Nearly two weeks ago, several Gulf countries cut ties with Qatar, which has huge implications for Qatar Airways. Some of these countries have closed their airports and airspace to Qatar Airways. Qatar Airways’ CEO claims that other countries blocking their airspace in this way is illegal, but then again, he’s not exactly the most reliable narrator out there.
Well, Qatar Airways’ latest PR move in this situation is putting out a minute-long ad called “No Borders, Only Horizons.” In this video they’re clearly trying to get the public on their side, and they take an interesting approach in doing so:
I don’t think the issue here is really black and white, but the irony of this video is pretty rich. In many ways I support the Gulf carriers (at least as it relates to the accusations that the “big three” US carriers make against them), but that doesn’t mean I’m blind to their many weaknesses and injustices.
The premise of the commercial is that “as an airline, we don’t believe in boundaries,” which is a convenient message obviously related to the current situation. Here’s what the commercial says:
“The sky, there should be no borders up here. Only horizons. As an airline, we don’t believe in boundaries. We believe in bringing people together. The world is better that way. It is a right for all of us to go where need to go, to feel the things we want to feel. To see the people we want to see. That’s why we’ll continue to fly the skies, providing you with everything we can, and treating everyone the way they deserve to be treated. We do this because we know that travel goes beyond borders and prejudice, that travel teaches compassion, that travel is a necessity, that travel is a right for all. Remember that this world is all of ours to explore, and it’s a strange thing for us to be apart.”
Don’t get me wrong, the ad is extremely well done, and I imagine to the average person watching it’s quite compelling. But I just can’t get over the hypocrisy of this.
“Treating everyone the way they deserve to be treated.” I assume that excludes the workers who are imported to Qatar to build up their infrastructure and treated inhumanely.
“It is a right for all of us to go where we need to go.” Again, I assume this excludes all the imported labor, which have their passports held onto by the government, so that they’re not allowed to leave.”
“Treating everyone the way they deserve to be treated.” See above. 😉
“Travel goes beyond borders and prejudice.” Certain exclusions, like Israel, apply.
The ad reminds me a lot of the one that Aeromexico published during the US presidential election last year, clearly aimed at Donald Trump and him wanting to build a wall.
There are a lot of things I respect about Gulf countries. However, them claiming that everyone should be treated the way they deserve to be treated, claiming that travel goes beyond borders and prejudice, that it’s a right for everyone to go where they need to, etc., is a bit much for me.
If you can overlook that, it’s an effective ad, in my opinion.