Banque Misr’s recent Ramadan ad has caused quite a stir among social media users in Egypt. The ad features popular singers Mahmoud El-Esseily and Hamza Namira and has scenes from a mountainous area that many claimed was “Mount Moses” in Sinai.
This location is believed to be the same area that witnessed the miracle of “Prophet Moses’ conversation with God,” according to sacred texts. However, critics and Twitter users have raised concerns about the use of a holy area in the advertisement.
Many critics have expressed their rejection of El-Esseily’s singing and his display over a holy area during the promotional song “Gwaya Noor Mabyenta’fesh.”
Twitter users launched a massive attack on the song and directed scathing criticism toward the ad makers, accusing them of disregarding the sanctity of the area. It’s worth noting that most of the attacks were targeted toward El-Essily and not Namira.
Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Najjar, a member of the Fatwa Committee at Al-Azhar, told “Al-Sharq Al-Awsat” that if the narrative is true, it is an unacceptable matter, as “Mount Moses has sanctity and religious status, and it is not permissible for anyone, no matter who they are, to diminish its value, as it is a form of disrespect towards the feelings of Muslims and sacred places.”
The Real Shooting Location of Banque Misr’s ad
“ET بالعربي” contacted Hisham Fathy, the director of the ad, who expressed his surprise at the spread of these allegations that the shooting location was in Mount Sinai, confirming that this is completely untrue. The shooting took place in Dahab city, along with other locations such as Cairo, Qanater, Lake Burullus, Qena, and Esna. Fathy also responded to the criticism, saying that “some criticize without real awareness or knowledge of the nature of the place, and this is a childish position, just for the sake of criticism.”
Mahmoud El Esseily’s Role in the Ad
Despite the controversy, Mahmoud El Esseily has been associated with Banque Misr for over six years and has been successful in advertising their products. Fathy questioned why the institution should not continue to use him, saying,
“What is wrong with presenting the same ad annually? Sherihan continued to present puzzles for years.”
“Mahmoud El Esseily has become associated in the minds of viewers with Banque Misr, and his voice carries a kind of joy and hope, which ultimately serves the purpose of the ad.”
While some social media users criticized the ad for its use of a holy area, others pointed out that the location in question was not Mount Sinai, but rather Jabal Al-Tawilat.
But let’s be real here, folks – the fact that this ad has ruffled so many feathers just goes to show the power of social media users’ reactions, and how they can harm a brand, even if they’re invalid backlash.
It’s clear that companies will now need to tread carefully with their messaging and imagery in future campaigns if they want to avoid getting on their audience’s bad side.