In the ever-evolving landscape of media and advertising, we bring you an exclusive interview with Alejandro Fischer, the visionary Senior Vice President of Strategy and Product Innovation at Havas Middle East. With 13 years of industry expertise, he takes us on a journey through the dynamic realms of strategy, innovation, and the pivotal role technology plays in creating meaningful connections.
As an advocate for the next generation, he shares insights on embracing change and fostering curiosity.
Could you tell us about your background and experience in the advertising industry?
I began my journey in the world of digital media planning almost two decades ago and made the move to the Middle East 12 years ago. Always eager to volunteer for global new business pitches, I gained invaluable experience. Since joining Havas, I’ve navigated two major career shifts. The first involved transitioning from digital planning to a more upstream strategy role, focusing on broader challenges and media needs for our clients. The second shift led me to my current position, where I oversee multi-discipline strategy across Media, Creative, and PR for Havas Group in the Middle East.
We see a lot of CGI-based advertising in the MENA region. How have technology, AI, and the Metaverse influenced and transformed the advertising landscape?
Questions about technology, whether it’s CGI or any other innovation, are inevitable. There’s often debate on whether certain tech applications are just trendy or even gimmicky. However, the reality is that we have a responsibility to understand and maximize the impact of the technology available to us. We’re in the business of connection. If a piece of tech has the power to spark desire or sell, it’s our job to explore its full potential.
In that light, AI is an absolute game-changer; I see it as an equalizer. It supercharges everything we do, from content creation to deep analytics. What excites me the most is its versatility. At Havas, we use AI for everything from the first visualization of an impossible idea to finding new segments and niche audiences and advanced media optimization. Far from replacing human creativity, it amplifies it.
How do you stay on top of not just technological changes, but also evolving consumer demands?
Staying ahead of trends requires an obsessive focus on people. I believe empathy is key; it’s crucial to continuously connect, interact, and get feedback from real people. At Havas, we have a unique capability for Insights and Market Intelligence. We’re constantly observing, questioning, and decoding shifts in consumer attitudes. We even venture into topics like frugality and social activism, questions that others in the market are not asking but should be.
Can you discuss a recent successful campaign HAVAS Middle East deployed and what strategies you implemented to make it successful?
The Adidas Liquid Billboard campaign holds a special place for me. The challenge was to address the cultural barriers preventing women in the MENA region from swimming comfortably. We didn’t just promote a new swimwear line; we initiated a social movement through a swimmable billboard in Dubai. For me, it epitomizes what we aim for at Havas—meaningful impact.
What could you tell us about the Saudi Vision 2030 and how do you plan to make sure that HAVAS aligns with it?
Saudi is central to our growth strategy at Havas. For me, it’s about doing justice to the monumental transformation that the nation is undergoing. We need to challenge the old paradigms of engagement because audiences there are changing at a breakneck speed. Entrepreneurship is rising, arts and culture are becoming focal points, and the media landscape is fragmenting rapidly.
What are some of the shifts or changes that you have witnessed over your decade-long tenure in the MENA region?
The digital landscape has seen a seismic shift, but what’s more intriguing is the cultural awakening. Arts, social activism, and entrepreneurship are rising as dominant forces. The narratives are changing. This has deep implications for our industry, requiring a more nuanced approach to brand messaging and positioning.
What are some of the key trends that you see emerging in the next few years and how do plan to approach them?
Two critical trends I see are the mainstreaming of AI and a growing focus on authentic social responsibility. Our approach is straightforward—stay ahead of the learning curve on tech while ensuring that we don’t lose sight of the ‘human’ in our campaigns. Meaningful change, driven by data and augmented by technology, will be our north star.
What tips would you provide to young professionals hoping to work in the advertising and marketing industry?
Don’t be afraid of change; embrace it. Learn when to listen and when to question—both are invaluable skills in advertising. Stay perpetually curious. Make it a point to learn something meaningful about every client and every industry you interact with.