Saturday, March 17, 2018

In the war between H&M and Revok, H&M is right!

In case you did not hear - H&M included this photo in its recent campaign, the artist who did the artwork in the background is known a Revok and is a prominent graffiti artist. His original name is Jason Williams and he claims that H&M had an "unauthorized use of his artwork" - and also that their was a copyright breach.
H&M responded with this: "(T)he entitlement to copyright protection is a privilege under federal law that does not extend to illegally created works", graffiti in itself being illegal ergo it is not protected under copyright laws. Of course, this puts in danger the artistic validity of a graffiti artwork, it allows corporations to use the graffiti without going back to the original artist, and without any valid "collaborative" effect which would help the artist financially.
Unfortunately, H&M is right!
Never mind the consequences on the legal angle, but they are right - graffiti is illegal, which means that these artworks were done without permission, and therefore are put there for the enjoyment of the public. Claiming them legal devoids them of any "graffiti" attribution.
So maybe Revok should have thought of this prior of accusing H&M of violating his "copyright".
A perplexing situation indeed, but H&M is right.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Farid Haykal El Khazen shoots himself in the foot for the elections

"Ya hala bil dayf" (welcome to the guest) said the teaser campaign, then the revealer went a choice between "guest of Kesserwan" and "heart of Kesserwan" (with this one checked!) and a signature for Farid Haykal El Khazen. The gimmick of a choice among two was already done in 2009 by the Free Patriotic Movement, and obviously El Khazen is targetting Chamel Roukoz with his campaign - even if with "ya hala bel dayf" the campaign seems to be shooting itself in the foot (when welcome the "guest" who supposedly is not from Kesserwan only to bash him later). But that's election (il)logic for you!

Of clientage and proper merit for the elections

When I first saw this ad from the Lebanese Forces elections campaign which said "now is the time for merit not clientage" (clientage is the use of someone's influence to get something which under proper circumstances one would not get) my first reflex went to Sethrida Geagea who is of course running for the elections - her main claim to fame was that she was the wife of Samir Geagea head of the executive committee of the Lebanese Forces.
Please do not think I am belittling Mrs Geagea, she managed to keep the party afloat in the darkest hours and this is no mean feat for a woman celebrated above all for her beauty (turns out she has persistence and brains too!). But if you think this is a separate case for the Lebanese Forces, then please do check the list below which includes every Lebanese party under the sun and how each and everyone is using nepotism to boost its own candidates. Below is the list:
As you shall note it is political dynasties on and on again....

Thursday, March 15, 2018

So let spoofs begin - elections

That did not take long to happen! Election spoofs have begun - above Bonzai Travel designs mimicks the ads of the Lebanese Forces and the Kataeb by inserting their own travel gimmick beneath the usual "it's about time" and "we have the solution" displayed by the parties in question.
Below are also four ads from Sandwich w Noss, however due to the immature way they replied to Beit Al Mokhtar by complaining to Facebook on the lovely Jab Beit Al Mokhtar initiated I now no longer find them funny - that was petty was they did.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The South goes to the elections

I saw this logo online for a specific candidate, and it seems this is the south's way to rebel against the order dominated by the Amal-Hizbollah coalition (what speaker of the parliament referred to as "ma7dale" or asphalt leveler). Of course, this does not always go back to just political parties but also to people voting for them and it would not be the first time the south tries to establish a new equation away from the said coalition. So many people are running against the pre-established order in these elections. Let us see what this will yield. "The South can" says the logo, but can it?

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Sushi Ko, when puns work.

As someone who likes to toy with languages and did so for such a long time as a copywriter, I often find myself thinking "when does a pun work and when does it fall flat?". Indeed, I sometimes read a word play and say "meh!" other times I find myself unconsciously smiling appreciatively. The Sushi Ko with their "donut miss it!" (instead of "do not") made me smile immediately. Again, I know not what it is about it that works, but it does. To be honest I have no clue what this says about the product or if there are donut-shaped sushi pieces or not. But hey, I did smile!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Sandwich w Noss replies to Beit Al Mokhtar - by complaining to Facebook

Remember that very cute jab from Beit Al Mokhtar towards Sandwich w Noss?
Sandwich w Noss has finally replied! By complaining to Facebook that a trademark infringement happened in the photos and then forcing Beit Al Mokhtar to blur the images! Yep! That's the best they could do? Did they reply with some cute funny-as-hell joke that they keep using themselves in their own copy? Did they, as Zaatar w Zeit replied to me, when I notified them that a huge Kababji ad was on top of their store, with their selling line "love, regardless"? Nope! They complained to Facebook.
Really? This is the best you can do Sandwich w Noss?
Pity you marketed yourselves as cute and funny, because when push came to shove, you went out the petty way!

Al Mustaqbal - talisman against the evil eye for the elections

Al Mustaqbal just unveiled its campaign for the elections - the talisman against the evil eye! "we are the talisman against the evil eye that protects Lebanon". After launching a teaser campaign which included the talisman in many words (which are supposed to be what the party stands for) the revealer came in the shape of the ad above. I know that the talisman is called "kharze zar2a" or blue talisman, and blue being the color of the Mustaqbal (future) movement, then creatively it clicked. But sadly the campaign is truly so way off the tracks!
I think it is fair to say that there is an element of childishness in the campaign, but the best part of it is that - from here on - no matter what other parties end up doing, this will be the lowest benchmark to compare this year's campaigns to.

Sandwich w Noss replies to Beit Al Mokhtar - by complaining to Facebook

Remember that very cute jab from Beit Al Mokhtar towards Sandwich w Noss?
Sandwich w Noss has finally replied! By complaining to Facebook that a trademark infringement happened in the photos and then forcing Beit Al Mokhtar to blur the images! Yep! That's the best they could do? Did they reply with some cute funny-as-hell joke that they keep using themselves in their own copy? Did they, as Zaatar w Zeit replied to me, when I notified them that a huge Kababji ad was on top of their store, with their selling line "love, regardless"? Nope! They complained to Facebook.
Really? This is the best you can do Sandwich w Noss?
Pity you marketed yourselves as cute and funny, because when push came to shove, you went out the petty way!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Zwan - Zere'z only one

Just in case you missed the first "th" which got transformed into Z, the "'s" is turned into a Z as well. Every time I saw the ad I found myself smiling, so it must be doing something right. Zwan by the way has no less than three different ads right now on the market.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Robert Helou, aka Abou Fouad from the Yes commercials passed away

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly as part of the "Alternative facts" project
(Lebanese history via pop culture)
Abou Fouad from the Yes commercials fame is no more!
To say the man was iconic is not an understatement.
May he rest in peace.
As a side note - the Abou Fouad character comes from a now defunkt agency called Chemly, Saffouri and Partners (CSP) in the late 60s in Beirut.

Paulette Yagopian for the elections

Well, here's a confusion - after years upon years of marketing herself as "Paula Yacoubian" it turns out that the TV host-social activist apparently was born under the name of Paulette Yagopian. Normally it should not matter, except it does! In terms of personal branding, now as someone in the communication field, I see a huge discrepancy between the two characters (even if they are one!). The late Sabah was Jeanette Feghali no longer, Fairouz is not Nohad Haddad anymore, but Paula Yacoubian - the public and personal brand- had to resurrect her original name for the elections.
Apparently, in the new law, photos of the candidates have to be put on the ballots, because otherwise, whereas "Paula Yacoubian" is recognized as a brand, the person behind it is not someone the public knows or recognizes.
When Lebanese actress Liz Sarkissian wanted to start a career in Egypt, she was advised to have a more Arabic name, so she went with the name Iman, only for everyone to keep calling her Liz Sarkissian, so much that a movie critic told her to brand herself as "Iman, formerly known as Liz Sarkissian".
Would you vote for Paula Yacoubian? For Paulette Yagopian? They are the same, but actually very different.
Now, assuming Mrs Yacoubian/Yagopian makes it to the parliament, which name will she be known under?

El Marada, the tomorrow people, for the elections

"We are yesterday and we are tomorrow" says one El Marada panel, "we are forgiveness and we are tomorrow"(forgiveness because Al Marada, connected to the Frangieh family, suffered what was called "the Ehden Massacre" where Tony Frangieh was assassinated in an inter-Christian battle). So basically by axing the campaign around tomorrow, this could be a ticket to smuggle the next generation of Frangiehs into politics, namely Tony Suleiman Frangieh (who happens to be the grandson of the slain one).

Friday, March 9, 2018

عن تحفة "بيلاطس البنطي" للبروفيسور طلال درجاني

سوف أبدأ هذا المقال باعتراف، البروفيسور طلال الدرجاني هو شخص أسميه صديقاً بكل فخر، لذلك خلال هذه المقالة سأوقف التظاهر بدعوته البروفيسور درجاني والتزم بتسمية "طلال". بالإضافة إلى ذلك ، لقد قرأت نص المسرحية منذ عدة أشهر منذ أن أرسله لي طلال بكل ثقة وامانة.
ومع ذلك ، فإن الكلمات التالية ليست تلك القادمة من صديق ولكن من هاوٍ معجب.
كل ذلك يأتي بنا الى مسرحية "بيلاطس  البنطي" الجديدة من طلال المبنية  من رواية بولغكوف "المعلم ومارغاريتا" من بطولة خالد العبد الله (مع دراما صوتية) وهشام أبو سليمان ومجيد زغيب (مع دراما حركية) والدكتورة ماريا كريستي باخوس كمساعدة مخرج.
لقد قرأت رواية بولغاكوف، واعترف ان كلمات المسرحية - حتى لو تحولت إلى مونولوجات وحوارات ممسرحة - قد تُرجمت كلمة كلمة تقريبًا من الكتاب الأصلي على الرغم من إعادة صياغتها وترتيبها وصهرها في بعض الاحيان. ويعود ذلك إلى أن طلال يعتقد أنه يجب أن يكون المرء قريباً جداً من النص الأصلي كي تبقى روح الكاتب ونظرته - وهو يكرر نكتة تشيخوف الشهيرة عندما خرج الكاتب القصصي والمسرحي بغضب من البروفات عندما لم يكن المخرج مخلصاً لرؤيته. لقد اغفل طلال مشهداً واحداً من الكتاب وهو مشهد لبلاطس مع كلبه بانغا في الآخرة وفضل ان ينتهي العمل على اشكالية متعلقة بموت يهوذا (لن استطيل اكثر لكيلا افصح عن التفاصيل).
ان واحدة من القضايا الرئيسية في عمل بولغاكوف هي فكرة الخير والشر، وكيف يبدو أن تلك الكلمات تسقط وتنقلب عند التنقيب عنها - لدرجة ان فرقة الرولينغ ستونز استلهمت أغنية "Symptahy for the Devil" او التعاطف مع الشيطان من هذا الكتاب.
لا يكاد يكون هناك شيء يعيب المسرحية، فالاخراج لا تشوبه شائبة ، والتمثيل الرائع، والموسيقى كتبها تشايكوفسكي، والنص تم تعريبه بكل اتقان، ولقد تم استخدام الفضاء المسرحي في حده الأدنى ولكن بمغزى كبير، والرسالة المعاصرة قابلة للتكيف مع عالم اليوم حتى لو كان عمرها أكثر من ألفي سنة.
وقد أخبرني طلال في سياق محادثة خاصة أن مطلبه الرئيسي للممثل الذي سوف يجسد بيلاطس كان ان الممثل المعني "أن يكون له نفس الرؤية" لبيلاطس كالتي لديه، ويمكن القول ان خالد العبد الله يمتلك تلك الرؤية فهو يمثل، ليس فقط بالحركة، بل بصوت يتأرجح بين منخفض وغير مسموع تقريباً ثم يتبعه بعد جزء من الثانية لاحقاً برشقات نارية عالية تطغي على الحاضرين وترسو المسرحية على كاهله في مونولوجات طويلة إلى أن يظهر أبوسليمان بعد ذلك بدور متى (الرسول) بشحصية على وشك الانهيار العصبي الكامل.
بيلاطس رجل ألقي في أورشليم، يعاني من الصداع النصفي، ويصادف أنه يكره حرارة الطقس، ولا يثق إلا في كلبه بانغا، وهو عالق بين الكهنة اليهود من جهة ويسوع الناصري من جهة أخرى.
يطبق طلال ببراعة مبدأ "فرد تشيخوف" حيث يضع المرء شيئاً فقط على خشبة المسرح قفط إذا كان أحد ينوي استخدامه - وبالفعل فقد تحولت الدعائم المسرحية واكسسواراتها الى ادوات تم إعادة تدويرها واستخدامها وإعادة استخدامها بأشكال متغيرة تنتقل من طريقة إلى آخرى.
كيف يمكن ترجمة موضوع المسرحية إلى عالم اليوم هو أمر سهل التفسير - كما لو أن الأمور قد تم تجميدها لمدة عشرين قرنًا مع نفس الغموض بين مفهوم الخير والشر، اضافة الى الاساطير المتعلقة بالشهادة والأبطال الذين سقطوا، التي ان تمت رؤيتها من زاوية أخرى، يمكن دعوتها بالـ"الخيانة" و"العمالة" كما وتظهر عبارة "القدس ، تلك المدينة الملعونة" أكثر من مرة في المسرحية، ويضيف العبد الله صوته الغنائي الحزين والمنتحب لتظهر الرسالة أكثر وضوحاً.
لقد أحببت المسرحية وقد لامست كل جوارحي، ويمكن لقراء المقال استنباط ل المعلومات المتعلقة بالمسرحية في الملصق، ولا يمكنني أن أوصي بمشاهدتها بما فيه الكفاية - حتى بالنسبة لأولئك الذين لا يهتمون بالمسرح عادة.

On Professor Talal Darjani's masterpiece "Pontius Pilate"

I shall begin with post with a disclosure, Professor Talal Darjani is someone I proudly call a friend, so throughout this piece I shall drop the pretense of calling him Professor Darjani and stick to Talal. In addition, I have read the text of play several months back as well since Talal sent to me privately.
However, the words below are not those coming from a friend but from an enamored viewer.
Talal's new play Pontius Pilate comes from Bulgakov's seminal novel "The Master and Margarita" and stars Khaled Al-Abdullah (with voice drama), Hisham AbouSleiman, and Majid Zougheib (with movement drama) with Dr. Maria-Christie Bakhos as assistant-director.
Talal is nothing if not a purist, I have read Bulgakov's novel and the words of the play - even if transformed into theatrical monologues and dialogues are almost translated word for word from the original book despite being reworked and rearranged. That's because Talal believes one should be very close to the original text - and he keeps repeating the famous Chekhov joke when the famous author and playwright stormed out of rehearsals when a director was not being faithful to his vision.
One of the major issues in the work of Bulgakov is the notion of good and evil and how interchangeable they appear to be on closer inspection - just to give you a hint, the song "Symptahy for the Devil" by The Rolling Stones was inspired by that book.
All of this brings us to Talal's play which premiered yesterday on the Russian Culture Center in Verdun. Tatal did one omission from the original book (there was one last scene of Pontius Pilate with his dog Banga - in the afterlife) and otherwise preferred to cut the text on the cliffhanger about Judas (will not disclose further).
There is almost nothing to reproach the play, the direction is flawless, the acting superb, the music by Tchaikovsky, the text Arabized to perfection, the use of space minimal but very meaningful, the message contemporary and adaptable to today's world even if more than two thousand years old.
Tatal told me privately that his main requirement for the lead actor was for the actor in question to "have the same vision about Potnius Pilate as I do" and Khaled Al-Abdullah delivers for sure with a voice which oscillates between low and almost inaudible followed milliseconds later by high pitched bursts. Most of the play resides on his long monologues until, later AbouSleiman portrays a Mathew (the apostle) who is on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
Pontius Pilate is a man thrown in Jerusalem, has migraines, happens to dislike the heat, only trusts his dog Banga, and is caught between a rock and a hard place - namely the Jewish priests on one side and Jesus of Nazareth on the other.
Talal masterfully applies the "Chekhov's gun" principle whereby one only puts something on stage if one intends to use it - and the props of the play get morphed and recycled and used and reused with shifting shapes that transition from one use to another.
How the theme of the play translates into today's world is fairly simple to interpret - as if things has been freeze framed for twenty one centuries with the same ambiguity between the notion of good and evil added to the sense of martyrdom and fallen heroes, which looked at from another angle, is "treason". The words "Jerusalem, that cursed city" appear more than once in the play, and Al-Abdullah adds his mournful almost haunting singing voice to drive the message further.
To say I loved the play would be an understatement, in the photo above the dates and all useful information are cited, and I cannot recommend the play enough - even to those of you usually not interested in theater.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Lebanese Army gives a nod to Women's Day

Lebanese Army in a subtle way just acknowledged Women's Day with a quote from the head of the Army himself General Joseph Aoun which translated into "Women have played a valuable role in armies throughout the ages (begin quote) "we anticipate improving this role getting to the point where she (the woman) would be part of the fighting forces". Do note that the Lebanese army has women already in its ranks - including officers (some of them high ranked). I suppose, this coming from a society with several speeds, that the gesture needed to be acknowledged!

#uncelebratewomensday - PC Chandra Jewellers

Wow right on Women's Day PC Chandra Jewellers is inviting women to #uncelebratewomensday - in order to combat bias and eventually get to a point where Women's Day is a daily occurrence. The ad comes from J Walter Thompson Kolkata and depicts various women, some getting cookery gifts, others being told to sit cross-legged and some repeating statements to boys such as "don't cry like a girl". Watch the full movie here!

For women's day, should housewives be paid to do housework?

Nina Leen, [Housewife Marjorie McWeeney amid symbolic display of her week's housework], Life, June 16, 1947, p. 105]
The photo above, taken from the June 16, 1947 Life magazine by photographer Nina Leen shows housewife Marjorie McWeeny amid symbolic display of her week's housework. So on this women's day, I have only one question - should housewives be paid to do housework? There, no other question.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

In Kuwait, Burger King is "always on top" of McDonald's

How about this for media buy? Burger King, in Kuwait just scored the unipole on top of a McDonald's brand with the provocative line "always on top". Obviously the fight between the two fast food giants is spilling everywhere, but one must give it to Burger King that - not only they get the best location for their ad - but also knew how to use it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

#representlove the interracial emjois

So there is a campaign to add interracial emojis backed by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian who himself happens to be in an interracial relationship with Tennis great Serena Williams. Being someone who uses about 4 emojis (smiley, thinking man, sleeping sound, man shrugging) I am not the best person to judge, but I think - technically - as Larry from "Three's Company" (a sitcom from the 80s!!!) would say "the possibilities are endless". First the genders, then the races, then the skin tones, and last but not least - the stereotyping. How does one represent all Asian men or all Latin women while still ensuring skin tone degradation, representative features and the rest.
Still, it is the kind of project that is so 2018!