MUSCAT: An elderly Omani man picks a handful of sand in his hand, brings it close to his nose, smells it and cheerfully declares: “This land smells like misk (musk, or perfume) – believe me, I can smell it!”
An elderly Omani woman, clad in green, red and white, throws her arms out to the majestic mountains of Oman and says: “Look at our mountains – they protect us!”
Another Omani man stresses: “Oman and nowhere else!”
Yet another says: “Oman is my origin – Oman is peace!”
Undying love, loyalty
These and many other simple but genuine and enthusiastic outpourings, from some elderly citizens of Oman, displaying undying love and loyalty for their country, completed a widely shared and feted video recently.
National Day tribute video
This befitting tribute video from AhliBank, which is made as a tribute to the 53rd National Day of the Sultanate of Oman did the rounds in many circles in the country and beyond, gathering encomiums in its wake.
Simplicity meets creativity
When simplicity meets creativity, magic is created. And Creative Soul (CS), a content creation house (*) in Oman, that was behind this widely appreciated creative output, puts it simply: “If your ad touches peoples’ hearts, then it is achieving its objective.”
Touching people’s hearts
Taha Al Lawati, producer, Creative Soul, believes that a grand occasion such as the 53rd National Day of Oman, requires an equally grand effort and an exceptional result. “It is all about values and emotions,” he explains. “If your ad is touching people’s hearts, then that is an ad which is delivering the objective,” he adds.
Ad goes viral
And that is exactly what the National Day video-ad for Ahli Bank has managed to achieve. To use a cliché, the ad has gone viral. Congratulations and tributes for an ad well done are pouring in for Creative Soul, Taha reveals. “It has gone viral. Many people have watched the video and we have got a lot of engagement on our social media. “People around the Gulf have called and congratulated us, whilst reposting the video. Many from the media segment in the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have confessed how much it has resonated with them,” Taha said.
Essence of Oman
The video-ad has captured the essence of Oman and Omanis and the pride they have for the special day. Taha went on to explain how the ad came about and what led their creative team to seek for something special and outstanding.
“This idea came after AhliBank decided not to launch their main national day ad because of the current situation in the world. They contacted us and asked us for a concept, but it should not be a song, yet, it has to be catchy and touch peoples’ hearts,” he said.
Stay silent – make people talk
And, the full credit for the idea goes to Ali Al Najjar, Creative Soul founder and creative director. “He came up with this idea. The simplicity and authenticity of the concept made it to people’s hearts. The main idea was how to stay silent and make people talk about Oman.
So, instead of just producing a song or an ad, we asked the real people to share their feelings. And, their feelings were so simple, genuine and honest that it really touched people’s hearts -- both in and outside Oman,” Taha said.
Voice of the people
The video begins with a line asking viewers to remain silent and listen to Oman. “This, in fact, was the real concept. We wanted to drive home the message on how important it is, at times, to stay silent and listen. In this case, we ask viewers to stay silent and listen to the real voice of Oman – and what is that? The real voice is the voice of the people,” Taha noted.
Making of a video ad
Referring to the process behind the making of this highly viewed and successful ad, Taha said: “The process is simple. We asked the people about their experience of celebrating the early national days. And they happily revealed to us how they, and Oman itself, celebrated the national day in those days. They told us about their childhood and how they were ecstatically running and watching the carnivals that used to take place in Muttrah and also around the palace area.”
Road, less travelled
But, does Creative Soul often take the ‘road less travelled’? “I think it is all about the content. Maybe the production process was light but the emotions and values attached to this concept are great and deep,” Taha said, noting how grateful they were to AhliBank. “We really appreciate AhliBank for giving us the trust as well as the space to create and bring stories from Oman to the world.”