The Fullstop CEO Fahad Al Ahmed: 'Competition is going to be tough and we need to be at the top of our game'
Posted on 2023 Dec,20  | By Ghada Azzi

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As the Kingdom experiences unprecedented economic growth and embarks on Vision 2030, Fahad Al Ahmed, the newly appointed CEO of independent Saudi agency, The Fullstop, provides insights into the challenges and opportunities shaping the advertising sector.

You have recently been appointed as Fullstop CEO—what excites you most about this new role and what do you hope to achieve?

One aspect that excites me the most is to show that creatives can lead an agency. My predecessors did a fine job starting and growing The Fullstop (TFS) to where it is today. My hope is to help TFS in penetrating new markets in the region.


How would you describe the current general ad business mood in Saudi Arabia with so many agencies expanding their footprint to the kingdom?

It’s only natural that is the case, given that our kingdom is the largest market in the region and the economical boom driven by the Vision set for 2030. We welcome such competition, as I believe it can bring the best out of us. I have no apprehensions whatsoever about this crowded agency landscape however, I do recognize that competition for the best talents in the market is going to be tough and we need to be at the top of our game.


What in your opinion distinguishes the Saudi ad market from other markets in the region?

I just mentioned that Saudi is the largest market in the region, thus it’s not even comparable to others. Saudi is also multicultural with such diverse regions, which calls for a specific knowledge and strategies to connect with.


“Competition for the best talents in the market is going to be tough and we need to be at the top of our game.”


Where does “new business” typically come from today —Is it within the tourism sector, is it throughout award-winning creative campaigns, or is it in understanding new tech and helping brands navigate culture?

Everything you mentioned plays important roles, but I think new business is cultivated. With this fast pace growing economy, the future can be found in the jewels of SMEs. Recognizing potential and helping new brands grow is betting on the future.


BBH founder Sir John Hegarty has warned recently that agencies’ craft skills, from copywriting to art direction, are in decline. What’s your take?

Crafting is not necessarily in decline, but the applications of the fast-moving digital age don’t give them a chance to shine. I think we should pivot from the traditional Art & Copy model to storytelling through quality content production. We have a chance now to tell stories and share brand values through a continuous creative narrative beyond just campaigns.


What in your opinion Saudi advertising is still lacking?

We currently lack long term strategic brand approach. We have a chance to build brands that connect with their consumers over longer periods of time while driving their sales. If brands are not built, companies die as simple fads.


What role do you see The Fullstop playing in the overall Saudi Vision 2030?

I think trying to penetrate other markets in the region goes strongly with our Kingdom’s vision to diversify the economy adding more to the overall GDP.