Du Tuesday playlist / Ali Ali
Ali Ali wins Gold at Cannes Lions (and will judge Loeries)
Earlier this year, Egyptian director Ali Ali won twos Gold at Cannes Lions for his Too Complicated and Too Depressing spots from his du Telecoms campaign promoting their two-for-one movie ticket campaign offer. I loved the spots but thought the execution was better than the concept: I’m not sure that the way to get people to the movies is to remind them that movies can be awful.
In his winner’s announcement, he said, “I was proud to be the first Arab to win a gold Lion in film. Proud for my region and for my country. What made it an even prouder moment for us all, was that du managed to win gold coming from a region that is still relatively primitive in production. The film was made on a small budget, especially when compared with the other gold-winning films produced by the likes of MJZ, Gorgeous, Smuggler and the other big players. But also, I was all the more humbled to be awarded in the same category with some of the best films I have seen this year (the Southern Comfort campaign and Nike Possibilities to name a few). Du was also shortlisted in the film craft category for direction, grouping me with directors like Lance Acord and Martin Werner, which, for my short directing career, is already a great achievement.”
Never Say No To Panda compilation / Ali Ali
Ali is an interesting hybrid: on the Never Say No To Panda campaign above that made his name, he wrote, creative directed and directed the spots, which became the most watched Arabic commercials ever on YouTube and won a Silver at Cannes Lions, a Gold at Epica, and two Grand Prixs at Dubai Lynx. While I’m again not entirely convinced by the campaign’s brand messaging (which basically amounts to, “If you don’t eat my product, I’ll hurt you”), the spots are charming and hilarious.
Ali, who founded leading Cairo agency Elephant, is judging next week’s Loerie Awards. In the awards PR, he says, “I am honoured and super excited to be coming to Loeries this year and to being a part of all the creative energy going on at the other end of our continent. Not only is Cape Town my favourite city, but South African creativity has always been an inspiration to us here in Cairo. I look forward to judging the work, and, given what I recently saw from South Africa at Cannes, I’m expecting to see great things. I look forward to meeting new people, to saying ‘howzit,’ to drinking Franschhoek Chenin Blanc and more importantly to absorbing everything there is to learn from this prestigious awards show.”
It’s worth listening to his Cannes Lions 2011 talk, where, having just survived a revolution in Egypt, he reflects on advertising. After warning the delegates that “It’s not about the size of your agency today, it’s about the size of your views on YouTube,” he looks up a list of important jobs and concludes, “Advertising executive is somewhere between telephone repair man and waitress, so that’s something to keep in mind. The people I meet in advertising who are doing great work are the people who take it as a fun job and don’t take it seriously, because again very few consumers today are willing to believe you can change their lives, so as brands I think we need to stop staying that.”
He goes on to point out that the average consumer is more intelligent than the average client, and that if the average consumer can stage a revolution like in Egypt, it’s safe to assume they can understand a creative 30-second ad.