Sunday, October 13, 2019

October 13 1990 in Lebanon - Questioning history (101)

And in Lebanon some things happen, then they do not - just like in a Garcia Marquez story... This was October 13 1990.

Balkis rides the Lebanese apples bandwagon

What's with everyone scrambling to support Lebanese apple producers, Balkis rides the bandwagon with them emphasizing they produce "Pure Lebanese Juice" from Lebanese apples, with - tadam - the image of an apple peeled with the shape of the Lebanese map. Balkis (see here, here and here) always have conceptually very interesting ads, but it is the execution that always veers towards the sophomoric rendering the concepts much less interesting. Still, this is the right ad at the right time, so strategy wise, it was a smart outing.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

City Mall - uses logo for Cancer Awareness

How many brands  beg for a way to integrate their logo while promoting events. Seems like City Mall had its prayers answered. Look closely and you will see... Breasts! So within the big my-brand-is-more-concerned-about-early-detection-than-yours it is easy to say that City Mall won big. Problem is - every time I will look at their logo henceforth I will think of boobs!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Al Wadi Al Akdar - goes perfectly minimalist!

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery. I suppose the Al Wadi Al Akhdar ads were done under this mantra! Seriously, one cannot get more minimalist than that. And yet, it works like a charm. "Do not settle for less than the best" (interestingly, it is addressed in the female form which assumes men are excluded!). Still, this small flaw aside, these ads - which are literally all over town - are clean, well-done and incredibly enticing. But then, I am a man, so what do I know?

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

And for October 13, Tayyar comes with a masterpiece.

October 13 1990, is the day of the Syrian assault on Baabda Palace ousting General Michel Aoun (who is now president ironically) out. So to commemorate the day, the Free Patriotic Movement (Tayyar al Watani Al Hurr) came up with a classic ad nothing short of a masterpiece. The soldier silhouette doing the classic salute contains the image of a young man putting his hand on his eyes to foresee in the distance. And if this is not enough? The touching lne "Madin lil ghad" (a past for the future) seals it with a ribbon! There could be a double-entendre here with "Madin" meaning "we persevere" but I could be injecting a layer that is not there. Excellent work! Side note the ad comes from Clementine (lately going from strength to strength).

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Wait, did Maccaw just tiptoe on Bonjus?

I think I am genuinely confused: In the most recent Maccaw ad, the one for back to school, the English version reads "Put a smile on your school day" - what sounded the alarm in my mind is that "put a smile on your day" was for a long time, the calling card of their juice competitor Bonjus.
Now if Bonjus changed it to "Just smile" which (if you dig deeply you can see on their website) is beyond me. But in my mind, all this is incredibly confusing!

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Nescafe goes after iPhone11

OK I admit I got no clue if this is an official ad or a spoof, no matter what it is it actually works. Obviously the design mimics the iPhone11 back with cameras and all that except that it actually tells you to have one more cup of Nescafe. Smart! I just realized I am writing this while drinking Nescafe, I supppose a refill is in order.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

IDM fiber covers Bayada with an ad that works

IDM fiber covers Bayada, I can imagine this on the desk of any creative. A boring little thingy. But no! They nailed it. "Baydaneha" (which means "we did a great job" but also nods to the name of the town in question! See? Does not take much to make a good ad. And yeah, puns do work at times so get off my back with it!

From Holland(a) to The Netherland(a)?

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly
So there, Holland is rebranding from Holland to The Netherlands. Their tourist board will shift focus, their football team and their Eurovision entry name will change... But... Try saying that in Arabic! Holland commonly referred to as Hollanda in Arabic will become.... What? Netherlanda? I can understand the logic of the rebrand to attract tourists to other  bits in the land apart from Amsterdam, and to focus that it is other bits of the land are the ones that produce economically viable goods. But I smirked thinking how this will translate to Arabic? "Balad al manatik al soufla"? Suggestions are accepted.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Mastika is for gold diggers

Mastika is for gold diggers. The ad is clear and the instagram caption is clearer "we ain't saying she a gold digger", an obvious reference to the Kanye West (feat. Jamie Foxx) song. Naturally, the ad knows who it is talking to - people who either know the song or who do not but understand "gold diggers" literally as someone who digs/likes gold (the gum is after all the first uncoated, sugar free and aspartame free mastic flavored chewing gum in the MENA region and thus in the world). My small issue is that the layout makes it look like a an expensive scented candle (notice the light in the shape of a flame?), with a small adjustment, this could be it.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Wooden Bakery tackles cancer awareness [UPDATE]

Wooden Bakery is trying to tackle cancer (one day prior to the launch of the official cancer awareness month) while trying a bit too hard as they likened the charts to a manoushe. Now blending your brand with a cause is quite tough, so at least they really - REALLY - tried (a bit too hard), but sometimes kudos is given who do try, so there! It might not make sense but if some housewife seeing this on facebook is alarmed so much the better.
Seems this was a teaser of a campaigns whose revealer is this:
Apparently Wooden Bakery is donating 5% of the price of every Manoushe to the Lebanese Breast Cancer Foundation. Which makes the creative link above more logical.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Maccaw goes back to school.

This Maccaw ad seems pretty minimalist when compared to the ads done back yonder which included not less that 3 or 4 competing lines ("100% sante" - "il y a du Maccaw dans tous les fruits" (which survived in this one) - "source de vitamines" and so on!). Added to this in this ad is "le sourire de la rentree" (the smile of the back to school) with a gimmicky smiley face (and other items include school paraphernalia, plus 2 sizes of the juice all on a background of traced paper).
So yeah, "minimalist" is a bit relative I guess.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

McDonald's uses its golden arches for "Open Late".

If Bill Schwab and David Lynch had a love child, this would be it. McDonald's pulls a powerful move to advertise their "Open Late" by using dreamy images of retro Americana, by focusing on old neon lights, and by not using their full logo while instead using their golden arches mostly as the letter M in "cineMa", "macuMba" (night club), "laser gaMe" (an arcade), and "boWling" (where the arches were flipped to make a "W"). And there's no burger in sight! Seriously this is a beautiful, moody, and lovely campaign.

Lada Granta, taking slang to the extreme.

I admit, I am a bit torn here: I like the layout (I mean it is as creative as one can get in an hard sell ad), my issue is I think Lada took slang language to the extreme in this Granta ad. "Lebanese have stopped haggling (about prices)" - it is rather known that the Lebanese try to haggle on everything, so the subheadline goes "2500 USD saved without haggling" which I think sort of makes it a bit "cheapo". Why not use the proverb "We are generous and you are worthy" - this would have been better placed in the ad, conveying the same message without that too-slang-to-be-appropriate lingo. 

Friday, September 27, 2019

The Guardian: Hope is power.

To begin with, watch the incredible film, then look at the campaign.
The campaign film is directed by Academy Award-winning director James Marsh, known for his Stephen Hawking biopic, The Theory of Everything. It is set to music from the Tony award-winning musical ‘Hadestown’, the track ‘Nothing Changes’ is written by Anaïs Mitchell.
Anna Bateson, Chief Customer Officer of Guardian News & Media said: “Against the backdrop of a volatile political landscape around the world and with a frugal budget, we have chosen to take a bold creative approach which we hope will inspire readers to support Guardian journalism in a number of ways.”
As a faithful daily The Guardian reader, I can tell you I found the film and campaign to be moving beyond words. I am truly in awe!

Thursday, September 26, 2019

"Jacques (Chrirac) est un ennemi" - Saad Hariri

The tight relationship between the Hariris and the Chiracs is only too well documented - when Jacques Chirac decided to retire from the public eye he did so in the Hariri-owned villa opposite the Versailles palace. And when Rafic Hariri was slain in 2005, Jacques Chirac (who passed away today), made a fast visit to Beirut. It was supposed to be an incredible mediatic coup - a French president comes immediately comes to Lebanon to offer condolences for a deceased Lebanese Prime Minister, a feat unheard of before.
 Saad Hariri, our current prime minster was at the airport to greet him - Future Television (now defunkt) made a sensation and interviewed him right there at the airport - only for the PM to utter the blunder of all blunders! "Jacques (Chirac) est un ennemi" (Jacques (Chirac) is an ennemi) he said instead of "ami" (friend). Obviously his French language was not too developed because he said it with his trademark smile.
The video was immediately burried after some broadcasts (seems French language was not the forte of the station).
As Jacques Chirac (with whom I was not on first name basis like our prime minister) dies today I cannot but recall this annecdote.

Cenacle de la lumiere - a new tone of voice about addicts

 Oh! Now this is surprising, Cenacle de la lumiere (CDLL) is launching a new campaign about addiction. OK, so it is doing it the old-trusted way by getting comedians and actors and what not on board as seen below (for a special concert it seems).
The  novelty? It does not talk about addicts condescendingly, or with a tone of menace, or in a silly gimmick kind of way, rather it treats this as a topic where everyone is involved because addiction is not something that is about the addict in a void kind of way - but involves parents, families, schools, educational systems, peer pressure, and believe it or not sensitive souls trying to find their way!... So Kudos to CDLL for finding a smart adult language to speak about addiction because as they said, "it is not  joke, we are all involved".

Monday, September 23, 2019

F*uck Beirut Pride? Make sure to wear a condom.

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly
This just in from Beirut Pride:
"Thank you for the tremendous support you constantly show Beirut Pride. It is an inevitable support, as Beirut Pride is about our dignity and about our right to lead a life without hate and violence against us, against you, against your friends, family members, colleagues, loved ones, etc.
To those defaming against Beirut Pride and attacking it (be you uninformed, lazy to work or simply riding a wave of fake news), we tell you that if you really want to f*uck Beirut Pride, then do wear a condom. We do not advocate hate, but we advocate safety!"

Banque Saudi Fransi - masterstroke on Saudi National Day

With tag #الوطن_يجمعنا (the country unites us) the Saudi National Day gave birth to the bland ads with little or no effect but Banque Saudi Fransi went with a bang. In a cute ad they actually sent congratulations to all the other banks in Saudi Arabia (remembe - the country unites us!). So competition be damned! This was a time for the kingdom to stand as one! Brilliant strategic thinking people and an excellent ad.

Audi A3 - a lovely back to school text message.

"A great car to attend or skip classes." So goes the Audi A3 text message sent. Listen, you can be infuriated as much as you want "Audi is now encouraging students to skip classes", bottom line - I laughed hard when I got the message. Yes, it's cute, it addresses the youth, it makes sense, and it pleases those who want to attend classes too! I love it.