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Curtain Call: What You Might Have Missed at the Creative Industry Summit’s First Regional Edition in Riyadh

Just a month ago, the Creative Industry Summit kicked off its 14th edition in Cairo under the theme Let’s Talk Creative Economy“ at Misr Italia Properties’ Cairo Business Park. But today marked the end of “The Advertising & Creativity Forum“; its first regional edition in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia at the prestigious Riyadh International Convention & Exhibition Center!

And we’ve listed some of our favorite talks, panels, and workshops here…

Talk: “Imagine” by Tarek Nour, Founder and Chairman at Tarek Nour Group

Egypt’s “godfather of advertising”, Tarek Nour, spearheaded CIS’s regional edition by taking the stage and sharing the synopsis of his 40+ years in the advertising arena including how he crafted compelling and memorable adverts with those aspiring to walk in his footsteps.

From presidential campaigns to working with nearly every industry in the private sector, he is now the leader of a 700-member workforce and 22 companies all owned by the TN Holding Group.

Talk: “Escaping The Competitive Herd” by Basel El Deeb, Partner and Co-CEO at Tarek Nour Group

Next in line is a vital pillar in TNG’s success: Basel El Deeb. While setting foot in the advertising world 22 years ago, Deeb led some of TNG’s iconic communication projects, such as the localization of global brands like Vodafone and Hyundai among many others. He was also responsible for the re-launch of the largest bank in Egypt “the National Bank of Egypt”. Since then, he has created many commercial successes for the likes of PEPSICO, EFG Hermes, Juhayna, and Orange because of which TNG received local, regional, and international awards; notably Cannes LIONS Health in 2014.

Deeb’s talk was a guidepost for all creatives on how to avoid following the industry herd and carving smarter approaches to doing things. That means thinking creatively and strategically to not only evoke emotions but urge people to adopt a certain attitude or even take action with a brand.

Talk: “Growing An Edge in a Crowded Creative Industry” by Amr El Kalaawy, Managing Director at FP7/McCann Cairo

After 20 years of experience in the marketing communications industry and 15 years of leading FP7McCann Cairo, the award-winning Kalaawy is the go-to expert when it comes to standing out in crowded markets and channels.

In this forum, El Kalaawy addressed the common challenges creatives face when standing out and making a name for themselves in the cluttered creative industry.

Talk: “10 Stories from 100 Campaigns” by Ali Ali, Film Director and Cofounder of Good People Films

The cofounder of Good People, Ali, is an award-winning director who was recently ranked the 5th best commercial director by Cannes Global Rankings 2022. His media company has won 78 awards through its work with world-famous brands like Google, Vodafone, Mcdonald’s, Pepsi, and Spotify to name a few!

Ali’s talk offered lessons and compelling truths he believes are of paramount importance to those looking to excel.


Panel: “The Game of Data vs. Content Creation”

Panelists: Kareem Abou Ghamrah, CEO at Peace Cake; and Hazem Ragheb, Senior Content Lead and Content Host at Peace Cake

Whether you’ve been binge-watching their videos or come across a viral one, you’ve definitely encountered Peace Cake’s work. At the forum, they shared their expertise efficiently.

From producing comical sketches like “Romanseya Manseya” and “Emsek Nafsak” to signing clients like Netflix and Spotify, they’ve made a name for themselves in online content creation all while being at the forefront of the region’s most popular award-winning agencies.

Representing them at the forum, were Gamrah and Ragheb, who came to share the intricacies of their content creation process. More importantly, they tackled their perspective on the bittersweet relationship between data and content creation.

Panel: “NFTs, Web3, and the New Creative Economy”

Panelists: Timmy Mowafi, Co-Founder & Managing Partner at MO4 Network; Faisal Alkheriji, Artist & Marketing Brand Manager at Unilever; and Amr Bogari, Artist. Moderated by Amy Mowafi, CEO & Cofounder of MO4 Network

Web3 is the new catch-all term for the new and improved Internet. And with this new technology, comes a world of endless creative opportunities. And one of these opportunities is non-fungible tokens, better known as “NFTs”.

And who better to lead this panel discussion other than MO4’s Web3 enthusiast and founder of NFTY Arabia, Timmy Mowafi, along with Saudi contemporary artist and marketing professional Faisal Alkheriji, and Amr Bogari, a digital artist who took an interest in NFTs at the mere age of 21?

Mimicking the same panel discussion that took place in Cairo, Mowafi, Alkheriki, and Bogari shared their dynamic takes on the emerging technology and how the creative scene in the Middle East should leverage it for all businesses.

As for the workshops that were highly valuable…

Workshop: “How to Crack A Creative Brief”

Instructors: Salma Ezz, Senior Strategist at FP7/McCann Cairo, & Mostafa Sherif, Senior Creative Director at FP7/McCann Cairo

In today’s day and age, dozens of creative agencies open shop overnight, but only a few can really crack a brief from the first go. And to successfully do so, you need both creative and strategic efforts.

Coaching senior executives and managers on cracking dense multilayered briefs were two of FP7McCann Cairo’s workforce: Salma Ezz and Mostafa Sherif; who’ve both spent years adopting the agency’s visionary practices and have come to share their expertise.

The 2-day workshop primarily focused on these areas of knowledge:
• How to judge a good brief
• How to make use of the information written in a brief
• How to think strategically
• How to translate functional messages into creative ones.

Workshop: “Creating Impactful Brands in The Middle East”

Instructors: Magd El Sherif, Cofounder and Managing Partner at Matter; and Mohamed Abbas, Cofounder, Managing Partner, & Creative Strategy Director at Matter

The second 2-day workshop we were avid fans of was led by El Sherif, and Abbas, the leaders behind Matter; the leading brand agency in the Middle East specializing in crafting brand identities.

Throughout its 10 years of successful branding, Matter has developed and mastered its own branding methodology that fortifies each brand element on its own to create a comprehensive and fortified brand when fused together. They’ve been entrusted by brands in 10 different industries such as Unilever, Nestle, Vezeeta, SODIC, The Four Fat Ladies, Moutain View, and EGBank.

El Sherif and Abbas’s workshop displayed award-winning branding case studies with a sharper focus on brand strategy, brand persona, and the importance of brand naming in Arabic-speaking regions.

But these are only some of our favorite discussed topics, you can check out the full agenda here, and read all about each speaker, panel discussion, and the enlightening conversations they had at the 3-day event.

Salma Wahby

A marketing graduate who first set foot in the creative industry at 17, Salma is on a mission to narrate the stories behind some of the most iconic businesses and individuals in the MENA region's marketing landscape.