Advertising Interview South Africa

"Transformation is a layered word that we need to use to its full potential" - new Creative Circle chair, Pete Khoury

Earlier this evening, at the 2017 Creative Circle Annual Awards held at Katy's Palace Bar, MC and outgoing chairperson Xolisa Dyeshana announced TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris' CCO Peter Gabriel Khoury - you know him as 'sweet Pete' - as the new Creative Circle chairperson for 2018/9. Here's how he plans to reshape the industry.
TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris’ CCO Peter Gabriel Khoury, new Creative Circle chairman for 2018/9.
TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris’ CCO Peter Gabriel Khoury, new Creative Circle chairman for 2018/9.

Khoury’s career highlights since he first joined TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris in 2002 have been fast and furious. His work has accumulated over 35 statues at international awards shows and well over 100 statues at local award shows since then, with his work also featured in the 60th Cannes Lions Game Changers – The Evolution of Advertising, and has also featured multiple times in the elusive Gunn Report. The announcement that he’s now taking the reins as chairperson of the Creative Circle is just the latest bright point of his advertising career.

Pete Khoury’s career highlights over the years

2018: Selected as chairperson for the Creative Circle
2017: Won the MTN global account. Jury member at Cannes Lions
2015 to 2016: ‘Best Radio’ agency in the world, according to Cannes Lions. Ranked as the Best Individual Agency in South Africa by Creative Circle
2014: Rejoined TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris as CCO
2013: Work published in 60th Cannes Lions Game Changers – The Evolution of Advertising
2012: Pitched and won the MTN global account and the MTN SEA account. Jury member at Cannes Lions
2010: Spearheaded the Ayoba integrated campaign for MTN, to unprecedented financial and brand success
2007: Helped start MetropolitanRepublic and grew the agency from 20 people to 120 in
4 years. Won Campaign of the Year for MTN ‘Go’
2005: Relaunched Sasol as a company with infinite possibilities
2004: Part of the team that launched the global campaign for Pedigree, ‘Dogs Rule/We're for Dogs’. Pitched, won, and produced the global campaign for BMW 6 Series. Pitched, won, and produced the global campaign for Jameson Irish Whiskey
2003: Won the South African Cannes Young Creative award

2002: Joined TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris

Now that you know a little more about his work, join me in catching up with Khoury to find out about the Creative Circle Exco’s chairperson nomination process, the vision manifesto he presented, and the Creative Circle’s updated purpose for the local ad industry…

BizcommunityHow did you find out you’d been nominated to chair the Creative Circle? Explain the process.
Everyone on the Creative Circle Exco nominates someone as their new chairperson. Once the shortlist has been finalised, each nominated person has to present a manifesto on where they will take the Creative Circle in the future. Each Exco member then votes on their preferred candidate, and the chairperson is announced from there.

BizcommunitySounds fairly clear cut and exciting. Talk us through the manifesto you shared when presenting your vision as chairperson.
My manifesto was simple: To successfully live up to our purpose to inspire the transformation of product, people, and perception through the power of creativity, we need to go beyond the way that we have been operating. The Creative Circle has the most talented and experienced minds in the industry as its members, with 65 member agencies and access to over 8,000 individuals.
To consistently be the guiding light and encourage a world-class environment out of SA, we need to commercialise the Creative Circle. If we commercialise the Creative Circle, we will have money. With money we have power, and with power we have influence. Through this influence, we can help reshape our industry.
We need to provide the Creative Circle with consistent income that enables us to implement meaningful initiatives. Some of those initiatives will fail, and some will succeed.

Those that succeed will go a long way to financing bursaries, education, and training for the talented but less fortunate people, who find the financial burden an impediment to getting into the industry.

BizcommunityImpressive. As you were also on the Creative Circle Exco team for the past two years, please elaborate on the role of the Creative Circle for the local ad industry.
Our updated purpose has, and will continue to, largely direct our focus as an Exco team. Whilst we traditionally focused on leading the charge in curating the best work our industry has to offer, in all forms, we also provided a training ground that nurtures the growth of tomorrow’s future creative leaders, as well as continue curating international and local awards shows’ jury representation.

All of this will continue, but we have an even bigger role to play in the growth and transformation of creative talent in and around our industry.

As our industry continues to ebb and flow in the 21st century way of doing business, we aim to take full advantage of all the opportunities this brings to grow talent and creative expression.
BizcommunityConsider me inspired! In the past few months, the decision to include freelancers and startups in the Creative Circle membership has been applauded. What do you personally aim to bring to the Creative Circle in your time as chairperson?

Transformation is a layered word that we need to use to its full potential. Cultural diversity, talent mixture, and varied generational knowledge all affect an actual way that wedo, or could be doing, business.

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, believes the most successful companies in the future will also be the most diverse.

As the Creative Circle chairperson, I hope to add value by spearheading the Creative Circle Exco in our attempts to make the industry more attractive to a more diverse talent pool, and increase the impact and knowledge-sharing of our industry’s creative leaders through new platforms that engage with the industry in fresh ways, and to leave the Creative Circle in a financial position that enables it to invest and empower disadvantaged talent.

BizcommunityLet’s end with outgoing Creative Circle chairperson Xolisa Dyeshana’s biggest contribution to the Creative Circle and how you intend to take that forward.
Before Dyeshana, we did not have a purpose to live up to; it was more of a suggested purpose that was not consciously up to date. This has now given us specific focus areas to hone in on and make a difference to.

Dyeshana successfully integrated The Loeries’ systems and processes into our backend, which has made a significant difference in the way we run our affairs. Andrew Human and the rest of the Loeries team have been amazing at providing administration and professional background support that have enabled us to organise and execute deliverables in a much more consistent way.

Dyeshana is also a very level-headed individual whose understated nature made him the perfect mediator and leader in the Creative Circle Exco meetings.

Under Dyeshana’s leadership, the Creative Circle shifted their focus, honed in on their ambitions, and beefed up their backend. Now it is over to me, to roll up my sleeves and add value where I can into the collective Creative Circle Exco team so that we can make this industry body all that it can be.

Certainly sounds like a promising start. Click here for more on the Creative Circle, and be sure to visit the TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris press office. You can also follow the #CCAnnualAwards hashtag and Creative Circle account on Twitter for all the latest updates!

About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is former Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, and of course, gourmet food and drinks! She can be reached on Twitter at @Leigh_Andrews.
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