Ramsey Naja is chief creative officer at JWT MEA
“I think it is time we took a deep breath and examined where we are vis-à-vis that word ‘digital’. Until now, for many established agencies, it has been a word associated with either: a) panic, b) a recruitment drive of biblical proportions, or, c) both. Meanwhile, in the real world, digital is not so much a new territory as it is a reality that people live with, interact with and, frankly, take as much personal interest in as they do with the quality of their laundry.
And yet today, there are companies who refer to themselves as ‘digital advertising agencies’ and, worse, others who desperately yearn to be just that. Well I have news for you, guys: whilst you may have ads that use the digital medium, there is no such thing as digital advertising. There, I said it. We simply need to accept that the ad business is a symbiotic organism, which adapts itself to whatever environment it is needed in. That environment is now the digital sphere – it is that simple.
Ask a consumer about an ad they like and, I swear that if he or she mentions anything like a ‘digital ad’ then you can call me Tron. Why? Because we don’t make anything digital. If we did, then we would be instruments makers and that is what we should then be called. Indeed, there are people out there who make the most fantastic instruments, digital or otherwise, which transform the day to day into something easier, cooler and less stressful. And then there are people who will sometimes ask them to apply their genius into the dramatisation of brand ideas. Well, that’s us. I remember people used to say “creative is not a department; it is a state of mind”. By the same token, digital today should neither be a department, nor an agency, and certainly not a label we can stick before a title. And the more agencies invest in digital infrastructure rather than the ideas and people who can make use of it – and the training that demystifies it – the poorer our industry will be.”