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Thursday, November 20, 2008

News Reel: TV Ads to get people to abserve Salaat

Noble initiative — TV ads prod people to pray

ref: http://www.arabnews .com/?page= 1&section=0&article=116437&d=18&m=11&y=2008&pix=kingdom. jpg&category=Kingdom

 

JEDDAH: Wanting to use their skills for a good cause, a group of four professionals came up with the idea of using television advertisements to encourage people to observe the Islamic prayer — an idea that gave birth to the Aqim Salatak (Establish Prayer) television advertisements. "

 

Back in 1999 we thought to ourselves that we have the ability to promote products. So why shouldn't we try to help people," said one of the founders, who requested anonymity saying the group is seeking reward from God and does not want publicity.

 

The Aqim Salatak advertisements have been made in the same way advertisements for ordinary products are developed. Using market research techniques, the group says it gained an insight into what triggers people's attitude to religiously reforming themselves.

 

The initial advertising campaign, which appeared on channels run by the Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC) back in 2000, was carried out in three stages, starting with a powerful wakeup call to attract attention and then moving on to more encouraging messages about the rewards of praying.

 

The team said the first advertisement had a profound impact on viewers. The advertisement told the story of a careless youth who, having spent most of his time chatting online and not praying, dies seated with his laptop. It then ends with a scene of his father burying him.

 

The advertisement also carried the slogan "Aqim Salatak Qabl Mamatak" (Pray Before You Die). Some viewers, however, criticized it for the powerful grave scene. "We never faced a single problem with the advertisement, everything went according to plan ... the MBC group was extremely supportive of this campaign," said one of the founders. "The first three stages were very well received and through market research we managed to see positive effects on our target group," said another member of the team.

 

After a four-year break, the group has now decided to run a few more advertisements under the motto "Aqim Salatak, Hayatak Ikhtiyaratak" (Pray, Your Life Is Your Choice). "When you do something that powerful you want to come back stronger," said a member of the team. He added that advertisements target young Saudis between the age of 16 and 24. "Young boys and girls who are busy with life and do not feel praying is an integral part of their lives … our primary target group includes young Arabs between 16 and 24; our secondary target group includes everyone around the world," he said.

 

The advertisements, which are the fourth phase of the project, are still in the introductory teaser phase. The campaign this time round is not only confined to television.

 

"During the half time of a major football match, players from both teams prayed in the soccer field and we distributed T-shirts, hats and other stuff," said the team, adding that they are planning to repeat the same in the near future. The group said research has shown that following the first advertisement in 2000, 25 percent of people who did not pray began to do so.

 

The current advertisement, which is being aired on MBC, is to be followed by a second part that will be aired later this month.

 


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