Love In a Time of Advertising: Congratulations from the October Bridge

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A new way of congratulating may have just become a trend after billboards displaying a newly wed couple appeared on the October Bridge in Cairo.

‘Mina and Mira’ is the phrase displayed across the familiar October Bridge, which is a Cairene gateway through which thousands of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians cross the Nile to reach Downtown, Zamalek and even Agouza. The billboards announce the date of their wedding with a word of congratulations, without elucidating any other details. The images immediately remind you of a lover who reconciles his sweetheart and may even recall a scene of the film ‘Al-Sellem wal Te’ban’ in which actor Hani Salama proposes to actress Hala Shiha. It also makes you think of the cost of occupying the famous Cairene bridge. The billboards are accompanied by smaller posters dispersed between Nasr City to Mohandessin, which prompted some people to believe a new product was about to be unveiled.

Mina and Mira’, two names that have become familiar to autonomics of October bridge

After more than a month full of assumptions, the newlyweds declared during an interview on Al-Tahrir satellite channel that they woke up on the first day of their honeymoon to find that their friends had tagged them in photos of the billboards. The photo was their pre-wedding portrait. “We just thought it’s a photoshopped photo our friend made for fun!” said Mira, the bride. “We were assured that it’s really our own outdoor [sic] when our friends started to depict themselves with the posters, which were spread all the way, as an evidence for us!”

Mira received a call from her uncle, Ayman Sous, later on, who revealed himself to be the perpetrator of this amazing surprise. “I wanted to share my happiness with all the city. Mira and Mina are the dearest so I decided to take [sic] something different and extraordinary,” he explained. Sous has worked in advertisement for a long while now, which is why the idea wasn’t difficult to conceive of.

New style to receive congratulations

Such ads are quite expensive though. A representative of an advertisement agency said, “It costs up to a million Egyptian pounds a year with a possible increase according to space, size and location of the ad. Such infolet [sic] people criticise what Sous has done for Mina and Mira, while it also grabbed the attention of social networking users.”

“Let people have fun. We’re fed up with dramatic stories and acts of hatred between people. It brings optimism to find someone who wants to draw a smile on their beloved’s face,”said Walid Rizk. A spectator, Sarah Sherif, wrote on her Twitter account, “Sweet couple, I liked the idea and the photo. I thought they had made it themselves to celebrate their wedding in an innovative way. Another person, Steve Nabil, added, “I attended this wedding yesterday! They are my friends. I can’t believe I can see a big outdoor [sic] of them while I’m driving now!”

“Love makes miracles!” was the most common comment from Facebook users when sharing the photo on their timelines, ‘tagging their partners’, or even posting it on a handful of pages and groups. Some also wished to copy the idea when they would get married while others said it would be a disaster if girls considered it a fashionable part of the wedding ceremony, especially due to the exorbitant price tag attached. Either way, the uncle’s surprise was innovative and unique, to say the least, and may be the start of a new phenomenon for Cairo’s love birds.