Ramsey Naja is chief creative officer at JWT MEA
“I’ve always been somewhat weary of grand declarations forecasting imminent global, radical changes. For one thing, I hold a healthy mistrust of anything radical, contrary as it is to human nature and develoment and, anyway, fundamental change is not a substitute shirt. So when, exactly eight years ago, some illuminated something declared in a famous magazine that the job of advertising creatives would disappear within, err, 10 years, instead of looking for a job of, say, “consultant” (I love that one) I summoned all my culinary skills to prepare a humble pie of gargantuan proportions and left it to collect all kinds of interesting bacteria.
Now you could understand the poor soul somehow. Back then, consumer-generated advertising was the kind of wagon you had to jump on if you were not to be left standing next to cow dung in a field, Joe Public and Jane Common were teaming up to write and shoot Super Bowl commercials (and yawn, they still do), their less inventive friends were invited to edit footage into a montage and creative teams were left to wonder if that proverbial job as a piano player in a brothel did not have, in fact, better career prospects.
You might argue that we should give the people who penned that infamous article a little breathing space, just in case the entire body of creatives in ad companies around the world goes lemmings by 2016. But I have a better idea: I suggest, instead, that those exciting doom and gloom merchants at Fast Company magazine watch how advertising creatives are actually harnessing consumer-generated content, not to make their jobs redundant, but to amplify the brilliant ideas they – ad creatives – still come up with, and give the public the opportunity to play with them within carefully regulated confines. Then we could all go to the magazine’s offices carrying the little packed lunch I prepared for them.”