In Qatar, despite governmental efforts and punitive approaches to controlling the use and abuse of handicapped spaces, violations were still observed and frequently committed by Qataris and Arab expats. To change people’s behavior, we had to come up with a solution that would shake people’s conscience, one that would make a sign that has become wallpaper for many stand out and become more meaningful again to our audience. We developed the ‘rewriting respect’ idea/campaign, where we’ve asked a renowned Qatari calligrapher to incorporate a message in the disabled sign, using impactful Arabic words that reminded people of the basics of respect. The disabled sign was reborn to address a powerful message to the abled bodied.
We used Arabic calligraphy, highly relevant to our predominately Arabic audience, to redesign the disabled sign using impactful words as a call-to-action that reminded our target audience of the value of respect, creating a direct influence on people’s attitude and inviting them to promptly change their behavior and make Qatar accessible for all.
The new signs were implemented in the parking spaces and bathrooms of malls and business towers, in various public spaces across Qatar. The implementation started on the second week of January 2017, and the campaign grew bigger as new places were progressively added. Following on from the success of this campaign we’re currently lobbying key stakeholders within the government to implement this campaign throughout the whole country.
Redesigning the sign using Arabic calligraphy, tightly linked to the Arabic culture, had a profound impact on Qataris and Arab expats. Seeing the sign ‘written’ in their own language had a strong and positive effect on our target audience, touching their subconscious and reminding them that respect was, and will always be, a human, ethical, and cultural value . People were reminded of the importance of thinking of others and saw the real meaning behind the sign, and this powerful message naturally led them to change their behavior.
Agency: Memac Ogilvy & Mather, Doha
Chief Creative Officer: Paul Shearer
Creative Director: Youssef Gadallah
Senior Art Directors: Raziff Lau. Wissam Feghaly
Art Director: Basem Magdy
Copywriters: Lamia Khatib
Calligrapher: Mohammad Nabil