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Team behind RJ campaigns shines again at regional creativity awards

By Camille Dupire - Mar 23,2018 - Last updated at Mar 23,2018

AMMAN — The marketing team behind the now famous Royal Jordanian (RJ) media campaigns once again put Jordan's creativity under the regional spotlight, seizing the Grand Prix at the Dubai Lynx Festival of Creativity for the second year in a row.

Jordan’s Memac Ogilvy advertising agency also brought home two more awards for its "Fear of Flying" video, including a silver award in the film category for corporate social responsibility and a bronze medal for direction in the film craft category. 

"There is a quiet revolution of creativity happening in a previously overlooked corner of the MENA region," a statement by the winners said, noting that the video has already attracted over 4.5 million views on all social media. 

For Mohammad Kamal, creative director at Memac Ogilvy, “Royal Jordanian took a stand on a subject that is taboo. Very few brands are bold enough to do this and I hope that RJ can stay at the forefront of creativity for years to come."

“I am immensely proud of everyone involved in this campaign. Jordan is finally on the map as a burgeoning creativity hub. We’ve proved there is huge talent in the Kingdom and I’m confident that these wins will open doors for future stars to shine,” he added.

Starting off with a voice over saying “I’m not afraid of flying, I’m not afraid of the risk of it. I’m afraid I end up somewhere I don’t want to go. Afraid of being stuck in a place with people who look at me differently," the video continues: "I’m afraid of the what-ifs. What if something wrong happens and they don’t believe me…?”

Panning over passengers boarding a flight, the camera shows them suspiciously eyeing an unknown character, with expressions of fear and distrust on their faces. As the tension builds, the passenger's identity is finally revealed: he is a bearded, Arab-looking man. 

The "Fear of Flying" video concludes with a statement “Say no to all forms of discrimination”. 

Launched amidst the travel ban implemented by the US Trump administration on a number of Arab countries, the video is meant to help raise awareness on growing Islamophobia and racial and religious discrimination around the world, according to Paul Shearer, group chief creative officer for Memac Ogilvy.

“This ad is not done to reinforce stereotypes but to point out discrimination,” Shearer said, stressing that “just because you look Arab doesn’t mean you are not afraid as well”.

Since RJ began broadcasting its marketing campaign focusing on social and political issues, social media users have voiced unanimous praise, commending the creative team's efforts to tackle topics that others may find too controversial.

"It is obvious that RJ is trying to head in a new direction, which is more personal and human. They have been globally recognised for their recent ads and the least we can do as Jordanians is to support them instead of bickering our national airline down," wrote Madian Al Jazerah on the RJ Facebook page.

Matt Thomas echoed similar sentiments, writing: "Spectacularly done, Royal Jordanian. A powerful and unbelievably important message delivered with brutal honesty. This really ought to be applauded. Hats off."

However, some users denounced the depiction of the issue as inflated, with Brian Muwanes commenting "Exaggerating: it's not that bad. 99.9 per cent of people flying are not racist! This is a negative ad making people afraid of flying. It is strange to put an ad discouraging your customers not to buy tickets and fly!"

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