Advertising in Mesopotamia (Old Iraq)

When we follow the legacy of early advertisements in Iraq, it will return us back to the wonderful times representing serenity, peace, simplicity and genuine life. It is crucial to shed light that advertising in ancient Iraq was produced by playing the trumpet in the streets.

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Reflecting about the importance of announcements, in a book called the Golden Meadows written by al-Massaoudi, excerpted: In essence, a caller for prayer, muezzin, in the Abbasid Caliph al-Mu’tadid bi-llah’s time saw a foreigner in Baghdad trying to rape a woman who was going home late at night. The muezzin found no way to defend her but to ascend the mosque minaret and commenced a call for prayer. The caliphate was surprised for the timing of the prayer that unknowing to him saved the woman. When the prayer announcer was asked, they knew the secret and arrested that foreigner. The caliphate thanked the muezzin and told him to adopt this technique of announcement from now on when there is something bad or alarming.

The following verses and the story behind them are considered as the earliest form of advertising in the Arab literature:

قل للمليحة في الخمار الأسود

ماذا فعلتِ بناسك ٍ متعبدِ

قد كان شمّر للصلاة ثيابه

حتى وقفت ُ له بباب المسجدِ

ردي عليه صلاته وصيامه

لا تقتليهِ برب دين محمدِ

Tell the beautiful woman wearing the black Khimar (veil),

What did you do to a worshipping monk?!

He pulled up the sleeves to pray,

But you stood at the door of masjid.

Return back his prayers and fasting,

Never kill him by Muhammad’s religion.

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Historians believe that those lines were written by Rabiea bin Amer who lived during the times of Umayyads as the first commercial communications because it was constructed when Rabiea saw unmarketable goods for one of Basra tradesmen who imported a black Khimar (veil) while the white Khimar was the fashion! When Rabiea rendered the poem, women were crazy to buy the new black Khimar solving the marketing issue and creating demand for the new product.

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In the 1930s, there was no other way to advertise but the old Iraqi newspapers. But as a matter of fact, usual strategies of advertising were not valid or relevant in Iraq in comparison to the capital world at those times. The owners of the shops and companies were not willing to advertise their products because of string cultural belief that advertising was only for unmarketable goods and commodities! The owners of the newspapers were also afraid of giving many areas for advertising because they believed people might think that this newspaper has no principles by being non-official.

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The radio-broadcasting had an excellent advertising role in Iraq with higher interaction than the print media. It was funny sometimes as elderly Iraqis remember channels like Tami radio, which could be considered as the first community-generated over-the-radio advertising especially the opportunity to announce general public celebrations, losses and information. Later on, TV added much especially the TV establishment were the most affected by the French and British models in Iraq that are connected to the US advertising and media model when that was initiated as early as 1941 with an ad for Bulova, watches and jewellery company for 9 United Stated dollars only!

100 Years / 2 Pandemics

1918 till 2020. How well did we prepare ourselves to protect humanity?

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Death tolls that affected Earth population.

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There was no telecommuting (work from home!)

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The condition for hospitals was much different.

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So, are you working from home or do you wish you go back to working from the office?!

Teleworking.

During the current COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) outbreak in 2020, the first time ever humanity was challenged to work remotely with no alternative choices. Thanks to technology, all office work is not affected but the fieldwork is much affected.

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Generally, business-to-business companies are most affected by the crisis than businesses who deal directly with end-users and customers. As for media and communications agencies, we invested late February to advise our clients regarding COVID-19 outbreak then at the time being we are advising our clients with plans for the post-outbreak. Thus, it is mostly a consultation time. Let’s update you in general how COVID-19 crisis affected the media in Iraq:

  1. Field service, out-of-home advertising, events management and experiential marketing: the most affected because of the curfew. You can add radio and print ads to that category too.
  2. TV and social media are not the best too. Big brands are investing the TV to showcase their response to the crisis while social media is being very critical since most of the audience feed is all about COVID, the uprisings, the governmental reforms and the oil prices.
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Finally, we highly appreciate world leaders who act responsibly to support the sector, check the next video:

Stay safe and wash your hands. Be positive because immunity is stress-free!