The Covid-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on the world, including Pakistan, where the virus has claimed over 6,000 lives and left a far-reaching socioeconomic crisis in its wake. Every year, on Independence Day (August 14th), the sound of the National Anthem echoes across the country. This year however, in light of the Coronavirus, UniLever Pakistan teamed up with Impact BBDO and BBDO Pakistan to deliver the Anthem in a manner that was never heard before: sung through face masks.
The performance features acclaimed Pakistani singer Shehzad Roy and an accompanying choir – the short and emotionally charged video sees Roy leading the vocals on the anthem with a group of singers, who are all wearing face masks. The anthem appears to have a slightly muffled sound, as vocals usually are when heard through masks, but it retains the same powerful emotions it is designed to bring alive.
The visuals also showcase a diverse image of the country, with Pakistanis from all backgrounds, especially minorities, represented performing the anthem together.
Directed by Zeeshan Parwez and created by Ali Rez and his team at Impact and BBDO Pakistan, the aim of the anthem is to communicate the personal responsibility every Pakistani has, to fight against COVID-19. Amongst recommend safety protocols, wearing a face mask, according to the W.H.O greatly reduces the chances of spread of the virus.
This can be further complemented with ensuring hand hygiene and physical distancing. The powerful call-to-action in the performance connects to the first lines in the anthem itself: Pak sur zameen, which means This pure land, and asks Pakistanis to wear a mask in order to purify the country of Coronavirus.
The work, which also coincides well with the World Mask Week, has already been retweeted by government figures in the country, including the Minister of Human Rights and the Minister of Science, and has gained incredible organic reach.
Amir Paracha, Chairman and CEO, Unilever Pakistan, commented: “Unilever Pakistan is committed to its efforts to protect the lives and livelihoods of Pakistanis during this challenging time. With this stirring rendition of the national anthem, we aim to reinforce the importance of continued attention to safe behaviors and inspire Pakistanis to better protect themselves. “
He adds, “This performance reminds us it is our collective responsibility and duty to the nation to protect ourselves, each other and our homeland from the threat of this pandemic. The simple acts of wearing a mask; ensuring hand hygiene and maintaining required physical distancing can help save lives and it is our hope that this message inspires us all to do so.”
This moving performance from Shehzad Roy on Independence Day is a powerful and timely statement that aims to inspire Pakistanis to continue taking proper precautions against the spread of COVID-19 to eliminate the possibility of a second wave.
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