Advertising Should Feel Like A Gift: Yousef Tuqan Tuqan, Leo Burnett

Yousef Tuqan Tuqan-lynx

If there was such as thing as a unanimous challenge to deal with in AdLand, it is that everything is constantly changing. Leo Burnett MENA’s Chief Innovation Officer, Yousef Tuqan Tuqan makes this point drawing a comparison to the time when he was an 18-year old to the life of an 18-year old today.

“I was living in Jordon with access to two TV stations, one radio station and one newspaper. To capture my attention, I had to be given the best on two channels. Today, we all have got a piece of glass in our hands, and most of us are probably moving around ignoring each other with this mobile device, we can access any film, story, book – the entire summary of human creative contribution, and most of it is free,” Mr Tuqan said as he laid the foundation of an ever-evolving creative world.

If you want to reach the audience today, you don’t have to show them the best thing on two channels, but show them the best thing that’s ever been made in order to capture their attention. The task is daunting because the connected TG is no longer the future, but the present. Mr Tuqan quoted statistics to indicate that 55 per cent of the GCC audience today is under the age of 25. Most of them turn to the internet when they seek answers to any question.

The media landscape may have evolved in a complex web that spells fragmentation. But according to Mr Tuqan, in a sense, nothing has changed even then. “This may be generation that accesses Facebook 14 times a day and expects a completely personal experience every time they open it. But throughout human history, there is nothing more powerful than the power of a story. Stories connect with us, and that has remained a constant,” he stated.

Stories have changed over time but storytelling has been always at the core of advertising. While technology has grown and storytelling has adapted, no other industry has jumped on storytelling enhancements through technology faster than the advertising industry.

The world is becoming nosier and consumers are filtering to what they want to hear. Great storytelling is the most powerful tool to capture their attention because stories create meaning and meaning creates impact. “But these stories have to be real because the brands have to live in a real world. Any distinction on what is offline or what is online is over. Consumers consume media in a mobile, social and digital world but they live in the real world.

“If there is a video that people like, they will watch it even if there is no advertising. The bad news is that if you don’t have what people want, they will not watch it no matter how much was spent on advertising,” Mr Tuqan cautioned.

He asserted that perhaps the two most important channels for the audiences today are YouTube and Facebook, and each give the option of blocking ads according to user preference. “This is scary because people don’t hate brands, they hate advertisements. Advertising is like the uninvited guest at the party, and if you are uninvited guest, you better get a gift. The solution is to craft our ad message to always feel like a gift – it should make us laugh, inspire, make us happy, show us our purpose in this world. Help your stories help in create meaning in everything that people do,” said Mr Tuqan.

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