“This part of the world”

“I am not sure it will work in this part of the world…”

The next time I hear this comment, again, I may commit an offense.

An offense I will enjoy so much.

An offense that will relieve this built up frustration I have been accumulating for a while now.

“This part of the world’ is not a ‘location’ anymore…it has become an ‘excuse’.

An excuse for people not to push the limits of creativity…

An excuse for complacency and copycats…

An excuse to cover mediocrity…

An excuse to accept facts and stop fighting for what we believe in…

An excuse that is tagging us and our region as ‘boring followers’.

The communication world has evolved but we’re somehow stuck a decade ago.

I look around and everyone “seems” to be embracing change and preaching right left and center about the need to evolve.

And with the sudden proliferation of self-proclaimed ‘Social Media’ experts you would think this region should be at top levels of innovation.

But the reality is different.

What we are seeing beyond conventional media is copies of ideas developed abroad… years ago! Be it piano stairs, airport flash mobs, 3D mapping…and the list goes on and on.

And what worries me the most is that the culprits are so oblivious to this reality that they shamelessly brag, tag, like, share and Tweet their “original” ideas…


What went wrong?

What is stopping us from innovating?

Why aren’t we leading on big ideas?

Why are we importing rather than exporting?

Why the mediocrity?

What is stopping our creative minds to push the limits beyond comfort zones?

Is it the lack of time?

Are we too involved in day-to-day briefs and always anxious to meet deadlines?

Is it the client or the limitations he sets?

Is it the lack of expertise or knowledge?

I don’t think so. These are excuses mediocre people hide behind to cover the absence of genius.

It’s rather a ‘state of mind’ issue. This is where change needs to happen.

What we lack is continuous dreamers, researchers, untamed spirits, brave people who push boundaries and always try to understand how things work.

These days, we can afford to dream. Almost everything can be done. Technology has become so awesome that no excuses are allowed.

And this region doesn’t lack dreamers… They just lack proper guidance…and Inspiration.

In a world dominated by “dinosaurs”, how can untamed minds flourish?

Creative mentors have been around for so long now. And they’re so self absorbed in their TVCs, Prints, Lynx, Cannes, Crystals, Egos that it’s directly affecting and reshaping fresh minds.

When out of the top 10 ‘most influencers’ media persons of the year, one or two (and I owe them respect) are under 50, how do you expect an effective metamorphosis?

Dinosaurs…take a step back. It’s not about you changing or adapting anymore. Its about giving way to fresh new blood. Untamed minds. Let new ‘states of minds” flourish.

Young creatives. Look at what’s out there. Not to copy, but to get inspired.

Learn new techniques. Hang out with true Social media experts (best way to do it is online).

Challenge your clients. They will love that.

Challenge your agency. They might not love that, but keep doing it.

Be brave. Understand. Fight. Convince.

And you can do that alone. What matters is to have the right state of mind. and you don’t need ageing mentors for that.

Your audience has taken the reigns of things.

They are your judges, and they are mean.

They want to be surprised in every single possible way.

Your audience is in touch with the world. They’ve seen Piano stairs, Flashmobs and 3D mapping.

They’re difficult to impress. They want something new.

Your audience is speaking out loud. They are shaping their countries, their worlds.

She is driving.

They are doing things they never thought of doing few years back.

They are redefining ‘This part of the world”.

Respect that…

…and start doing things you never thought you could do few years back.

It’s your opportunity to turn ‘This part of the world’ from an ‘excuse to mediocrity’, to a ‘synonym of Inspiration and greatness’.

You have no excuses.

5 Comments on ““This part of the world””

  1. Rami Saad says:

    Very interesting post indeed. I agree with you on the lag we’re experiencing in the region & the sometimes mindless imitation of advanced markets. There are variable contributing to the end result & you’ve tackled a few in your post. The reasons will obviously vary by market, agency, client, industry…etc. Here’s my account from where I sit:

    – There aren’t enough communication / media specialists that appreciate technology and the potential it puts on the table. And when I say appreciate I don’t mean .NET Framework developers, I mean thinkers who can connect the dots between an upcoming technology and how brands can utilize it to engage with consumers. Certain technologies will require specialist assessment to determine their viability but that’s a different story.

    – A common issue I come across with talent is the inability to “Learn to learn”. Teaching yourself is one of the most critical assets in this day & age. You simply do not have enough hours in your day to visit conferences, take courses, meet experts & gain knowledge. You have to learn to use the resources you have at hand to learn. This demands an endless list of possibilities I won’t bother getting into.

    – Pretending you cracked the strategy behind the worthiness of a “like” damages the whole industry. Clients rely on us to enlighten them & hand-hold them into the future of media. You may get away with “selling” your virtual reality app to a client, but when they receive a report detailing all of 9 downloads (6 out of which are their marketing dept), the whole industry takes a hit. You contribute to the false impression that this technology doesn’t work.

    – Behind genius technology-media ideas goes a load of technicalities. If the idea requires development work, don’t tell the client you’ll build it. Know what you’re best at & stick to it. Many of these projects fail due to inadequate project management. You must know just enough to be able to pick a partner who can help you realize your idea, QA the end solution & finally create the required success criteria.

    One last note, I don’t like the term offline people – and I’m digital! Imagine if I were a TV optimizer. These guys have extremely sophisticated job descriptions & their life is no simpler than ours. Yes the research they rely on is neither real time nor based on actual tracking, but that doesn’t mean they want to be behind. I think it’s our responsibility as digital-savvy people to take them on board by demonstrating the similarities we have rather than the differences. We all strive to achieve the ultimate engagement, just in different ways. And as their mediums become more & more digital, your choice is to educate & integrate today or lose business tomorrow.

  2. alex says:

    Here are my random thoughts:

    If power wasn’t in the hands of a few and you had outlets for innovation, you might see less stagnation on the part of large complex organisations. However, this being a tribal region, the ingrained nature to “go it alone” is not present. If America had no silicon valley, would you be seeing so much good stuff by nike / starbucks / mcdonalds / oreo / skittles etc? Think about it. Businesses will only catch up when they see that something is happening (a proof of concept) and they can see the amount of success others are having.

    Europe and specifically America have a) been around for hundreds of years longer, b) gone through various socio economical changes (hardly as quick though) and c) have markets based on a wider choice and therefore consumers have more power.

    Disney’s concept of customer service existed way before any of the countries we currently know in the GCC came into formal being.

    Hence, the raw material already exists on which they can build layers of new innovative things and approaches

    It simply doesn’t make sense to go up some companies here and say HEY get a facebook page, and have a media buying company manage it, and then throw an excel sheet in someone’s faces as proof of it working

    2. People don’t read enough. You’ve have “digital” experts here who can’t think further back in history than their last facebook status or iphone app they developed – all respect to developers and coders, but if people don’t read how businesses made use of emerging technology (like back in the 90’s for example) then how can they expect to sell it to clients?

    3. More reading, has anyone actually bothered to read industry news and developments, or look at a few investors report on the sector, or speak to an analyst? this would allow you to sell in concepts much easier and certainly have excellent data to back up your insights and planning. Like how a company’s share price might go up as a result of it implemented a better customer analytics solution which has enabled it to tap new markets.

    4. An example of the above, everyone wants “a ramadan campaign” but does anyone think, you know what would make all of this easier? instead of having my customers trample over themselves in the shop, what about if i enable some ecommerce, so that my customer can spend those precious moments doing something much more useful with her life?

    If you suggest this to the client will they accept? Probably not, Will you look intelligent and well informed? Yes Will the client come to you in future? Yes

    5. We’re all too concerned with creativity here and I believe this is a very unique region where we need solutions to problems, not “big ideas” . One way round this is to find similar emerging markets, tap into the growth segments there, see where the innovation is and hook up with them. Getting your client, a vietnamese startup and your creative director round a table would be an award winning feat in itself

  3. Antonio says:

    I will keep it short and sweet. Welcome to earth, population “WE DON’T GIVE A DAMN!” Unfortunately we really don’t as long as there is money to be made. There is no room for revolutionary and original as long as we can keep using what we already have. New ideas and concepts with little foundation and research are too risky and against profit quotas. Stealing, copying, using and reusing. Nothing has changed the world is still round and people are still stupid.

    Want proof? Lady Gaga

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