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Dubai Lynx 2015: Youth drive the IAA agenda

Hani Ghorayeb 600

Three young professionals from UAE chosen to present at the Dubai Lynx festival this year by the industry body’s UAE chapter.

The International Advertising Association (IAA) UAE chapter has been associated with the Dubai Lynx for eight years now. It is very important for the industry body to be part of the festival, says Hani Ghorayeb, COO, AMS-Choueiri Group, who was elected president of the UAE chapter in November 2014. “We believe the Dubai Lynx is a very respectable entity and that the IAA as an industry body should be part of the whole process,” says Ghorayeb, in conversation with Campaign Middle East. And this year, the conscious focus is to involve youth in the proceedings, in line with the mandate of the chapter for its 2014-’16 term.

Tell us about the year-on-year growth of the IAA’s association with the festival.

The association with the festival has grown. Usually, we used to have one member of the board present at one of the conferences. We have done it a little differently this year.

The youth in the industry is one of the main focus areas of the newly elected board of the IAA UAE chapter. In line with that, we have gone ahead with the ‘Truth & Dare’ competition. It was released in social media as well as ATL (press). We asked the young professionals in our industry to be daring and present to the board their bold ideas on the industry. We have completed an audition and chosen three really good young professionals, who presented on three different subjects. They will be presenting at the Dubai Lynx instead of one member from the IAA.

All three are young female professionals, chosen on merit from among all the presentations by the board through voting.

We used to have a speaker addressing members once a month in the IAA premises. We’ll now be starting with the young professionals’ presentations. We will be hosting them every month to be a part of our presentations. This would include the three chosen presentations and some that we thought were good, but could not be chosen to be presented at Dubai Lynx.

IAA YP at Lynx 2015
The three young professionals chosen by IAA to present at Dubai Lynx 2015.

What explains the focus on youth from the chapter?

The IAA includes all the stakeholders of the advertising industry. From creative agencies to PR to media representation to media itself, to digital to MBUs… all the components are there. The mandate is to talk about the problems and challenges that each one of us has as an industry.

The direction is that, we don’t want to be perceived as this club of dinosaurs. The perception is that we are about the old generation. So the main purpose of this term is to engage the young professionals in the industry.

We have 13 members on the board. Each of us nominated three young professionals, which we call the shadow board. We will be meeting for the first time (on 25 February), to discuss and work towards solving problems, concerns and challenges of the young.

Prior to this, we did a survey among the young people in late January/beginning of February. We surveyed 500 young professionals in Dubai. We got a summary of their concerns, their ambitions, what they like. Based on these survey findings, we asked the 39 shadow board members what they want to add to these, and also choose projects for the coming term in that direction.

This is the base for our work for the coming period.

Usually, the young professionals of the industry do not attend the Dubai Lynx. Obviously, you cannot invite everybody because there are limited places. We created a competition that is running now, offering limited places for young professionals to come and attend the seminars.

Is there any data on the number or proportion of young people in the industry?

We don’t have a specific survey on it, but if we just look around, it is clearly a young industry made up of young professionals. The majority are young, full of life and they want to be part of any improvement in the industry.

They have been very enthusiastic. At the Dubai Lynx, we will be announcing another initiative related to the youth.

Besides youth, what is the IAA UAE’s mandate?

As I said, the mandate is to tackle the problems facing the industry. The major challenge the area is facing is growth in the advertising industry. The mandate will be on how we can grow this industry.

We’ve arranged a plan that is divided as: (i) perception (ii) knowledge (iii) content and (iv) business.

Some markets have a ‘Young Professionals’ membership as well. Any plans for that here?

The ‘shadow board’ is a reflection of the young professionals elsewhere. It was done in a way (for young professionals) to assist and work closely with the board members. We see the shadow board as becoming a foundation for a young board. At the same time, we don’t want it to be very rigid. We want it to be active and engaging with the youth.

Besides the Lynx, do you see the line up of the IAA events in the UAE growing?

We are working exclusively with the Dubai Lynx as an awards festival in the UAE.

Being an industry body, of course we have a lot of events. The last board organised several events, be it conferences, apprentice programmes or others. Now the new board is in the process of putting together an agenda or a timeline for activities and conferences for the existing term. But for sure, you will hear about us a lot in the coming months.

(This article appears in the issue of Campaign Middle East dated 8 March 2015.)

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