Bechara Mouzannar (Leo Burnett MENA): Nostalgia — the major enemy of changes

Creativity, Festivals & Awards, People

Bechara Mouzannar, Chairman of the jury of Red Apple 2015, is one of the most experienced and titled members of the jury. During the past seven years, his contribution was of great significance for the achievement of over 700 international and regional awards by the agencies part of Leo Burnett MENA, which he heads. The awards include 25 Cannes Lions, with the last conquered «Lion» received this year for the work “Vote for us we’ll vote for you”.

In an interview for Red Apple, Bechara Muzannar says nostalgia is “the major enemy of changes” and talks about changes in life, modern communication and calls us to leave the era of dinosaurs.


Change means everything to me. It is embedded in life as it goes on. Change is a milestone on our way towards the future. Without it, tomorrow will be like yesterday and thus today would be boring. But today’s world is thrilling, so why our communication should be serious and rooted in the old mindset when most of the smartphone users in the world have crossed that line? Adland is – to my joy – brutally hated by the people who, in the social media, feel a need to be engaged as human beings not as commercial targets, as well as  they could sometimes contribute to movements or campaigns, adding their own sensitivity and creativity. Here comes the reign of the amateur versus the academician or the expert. And in these transformational times, when every manly could become a media moghul, we cannot anymore be putting our best efforts into the mass media, which have been in an auto-shrunking mode due to their lack of democracy.

Nostalgia is the principal enemy of change. And i humbly feel that the global communications industry today needs to seriously consider changing instead of outlining that word in every single client presentation while truly negating it in its everyday’s work. There is an early expiry date for all types of agencies that did not change yet, or that did not lead the change in their clients’ mindset and/or are happy to be marinating in their own memorabilia. And these agencies unfortunately constitute a smashing majority.

I have a big respect for all the agencies that have undertaken change and have gone through that never-ending journey of re-questioning and exploring and ultimately finding. They are reaping the fruits of their creative and innovative efforts, and i am sure these communications people are always obsessed by demystifying their previous  successful campaigns by new ones that could be even more engaging in their ideas.

I cannot but feel sorrow and pity for all the people whose mindset is rooted in the dinosauring ad-age.

If you sum up all the real (non scam) multi-awarded game-changing creative campaigns in the world every year and you compare that figure to the grand total of campaigns that are being produced worldwide, chances are that the global indicator of real innovative creative excellence would be as low as the percentage of people working in our industry at large, who truly, madly, deeply have embraced change.

The good news for all the talents that keep walking, is that change is inevitable, and one day, thanks to the growing generations that will take over our changing industry, there won’t be many people alive to perpetuate the nostalgia of a time when we used to communicate to the consumers instead of communicating with the people.