Walk into the offices of Memac Ogilvy Advize, an advertising firm on the third floor of a car rental building in a business district of West Amman, Jordan, and you’ll be greeted with an immense black-and-white photo of Donald Trump’s face. The red cursive text printed across it reads: “We Trumped the awards.”
The sign sits behind a reception counter boasting a large trophy won at the Dubai Lynx 2017, an annual advertising competition where Memac Ogilvy won the Grand Prix for PR (a first for any Jordanian agency) along with four other silver and gold prizes, for trolling Trump in their ads on behalf of Royal Jordanian Airlines.
Royal Jordanian, the once-obscure national carrier of the small desert kingdom of Jordan, has been making a name for itself as the Middle Eastern airline that dared to mock Trump. Its first ad—the one that won Memac Ogilvy all those awards—was a simple image published on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram on November 8, 2016, just before the U.S. election results were announced. The ad showed economy and business class prices for RJ flights to Chicago, Detroit, and New York, with a few snarky lines above: “Just in case he wins… Travel to the U.S. while you’re still allowed to!”
That ad went viral, with an organic reach of 450 million, an 80.3 percent positive response, and press coverage on 26 official news sites and blogs, according to Memac Ogilvy.
The campaign summary that the agency later submitted for the advertising competition was simple. Objective? “Sell more plane tickets to the U.S.” Method? “Use Donald Trump’s ban of Muslims to our advantage.” Campaign budget? “Zero USD.”