Thursday, July 06, 2006

Coffee with Ramzi Haddad, Group Account Director, BBDO

DC: Ramzi you've worked on what most would most suits would call 'dream accounts' P&G and Master foods. How much leverage do these names currently hold in the market on CV in comparison to local names?

R: Well, I believe working on a multinational account for a consistent period of time implants the account handler with what I dub as a ‘strategic thinking backbone’ and this quality is what gives the account handler an ‘edge’ and turns him/her into an asset other companies want to add on to their ranks. It’s a quality that simply changes the way you view brand building. It turns it into a discipline that always requires 1) a deep understanding of your target consumers 2) knowledge of how to bring the brand’s equity to life and 3) A long term vision of what territory you want the brand to occupy in the minds and hearts of consumers.
As for leverage, I think several big, local and regional companies are now beginning to understand the power that proper strategic thinking brings towards building mega brands. They just need to make strategic thinking a daily routine within their marketing teams. That is, if they want their brand to inspire loyalty beyond reason with their consumers.

DC: What would you site as a disadvantage of working on these big names or schools from an account handling perspective?

R: The only disadvantage is basically these big brands’ primary advantage; their global advertising scope. In many cases, big brands that are advertised globally will rely on a methodology that is coined as ‘search and re-apply’. Basically, instead of tapping into local market intrinsics and creating the advertising to meet them, they might just ask the agency to search around the globe for suitable pieces of advertising to run or possibly reshoot. When this turns into a recurrent practice, it can de-motivate creative teams, and possibly alienate the brand from its local target simply because the advertising no longer relates to them.

DC: In most cases multinationals are global alignments, what others may dub'loyal clients'. Local business on the other hand is of a more precarious nature.
The stereotype in the middle east market is talent is on multinational and the lesser on local, however on the flip side of this wouldn't it make more sense to keep talent on local clients, the less loyal? Your thoughts?

R: This all goes back to what the agency perceives its role as. We are brand guardians. This is our job. We’re here to transform our clients’ businesses and grow their brands. Agencies should guide their clients to think strategically. If a client hasn’t nailed down the equity of the brand, we do it. If they haven’t mapped out their brand course for the future, we plot it. To do that, you need a team of talented people, no matter if your brand was local or multinational.

DC: You are interviewing 2 candidates for an account executive position. You ask them the same question 'What's the first thing you do when you get to work'.
Candidate 1: "I like to come in pretty early about 8;30, I feel more productive at that time. Check the to do list I wrote yesterday for today, check all emails from my clients and reply".
Candidate 2: "Have a cup of coffee with someone new from the office, In most cases my computer won't start up before 9;30.

All thing being equal, who would you hire?

R: I’m not a guy who judges people based on how early they come in every morning, but on how ‘responsible’ they feel towards their business. I’ve worked with account executives that put in the extra hours to make sure the job at hand is done. Anyhow, these two questions aren’t enough to let me make up my mind on which I’m going to hire. There’s a lot more to be asked before that account executive makes it on my team ;)

DC: Many thanks Ramzi, good luck at BBDO.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would have to disagree and agree, agencys grow off local business and thus allocate agency talent on those accounts. One local client makes way for a second and so on.

Some talent on the other hand refuse to work on some local accounts...and prefer the name building multinationals.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Spoon said...

Doing the local accounts really gets you ready for anything. Multinationals have too many SOPs which really do occasionally get a little boring sometimes. Processes Processes Processes...

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Azerus said...

Not all multinationals are global alighnments, we work on Mcd which is supposed to be with Leo Burrnett.

Coke is a second brand which is not regionally aligned.

These clients are in search of expertese in the region and their global aligned local agency might not be that good.

8:53 PM  
Anonymous azerus said...

Not all multinationals are global alighnments, we work on Mcd which is supposed to be with Leo Burrnett.

Coke is a second brand which is not regionally aligned.

These clients are in search of expertese in the region and their global aligned local agency might not be that good.

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes Azerus cause promo seven have MCdonalds because "they are in search of expertese in the region and their global aligned local agency might not be that good."

So they picked promo

12:26 PM  
Blogger AD MAD said...

Oh I like this post my favorite so far !!!!!

Ramzi you ******* boring **** say something you haven't learned while on your knees. You sound very boring.

Oh hee heee heee "there's alot more to be asked before the account executives make it on to my team" you like wearing a gag......or "what's your cup size?" .....sorry my mistake you sound like your spoon fed, not breast fed!!!!

I know a local client that is 50 times more organized than any multinational I've worked with here......that's to other comments here.

If those anonymous agency bashers keep rearing their head but haven't worked in more than one agency here ......THEN SHUT THE **** UP and say something insightful.

Ramzi defend yourself - like you defend your agency when the client walks all over you - hopefully I'll touch a nerve here .....

3:36 PM  
Blogger AD MAD said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:37 PM  
Blogger AD MAD said...


3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having worked on both local and global accounts it's pretty much a horses for courses conclusion.

On a global fence you get to learn about differing markets and to assume that a blanket campaign is the norm and localisation doesn't occur is a bit retarded.

Having just rolled out a global whisky campaign I can confirm that while a masterbrand message was the same these differed greatly in execution:

to accomodate the business/prestige element of the far east whisky drinker while the central European work was based on the party element of whisky drinkers.

Maybe BBDO don't really get or do this??

From a local fence the perk'I DID THAT' claim when with friends and family and then having every girl you meet wanna suckle you.

As for the AE, I would've hired me, early in, check emails, get emails out, then banter with the Ozzie receptionist until she bores me and I can't escape her enough and I wanna get back to my desk...oh...that was you X heheheheh

9:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ad mad.. please go get a life.
i am sure you're one of the big time losers, on a professional and personal level*. probably 35 years old and still getting orders from a succes story like Mr. Ramzi Haddad.

*getting daily blow jobs by your dog does not mean that you have a social life you loser.

1:33 AM  
Blogger AD MAD said...

Anonymous should remain anonymous…..

I 'm not saying Ramzi isn't a """""success""""" story I was merely provoking him into saying what he actually believes and thinks rather than what sounds like any ubiquitous spill out....but maybe just maybe ....he is just a good project manager who works in an agency and fills his timesheets out on time? It is for him to say not me.

Ramzi, I apologize that anonymous couldn’t defend you properly ……hmm…..interesting…….

35 years old hey……I must buy a salivating dog when the time comes round

(IMPORTANT: Careful with words like b%&# j&% you’ll get the site blocked)

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ad mad...35?

Aren't you going to retire soon mate?

12:15 PM  
Blogger X said...

AS, better to roll around with the cute receptionist who was actually South African then to get felt up in a corner by Mr Account Director then later ambushed by a 400 pound PA. But hey, you did get to your desk alot earlier than I did.

3:14 PM  
Blogger X said...

ad mad, welcome back, the blog has been relativly quieter without your banter!
I assume we will be having coffee pretty soon.

3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I got alot of free dinners outa that PA and a job offer and a rep around the agency...for liking large girls fair enough.

She was all woman, arrrr.

Anyway, your receptionist was Ozzie you fool.

3:52 PM  
Blogger X said...

your free dinners consisted of the snicker bars in her top drawer and purse she tossed to you everytime she wanted to flatten u.

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now now, you're just gutted your desk wasn't as secure as mine#


5:02 PM  
Blogger X said...


6:15 PM  
Blogger AD MAD said...

Coffee it will have to be I think

4:51 PM  

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