For as far as I remember, Ramadan has always been a month of doing-good, charity and giving back to society. But for some reason, it seemed to have taken a very dark turn; the ads of charity causes were more depressing than the drama on the Ramadan series, so depressing they actually become repulsive that people zap away from the ad and the channel altogether, defying their purpose of raising funds.
This year however, the beautiful minds of Egypt came up with two initiatives (two very, very serious and painful initiatives) and turned them into a lighthearted ad that made people want to watch them over and over again, and contribute to their cause.
So lighthearted that both are actually in a song format, so it can be on the playlist of people in their offices, iPods and cars, to keep reminded of the fact that no man is an island and all should aid one another.
Magdi Yacoub Foundation – إرسم قلب
This one has taken people out by storm, a very emotional copy with a star-studded cast, from singers, movie stars, football idols and this accomplished young man as its visionary and director.
We spoke to Zeina Tawakol, Director of Operations Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation, on taking a different, lighter approach to charity. She told us that “fundraising shouldn’t be depressing, it can be heartfelt happiness.”
“We want to empower the foundation within the society, because we believe what we do and what we offer to the patients is very important and a vital integration within the society. So as a call of action, we hope that people watching the song would donate by sending a text message or going to the bank or transferring money or donating online. We want the foundation to be top of mind, to be able to help more hearts.”
One more thing worth noting, according to the makers of the ad, Professor Yacoub, apparently isn’t giving a standing ovation to the performers of the operette; he is thanking each and every one of the donors that got the Foundation to where it is today.
Dear Professor Yacoub, if 90 million Egyptians unite in a standing ovation for you, it won’t be enough for us to thank you on your efforts to our beautiful Egypt and the hearts of its children. You’ve definitely won our hearts with such a beautiful piece of work..
Ahl Masr – شوف بقلبك
According to Executive producer of Kharma Works, Nesma El Shazly who wrote the “Shoof b 2albak” lyrics; the song came as a reaction to visiting the Ahl Masr Foundation, and seeing the tremendous efforts the team is doing to confine the number of burn deaths (a staggering 100,000 casualties in Egypt annually, half of which are children under 12), and treat those who survive the fire, from a physical, psychological and physiotherapeutic angles.
Listening to the lyrics, you can see exactly what the key message is, we should look beyond the scar. These people are still the same pure souls within, it just happened that they were exposed to such hideous accident that changed how they look, but no who they are. So when they remove their hands covering their faces, you see colors and beauty, that’s when you look through.
Cheerful, colorful and emotional. That is exactly the feeling they wanted people to feel on watching this. “The selflessness contribution of all stakeholders is what made this project a success,” said El Shazly.
Music Composer and Creative Director of the project Hisham Kharma, concurred; “The amount of positive energy and happiness on set is indescribable and I believe it’s what made this song successful. The best of the best in the field were on board with passion, no egos, on titles. And this was magical on its own cause usually egos play an important role unfortunately in our industry; this as well made a huge difference. People were collaborating willingly and wanting to help. In the ad industry, we always like to complain about budgets, clients’ comments, process and people we work with. From my experience with working with causes, many talents, celebrities, sponsors, brands and media partners like to support; so to me if you have all that support and you don’t make the best out of it in coming up with a strong piece rather than ending up with celebrities on a white background; then you’re missing the point.”
Rightfully said Kharma; that is exactly what came through in both songs. The passion you can feel in the project makes it instantly heartfelt. Celebrities, directors, producers, creative and even crew members contributed their time and fees because they believed in the cause.
WE SAID THIS: Those ads restored our faith in humanity. Regardless of any differences, when we all stand as one, we make miracles happen.