CHADY JANHO: Managing Director, J. Walter Thompson Doha

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With more than 20 years of experience in the communications industry, Chady Janho is a seasoned advertising professional. He currently heads the JWT operation in Qatar as the Managing Director since April 2013. Prior to moving to Qatar, Chady was the Business Director at JWT Riyadh.During his 7 years in Saudi, he handled some of the agency’s blue chip clients including SABB/HSBC, Shell, L'azurde, AlSafi-Danone and others. Prior to moving to the Gulf in 2006, Chady led a successful career in advertising in Lebanon, started in Publicis in 1997 then in 2000 moved to the client’s side as a brand manager for an FMCG company. He then joined Publicis again in 2002, moving on to Intermarkets and Y&R where he was in charge of a wide spectrum of local as well as multi-national clients such as Red Bull, Burger King, Renault, ST Dupont, Banque du Liban, Lebanon & Gulf Bank... Chady is an adventurer and a sports fan; but he likes tennis the most.

How did you get into the industry?

As a child, I was always drawn to original TV commercials, I used to watch them and recite them back to my parents. I didn’t know I had that passion inside of me. When I grew up, I went to Antwerp to study gemology to take care of my father’s jewelry business but realized that I was in the wrong field. Intrigued by creativity and communication which was running in my veins, I decided to go back to college and major in Advertising and Marketing and here I am today.

Any emerging industry trends?

Over the past 20 years, the advertising industry has evolved and expanded into many competencies, in other words from one-stop-shop Advertising Agency to many agencies catering for different specialties (Corporate Identity, PR, Media, Event Management, Social Media, Advertising, Shopper Marketing, Flash Mobs…). Now the trend is going back to a one-stop-shop where big advertisers tend to deal with one agency that will handle the relationship with different parties on their behalf.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

Most advertisers started allocating more budget for digital advertising and more importantly on social media since they can have an instant and tangible feedback of their campaigns, besides the other obvious reasons of targeted audience, messages…etc. It is an opportunity for boutique agencies to accommodate and cater for these kind of requests, yet it’s relatively more difficult for multi-nationals to provide the same service at the same cost.  At J. Walter Thompson we recognised this challenge years ago. Responding to change, we transformed our operating model. Living in a digital world we dumped silos and work seamlessly across disciplines, boundaries and borders. Bearing in mind that the competition doesn’t come only from boutique agencies, it could be also coming from individuals, bloggers and influencers that can sometimes fulfill the same task while working from home behind their screens.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

To be bit blunt, I believe if advertising agencies won’t change the way they operate which is more or less the same since a century ago, they will become like floppy disk, in other terms they will disappear. J. Walter Thompson is 153 years old, and we can proudly say that we’re good and agile hence we lasted for that long and that is also due to our forward looking vision being future proofed and pioneering solutions not only on a client level but on an industry level. As they say, it is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.

What's next for the Business in the near future?

I wouldn’t be surprised if in the near future they will come up with an even more sophisticated software that will do the job of an advertising agency. Similar to the robotic Creative Director that was invented in Japan last year. Our business already looks at client solutions from a scientific data driven approach. The challenge for the AI version of “creativity” will be in finding ways of injecting the magic – usually born out of serendipity, and the human touch. AI generated ideas, no matter how sophisticated, will, by definition, never have that beating heart of passionate resolve inside them. The industry’s challenge will be consistently delivering the added-value that plain objective analysis never can.

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?

In our line of business, the best investment you can do that would generate revenues is the investment in the talents that you’ve got. We, at J. Walter Thompson, are known for the intensive trainings and workshops that we undertake to develop the skills of our talents. The employees are the assets of any advertising agency and they are responsible to produce sustainable ideas built on genuine insights that are translated into providing pioneering solutions to any human challenge. And that’s what we do best.

Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)

There is a trend in the advertising agencies that there are clients who are difficult to deal with, actually you hear that about most clients irrelevant of the market. What I learned is that there is no difficult client, all clients are the same, there’s a team who do not understand the dynamics of the client’s business. When a patient goes to the doctor, he explains what’s he is suffering from, he usually expresses that in his own words not in the medical terms. It’s up to the physician to diagnose his situation and provide him with the right treatment. If the doctor fails to identify the patient’s pain points and cure him, we can’t blame the patient, the same apply to clients.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

All clients seek fame and recognition; they all want to stand out and their brands to succeed. If you can provide them with innovative ideas that can solve their business problem(s) and build a lasting relationship between the consumer & the brand that would be translated into ROI, it’s this results orientated approach that is indispensable to clients AND consumers.

How do you motivate others?

It all starts with the right recruitment; you get the right people on board with the perfect chemistry to work as a team. If you create a positive environment with a family spirit, everyone performs better and wouldn’t leave you for few bucks more.

Career advice to those in your industry?

Remain positive no matter what. Believe in your skills and keep your ambitions high so you could achieve your goals in life no matter how hard they are. Overcome your fear and don’t take no for an answer. Remember you can always do better – you should remain happily dissatisfied.