people say “No” to the project. The five people that did say “Yes” motivated the creatives to go through with the idea. But there was a catch: the risk in installing this poster was the creatives getting b o mbed themselves.
Of course, this didn’t stop them. If anything, it felt like the challenge had become even more intriguing, and there was, of course, always that opportunity to tell a good story.
That the two overcame obstacles and got the work done in the face of a hundred “No”s is sometimes all the more satisfying. At times, creativity requires sweat and tears, and a tetanus shot. They managed to go through with the project in a highly sensitive area, which was practically a war zone, and simply by sheer luck found the day to be cloudy which is when – according to the children in the village – “fewer drones fly”.
This isn’t Ali and Assam’s only incredible outdoor example in which they found and then overcame resistance to a good idea and persevered to complete it, regardless of the threats they received. A project for a client that makes matresses, for instance, changed traditional outdoor mini advertising boards into convertible beds on which the homeless could sleep. This resulted in a member of the local council contacting the creatives and asking them to stop. But they didn’t stop. The project ended up helping hundreds of poor people get a good nights sleep, and earned the agency a Grand Prix at the Dubai Lynx.
Currently, the two are working on a highly volatile subject in Pakistan: women’s rights and the efforts against domestic violence. With their team, they have built a campaign unlike any Pakistan has ever seen, which has started to change mindsets not only amongst men, but also women and how they view themselves.
In response to a local council in Pakistan recommending that it should be OK for a man to “lightly beat” a woman, this campaign came around. It is the first anti-domesticviolence campaign that actually invites men to beat women. But at things they are good at. #BeatMe, featuring strong Pakistani women – such as the fastest woman in South Asia challenging men to beat her record 100-metre time – sparked off a national debate, and has led to a whole generation of Pakistani women feeling more empowered. Needless to say, this project comes with its own risks.
These two determined creatives have found it can be a death-defying experience to create great outdoor work, no matter what hurdle lies in the way – be it a client saying no, or a bomb from the sky.