Five Minutes With... Vatche Keverian, CEO, JWT MENA - Gulf Business
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Five Minutes With… Vatche Keverian, CEO, JWT MENA

Five Minutes With… Vatche Keverian, CEO, JWT MENA

An indigenous Arab style of advertising is taking shape in the region, says JWT’s Keverian.

Can you tell us about the trends you see becoming prominent in the MENA advertising industry in 2013?

We will see more integration and further proliferations of channels. We will see a participative culture where people, as groups or individuals, have a strong voice in the social, public and brand domains.

Marketing communication is growing into a multidimensional model, highly active, reactive, dynamic, where change is the constant. There is a need to come together around the brand idea in a new reality of openness and collaboration between all potential brand stakeholders.

What can be done to improve the quality of digital creative and strategy in the region?

Have the courage to leave it to the “natives” of the digital age, the youth to lead. Know the difference between a brand idea and a technological idea and how to best bring them together. As in any innovation, dare to experiment and take risks.

What’s the one thing most businesses get wrong when it comes to social media?

The classical statement – ‘we need to be in social media’.

Do you think there is a problem with plagiarism in the region? How do you suggest this is resolved?

There is a saying in advertising that every idea is done by someone, somewhere, sometime. Creativity is about finding solutions to problems or challenges. Yes, sometimes it happens that two teams in different countries working on a similar case would answer a brief in an identical manner. It is also common that people have the tendency, whether consciously or unconsciously, to repeat what they know, they copy it from others or from an idea that they have seen or even copy themselves by repeating an idea.

Intentional or not, copycatting is human nature and the only way to stop it is to set higher professional standards, as individual or company policy.

Which MENA countries are improving their creative output in particular?

Overall, the work that is more from the region for the region. I believe Arab creatives have gained confidence and are more comfortable in doing work that is truly Lebanese, Egyptian, Saudi, Kuwaiti, Tunisian in character rather than emulating the West or East. There seems to be an indigenous Arab style of advertising that is taking shape. Egypt and Lebanon are countries that are setting the creative pace.

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