Beyond the Horizon

Thursday, 24 April 2008 - Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Ocean Horizon

Presentation Summary

Roberts believes we need to reinvent the advertising industry to win in the 21st century. In this address to Dubai advertisers and marketers, he looks far beyond the horizon and shares his ideas on how to deliver transformation. A passionate advocate of consumers, ideas and creativity, he champions the idea of Lovemarks as the future beyond brands and beyond advertising.

The Gulf region takes me back to the future.

… back to when I learned how to market with the best…
… forward to an open horizon, where new economies can grow fast and free, not in some other culture’s vision, but in their own.

I love your region’s energy, audacity and drive to diversify. The Gulf to me is guts, risk-taking and high adventure,
supercharged by dreams:

  • Dreams of a new geography. E.g. In aviation, Emirates is re-centering the air routes of the planet – and growing faster than all its competitors.
  • Dreams of architecture as theater. E.g. The Burj Dubai (the world’s tallest building) and the iconic Burj Al Arab.
  • Dreams of transformation. E.g. Norman Foster’s Masdar (Abu Dhabi) to be the world’s first zero-carbon and zero-waste city. Ras al Khaimah Eco City by Rem Koolhaas.
  • Dreams of glory. E.g. Flagship events in 6 sports: soccer, tennis, golf, field hockey, cricket and…rugby – the gamethey play in heaven and my home New Zealand.

The advertising I see in the Gulf needs to step up to the dream. I’ve flown in to challenge you. Here’s a challenge from my home New Zealand.

Here at the crossroads of Eurasia and Africa, the capitalist project is being re-imagined and remade.

The region has the world’s wealthiest city (Abu Dhabi), hotbeds of private enterprise, a screen-savvy population (half under 20), and dazzling diversity.

Tired ideas like marketing or branding cannot win here – or anywhere now. Life is too networked, expectations too high, and power has gone…

It’s the Consumer Revolution. The Consumer is Boss.

Don’t give her what she wants. Give her what she never dreamed possible. She wants ideas and inspirations, not advertisements.

Economies are on fire here and hearts are young.

You have to start over. And keep up!!

From Information Economy, Knowledge Economy, Interruption Marketing (aka the Mass Market), Permission Marketing, the

Experience Economy, Attention Economy to the…


Interrupt Engage
Inform Inspire
One-to-many Many-to-one
Return On Investment Return On Involvement
Marketing at Connecting with
Brands Lovemarks

With U.S. retailer J C Penney we stopped marketing and started connecting….

Here are some key IDEAS for your journey:


Ideas are the currency of the future. On planet parity, we need Bigger Ideas, Simpler Ideas, Bolder Ideas, Truer Ideas:

Bigger ideas. Think of:

  • Toyota re-powered motion with hybrid synergy
  • Starbucks got $9b+ a year for connecting people, the third place.

Simpler Ideas. Think of:

  • YouTube created a $1.65b business [sale price to Google] with the simple idea of life on screen.
  • Al Jazeera was founded on the simple idea that Arab people want Arab news, sports, kids programs.
  • Fact: Founded by Emir of Qatar in 1996 and now attracts 40 million viewers.

Bolder Ideas. Think about:

  • Francis Ford Coppola: It’s not a gamble unless you go all the way.
  • Learn to fail fast, learn fast, and fix fast.
  • Embrace the concept of random.
  • Find and reward people who enjoy chaos – with responsibility, learning, recognition and joy.

Truer Ideas. Think about:

  • Uncovering the difference between how business thinks about consumers, and how real and different people feel about themselves.
  • If you want to understand how a lion hunts, don’t go to the zoo … go to the jungle.
  • Xploring for insight to get to creative foresight.


Start with answer and work back, the answer is people and what drives them, moves them, compels.

People are about 80% emotion, 20% reason.

Neurologist Donald Calne keeps it simple: “Reason leads to conclusions. Emotion leads to action.”


  • Brands are built on Respect. Lovemarks are built on Love and Respect.
  • Brands create loyalty for a reason. Lovemarks create Loyalty Beyond Reason.
  • Brands are owned by managers, marketers and shareholders. Lovemarks are owned by the people who love them.
  • Brands drive solid performance. Lovemarks ignite performance, share, intention, margin and return.
  • Great brands are Irreplaceable. Lovemarks are Irresistible.



Technology, marketing and creativity are folding into each other. We call this interactive world sisomo. Sight, Sound and Motion on screen.

Sisomo connects a great idea with real opportunities across different media at multiple scales. Gen Sisomo loves convergence – as long it converges on them. It’s about bringing emotional connectivity to every screen.

Example. Launched in 2008 to offer empathetic counsel in the skin care category women find confusing.
Results. In two months the site attracted almost 750,000 visitors. Over 80% of visitors complete the questions and over 70% buy something for the first time, with many of them trading up.

Sisomo fuses old and new, past and future:

  • Old TV – the master of sisomo, still the No. 1 global medium and the best selling tool ever. 2.5 billion households in the world have one.

The new TV industry will be with us in a decade as digital, High Def, DVR, mobile, Wi-Fi, addressable kick in. The new TV viewer is with us now. People want TV with emotion, pace and interactivity, and live programming.

  • New formats and stories, characters and adventures.

Be inspired by people, not just by technology.

  • Understand what thrills and attracts them.
  • Learn from them about the rich diversity of markets.
  • Delight them with empathy and passion.
  • Answer the wildfire question, the only one that matters: Do you want to watch it again?


This land of paradoxical tensions – so exclusive and diverse – has extraordinary potential. With contrapuntal forces we hold power to compose higher harmonies. Bach showed us this.

It’s not either/or. It’s and/and. Work with two complex opposites at the same time so they enhance each other. No compromise, no balance.

  • Explosive growth AND cultural preservation
  • Local people AND International people
  • National Transformation AND special economic zones
  • In Store AND Online AND mobile
  • Desert AND Sea AND SKY


The role of business is to make the world a better place. Sustainability is the new game. We launched Saatchi & Saatchi S to win it.

The right choices consumers make – for themselves, their communities, our planet.

This planet is blue…From Green to Blue.

Background: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates: “As we move forward there is no room for red (finishing) lines because we see only the blue of the sky and the sea. Blue is the colour of ambition; we like it and it likes us.” 19 May 2007

Living on a happy planet means having the courage to face environmental challenges. Here in the Gulf, you take the long view, you’ve already embraced Blue. You’re putting the dream into action!


A world full of happy people contributing to a healthy planet.

Act Now.


  • In moving from limits to possibilities.
  • In the power of consumers to change the world.
  • Sustainability is a catalyst for business growth.
  • No sustainability, no Lovemark.

Making sustainability irresistible.

How to Win in the Age of Now


Spanning creativity, leadership and execution, Kevin Roberts’ presentation to the Entrepreneurs’ Organization Wellington Chapter is an inspirational primer in: Wanting to Win, Ways to Win Now and Ways to Keep Winning – the secrets of Peak Performance so that winning becomes a habit.

Up, Up and Away – Rotary Newmarket


Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi, talks to the Newmarket Rotary Club about Winning in the Age of Now, and how to turn a brand into an irresistible Lovemark for the next generation.

Start Me Up


Kevin Roberts gives keynote speech at the 6th Annual Global Competitiveness Forum “The Entrepreneurship Imperative” held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, sharing three ways to win in the region.

Set Fire To The Rain


In this presentation to Spotlight On Lancaster at Lancaster University, Kevin Roberts talks about enabling, energizing and activating creative partnerships and achieving Vibrant, Crazy, Unreal and Astounding impact.

Brighter Than Sunshine


Presenting to AAC Saatchi & Saatchi in Bermuda, Kevin Roberts shares three key ideas on connecting people around ideas that create Loyalty Beyond Reason.

Magic Time


In this presentation to EmoDay in Amsterdam, Kevin Roberts shares five key ideas on emotional innovations and creating Lovemarks.

Just Can’t Get Enough


Presenting to the Institute of Development Professionals in Education in Oxfordshire, Kevin Roberts presents three ideas on creating Loyalty Beyond Reason and creating frameworks for development discussions.