Gosh. 'Give me five pieces of work in the past three months from your market that you think are great', reads the LBB email in front of me. Now, for the record, I love what our region is up to, I love the work that’s being produced and I’m even vaguely fond of some of the people producing it. However, if there are five pieces in the past three months that I think warrant the term 'greatness', I’m struggling to find them – extend those three months to 12 then 'no problem habibi', but five pieces of great work in the past three months, I’m not so sure.
So, I’ve done what all decent ad men do when they can’t answer the brief, I’ve squinted at it (or as I was once told ‘pragmatically reinterpreted it’) and will instead share five pieces of work that I feel represent the best of what’s been done in the past three months. Some of it is indeed great, some of it is simply very good. In no particular order.
Hardees - 'Go All In'
Production company: Big Kahuna / UNIT9‘s Angelo Cerisara
Stylish, silly, charmingly irreverent but with just a touch of gravitas in the scale of its execution – what’s there not to like, a wonderful piece of work that cuts through the often homogenous fast food category and avoids the forced humour and hideously crafted appetite appeal shots seemingly so loved by many of its competitors.
Honda - 'Stay Home'
Agency: Memac Ogilvy
Now if 'necessity was the mother of all invention', then someone would have invented an alternative to this phrase, which frankly I’m sick of reading in the context of Covid. However, as they haven’t, and as it perfectly encapsulates this very charming, very candid and - I would imagine - very 'cost effective' ad for Honda, I’m going to stick with it. Kudos to agency and client alike.
Etisalat – 'Togetherness'
"I’m not crying you’re crying" - much that it goes against the image of tough ad man that I try so hard to foster, this had me insisting to all those around me that "It’s okay, it’s just that I have something in my eye” (reaches for the Kleenex). Is it the perfect execution of the idea, possibly not, but any piece of communication that can illicit such a strong physical reaction must be doing something right.
Pepsi - 'Hay Hal Sot'
Agency: Face To Face
In the interests of full disclosure, this is the one from my own agency that I’m allowed to include. Big, confident and the perfect reflection of the rapidly evolving cultural and musical landscape that’s happening across Saudi. A spot that mirrors this macro transformation, whilst clearly weaving Pepsi’s musical heritage into the mix. We’re very proud of it and I’ve even learnt to sing along with the Arabic lyrics.
Fine Hygienic Holding - 'Disposal Masks'
Agency: Horizon FCB Dubai
Much that I think this is a wonderful piece of communication, I’m ever so slightly torn on it. It’s difficult to argue against the logic that wearing a reusable mask is a double plus for the planet (minimises Covid transmission whilst reducing pollution) and that the execution does a great job in communicating this unambiguous proposition. Nonetheless I feel just a bit like saying behind the muffling of my mask: "Cut us a break we’re all doing the best that we can” - admittedly a pretty nuanced point but one that has fallen on deaf ears...perhaps it’s something to do with muffling of the mask.