Thursday, 8 August 2013

Take it easy

Salam everyone!

Eid Mubarak! Anyone traveling this holiday?

It's been ages since I last blogged about the beautiful *cough* ads I see around Muscat - 15 months to be precise.

Been caught up with work and life in general. I just want to take advantage of my blog space and thank god for the countless blessings in my life and the hard times I've been through as well, because without them I wouldn't have given the best a chance. A big thank you to the biggest blessing in my life; my family. I love you mama, baba, sisters and bro. You've always been there for me. You are my fans, my supporters, my cheerleaders, and most importantly my comedy channel when least expected and most needed (hehe). Al Hamdulillah.

Onto what I like doing best; criticizing ads around me.

Was asked to blog about a specific ad that has been released quite sometime ago here in Oman - maybe a few months now. I think you'll remember it without me even posting a picture. The name will ring the bell. The one and only:

Take it easy (خف علينا) by Nawras - a telecommunication company in Oman.

Yes! see.. you remember. That billboard was the talk of the town! No one missed it and I don't think anyone will ever forget it, whether for a good reason or a bad one. 

But why did it stand out? Was it the size of the billboards, the location, layout, colours, copy, translation, concept or was the message confusing?

First of all lets start by saying that Nawras do have some great ads. They do try their best to be creative and capture the right audience attention. They do think out of the box, but this one was just somehow.... "special". 

Billboards are placed in very busy common areas

Lets break it down...
- Starting with the layout. It looks good; simple, clean and applied according to their guidelines. CHECK
- Font-wise: Clean and clear. Legible. Arabic on top of the English. CHECK (native language has to always go on top)
- Colours: White on dark green; makes the copy stand out. Perfect contrast. CHECK
- Image: Okay. They are trying to show us some different ways of communicating; phone, laptop.. etc. Adding a local with the Kumma and Dishdasha. CHECK

So far so good. Then why are people talking about it? 

The most important part in a corporate ad or any ad is the headline along with the image. One should get it in a few seconds in order to move on to the call to action.

Nawras is trying to deliver a message. What is it? It's "Take it easy".
OK. nice. We know what "take it easy" means. It means slow down, be patient, relax, take care, and we use this line often in our daily lives, so we can relate to it. Another CHECK.

Next, lets now link the line "take it easy" with a telecomm company. So they provide broadband, wifi.. etc how do I take it easy with those services? or how do I "take it easy" with the company itself since it's not a tactical ad? Ding Ding Ding... Confusion alert.

Answers to that were different from different people. Those who like their services said "take it easy" has nothing to do with the brand. They are just reminding us to take life easy... Like a general reminder.
Other people said: They are telling us to take it easy or not to be harsh on them and stop complaining and calling their help line.
Others said: Take it easy means don't make calls much cause it congests our network and slows it down.
Some were rather considerate. They said: They are telling us to take it easy, therefore, we're moving to another telecom company!

Those are some of the responses I heard and remember. Honestly, I am just as confused. So, I'll leave it there hoping Nawras would clarify at the bottom.

On to the Arabic.. 

It's just the same if not worse because "Khif Alaina" translates to "take it easy on us" or "slow down". So if you compare it with the english, this one actually specifies that we should take it easy "on them". 

The english line could pass as a message or a general reminder, but this one doesn't. It's so specific. 

This can only be explained one way; stop bugging us, stop complaining, we are getting there, take it easy and bear with us or maybe stop showing off as it's commonly used as a sentence to stop the speaker jokingly from showing off or exaggerating. 

I know that they're trying to use those common sentences used amongst youth, but I don't see how it serves them in a corporate ad. Yes, you can be hip and cool using some interesting engaging lines, but does it serve any purpose or is it just an idea that needs better execution?

One more thing... The three dots in Arabic? Why? 

Below are some random tweeps comments on the billboard:

Layout over all: 5/5 
Colours: 5/5 Font: Legible 5/5 
Concept: 2/5 (trying to use common sentences) 
Execution of concept: 1.5/5 

With design, SF.