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First impressions…

Paul Shearer Featured

We must win awards for global brands that one day will make us the global hub for their business, says the author.

Do first impressions still matter? Hell yeah? You’ll never get a second one.

I am new to the region so I’ve been asked to talk about my first impressions of the industry here. So here it goes:

After only a few weeks my first impressions couldn’t be clearer.

So clear I feel confident enough to have a good stab at predicting the future.

It’s all about progress. In all my travels I doubt I have came across a more progressive place.

So much so, I predict that this region will be the place to create global campaigns in the next few years. Apologies if your agency is already producing work that runs globally.

My predictions stem from outside advertising. As a newcomer it’s plain to see that there is a ‘never too big’ attitude all around us. There is an eagerness to prove to the world and a respectful confidence to go with it. I have always found that bigger and better usually leads to bigger and better.

If this region wore a T-shirt it would have HIGHER written on it.

In my short time I can already sense that the region has caught up with the great advertising cultures in the world. Look at Cannes last year.

With the right guidance it can keep up.

Now the world has made its first impression. My worry is that the region will let that slip.

Just like an empty seat isn’t a good first impression. And an unanswered email doesn’t send the right message. Advertising in this region needs to continue to be as big and bold as its surroundings.

After getting the world to notice. The world can change its POV just as quickly.

You make an opinion of the person sitting next to you on a plane as you walk up to them. You often choose a restaurant by looking at the décor and not the menu.

And I am pretty sure a lot of clients choose an agency shortlist by the first page of its website. My big worry is, if the region continues to produce work that was not done for real clients and the jury continues to award them it will be a tragedy. Asia has learnt their lesson and so should we.

Let’s not be known for such meaningless and pointless work and let’s be known for real! Serious business and serious business people surround us. Advertising here must be as professional.

We must win awards for global brands that one day will make us the global hub for their business.

Winning for charities is great but let’s put our clients first.  It will set a good first and last impression.

Advertising in this region must be like its surroundings. You don’t get a fake building.

On a more positive note. My first impressions of the ad folk I have met so far have been pretty incredible.

Our multi-cultural mix reminds me of Amsterdam 15 years ago. And I predict that this will be the main reason why we can be at the centre of global advertising.

We have it all. All we need to do is nurture and foster. Making sure that we are dedicated to professionalism and concentrate on our clients.

My first impressions of these clients are pretty inspiring too. Strong marketers with their sights set very high. They expect great things from their brands and rightly expect great things from their agencies. Everything seems to be right here waiting for us to create amazing things.

And my last first impression. There is nothing stopping us.

Here’s to a lasting first impression.

(The author is Paul Shearer, chief creative officer, Ogilvy & Mather MENA. This article appears in the issue of Campaign Middle East dated 25 January 2015.)