Max Colson: Tales

Photojournalism MA student at the LCC

Marketing the revolution in Egypt

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vodafone egypt video

The last frame from a video produced by Vodafone's advertising agency after the Egyptian revolution

I’ve been reading a few posts from various sites, which have been dealing with the response of advertisers (as in companies like Coca Cola, Pepsi etc etc) to the Egyptian revolution. I’d thought I’d summarise the bare bones of the articles.

Here’s the Wall Street Journal’s article from a few days ago on this:

“Since thousands of protesters ousted former President Hosni Mubarak in a nearly three-week revolt, the enthusiasm for revolution has been redirected and repackaged for television ads, billboards and jingles selling products including hair gel, soft drinks and candy…

Ad spending in Egypt actually increased to about $329 million in May from $310 million in February, according to data from Ipsos, a global advertising and marketing research firm.”

The most interesting of these is a controversial video (which actually looks like it was intended to be a submission to an advertising awards show – it’s got engagement stats and everything) that was produced by the advertising agency JWT, for its client Vodafone. This strongly suggests by quoting specific tweets from Twitter & YouTube* that Vodafone  played a role in the revolutionary solidarity at the time.

*user comments quoted are:

“Vodafone inspired us before the revolution by their power to you ad. it was touching and inspiring when they said “it’s everyone’s power” “[sic]

“The new Vodafone Egypt campaign is amazing inspiring a generation to change their country” [sic] – most importantly this the endframe of the whole video

Here is the video which has now been taken down from YouTube because of a ‘copyright claim’. It is still available on Daily Motion however:


Both JWT and Vodafone have since distanced themselves from the video and Vodafone has done so at the most length, which can be seen in the following statement which was published on the Brand Republic website:

“Vodafone Egypt denies responsibility for the video that circulated on social media channels including highlights of a Vodafone commercial. Hatem Dowidar, CEO of Vodafone Egypt, confirmed that the company does not have any connection to this video and had no prior knowledge of its production or posting on the Internet. He added that Vodafone Egypt is part of a global Company that has strict policies refraining associating the Brand name with any political or religious affairs of any country in which it operates.

“Dowidar further clarified that this video was produced by JWT company for its internal use and not for public display, and he added that Vodafone has never used this video and is not responsible for its messages or claims.”

Additionally both Coca Cola and Pepsi have also produced much less arrogant videos in the revolution’s aftermath which celebrate people power using some easily recognisable visual metaphors:

Coca Cola

Pepsi

Obviously these latter two adverts are interesting in a completely different way to the Vodafone video.  These well-produced adverts are good examples of how the visuals can be used in quite an evasive fashion; whilst these images endorse the idea of change they actually visualise little else apart from the generics of people power. But considering no one can really predict with any certainty where Egypt is going politically this is nothing but good old business sense I guess.

Sources:

Wall Street Journal

Brand Republic

Fast Company

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