Interview with Makan Mehrpouya | Founder of IranAds

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

Reviewed by Subject Matter Experts

Updated on March 18, 2023


Success leaves clues.

Finance Strategists sat down with Makan Mehrpouya, founder of IranAds. He shared his thoughts on the past, present, and future of the company, as well as the insight he gained along the way.

Who is Makan Mehrpouya?

Q: Who are you and what’s your background?

My name is Makan Mehrpouya. I was born in Tehran, Iran. My academic background is in film direction and I hold a master's degree in cinema studies. For the past twenty years, I have been working in TV productions, documentaries, and mostly TV & digital commercials. Additionally, I have been extensively active as an Art Director and Creative Director in the advertisement market.

Q: Who has been your biggest influence, and why did they have such a significant effect on you?

I always wonder where this flame I have in me comes from, this craving I have to create. I’m sure my late father had a huge role in all of it. He and his work was always inspiring for me, all his studies, his writing, and all that he taught to me and many others . . . Also, the memories and stories of the great first generation of advertisers of Iran have always been another inspiration; those who laid the foundation, people like the late Mr. Farhad Hormozi with his extraordinary philosophy of life. I also had the honor of being in the presence of veterans like Mohsen Mirzaei and Manouchehr Mostofi and I had the pleasure of making a documentary with them about the history of advertising in Iran. Their words and wisdom always motivate me to keep on dreaming the dream I have for the future; especially when I know that I’m not alone and other believers like me share this dream. This is the main source of energy for me and IranAds.

Q: Knowing what you know now, what would you have told yourself when you were in your twenties?

I would probably say: listen, buddy, this path that you want to take is not as easy as you think now; you are going to fail many times, you are going to be disappointed many times, and you will feel disoriented many times. I know you won’t give up, but you need to learn something important: to fail better. Hear those people out who believe in you, even if what they have to say is against your ideals. If you want to inspire others you have to be able to get inspired yourself, so let those co-dreamers join you on this journey and try to enjoy their company. And don’t you worry that much, it might not be an easy ride, but it will work out, it will be fine.

Also knowing what I know today, I would definitely add something pretty important. I would tell 5 years ago Makan, to never forget that this is never a one-man journey and he is not walking that path alone, his family will walk side by side whether he wants it or not. This is very important, I know I would never forgive myself if I had the chance to tip my younger version and I left this one out. I don’t want him to live with the regrets that I’m living with today.


Q: What is IranAds?

5 years ago, IranAds was formed to be a media and online publication platform for the advertising industry of Iran; connecting ad people, agencies, and brands together and giving them constructive communication opportunities to share knowledge, experiences, and of course their expectations from one another.

Now, IranAds has grown significantly and became a startup platform for much more than just the corporate communication requirements of advertisers and marketers. Although we will always work to remain the heart and soul of the Iranian advertising and marketing communication industry, today we have 4 different divisions as a startup business to create meaningful value for all the pillars of our audience group. In addition to our improved Media division, now we have Event, Service, and Product as our new divisions where we plan, develop, and present our audiences and stakeholders with inspiring training and interactive educational programs, services, and solutions to facilitate and ease up organizational processes, and innovative tools and products to handle their operations more integrated and professionally.

Today and overall in its various media touchpoints, IranAds has a community with more than 14,500 professionals as its audience group.

Q: What makes your company different from its competitors?

IranAds has grown with the goal of creating distinction and now has improved beyond its media origins. We have taken steps to keep pace with global developments in the digital world and as mentioned now we have 4 different divisions, or as we like to call them playgrounds, to be able to go beyond the classic media services and corporate communication and support the whole marketing communication industry of the country.

We always have a deep respect for all the online and offline publications in our field, but frankly, no other players are risking their position to do what we have committed ourselves to do. Everything we do here is driven by our business strategies and brand essence, which can be consolidated as “Knowledge, Inspiration, and Growth.” We gather, spread, and share the knowledge all around global and local MARCOM industries, we create inspirational opportunities and interactions, and we present solutions and stand by the people, agencies, brands, and regulatory bodies who are seeking to create meaningful value and growth in themselves, their organizations, or in the market and industry.

Q: What led you to start IranAds?

Honestly, at the very beginning, I started IranAds to be a non-profitable platform and to fill the gap and deep holes between the ad people, agencies, and brands in Iran, based on what I had discovered in my studies and experienced in my short stay and projects abroad, as the international level, standards, and qualities of the marketing and advertising business.

But I admit I found out soon enough that we have a significant and strong body of knowledge and experience in our country and amongst many professionals and experts that I didn’t realize back then. So the mission became linking all these together. There is a rough and unofficial estimation that in our country with 87 million people, more than 57,000 are working directly or indirectly in marketing communication in Iran and in various agencies, brands, media, and production houses. We also have a considerable amount of freelancers.

Many of the innovations, methods, and theories of marketing and advertising in the world were not properly reaching us back then. Only having a few up-to-date articles with sometimes poor translations here and there was not good enough. Training courses were held with different qualities, but they were very limited. Meanwhile, after many years of restrictions and sanctions, there was little hope again and the business horizon was opening up to Iran. Sir Martin Sorrel, the CEO of the advertising giant WPP back then, called Iran the only remaining untapped market in the world for brands to grow into and international brands were destined to enter the Iranian markets. They were coming and many of us ad-people were afraid that we might not be ready for them. That was the reason. That was why I kept ongoing. I wanted to help the whole industry to grow.

Q: What has the experience of building the business taught you?

The most important lesson maybe was feeling down to my bones that with a great goal and a great dream come all kinds of challenges possible! It scared me so many times. It made me stand face to face with my worst fears. But one thing that led me out of the maze every time, that one tiny sparkle of light in the deep dark, was the integrity I had to my dream, to the better future I want to help build for the country. So from the very beginning and from all those days that I felt I’m all alone and at the end of my rope, till this day that I have a wonderful team alongside me who are co-believers and co-dreamers; my fears were always the source of my inspirations, not my excuses.

Q: Where do you see things headed for you in the next 5 years?

IranAds is taking all possible steps to reduce the gap between the people, brands, agencies, and global trends. Beyond the above-mentioned activities, we also strive to create possibilities for good works, valuable ideas, strong creative campaigns, and their creators to be seen, admired and encouraged in all the pillars of the industry. Undoubtedly, with the support of our strategic management, synergy with our partners, and interaction with our audiences, IranAds will remain committed as an establishment to keep on focusing on the essence of “Knowledge, Inspiration, and Growth” and creates meaningful values for its stakeholders and market players. Who knows, maybe one day not very far from now, IranAds will outgrow the Farsi-speaking markets and take on more international challenges.

About IranAds

IranAds is an independent movement that has started its activities since the beginning of 2015 with the aim of educating and standardizing the Iranian advertising industry.

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We have learned from Makan Mehrpouya that there is no easy path to success and while it may seem like a lot of work, the lessons learned from failure will make you more equipped for future challenges ahead. Truly, the people who believe in your potential want you to succeed and they’ll be there through thick and thin with their encouragement. When times get tough or you start feeling down on yourself, remember that these are just temporary setbacks and things will turn around eventually.

About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website or view his author profiles on Amazon, Nasdaq and Forbes.