Bank and financial institution advertising is flooded with generic credit card offers. The advertising in Saudi Arabia is no different from that of anywhere else in the world. So how does a relatively new bank in Saudi Arabia (albeit a leading bank in UAE) pitch its new cashback credit card, Mazeed, in a way that will make any kind of impact?
In the hands of McCann agency, Momentum Riyadh, with a story that will make you sad (helped in no small measure by the Al Green song, How can you mend a broken heart) and then make you laugh – the story of The Man Who Never Got Anything Back.
Here is the agency’s synopsis: “We created a fictional character in Saudi Arabia to break through the credit card advertising clutter. He’s a peculiar yet well-meaning man in a cold and thankless world that ignores him; symbolically representing life… and banks. The film’s cold look aims to embody his world’s reality. In the most “un-Saudi” banking film, we go through his life in yet another day, observing the many instances when he, generously, gives something to someone else… Helping hold the elevator door open for an elderly woman.
Doing the midnight shift to help his boss with urgent work that the latter needed. Stopping on the highway back home to feed a lost goat. Cooking pasta (albeit an absolutely bland one) for his wife. Putting money into a vending machine to get a snack, as he wanders alone at the mall. Across all those instances, we see him get nothing back. Until one transformational moment…”
You can’t help but feel the joy of finally receiving.
The attention to detail in the film is a triumph. Its world is deliberately cold and grim. Other Saudi banking films that typically look colourful and bright. It was shot to feel real and relatable versus being overtly produced and feeling like another commercial. The lead actor was cast to typify the peculiar yet well-meaning and generous man that would create a bond with people (43 actors were auditioned before he was found). Lastly, the story was told in a way that makes people feel for him in every instance, and almost feel aghast at the other seemingly harmless people around him who never gave even a thank you in return (not even the goat!).
Brand: Emirates NBD Saudi Arabia
Agency: Momentum Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Production Company: The Industry.film
Creative Directors: Khalil Abou Hamad & Tahaab Rais
Senior Art Director: Nidal Bou Hamdan
Writer: Tahaab Rais
Director: Tahaab Rais
DOP and Cinematography: Shadi Chaaban
Assistant Director: Reine Razzouk
Executive Producer: Abboud Ayyach
Senior Producer: Yara Ali Bdeir Assi
Agency Producer: Mario Atallah
Head of Production: Sayed Abou Haidar
Production Manager: Jessica Hanna
Production Assistant: Rawaa Fouladkar
Production Coordinator: Ivana Touma
Art Director: Carlo Kassabian
Assistant Art Director: Lamitta Hamawi
General Manager: Claude Abboud
Account Director: Paul Kerbage
Regional Head of Strategy: Tahaab Rais
Editor: Karen Rahme
Grading: Khalil Abu Rouss
Post-Production: Hedgehog Post Production
Location: Picture house
Equipment: Final Cut