The COVID-19 age has forced people of all faiths to adapt to new ways of practicing faith and celebrations as staying home, being safe, being isolated and social distancing make way to becoming new normals across the world. Muslims too adjusted to these new realities as for the first time ever in most people’s memories, Ramadan was celebrated in new ways. No iftaar gatherings, no prayers at mosques and charity was done from a distance.
However, what will remain etched in memories of Muslims across the globe from this year will be the images of Mecca. The Holy City in Saudi Arabia bore a deserted look ever since Saudi Arabia announced a complete lockdown of Mecca. The central courtyard of Mecca – that houses the Kaaba – is always crowded by people who visit Mecca for Umrah throughout the year while Hajj attracts 2.5 million pilgrims during the week long ritual. While Hajj might just not be allowed for believers this year, Muslims watched the prayers at the Grand Mosque and Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s mosque, in Medina from their homes. Historically Mecca has closed doors for believers on four occasions, however its this time that images of deserted Mecca pained Muslims the most showcasing the enormity of the situation that does not allow millions of Muslims to to take a journey to their spiritual home and holiest sanctuary.
These sentiments have been evoked by a campaign launched by Al Mosafer, a travel platform from Saudi Arabia. It has won hearts of millions of Muslims as soon as it was launched. Al Mosafer towed the line that if people can’t travel to Mecca, their stories from Mecca can. Along with its creative agency FP7/Riyadh, ‘Memories of Mecca’ were brought to people, in a film made by people themselves, titled ‘Stories of Mecca’.
On the production front, given that the film couldn’t be shot due to lockdowns in Mecca, a campaign on social media launched during Ramadan invited people everywhere to share their memories of Mecca.
People from 52 countries contributed and over 20 hours of stories were sifted through and then, those stories were put together in a film that’s told through people’s social media stories about Mecca. Because even though Mecca may be locked down, its stories will go on.
Within 8 hours of going live, the film garnered over 500,000 completely organic cross-platform views and is at a 100% positive sentiment score.
Brand: Al Mosafer
Creative Agency: FP7 Riyadh
Production Company: Dejavu
Executive Producer: Manasvi Gosalia
Director: Tahaab Rais
DOP, Cinematography, Editor, Grading and Colourist: Ayas Hassan
Grading and Colourist: Ashraf Muhammadunny
Managing Director: Marc Lawandos
Executive Creative Director: Dany Azzi
Creative Director, Writer, Art Directpr: Tahaab Rais
Head of Copywriting: Hosam Mbarak
Art Director: Ounsy Nassar
Regional Head of Strategy: Tahaab Rais