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YASA – May’s true story campaign

Intro by Admin I: This blog is officially crazy! One campaign can easily stir things ups between admins, cause a big controversy and give birth to this below schizophrenic post. So Admin R (the ‘nice’ right wing of this blog) was totally touched by Clementine’s YASA ad, while HF, a friend and supporter found too many problematic loopholes in the approach. Honestly speaking, both points of view make sense, so you decide!

Admin R: An edgy new campaign by Clementine for YASA aimed at distracted drivers, is being rolled out across social media “betheb el seraa, ma tmout fiya”. The idea is to remind drivers to keep their eyes on the road and lessen the amount of accidents.
These types of awareness campaigns were done once by Lebanese actors such as Georges Khabbaz, Carmen Lebbos and others for ‘Kunhadi’, but didn’t make sense back then.
This time, May Sahab, a Lebanese actress & an anchor carried the flag; she stated a true story, her painful experience. May lost her husband, whom she waited around 14 years to get married to, the Father of a 1year old girl and a baby coming to this messed up world soon, (I have seen her bump in the ad, Admin I didn’t, he thinks it’s a missing link, whatever, talk to the hand!)
There wasn’t acting (although i never miss noticing it, #Lebanese series #lousy acting).
Nobody in this campaign is attempting to use “tears” to sell a product; there was real burning non shed-tears on the ultimate verge of a heartbreak.
This approach is touching and authentic, making a buzz because it’s using a famous person’s sad story as a testimony, but does it minimize the rate of car crashes and loss?

HF: You would expect to be touched by an awareness campaign in a way or another, but unfortunately, when I watched the new ad by YASA, I just sat there with a poker face and I got a bit confused. Regardless if you know May Sahhab’s story or not (I personally didn’t), You can’t but notice how broken hearted the woman is, but the problem is the confusing script, I mean, what the hell was she talking about? To someone that doesn’t already know the details, the ad looks like a weak staged performance with a lot of glitches in the copywriting/scriptwriting itself.
After tweeting the ad and expressing how useless it was for me, I got a DM from a fellow tweep, explaining to me about May’s tragedy that happened last year. To be very honest, I got emotional just by reading the message and knowing the details. I had to know more so I watched her interview on MTV’s Talk of the town, I got goosebumps during the whole thing.
The TVC, although revolves on story telling (pff, the new trend) doesn’t explain much, and it could have been any woman out there who lost a husband, child or brother…The story is touching, especially the pregnancy part (that should’ve been highlighted smartly, but it’s Clementine in the end), I had to do my own research for a clearer insight.
On another note, we’ve had enough of these kinds of ads, yes it might be touching but what’s next? Are these ads effective? What is awareness without a change in behavior?!

See? You guys should be the judge!

 

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Ministry of Tourism 02: Lebanon the pointless cabaret

By Admin I: When we called this year’s first Ministry of Tourism TVC a miracle by Clementine, we weren’t kidding (we’re usually right, #justsaying).

They just cannot have a series of successful work; after the release of a decent campaign with a horrible headline (SmiLebanon), Clementine got back with a part 02 promoting a 50 days sales period initiated by the Ministry itself. And what are we promoting again?!! As much as we loved how the first campaign had no ‘tourism’ cliches, the second fails to remember that we’re promoting a country not a cheap art directed, more like ‘decorated’ cabaret!

You guys cannot! The whole approach is a 90s looking mess trying too hard to be creative that it fails to even have a decent unique selling point, or at least a promise. Even though it seems like jingles are back trendy after the Touch campaign’s Hamed Sinno jingle, but in 2013, we cannot just go and recycle Marwan Najjar’ish soap-opera music and stick it to a ministry ad!

Nothing looks and/or sounds Lebanese in this campaign, not even the flamboyant entertainment scenes, art direction or the copy-based jingle. This same idea could be used to promote a Maameltein restaurant (the ones usually having back rooms for happy endings) having a 50 nights show by ‘Samaher’ (isn’t that the name of all belly-dancers here?!).

To wrap up this disappointed post, the idea of having an imaginative experience on board had potentials to be further developed (even though it’s not very new), but starting with an idea and forcing  a concept to it, made it too cheap for a touristic purpose (ministry = government = country = you cannot do that!!)

Cheers to cheap advertising, after all, we’re craving for some sleazy lusty khalijis aren’t we?!

Production: Global Films
Agency: Clémentine
Creative Director: Sami Saab
Director: Mazen Fayad
DOP: Toufic Tabbal
Art Director: Issa Kandil
Stylist and Costume Designer: Bashar Assaf
Casting Director: Marianne Tanios
Assistant Director: Michelle Hallit
Singer: Anne Sophie Azzi
Music: Walid Sarrouh
Post Production: The-Bright Side
Color Grading: Faisal Merheb

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2012 Christmas miracle: Clementine got it right! 

By Admin I: wait! I’m not trying to be the Christmas spirit spreading peace and joy everywhere, I’m really not. Clementine got it right and this happens every once in a blue moon for them and us!

Well you could call it a cheesy flat approach to promoting a country especially when it comes to the copywriting here, but being fair, this campaign looks nothing like the previous ministry of tourism campaigns that were done by one of the most prestigious multi-nationals (Impact BBDO). There are no bikini vs. Chador, no hummus plates and no mountain-beach analogy either.

The campaign plays on one very very ‘pure’ idea of the fact that we’re a population that overcomes difficulties and keep smiling (we do burn some tires, gossip like sluts and are highly sectarian as well). Talking visuals, the campaign proved to be nothing sloppy; weird enough, the art direction was well thought of, the coloring, the acting, the rhythm, it’s almost a full package of an ad that makes you daydream for seconds about the same questions asked in the video (or maybe I’m too festive to see the negatives).

To wrap it up, it’s a good campaign that deserves recognition for not faking promises about Lebanon; yes we’re just a fun country that should drop all other fake cliches that school books have injected in our heads.

Clementine in the end couldn’t but put too much sugar in the tea and play its never-ending failing wordplay manifesting this time in “Smilebanon” and another smiley emoticon symbol in the ministry logo which could’ve been a quite good ending, without the prior slogan.

it’s a MIRACLEMENTINE! *rolling eyes*

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Let’s Sukleen Lebanon: ‘Garbage’ reviewed

By Admin NJ: What is the BEST advertising campaign of 2012? We really would’ve postponed this question if only we knew that Sukleen was planning to release a sequel to its previous flop!

For the previous campaign, we were generous enough to compliment some parts, not this time though; Let us replace the word ‘Ad’ by ‘Garbage’, for a mere metaphorical sake.

What’s up with the ‘Garbage’?

This new printed ‘garbage’ is supposed to promote the free Sukleen application, now available on any smart phone near you.

Clementine made a follow up to the previous campaign – that displayed fashionable models posing in a very artificial way – that doesn’t get better as it serves a new level of ‘garbage’ today along with their never-ending sense of failing ‘jeu de mots’.

This new campaign, under the headline ‘let’s SUKLEEN Lebanon’, showcases bending down and stretching poses of both male and female models served with tons of face make-up and a very stylish wardrobe. These models are basically aiming their phone’s cameras towards the ground and snapping a shot.

Technicality: The photographic treatment is well executed, but again it brings nothing new to the previous campaign, as the outdoor setting and lighting are still the same.

Wait this garbage concept is not over,

One would wonder how this app works and whether this visual is a real reflection of the app’s core. Well yes, you can now, using this app, take photos of all kinds of dump you see on the streets, and instead of picking it up and throwing it in the garbage *which takes a minute*, you take a photo of that very beautiful pile and report it to Sukleen and they will rush to pick it up for you just like those cute models are doing! …Little offensive right?

Once again, this approach fails to please, and this time it’s backed up by a strange application concept. If there will be a next time, the focus should evolve around other features in the application, such as the tips on sorting and recycling your home dumps for instance.

Questioning Arabic Copywriting

By Admin I:  I’ve been asking myself those questions for almost a year: what’s going wrong with Arabic copywriting? When was it going well in the first place? And why rare are the cases where it works the way it should be: witty, relevant and ‘true’ to the target audience?!

Being one of the very few left divas that still read, enjoy writing and fluently speak Arabic, copywriting truly revolved around 3 main calibers:

The good, aka Rana Najjar (Ex-Leo Burnett, FP7 now) and Tania Saleh (Leo Burnett and my itunes library), and many successful campaigns such as ‘Khede Kassra‘ and ‘Alfa U-Chat and Midline‘. Those two examples proved at one point that Arabic should play its main role, which is dealing with insights, in a country that lacks a unified cultural understanding. Lebanon is clearly not Egypt, and Melody Drama Hugely successful TVCs dealing with the Egyptian somehow unified culture cannot be applied here; Those smart players knew the trick, which is playing safe but witty, without overdoing the twist.

The okay and sometimes Blah, talking Intermarkets, that is probably one of the local agencies dealing most frequently with Arabic, especially for their Almaza, Domo and Master Chips accounts. Twists came smart sometimes, cheesy, forced and ‘constructed’ many other times; some people just don’t know when to stop!

And yes, the one and only Sami Saab, Clemetine’s Mastermind (don’t tell me you missed the sarcasm) with the many advertising 101 NO-NOs “Teta w sejjedeta”, “El Jamel nader wa saab” and every other broken Arabic idiom that fails at even being funny enough to work for an advertising approach.

What mainly got me to discuss Arabic Copywriting this time is a post I’ve recently read entitled: “Why we need great Arabic copywriters” stating many factual aspects of the scene today:

“I  believe we still treat Arabic writers differently. We expect them to communicate to all readers/listeners using one treatment a bit like speaking in tongues… So we realise proper localisation and cultural insightfulness often only offered by a native speaker is required. Not so for Arabic, it’s more a case of one-size-should-fits-all.

We must attempt to use culturally and geographically aware writers to sell the brands we represent whenever possible as anything else is dilution. Remember, copy isn’t art direction. Although a picture can be worth a thousand words, if you are using those thousand words, they’d better be in a style and a language that the target audience will understand and relate to.”

Yes. This is indeed what I wanted to say. We’re not totally missing the role of Arabic Copywriting but we’re somehow taking it for granted. A primitive skill of rhyming lines is not considered copywriting! If my Grandpa used to do it after a couple of Arak glasses, everyone can! Going sexual and cheesy is easy but what’s missing in this whole erroneous reach for Arabic is a purposeful insightful approach, which some are too lazy to conduct.

Long live Arabic, as beautiful as a language could get! (Save your: how hypocrite: preaching Arabic using english – comments! I rock!)

Home City’s harvest of the season: huh?!

By Admin I: It seems that fortune-telling is such an eternal profession that’s not going anywhere soon, especially that no one’s really getting the point behind interactive media. Well, Clementine’s new campaign for Home City is highly interactive (insert: sarcastic tone and a hairflip): you can easily group and spend hours brainstorming and mind-mapping trying to decode the visual; pretty interactive, no?! It makes you do something at least, even if you’d end up spending too much effort on a blend of brand, agency and advertising history that connotes a lot of misleading works scattered all through the last 3 years around the shitty, city.

This work goes in direct competition with the ’1551 Sukleen’ campaign and some Egyptian hieroglyphics that scientists are still trying to decode, till this last minute. What? Why? How come? Who knows! Why do we have a rolled carpet (somehow challenging gravity) in a field of wheat, a guy playing with his phone, looking super trendy, a fake shadow, and a badly designed type that’s too thin for outdoors. Well, we do get the trendy reach for vintage serifs and art direction in general, but we’re just not able to find a link:

Admin H: ‘The harvest of the season’ can hint that ‘the best is finally out’, but again, why having a visual that looks like packing an end-of-season carpet?! I give up. (H is usually pro-Clemetine)

Admin G: It’s hard to identify the message behind it, what’s the link between carpets and wheat/nature except the autumn season, there’s no clear connection especially that the carpet’s positioning is quite misleading.

Admin R:  Give them a break! Maybe carpets are made of wheat, and the guy is just whatsapping (she was on wine).

An idea crosses a fortune-teller’s mind: What if the carpet is the ‘harvest’ of cultural experiences, done with hard work and craftsmanship, what if buying such a valuable piece is a valid analogy for harvesting a whole season.. what if.. what if. Nahh, It’s Clementine.. 

We’ll end it exactly like the Sukleen post, both still open for discussion: felt dizzy already!? Scratch those brains and let’s figure out a solution for this jigsaw, that’s for sure failing to reach its audience. It seems that finding a common ground of logic is not an option here.

A ‘wannabe’ will never ‘be’.

Shammas by Clementine: How different could it be?!

By Admin H : Mosquitoes: one of the things I never appreciated until, just until, I saw the new Shammas ad. That flow of creativity featuring once again the stereotypical “Ashrafieh tantes” have bothered me more than an annoying mosquito buzzing near my ear on a Sunday morning! And how about that horrible fake scar on the guys forehead!? Well I certainly do appreciate mosquito bites more than such having such a mark.

Dear Clementine, after trying so hard to defend you, and torturing myself so many times trying to find the “thing” in your ad, I must say that I couldn’t even appreciate the set or the direction this time, and your copywriting killed me! Maybe we should go back to the basics and just remind you of something called USP (yes, Advertising 101), saying something positive about your brand, not displaying its inconvenience nor its negative attributes, highlighting it and then ask people to pay for all those cons! Your ad hurts so much that I’d choose the “others”.

And as if the pain wasn’t enough, this ad turned out to be part of a campaign. Can it be called a campaign?! Well with Clementine everything is possible. You might think that campaigns should have a unique USP, a common point or message, but it’s not the case here; back at university they used to say it’s the same concept under many visuals, each with a direction but remaining harmonious. But duhhh, can’t you see the similarity between “اريح تقسيط بالكون” and “شفّاف ما بينشاف” (Gawd rhyming slogans are so 90s!). And yes it is the same approach for the same target audience but done once with an overused stereotype and once with an overacting cast.. Boumali, where are you guys?!

Sukleen 1551 and the missing link

By Admin I  So here we are keeping the positive vibes going and trying to inject more diplomacy onto our posts (don’t get too hooked on the diplomacy part, it won’t last!) and the featured campaign this time is “Sukleen 1551″ by Clementine.

Being super honest, the ad makes having a fortuneteller in the advertising scene, a must. After taking almost 2 hours of social media investigations and designers/advertising gurus’ failing attempts of decoding this approach, we officially surrender.

1551 is the Sukleen hotline that is available for any inconvenience reports, yet the campaign looks like a runway gone bad, or a 4th degree of concept that makes you fashion aware more than anything else (kinda liked that off-white coat, my Birthday’s next month you know!).

So the decoding process will be launched in a sort of group effort, between us brofessionals and you, target audience. A primary analysis would say that the agency is trying the say that using that hotline will make you avoid going out to throw garbage and ruin your over the top elegance; Another interpretation would totally shoot the first one by simply translating the visual: A trendy individual walking proud with a garbage bag to encourage people to do the same, which does not by any chance relate to having a hotline for Sukleen..

Felt dizzy already!? Scratch those brains and let’s figure out a solution for this jigsaw, that is for sure failing to reach its audience. It seems that finding a common ground of logic is not an option with that agency, lost between the rhyming nightmares (do-re-mi-fa-soldes anyone!?) and the wannabe smart approaches..

But who cares, let’s find some positives! like the not-so-bad art direction for example! (ego iceberg melting quickly.. Global warming y’all)

Now your turn:

Pikasso D’or 2011-2012 official results

By Admin I : The Pikasso D’or is a yearly event held to award remarkable advertising campaigns – outdoors – that reigned all through the year. Winners are selected by a specialized jury and as every year the results of the 2012 event came generally fair, and hard working agencies deserved this anticipated award.

The Pikasso D’or – Lebanon Chapter winners:

Pikasso d’Or – Impact BBDO – Vape

Pikasso d’Argent – Leo Burnett Beirut – Warde

Pikasso de Bronze – Horizon DraftFCB – Chateau Musar

Multivisual Award – Leo Burnett Beirut – Trident Everlasting

Supersize Gold – Leo Burnett Beirut – Exotica

Supersize Silver – M&C Saatchi – MTC Touch

Supersize Bronze – Clementine – The Lebanese Army – The Rangers Regiment

Mall Award – Spirit – Symi men deodorant

Citizen Billposter Award – Clementine – Tobacco Free Initiative

As expected the leading agency Leo Burnett Beirut came first grabbing 3 well deserved awards for their creative Warde, exotica and trident approaches, which were able to balance the horrific campaigns of 2011 in general, a year that witnessed many weak advertising initiatives that actually ended with 2 surprising awards for the -let’s call it- “controversial” Clementine.

Wishing the field a prosperous year by all means, and warm congrats to Leo Burnett Beirut and M&C Saatchi!

BOUMALI’S VERSION: 

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151168147590243

Lebanese National Museum Campaign

By Admin I : It seems that our reviews and the audience’s phenomenal interaction with us was not enough to make some agencies understand that there’s a desperate call for creativity, and there’s nothing personal against their specific campaigns!

We are not playing hide and seek here, and if we were tough on some campaigns (mainly coming from this same agency) it is purely because we see works that underestimate people’s logic and awareness level, lacking the minimum basics of a solid mature advertising approach.

This time it’s another campaign by Clementine, that seems to be taking over the majority of the national campaigns, also word-playing and using the bitter-fun approach while promoting a National call to rescue the National Museum holding a rich heritage of Lebanon and the region. Just another “Do re mi fashol zaree3 – as Boumali portrayed the previous Homecity ads)

There’s nothing wrong with the execution this time, the work is neat and the message is straight to the point, but what’s irritating is their constant word play abuse! “Ahiram (a Phoenician king of Byblos) to sound as haram – pitty” is a real a pitty to be associated with such a meaningful campaign that should generate donations. Accordingly, people who might donate or have the ability to do so, wouldn’t care less about the fun appeal they’re trying to attribute to the campaign, simply because it’s not the right approach for the right subject matter in the right moment.

Feeling sorry for associating a National cultural treasure with such an amateur-ish approach, and If you feel like donating after all the drama, you can use the following Bank Audi account: 315 885 461 30. peace!

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