Fallon unveils inaugural work for ADCB

May 25, 2009


Minneapolis-based agency Fallon’s first campaign for Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank is being rolled out across the UAE.

The much-anticipated work – in both Arabic and English – comprises print, online, out-of-home, in-branch, and brand engagement and will run throughout 2009.

Utilising the tagline ‘Long Live Ambition’, the corporate campaign aims to align the bank with the ambition of the UAE.


The campaign’s launch print ad features a red flag planted in the UAE desert, with an accompanying manifesto celebrating the power of human ambition. The flag and its design are recurring graphic elements throughout the campaign.

2“Conventional wisdom suggests a brand in a recessionary economy should keep its head down,” said the bank’s head of marketing services, senior vice-president, Martin Scott. “However, conventional wisdom often leads to missed opportunities, as it has been proven that companies who maintain advertising budgets during a recession significantly outperform their competition in the following years. But there is opportunity beyond the numbers, as in a pessimistic environment, an optimistic voice asserts leadership and earns respect at a time when people are looking for a voice of hope and inspiration that resonates positively with their values.”

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank is Fallon’s first Middle East client.


Mid-East adland held back by ‘intellectual laziness’

May 25, 2009

“What really makes a campaign from the Middle East?” asks Farid Chehab, Leo Burnett’s chairman for the Middle East and North Africa and chief creative officer for Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, in the latest edition of Campaign.

farid“Most of the work could come from anywhere. It’s ridiculous. Look at the work that won in Cannes recently for India, Thailand and for all these other regions. They won because they had something original to offer with local flavour. The day our agencies can go to Cannes with strong insights based on local flavours, local behaviour and fresh ideas that are executed in a way that juries can see an expression that is different from what has been seen before – a new expression in art, in visuals – then we have a good chance to win.”

Why hasn’t this ‘new expression’ already been found and developed? Well, says Chehab: “Because our economy has always been built on oil, so it was not built from within. It was not built by the efforts of people – to work, to create. When you look at the West, they invented the communication business, cinemas etc, and this work is self-education. But when you look at the Middle East, we were granted wealth without being educated. We don’t have the creative urge to improve our welfare because it just came to us.”

For Chehab, the environment in Europe helps you, whereas the environment in the Middle East doesn’t. “What you need to do is carry on building a set of benchmarks around you to just keep on self-educating yourself. And that’s not easy. You need to have the drive, the passion to self educate. You need to have curiosity. I always tell my people, ‘be curious’, because the environment doesn’t help you. Why doesn’t the environment help you? Because of intellectual laziness that is due to the fact that we’ve never had to fight.”

Read the full interview in the latest issue of Campaign.

Attracting nutters via social media

May 25, 2009

It’s been a few months now since I decided to increase my interaction with social media, so I thought I’d share some highlights with you.

First up, and my favourite, is a response to my first YouTube comment made under the pseudonym TheMightyRouge: “TheMightyMakeup?” comes the reply. “What a pretty, pretty name. Are you a full tranny, or just into make-up?”

I haven’t been too active on Twitter – only 29 updates so far – but I’ve discovered a few fascinating things. For instance, it turns out that a certain individual would rather staple his genitals to his fridge than spend 40 dirhams on a drink.

As for Facebook, well I thought it would be good to join more groups, only to stumble across the ‘We hate gingers’ collective. When I pointed out that their group amounted to discrimination, I received this message: “F*** off you ginger t**t.”

Illuminating stuff this social media.