Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Tahaab Rais leaves FP7 McCann - behind the press release

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly

Well there you go - Tahaab Rais leaves McCann as head of strategy MENAT. If you want to read the official version, please go here. I have spoken of Tahaab several times on this blog (here, here, here, and here as examples) - now here's the thing: Tahaab and myself never met. I started speaking about his work and praising it without even so much of a private discussion anywhere. But just to be transparent - we ended up connecting via Linkedin where we sporadically talk, and yes, after news fell about his leaving (something I suspected to be honest on our last discussion). But there you go - he is leaving FP7 & McCann. To say this is a loss would be a total understatement.
The reason I say so is because Tahaab, just like me, never saw this as a "job" or as a "source of income". I know so because we discussed this often. The above-and-beyond things we do, the things not very Orthodox that we end up executing while other people thought we were not-right-in-the-mind. Shooting in the snow? Working in silly budgets? Working on days off? (What days off?)... But again, when you are guided by values, not just money, you materialize ideas - you make things work, you are able to summon something out of nothing. I go back to the "stories from Mecca" Tahaab came up with while in total covid lockdown. He was able to produce a incredibly powerful ad - with literally zero budget for Almosafer. Only someone supremely dedicated, creative, resourceful can do that. Over-stuffed creative directors (and damn me if I do not know at least two dozens!) would have scoffed at the thought. You know what kind I speak of - the ones about whom the quote from Thelma & Louise film applies "you could park a car in the shadow of his ass" or his ego. Or both.
I have had a very long conversation with Tahaab now, and we spoke heart to heart without artifice or words which usually go in press releases. I still think there will be beautiful things that would come from him, and that's lucky for us - pity FP7 would not be at the receiving end of such things.