Friday, February 22, 2019

Questioning history - February 65 (95)

Artworks by Tarek Chemaly
65 was the winter Beirut flooded. The video does not show the flood but there is a damp ambiance all over.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Karl Lagerfeld - RIP

That was the Lagerfeld that was - Artwork by Tarek Chemaly

PIB Brokers - the "other" peace of mind

Hmmmm Blom Bank has touted the slogan "peace of mind" since - like - forever. Which is why with total surprise I see PIB (Partners International Brokers) reiterating it - front and center (the line in the ad is not shy about it "guaranteed peace of mind with the right insurance). Surely, it is not copywrited to Blom legally but the definition of copyright in its simplest form includes "it's been done before" so yeah - it's been done before. The PIB website does not state any link with Blom by the way.

Monday, February 18, 2019

MTC Touch - dial #names not numbers

Depending on which generation you come from, "there can only be one" either comes from the film "Highlander" or the anime Yu-Gi-Yoh. I remember both, which kind of dates me. But I digress, the "there can only be one" is now applied to #queen or #doc or some other # - whereby you an dial #names instead of numbers and you can book this apparently - but you got to be quick as "there can only be one" (geddit?). Well, this is the disclaimer and fees:
Send an SMS including # followed by th Name Tag desired to 1434.
The service is available to prepaid and postpaid clients and its fee varies depending on the word’s [sic] character count:
3 characters: $300
4 characters and 5+ same pattern: $100 (i.e. 1111, 22222, 333333, etc.)
5 characters: $60
6 characters: $30
7+ characters: $15

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Byblos Bank: Franklin Ben Yammine

So Byblos Bank is - like all other banks - trying to encourage Lebanese people to use the Lebanese Pound and not the USD so much that now there are no extra fees (while using the same card) and the user gets 50% more points. And Byblos Bank does so with the help of one Franklin Ben Yammine a Lebanese immigant who took off his fez when he landed in America and rebaptized himself as one Benjamin Franklin foregoing his Lebanese roots. Ah well, they actually stamped his face on the 100 Dollar bill!

Saturday, February 16, 2019

AUDI LED screens masterstroke!

Audi turns a hindrance into an asset. Lebanon has multiple power cuts per day which turn the LED screens into dotted structures with the dots multiplying with time. So Audi took that into their own advantage and built their own dots to showcase their "Pre Sense" systems. The ads - printed on billboards and not LED screes are a true genius work!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Alfa Telecom falls on a missed opportunity this Valentine's

Sigh - it could hae been great. See here. OK let us recap - Alfa Telecom has a story about Elie and Siham Saroufim married for 56 years. They recount their courtship, their daily life, they dance - a wonderful couple if there was any and incredibly endearing (and we all know how difficult it is to showcase this in an ad). Alfa had a hit on their hands until they derailed it with a silly product placement. People, can't you end this with "love is all about communication" and end it on a high instead of this pathetic product placement. Best wishes to Elie and Siham - better luck to Alfa next time.

ParAzar goes on a minimal Valentine

Clean, crisp, minimal, conceptual, and yet totally on-brand. Naturally, ParAzar is more than a wedding photographer but we all know it comprises a chunk of the business. A true antidote to the saturated ads we see daily on Valentine's Day. Watch it here - it works and it calms you down all while delivering the message.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Talaya goes Valentine's Day

Did you know there was something called "le nez Libanais" (The Lebanese nose)? It is because of the uniform result of the plastic surgeries the girls undertake. Which brings us to Talaya a drinking water that was "loved you because of your nature, no plastic surgery". Geddit? Well, there you go, enjoy it naturally and drink it in (no pun). See, this is Valentine's Day fun without dilution.

Lada Urban goes Valentine's

Should your relationship be filled with potholes - a little a la the streets in Lebanon - and should you want to patch it up with a test drive a Lada Urban all while ending up with a romantic dinner courtesty of the company then - you're in luck! This is exactly what Lada is proposing - pardon the pun. A good, solid, nice ad this Valentine's Day from the Russian brand - and they say romance is dead! Do note the image was photoshopped, but such potholes exist - here are some other photos.

Al Mustaqbal web - where does one begin?

1 - You knew your print edition was going to stop, so why was the website not done with?
2 - And this Mahmoud Ghazayel pointed out earlier - your logo is too close to gmail.
3 - Kelmetna Kelme? Seriously? This roughly translates as "our word is a standard" (had it been done in good copy) but actually says "our word is unique" - except in cheapo Arabic not worthy of the weight that Al Mustaqbal is supposed to carry.
4 - And is still there, so - what on earth is almustaqbalweb?
I am pretty sure this was done in house without ad agency consulting. If it was not, then the problem is way more serious!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

In defense of Georges Najm

I am not here to debate or negate the contracts which appeared online in the weekend and which were circulated heavily about Noise and The Municipality of Beirut. But a certain name popped up which  normally is not known apart in advertising circles: Georges Kamil Najm.
In his capacity of Clementine and Noise shareholder (the former is co-owned with another shareholder, Claudine Aoun, the daughter of the current Lebanese president), suddenly his name got circulated and allegations of such and such were thrown on him.
My first meeting with Georges was in May 2015 (note to all idiotic conspiracy theorists, it was after the lawsuits were filed on me so there was zero connection between us as an "allied fronts" that some paranoid souls like to think). Yes, we immediately took to another another. He was kind, polite, shrewd but not dirty. Anyone who knows me, knows how economical I am in praising people.
Truth be told, we met exceptionally rarely. And his Whatsapp "will call you tonight" is met with a dismissive smirk on my part, he never does as he is always buried in work. But this is one thing I do respect about him - he has an acute business ethic. And this is not something I take lightly.
OK, let me ask you? When was the last time you called me at 9 P.M. trying to see if a campaign is ethical, or if it has a hint of plagiarism. See? Georges does that.
In 1997 when I was doing my military service an incident happened and one officer jumped and called it "wasta" (clientage), the general looked at him and said "teshil a3mel" (business facilitation). At the time I thought it was semantics, as I grew in my career I understood the difference. Should I be using this example, it is because I think of Georges' ambiguous position: On one hand he wants his company(ies) to go out of the Aounist shadow (his partner Chantal Aoun said so explicitly in a talk to ArabAd), and on the other hand grifters are willing and wanting to work with him through his agency to be closer to the presidential sphere.
Would you shun away new clients had they come knocking on your door?
Exactly what I thought.
Do note - In their early days, Clementine had no one harsher in their criticism than me. Their layouts were - at best - wonky, their ads had dubious ethical origins, and the list continues. Thankfully, order was restored due to a staff rearrangement and they tightened their screws.
Once more, I did not discuss this post or what appeared online in terms of contracts through the weekend with Georges or anyone else. Yet seeing Georges' ethics being subject to the court of public opinion from people who do not know him or his Modus Operandi was a little harsh for me to swallow.
Just to be clear, and this I say loudly and clearly:
Georges Najm is an incredibly ethical, hard working person. Anyone who disagrees will go through me first.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Balkis - Pomegranate

"A flavor out of this world" - astronaut, check. Pomegranate in the shape of a planet, check. An ad where nothing works yet - childishly - when all put together, it does. I think that dodgy homemade element sort of works for it. You would not win awards with this one, but well - not all ads are supposed to anyway. I think this one just works as is!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Ministry of Health's most known slogan goes calligraffiti

*insert muffled sound of me screaming in excitement*
Ministry of Health's most known slogan goes calligraffiti - lakkihou atfalakom la yanfa3ou al nadamn (vaccinate your children regret will not do you good).

Friday, February 8, 2019

Master nuts - white inside out

It could be stretching it to say their salted pumkin seeds nuts (or what we call "bizr abiad" - white nuts) are "white inside out" which means that once you peel them they are white on the inside too (yes, but why?). Yet their character in the ad - monocle-clad and with a traditional hat - seems to recount is story as some spoiled nut which has been pampered to end up the way he is. The car scene in the ad is not as well done as the rest, but this aside the ad is cute indeed. Do watch it here.

Today - diabetic chocolate now for everyone

Today - one of the rare chocolates I can consume (moderately) as a diabetic has gone public (the chocolate is stocked in pharmacies or in the diet/diabetic shelf in supermarkets). The campaign centrs around "which flavor you want today?" joining the name of the brand in the line". I wrote a post on this prior (do check it here).

Thursday, February 7, 2019

On the Zara in-store efficiency.

In case you did not know Zara changed its logo. When all couture houses are doing so and going sans serif (think Balenciaga, Balmain, Calvin klein, Burberry, Berlutti,...) Zara went the other way (courtesy of Baron Baron). I did not like the logo as I thought it was a little claustrophobic but Kudos to Zara shops who changed ALL price tags on the items - including those on the previous collection's sale items in barely two days since the logo was unveiled!

Al Massira and the consistent Lebanese Forces media strategy.

The Lebanese Forces are doing this the right way media wise (see here and here and here). That incredible consistency in typography, colors, general layout and mood is just incredible. No matter the product you immediately know to whom it belongs politically. The Lebanese Forces are really on top of their game these days - solid ads coming from a clear strategy and positioning (it took Tayyar about ten trials to settle one shade of orange Pentone shade back in 2009!). The ad though refers to their magazine, Al Massira (which means the long walk) and says "the long walk continues" (how much this is true with the print media being in trouble I know not) - but the ad is good.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Robz Optic #ValentineSeason ad

Well, Robz Option goes for Valentine's day: "choufo 7alkon bi ba3d" which is a double-entendre for "see each other" and "brag about each other", the trigger is that there is (up to) 50% reduction. On the streets, apart from a couple of concerts, the ambiance this year is blissfully unaware. Just to be clear not sure Robz Optic is offering anything for couples.
I was just told the line was used prior:
The line has been used before in the YES commercial:
فيي شوف حالي بهالصحن ... و فيكي
Let us rank this under "Ooops!"...

Bar Tartine vs Guinness beer: compare and contrast

Bar Tartine: When a slogan is this well-known you do not use it to introduce it to your new menu. It is considered to be "owned". Still, dear readers, up to you to judge.