Last week we were delighted to be a partner for The Marketing Society’s Collide evening discussing the recent trend of agency in-housing and what that means for our industry. A great and dynamic evening spent debating the various models that clients adopt in delivering their creative needs. We were joined by a highly eloquent and strategically chosen panel to discuss the topic at hand: should the client-agency tradition continue or is it time to look at how and why we can do this differently? And for those who are doing it differently how successful are they being? What is proving more effective from a creative, financial and, dare we say, human perspective? Our moderator, Ashish Banerjee, opened the talk with what may seem at first a very naive question: how’s it really working out for you? And as simple as asking someone "How are you", it had the disarming ability to get the panel to open up very quickly and candidly.
In June 2018 women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive. The significance of this truly historic moment for Saudi women and Saudi society overall is hard to underestimate. And of course, everyone wants to be part of history. Many brands saw a commercial opportunity to show their solidarity and support for Saudi women, and quickly rolled up their sleeves to work on new campaigns. From the advertising point of view, this is a one of a kind event since the beginning of the 21st century. I cannot think of any other positive news this unique that caused so many brands to jump on the bandwagon. What an opportunity to observe, listen, compare, and learn! I can imagine that when the announcement came in September 2017 many brand teams rushed into research and uncovered similar truths that Saudi women were excited yet worried and that not all men in the families supported the idea of women driving. However, only a few of them rolled out marketing activities that helped make history while others just showed up for the ride.
Is Ramadan on the marketing calendar of your brand? If not, it should be because Islam is the world’s fastest-growing religion. And if it is, you might well be thinking how best to use this unique window of opportunity to connect with the young, digitally-savvy and active Muslim audiences in an innovative and meaningful way. There is still time to make brave decisions as this year Ramadan is expected to begin in mid-May. Last Ramadan, a team of Y&R strategists set out on a global mission to find a fresh perspective on the Ramadan culture of the new Muslim generation so that in 2018 we could help our clients create a stronger cultural footprint during the most sacred and important month in the Islamic calendar. What did our inquisitive strategists discover? They observed that modern young Muslims are showing a different approach (from their parents and certainly grandparents) to how they internalize or externalize their spiritual journeys, how they rely on technology to personalize the meaning of Ramadan and how they reinvent traditions in harmony with their modern lifestyle.
With these words, Raha Moharrak, adventurer, mountaineer and the first Saudi woman to conquer Everest ended her 8 minutes (sharp on time) talk. It took her 8 minutes only to summarize a story of bravery, it took her 8 minutes only to inspire a captivated audience. Raha was joined by 2 other speakers who are as inspiring and as brave as Raha. Nick Watson, founder of #TeamAngelWolf - formed by members of the Watson family – whose aim is to raise awareness of people (especially children) with disabilities and how they can be included in fitness activities. And Maria Conceicao, founder of Maria Cristina Foundation which core mission is to give slum-dwellers and their children in Dhaka, Bangladesh, equal opportunities to succeed in life by helping them get an education. The inspiring trio were speaking at the leadership breakfast held at the Dubai Lynx Festival which is organized by The Marketing Society and sponsored by Serviceplan Group Middle East. They shared with us real-life stories of bravery and left us all mesmerized and inspired.
Three extraordinary individuals shared their inspirational tales and left an audience of hardened marketers in awe and tears, at the society's ‘Uncomfortable Breakfast’ at the Dubai Lynx. Roha Moharrak is the first Saudi women to climb Mount Everest and, in just eight minutes, she regaled us with how her rebellious fear of having to conform to Saudi social norms led her to challenge her family and herself. Her first conquest was Killimanjaro in Tanzania and she described the sense of ‘belonging at the top of the mountain’ as the catalyst to then go on to prove her doubters wrong from the ‘top of the world’. Her journey has taken her from being a ‘walking-talking taboo’ to an iconic role model to Saudi women (and a ‘girl crush’ for The Marketing Society’s chief executive, Gemma Greaves). Nick Watson’s journey is very different and equally amazing.