• Levente Kovacs

Creative Close-Up: Ali Rez, Regional ECD, Middle East & Pakistan / Impact BBDO Dubai

Creative Close-Up (aka: CCU) is our new column featuring various people from the international field of creative industries. We're trying to get to know their backgrounds, their inspirations, their takes on creativity, on advertising, on "life" – and other mundane things. We hope these articles are going to be instructive, educational and fun to read. And yes, these texts will be in English, for certain technical reasons (i.e. convenience and practicality mixed with laziness to translate them into Hungarian).

In this episode we've talked to Ali Rez, Regional Executive Creative Director at Impact BBDO Dubai.

Ranked amongst the Global Top 20 Executive Creative Directors on the 2020 World Creativity Rankings, and named South Asia Creative Person of the Year by Campaign magazine, Ali Rez has won more than 400 international awards in his 20-year career. These include multiple Gold Cannes Lions, Gold Clios, D&AD pencils, Grand Prix Effie, Grand Prix Dubai Lynx, and Grand Prix Spikes amongst many others.


Rez started in Physics before ending up in advertising in San Francisco, where he spent more than a decade working on global brands such as Adobe, 7UP, ChevronTexaco and HP.


In his quest for adventure, Rez moved to the Middle East, and quickly became one of the most prolific award winners in the region, while managing digital and traditional creative campaigns on global brands such as the PepsiCo portfolio, MARS, P&G, Visa, Lipton and Nestlé across the Middle East, Africa and APAC regions. Rez’s work led BBDO to be named APAC Network of the Year 2019 on the Cannes Lions Global Creativity Index amidst consistent double-digit growth for the agency. He has also been part of prestigious jury panels at Cannes Lions, Clios, Global Effies, D&AD, and President of the Design Jury at Spikes Asia and Adfest.


What is most important lesson you want to teach your son/daughter?

Be empathetic. Everything begins there.


How did you get into advertising?

I took on an internship in an agency when I was 16. And even though I spent most of it proofreading and making tea, I was hooked to the energy that advertising agencies have.


Where do you get your inspiration from?

Everywhere outside advertising. There are scores of amazing problem solving ideas all around us to learn from.


What's your creative project you're most proud of?

Probably „Not A Bug Splat” which protested against drone strikes killing children.

William Bernbach, founder of DDB advertising agency


What do you consider a mile-stone/defining moment in the history of advertising?

The birth of Bill Bernbach.


The most boring thing in the world?

A lack of imagination. And a political speech.

Who's your favourite hero of fiction?

I used to love Tintin as a kid – mostly because of his travels. Other than that, probably Hercule Poirot and MacGyver – ace problem solvers.


Sweet or salty? Elvis or The Beatles? Beer or wine?

I love lemonade that has both sugar and salt in it – love that fight. The Beatles for sure. Beer when at a brewery, wine when in Sonoma.


Your favourite brand and/or band?

Easy one: Apple. Brilliant product design. Brilliant communication. Brilliant philosophy.


The greatest invention in the history of mankind?

Beer.


What's the most beautiful word? Yes, WORD.

I love the Urdu word „Kishmish,” which means raisin. Just feels good to say it: Kish-mish.


What's your favourite traffic sign?

I’m living in the UAE, and I love the traffic signs that have a camel on them.


What has the Covid-quarantine taught you?

Be thankful for what you have. Every. Single. Day.


Finish the sentence: For me creativity is...

...problem solving.