2 Minutes With .... Chamsseddine Abdelhafidh, CD at Grey
Chamsseddine is a creative director/copywriter at Grey, based in NYC. He worked in nonprofits before starting in advertising. Chamsseddine was born and raised in Tunisia but also lived and worked in Estonia.
We spent two minutes with Chamsseddine to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations and recent work he's admired.
Chamsseddine, tell us...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
I was born and raised in Tunis, Tunisia. I now live in New York City.
How you first realized you were creative.
My high school in Tunisia was one of the few that made boys wear a dorky dark blue coat over your regular clothes. I thought mine was lame so I drew a bunch of stuff on the back using white-out pens. The school didn't allow us to do that. One time, the principal stopped me to look at the drawings on my back. I was expecting to be expelled and told to buy a new coat. He just said that it looked pretty cool and let me off with a warning.
A person you idolized creatively early on.
Dr. Dre. I love the early-2000s west coast hip-hop vibe. It was fresh and rebellious. Dr. Dre created the soundtrack of that culture and everything he touched was gold.
A moment from high school or college that changed your life.
It's not a moment as much as it is people. I come from a family that has always been pragmatic about careers with small interest in art and creativity. In high school I met friends who opened my eyes to art and culture. In college I met ambitious friends who made me believe that it was possible to have a successful career in the U.S. or Europe, even though I come from a small country where not that many people get to have that privilege.
A visual artist or band/musician you admire.
Ktyb. A Tunisian rapper with a very distinctive style.
A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.
Untold: The Rise and Fall of And1. It's on Netflix. When I started playing basketball, And1 was the cool brand for the real ballers. The story of how they blew up is worth learing. They also go into detail on how they created the And1 mixtapes which is in my opinion the greatest piece of advertising ever made.
Your favorite fictional character.
Someone or something worth following in social media.
How Covid-19 changed your life, personally or professionally.
I didn't leave N.Y. through all of the pandemic. I was stranded in the U.S. because of my visa situation back and missed out on many weddings and gatherings. After that, I promised myself I would prioritize being there for the important moments no matter what the cost might be (literally and figuratively).
One of your favorite creative projects you've ever worked on.
When I worked on Cadillac at Rokkan, the client asked us to send potential names for their new car. One of the names I wrote became the name of Cadillac's first EV—the Lyriq. I still haven't seen the car in the wild, but whenever I see an ad for it, I'm in disbelief.
A recent project you're proud of.
While at Instagram, I worked on an integrated campaign for the brand focusing on Gen Z. It showed how for that generation the smallest interaction on the app can lead to the most meaningful relationships in their lives. The campaign felt fresh and real. It was an amazing effort from the team at Instagram and the agency partner Johannes Leonardo. Here is one of the many spots we made shot by Vincent Haycock.
Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.
Nike Football's "The Mission."
Someone else's work you admired lately.
The Corteiz x Nike drop in Paris.
Your main strength as a creative person.
On a good day I can find unexplored insights and angles that can lead to exciting new ideas.
Your biggest weakness.
I'm stubborn but I'm working on it.
One thing that always makes you happy.
Watching a movie at the theater. I do it every week. Shoutout to my AMC Stubs A-List membership.
One thing that always makes you sad.
The fact that life is unfair.