work that I know took a lot of time and perseverance.

 

Could you name a recent project you are proud of and think deserve to be awarded.

We had fantastic results with our Wastan in Ramadan campaign. Ramadan is a time for friends and family gatherings, but still, 6 out of 10 drivers are alone in their cars in a world that often favors digital interaction. We recognized a unique opportunity here, leveraging Chevrolet vehicles as a platform for social bonding. In this spirit, Chevrolet’s Wastan in Ramadan campaign was a humorous series that encouraged shared journeys, highlighting the value of togetherness.