Karim Zein, creative director at MullenLowe Dubai, explores five recent projects from the UAE that he's enjoyed in their own unique ways
I’m quite fond of empathetic ideas that foster connections between humans and lay the foundations for meaningful heartfelt conversations. I also love pieces of work that make me go: "I wish I did that" - they’re a reminder to always push the boundaries of creativity and never settle for the ordinary.
Orange Egypt & Molto - 'Calls & Croissant'
Production: Magic Beans
Director: Tamer Mahdy
Telcos in Egypt are in a never-ending promo war, and they go to great lengths to communicate how their offer topples everyone else’s. The only problem is that most commercials I’ve seen, if not all, look exactly the same. That’s not the case with Orange Egypt, though. They created a mirror effect by using two A-list celebrities, tens of twins / doppelgangers and impeccable attention to detail. I loved the choreography, the reversed prints on t-shirts and the humour in having two celebs mirror each other’s actions even when they don’t look the same at all.
Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai - 'Who’s Your Cabbie?'
Agency: VMLY&R Dubai
Some of the most interesting conversations I’ve ever had were with taxi drivers, and only when I get dropped off do I realise that I never asked about their name. This piece by VMLY&R pays tribute to all the heroes who are working relentlessly round the clock by replacing the usual 'taxi' rooftop sign with the drivers’ names. It’s a simple gesture that I believe would spark lots of delightful conversations between cabbies and passengers.
MTV - 'We Are Unbreakable'
The Lebanese Port explosion has sent shockwaves across the world. One year on, TBWA and MTV united to create a tribute to the victims of this catastrophe. I think linking the Arabic phrase 'We Are Unbreakable' to the shattered glass portraiture was interesting although I wish it was less obvious. The idea is nice, but it bears an uncanny resemblance to an award-winning piece created for The National Women’s History Museum. With that said, the execution opens doors for agencies in the Middle East to create eternal pieces of work. I’d like to see something as powerful as 'Fearless Girl' come out of the region. I’d love to create it myself.
e-TADWEER - 'Give Your eWaste a Second Chance'
Agency: Synergy Cairo
This is another piece from Egypt, and if you’re an '80s kid, you’ll totally relate. Just to give you context, Egyptian houses are packed with archaic tech: old consoles, telephones, TVs and cell phones. Us Egyptians, we are too attached to our belongings and recycling isn’t really part of our culture. So, how do you rally this tough audience? You create a musical ensemble featuring some of the most outdated yet iconic tech. It’s refreshing to know that the Egyptian Ministry of Environment is behind the work. It’s a step in the right direction.
Yas Island - 'Stayin’ On Yas'
Agency: Momentum MENA
I was debating whether I should include this piece or not, but it has been the talk of town for a few days and it’s worth mentioning. Rewriting one of the grooviest songs of the '70s and creating an equally groovy film to promote 'Yas' is quite admirable. With lockdowns, airport closures and cancelled flights, this disco-esque film reminds us all of the joys of travel and vacationing–a much-needed outlet in this day and age.