Monthly Archives: September 2012

‘Masha3’ taking action

By Admin I: And here’s another amazing righteous cause that you agencies can adopt and make it your next award magnet; or not! Masha3 is a group of people of similar interests who joined hands to fight for public property, challenging a corrupt authority manifesting in ‘solidere’, that years ago took over the capital and other private properties and left more than 135,000 Lebanese with a major financial loss.

What we’re discussing here is not the cause itself, but how a CSR campaign can be done collectively and only by joining creative forces: designers and artists from different background contributed to the event, such as the very interesting posters by Rena Karanouh that follow the same feel of the previous ‘horsh Beirut’ visuals. When a city suffocates both visually and economically, and when people lose work, properties and houses for a financial monster, someone has to react: Lara Balaa – co-founder of Maajoun – worked on a minimal animation using pictograms, a visual language associated with information design and directly related to economy and business reports; the video answers a very blunt question showing the mediocrity of solidere’s actions; cynical, light but every effective.

An event at St.Georges Beirut (the only place still fighting to exist independently) was organized as well, with a fusion of art, design, music and other creative collaborations showing a solid ground that huge investors should really fear (not true, we know, but we love giving attitude!)

After the event, everyone went for a shopping break at the souks and drinks at Uruguay street (not really, they’re all poor hipsters) but let’s say protesting is not always the best solution if we all end up encouraging ‘solidere’ financially in a way or another. (Let’s boycott, it’s always cool!!)


Marwan tahtah (Photos)

Lara balaa (Video)

Rena Karanouh (poster design)

Jana Traboulsi (Graffiti)


Back to school, back to inspiration*

By Admin I:Back to school’ might appear as an advertising season, but the amount of visual rape produced for this same purpose every year makes it more of a hideous flee market-ish outdoor scene, with no conceptual approaches ever, with very minor exceptions (exotica, years ago, yes before the current coma) and minor campaigns like Aishti Kids 2008, a famous approach that has already reached  ‘adsoftheworld’.

I don’t work for those guys (for the billion time) and I wouldn’t randomly remember the Aishti kids campaign had I not seen the current ‘Zwan’. Calling it a bad art direction is not an intriguing piece of info for a brand that was and is probably still producing mediocre ads, wasting money and taste buds. Zwan comes out as a direct reminder of Aishti kids, minus some visual skills, and waaay minus a copywriting twist! There’s nothing fun about this campaign except the blunt inspiration* noting that both works are visual reminders of Bart’s scene in the ‘The Simpsons-Intro’.

We would totally digest imitation if it was based on a famous sitcom, but what’s striking here is that it came to be a second replica, a very flat one.

Cheers to originality people!

Aishti Kids Credits:

Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett, Beirut, Lebanon
Creative Directors: Bechara Mouzannar, Chermine Assadian
Art Directors: Joumana Ibrahim, Nayla Baaklini
Copywriters: Samir Fayez, Amin Kurani
Illustrator: Mark Calina
Photographer: Jihad Hojeily
Published: December 2008

Tarek Chemaly and a positive ‘WTH’!

By Admin I: First of all, we’d be lucky as a blog if you’re loyal brofessional readers, and you’ve never heard about Tarek Chemaly! Evil laugh gets cut by reality: who in this field doesn’t know the guy behind Beirut ntsc, a blog that started years ago, and managed to become a reference to the advertising field. Tarek is a blogger, instructor, and a very eclectic visual artist as well; yes, we’re stating it! You might have considered his visual works (mainly produced with paint brush and co softwares) primitive, poor or just amateurs, but call me weird, I do honestly think that this guy managed to make a very unique line of visual works, something very pop, kitsch, not the commercial way, but the very personalized!

This wicked visual interpretation came even more experimental with the release of many videos, such as ‘Moulinex el Hobb’ that got online only 2 weeks ago: the video is a mix and (mis)match of images, because to Tarek, the whole approach came as a reminder to how radio stations were submerging the mass with happy-go-lucky songs, while they were actually hearing them in the shelter – hence the sometimes dark mood of the video.
Interestingly, it is also a reach out to the fake-nostalgia of Lebanon (Switzerland of the Middle East and all that fallacy) as everyone is trying to romanticize a past which probably never was there (Or was there for a certain elite which was living in a bubble).

Tarek states: the bottom line is always the same: In a country so deeply divided, where everything is polarized, going back to pop culture (songs, advertising jingles, brands) could be a way to link us all back to one another through a collective memory which is the mesh of the fiber of society.

‘Moulinex el Hobb’, a 14-minute long musical is an engaging experimental piece emerging from
the 80s with the most popular hits being incorporated in a monologue about a Lebanese macho man’s (mis)adventures with women. This comes as a sequel to popular monologues about advertising jingles released earlier along with many other visual attempts.

So to set things straight, we are not here advertising Chemaly as an individual (he’s a competitor you know, *hairflip*) and we’re super certain that the guy can advertize himself quite well; we’re just exposing what we think is an interesting visual attempt, a merge between cultural design and a reach to narrative and innovative storytelling techniques. Pop art should remain pop, done by whoever decides to experiment and addressing a social collective memory; we have earlier featured the super talented Raed Yassin, and what Tarek does is quite a different approach but both contributing to our visual literacy.

It’s time for true Lebanese Pop art, les mecs!

Brofessionals at London Design Festival 2012

By Admin I (and 3 gorgeous brofessional angels) : So we found ourselves in London, and yes it was our first visit (justifying the overly excited tweets) enjoying the 10th London Design Festival, evolving mainly around social design, focusing on new media such as service design and other human related practices. London Design Festival this year, is still trying to redefine design after decades of definitions, and re-definitions lacking a true active initiative, as if this field can wait 30 more years just to get an appropriate definition that will trigger a never starting evolution.

One of the most interesting events of this year’s festival’s was of Jonathan Barnbrook!

Barnbrook became involved with the Occupy campaigners when they were forced to stop using their previous logo and held an open competition to find a new one. His design beat 17 others to be chosen as the new Occupy London logo after a vote among the protesters. One very interesting work of this unconventional designer is definitely his challenging work ‘the olympukes‘ Acknowledging the commercialism inherent to the modern Olympics, making reference to the economic climate in which the Games are being staged. “Ironically, the last time London hosted the Olympics, they were nicknamed the Austerity Games, Sixty-four years later, we find ourselves back in an era of austere cuts which serves to highlight the absurd expense of the 2012 games.

Barnbrook also criticized the olympics logo that according to him and many other international designers and design houses, doesn’t represent the city of London and got totally off the cultural identity of the place.

The guy has balls, and we like that (it’s figurative, chill!!)

As mentioned before, this year’s festival focused on social design, and acknowledged the urge for every designer to be a part of his own society and accelerate social change; ‘Graphic Design’ as a practice faced a lot of criticism and many calls to save the practice from the lack of morals and the misidentifications associated with it ‘designers are not problem solvers but problem revealers, they can bring things to people’s attention without having to solve their problems.’

One additional interesting insight from Jonathan Barnbrook’s presentation, would simply be his famous line: ‘i hate the word branding’:

‘In the last twenty years, there has been rush to work for lucrative or fashionable clients, we have either forgotten or decided to ignore what design can really be used for’

And about politics and social engagement, Barnbrook wrapped up with a very conscious line: ‘that awkward feeling that we could all be doing a bit more’ pretty minimal but very powerful in its essence.

On another note, more than one topic were raised during the festival, like how to reformulate volunteer design work to be more socially conscious, and Zaha Hadid’s oh-not-so interesting talk which is highly expected from a designer that became more of a brand than an actual developing design practice.

Lebanese designers were contributing to the design week in an active way: while Rana Salam was buzzing and exhibiting her design creations, Joumana Ibrahim, a Lebanese information designer was lecturing at the London College of Communication about ‘the lack of information in Lebanon’ and how it affects information design as a professional field and teaching material. Joumana’s talk was featured in Beirut Design Week earlier this year and proved to be highly engaging.

So London was a social design hub for several days during the last week, a hub connecting all visual bullshitters of the world trying to push them into action after several years of passive flat reaction to the society they live in.

Beirut Design Week 2013, we can compete!

Picon and “The Story of the Wheel”

By Admin I: It’s ‘Picon’ and who doesn’t relate to this brand in a way or another in this country!

If you’re starting to ask yourself why does this campaign promote ‘Picon’ as craft material more than being a blunt statement about its connection with heritage, the good taste and quality along with memories, the answer is that the product is clearly in its maturity level, and that took both agencies (with an intended ‘s’) and audience quite a long time to understand!

Discover the “The Story of the Wheel” and learn about the new and enriched “Body & Mind” recipe. Join Picon’s imaginative kids on their wacky adventure as they take you on a knowledge-filled journey through history and time.

So it’s a fun ad, visually pleasing, well art directed and animated coming as a reminder of the brand more than actually promoting a USP; having “nourishing talents” as a concept is a quite heavy load of bullshit for something that reminds you of how we used to get empty ‘Picon’ packs to use them as trash containers back at school, good memories indeed!

So it’s a confusing status-quo between a well done visual and a very very passive concept: who to preach and what to bash, especially that targeting kids for such products doesn’t usually work, having housewives as the real audience.

So in the end let’s call it a blend of hypocrite eye candy and get done with this review!

Exotica Online Delivery and the coma goes on!

By Admin G: If it were an ad by ‘Zein Al Atat’ I would really have understood (I’m sure you know the guy jumping on a horse to get you herbs from the highest mountains, yes it’s him)… but Exotica?! Really? It’s not like the recent Exotica campaigns have been much better, but still we were hoping to see this brand’s clinical death ending!

Shall I be more explicit?

The idea as a whole is interesting, talking about the visual merge between digital and realistic; we’re all facing the invasion of emoticons in all our conversations and it would eventually make an impact if used by online delivery for flowers but the implementation looks drafty and amateurish (8 bits graphics are becoming a visual cliche, going back to the 90s is cool, but easy on it Atari fans), especially the use of type that came inconvenient for an outdoor, which can be easily missed, having a thin type applied on an extended line.

The main flaw of this campaign is the copywriting: the line is super weak, too literal even if it’s not too direct; it’s almost like vomiting a line and praying for people not to ‘blah’ it.

Well, my real point is: after all the great work that has been done in the past, the public wouldn’t just accept less.. This account is so reaching a dead end.






Christmas hits Beirut in September!

By Admin I: You know those moments when you think that advertising is this huge hypocrite monster, and laugh at how agencies assume that they can change the world? Well, we do have a lot of those moments, a lot of creative desperation among designers and secretly among advertising professionals.

‘Christmas in September’ is one of those campaigns that make you stupidly smile, takes you back in memories and just brings warmth to your heart (assuming it’s still there).

CARMEN, 8 years old, currently bravely fighting cancer, wished for an iPad for Christmas. TAMANNA rushed Christmas just for her, in September.

It might sound cheesy, recreating Christmas to make a little girl smile, or might fit the “you could’ve used the production money to make more children’s wishes comes true” but what’s fascinating about this viral, is the mere spontaneity associated to it, an innocence that was genuinely diffused to the viewer with no boundaries. It’s like this ugly Christmas ghost coming to your bed to haunt you and make you believe in Santa again! Santa came to surprise Carmen and everyone else, even the Botoxed Beirut Souks clientele, their mades and Chihuahuas, hoping that one day, they’ll contribute with TAMANNA in making another wish come true.

A final note showing that there’s not excuse for not making good advertising: the wish cost 0 dollars to fulfill, although it involved around 100 professionals from more than 10 companies. ALL PRO BONO.

Super well done (wipes tears) !! (A nomination ya’ll)



Special thanks to:
Lebanon’s First Lady, Mrs. WAFAA SULEIMAN
Lebanon’s Defense Minister, Mr. FAYEZ GHOSN

Generous contributors:
STUDIOVISION (OB Van, cameras and crew)
MINI STUDIO & KIKI (Animation and costumes)
HARRY HEDESHIAN (Sound design)
PRINTWORKS (Printing and operating)
Mrs. THÉRÈSE KHALIL (Psychologist)
ZAATAR W ZEIT (Catering)