Impact BBDO’s executive creative director Fadi Yaish has announced he is to leave his position early next year. His reputation is well known in the region and beyond. For the past three years he has been among the top three creatives globally, as ranked by the Big Won Report.
Although he will not yet say what his next move will be, he has provided a comprehensive statement of purpose to Campaign, along with client testimonials.
The following is Yaish’s statement, in his own words:
Since I started, I’ve gone in to work with a sense of looming doom, every single day. And yes, it grew on me and bothered me even more. Until a point last year when it struck me. There’s no running away from it. The most accomplished minds in the business feel no different. In order to outperform and deliver the most effective work for our clients, one has to constantly challenge the norms, tests the limits and push everyone away from their comfort zones. I figured am blessed feeling this way. Otherwise we’re just stuck in a rut of mediocrity. Today, I’d be worried if I woke up and don’t feel this nervousness, this discomfort in my gut.
I feel that the moment one achieves something, that very moment, it loses the power to make you happy anymore. And you think, what’s next? That’s probably why I’ve never had the good fortune to live in the moment, enjoy it. When I felt we reached as far as we could go together at Impact BBDO, I had to make a tough decision to let go and start thinking what is next. And next, I promise you, is something more exciting and disruptive. A new challenge, which will push me further to create even better work. If there’s something that’s more solid than my work, it’s my word.
“Working with Fadi constantly reminded me why I love my job so much and what my role can and should be. He has an uncanny ability to make you feel uncomfortable, and I mean that in good way. Such a powerful attribute of a creative and the only way creativity stays creative. This is something I truly appreciate about Fadi.”
Mohammed Ismaeel, senior vice-president marketing – Central Europe, Middle East and Africa at Visa
As far as the last five years go, we know as movie buffs that it’s all about the ending, isn’t it. The ending defines the story. And I chose to end mine at Impact BBDO with our clients on a high. There is no better legacy I’d rather be remembered for. I made up my mind in November that I should move on and resigned, and it’s a great feeling that when I call it a day at BBDO, early next year, I’ll leave it in top shape.
This has been the most exciting chapter yet, but also the most challenging. To take Impact BBDO to where stands today regionally and globally was no easy feat. What we achieved in five years with our clients and new business was improbable. But clearly not impossible.
I am satisfied that in this time we fixed the recurring challenges we all face as agencies operating in Dubai with 100 per cent expats working mainly for the Saudi Arabia market. Consistency, stability, relevance, purpose and efficiency, to name a few, are everyday challenges. And the others are variable: the economy, geo climate, habits, technology and everything else around us that apply immense pressure on the everyday goals and demand immediate gratification.
The one question that I get asked most often is, “Don’t you get tired?” The answer is a resounding no. Because if we don’t really love the business and enjoy solving every brief to its best capacity then what we are we really doing here? You have to be committed and dedicated towards your clients, agency, team and, above all, yourself. It takes a lot to do the right thing in our industry, but it’s imperative.
“Every meeting with Fadi was a long hour of inspiration. Inspiration from the creativity, passion and excellence – a creative leader who puts business growth and client success ahead of everything else. will definitely miss working with him”
Mohamed Torki, CBU director, Saudi and Gulf at Mars
I strongly believe advertising is a marathon. You cannot rush trust and credibility. Things take their own time. You have to earn it inch by inch. The trust of all my clients is perhaps my most precious achievement I leave the agency with.
A funny incident comes to mind, a client once started a WhatsApp group and called it #InFadiWeTrust. In lighter vein of course, but there’s a truth in the fact that there’s someone who’s counting on you. This trust was always a mountain on my shoulders. Because what takes years to build can vanish in a second, like any relationship. Once you earn the trust you seek, you realize that is the hardest job in the world. And you have to uphold it and guard it with at any cost.
“It is a sad news for me and huge loss for BBDO and their clients. But the world is small so I am sure our paths will cross again.”
Yana Ignatova, head of Baby EMEA global franchise organisation at Johnson & Johnson
And trust begets trust. Pitches for instance. Clients trusted what we stood for and bought into what we represent, even before they bought into the work – so much so that every campaign we ran was the work we pitched with. And this is very, very rare in our business not only in the region but in the world. I take great pride in this, because it is a solid proof on how we approached our work and how detail-oriented we were to the client’s business and objectives. It takes a lot for a client you meet for first time to trust you, buy your work and passion and actually run the work you believe in.
From the perspective of growing our clients, I am particularly proud of our Johnson’s story and how we took it from regional to EMEA to a global partnership. Centrepoint was another highlight, showing how we built a great brand from the ground up in four years. And the great evolution on Mars product communication. For KFC, we had the lovely opportunity to leave our stamp on everything, right from in-store to brand and product communication. The stories are too many to tell, really.
I’m truly honoured to have built such an unbreakable relationship with all our clients. They challenged us and we challenged them, but eventually the results were remarkable. I assure you, it wasn’t easy for us and certainly not for them. But once the ball was rolling, and the thirst created, it pushed us to ensure even better work was done and generate even better business results.
“In 2013, Centrepoint tasked BBDO to reposition our brand , The brand has since evolved constantly. Fadi’s business interest and passion to drive this change was key to Centrepoint being one of the most loved and recognised fashion destination brands in the region.”
Shyam Sunder, senior head of marketing at Centrepoint
I never aimed to make clients happy in any presentation, I focused on one thing only: to find best solution for the problem they have. For me, my objective has always been to make clients happy with the results of the work. Not in the boardroom. And in between there is a world of difference. Most people worry too much that the clients would feel uncomfortable sometimes. I worry if they do not.
The one thing is leader is judged on is his legacy. Today I leave Impact BBDO and it is the best in the region on every level. Top ive in BBDO network and one of the top agencies in the world.
Having said that, exciting times are ahead. I believe we are almost there as a region and a market. We’ve shattered the invisible ceiling. Now it’s time to fly and take brands and businesses to new heights, solve problems and truly innovate to deliver impeccable results.
Today, more than ever before, advertising is helping move product for our clients. They are under pressure. They want it fast, cheap and great. They need relevant work. And effective, current social and digital work that hits the mark, and then some.
“Working with Fadi reflects Partnership at its best. It’s never an agency-client relationship.”
Mohamed Yousry Taher, regional brand director – Middle East, Turkey & Africa at Mars
There is a huge gap in the market that has been building up for years. A gap between business strategy and creative strategy. A gap between big-picture vision and effective execution. And this gap is only getting bigger with the rapid change taking place among consumers, technology, economy and markets.
This is where the next big opportunity lies.
I’m proud of what my team and I at BBDO accomplished together on every level We exceeded all expectations of our clients, agency and network. They are family and those who know me know I don’t mean it as a corporate cliché. I would like to believe I’ve provided them enough tools to work with, be equipped for the future, and stay inspired always, so that they keep shining, and all their hard work pays off.
Here’s the list of people that I must thank from the bottom of my heart. I would not be me if it was not all of these people: Jithu, Richard G, Bijoy, lizelle, Bharti, Peter, Leen, Lea, Dominika, Anita, Tomas, Gautam, Akelish, David, Gonzalo, Simone, Enrico, Reham, Nadine, Lina, Frances, Amr, Tihana, Raja, Noushad, Rushi, Enrico, Yash, Karna, Sunil, Sameer, Claudia, Honor, Emma, Nawara, Emilie, Anju, Rajaa, Ann, Rebecca, Tennyson, James, Joris, Auni, MC, Sara, Sajan, Smit, Savio, Rohit, Luiz, Eduardo, Elsa, John John, Marcio, Marcelo, Ann, Bana, Samir, Rijin, Mostafa, Husam, Mohammed, Rani, Ryan, Rodas, Alok, William, Dio, Chris Ahlen, Tono, Kelly, Ebrahim, Alberto, Alia, Allen, Solange, Jad, Jackie, Weera, Colin, Ryan Cook, Kerri, Enrico, Elizabeth, Scott, Said, Khaled, Sam, Philipe, Jovana, Shankar, Joseph John, Shankar, Talal, Jaime, steve, Daniel, Tres, Badawi, Andrew, Rima, Ahmed, Soji, Hande, Oliver, Jorge, Caroline, Seba, Gavin, Victor, Lauren, Paul, Amr El hadad, Stephanie, Clarisse, Tavo, Nada, Fouad, Nabil, Sameer, Rajan, Joy, Nayab, Darren, Diaa, Hamid, Espy, Sergio, Tariq Hassan, Manuel, Rania, Camilla, Wael, Jala, Saurabh, Sandy, Tina, Maya, Andy, Katie, Hend, Michelle, Mika, Nader, Tanya, Chelasea, Ousama, Sana, Azeenm, Ben, Theresa, Mirel, Hebatullah, Donya, Asad, Sandra, Sami, Melis, Carlos, Mathew, Shabu, Roland, Anil, Clifford, Suresh, frances, Ahmed, Basheer, Bassam, Jason, Burcu, Hend Rafaat, Alita, Douglas, Nayla, Walid Kanaan, Bob Yacoub, Megan and Thanks for Dani Richa for believing in all of us to make this dream run possible. Thanks to all our clients who were my true partners and champions Mohammed Torki, Mohammed Yousri, Mohammed Al Mahdy, Fahad Haji, Mohammed Ismaeel, Karim Beg, Malika Sagindikova, Manu Jeswani, Simon Cooper, Shyam Sunder, Raza Beig, Nelly Fado, Hossam Dabbous, Asmaa Quorrich, Mohamed Shelbaya, Dolly, Azza, Hesham Selim, Dani Afiouni, Omar El Banna, Alia Lotfi, Yana Ignatova, Lennart Mueller, Mina Tahajody, Deptha, Andy Roberts, jinnefer Gow, Naureen Mohammed, Mariuxi romero, Debra Bass, Areej, Sezgi,Claudio lurilli, Philip Esnault, Rana Khadra, Fouad Kassem, Carla Hassan, Ibrahim Zein, Karim Mohsen, Kurt Frenier, Omar Hassan, Lina Nawas, Ahmed Abdel Karim, Karim Baraka, Mazen, Huda Buhumaid, Noureen Nassrallah, Mhmoud Anwar, Martin Scott, Prameela Nair, Rupal Panjani, Ahmed Aboudoma, Mohammed Al Belwe, Maged Al Sayer, Ali Al Khalil, Chris Galantro, Georgette Kolkman, Laura boukouvalas, Yasmine, Sabir Sami, Ozge Zoralioglu, Zena Kader, Mert, Arno Dietrich, Nadinne Kabbani, Ghaith Al Khayyat, Tina Si, Faisal Al Bannai, Gary D. I apologise if I missed any names. I tried my best.
I don’t have the words to express my gratitude. Exciting times ahead. Thank you.