“Everyone is replaceable”, you said?

I’ve always been the rebel at the forefront of employee causes, raises, corporate freedom.

I fought wars.

I challenged CEOs.

I initiated petitions and brought back ‘fired’ Talents against management’s will.

I was hated and respected by people, depending which side they were on.

Then one day, I became ‘Management’,

and I was given the answer to all issues,

…the magic formula management lives by,

…The ‘secret’ transmitted by one management generation to the other,

…the ultimate advice:

‘now that you are taking a new role, always keep in mind that everyone is replaceable’

I was shocked.

How could anyone praise their ‘assets’ at every public occasion and live by that formula behind closed doors.

I was never convinced and never learned that.

I couldn’t make the leap.

I was considered the black sheep of ‘management’.

Whilst management always praised that ‘people were their biggest assets’, they were still convinced that clients were the source of revenue, which put Talent as a major source of ‘expense’.

My constant debate was that our Talents were in fact our main source of revenue and that they deserved much more in return.

I was treated as an idealistic, a dreamer, a naïve people’s person… an obstacle.

Talents don’t join companies for money, name, location, medical insurance or even client lists. Employees do.

Talents are on the constant look out for a company with an amazing Spirit and true genuine Beliefs.

A place that offers endless possibilities to actually achieve what they have in mind.

An honest place where the formula applied behind closed doors is actually the same one shouted out loud in company gatherings.

The moment the Spirit & Belief appear fake…

The moment they realize they are as valuable as a replaceable spare part…

Their strong feeling of belonging fades away.

The more time I spend doing what I do, the more my beliefs in Talents are reinforced.

The more hours I spend talking to Talents, the more I know I am not a dreamer or an ‘obstacle’.

The more job interviews I make, the more I realize that Talents are rare.

Talents are irreplaceable.

Everything else is.

I always said it. I keep saying it. And I will always live by it.

Make a butcher your hairdresser


Writers write. Artists draw. Painters paint. Designer design. Right? Wrong. That’s what you’ve been brainwashed into believing. When you want change shake things up a bit. Throw caution to the wind. Get a fresh perspective on an old problem. Let the painters write. And the writers design. Stand back and see sparks fly.

Excess Baggage

A man in a goatee and ponytail goes to the airport to check in.

He hands over his passport and ticket, and the counter staff requests him to put his baggage to be weighed.

The minute he does so, the alarm goes off. He’s got excess baggage.The man is furious and begins to argue with the airline staff since all he has is a small bag that weighs only a few kilos.

The duty manager is called in as the situation is spiralling out of control.

The manager calms the guy down and in the process asks him what he does for a living; the guy replies that he’s a creative person in an ad agency.

A rather knowing smile appears on the manger’s face as he turns to the counter staff and says, “Don’t worry about it, that’s just his ego!”

So the question we creatives (BTW spell check refuses to recognise the word ‘Creatives’) need to ask ourselves, is why? Why do we walk around with such inflated egos? We have done nothing that warrants this. We haven’t found a cure for a deadly virus. We haven’t recorded a hit song or written an Pulitzer-winning book. We haven’t discovered a country. We didn’t invented anything useful, and never will. And to make matters worse, our job titles aren’t recognized by the labour ministry.  

The next time you feel like your ego is getting too heavy to carry around, grab a pin and pierce it. Feeling better already?

I’m so glad you don’t sell Hemorrhoids cream

Following my last ‘Noose’ on the KFC bucket run campaign, I promised I would ‘Smooch’ at least 10 ideas before trashing another one.

But this ‘thing’ made me change my mind.

I say ‘thing’ because it doesn’t fall into any category in mind

it’s not an ad.

it’s not a conversation.

it’s not an idea

it’s not a connection

What is it?

I glance at this ‘thing’ and i can hear the client mumbling somewhere in a cold, grey, corporate conference room:

‘let’s shock people….let’s show them blood…they will get scared and start using our brand….it worked in Poland!’

I relook at it and i can see the agency guys sit silent, defeated, losing interest, after many weeks of struggle.

Congratulations Brand team….you just won your argument and flashed your ‘insight’ right in front of our eyes…

….’a blood stain in a white sink’.

While you think this is a result generating campaign, the reality may be a bit different.

It is a disgusting ‘ad’ that even ‘blood spitting people’ may not appreciate.

And while the ‘insight’ is spot on, (and I’m sure you spent a fair amount of money on ‘research’), you missed a very important point:

Communication is not about flashing your insight in its raw form!

It’s more about taking it to another level, a level where you can have a proper connection with your audience.

A level where you can let your audience identify and connect in a subtle way. Let them see the ‘revelation’

And trust me…a visual mix of saliva and blood will not do it.

It will just result in a sudden face-turn, and people wouldn’t glance at it ever again.

So you have a product that certainly works…

and I understand you want to target a specific audience.

Have you considered doing it in a way that would not make them feel embarrassed to ask for your brand?

..and without polluting Sheikh Zayed Road?

Well, I’m just glad you don’t sell hemorrhoids cream.

Definitely a ‘Noose’.

Life’s better in twos – Bloomingdale’s Dubai

Second Anniversary

There’s hardly a time when you see something pleasing to the eyes in the newspaper when it comes to advertising in the region. But the idea, colors and overall art direction of the second anniversary campaign for Bloomingdales is a definitely a “Smooch”.

Not just the fact that it talks about Bloomingdale’s second anniversary (being the 2 year old brand in Dubai) but it also sends a relevant message to the lovers out there for Valentines. Very well done!

However, if the campaign had more executions/stories it would have been even better. Let’s see what they have to say on being 3 years old :-)

Transition Economy

Image from andren.tumblr.com via Pinterest David Webb

As an ambitious young student searching for a career to pursue, it seemed a paradigm shift was happening away from manual / technical labor, production, agriculture. The future belonged to those with a profession, the service industry, those who had ‘intellectual property’.

But this bit of forward planning didn’t predict the Internet & digital boom, the population explosion, the effects of the environmental meltdown, endemic global economic woes, global inequality or various political rumblings.

We are living in recession weary yet technologically driven days. Data and knowledge is easily accessible and what we do with this is what sets us apart. Publishing and communication has never been easier. Any industry which is opportunistic and relies on the success or failure of others will remain stagnant. Anthropologist David Graeber calls these the ‘Bullshit Jobs’ which tend to be concentrated in “professional, managerial, clerical, sales, and service workers”. And any industry that fails to acknowledge and adapt to the rapidly changing political, economic or environmental changes will suffer.

Over the last 15 years and specifically the last 8 years, (since the launch of Facebook) the world has changed faster than the previous half century. We are now in what many call a ‘state of flux’. A constant state of rapid development.

In this state of flux, technical skills are increasingly in demand. People who do and make stuff, who have a unique flair for creating something new or improve on an existing design. The ‘new world’ is like an island inhabited for the first time, a chaotic frontier, it needs designers, builders, plumbers, carpenters, bakers, chefs, farmers, app developers, software & hardware designers and developers, engineers, scientists, mathematicians. People who do, who create, who help solve old world problems in new world ways.

Leading this transition is Generation Flux, a new breed of entrepreneur who is quick and nimble at making something new or improving on previous ideas.

We can no longer afford the luxury of old world silos and job descriptions; we must create new ones, based on symbiosis and flexibility. Jobs are not guaranteed, especially lifelong jobs – in the new world once a project is over you move onto the next project. When your contract is over there is help needed elsewhere. We need an army of doers. A constant state of symbiosis with our fellow inhabitants and the land.

The world is changing at a rapid rate, much faster than you can say MBA. Are you ready for it?

Squandering space.

I believe that every aspect of a brand’s appearance to its audience is an opportunity for it to display its products, its beliefs, its contribution to the world. None more so than its office space and its HQ.

So consider this ‘mural’ on the side of the HQ of G.E in Dubai.

I believe it’s a waste of space. Here’s why:

The creative itself is…well…un-Creative! What exactly does ‘the new face of the region mean’? And what an over used line. And, Just because the word ‘face’ appears in the headline doesn’t mean you need to put some random faces up there.

How many thousands of cars drive past that site each day, how many stand at the traffic lights waiting for the signal to turn, wanting something (anything) to read to make the minutes pass quickly? (As a side note, did you know people read their cereal box back-to-front, on average about 12 times before it’s thrown away!). Surely it could have been put to better use.

Here are some suggestions:

Tell me what G.E is actually doing in various parts of the world.

Tell me what new products you’ve launched.

Wind power, desalination, better health care are all great stories to tell – but what is it about them people want to hear? Make it interesting.

Tell me how you improve lives.

So, if you’d like to see how we could make your communication with the world more mesmerizing, tweet, message, email or call us.

Have a good day.

Let’s Live…

Brands live in an era where the conversation is constantly evolving.

And the consumer is controlling the megaphone.

Consider this carefully then.

Should your brand still be speaking in cavemanic?

Or pursuing a near extinction thought process?

We don’t think so.

That’s why we believe in not being another dinosaur.

We are led by talent.

Motivated by honesty.

Fascinated by new technology.

Obsessed with the conversation.

And don’t believe in waiting for the future but rather in creating it.

We live so that brands can.

Let’s live. 

I’m a PIRATE….


“Dear copyright industry, I’m a pirate. I’m the typical user you are fighting. I’m downloading everything and not giving you one single penny. I don’t even attend concert. You hate me and it’s reciprocal…”

We’re all Pirates…and it’s not gonna change.

And this is a ‘Pirated’ bit. check the full story here.

The New World by GOOD + Fiat.

A nice little campaign from Fiat in collaboration with GOOD. Here’s why I like it:

1. It’s simple
2. It’s laying out the values of Fiat as a progressive company for progressive people
3. It’s interesting and entertaining and engaging
4. It kept me on the site for longer than 1 minute.

Check it out.