Friday, October 31, 2014

Almaza STEALS Nissan Micra ad.

Almaza has stolen the Nissan Micra ad, the concept and idea and even execution are the same. "Wanted" means both "in the security sense" but also "popular with consumers". Nissan did it way before, Almaza is nothing but a thief. Exhibit A above. I rest my case.

Undressed: Society's reflection in its brands

Johnnie Stalker - Boo
Smack Daniels - Boo
Anti-consumerist discourse is not exactly very popular in Lebanon, heck - even the blogosphere is full of people sucking up to brands to endorse them and be their spokespeople (for free, they never "make a dime off their blogs" of course!). Anyhow, it is interesting to see suddenly a whole new anti-brand manifesto by an artist who dubs himself as Boo... I don't think I am in a liberty to reveal his identity (even if I am sure it will be out during the exhibition and that it is common knowledge among a certain circle fo people). His works, in ballpoint on paper have witty names such as "Johnnie Stalker" or "Smack Daniels" or "But Wiser". Somewhere between a conscious consumer and a disillusioned advertiser, Boo takes a step back from the ginding mill to assess where he stands vis a vis the society he lives in, and what space do brands take in it.
Undressed will take place at the ArtLab Gemmayze and is scheduled to open on November 6th and runs till November 29th.

By not replying, Crepaway replies to Shawarmanji

Crepaway - having been just spoofed by Shawarmanji - was too busy to reply. The alibi can hold in court any day of the week - they were busy carving burgers (the rest of us don't carve them, we crave them).
PS - dear Crepaway, even if you had invited me to sample your new menu, I wouldn't have come (not that you invited me I am not hip enough!), as a diabetic, your food is something I can no longer eat.

Shawarmanji dipped in competitors' sauce for Halloween

Masterstroke from Shawarmanji - for this Halloween it goes trick or treating dressed as Crepaway, Classic Burger Joint, Kababji and Roadster! Basically its archrival competitors (meaning the their logo has been morphed to look like them this holloween)... Nightmare on Elm street anyone? 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Bellboys are not just for hotels: Gandour gets a new logo.

Image source
And the saga continues, during the last 18 months so many Lebanese institutions have rebranded, Crepaway changed its selling line, whereas Matta, Boubouffe, LBC, Enoteca, Credit Bank, Debbane, and Malak el Tawouk all changed their logos. Now comes the turn of Gandour.
My immediate first impression was that, had the Starbucks mermaid and Wendy been a lesbian couple, this would be their love child. The logo is quite fine graphically, could work on different backgrounds, retains some elements from the Gandour evolution (the banner, the bellboy to whom two of the previous logos alluded to but never graphically shown clearly) and is being sold as: "The key objective was to create a new iconic brand marque for Gandour, capturing the essence of the company in a simple, yet modern way. The new brand marque needed to present Gandour as a contemporary company but without alienating existing customers and stake holders" - which is a bit confusing considering bellboys allude more to the retro eras and glitzy in-between the two great wars decades (somewhere between Charleston follies and trente glorieuses) much more than "contemporary company". Still visually the logo works (apart from the mouth expression - is he happy, surprised, or what?)
Now the bad news?
What Gandour needs more than anything else is a coherent communication strategy which is completely inconsistent (after rolling a beautiful TV Unica ad, and a lovely Tarboush campaign, we ended with two horrible Dabke and Unica billboards!). Their visual presence is a hit or a miss, so I am not sure getting a new logo was the top prority.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

CML gets itself a Bourjeily treatment


CML (Caisse Mutuelle Laique) which defines itself as a mutual and social protection body with the mission to offer healthcare services to its members, released one very nicely concepted TV commerial. It's witty without being overdone, funny without sinking to slapstick, and gets its point across without dumbing down its viewer. How cool is that? Through the grapevine, I knew that the person who wrote and directed it is none other than Lucien Bourjeily (whereas to the large public he has shot to superstardom through the March - M and C Saatchi Beirut Marathon stunt, a different audience knows him as a pioneer of improvised theatre in Lebanon) and it seems that even the production company involved Film Production is a company Lucien is a partner in (so that brings it full circle!). Considering how everything appears stiff, badly (or over) acted, totally scripted and unreal in TV ads these days, it is a refresher that CML managed to get away from the crowd and still inflused some freshness with this ad.

Monday, October 20, 2014

On Migration, UK has nothing against inferior species!

I am staying in Poland, come on over!
I admire HMA (her majesty's ambassador) to Lebanon Tom Fletcher, or rather - I admire Tom Fletcher from a different angle some other bloggers admire him. I admire him because he knew how to work the social media scene, how to whitewash history, how to dictate the views he wishes communicated in the digital sphere. And he knew that this was indeed the "caste" (yes, I am referring to the Indian stratification which the British has supported as colonialists) he needed to adress to come across as a super diplomat (which he actually is since he spins his stories so well).
Last we heard of him he was switching roles with his house help. All of this is fine and dandy, he was raising awareness to the problems of domestic and migrant workers in Lebanon and supporting human rights.
So can anyone explain to me how come the UK official position wants to ban movement of citizens fromt he EU to its soil specifically aiming to put an arbitrary cap on those coming from Eastern Europe?
It's either/or gentlemen!
Or perhaps Mr. Fletcher is attempting to see if human rights work, and if they do, get them back across tot he UK now that the experiment succeeded.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The ad that goes wrong: self depreciation is an art.

I have recently come across a British show called "the play that goes wrong" - where, you guessed it, everything that could go wrong does goes wrong even more than Ziad Rahbani's "chi fechel". But what interested me the most what the ads they ran for the show inticing people to "save money - don't come", "starring Tom Cruise - subject to availability", "premium seats - only £3,950" or a strapline that went that the play was "starring no one famous", there was even logos of the "tony" "olivier" awards and underneath "they liked the show". Ads have appeared upside down in newspapers to emphasize that even the marketing was amateurish.
Self-depreciation in advertising is an art all by itself, few can master it as it takes real courage to talk one's self down as most audiences don't get the joke. Among global brands, we have Stella Artois with their "reassuringly expensive" line, whereas this could be seen as not-really-self-depreciation on many levels it is, take this example and appreciate the irony:
Moving on to Skoda, previously one of the most derided brands there even was - when a British magazine ran a test on bras, the one that scored the least was called "this is the skoda of bras". Another joke went "why does Skoda have rear heating windows? so that you hands won't freeze when you push it". And on it went, and so when Skoda did their incredible brand turn around they capitalized on their own jokes. "Skoda, no really, Skoda" or "It's a Skoda. Which, for some, is still a problem." or "It's a Skoda. Honest."
I am not sure anyone needs to be reminded of the Diesel "be stupid" campaign. If self-depreciation was taken to new levels, then this was it. My favorite is this one, "smart critiques, stupid creates" - simply because I am on both sides of the fence - not only do I do critique on this blog, but I too go reckless in my projects and artworks. Without further delay, here it is:
But the crown undeniably goes to "Hans Brinker Budget Hotel" in Amsterdam. The place has made such a mockery of itself, but all in the most positive of ways. Its ads are now classic, and keep topping themselves in terms of self-derision. I am lost as to which ones to post but here are some of the wittiest:
Naturally, for us Lebanese, most of these are no jokes but daily occurences. Still, I'd love to see a Lebanese client mock itself this way. It could be tough for their ego, and the audience might not sympathize, but - perhaps this could be "real advertising" such as "3G breaks repeatedly" "customer service at our branches now sucks even more", "longer queues because we have grown more incompetent". Hmmm, it's not irony, is it?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Redrock thinks outside of the unipole

So much for thinking outside the box, now is the time to think outside of the unipole. Lowe Pimo did a beautiful job illustrating the concept of "eco village" for Redrock (from Sayfco). Yes, that's a flock of birds you see protruding from the unipole (don't start shooting as a typical Lebanese please!). Whereas we have seen a lot of elements protrude from unipoles in the past it was mostly top of bottles or hairs of singers, so it's refreshing that such a concept could be executed.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What Liz Sarkisian can teach Amal Clooney



And so it happened, the honeymoon is over. I mean literally. A woman goes to a honeymoon, her husband leaves early to start working again, and she goes back to her career and travels to Athens alone. Sounds bleak doesn't it?
Well, let's put things in perspective a bit.
Star couple Amal Alamuddin and husband George Clooney had a super wedding followed by a lavish honeyomoon, the husband travelled to the US to plug his recent blocbuster release, and she herself is currently advising the Greek government as to the return of the Elgin marbles which are being held in the UK.
Nothing to see here folks, keep driving.
But today's news was huge in its own right. Amal Alamuddin in a move that actually took down the website of her employer due to immense traffic actually changed her name (in the few seconds that the website was actually up) to "Amal Clooney".
There, I can already hear the accusations: she failed all feminist principles, she took his name to ride his coattails because of her post-wedding fledging career, she has become the epitome of submissiveness to male patriarchy, oh and she wore a moulant white dress with gigantic retro sunglasses on her first day of work (I had to put this in).
Now, before we go too harsh on Amal, here's a precedent:
Liz Sarkisian!
The Lebanese actress, when trying to launch a career in Egypt, dubbed herself as "Eman". Try as she might to actually get the name hold, everyone - apart from movie posters - kept calling her Liz Sarkissian (someone even joked she should just say "Eman, formerly Liz Sarkissian" - in Arabic it's funnier "Eman, Liz Sarkissian sabikan").
So, whatever Mrs. Clooney wishes to be called officially, she is joining the trend of Beyonce touring as Mrs. Carter, or one Kim Kardashian (not sure if you ever heard of her) getting a new passport under the name of Kim West (it turns out she was married to a guy from that family you know).
Bottom line:
Amal Clooney, Alamuddin sabikan.