Sunday, June 11, 2006

Coffee with Impact Proximity Director, Dimitri Metaxas

DC: Campaign MEs kick to the digital world (offering no awards). Pompous or

DM: Two Words: Damage & Limitation
Why do I say that? Well to be honest there were many factors at fault here. On the one hand, Campaign ME completely mishandled the digital awards category from the start and weren’t clear on the entry guidelines. Does digital campaign mean websites? Or websites and ad creative? And what about Search? Because all of these (and more) are components for an online campaign. Furthermore they had traditional marketers with zero experience in online judging work they didn’t understand. I pretty much had this confirmed by Campaign ME themselves.
On the other hand, Campaign ME were justified in their assertion that the overall output in the region is still lacking. That doesn’t mean to say that some agencies aren’t doing great online work but the industry as a whole is in such an infancy that the volume of that work just doesn’t yet exist. I can tell you in no uncertain terms that past online work from this region has won on the international stage, true we haven’t quite cracked the big two - New York and Cannes but we have been finalists on many occasions. These same entries didn’t make the Campaign ME finalists…So need I say more?
In the end, I think Campaign ME didn’t have much choice. When I saw the finalists I was surprised. We had handled many of these creatives ourselves (as a media buyer) and technically they were preschool. It’s hard to explain this here but take my word for it, any seasoned digital marketer would have spotted the issues instantly, never mind the basic design faults at play.
Did we have a chat with Campaign ME about the resulting finalists? In short yes. Did we push them to not award this category on the night? No, that was their decision.

DC: So what would you consider great online work in the region?
Great work from abroad?

DM: I will always include Emirates for some great regional work. This brand easily pioneered online in the region and most people in our industry would acknowledge that. We recently ran an extremely successful viral campaign with them and the results were outstanding. That doesn’t mean that Emirates online work is consistently great, but it is consistent and on brand.
The Al Arabiya online rebranding campaign is another example of phenomenal results if not ground breaking creative. We generated 790,000 clicks in the space of a month and ended up bringing their website down in the process (not bad for a portal). We also streamed their now quite famous TVC (produced by BBDO Beirut) through the online ads 353,000 times which was also a great statistic, keeping in mind that users had to initiate the stream. So in the days of ad avoidance we had consumers actively seeking the ads and sharing them with their friends. I have had these ads sent to me by people in Asia and the United States further proving the power of online when things come together.
Also, check out the Snickers Middle East website: - I like this site.

DC: A bulk of agency's are run by a more 'traditional generation' in the
region, do you feel this is hindering the development of online advertising
considering most lack digital know how?

DM: Most definitely. I could write an essay here but suffice to say we need more experienced industry professionals here to help us grow. The business is booming but this is also the case globally, so how do you attract talent? Basically we decided to hire them young and hungry to train and mold.
The lack of digital know how is easily the biggest challenge. I have been working in the region for nearly 5 years and I’m still educating marketers from scratch. But I don’t want to sound pessimistic, we as an industry have come a long way in this short time and I think people should be proud of that.

DC: Rarely do you find an account handler working in what is dubbed an
'integrated agency' versed in digital solutions. Why do you feel it
is the case? Do you think we are doing anything to change this?

DM: Personally I think integration doesn’t necessarily mean having an account handler working digital as well as ATL projects for instance. I believe there is still a need for specialization as you see it in the other more developed digital markets. When I think integrated, I have strange visions of a round table seating 8 specialists who are working together on a campaign brief from the outset, even if they represent different agencies.
When media agencies first formed they were "specialists" and quickly became "generalists". The same is already happening to the digital agency with specialists now concentrating on sub-services such as a "Viral or Search Engine Optimisation".
If you mean that the account handlers need to be versed in digital but not manage it, then I would agree that is lacking. But then if you go back to my previous answer who is going to verse them in the first place? It’s a slow but steady education process which is happening and this is how we are changing this.

DC: Digital advertising for dummies book? Digital advertising for not so dumb dummies book?

DM: Haha..Check out any of my presentations and I’m sure we can translate these to a book format. Actually there are a few good books out there that cover this topic specifically. I can’t remember the names but I have a client who has one and keeps trying to test me with it, I’m thinking of pursuing the sharia council for a region wide ban.

DC: Dimitri pleasure to have you on the blog. Many thanks.


Anonymous Crusty said...

Campaign are in town to make noise...they are not going to build popularity on telling the industry what it already knows...what they are doing is trying to recreate the industry like brining up agencys like Face 2 Face/Tonic etc.

They are a large contributor to what became the Saatchi dynasty.

So the no digital award was well in their character and expected to say the least.

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deep Branding on the Internet : Applying Heat and Pressure Online to Ensure a Lasting Brand by Marc Braunstein and Edward H. Levine

5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Face2Face agency of the year?Campaign are real credible!

9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Campaign are to advertising like the Turner Prize judges are to art - controversial wannabes who upset the people whop deserve recognition.

If Campaign say "ABCDEFG" you should take a deep breath, put on your headphones and enjoy 'don't....don't....don't...don't believe the hype'


12:15 PM  
Blogger X said...

'Ton we into Public Enemy now? Prodigy finally layed to rest?

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nah man, Prodigy are still the blood line and pulse of electronic punk.

I just like kicking Campaign in the gut.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

don't be bitter bc your agency didn't win

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am bitter, very very very bitter and before you start it has nothing to do with being in London and not the ME!

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

was only kidding ;) your blog.. when we gona find out who you are?

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am bitter i'm not in the ME though!

4:49 PM  
Blogger X said...

Just a worthless account peasant...

Hmmm...modesty isn't my strong point.

Thanks Anonymous appreciate it.

5:05 PM  
Blogger AD MAD said...

Mr. X I love your blog - as you well know - and I enjoy dropping in....

....what I especially like is we will rapidly learn who is and is not worth working with in this town. Don't worry people should not be scared to appear on this blog.....but they should also enter into its spirit if they do appear on it.....

Take Mr. Dimitri...if he thinks....or believes that self promotion is what this blog is about and something it's audience will appreciate he is wrong...

...we do Emirates
...look at our results
...look at our results
...PLEASE LOOK at our
...we were asked about the finalists because I'm so clever presentations are an education
...I should write a book
...I'm so clever
...the technical short comings of the other agencies is something i believe I should highlight, while promoting our sister media capabilities

Write a book then I dare you? One with substance! But I suppose if it's a biography you'll be ok from what I just witnessed.

I’ve been very very harsh Dimitri I do apologize; because you do try to be fair to the industry….or at least I hope you’re a fair man?????!!!!!

Hand on heart then, have you been fair to the industry in the last year…..let’s take campaign as a case in point…….

So you think that the judges, because they weren’t web savvy got it wrong? I hope you entered your work and gave them the essential stats you would normally stand by when promoting your work to client novices to gain their buy in….perhaps similar to the stats you just through out at us in self proclamation? Obviously if such stats didn’t get recognized this time you will feel hard done by? You will SCREEM out!!!! You agree yes, stats with such merit should be recognized!……I know for a fact one agency that gave all the necessary evidence for a particular campaign breaking every digital record in the region and qualified that achievement against other award winning work from Europe didn’t even get a bronze…….such a fuss was made by miffed agency heads that they didn’t make the cut because of our uneducated judges issue…….in turn cost another agency it’s due reward, undermined them, the digital industry and everyone involved in that industry…those people should be ashamed don’t you agree? Presuming those stats had been provided….. I think a few people in their arrogance just dropped one in their own back yard….

Oh and I love the radio ads world class!!!!…..the TV technically brilliant LOL!!!! You’re a man of contradicting observations in the Campaign Award context….but you do some nice word I would have applauded.

8:53 PM  
Blogger AD MAD said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Dimitri said...

Haha Ad Mad, you need to take it easy on Ritalin and instead of attempting to make 100 points try instead to focus and deliver on a couple clear issues we mere mortals can respond to.

Was i using this blog as a case for blatant self promotion? Clearly you decided already but at the end of the day look at the questions. I was invited to share my own experiences in online and hence reveal my expertise (or lack of) in digital advertising in the region.

Yes i work on Emirates business, deal with it. I have many more results in there you can learn from, you traditional creative people are all the same, get so defensive when you realise the world doesnt revolve around magazine ads anymore.

I was asked about the finalists in the online category because the final shortlist was an insult to both our industry and Campaign's awards. Hand on heart as you say.

I didnt tell Campaign not to award the category, in fact i was as shocked as everyone else that they didnt, anyone feeling miffed about this needs to get in touch with Campaign not me. Clearly going so far as to not award the category shows a desperation on Campaign's behalf that reflects the quality of the online work in the region. Perhaps ours included.

Looks suspiciously like Ad Mad was a little more involved in this awards then initially seems. Perhaps one of the inadequate judges i referred to earlier.

7:14 PM  

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