Monday, April 22, 2019

Armenian Parties organize a march to commemorate the genocide

Armenian Parties organize a march to commemorate the genocide but - I have no clue as to the how, where and when! Simply because the ad is in Armenian and much like all other "minorities" (think the Ethiopian or Sri Lankan people in Lebanon) ads often work on the exclusion basis. Meaning only those who speak the language in the ad feel concerned (sometimes I would want to attend an Ethiopian concert but since the poster is in a language I do not understand, automatically I am excluded, same applies to the march above). Just as a reference there are three Armenian parties in Lebanon - the Tashnag, the Hunchak, and the Ramgavar.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Paula Yacoubian capitalizes on the Armenian genocide commemoration

Well, with the 104th commemoration of the Armenian genocide coming near on April 24, Paula Yacoubian one of the Armenian MPs in the Lebanese parliament launches this ad (I saw the Arabic version but not sure if an Armenian version exists) "my parents are dead, my cause is not" with a famous photo from the genocide as a backdrop. Interestingly Yacoubian had an identity crisis in the last elections due to her name.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Alexander Kranz vs. Le Charcutier (compare and contrast)

Now that the 104th Armenian genocide commemorations are upon us, Le Charcutier jumped on the bandwagon in an ad that says "Some wounds time never heal" which is the exact copy and design (a pomegrenate symbol of the Armenian cuisine) which won international awards by Alexander Kranz (a design he did for the centenial of the said genocides). A copytheft? You decide.

Carlsberg, probably (not) the best beer in the world.

Well, how about that for a frank admission. Carlsberg, which has signed "probably the best beer in the world", admits that - well maybe they are not so. Hence, they introduced their premium lager, the pilsner beer and crafted it from top to bottom including a chalice cup. Apparently it seems in the UK, lager drinkers are drinking less but of a higher quality. So basically, Carlsberg is admitting they aimed (in the past) for quantity not quality but are now rectifying the course. Which means that, Carlsberg is from now on, the best beer in the world. 

Friday, April 19, 2019

And on Good Friday - wa habibi

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly
In case you wish to hear the Fairouz version do see it here.

Entotox - where no problem is too small

And so right out of nowhere comes an exciting ad! Entotox - a brand about disenfecting your space. What was supposed a boring brief ends up with a bang. OK so the insects in themselves are there, the layout well done, one line is funny ("bed bugs live only for your blood") the other a bit more matter of fact ("a house fly can transmit more than 65 diseases"). But the real coup de grace? (pardon the pun) "no problem is too small". Yes, how exciting is that selling line? Tremendously so. Whereas everyone brags about problems not being too "big", Entotox nails it the other way around.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Silkor - perfect timing indeed.

Well, the weather is - slightly - better. Soon it will be all out better so that means - beach season! But can a beach season be without a beach body, or at least without beach hair removal? Fear not, Silkor is here with "perfect timing" and "perfect results" - seriously, now is the right time to do a Brazilian (ahem!) or to get rid of that natural hair insulation as seen on the other side of the ad. Listen, ads have audiences - and this one works incredibly well for its intended audience: Men and women between the ages of 25 and 50 who like to enjoy summer activities and who have a little vain streak. So there, this one works quite well!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

IDM - Cablevision and that strange aftertaste.

"We married them at 35 Dollars" - the combined ad of IDM (internet provider) with Cablevision (TV subscription) is - on face value a "passable" ad. It says what it does in minimal words and with enough graphics to explain. Oddly, and yes - I know it is farfetched but I felt a bitter aftertaste in my mouth. Something about marriage/women/Cablevision was reminding of...
... Sigh. The 2010 ad for Cablevision. 2 for 15 - want it or not? Which sadly reeked of a brothel-like ambiance. Here it is below:

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Lotus spread - smart brand extension

If like me, you like a Lotus with your coffee then this is for you. As a brand extension this is quite smart. the ad is a breakfast table, with a bread, a donut, and a pancake all wanting the spread. The art direction is incredibly autentic, the product apetising, and - bah! Now not only do I want a Lotus I also want the spread.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Dear Lada, concerning Russia, nothing beats Emm Yuri from Byblos Bank!

Lada has a new TV ad. It is cute, Lebanese are again thanking Russia. See my comment here about the print/digital ad, and see the Lada TV ad here. As I said the ad is nice, with a Lebanese family going out on a limb to thank them (the "this is a sweater (I knit) for your cold" as said by the woman is a really nice touch and the P.O Box address in the end too).
But people, stop trying - the Russia mantle was already taken by the Byblos Bank ad - see the ad here and that oh-so-wonderful copy about Russia. A small fragment is above when a man comes asking for a manoushe in the kiosk of "emm Yuri" (mother of "eldest son") as women as traditionally called in Lebanon (and the Middle East at large). Hillarious. See the whole exchange - it cracks me up!
You might say it is different and that I am comparing apples to oranges, somehow I still stand my ground - both ads portray one culture transported to another. 

Cortas rebrands, and gets itself an incredible new selling line!

It seems Cortas is moving its production from Dora to Hosrayel at the end of the year and has dusted up its image in the process. Well, the new logo is well-done but the new selling line is what steals the show. "Matbakhna hawiyetna" - our kitchen is our identity. Whomever came up with that one has my deepest respects! Yes, nothing says national identity more than food - half of my luggage when I travelled to see my close friend in Holland was composed of Hummus and Baba Ghanouj cans. Going back to Cortas, it seems that apart from Nadim Cortas the family sold its shares to outside investors a year ago and that 95% of its production gets exported.
That line though! Swoon!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Open Minds - special needs and the challenge of a visual representation.

"It is not enough to accept it, my dream is for you to enroll me in your school"
"It is not enough to recieve me in your restaurant, my dream is for you to employ me"
"It is not enough to open me a bank account, for you to to employ me"
The adverstiser is Open Minds, there is also #ana3adi (I am normal) to accompany the campaign.
It may be me but I had to check the link on the ad to understand what Open Minds was and what was its central mission because truth be told, looking at the people in the ads it was confusing on why they would not consider themselves "normal". Turns out Open Minds focuses on people with "special needs" - I suppose this is hard to translate this visually in an ad.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Argos - so stylish you can wear it!

So how many times you looked at an ad simply because it was so apealing visually? The new Argos is - and in spades! "So stylish you can wear it" and lo and behold, wear it they did. Chairs, lampshades,  chaise longues, plates, lampshades - they were all "good to go" and the beauty is that each found a convincing way of wearing them we were not far from some "Comme Des Garcons" show (except for the colors as "Comme Des Garcons" goes all black!). A joy to see - so do so here!

Zara - online shopping soon in Lebanon

Now that is interesting. Zara has - on its Lebanese segment of its website - a disclaimer that goes:
Hello Lebanon soon you shall be able to shop online in May
Zara invites (the you is missing in Arabic!) to join it to get its latest news as soon as it is out
Well, that is quite some development. I mean this presupposes that there is enough Lebanese with credit cards, enough people who know what they want and will not go back exchanging it (how? in store?), enough willing to pay for delivery and the list goes on. I am intrigued to see how this stratagem will work - what are its details. Personally, and due to my awkward size I never shop online (save for rarities!) so I need to really try the item to see if it fits or not. But still, this is a major development.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Talaya - water dipped in politics

Just to be clear - I am  not a fan of this "Product of the year" thingy. There is an element of "pay to play" that annoys me there which skews the results immensely. This being said the Talaya ad is kind of cute, "who said the Lebanese do not know how to vote?" (a legitimate question when you see our political class!). Now - whereas I said the ad is kind of lighthearted and cute I am starting to get a little over my head in all brands dipping their toe in politics.
Let me give an example, my own take on this would have been "el lebnene bye3ref ta3met temmo" ("bye3ref ta3met temmo" is a local expression to say one has strong taste buds). See? It flatters the audience, the brand and is an all-round winner without the politics.

It is Easter time so it is Lurpak time!

Yes I know, I just put that title on the Golden Plate post! But on Easter time Golden Plate and Lurpak go neck to neck. OK, Lurpak has stuck with an ad it has used last year - and I have nothing against this, I mean if it ain't broke, don't fix it. So here's what I said last year about it - still holds true this year!

Thursday, April 11, 2019

It is Easter time so it is Golden Plate time!

Ah - Golden Plate. That difficult transition from "Al Bakara Al Haloub" to a new name!
First a copy paste from a previous post (dated 2014!):

Golden Plate was Al Baqara Al Haloub
It was launched as "different shape" but "the taste still exists" (which means it was a rebranding), and then - in 2013- they said "different name" "but quality still exists". Apparently, everyone, like me was still confused. And so it was only for this year that they made the most obvious hint to what it was "miyye bil miyye ta3metha chahiyye"... (مية باليمة طعمتها شهية) which is none other than a slight deformation of the famous radio jingle of "Al baqara al haloub" (the milking cow - مية باليمة سمنة نقية طعمتها شهية سمنة البقرة الحلوب) the original name of this ghee which is being advertised!
As a transition and rebranding it is a fiasco because no one knew the original, and so I am sure no one bought it under a different name not knowing what it used to be. For those of you wondering why on earth someone is advertising ghee - it's because it is an essential ingredient for "maamoul" the ubiquitous Easter cookie which a lot of people still do at home.

Which brings us to today:
Easter again, Golden Plate again, maamoul again. Except this time there is a variant of salty food ad as well. No matter it is not Easter without a Golden Plate ad.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Lada - the "thank you Russia" edition

So, it seems in Lebanon we are professionals thanking other nations - either for them brokering peace or agreements (Qatar), or helping elect presidents (you name it, it is there), or giving us freebies in the shape of money depsoted in central banks (Saudi Arabia), and the list goes on. So in the same vein now it is "thank you Russia" - for the Lada car that is tough on Lebanon's potholes.
The ad is cute, and to the point and does target Lebanese drivers in something they only know too well. Interestingly our own president was in Russia and the teaser campaign "thank you Russia" was indeed quite well-timed.
However in the same repertoire and should you remember the ad war that was between Hallab 1881 and Doueihy in 2013 (with Halab's move to Jounieh), it was Rifaat Hallab's (meaning the other Hallab!!) beautiful "thank you qater" (not qatar - qater being the sugary syrup that Arabic sweets are dipped in!) that takes the mantle. Here it is below:

Sheba cat food goes the crooner route!

I do not like cats. No, no, not the musical, the animals. And I dare think it is mutual.
So me  not being the target audience for a cat food ad (courtesy of Sheba), I thought it was strange I would end up enamoured with it (no not enamoured enough to consider being owned by a feline). Still, the ad is truly lovely especially with the double entendre of the song itself: The crooner is called Vincent Le Chat (the cat!) and the song "nourris-moi bebe" (feed me baby). So to those who love cats, this for you. To those who love ads see it here!

Monday, April 8, 2019

Yes, I charge my clients 1000 Dollars per day.

Andy Warhol - 200 One Dollar Bills
So today I am going to talk about the most taboo topic of them all: Money.
You know agencies have rate cards? You don't? Well, that is because it is like "creativity" on some creatives - you hear about it but never see it. I no longer work in agencies and rarely work with them (though I do - sporadically).
I said it a million times and will say it again, the market is dead and no one is paying. Thankfully, I am at bay - my clients are quite restricted in list (and sadly cannot reveal most of them due to Non-Disclosure Agreements). But my clients pay, thank you very much.
Not too long ago I was initiating a consulting ouverture with a well-known store chain. Instead of consulting they came back with an in-house offer which included me handling their entire social media, their window stores (on all branches), staff training, their full image, all for the mind-boggling sum of...
Two thousand dollars a month.
Many people would have jumped on the offer.
I myself emailed back saying - "what you are offering needs a full department of one head and two assistants. Just jumping between your six branches would in itself burn the mentioned salary".
Naturally it did not help that in the original meeting whatever I was saying, the store owner was countering with a "no". Small sample: The receptionist at the branch where we were supposed to be meeting was incredibly unwelcoming, and sarcastic to boot refusing to grasp that the company owner wanted to meet me (as if I was unworthy of being met). I mentioned this in the meeting and he refused to admit she was. Staff training my butt!
So this brings us to - OK, Tarek what is the damn price you require?
I charge my clients one thousand Dollars per day.
Wait, what?
I. Charge. My. Clients. One. Thousand. Dollars. Per. Day.
Take this incredibly lovely project that landed in my lap in February. Enormous, humongous project, but quite lovely. The client and myself agreed on 5000 USD as a price. He said he would not be expecting it before a month - which for any sane human would be a normal time considering how big it was. I said: "listen, for this project to be worth my while it needs to be wrapped in 5 days". Naturally, he did not believe me. It was done in three and a half days.
Another recent project was at 1500. Took me one day and a follow up meeting of half a day.
Notice the pattern?
When I get a new project, I estimate mentally how long it would take to do it and charge 1000 USD per day accordingly.
Exorbitant you might say?
Well, in the February project - which was double checked by around 5 people prior to me - I noticed so many errors (on the strategic and executional aspects) I was correcting them with the client's blessing as I went along.
Do note, what I am saying is - I have enough to justify such a fee.
If I am writing this today, it is because everyone seems coy about the money issue. There is no shame, we all live on the ground and have bills to pay. And I would rather not work than handle those corny two hundred Dollars projects where the client withholds the cheque and all that idiocy. Not worth it to be honest.
Actually I do not even take down payments - the reason is simple as I explained to a client "if you are going to screw me you will do it with half or the full sum. Plus I work so efficiently, by the time I finish, it would not be worth it to pay half the sum".
So there, the word is out:
I charge my clients one thousand Dollars per day in consulting.