Blogs & Comment

Only strong competition will keep us creative

Rayan Karaky is general manager, digital, at VivaKi

“A few weeks back, on the back cover of the print edition of Campaign, a little war of words emerged between two giants in the media industry. I read over multiple social networks and blogs, comments in favour and others against. Hate it or love it, this kind of rivalry is the best thing that could happen to the media industry, let alone to the wider advertising industry.

Starting at a micro level, both ads have dirty-genius written all over them; smart use of copy, simple, clean and the first reaction when you see them is “ouch!”. And I assume it’s what they were meant to deliver. Unlike what most people think, these ads are first of all an acknowledgment from both agencies to their biggest rival. The mere fact that celebrating award-winning work has taken that path is a pure reflection of the reality that these two agencies both produce great work and are constantly striving to improve their quality.

Looking at what happens with creative awards (minus plagiarising), they are always dominated by one agency, depending on the category. It’s almost like you don’t feel any sort of rivalry or eagerness to win. In some cases we even see agencies running ads in small publications just to meet the required criteria to qualify for an award, which defeats the whole purpose of ad agencies and their role to deliver business to clients.

This mutual respect has lead to great things in the past; a full-on collaboration on digital audience measurement tools, and a previous attempt to launch an IAB in the region. This should not stop. Our market needs the big players to sit at the same table and drive the market forward, especially on digital. This is our industry and that’s the only way it can regain its credibility and keep the marketers’ faith.

Finally, judging by the Twitter and Facebook ‘conversations’ that the ads sparked between the executives at different levels at both agencies; you can feel the passion, loyalty and sense of belonging. Everyone wants to work in such environments, and the fact that management at OMG and Starcom allow such rivalries to flow through these ads makes any talent in the market have their eyes wide open. If you belong to the world of media and you are witnessing a race to excellence, the last thing you want to do is be a spectator.”


  • The “attempt to launch the Iab in the region” was initiated by Omd digital then and picked up by many agencies and publishers except Starcom who were not present in any of the brainstorming meetings.

    Moreover this is a very lousy example as it shines the light on a presumed collaboration that never saw effective results.

    Rayan you don’t need to sound diplomatic, this article is a bit forced. Feeling guilty?

  • Dont sit on the fence Bob tell it like it is why dont you….. poor Rayan – but i do agree with Bob, this left me empty and kinda bored i have to say

  • Hey guys, appreciate the feedback; well from Bob anyways… just few clarifications. on the IAB, Dimitri Metaxes was the initiator, and asked me to be present during the initiation meeting, and I was. In fact that didn’t end up working because of publishers resistance at the time, but anyways point is, we were present and I fully supported Dimi to lead it.
    and I don’t agree that it never saw effective results, it was OMD and us who pushed a common currency for planning tools and that accelerated publisher’s adoption of effective measures and Nielsen’s market intelligence.

    as for the feeling guilty part, about what exactly.. think you guys are reading a bit too much into it.. this was more a message for creative agencies than an attempt to be diplomatic. I actually did enjoy the response and therefore said this about it.. It gives me great pleasure to beat OMD at anything (probably the same for them) that doesn’t mean I can’t respect what they do and “say it like it is”…

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