‘Ads are using same old faces’

The same few models are cropping up in far too many Middle East advertisements, one of the region’s few professional art buyers has warned.

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By  Tim Burrowes Published  September 18, 2005

The same few models are cropping up in far too many Middle East advertisements, one of the region’s few professional art buyers has warned. The claim comes from Emma Syrett, the boss of Dubai Media City company Creative Management. Syrett’s company primarily offers art buyer services. The primary role of art buyers is to help advertising agencies get the right look for photo shoots. This includes finding the most appropriate style of photography and negotiating rates with photographers both locally and from the rest of the world. Since it opened several months ago, the company has steadily built up business and is now contemplating opening an office in London. But she warned that, although the general quality of advertising has improved, there are still problems, particularly with the same few models appearing in too many advertisements. She said: “It’s not great. They are just re-used too much. Everybody uses the same people… pretty, innocent, charming, the same look. “These people are all with the same agencies so we end up using the same people. There are about the same ten models.” Unusually for the region, Creative Management also does street castings, where they attempt to discover new faces for advertisements by searching shopping malls and other public areas. She is currently doing a major project for a large international beauty brand. She said: “Our mission is to raise the creative standing in this market. “There are some really fantastic creatives coming into this market who are starting to think outside the box and that is starting to change the look of local ads. “You are getting more ads that make you think. Making an ad stand out in a market is not just about what it says but in the execution.” So far, one of the biggest projects her company has worked on was a campaign for Gulf Air. But she warned that too many clients are not getting sufficiently professional help. “There are some clever ads and there are others that are just appalling, some that I can’t believe get into the market,” she said. “You can see jobs that have been done on the cheap. “But I talk to art directors who tell me people are thinking differently.” Meanwhile, Syrett is planning to organise a travelling exhibition of local and worldwide photography to show agencies and clients in Dubai the range of work that is available. It should take place later in the year.

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