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Conversations with an advertising Don

Conversations with an advertising Don

Ramzi Raad, chairman and CEO of TBWA/RAAD, speaks to Kipp about the region’s industry, the Lynx debacle and why he expects digital advertising to boom.

May 21, 2009 9:16 by

Kipp: But how long do you think it will take before the changes will actually happen?

Raad: It’s happening, although we’re definitely lagging behind the more advanced world. We won’t get to 80 percent spend levels by 2020, but I’m sure we’ll be moving forward quickly. The fact is that many of our markets are very restrictive, and the use of new media is still perceived with caution.

But the internet has captured the imagination of the youth. That’s very important for us.

Kipp: The Lynx fiasco [involving FP7 and ghost ads]: has that affected the industry’s credibility?

Raad: People are trying to underplay what happened, thinking that if we ignore the Lynx saga then the whole thing will go away.

For me it has been a very sad experience. Advertising awards in this part of the world have always been associated with unpleasant surprises. We need to stop that. There are people who are doing great work and they should be recognized, and it’s unfair that people and agencies with big egos are tainting the industry’s reputation. It’s unfair.

Kipp: And finally, you’ve been ranked 88th on Arabian Business’s Power 100: The World’s Most Influential Arabs. Do you think you should’ve been higher on that list?

Raad: Look, I’m appreciative to Arabian Business for including me on the list. And of course, all of us aspire to be higher, particularly when I look at people who are ahead of me, but this is not the issue.

What I am happy about is the response this has triggered from the people whose feelings toward me I treasure.

But yes, the answer is that I’d like to move up.

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