Media innovator comes to town

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One of the advertising industry’s most innovative and disruptive thinkers is in New Zealand this week to speak at OMD’s industry update event, Tea & Toast, this Thursday (11 February).

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.

Sadly, for the wider agency world, Tea & Toast is an in-house event at OMD – clients and the media only have been invited.

OMD managing partner Andrew Reinholds says this will be an opportunity for organisations 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”.

The innovator and recent author is looking forward to speaking about ideas from his book, about how attention is a finite resource and one that is threatened by a tragedy of the commons.

“If we are to be leaders in this industry, we need an understanding of the parameters of attention, its quirks, how to hack it and maybe even how to stop the ‘adblocalypse’,” Faris says.

Yakob will be speaking at both OMD’s Tea & Toast event as well at its annual conference on Friday 12 February along with wife and business partner Rosie Yakob. The pair will run interactive workshops for OMD staff, turning the theory into practical approaches to harnessing ideas based on the Genius Steals methodology.

“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.

“Our guys are really looking forward to coming away from the conference inspired with innovative tools and techniques to drive our clients’ business.”

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 [2013] and What is a Brand? [2015], all published by Kogan Page.

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