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Sun 7 Jan 2007 04:00 AM

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Pride of place

There is a saying in advertising that you are only as good as your last ad. But we asked six creatives to talk us through the work that they are most proud of

Rana Jundi founder, Mint Advertising & Design Solutions, Amman

Client:

International Cards Company (ICC)/MasterCard, Jordan

Brief:

To promote MasterCard as a fun, yet essential addition to your wallet

The big idea:

ICC/MasterCard was always one of our most challenging clients. On this occasion, they came to us with what seemed in the beginning a simple task of creating a campaign for the various credit cards they offer. It turned out to be one of the most challenging projects we have worked on.

The client had two specific requests for this campaign one was that the concept must have a fun and young approach so it can appeal easily to our target audience of males and females aged 21-30. The other was that the campaign must somehow also be built around ICC's company slogan 'Are we in your wallet?' while also promoting the different credit cards on offer.

The idea simply came from us asking everyone at the office and also emailing an extended circle of friends. The question we asked was: "What is the first thing you would love to have but do not have the immediate amount of cash for?" Different answers were flying around the office, as well as our email box, but to our surprise they were all simple and similar too. Most people just wanted a new plasma screen or the new Mac. The greedier ones wanted a car.

The execution:

We decided to take all these answers as our starting point for the new concept. The result was a series of ads that were digitally manipulated as some of the wishlist items morphed with the different kinds of credit cards.

Every kind of card was matched by an item from the wishlist that best represented the card's credit limit. For example, we teamed up the regular ICC/MasterCard credit card with the image of a plasma screen, while the gold credit card was saved for the more extravagant items from the wishlist like a car.

The campaign's tagline was the ICC's slogan, conveying the simple message that having this credit card can get you anything you desire.

One thing we were not too happy about was the fact that the ads were copy heavy and we admit in failing to convince our client to reduce the amount of copy in the ads, but I guess we have to acccept that we win some and we lose some. But, thankfully, this fact does not seem to have affected the success of this campaign at all.

We are very proud of this campaign for many reasons, but especially for learning a very valuable lesson, which was that sometimes solutions come from the simplest ideas.

Guilherme Rangel creative director, Team Y&R Dubai

Client:

Bic

Brief:

Selling Bic Ball pens. They are reliable and last longer than other pens

The big idea:

James Webb Young wrote that creativity is an original way to arrange old elements. In this case we did just that. We needed to say Bic pens last longer than other pens. The idea was: "What if we do a print ad that is a product demo?" To dramatise the benefits we chose well known monuments that have been around for millennia and did impossibly elaborate illustrations to show how long a single Bic pen can last. As simple as that.

Execution:

It took me two weeks to do the Pyramids illustration it was hard work. When I finished it I looked at my masterpiece and thought, 'man, this looks like crap'. Since we loved the idea I started looking for the right person to do it. Finally, after a couple of weeks of searching, I found a fantastic illustrator who used the Bic pen as his tool of trade but the guy was so good at it that I had to tell him to show lines on the illustrations, otherwise it would look like they were done with an airbrush.

Once the illustrations were done it was extremely easy to finalise the ads. No need to spend nights retouching. Beautiful. These ads were finalists at the London Festival, which feels good. But what really makes me happy about them is that they are real product demos and that I didn't have to do the other illustrations.

Sakib Afridi associate creative director, TBWARaad, Dubai

Client:

Trillion for Lebanon

Brief:

Devise a direct mail that would encourage donations to those in need in Lebanon

The big idea:

The 34-day Israeli attack on Lebanon destroyed 30,000 homes and displaced nearly a million people. Trillion for Lebanon is a UAE-based non-profit fundraising organisation set up for the rebuilding efforts in Lebanon. To invite high net worth individuals to a fundraising dinner, the client wanted us to design a direct mailer that would genuinely move people and result in generous donations. To stand out from typical mailers using over-exposed pictures of injured children and people crying, we used our disruption philosophy to send the target audience a tourist guidebook with a twist that highlights the countless tears shed by the survivors.

The execution:

The team, which included myself, Bassam Doss and Sandeep Fernandes, prepared a Lonely Planet-style tourist guidebook, 'Treasures of Lebanon', with a stunning image on the cover and rave reviews at the back, raising expectations of the reader to see beautiful pictures inside. But when the reader opens it, he or she sees that all of the pages are made of tissue paper. On the inside back cover, the reader finds a picture of devastated Lebanon with the message: "What was beautiful in Lebanon has been destroyed in 34 days of relentless bombing. What remains are the tears of the victims." This was followed by an appeal for donations and a suggestion to visit the website for more information. It is accompanied by a letter with the venue details and event agenda of the dinner, which will be held on 10 January.

It has been mailed out to a select group of 300 people and the event is expected to raise significant funds. I'm happy with this idea because it will do some good, which is nice in our industry. Functionally, it stands out as a piece of DM and has a memorability factor. And if it wins an award, well, that's a bonus.

Bechara Mouzannar creative director, H&C Leo Burnett, Beirut

Client:

05amam

Brief:

To encourage the people of Lebanon to stop thinking in a sectarian way

The big idea:

We believe we have a role beyond just advertising and communications for big brands; to talk about problems that are near to the Lebanese. We should be questioning the status quo. This idea came about because we have a client, a non-governmental organisation called 05amam, which is made up of a group of people from different religions who got together after the Cedar Revolution. We also have a creative department made up of people with different languages, educations and religions.

We thought that now was the time to produce a kind of underground campaign which twisted reality by changing little things that exist. We didn't want to attack people over sectarianism, we wanted to ask why people were putting their sect ahead of their own identity and personality, which isn't normal in contemporary society.

Our idea was to show, in a humorous yet shocking way, things that people would reject. That would make them smile, and then think 'this is too much, but this is the way we are heading.'

So we chose a number of everyday items, like care registration plates, and replaced the region with the name of the owner's religion, to show the segregation that is happening in the daily life of Lebanon.

The execution:

In the outdoor campaign, for example, we had a building for sale that said it was only for druzes. We showed a parking space that said it was for maronites only. You have doctor's signs that are experts in treating people of their own religions. All of these are based on insights. For example, if you are a druze, you have a tendency to go to a druze doctor because your grandfather told you he will always be better for you. In twisting these little realities, it makes it shocking. A lot of people smiled at it, some people were shocked some people destroyed billboards in a sunni section of Beirut but they saw the visual and didn't read the slogan.

The campaign is maybe one of the most seen campaigns by the Lebanese community, as it spread rapidly on viral email. During the first ten days of the campaign we received between 100 and 200 emails a day. It is the first time that this taboo topic has been raised, and we were pleased that it was so well received. This is not a political campaign. It is a simple idea that means a lot to a lot of people.

Chantal Azzi creative director, Muse, Dubai

Client:

Unicef

Brief:

Create an internationally-aired public service announcement to spur global donations for children in Lebanon

The big idea:

The creative idea is a simple story with a universal human appeal, taking into account Unicef's mandate and basic children's rights. Children in Lebanon were paying the steepest price of the war. Having lived during war in my home country, Lebanon, I felt strongly about the impact of war on children. When Unicef approached Muse during the war to do the PSA I had one question to ask: "Can we do a film that doesn't show the direct war impact while keeping the dignity of these children?" War is an adult phenomenon and we were very clear that the communication had to appeal to adults all over the world. Every child has the right to play, to family, to education and to protection.

The execution:

We used ordinary objects from a child's life toys to represent his favourite games, books to represent his education, as well as clothes and shoes. Finally, a photograph of his parents the child has given away his very childhood, because without his parents he has to grow up and become an adult. The message is simple: "Lebanon's children have given enough to this war. Let's give them back a future."

It brings alive the fact that, even decades after any war is over, children everywhere are still paying the price of war. The music was specially composed by a leading composer, Khaled Hammad, and gave the mute appeal a touching voice. The production was done in 24 hours due to the importance of the moment and it was released while the war was still ongoing.

After it was presented locally, it was released globally and I knew we had done something right when we showed it to the most tight-fisted people we know and they reached for their wallets after reaching out for the nearest tissue box.

The results so far are clearly measurable: monetary returns in the form of fundraising as well as debates among the circle of decision makers and influencers over a child's right and status in times of war. I've also received formal appreciation notes from senior UN executives and Unicef offices.

On a personal level, it was a different experience all together. I'm satisfied by the results of most of the ads that I've worked on, but this one in particular I'm extremely attached to and proud of. I've managed for once through my expertise to influence decision makers, donors and the international community at large to step up and help my beloved country's children.

Mahesh Anawekar creative director, DDB Oman

Client:

Oman Ministry of Health

Brief:

To warn people about the health dangers of smoking shisha

The big idea:

One day last summer my copy counterpart, who was armed with a copy of the Khaleej Times, woke me up from my reverie. He wanted me to read an article by Nada Mussallam, which was all about the health risks associated with smoking shisha. It occurred to us both that this was something we didn't know about and we were sure that most people who indulge in shisha wouldn't know about these health risks either.

So why not tell them what they ought to know? A lot of ideas were thrown about obvious ideas, unheard of ideas, immature ideas everything got slaughtered in one guise or the other. Then we went back to the drawing board and came up with the idea based on the following thought process: shisha = poisonous; poisonous = snake; shisha = snake.

The execution:

Initially my copy counterpart wanted to get away without a headline, as he felt the picture was self-explanatory. Okay. I conceded. Now that we have an idea, why not flaunt it? But the first thing the general manager wanted to know was why we didn't have a headline. The copy counterpart tried to convince her that the picture spoke for itself, but failed. So he began grudgingly working at the headline, accompanied by inputs from everyone who passed by. Arrrrghhhh! We screamed in unison. Now comes the next debacle who would be bold enough to endorse the message. "Won't we irk the shisha restaurant owners?"quipped one person.

The GM intervened. She wanted to present the idea to the Ministry of Health. So off we went to meet the director of the Department of Non-Communicable Diseases of the Ministry of Health. The ad was well received. A publication offered free space, and the ad was out in the next issue. One quick mail to Dubai saw the ad featured in
Campaign

. Soon it was the turn of World Health Organisation officials, who wanted to translate the advert in to six different languages so that it would reach a wider audience. The rest, as they say, is history.

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