2018 Winners & Shortlists


Product/ServiceBACK TO SCHOOL
Type of EntrySectors
CategoryTravel, Leisure, Retail, Restaurants & Fast Food Chains

The Campaign

Our starting point was the fact that very few kids in Saudi love going back to school & that schools are under continuous scrutiny due to their rigid and harsh policies and rules. Despite the bleak situation, the beginning of schooling season in Saudi starts with ads mostly featuring crayons, notebooks, and smiling faces. A streak contrast with the reality. So we decided to be real and communicate all the anxieties and tensions that school kids have to deal with at schools, from strict laws to bullying all the way to continuous scolding. So just like that, no sugar coating, no fake happiness, simply the truth. We then ended up with a statement: no matter how hard the journey is, Jarir is supporting you throughout.


Our campaign launched with a film showing the siblings of one family on their first day back at school after coming back from a long summer break. With a real case of the back-to-school blues, the children experience a rough first day when they face all the different things that they know and loathe about school. The only light at the end of this dark tunnel is the brand-new school bag from Jarir that each one of them just got and that manages to put a smile on their faces when strict rules and rigid teachers get the better of them, showing how Jarir Bookstore has their backs both literally and figuratively.

The buzz created by our campaign positioned Jarir as the leader in its category, resulting in record sales. In fact, Jarir achieved a 147% increase in total sales of school bags in 2017 compared to the previous year, which prompted the bookstore giant to re-order additional stock twice. Additionally, our commercial was viewed more than 5.2 million times and gained more than 98 million impressions as well as 68,000 mentions. But most importantly, the film turned Jarir from a mere bystander into an active participant in the Kingdom’s ongoing national education debate, and made it a driver of change in a changing country.

The Situation

ensued moved the conversation from an online one into a nationwide one that included a heated online debate, criticism from the ministry of education and calls to remove the add to counter arguments defending the authenticity and creativity of the ad on the number one TV talk show in Saudi. The media buzz and hype regarding the campaign brought back Jarir to the spotlight exactly when the brand needed it: The beginning of the school season.

The Strategy

of every new school year. Typically, school-related communication portrays unrealistic images of happy kids and smiling parents. To stand out, we needed to distinguish ourselves by showing the reality of what students in Saudi Arabia go through, in order to position Jarir as the brand that understands their struggle and will support them all the way. So, we launched our film, which demonstrates the bleak reality of schools in a brutally honest way.


Name Company Position
Chafic Haddad J. Walter Thompson Chief Creative Operations Officer
Rayyan Aoun J. Walter Thompson Executive Creative Director
Riyad Salhani J. Walter Thompson Copywriter
Maian Alken J. Walter Thompson Copywriter
Tonie Tannous J. Walter Thompson Senior Digital Art Director
Marco Torni J. Walter Thompson  Digital Art Director
Maher Kaidbey J. Walter Thompson Senior TV Producer
Jude Al Saati J. Walter Thompson TV Producer
Alaa Abu Hammeen J. Walter Thompson Business Director
Rabie Hassoun J. Walter Thompson Account Director
Hisham Hinnawi J. Walter Thompson Account Manager
Dana Alkutoubi J. Walter Thompson Head of Strategic Planning KSA
Mahaii Albuhairi Jarir Brand Marketing Manager
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