“At the heart of any good work, is a great idea,” Mike Shackle, Grey MENA’s recently appointed Chief Creative Officer, made this comment while pointing at the price that creativity has to at times pay in the craze for ‘viral’ videos. “Creativity takes a backseat in videos sometimes, when the only aim is to make it viral. We forget the very fundamental that you need a great idea that will attract and retain people’s attention,” comments Mr. Shackle.
He explains that good work resonates at an emotional level with audiences. The basic human nature thrives around the same set of emotions. Creative professionals have to equip themselves with the ability to create work that can touch the right emotional chord, while communicating the brand message.
It is this guiding principle that he has based Grey MENA’s way forward on. Nearly six months in his new role now, Mr. Shackle informs that the ambition is to build a world class agency, and this has been one of reasons why he joined the Grey group.
“I did my bit of research in the region before accepting this job,” he quips, adding, “I loved Grey as a network because there really is no other agency that stays with the moment, the way Grey does. The manner in which Grey has turned around the business and carved out creativity at the heart of everything it does is the opportunity that excited me.”
Needless to say that on top of his priorities is great work, and hence the purity of an idea. “I am old-fashioned. I believe in the purity of an idea. The great thing about advertising is that there are so many different channels and ways that you can communicate with people. The most exciting part of the day is to see it all come together at the agency,” he remarks.
From his initial experience of the region, Mr. Shackle highlighted some of the work that markets such as Beirut are producing. “While Dubai is doing some amazing work, Beirut is ahead of the other regions. Every year, we see incredible work coming out from the region in various regional and global platforms,” he pointed out.
And can the sexiness of technology take away from the purity of idea? Mr. Shackle is of the opinion that people too close to the business can sometimes over think what they can do with newer channels such as social media. You need to first understand, and then make sense to others of what you are communicating on behalf of the brand. It does not mean you can just go crashing on social media. Technology and mediums have been empowered and can be enablers however, it cannot take away from the fundamentals of doing good creative work, and it will serve us well to remember that,” he sums up.