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Rise up

Impact BBDO’s chief creative officer Paul Shearer calls on the creative industry to rally behind one another and build the MENA region into an awards power house off the back of its first Grand Prix

Im delighted to have been part of an agency that has won the region’s first ever Cannes Lions Grand Prix.

This is not only a defining moment for the Impact BBDO group but hopefully for the whole region.

But most of all I want the good vibes it has created to be put to good use.

As a creative I always try to be optimistic, with emphasis on ‘try’.

That’s what creativity does, because it reminds us we can make something that never before existed. To have a job in the creative world is a gift in itself.

And to have imaginations rewarded by winning at the most influential and fiercely contested creative competition, that’s not just a gift; it’s humbling.

So, what do we do now, with our new-found feel-good factor by our sides.

I want to try and rally my fellow MENA creatives to take this award and use it as a battering ram to inspire more success for the region.

I could think of nothing better than winning another Grand Prix next year.

And yes, it’s easy for me to say this, with one sitting here.

But I swear, if our success inspired another Grand Prix from another agency in the region I would be equally proud.

I have spoken many times about the collaboration of Brazilian agencies and the rewards that have befallen them all.

You do well. We do well.

Together we are stronger.

And years later, reputation precedes them.

People now say: “They are Brazilian, they must be good.”

Well our Brazilian friends didn’t just wake up with this label.

They worked hard to get it. They found courage to back a competitor, supporting each other. One industry. One direction.


We put our heart and soul into genre-shaping work.

But we must also put our hearts into building a creative togetherness in
this region.

Infuse a culture of collaboration and lasting contribution that we can all enjoy and use to inspire each other.

Make the world take note of the region.

Build it and they will come. And guess what, we live in the world’s most advanced building culture.

Sure, there will always be competition. It’s healthy.

But when the last award is called and the final trophy handed out we must take pride in each other’s success.

I am not saying it doesn’t exist. I see it and hear it when I speak to many of the region’s creatives.

But there is not enough.

At Cannes this year we were helped massively by the selfless support of one of the jury members from the region.

When asked about our work he spoke as if it was his own. With pride and passion.

Amazing! Thank you.

This Grand Prix can be a significant moment in our time and can represents a catalyst of momentum.

It can inspire the future creative that comes out of the region. Power the imaginative application of art and science.

But only if we cast off the feelings of resentment.

I am a very jealous creative. I often sulk when I see other agencies doing well.

If this was another agency who picked up the first Grand Prix I would feel it should be me.

It’s totally natural.

I am not saying stop being jealous. Just shake it off quickly and feel inspired that this is a piece of work from our region.

Be supportive because it’s the right thing to do.

Talk it up because it’s from our land.

Born in a place where we work and live.

Succeeding in a place that others don’t think will succeed.

If that’s not a challenge, I don’t know what is.

Most of all, because it will benefit us all and the generations ahead of us.

This is not some sort of football supporter’s thing where it is frowned upon to support another team.

This is our professional life. Supporting other agencies is the professional thing
to do.

Building the region’s reputation is good for our business.

Better work all round will mean better results for our clients and more work
for us.

So how do we do this?

Start a creative circle club? A WhatsApp group?

All commendable things.

But I would suggest an easier way.

Be inspired by the region’s first Cannes Lions Grand Prix and make work that makes others jealous and then proud.

And when you see anyone from another country or judge a foreign awards show, do what that jury member did for us this year.

Stand up and support it like it was your own.

And I know it’s possible for us all to do this for each other. I have met enough amazing people here.

All it takes is a Grand Prix to get us going.

I will leave you with one last request.

Please enter Lynx next year.

This show is our creative foundation.

We are blessed to have it.

Thank you.