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MENA Power List 2023: The creative idea, the golden nugget by Publicis’s Nathalie Gevresse


Campaign Middle East recently covered industry movers and shakers from the advertising, marketing and creative space for our MENA Power List 2023 issue and there was a strong sense of optimism about the region’s landscape for marketers to flourish.

Nathalie Gevresse has been the CEO for Publicis Communications, UAE for a year.  Her favourite hobby is East Asian History & Culture and Drawing.

The excitement surrounding new technologies, platforms and innovations takes over all conversations, becoming the new currency: novelty, curiosity, competitive advantages, efficiency, and enhanced experiences…to name just a few of the positive outcomes.

While embracing them is indisputable, it raises questions regarding the value of the creative idea and its critical role.

Mediocrity in disguise, or the rise of the idea?

When was the last time a message from your feeds struck you? When was the last time you saw or heard a message that brought a smile to your face, made you happy, sad, angry, or elicited any emotion or reaction other than frantically pressing the skip button, scrolling down as quickly as possible, or passively waiting for everything to pass?

Amidst the excitement to do more and do it faster, messages are frequently taken for granted and relayed as secondary content. However, conveying creativity and creative ideas across the entire brand experience, regardless of the channels or technology used, remains indispensable.

It is no longer just about what or where we say something, but rather how we say it. Achieving this demands the right balance between the creative idea, technological solution, channel, and execution.

And the beauty of our industry is that ideas take flight; they are not bound by physical or other special limitations. They can exist independently of specific spaces, channels, tools or locations.

We often forget that ideas drive consistency and uniqueness in an increasingly fragmented landscape of communication and experiences. But does the creative idea really receive the importance it deserves?

The creative idea has always been in the hot seat. Why? Because it appears simple. An idea can be created by anyone—whether you, me, or anyone else—regardless of age, background, profession, or industry. As long as there is curiosity and a willingness to explore or try new perspectives, there exists the potential for a great idea.

However, if everyone can cook, it doesn’t necessarily mean that:

1) What you cook is edible and 2) You can become a Michelin-star chef.

So, creative agencies have a pivotal role to play, and their approach must shift.

The cat among the pigeons or the goose that lays the golden eggs?

As new technologies and tools effectively transform the landscape and the creative process to enable more efficient data-driven insights and personalisation, they can assist in content creation by generating copy, images, videos and more.

However, they are not, and should never replace human creativity. Instead, these tools streamline processes, freeing up creative minds for more strategic tasks while preserving the indispensable role of the creative idea as the starting point.

Creative thinking and ideation remain essential in crafting compelling and unique communication messages or campaigns that connect with the audience on an emotional level. We are storytellers, humans connecting with humans.


Will creative agencies be able to retain their essence, their creativity? Since I joined this industry in the mid-’90s, every year with a bit of drama and nostalgia, I’ve heard that creativity is dead. In reality, it becomes more interesting year by year.

Evolving and perpetual change is the very nature of our industry, dating back to the inception of ‘Réclame.’ Those who will grow are not necessarily the most intellectual, the strongest, or the largest, but those who can adapt and adjust to the changing environment they find themselves in.

We are certainly in an era where we can claim that no two days are the same, and we learn more today than we did yesterday, yet less than we will tomorrow. Embrace it. Long live creativity.

The second Campaign Saudi Briefing event of the year will be taking place in Riyadh on 12th October 2023. A variety of panels and speakers will be discussing the themes of media and marketing. For more details, click here.