Monday, October 2, 2023

Saudia, this is how we fly: The ad with no destination

Well, Saudia has a new ad. One that tries to portray the brand as dynamic, vibrant, and forward-looking. Here's a story that happened with me on Saudia in 2002, we were geared to go back from Jeddah to Beirut. Everyone boarded and then, the plane would not leave the tarmac. The situation remained so for more than an hour and everyone started questioning what was going on. The answer was that a prince in first class wanted pineapple and someone was running all the way to get it. Such was the situation with Saudia, I have no idea if things got better since, but here's hoping.

Now all this brings us to the current ad of the airlines. The idea is "this is how we fly". We start off with a retro image of a female cabin crew checking on the passengers this morphs into a newer current image of the said cabin crew. From there on, I have no clue where the film goes. It might be the case that the creatives did not have a solid concept, or it might be that the client interfered heavily in the ad, or client servicing were over their heads, but the result remains the same: the ad is a jumble of pastiches that has little or no backbone.

For some reason there's cartoons of a male and a veiled female astronauts, there is the shadow of a plane over a villa's pool, we have the customary images of men and women looking up the sky, there is a drone/small plane flying over men in traditional thob, naturally there are fully-attired pilots and cabin crew members, and yes, a female pilot (veiled of course), and there is a couple with the male trying to book their flight over the phone (this is blurry, because there is "Saudia Tech Summit" on the screen and the phone says "pick me a destination I have not been to"). But also there is a scene of two people playing football on top of a mountain (while a veiled female football player tries to score - interestingly, this comes after the VO says "we have our creativity in art"), of people in a souk (which again, comes after the VO says "we have our way of greeting" - sadly the image reminds you more of merchants trying to get you inside their shops as opposed to really men trying to greet you), and of a full moon above a traditional architecture building among other local scenes. OK, it might be just me - but I have watched the film several times, and none of this makes any sense put together. For an ad about an airline, this one has no destination. It really tries to be as "everything, everywhere, all at once".

The only saving grace is that "This is how we fly" becomes "lana jawna" in Arabic which has a double-entendre of "we have our flying space" and "we have our mood". 

Watch the ad here.