Around 70 creatives, strategists and marketers braved a steamy mid-summer Auckland night last week to hear celebrated US adman Faris Yakob speak at OMD’s industry update event, Tea & Toast. The venue was the upmarket new Seafarer Members Club restaurant/bar in the Britomart, started in November last year by Shine creatives Lucien Law and Simon Curran.
Faris Yakob is the award-winning strategist, creative director, writer and co-founder of the location independent innovation and strategy consultancy Genius Steals, New York.
“Faris wowed them,” said OMD managing partner Andrew Reinholds. “This was an opportunity to hear key learnings from Faris’ book Paid Attention. The book explores how ideas move people and how advertising can, and should, change in response to changes in the communications landscape.
Reinholds sees a synergy between Yakob’s philosophy when it comes to solving business problems and OMD’s global philosophy to media planning.
“The onus now is less on traditional advertising and increasingly on developing creative business solutions,” he says. “In an ever-changing media environment where competition for attention is fierce, media and creative agencies need to be constantly evolving their approach.”
Yakob is a dual citizen of both the UK and New Zealand, and is delighted to visit his other home country, which he believes “punches far above its weight in advertising terms”.
He was accompanied by his wife and business partner Rosie Yakob.
“It’s critical that we learn from the best,” says Reinholds. “And, Faris is very much at the forefront of industry thinking when it comes to the challenges we are currently facing.
Faris & Rosie Yakob have spent the last two years travelling the world helping brands use creativity to solve business problems. They have visited more than 30 countries, and have worked with iconic brands Marriott, Coca Cola, P&G, among others.
About Faris Yakob
Yakob is co-founder of the strategy and innovation consultancy Genius Steals, built on the belief that ideas are new combinations. Genius Steals is itinerant, working with brands, agencies and start-ups all over the world. Being nomads allows Faris and his wife and partner Rosie to go to wherever clients need them and to be inspired by the world in between. They have been living on the road / runway for 148 weeks, across more than 30 countries.
Previously he was founding partner of a digital agency in NYC, chief innovation officer of an advertising holding company, and chief digital officer at the flagship NYC office of the world’s largest advertising agency.
He has won and judged numerous advertising awards. He has chaired the Content&Contact and integrated categories at the Clio Awards and helped create the NEW category for the London International Awards.
Yakob speaks at events all over the world, and tries very hard not to bore audiences, because, like Kurt Vonnegut, he believes one should “use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted”.
Yakob is the author of Paid Attention, and a contributing author of Digital State  and What is a Brand? , all published by Kogan Page.
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