Creativity is a priority for new Memac Ogilvy boss

The new boss of one of Dubai’s biggest advertising agencies has pledged to shake up the organisation’s creative output. Ronald Howes, the new MD of Memac Ogilvy in Dubai, has been brought in from McCann Russia.

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By  Tim Burrowes Published  November 6, 2005

The new boss of one of Dubai’s biggest advertising agencies has pledged to shake up the organisation’s creative output. Ronald Howes, the new MD of Memac Ogilvy in Dubai, has been brought in from McCann Russia. He takes over from Roger Hawa, who will continue as Memac Ogilvy’s COO across the Middle East and focus on his regional role. Edmond Moutran continues as chairman and CEO of the organisation. The agency has 10 offices across 15 markets within the region. Howes, who has also worked for McCann in Prague, already has experience of working in the Middle East, having spent nine years in Bahrain with FP7 McCann, including five years as worldwide account director on Gulf Air. He said the biggest change he has noticed since his return was the increased pace in the region’s market. He said: “It was pretty fast before, but now it has become more and more dynamic.” However, he warned that the quality of advertising is variable, with some agencies just out to make a fast buck. He said: “There’s more competition, but that does not necessarily mean that the quality of the services has necessarily improved. “It’s noticeable that there are those that are professional and those that are trying to take advantage and just make money quickly. “In terms of the quality of the service I don’t think we’ve caught up with the speed of progress around the rest of the world.” He pledged that Memac Ogilvy will try to do more ground-breaking work for clients — even if it means a fight to get it used. He said: “We tend to remain prisoners of the logic that this is something I cannot sell to the client and therefore won’t go for it, so to make my life easy I will go for what the client will buy — and you don’t raise the bar that way.” He said he would initially be working to change how the agency thinks. “My first challenge will be internal. We must change our own mindset before we can change the clients. We are looking at the processes we have and how capable they are of ensuring the demands of international marketing brand clients are met, what is missing, who is missing, what gaps do we have?” He added: “We do have some capable stars here who I can count on to help support me. We’ve got a list of blue chip clients who have been with us for years and value the partnership and want to see the business grow. And I’ve got a very dynamic market outside. It’s not a stagnant market. You just need to be sharper in getting more of it.” Recent account wins for the agency include Sharjah Mega Mall, the US Rice Federation and Bin Hendi Enterprises. He said: “This is a challenge. If this was something that was an easy task that could be sorted out in one or two weeks I’m sure other options could have been employed. “I’m not interested in being number one, two, three. I just want to see how well I can do for clients.”

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