The Lebanese Chapter of the IAA, founded in 1961, was the first in the Arab world and it has enjoyed both feast and famine.
Founded by the late Mounir Takchi, managing director of Advision, new members flocked to join the IAA. The sixties in the Middle East was a time of growth and Lebanon’s advertisers shared — and moulded – that growth. Lebanon, in the sixties, seventies and eighties, has been the hub and heart of advertising in the Arab world.
The first vice-president for the Middle East was the late Ruad Pharaon who was replaced by Jean Rizk. When Jean Rizk passed away, another Lebanese, Samir Fares was elected Vice-President for the Middle East and Africa and is a member of the executive committee of the world council.
The advent of civil war in 1975 briefly rented the unity of the IAA in Lebanon. Many top members fled the country, seeking peaceful shores in Arab capitals, thereby creating a nucleus from which the advertising industry in the Arab world developed.
In 1977 Erwin Guerrovich gathered the remnants of advertisers left in Lebanon and created a new board. Three years later newspaper director Camille Menassa took over the reigns of the IAA in Lebanon. Mustapha Assad replaced him in 1984 and, two years later, Jean-Claude Boulos of Inter-Regies was voted president. In February of this year Arab Ad publisher Walid Azzi became the latest IAA head.
Although Lebanon has been in the throes of an on-again off-again war, activity has not stopped. The IAA has moved forward. Among its accomplishments: The first media survey on a pan-Arab basis; the participation of the chapter in all world congresses in Copenhagen, in Durban, in Rio, in Tokyo, in Chicago: the creation of the 25th anniversary advertising stamp: the creation of the “Mounir Takchi Trophy for Education”; the creation of an advertising school in Lebanon; the creation of a chapter for associated members; the creation of an advertising house, and IAA card, the holding of seminars and conferences; and, the latest achievement, the first Communication Exhibition and advertising Marketing Congress which some 100,000 people attended.
Originally published in ArabAd in April, 1988