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How Can Fresh Faces Survive Egypt's Film Monopoly Imposed By Tycoons? We Ask Good People

Hend Ghorab is one of the young minds competing against traditional giants in the film industry. The entrepreneur walks Leena ElDeeb through her journey with the advertising agency she runs alongside Ali Ali and Maged Nassar.

Amongst blazers, tuxedoes, pencil dresses and skirts, this young artistic entrepreneur stepped on stage at Cairo's Creative Industry Summit back in April, fashioning a pair of sneakers and a t-shirt featuring Christopher Walken, an American superstar. “I fell in love with him when I saw his Spike Jonze’s music video where he’s just in a suit dancing like a mad a man,” Hend Ghorab tells Startup Scene. “I think as an agency we can’t be one thing. If anything, you need to be able to do ads that could be very serious, just as you would be able to make ads that are hilarious.”

Ghorab finds her inspiration from her love for brands, which do play an important role in our lives, she tells Startup Scene, pointing at her Nike shoes. The entrepreneur explains that a Scandinavian director called Rubin Oswald is also behind her inspiration. “The best thing about him is that he creates films that are extremely different. Especially in this age, we’re consuming content at insane rates. It’s very rare that you watch a piece of content that stays on your mind for days. I think ads in the old times are like that, like when we say bistik bistik bistik naw for days, it isn’t just a jingle, it is content,” Ghorab elaborates, referring to the early Egyptian TV commercial advertising for the Jersey chocolate bar. “We at Good People are working on content that would stick with people.”

Based in both Beirut and Cairo, Good People is divided into two sub-companies; Good People Films and Good People Content. Each branch acts as an individual entity that sometimes groups up with the other.

Good People Films production house has been around for two years and the other branch, which is the content agency, started in October 2017 and have already attracted global clientele such as Orange, Vodafone, Danone, and Rexona. They started as a team of seven who have grown into a team of 12; and alongside co-founders Ali Ali and Maged Nassar, Ghorab works as the Planning Director. “That’s all you need,” she says. “All you need is people who have the passion; and having all the people in the room with passion is better than an agency that has 70 people and with passion at 20 to 30 percent.”

In March, Good People won 2018’s most awarded independent agency in the Middle East and North Africa. 

“We are a startup, but we have our foot, not at the door, but completely far in [the field],” Ghorab says. “We’re also a mix of both. We have the credibility and at the same time we still have that young exciting drive of a startup.” In March, Good People won 2018’s most awarded independent agency in the Middle East and North Africa. "Instead of trying to join the big guys and be a multinational, we wanted to come out as something smaller, more tight knit and with high quality of work."

The film entrepreneur says that being a startup gives Good People the drive to always want to compete with higher quality. "The fact that we're already starting from the top, makes us want to stay at the top," she says.

Ghorab started her presentation at the summit by showing the audience the infamous Pepsi ad starring Kendall Jenner. "This is one of the most horrible TV ads that I have ever seen, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who thinks that," she told the audience after the ad ended, throwing people back with laughter. Asking Ghorab about her take on creative briefs and what went wrong with this ad, she told us that the client simply wanted to send a thousand messages at once. "First of all, a brief has to be single-minded. A lot of times, you want to say 50 different things,” she says.

The golden rule is simplicity. "If you give something complicated to someone and ask them to make something out of it, it is very hard for any creative mind to try and untangle the knot. You need to give him a simple and plain ingredient to be able to create a great outcome.”

Playing the role of a creative sometimes, Ghorab says that they’re lucky to have clients who don’t budge. “Beyond being single-minded it needs to also have a clear branding outline. And the client has to hold on to their brand and at the same time the creatives have to know the brand of their clients and study it very well.

Competing against media giants whether in the film or the advertising industry, according to their website, Good People are "here to to fill in the gap." One thing Ghorab really thinks is a big problem in Egyptian media is that media people have this misconception that those who are illiterate are inevitably not smart. "Actually, they’re very intelligent; I think all the comments and reactions on Facebook prove that if we don’t believe in something we will go out and say it," she says. "So I think that considering the consumer as an intelligent person would deliberately turn your copy into intelligent work.”

Main Image: Hend Ghorab, at Creative Industry Summit.  By @MO4Network's #MO4Productions.  

Photographer: Fares Zeitoun


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