Seduction. Religion. Immorality.

Can the course of an entire human life be determined by the colour of a piece of fabric?

Sitting on mountainous heaps of unsold fabric (black fabric, to be precise), a merchant who lived thousands of years ago answered with a vehement ‘yes’.

Suleiman Al Baghdadi had left his devoted wife and said goodbye to his kids in Baghdad before travelling to what we know now call Saudi Arabia. He was confident that here, his tight delicate black weave would be in great demand.

He couldn’t have been more wrong.

Nothing he did could entice people to buy his fabric. People just weren’t interested in black, not even at a fraction of its original price.

Running out of time and money, he considered returning home empty handed. And as the days passed, the thought of shameful retreat grew louder that the rumbling of his empty belly. Hope was all but lost, when a stranger told him to seek out Al Darami.

As a devout Muslim, Al Darami refused to assist the weary merchant, unless he agreed to pay a sizeable ‘Zakah’ to the poor upon the success of his trade. Suleiman agreed, and they became partners.

Days later, words of magnificent beauty were on everyone’s lips. Both young and old recited the poem’s melodic verses. But it was the women who let the words enter their hearts. Deeply within, each woman wished, hoped and quietly prayed that it was she who had the object of the poet’s desire.

Ask the black veiled beauty;
What has she done to my devout piety?

My clothes I’d folded for ablution, when in front
of the mosque she stood to increase my confusion.

My prayer and faith grant back to me, for the sake
of Mohammad’s religion, do not torture or kill me.

Who is this beauty draped in black that Al Darami writes of? Do I know her? Rumours reverberated across the city. In every Majlis and every household, the identity of this mysterious temptress was debated. The only clue as to who she was, lay behind a delicate veil. A black veil.

Suleiman’s fabric had not changed. It was still black. Only now, everyone’s perception of black had changed, thanks to an advertisement disguised as a poem. What was once seen as boring, demure and depressing was now mysterious, alluring and worn by women who controlled men’s hearts.

The future was black. And Suleiman Al Baghdadi couldn’t have been happier. Rolls of black fabric were soon replaced by rolls of coins – all because of something as complex as a simple idea.

Absolute proof that Creativity Pays.

Why did I post this here?

This house-ad (self-promotion) done by LOWE Middle East & North Africa is currently decorating the Advertising Industry magazines such as Arab Ad, Communique and Campaign in the Middle East.

I just wanted to make a quick point.

That copywriting isn’t dead yet. That people love reading (that’s why you are here) – and they would read every line of body copy if the ad is cleverly written, insightful and engaging. Right?


  1. wow... nice post, on an ad, of an ad, on an ad-maker's blog... hmmm :)