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 following 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 currently 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.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Clementine makes Noise with Adha

Clementine and sister PR company Noise have come up with brilliant Eid el Adha cards. They both focus on the theme of "sheep" due to the ethymology of the Eid being corelated with the animal, and in two different interpretations (one capitalizes on the dot on the "i" in the noise logo, the other transforms the sheep into a Clementine). The headline of the Clementine card even pushes it further by declaring "adha el eid moubarakan" which double plays on "adha" both as the name of the festivity but also as "the eid has become blessed" (since adha as a verb means "has become"). Color me impressed.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Eid greetings from Arab Museum of Modern Art

A splendid card from the Arab Museum of Modern Art, with a wonderful work entitled "Al Ka'aba" by Egyptian artist Omar el-Nagdi. And with this, best wishes from myself for a Eid Moubarak.

Les Angles by Hala Moubarak on 7UPstairs Publishing

7UPstairs Publishing is delighted to share with you Hala Moubarak's first book outing (eventhough she has been published widely previously in print and online this is her first "book" format) concentrating on her trained architectural eye which sees edifices "with angles" (hence the title "les angles"). Hala's Instagram account (from which these works were taken) can be found here.