Cannes Lions announces 2024 See It Be It cohort

Cannes Lions has announced the participants for the 2024 See It Be It talent acceleration programme for women. 19 creatives, from 14 markets have been selected to take part in this unique learning and development programme at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, taking place from 17-21 June 2024. The cohort will attend an exclusive four-day programme that includes mentorship opportunities, private masterclasses with industry leaders, as well as backstage access and session invitations tailored to each participant’s career goals.The programme will celebrate its 10th anniversary of aiming to achieve equal gender representation among creative directors and leaders across the global industry. Since its inception, See It Be It has brought together over 120 women and non-binary people, from 33 markets. This year’s cohort will include participants from Kazakhstan, Kenya and Thailand for the first time.This year’s Alumni Tutor, Daniela Varela, Creative Director, TBWA\Chiat\Day, selected from last year's cohort, will support the 2024 participants to elevate their experience at the Festival and work closely with programme Ambassador, Madonna Badger, to further the impact See It Be It has on the industry well beyond the Festival week. On her appointment, Varela said: “Joining the journey of this year’s cohort is an incredible joy and a huge responsibility. They represent the programme’s 10 year legacy: a global collective of talent, inspiration and leadership that fosters and enables the change we still need to nurture in our industry. I can’t wait to see what these new 19 stellar minds will unleash.”Commenting on the 2024 cohort, Madonna Badger, See It Be It Chairperson and Ambassador, Founder/CEO/COO, BADGER AGENCY, said: "Witnessing the collective courage, optimism and purpose of the 2024 Cannes See It Be It cohort fills me with immense pride and excitement. These exceptional creative women are reshaping the future of our industry and redefining what is possible. Their shared resolve to pursue excellence, break barriers and drive positive change is awe-inspiring and I absolutely love seeing each of them step into their power. It is an honour to connect with such a vibrant network of talent paving the way for others to flourish in our industry and beyond.”Frank Starling, Chief DEI Officer, LIONS, added: “See It Be It brings together the best and brightest leaders from around the world and we are proud to continue our mission to challenge the creative sector’s gender imbalance and empower women and non-binary creatives to excel in their careers. Our impressive alumni are Lion-winners, changemakers, disruptors and challengers in their disciplines, paving the way forward for future participants to flourish and challenge the status quo. Congratulations to all those selected, and we look forward to welcoming you at the Festival this June.”

TBWA\RAAD welcomes new executive creative directors

TBWA\RAAD is pleased to announce the appointment of Frederico Roberto and Santiago Cuesta as Executive Creative Directors. With their wealth of experience, they will play a pivotal role in shaping the agency's vision of creating holistic brand experiences that drive progress through Disruption®.Walid Kanaan, Chief Creative Officer at TBWA\RAAD, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, "I am thrilled to welcome Frederico and Santiago to our team. Their diverse and extensive expertise perfectly aligns with our dedication to delivering groundbreaking work that propels brands forward. I am confident they will be instrumental in generating disruptive and transformative ideas."In his new role, Frederico Roberto will lead the creative direction for several brands, with a primary focus on inspiring and maximizing the potential of the creative team.Commenting on his appointment, Frederico said: "TBWA has a remarkable track record of producing exceptional creative work for esteemed brands. In the Middle East, TBWA\RAAD stands at the forefront of this mindset, poised for tremendous success with its impressive roster of international, diverse talent. I aim to follow in those footsteps and make an impact with the work we'll produce for our partners, creating work that sparks societal-level transformation. Championing ideas that can revolutionize how businesses present themselves, how people live, and how the industry can embrace a positive, can-do attitude, is truly my passion."With a degree in Advertising and Communications, Frederico embarked on his career as a copywriter. Over his 24-year journey in advertising, he has served as a juror in numerous global festivals and earned several international accolades that includes the New York Festivals, Cannes Lions, the UK Campaign Big Awards, DADI Awards, BIMAs and Lovies as well as the WINA and El Ojo Ibero American, amongst others. His regional and global projects have always been guided by a shared goal: delivering work that sparks meaningful conversations. Beyond his professional accomplishments, Frederico's interests span music, gaming, cinema, literature, science, and medicine.As for Santiago Cuesta, his role involves instilling courage and determination in the creative teams he oversees, emphasizing the belief that anything is possible, ultimately enhancing the collective's global creative reputation.Reflecting on his new position, Santiago stated: “I've closely followed TBWA\RAAD since 2016. The agency has the potential not only to become the best in the region, but also one of the best in the world. My ambitions within the agency are threefold: create exceptional work, enjoy the process, and empower others to shine.”In addition to his role as an instructor at "Miami Ad School" for the past two years, Santiago has delivered talks at various academic institutions and industry conferences. With 15 years of experience in creative leadership roles, he has worked with distinguished agencies such as Alma Miami, DDB Chicago, and VMLY&R Kansas City. Furthermore, he has led talented teams across different countries and markets, managing regional and global responsibilities for the most prominent brands. His work has garnered recognition in international festivals such as Cannes Lions, Clio, The One Show, ADC, ANDY, Webby, LIA, NY Festivals, and Effie. Earlier this year, he earned the top spot as the number one Executive Creative Director globally in the Gaming Category at ADC. Beyond his professional achievements, Santiago is a former vocalist and guitarist of the dance-punk band Nicer Dicers an experience that allowed him to share the stage with well-known artists like "30 Seconds to Mars".

From graphic design to communication: A fulfilling journey for Romy Abdelnour

Romy Abdelnour, the Head of Communications at TBWA\RAAD, talks to Adgully's BF Firos on her role in storytelling and communication at the agency. She talks about her passion for creativity, how she moved from graphic design to communications, and the biggest challenges she faced in her role as Corporate Communications Director. Abdelnour highlights how TBWA\RAAD stays ahead of the curve with the launch of NEXT, a creative-led innovation consultancy, and the annual NEXT Innovation Festival. She also shares her thoughts on the importance of female representation in the advertising industry and her advice for aspiring women. She also talks about the emerging trends in advertising and communications in the UAE and how TBWA\RAAD is exploring these innovations to create strategies that resonate with clients' target audience. Excerpts:Congratulations on your recent promotion! Can you tell us a little about your new role as Head of Communications at TBWA\RAAD?Thank you, much appreciated. My main role involves telling the TBWA\RAAD story: the story of its creative products, the different brand experiences the agency creates for its clients, as well as the stories of our people, culture, key milestones, and achievements.How did you initially get involved in the creative industry, and what inspired you to make the shift from graphic design to communications?I've always had a passion for creativity, and since I was a child, I knew that I would choose a creative path. Initially, I had imagined pursuing a career in fine arts or interior design. However, as I grew older, graphic design was gaining popularity, and I became curious about how brands come to life and the vast world of design. After many years in the field and behind the computer screen, I realized that I needed more interaction with the outside world, more opportunities for exchange. I craved connectivity. I chose to complement my design background with communications, to learn how to better bring creative ideas to life through storytelling and communication.As Corporate Communications Director, you oversaw the agency's internal and external communications, media relations, partnerships, and more. What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in this role, and how did you overcome them?The main challenges are related to the amount of work and the need to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. However, these challenges provide an excellent opportunity to learn, grow and gain enriching experiences that make the journey worthwhile. Effective time management is crucial, which includes setting priorities and breaking down large projects into smaller, manageable tasks. Moreover, it is essential to build a structured, consistent, relevant, and timely narrative that enhances the brand image and reputation, and resonates with the target audience.TBWA\RAAD has been recognized for its innovation, earning the title of The Middle East's Most Innovative Company in Advertising by Fast Company Middle East. How does the agency stay at the forefront of innovation in the industry, and what role do you play in this?Today, more than ever, brands need to elevate their game. Consumers in our region are tech-savvy, passionate about innovations such as the metaverse, and hungry for impactful, meaningful, and memorable experiences that utilize creativity and storytelling.Last year, TBWA\RAAD launched NEXT in the Middle East, a creative-led innovation consultancy designed to shape the future of brand experiences and help brands elevate their customer engagement to the next level. Powered by TBWA—The Disruption® Company—NEXT connects emerging technology with a deep understanding of culture and brands to disrupt traditional approaches to customer experience thinking and unlock business and brand opportunities. NEXT is supported by an ecosystem of tech and business experts, creative leaders, and strategists who combine culture with a strategic approach to technological change to identify innovation and growth opportunities for businesses.In addition to customizing innovation opportunities for its clients, TBWA\RAAD shares its knowledge and expertise in innovation with the community through its annual NEXT Innovation Festival, which serves as a platform to showcase and discuss the latest trends and technologies in innovation, and identify the different opportunities ahead for our region.My role in all of this is to highlight NEXT's offerings and the latest trends identified by NEXT and share the insights in thought leadership pieces or panel discussions attended by our leadership team. Additionally, I organize the annual festival and oversee all communications and marketing related to the event.You were recently recognized in Communicate's list of Women to Watch for 2022, which celebrates women in the Middle East who are driving change in the industry. How important do you think it is to have strong female representation in the creative industry, and what advice do you have for aspiring women in the field?I strongly believe that women have a vital role to play in our community and particularly in the advertising industry. Their unique perspectives and insights, based on their personal experiences and criteria, can contribute to elevating the creative product. Additionally, women have significant purchasing power and are crucial decision-makers in households. Therefore, they should be involved in crafting messages and telling brand stories from their own perspective.My advice to aspiring women in advertising is to be bold and courageous in their thinking. Challenge biases and conventions, push boundaries, and have fun while doing it. Make sure your voice is heard, advocate for equal representation and opportunities, and promote diversity and inclusion in the industry. Lastly, it is essential to build on your ideas and make them bigger.As someone with over 15 years of experience in the industry, what trends do you see emerging in the world of advertising and communications in the UAE, and how do you see TBWA\RAAD staying ahead of the curve?Currently, there are several key trends in the advertising industry. Personalization is a crucial one, with consumers increasingly expecting brands to offer personalized experiences and products that cater to their individual preferences and needs. As a result, companies are leveraging data-driven marketing strategies and artificial intelligence technologies to create tailored campaigns and product recommendations.Another trend that has been on the rise for some time now is purpose-driven campaigns, which are sensitive to social and environmental causes. Immersive experiences, enhanced by gamification, AR, and VR, are also gaining popularity among consumers.The advertising industry is constantly evolving, and there are endless opportunities now available with the evolution of new generative AI tools. At TBWA\RAAD, we are always on the lookout for the latest trends and technologies. Our main goal is to explore these innovations and create strategies that resonate with our clients' target audience.What do you consider to be your greatest professional accomplishment to date, and how did you achieve it?There are many accomplishments that I am proud of at TBWA\RAAD, but there are a few that stand out to me. Firstly, I take pride in organising successful events such as our International Women’s Day events and regional meetings like the ‘Cairo Exchange’. Additionally, I launched the agency’s first mobile application “Pirates” in 2017 which brought all the different agencies together under a single platform and unified communication. I also find it gratifying when the agency receives global recognition. However, I consider the launch of the agency’s insights microsite during the pandemic in 2020 to be my greatest achievement to date. It was a challenging initiative, but with hard work and collaboration, we were able to create an interactive platform that housed the latest insights, tools, and predictions about culture and industries in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. We also organized weekly live sessions to discuss the latest trending topics. This experience taught me a lot about the importance of teamwork, creating meaningful work, and making a positive impact in the community.How do you see TBWA\RAAD's vision for Disruption® evolving in the coming years, and what role will you play in this evolution?In 2021, we upgraded our operating system to Disruption X, a modernized version of our Disruption® approach that focuses on driving commercial impact and growth for our clients. Disruption X provides us with tools to apply Disruption® upstream to our clients' businesses and downstream to all customer touchpoints, enabling us to generate innovative solutions to their problems. At TBWA, Disruption® is always evolving and adapting to the ever-changing landscape and cultural shifts. Our role in communications is to share the Disruption® story with the world and showcase its impact across every touchpoint of our agency. We strive to embed it within our culture and narrative, not just within our client work, to ensure that we continue to push the boundaries of what's possible and create meaningful experiences for our clients and their customers.

TBWA\RAAD promotes Romy Abdelnour to Head of Communications

Dubai: TBWA\RAAD has announced the immediate promotion of Romy Abdelnour to the position of Head of Communications. In her new role, Romy will lead the agency's Public Relations and Corporate Communications strategy, reporting directly to Group CEO Reda Raad. She will be responsible for promoting the company's vision for Disruption® in the region.Previously, Romy served as Corporate Communications Director, where she oversaw the agency's internal and external communications, media relations, partnerships, corporate events, and presence at regional and global creative award shows such as the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, the Loeries, New York Festivals, Dubai Lynx, and MENA Effie awards, among others. She has helped enhance TBWA\RAAD's reputation in the region, contributing to agency, leadership, and talent recognition: The agency has been recognized for its innovation, earning the title of The Middle East's Most Innovative Company in Advertising by Fast Company Middle East, and CEO Reda Raad designated Advertising Person of the Year by Arab Ad in 2022.Reda Raad, Group CEO of TBWA\RAAD said: “Romy is a multitalented and passionate leader who has strongly contributed to our workplace culture throughout the years and played a key role in enhancing the agency’s reputation, securing the right exposure to our people and creative product, and telling our story to the world. Romy has done remarkable work on the comms front during the pandemic by reinforcing our internal communication and launching key initiatives that contributed to a smooth navigation and solid recovery. All of these have showcased her problem-solving skills and speedy adaptability. I believe she is more than ready to take on bigger responsibilities within the agency.”Speaking of her promotion, Romy said: “TBWA is a collective that never ceases to reinvent itself and innovate its operating model, philosophy, and products. Every year brings an exciting set of challenges, new products, projects, offerings, ideas, campaigns and most importantly, new stories to tell, to reflect an everchanging landscape. All of these are nurtured by the incredible TBWA culture - a culture one cannot but get addicted to. It has been a great journey for me so far on every level, and I look forward to this next chapter of my career. I’d like to thank our CEO Reda Raad for his trust, support, and mentorship throughout the years.”Romy has over 15 years of experience in the creative industry, having started her career as a graphic designer before shifting to communications. She holds a BA in Graphic Design from the Lebanese American University and a Masters' degree in Marketing and Communication from ESA/ESCP Europe.Romy was also recognized in Communicate's list of Women to Watch for 2022, which celebrates women in the Middle East who are driving change in the industry.