Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Saudi to Deploy Female Officers for Women Involved in Road Accidents

This story is a bit stale - from October 22, 2017. One of many stories coming out now about the logistics of women starting to drive officially in Saudi Arabia next year. It was originally published in the Arab News, but I'm reprinting from Al-Bawaba. A link to the story is here and it's printed below:

Arrangements are being made by the General Traffic Department to deploy women officials to attend to Saudi women drivers involved in road accidents.
The arrangements are being made in view of the recent royal order issued by King Salman on issuing driving licenses to men and women alike.
In a statement, Najm for Insurance Services Co. announced its readiness to support the implementation of the royal decree by initiating a customized program that highlights the role of Saudi women in managing traffic accidents.
As per the directions of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), the General Traffic Department and Najm will develop a process of accommodating and serving Saudi females involved in road accidents and helping them finalize the required legal procedures.
The statement added that since its establishment, Najm has been keen to support the development process in Saudi Arabia, now working in line with Vision 2030.
 Najm, through its operational strategy, is continuously developing its services by applying an integrated solutions framework and utilizing digital services to meet the demands of their clients to ensure a quick response.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Coke Campaign Showing Saudi Woman Learning to Drive Doesn’t Please Everyone

Branding in Asia Magazine printed this article by Asia Ad Junkie on 11/13/2017 about a Coke ad about a Saudi father teaching his daughter to drive. It has stirred up some controversy. A link to the article is here and the article is pasted below.

Starting in June 2018, women in Saudi Arabia will be officially allowed to take the wheel for themselves and drive a car.
While the time has not yet arrived, a Coca-Cola campaign spot showing a Saudi father teaching his daughter how to drive has gone viral on social media.
The ad, dubbed “Change has a taste”, is backed by the song “I Got That Feeling” by Highland Park Collective and, as one would expect, has the product saving the day.

The ad has also received its fair share of criticism for commercializing social progress.
“These companies think it is OK to take something and make it a brand,” said Amina Awartani, a student activist from Qatar, in an interview with Newsweek. “And not just anything, women in Saudi Arabia have been and still are fighting patriarchal oppression on a daily basis.”
“They not only include themselves in a struggle they have nothing to do with, but they’re literally using it to their own advantage so that they can make money,” she added – from her Qatar.
Some even compared the spot to the disastrous Pepsi ad in April featuring Kendall Jenner offering a police officer a Pepsi during a protest. Pepsi was harshly slammed by critics who accused the company of exploiting social issues to sell a product.
Coke’s representative in the region, Omar Bennis, responded to the criticism, also to Newsweek, saying:

“Coca-Cola is continuing its legacy of celebrating positive social and cultural change in its advertising campaigns by releasing a topical and timely ad in the Middle East. The campaign touches on the brand’s values surrounding diversity and inclusion and aligns with Coca-Cola’s commitment to enable the economic empowerment of women.”

Our take?

Sure, Coke is using the ad to sell sugar water and it is unabashedly inserting its brand into the middle of a controversial social issue.
However, unlike the Pepsi disaster, this is celebrating a special moment between a father and his daughter within the context of a country amid ongoing social change.
Carry on.

No immediate driving licenses in Saudi Arabia ... all must attend courses

The Arab News is reporting that every woman who would like a driver's license has to take a driving course. Apparently it was believed that some experienced drivers would be able to get their licenses right away. This is from the Nov 13, 2017 Arab News. A link to the story is here,  and the text is pasted below. 

RIYADH: The director general of Traffic Department, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Abdullah Al-Bassami, announced the cancelation of the immediate test for a driving license, and said that those who wish to obtain licenses must attend training courses.

“Those who wish to obtain a new driving license and are not good at driving should attend a 90-hour training course, while those who are good at driving should attend a 30-hour training course,” Al-Bassami said in a press statement to Saudi Press Agency on Monday.

Additionally, 120-hour training courses will be available.

(note from blogger: when I post a story like this, I think back to all the years I've been posting stories on the issue of women driving. In those days I could only dream of a news story like this!)