Sunday, August 20, 2017

Canon vs Honda - compare and contrast

Well, we all know that wonderful "when things just work" ad for Honda. Seeing the new Canon ad "perfect moments" I could not but remember it - the chain effect where one thing leads to the other from a previous element. OK so there was one twist in the end, but I do not see it as a "new" ad at all. However, you compare and contrast and decide for yourself.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Mitsulift - a lovely ad in the most unexpected of places

Mistulift has a beautiful ad and on one of the company's vans no less. "Every elevator deserves its own building" - not the other way around. And if you check the company's new logo you will see the "elevated" part of which a graphic rappel is done with the "n" and the word building going underneath. Cool. Very cool.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Lebanon older official logo: 1950 version

Affiche du Commissariat au Tourisme de 1950 - Cesar Gemayel (source Gaby Daher)
Gaby Daher on whom one can always count for exceptional archival pieces has just unearthed this beauty - a poster from the "commissariat au tourism de 1950" by famed Lebanese painter Cesar Gemayel. To me the most striking aspect is the logo on the right hand upper corner which seems like a precursor to the one Lebanon is adopting currently in Arabic. Below is flashback of an older published post about said national logo.
Originally published: 16/8/13
I saw this in a private residence, in the children's room which has not been changed since the 70s and my heart skipped a beat. We are all accustomed to see the logo below as being the one promoting Lebanon through the ministry of tourism.
Of course, the difference between the two is minimal... And yet, the above version by all means precedes this one. First, the "symmetry" of the letters was still imperfect (specifically the dots). But also, it included a Phoenician boat at the base. Knowing that the legend of the Phoenicians (and by legend, I do mean the word!) was associated with Christians trying to differentiate themselves from the "Arabs" (yes, including those non-Christians who happened to live in Lebanon) which was dumped in the latter version. 
Still, this is a priceless find.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Joz Lebanese diner - take two of these and call me in the morning

The ads on the street are quite humorous - Joz in Arabic means "a pair" and the local expression goes "leik malla joz" (look at those two). So the ads went out of their way to describe different kinds of pairs, one practical, one "that makes life longer", one full of taste and so on. The only glitch is that is go to the website of the "Lebanese diner" you get.... this!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Johnnie Walker in an awe-inspiring line

We all know the "keep walking" line for Johnnie Walker - lately there was a Lebanese dull ad for the brand which went "the resourceful don't wait" (which was even worse in Arabic) - which is why seeing this incredible Johnnie Walker ad from Brasil is jaw-dropping. But the punchiest aspect is that new line they are using "the next step is inside you" - very, very beautiful. To be honest this is a little like the Tao Te Ching with the (sadly mistranslated line) which should have been "the journey of a thousand miles starts under your feet" (as opposed to "a single step" because under your feet implies a physical act, whereas "under your feet" is more psychological with the tao (road) being there to meet you). Beautiful work for Johnnie Walker.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Mountain Dew #bshil - the # that speaks to its audience properly

Last semester, some students of mine were brainstorming and someone dropped the word "bshil". Intrigued I asked them what it was and how does one use it in a sentence everyone understands. So someone pitched in with "badkon nrou7 3al ba7r? eh ana bshil" - want to go to the beach? yes, I am in. So #bshil means "I am in". Which makes this ad incredibly interesting to youngsters and millennials as it speaks to them directly in their own language. Mind you bshil is very new to the lexicon (originally it means "I lift") - which makes this ad timely and quite pointed. The selling line "awwi albak" translates into "toughen up", which also tackles adrenaline-filled youth... 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Desert Cowboys, the perfect initiative for Skoda

First you must watch the TVC done for this initiative. The project is done by Skoda to fight villages in isolation throughout Spain. The idea of the film is that "if the video reaches five million views, it will demonstrate public support for a plan to create a desert transport service -- a modern day "stagecoach" that will connect several villages in the area which no longer have transport, such as Tahal and Senes." With more people living in urban centers rather than rural ones, what was once a prevailing "village life" is eroding throughout the world.
Yesterday I spoke of bands doing initiatives compatible with their own identity, this is the perfect echo for Skoda putting it in the center of social causes which resemble it. Go to Desert Cowboys website to know more.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Charlottesville, United States: As you are you shall be governed.

As you are you shall be governed - artwork by Tarek Chemaly

I said it before, about the United States (you can look for the origin of the sentence here) "as you are you shall be governed". What is happening in Charlottesville only proves it. Nothing much to say sadly.

How do companies pick their target audiences? The confusing case of Lebanon

Jaguar, which apparently won car of the year has its ads all over my browser for its F-Pace. A middle of the road clothing boutique just sent me a text announcing it was 60% in all of its branches, and a week ago one of the city's most upscale shops sent a similar text - the price difference between the two shops is enormous. Adidas targets me as well in its announcements. And the list continues.
Truth be told, I am confused as to how companies (specifically companies I never purchased from in the past) decide to target me. Or any audience at large.
Sure, there is the socioeconomic class factor. Which splits into social and economic. Meaning the income does play a part but so does the social aspect (what kind of a job, how prominent the profile etc...). Classes go from A+ to E with C being middle class. And B/A being more on the upper echelons.
Then there is the newer way which centers around psychometric elements - these are independent from the socioeconomic status. They center around hobbies, lifestyle, opinions, etc... Ex, when you go hiking there is a big likelihood the person next to you has a different job, earns a different amount of money yearly, yet you both meet every Sunday to go on a trail together and end up bonding accordingly.
Which brings me to the central case of this post: How do companies pick their target audiences?
At this stage, and considering I work in advertising myself, I have no clue how to answer.
There is little likelihood I am a Jaguar customer all while being the target of a boutique with products of so-so quality at the same time. I can understand being emailed invites to the opening of art shows, I am after all an artist (and a blogger to boot), and I sure heavy rolling collectors get the same email and gallerists or institutions do not expect me to place red dots (i.e. buy) the artworks. I get invited for totally different reasons.
But how companies classify their potential clients is still a mystery. How can very luxurious brands and run of the mill ones both think the same customer could be interested in them. Someone from a lower socioeconomic class buys his/her beachwear from a street van, someone a bit more well off goes to fast fashion stores for the same purpose, go up the social/financial echelon and upscale boutiques become it, and eventually luxurious retailers end up serving the top of the food chain for exactly the same intended buy: A beachwear item.
Theoretically, these are very different targets - and here I am discounting the possibility of cross-over clients who buy from luxury outlets on discount - yet somehow, companies tend to jumble everyone in the same basket.
Or perhaps, the world changed so much that aspirational customers and current ones do end up rubbing shoulders in places where in the past they never did, and that the person going to malls ends up buying from a Zara and then picks up his/her luxurious SUV parked downstairs.
"People would park their cars in front of Via Spiga and go to shop at Akil" - so went the joke when Akil a cheap overstock retailer opened in Kaslik, which at the time was one of the land's most expensive shopping streets. Via Spiga which closed since then was one of the county's most upscale retailers with a flaghsip store in the aforementioned area, while Akil is still there though, nestled between a rotating space and and once fashionable boutique which was a go-to address. Maybe high-brow and low-brow have become closer to one another with time.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Ocean Spray - the recycling initiative compatible with the brand

Often times i look at a brand's initiative and the question that goes through my mid is "who thought of that and how is it compatible with the spirit of the brand or what it represents?" which is why it was refreshing (no pun!) to see Ocean Spray have a recycling garbage cans. What gives? Well Ocean Spray comes in bottles and these bottles need recycling, the can next to it is for glass bottles as well. The line of the cans says "naturally cleaner" which echoes "naturally tastier" which is the brand's own selling line. For me, this initiative fits super well with the brand! Oh and it's good for the environment to boot.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Bose sound system gets a Lebanese treatment via Bachir

Here's the backstory, Onlivery is organizing a draw, and Bachir Glace (or Bouza Bachir) is offering a Bose portable sound system as part of it hence the pun in the ad "You feel like a Bose/a". It is "cute" (not too impressive just cute) but problem is, international brands have very strict rules of their logo - meaning you cannot say "Absolut's taste" you must say "the taste of Absolut (vodka)" so as for the brand not to be included in sentences or with possessive or whatever. So what Bose thinks of this is beyond me.

Exotica weddings - why not reissue the greatest hits?

Exotica has pitched in on the wedding season with their own ad. "We groom them with love" - an oblique reference as opposed to a directly overt one. Cute and charming, but to be honest I am in the mood of seeing the Exotica greatest hits reissued. You don't believe me? Look what they did in the past for the weddings ad:
Someone call me when they get to beat that!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Has the real estate bubble burst in Lebanon?

Well, that is interesting - there are currently two ads on the road to indicate that apartment prices are being "smashed". Maybe smashed as the ads say (one says "liquidating") is a bit too much (considering the prices) but it is interesting - this is not some "deal on the last apartment available" kind of thing, this is really prices going down. Not only that, the amount for signs that say "for rent" or "for sale" on the road is frightening - whole centers seem empty and most of them are newly constructed. Certain upscale areas are a bit ghost-town-ish with apartments or whole buildings even remaining unsold and windows gathering dust. Dan Azzi whom I have as a connection on Linkedin predicted this a long time back, and Executive Magazine wrote an interesting article about the issue, so I guess there must fire under the smoke!

Faber Castell and the back to school campaign

Carry your dreams, passions, etc.... This is what Faber Castell is promising energetic, sports-centered, socially active, musically gifted, arts enthusiastic youth in their new campaign. It portrays them in all the possible situations that millennials love to explore - and mind you they are the biggest chunk that prefers to invest in experiences above material possessions - so the campaign covers the target audience masterfully enticing them to go out and live (more) if such a thing was possible (once someone throws a glance at Instagram).

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

VW Arteon and the case of the blind photographer

VW has a beautiful touching advertising for its Arteon model. It stars Pete Eckert, a blind photographer - no oxymoron here. The ad is reminiscent of Al Mutanabi, the Arab poet who famously wrote "I am he whom the blind saw my literature, and whose words were heard by the deaf one". Except that VW plays on a different angle - the sensuality, the process of Eckert's work, in a very intimate even if in an non-egocentric way (championed by Al Mutanabi). Actually when the copy arrives to "beauty in every sense" - with "sense" as a double-entendre one gets the goosebumps. A lovely, moving ad from the automaker, one which blends art, humility and passion for one's craft.

Pizzanini - testing the limits of a logo

That's interesting, Pizzanini and its logo(s) - plural. As you can see from the photo above, there is PizzaNini (with baker and slice of pizza - and without), there is an adaptation for something called "Leonardo's Pizza" where Pizza Nini becomes two words and there's the newest incarnation of Pizzanini (or rather all caps PIZZANINI). This is not an isolated case mind you, Anthony's in Antelias has three logos cohabitating peacefully. Several other brands, depending on the whim of the art director, the printing press, the available material, the investment already one in one branch over the other, heck ever large corporations face it - when I asked a widely present company about their rebranding they admitted that it would take at least 2-3 years for the bags to catch up - "we ordered so many with the previous logo that we keep using them". The pizza is good though if you want to know!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Lime Tree and the new menu ad which made me laugh.

Cannot remember when was the last time an ad made me smile outright. And this one did. It's for the new menu of Lime Tree which the ad assures us "it's still wrapped in plastic" (ba3do bel naylon). People bragging about something that's still in "nylon"/plastic is a claim that something is still oh-so-new. No idea how good the new menu is (which funnily is written in transliterated Arabic!) but if it is half as good as the ad, that's fine by me!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Of Nescafe Cappucino and real Italians

"Finally I found a real Italian" - when I saw this Nescafe Cappuccino campaign my reflex was "what, you've never been to Italy?". I still find that slogan odd every time I look at the campaign. "Nothing tastes sweeter" says the other billboard. Again, trying to make sense of this add takes too much effort from me because I always go back to - "go to Italy to find a real Italian". Here's hoping the product is as Italian as the woman claims.
Apparently I have been notified this is a follow up to a TVC which accompanies director Marwa Khalil in search of a "real" Italian to act in the ad, Khalil was also featured on the billboards. The TVC is over-long and drives the point slower than an Antonioni movie - how that's for a real Italian comparison!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Ksara summer campaign is a mix and graphic mismatch

Ksara and the summer campaign, languishing by the pool, under a parasol, with instagram-compatible background. But I am ahead of myself. Ksara does manage to look very summerish in this campaign, which is laid back but not too laid back, with graphic elements but a bottle that is still a stand out and ready to be popped. It helps that perhaps they might have rented every other billboard in town (oddly - and I stand corrected - I feel there are not enough new outdoor campaigns popping up, but I discussed this before). On all accounts there is a "minimal" element in the campaign which sort of forces you to look at it (the Scandinavian aesthetic was built around this!) - and it has a soothing, calm undertone. Like a summer about to end.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Helen Mirren and the truth about advertising via moisturizers....

Moisturizer does f*** all - Hellen Mirren (artwork by Tarek Chemaly)
Helen Mirren, the face of L'Oreal since 2014 - an elderly distinguished actor - finally blurted the truth out regarding advertising. Those up in arm about her statement that "moisturizer probably does f*** all" failed to understand the full statement which here it is: "“I’m an eternal optimist - I know that when I put my moisturizer on it probably does f--- all, but it just makes me feel better. I’ve always said to L’Oreal as well that I will only do what makes me feel better.”
Here's the thing, I have worked briefly with Joe Ayache and he would tell me - "you are not selling a beauty cream, you are selling hope". Lately, I was having lunch with a higher-echelon advertising person and I managed to include the words "ethics" and "advertising" - the man was so good-natured he was incapable of sarcasm but even he said "I am not sure these two words belong in the same sentence". But before judging, and regardless of the actual merits of the products, what is wrong with a bit of "hope" (as per Ayache) or something that "makes me feel better" (as per Mirren).
I for one believe in that - that fundamentally - and away from the "basic" functions of an ad, there is nothing wrong with feeling more-confident while dressed in a shirt from a certain designer, or tricking yourself to believe such a brand makes you more handsome, or rugged, or more successful with the other gender, or wearing such a pair of glasses makes you look more brainy or hisper-ish, or spraying so and so deodorant or cologne increases your sexiness.
I know we all use special shampoos for dry-damaged-sensitive hair, but do you know that these merits only work in labs and under specific washing conditions which our showers never replicate? Still, do use these shampoos. I used anti-dandruff shampoos till I my head turned into a head and shoulders (haha pun!) but eventually what really took the dandruff off was artisanal oil-based soap.
All cars take you from point A to point B, but a Mercedes Benz adds a status symbol to it. All flowers smell nice but a red rose costs a fortune on Valentine (sorry bard but "a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet" is not true - a rose is a brand in itself). Oh and did you know diamonds have beaten the laws of economics? Usually a product is as high as its scarcity yet emeralds are more scarce and less cheap than diamonds. Why? "a diamond is forever" the most famous line in advertising history by De Beers. The marketing and positioning of the diamond brand make it so that it became more expensive than emeralds.
So there, give me a product that makes me feel good even if does - in the immortal words of Helen Mirren - "f*** all".