Following the dissolution of parliament in October 2016, everyone’s attention went to the potential candidates and their extensive campaigns. With very little room for anything else, one particular candidate captivated everyone’s attention, and hearts – Bu Salem. Our phones were suddenly erupting with WhatsApp notifications about the elusive candidate appearing on billboards across the Sixth Ring Road that would be representing, naturally, the “Sixth Ring Road.” [A spin on the electoral circles and their numbering.] No matter who you spoke to, everyone had one question on their minds: ‘Who is Bu Salem?’ With the topic trending and everyone talking about it, Kuwait finally discovered that this was a superbly clever ad campaign for Al Munayes tea, specifically their tea bag product. Who was behind this spectacular idea? None other than a local creative firm that’s here to make a difference, Beattie + Dane. And we knew that we just had to talk to them to learn more about the work that they do.
It all began with the meeting of two creative minds who decided to challenge the communications industry. When Executive Creative Director Anes Al-Rayes and Managing Partner Dana Alhanbali first met, Anes was ECD at JWT while Dana was their Group Director. It was a classic story of art-at-first-project for them when they realized they could be doing better if they branched out and started something. “You see, working in the business for so long,” Anes explained, “we’ve seen so many lost opportunities to do things differently, so there was an opportunity that we decided to jump on.” From there, Beattie and Dane was born. Having started this adventure exactly a year ago, Anes and Dana have achieved so much. What exactly did they achieve? They’ve already received a Dubai Lynx Award for Independent Agency of the Year 2017!
But how did they settle on the name? “Every time we’re in a meeting someone would interrupt in the middle and ask us about the name!” Anes exclaimed. “All it took was a simple Google search and we found it,” he continued. Finding the definitions of their names on a baby name website, they then looked at the translations and were instantly drawn to the Gaelic ones: Beattie (Anes) and Dane (Dana); making for a perfectly understated solution and a wonderful beginning. Dana laughed and added casually, “It was literally the first name we found!” It’s that level of clever panache that one can always expect, and receive, when working with the duo. Still, Anes’s idea of success is measured differently, “If people remember the name, then we’re successful – that’s at least my perception of it.” Dana also said that “it carries the international tone we’re looking for, but still represents us.”
Looking to the region, there are always incredible ad campaigns from places like Dubai, Cairo, Beirut and Amman. But that certainly doesn’t mean that the creative talents in Kuwait are lacking, they just haven’t found their voice. “It’s what I love about working with Anes,” Dana started, “He believes in the country so much and I agree with him wholeheartedly. Kuwait has all the potential to create amazing content – the other countries aren’t just successful because they’re more interesting, we have that too!” Combined, that’s what Anes and Dana stand for, creating awareness and shedding a light on all the wonderful locals – their stories, brands and many talents. And in turn, that’s exactly what Beattie + Dane stands for, believing in Kuwait 100 percent. “I’m a sucker for potential,” Anes added, “I would like to believe that we can help local companies grow to their full potential while having fun.” Still, it all boils down to creativity, which to them, is a superbly important factor.
“Creativity is very subjective, so it should in some way address a business problem in a way that isn’t necessarily business related,” Dana began, “It’s a form of expression that addresses a certain problem or message that you want to get out to your customer or people.” And because creativity is a broad term, it helps them with their approach to any challenge or problem since each one is diverse with it’s solution or audience requirement. “You can’t use the same technique for everything. That’s why when we go for a pitch, we never promise a certain approach, we assess what works,” Anes added.
“As an industry, I feel like they sometimes struggle with staying true to why they started in the first place which is what tends to happen,” Dana started. It should never simply be about development for the sake of gaining clients she had explained. “It’s not about getting everything, but getting one thing and doing it extremely and unbelievably well.”
“I just feel that one of the biggest challenges as well is that a lot of work in the region isn’t done for the right audience – it’s done for the chairman or the CEO or internal communications. I don’t think that being King Kong and pounding on your chest is the way to go. With the amount of content, we’re exposed to daily, you need to truly acknowledge that and think about the audience,” Anes explained.
And when it came to the Bu Salem campaign: “It wouldn’t have been this great without the incredible people we collaborated with. We’re so proud to have collaborated with amazing people and we wouldn’t be where we are right now without them.” Dana said. As for their vision as a firm, they’re taking it slow and steady, hoping to keep Beattie + Dane small and independent and grow eventually without losing quality. Anes concluded, “To grow, we need to do it at a steady pace in the market.” Dana smiled and added, “The more challenging a project is, the more likely you’ll find Beattie + Dane there. That’s what drives us, the challenge that has an interesting background.”
For inquiries, you can contact Beattie + Dane via their website www.beattieanddane.com.