Global news is often depressing – from natural disasters to acts of civil war – it’s clear that the world needs help. It’s heartening then, to see the power of advertising in promoting change. I’ve always believed that you have to change systems from the inside, and using media to do it is the icing on the cake. The New York Times recently had a discussion asking Is the Hijab Worth Fighting Over? which brought out rights activists as well as those who aren’t familiar with cultural relativism. To be clear, the woman in the picture is in a burka, but the words and the idea behind those words that are powerful. According to the original Adweek article, Fadi Saad, the managing director of Memac Ogilvy said,
The veil does not only hide women’s abuse, but it’s also a representation of the social veil behind which a lot of societal deficiencies hide…It is one bold first step toward legislation to fight women’s abuse in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We believe that the authorities are ready to support such a drive today given the evolution that is taking place in the country.
The ad, created for the King Khalid Foundation gets the word out that domestic violence isn’t okay, significant in a coutry that ranked 131st out of 134 in a World Economic Forum report on gender disparity, read more of the original press release, New Major Study Finds Slow Progress in Closing Global Economic Gender Gap. It also shows the power of advertising, when used for good not evil, something the former folks over at JWT in India could learn from.