Melody’s ‘The Bitter Truth’ to hit the big screen

Leo Burnett Cairo is to turn its successful ‘El Hakika El Mora’ advertising campaign for Egyptian broadcaster Melody into a feature-length movie.

The campaign, called ‘The Bitter Truth’ in English, first aired in April and new episodes have been released on a regular basis, with YouTube viewership measured in the millions. The fifth and final instalment was released this month.

In June, Leo Burnett Cairo won a silver and bronze at Cannes for its ‘The Mother of all Foreign Films’ body of work for Melody Aflam.

The screenplay for the movie has already been finished and Mohamed Hamdalla, Leo Burnett Cairo’s executive creative director, said the agency was about to go into pre-production. “The Melody film is a continuation of the advertising campaign’s storyline,” said Hamdalla. “The campaign just paved the way for the real story. [It will be] a comedy at face value, but we’re trying to incorporate several layers into the plot so that it can be enjoyed on several levels.

“What intrigued us about this project is that for the first time (to my knowledge anyway) we gave people 20 free minutes of a story, hoping that they would get hooked enough with the characters and the plot to make them pay a cinema ticket to see the rest. In effect it will become the world’s longest trailer. It’s also a good experiment to see if advertising can really transcend to content.”

‘The Bitter Truth’ features a range of characters, including Melody Holding’s actual CEO, Gamal Marwan, who plays a corporate tyrant interested in nothing but money. The main stars are the director Hamzawy, Melody Man, and Hamzawy’s assistant, Baibars. The four-minute episodes double up as a corporate campaign and as a launch pad for Melody Drama.