Our Copywriter of the week is Mohamed Selmi…
At first glance, my career seems like it may be full of contradictions; I do, however, assure you that it’s not. Although I have always been passionate about the Arabic language, I studied English literature at university. Upon graduation, I taught English for a few years, but my true passion was and has always been, writing. I was working as a freelance translator for a number of publications in Cairo. It’s here where I translated hundreds of articles and pieces of news in different fields. I really owe a lot to this experience. It undoubtedly enriched me with a wealth of information and exposed me to the bigger picture of the world.
Arriving in Dubai
In 1999, I moved to Dubai, one of the great cosmopolitan cities, where I found my true calling for advertising. One day I got an unexpected call from the Head of Arabic at DDB Dubai. He was quitting and looking for an immediate temporary replacement until they could hire someone else. After about three months of plying my trade at DDB, the Creative Director told me that I’d met their expectations and that they were happy with my performance. They then offered me a full-time job. I spent the happiest four and half years of my life there. I worked on the agency’s impressive roster of clients, including Lipton, Volkswagen, Emirates Skycargo, Quaker, Jafza, AEX, ETA Star, Philips Wrigley HSBC, to name a few.
I can confidently say that working for DDB unleashed my potential and polished my critical, strategic and, more importantly, copywriting skills. This paved the way for me to move confidently to BBDO where I worked on Pepsico, Emirates Airlines, HP, Visa, Mercedes-Benz, Mars, Gillette and DHL. After two years at BBDO, I was hired by MullenLowe Dubai as the main Arabic Copywriter for Mobily, the second-biggest telecom in Saudi Arabia, as well as the other accounts such as Unilever (Lifebuoy, Axe, Fair & Lovely, Close up, signal) Red Bull, Mazda, Tic Tac.
Becoming a Freelancer
After two hectic yet fruitful years at MullenLowe, I felt that I needed more space for my creativity. So I decided in 2015 to take a risky step and become a freelancer. Fortunately, life as a freelancer in a city like Dubai is remarkably easy. It’s a global business hub and the gateway to EMEA markets. Besides, the city offers exciting opportunities and is conducive to all types of businesses to thrive. This encouraged me to apply for the Freelance Department at Dubai Media City. And in less than seven days, I got my license to become an official Freelance Copywriter. One of the advantages that official freelancers get to enjoy is exclusive opportunities for new jobs, bid on projects and grow their network via Marketplace. An online platform introduced with the aim of supporting freelance talents.
Soon after getting my freelance license, I worked for StrawberryFrog in New York as an Arabic consultant for their projects in Dubai: First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), Emaar, Mubadala and Dubai South. Luckily, I was approached by them due to my previous work on the “Hello Tomorrow” global campaign for Emirates Airlines that was created by StrawberryFrog. I was also fortunate enough as my freelance journey enabled me to work for several multinational agencies such Ogilvy, Young & Rubicam, JWT and RAAP as well as regional independent agencies like Rasas, Livingroom Communication, Xelement Agency (KSA), Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) where I provided strategic Arabic copywriting as well as creative solutions on a long-term, short-term or project basis. In addition, I did many projects for high-profile clientele such as Spark44, TBWA/RAAD, Horizon FCB, Geometry Global, MullenLoweOpen, Cheil and FutureBrand London.
My career journey to date has afforded me an abundance of rewarding opportunities
Some real standouts include a number of campaigns I worked on for:
- Al Jazeera News that was recognized by Dubai Lynx and Loeries Awards
- Hello Tomorrow for Emirates Airlines
- Ford Edge launch in 2016
- Vatika shampoo that I conceived and wrote and hit over 3 million views on YouTube.
I’m also particularly proud of my participation in the ‘Ask Google’ campaign for the Egyptian market, which was a great success.
While it’s fair to think of me as a copywriter, I consider myself to be a multifaced creative:
I am a scriptwriter, poet, lyricist and strategic thinker with a burning passion for creativity. I have a real way with words coupled with sound strategic and problem-solving skills.
Currently, I’m working for R/GA London and looking forward to either relocating to the UK or Amsterdam to further spread my creative wings. Fingers crossed!