Qatar Airways’ new FC Barcelona commercial is beautiful
By Charles Boehm
The Persian Gulf nation of Qatar is one of the richest nations on earth thanks to its plentiful supplies of oil and natural gas.
It’s also keenly interested in soccer, as the small nation’s ambitious leaders try to diversify their economy and build a global reputation before their oil reserves peak, as predictions suggest will occur in about a decade.
Qatar has used its sovereign wealth fund to buy control of French club Paris St.-Germain, built a deep commercial partnership with Spanish powerhosue FC Barcelona and lobbied FIFA lavishly and effectively — and some would say unethically — to gain hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup, defeating the United States and Australia in the process.
Many Westerners are expecting the worst from a Qatar World Cup, with concerns swirling around the nation’s deeply conservative culture, its apparently limitless financial strength and the scheduling of the world’s most beloved soccer tournament during the scorching temperatures of the Arabian desert in midsummer.
But in spite of all that, Qatar is determined to reach out to the wider world and knows how to crank up the public-relations charm as well as any country on earth.
Witness Qatar Airways’ gorgeous new television ad in partnership with Barcelona, which depicts the well-loved Spanish side, famously self-described as “more than a club,” as a thrilling, magical island somewhat reminiscent of Peter Pan’s never-never land, but rich with color, passion and all things Barça.
Their politics and ambition have left many uneasy about Qatar’s rise on the world stage, yet it’s hard not to fall in love with the beauty and cleverness of this television spot, created to celebrate Qatar Airways’ status as Barcelona’s official air carrier.
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