Dany Naaman has been the CEO of Havas Middle East for 5 years. His favourite hobby is playing sports.
The Arab creative community is experiencing a remarkable renaissance in recent years. From Arab artists becoming global sensations, to agencies sweeping Grand Prix Cannes Lions awards, this resurgence is marked by newfound confidence and boldness, making a profound impact on a global scale.
As we dive into this vibrant creative awakening, we explore the fusion of cultures, the inspiring role of Arab youth in the creative realm, and the far-reaching influence that previous generations have had across various domains, from art and literature, to music and cinematography. Today, it is not uncommon to see
Arab talent rise to global fame, much like Ramy Youssef who in recent years co-created and produced popular Netflix shows ‘Mo’ and ‘Rami’. We’ve also seen Arab actors like Rami Malek – an icon in his own right – become the first Egyptian-American in history to take home an Academy Award. Not long after, he joined four other stars as a brand ambassador for fashion label Cartier.
This creative revival demonstrates the region’s ability to adapt and blend global influences with its cultural heritage, breathing new life into contemporary art. The convergence of different cultures, coupled with the influx of young Arabs carving a space for themselves in a new era of communications, is leading to a vibrant cultural transformation.
In the last two years alone, the global creative community unexpectedly witnessed the emergence of Arab agencies who have made their mark with Cannes Lions Grand Prix wins for the adidas Liquid Billboard campaign and AnNahar Newspaper’s Elections Editions campaign, to name a few. One common denominator?
Arabs take on creativity through the lens of their hearts. They have found the sweet spot between intellectual, emotional and materialistic advertising, reasoning that real impact is felt when we reach the hearts of others.
This creative resurgence is steered by young Arab men and women who play an indispensable role in shaping tomorrow’s dynamic Middle Eastern identity. They effortlessly harmonise contemporary values with deep-rooted traditions, harnessing technology and emotional intelligence to showcase their work on a global platform.
Social media platforms have emerged as powerful channels for Arab youth, offering an unfiltered avenue for creative expression and enabling them to share their creativity beyond borders. Among them are young creative shapers and thinkers who master the art of content creation, stand out as cultural ambassadors, passionately advocate for social and environmental causes, and not only amplify their voices and viewpoints on a global stage but also foster a deeper understanding of the culture.
Arab talents have transcended borders, sharing their art and narratives globally on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Twitter. A prime example of this is the #ArabCreatives tag on Instagram that has generated over 10 million mentions, connecting creators to audiences from around the globe and broadcasting their work on the world stage.
Podcasting and digital journalism have further amplified their voices and disseminated knowledge about Arab culture, contributing to the ignition of vibrant sectors such as visual storytelling, music, and digital arts that have garnered worldwide recognition.
This collective effort has led to a broader dissemination of our culture. Today, its influence extends beyond the arts and entertainment, leaving a profound impact on the advertising industry and, ultimately, consumers on a global scale.
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.
The Middle East has also become a hub for international talent to showcase their work and reach new audiences. Noor Riyadh, an annual light and art event, is one such initiative that nurtures and supports local and international creativity by spotlighting the unique artworks of talents from across the capital.
This sentiment strongly resonates with over a thousand young Arabs in Havas Middle East’s ‘Generation Covid’ Prosumer Report. A significant majority of these individuals emphasise their generation’s remarkable ability to unite and organise through social media, considering it their most powerful advantage.
In fact, six out of every ten young Arabs prefer active engagement on social media platforms to champion causes they deeply care about.
Looking ahead, the Middle Eastern creative landscape is poised for dynamic growth, fuelled not only by technological advancements like AR, VR and AI but also by the emerging concept of ‘neoculture’. Various sub-cultures in the MENA region are coming together, joining this mission to bring Arab culture onto a global platform.
This collaborative effort, driven by their desire to appeal to others through the heart, will ultimately give us a rich and diverse identity. Cross-cultural collaborations, local talent investments and the Arabian cultural heritage preservation will sustain this creative momentum, ensuring that neo-culture becomes a driving force in shaping the vibrant future of the Arab creative landscape.
It’s a journey worth celebrating, a story worth telling, and a future worth embracing. Arab creativity is not just on the rise; it’s on the verge of redefining global creativity as we know it.
“You will never get to the end of the journey if you stop to shy a stone at every dog that barks” – Winston Churchill.