Monday, January 21, 2019

Coral - quite a funny ad!

How do you know an ad is funny? When you actually laugh - and when you do not skip the ad on youtube. Coral, that was soooo funny! Please watch here. The copywriting, casting, story, mood is so wonderful. Under the line "recharge positive energy - at least the ad acknowledges that (and this is not stereotypical) that it is usually Egyptians who work on petrol stations and asians help with the window-washing. But the ad is much more than a bunch of steretypes, it simply exudes joie de vivre! Honestly I caught myself smiling at the end of it.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Questioning history - Port 55 (92)

Artworks by Tarek Chemaly
The port two years after the Champolion tragedy which turned out to be an insurance scandal.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Bank Audi and Cafe el Hay - advertising but not as we know it.

Cafe el Hay - produced by Bank Audi.
Wait, what?
Well, seems Bank Audi has produced a series (labelled as comedy-drama) whose trailer you can see in the link. It's advertising but not as we know it I suppose. Banks are known to support the audio-visual industry, either as a way to product placement (we would see the characters in the bank or around the bank or using the bank's products) or as a way to pure benefit on the financial aspect (as in the case of Cedrus Invest and Nadine Labaki's Capernaum - which was nominated to the Golden Globes, the BAFTA Awards and the Academy Awards and which was picked up to international release). How this pans out to Bank Audi I got no clue, the trailer is already too youngo-hisperish in mood so could be a way to attract younger consumers. The bank has a page just for the series on its own website!
Still, with the ad business trying all possible ways, it is interesting to see where this one goes.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

New Man timely ad for Bachir Gemayel election.

Source: Naji Boulos
Wow talk about exceptional timing! This ad for New Man appeared in L'Orient le Jour after the election of (slain) President elect Bachir Gemayel "we now have a New Man for all the Lebanese". Bachir apparently investigated and found it was Jean-Claude Boulos who put it! Sadly, Bachir was not for all the Lebanese one of his famous quotes when told that Moslems do not like him was "bokra byet3awado" (they will get used to it). 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

National Bonds surpassed my "egg-spectations"

Well, that egg that beat Kylie Jenner on Instagram? This morning it was Volvo now it is National Bonds in the UAE - "we'll surpass your egg-spectations and multiply your most valuable savings". Watch and learn people, this is how you do concept and copy to match your product all while being in today's news. Super work!

Volvo capitalizes on the egg like on Instagram

Someone actually released an egg  picture in a bid to make it the most liked photo on Instagram (it surpassed Kylie Jenner's photo with her daughter Stormi by a long margin). Volvo cars Lebanon (I was unable to see this on any other account related to the brand internationally!) just capitalized on this with that oh-so-cute line "we protect what you like the most" ("like" - get it?). A small gem there ladies and gentlemen!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Gillette goes #metoo - the best a man can get!

Gillette goes #metoo - in an ad where they question their motto "the best a man can get". The ad shows men calling out other men when they publically harrassed a woman, men stopping fights between boys, men being ulnerable and showing emotions, and the story continues in schools, backyards, and boardrooms. At one point the voice over says: "“We believe in the best in men: To say the right thing, to act the right way. Some already are in ways big and small. But some is not enough. Because the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow” - the ad was directed by Kim Gehrig (who also did “Viva La Vulva” for Libresse). The backlash from traditional masculine men has started, but - just like Nike - I suppose Gillette is courting the males (and consumers) of tomorrow: the millenials. Watch the film here.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Lada and the timely snow ad

Well, at least Lada is reacting to the ambient weather! "He who has a Lada Urban does not care about the snow"... Pity they do not say how the Lada Urban behaves in the water clogged Dbayeh where the whole road became a giant pool. Alternatively, should you want a car to "ski and swim in the same day" I already told you about the Renault Amphicar.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Audi Bank still harping about the Lebanese Pound

In case anyone has been living  under a rock, the news is that the Lebanese Pound is under a lot of pressure. Actually the thing - should you read economic indicators - is about to implode. Yet, Audi Bank is still fiercely displaying its Lebanese card under the "my currency, my country" (seriously can anything be more tacky?) and the message "use your Loubnani card (which doubles as Lebanese and Lebanese currency in slang) and brag about your pound". Well, best of luck bragging!

The skyscrapper-inspired Corm House in Lebanon

Left "The Chysler Building" now for sale, and right the Corm House in Beirut
The Chrysler Building in New York has hit the market with no price tag. Lebanon has its own Corm House (the first skyscrapper in the Middle East) and which took its name after its founder who was called the "reluctant tycoon" and who retired at the age of forty to focus his life on his writing and philanthropic activities. Corm himself designed the house and though it is said to be a miniature Empire State Building, the resemblance to the Chrysler Building is also uncanny. Mr. Corm held the Ford Motor Company dealership in the Middle East and established branches in countries in the region (often building roads to make the branches accessible as well).
The house in question apparently contained a wealth of designer furniture (Marcel Breuer chairs
etc...) which combatants burned a part of as to procure heating during the war since the house had the bad luck of being situated along the infamous greenline (not too far from the museum).

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Renault Amphicar - because in Lebanon you can ski and swim in the same day!

With the streets clogging, the water all over the place, and the snow at 700 meters. Please meet Renault Amphicar - the perfect car for Lebanon, the country where you can "ski and swim in the same day". There: Problem solved.
PS - car pictured is in Achrafieh in the Kehde Classic Cars showroom.

Pepsi goes by way of McDonald's with "For The Love Of It"



I wish to start this message with wishes to the copywriter who will be in charge of transliterating the new Pepsi tagline n Arabic and managing to come up with something else than "ana ouhebbouhou" which is the Arabic of the McDonald's "I'm loving it". This being said - Pepsi seems to be living for now (as its old line said) since it only took it seven years to change the said line, which honestly is too short of a time and too confusing for consumers.
What consumers want is something consistent, they can identify with, be able to pick it at the selling points without too much head-scratching to make sure it is the same brand. Pepsi had a major head start in the Middle East because between 1968 and 1991 the League of Arab Nations banned the sale of Coca-Cola because it was sold in Israel. I am not sure what numbers say at this stage, but branding wise Pepsi seems to be in a terrible place.
So "For The Love Of" God, Pepsi stop your silly antics!

Questioning history - AF3 (91)

Artworks by Tarek Chemaly
AF3 the dishwashing liquid. Produced by "RIcan International". Whereas the ad for its older brother AF7 is nowhere to be found, this one survived as a testimony for the ages even without the catchy jingle of the other ad.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

BETC makes Disneyland magic get real!

And to start the year with a Bang, please meet the BETC ad to promote Disneyland Paris! "Where magic gets real" and magic could not come better than equipped with the BETC wand. Take it from a non-Disney fan (meaning I am not easily moved) - this is too beautiful. Wonderful storytelling, charming execution, and a "denouement" that is so touching! Watch the video here.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Does "Touch" telecom have the secret to happiness?

So here we are, not a day goes by without anyone in Adland telling us how to be happy. Consume this, buy that, experience this, become that - a simple but engaging counter-narrative can be seen in Jean-Jacques Goldman's "Les Choses" (the things) - whose lyrics can be found here. To those challenged in French I am translating a small fragment: "Without "thing" I do not exist/The eyes slide on me/I envy what others have/I crave what I do not have/happiness is possession". Seriously people, is there anything more ad-friendly than this reasoning? I invite you read Paul Dolan's piece in the Guardian today as an additional measure should you have the time - it is a brilliant piece on the notions and stereotypes of happiness (read it here).
Now I admit, my memory is quite (quite!) sharp. And I always tell people: You do not want me to remember something do not say it in my presence. And what applies to others applies to me: I can recall things or events which happened long-ago with the same emotionality as if they happened now (no, I am not stupid, I am the first to admit memory reconstructs events so the way I recall them is quite present-specific!. So telling me not to remember such events is telling me not to be myself. I can hang on to a grudge better than most - and yes, I can be vindictive.
I am digressing for a reason.
Please meet the new Touch telecom ad (watch here), the punchline is: "let the good moments continue our happiness, and let us turn the page on the bad ones". Oh Touch, why were you not in my life with your wisdom as a series of unfortunate events befell on me between 2010-17 (read this with sarcasm) at a rate a psychotherapist friend described as "not for human consumption" before adding that he was still reeling from one of the issues I faced and he was still finding it insurmountable!
I am not against some pop psychology for the masses such as the one Touch is proposing. But claiming that "turn[ing] the page on the bad ones" is the key to happiness is honestly a little of a long stretch.
At some point, it was the "why" things happened that kept bugging me. Recently I found the answer, which was encompassing yet also simplistic: Because I am resilient as all hell and tough as steel.
No advertising can teach you that - trust me, take it from someone who works in advertising.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Gender reveal is a thing now in the Middle East

Source
Gender reveal is apparently now a thing in the Middle East.
Add this to the hundred other things which do not make sense.
Halloween? (which is mixed with Saint Barbara), Black Friday? (sans Thanksgiving), proposing while bending a knee? (thank you instagram), bachelor parties? (confused with the regular parties prior to marriage), proposals to proms? (heck since when did proms with limousines were on the map!)... check, check, check, and the list continues. Traditions, and social happenings we import, not knowing their origins, social signification, anthropological meanings.
I do understand that certain things become crazes (ice bucket challenge anyone?) and what used to take some time to go around the world takes now a split of second through social media posts. Yet at times I cannot but wonder - do we understand what we celebrate or do?
Several years back, mothers of uber rich families rented a bus on Halloween so as for their kids to go trick and treating throughout Beirut. The religion of the kids seemed not to matter in the process. A lot of Lebanese brides today abide by the "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" on their wedding day. What this means, I am sure no bride can tell me.
Here is a fun fact: diamonds are the only commodity that does abide by economic laws. Let me explain: The more the scarcity of the good, the higher the price. Yet emeralds are more scarce than diamonds! Which one is more expensive? You tell me. However De Beers the diamond giant marketed the "a diamond is forever" (coined by the A.N. Ayer ad agency - specifically copywriter Frances Gerety - Advertising Age proclaimed it "slogan of the century in 1999) slogan and the rest is history.
The scheme was so subtle that they made it like only diamonds are associated with romance. In a memorandum from the agency to the client these words appear: "We spread the word of diamonds worn by stars of screen and stage, by wives and daughters of political leaders, by any woman who can make the grocer's wife and the mechanic's sweetheart say 'I wish I had what she has.'"
So there, at least you will understand why you picked a damn diamond ring to propose now!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Woodbees and the nice word-play!

Woodbees is launching a combination of 6 Lebanese or fusion sandwiches in one sharable box. And to do so it resorted to the cutest ad around. Akalna el box - Lebanese euphemism of "we got tricked" except naturally it is in the most positie way possible in this case. Goes without saying "box" means both the package and in French a "boxe" means blow! Nice word-play!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

And in Shanghai - they just don't stop says Nike.

It could have been boring. It could have been long. It could  have been a story with not beginning or end. But Wieden + Kennedy comes up with a cool, watch-it-to-the-last-second, incredibly tight story. With multiple examples as to how athletes in Shanghai do not stop (all bring a smirk to you!), the ad is as must-see. Watch here and enjoy!

Assaad Renno and the St. Charbel canonization (October 9th, 1977)

Saint Maron presente a Dieu, Charbel, un saint du Liban - Assaad Renno
Saint Charbel, one of most revered Maronite saints, was canonized on Oct. 9th 1977. To commemorate the event "La Revue Du Liban" issued a reproduction of Lebanese painted Assaad Renno's work "Saint Maron presente a Dieu, Charbel, un saint du Liban" (St. Maron presents to God, Charbel, a saint from Lebanon), my mother has kept this reproduction for a long time and I myself thought it was lost from the family archives until I stumbled on it today.
I am sorry the reproduction is no longer in pristine condition but I cannot but say, even if in its current state, it is impressive and very overwhelming emotionally. I do hope you will enjoy it as much as I did growing up.