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Monthly Archives: November 2012

They won the  2012 EFFIE GRAND PRIX for the second year in a row, Interesting Times and LB Beer seem unstoppable.

‘No Rights No Women’ by Leo Burnett Beirut, a campaign that keeps fooling award shows.

BBDO and shaky controversial wins.

‘Alfa Uchat’ by Leo Burnett Beirut: a real campaign for a non-NGO client and a well deserved award.

‘The Return of Ben Ali’ keeps on amazing the crowd.

By Admin I : So the regional version of the Effie’s took place in Dubai on the 21st of November 2012. The Effie’s is labeled as more than just a pretty-faced awards show; it’s about creative that sells and gets results. (a pretty fake promise, blaah, typical advertising!)

This year saw a 30% increase in submissions, as well as a significant boost in the number of boutique/independent agencies, proving that the field is going through a transitional phase where the domination of multinationals is gradually fading away.

Interesting Times won the Gemas Effie grand prix for the second year in a row for its ‘The Last Summer on Earth’ campaign for Lebanese Brew, It also won gold and bronze in social media, creating the biggest shock of the night, being a campaign that seriously went viral, had a buzz all around social media and the Lebanese Blogosphere; and yes, we Brofessionals have already named the campaign ‘one of the best releases of the year’ (we’re such a lucky charm aren’t we?!) despite all the controversy that followed, and the endless debate over originality.

Leo Burnett Beirut kept doing well with its expected NGO wins, and the one very bizarre ‘No Rights No Women’, a campaign that was done at the agency’s office, shot, covered and edited by the agency; the campaign that nobody saw (doesn’t even relate to advertising, having no audience) is still managing to grab various awards internationally.

Lebanese Winners of the 2012 GEMAS Effie MENA Awards are:

Grand Prix:

Interesting Times for the “Last Summer on Earth” campaign for Gravity Brewing
(This won GOLD in the Food & Beverage category)

Telecommunications/ Mobiles & Internet:

SILVER – Alfa U-Chat – Alfa – Managed by Orascom Telecom – Leo Burnett Lebanon

Best Youth Marketing Campaign:

BRONZE – Alfa U-Chat – Alfa – Managed by Orascom Telecom – Leo Burnett Beirut

Media:

SILVER – LBCi Drama Launch – Ward elkhal stunt – LBCi – Impact BBDO Lebanon

Travel, Tourism & Transportation:

SILVER – Vote for Jeita Grotto – Ministry of Tourism – Impact BBDO Lebanon

Best Use of Social Media:

SILVER – No Rights No Women – No Rights No Women – Leo Burnett Beirut
BRONZE – The Last Summer on Earth – Gravity Brewing – Interesting Times

Sports Marketing Campaign:

BRONZE – Nike Middle East I Run Beirut – United Sports of Lebanon – Mindshare Lebanon SAL

Food & Beverages – FMCG: 

GOLD – The Last Summer on Earth – Gravity Brewing – Interesting Times

Best Use of CSR:

GOLD – Break the Silence – Himaya – Leo Burnett Beirut
SILVER – BLOM Demining – BLOM BANK – IMPACT BBDO & OMD Lebanon

A visual person, don’t hand him a book of text. Building his own world and a great fan of innovative people, advertising, cinema and those that dare to force a change. Loves everything that has the word POP in it as long as it’s not ‘the POPE’. Funny (at least what he thinks), optimistic, and skinny. Thanking social media everyday for satisfying his craving to stalk people! (Illustration by Admin I)

Brofessional Review welcomes its newest Admin ‘NJ’!

Byblos Bank goes oh-lala-leb-land

By Admin NJ: Byblos Bank is back to promote optimism in Lebanon, because let’s face it, bank deals and loans really makes us so happy that we’ll be in dept for the rest of our lives. Byblos was looking for an advertising comeback by releasing a series of TVCs under the headline “Deyman Fi Lebnene Haddak” by FP7.

“Wherever you are in Lebanon, there’s always a Lebanese by your side.Live with optimism”

All of these commercials start with a father- who probably works at a bank- telling his son that his dad and every other Lebanese citizen got his back, with the most absurd ambiguous voice over. It then jumps to a casual Lebanese scene from the daily life, and by that we mean introducing cute old ladies.

Old ladies are the new black; get an old lady to remember a funny script and you’re all set! Don’t you think that this has turned into a Cliché? Anyone?

Other than old ladies, the ad shows people facing everyday life problems and so on . This commercial does deliver its main message, but doesn’t succeed to penetrate the brains of the Lebanese neither with the visual nor with the lines; insightful indeed, but lacks newness.

You got other TVCs that are perfectly executed out there, get inspired by Bank med’s pick up line “we2fet 3layye” (or not) or perhaps the new ‘Touch’ campaign, it’s visually lush. Raise your standards, deceive our expectations about a typical Lebanese commercial and introduce a bit of flavor. This commercial will be out of any viewer’s memory very soon.

Come on Christmas show us your good stuff!

Touch – MyPlan and a question of inspiration*

By Admin I :  It’s so classical from us Lebanese to dig into finding copycats of a successful work because simply we have this huge complex that’s constantly stopping us from crediting creative work. It’s a classical Lebanese convention as well, to copy, and only lift the aesthetic value of the work since it’s exactly what we do best: we do not design, we ‘decorate’.

We were really counting till ten before judging the links we received claiming that the ‘Touch’ campaign is a copycat; we tweeted, shared and asked for feedback on whether the limits of inspiration are overlapping with copycatting in a way, and most responses weren’t very convincing.

Guys, the dollhouse idea and the one shot commercial is not really new, it has been there for a long time, done for several purposes, and since the ‘Touch’ ad is such an eye candy, we refused to judge it as a copy simply because it was based on a concept (in a new world) and not a floating visual idea that’s forced into something else. That was when we received the ‘Zain’ commercial, knowing that ‘Zain’ and ‘Touch’ are practically one company (one manages the other or something like that). But guys, ‘Carrier Air conditioners” is just way too similar, especially the ending part.

While some called it a ‘Remix’ job (check this link) and insisting on the very well done ‘Touch’ ad, others still can’t but discredit JWT Beirut, and that’s enough proof on how things go in the advertising field in Lebanon, as said by our dearest tweep: ‘when it’s good it’s great and when it’s bad you’re fucked!”

Touch – MyPlan nails end of year season! 

By Admin I: It seems that the only worthy advertising competition in Lebanon is going between the two telecommunication brands Alfa and Touch that keep on topping expectations and setting new standards for good genuine Lebanese advertising. As mentioned in earlier posts, what’s smart in these two cases is the fact that each is using a different approach; while alfa speaks to the mass using Lebanese insights and slangs (kudos to Rana Najjar on the copywriting job and congrats for the Effies award on ‘Uchat’) Touch and JWT Beirut decided to make the shift.

‘MyPlan’ is probably ‘the’ eye candy of 2012, with a meticulous work on art direction and set design, producing what is indeed a spot-on set of visuals that you’d put on a loop each and every time to be able to catch all details. So if your competitor speaks to a certain level of audience, play your smart card and add to it, and that’s exactly what JWT did by the well calculated reach for Mashrou’ Leila’s lead singer ‘Hamed Sinno’ to add his signature vocals to the campaign, and here you go, now you have all Lebanese hipsters and their unicorns set to fantasize about a TVC!!

I’m sure ‘MyPlan’ has its flaws, conceptually, but the fun witty copywriting firing alfa’s midline from one end, and hinting MTC’s previous ‘bati2, sari3’ from the other, totally sells this work of genuine visual art (fingers crossed, I don’t want to receive a video spotting a copycat!).

If you’re an agency that truly cares about art direction and doesn’t ignore ‘design’ because of a pretentious claim of having too much work to do, then you’re totally worth respect! Congrats JWT!

Credits:

Agency: JWT Beirut
Client: MIC2
Brand: Touch
Production House: ..ne.a Beyoruth Prod.
Executive Producer: Pierre Sarraf
Director: Ali Ali
Art Director: Martin Krejlic
DOP: Pierre Mouarkech
Producer: Joanna Saliba
Production Manager: Reine Razzouk
Production Coordinator: Christy Massabni
Casting Director: Mia Daybess
Wardrobe Manager: Maya Kassis
Props: Mike Kahi, Najib Mrad, Sara Chaoul, Rana Chaoul, Joe Youssef, Elie Khayat, Ali Serhane
Grading: Dima Geagea
Music Score: Sary Hany
Performance: Hamed Sinno

  Exotica Christmas 2012:  FalalalaYAWN

By Admin I: So the holidays season is officially ON! Christmas is here, there and everywhere; glitters, sparkles, raped credit cards and all what follows. Exotica Christmas is here as well, I know I know I said we’re not going to review Exotica anymore since it’s becoming very much a la ‘Zein el Atat’ standards and we don’t feature such campaigns in this blog, but there’s something about it that intrigues our curious visual buds.

Despite the fact that the old Exotica ads were of a high creative value, the brand never managed to make the Christmas campaign as interesting as the other approaches; who said Christmas should be a big ball of glittery cliches flattened from all conceptual layers?! Anyhow, this year the brand preserved the boringly uninteresting curve of campaigns even though this time, the visual doesn’t look as badly directed as the latest 2 or 3 campaigns.

“Crafting Christmas” is too dull, too naive and too school-like project that adds nothing but a firm statement that the creative team behind the brand is turning deaf ears to criticism and totally neglecting the urge for improvement.

My Last Valentine in Beirut: The Review

Again as a reminder, we’re no movie reviewers, but we’re writing this post from a visual perspective. 

By Admin I : To be honest, I’ve never been a fan of Selim el Turk’s earlier attempts and I have nothing against the earlier Lebanese film-making experiences, but what ‘My last Valentine in Beirut’ offers is highly different. The movie is nothing like what you have seen before; this time, there’s no waxing stories or Islamo-christian melodrama; the content is a pure satirical approach that makes you lost between two scenarios: A: the director has too much money that he decided to fool around and set his own rules (highly doubtful), or B: we should man up as Lebanese visual artists and start having some balls, going experimental and caring less about the box office or the international feedback.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m one of the few who proudly state their ‘w halla’ lawen’ love story, but ‘my last Valentine in Beirut’ just took me on a ride to the absurd. The movie is indeed a visual risk, a game that could easily end in the trap of the ‘sex sells’ and the cliches connotations, but gladly it doesn’t. The movie is an interesting piece of crap (in a positive way) that pokes fun of the film-making and audio-visual industry in Lebanon, and if you have missed the point then the whole thing is not really addressed to you.

A smart story-line playing in the midst of a visual chaos that reaches a moral without being too preachy; in the end ‘Juliette’ – the lead character – proves that we are all whores, from different backgrounds and for different reasons.

“My last Valentine in Beirut” is totally worth seeing if you belong to an audience that gets layered visual approaches and cherishes the huge need for imagination, actualization and self-criticism.

TEDxBeirut 2012 reviewed

By Admin I : We all expected an improvement after TEDxBeirut 2011, com’on, there was room, good energy and promising potentials, but what we attended this past Saturday was a very disappointing mix of cheese, bullshit and Oprah moments.

It seems that TEDxBeirut 2012 had a specific formula: a good to blah project + a dramatic storyline + teary eyes – good natural presentation skills = a fake standing ovation from a crowd that was emotionally manipulated instead of being inspired.

Guys, when a crowd gets responsive to a tribal music band a lot more than a speaker it means that there are huge flaws in the speakers’ casting process; keeping the doctors and the NASA brain that decided to preach about ‘group work’ aside, almost all the other speakers fell in the gap; no one really stood up to the TED level of talks.

We might be too pessimistic, and yes we were tweeting furiously, but it’s because we’ve attended last year’s event and couldn’t but point the drastic failure of this year’s selections.

To sum up everything, we’ll briefly state our speakers’ review, and again we have nothing personal against those people, in fact, many are our colleagues and encounters:

–       Imad Saoud: interesting talk, engaging material but very static as a presenter and lacked interactivity.

–       Suzanne Talhouk: can we skip that? No, umm, she was a good presenter defending assumptions and lacking facts; what’s very special about being an Arabic language enthusiast, I had one of those for each year of school you know!

–       Jana Bou Reslan: How can we make it rhyme, while make you understand absolutely nothing?!

–       Marj Henningsen: interesting topic, the shift in education has been on the rise since a couple of years, and yes the change is obvious on many levels. A good topic that’s well analyzed and experienced.

–       Esraa Haidar: a blogger that’s fighting stereotyping, like gazillion other bloggers and journalists. Why a TED speaker again?

–       Charles Elachi: all we got from this privileged NASA scientist is that group work does miracles, and that NASA helped ending world poverty and saved Africa from AIDS and hunger, oh, wait, no that wasn’t it!

–       Amal Al Dahouk: our ultimate favorite TEDxBeirut talk: insightful, real, spontaneous, well prepared and not taking herself too seriously. Amal was talking about the right means of communicating information and the role of new media in orienting the crowd. Highly interesting!

–       Salim Zwein: Blah-science-endless-Blah-Clapping-Thank God it’s over.

–       Farid Chehab: when an advertising capitalist Guru shifts to going green and saving mother earth’s water resources. Theatrical, screaming for attention, no relevant content. Me no buy hypocrisy.

–       Performance: GLEE – the spoofed version.

–       Loryne Atoui: we love your energy girl, full of optimism even if the dose was too positive for our taste. A well appreciated struggle, but somehow the talk was screaming of an ‘awhh’ Oprah moment.

–       Christopher Littlefield: this guy knows how to play the game: funny, witty and natural; a feature that was generally missed in this year’s TEDx.

–       Performance: the most successful part of the day.

–       Peter Mouraccade: a standing ovation? Seriously?!! Why? Because a guy climbed a mountain, got a flu up there and made his friends drag him down?!

–       Zeina Saab: Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, or something like that.

–       Sareen Akharjalian: Sareen was our biggest surprise; we expected a blah talk about how a bored programmer followed her ‘dream’ and became a cartoonist, but the talk went super spontaneous and very well presented. Sareen proved that you don’t have to be the next Steve Jobs to do a TED talk, but you must be endowed with natural charisma.

–       Hani Asfour: Talking about a Steve Jobs wannabe, a privileged architect that ‘invented’ a space to talk inside a lecture hall – big deal – and a talk full of the ‘new’ design cheese called ‘design thinking’. Let’s grow out of this ya’ll, like pleeeeease.

–       Rabih El Chaher: started well, got too Platonic, then reached a non-sense ending, proving how passive and easily impressed this crowd was.

–       Closing was another Glee, fine, we appreciate your hard hard volunteer work, we really do.

The event in general had many logistics issues, from parking lots, feeding a crowd of 1200 people using a buffet, and the venue that ended up looking like a tuna can.

TEDxBeirut 2012 was just okay for new spectators but a total disaster for last year’s audience craving for a higher dose of inspiration.

It was just a fabulous work and energy along with the wrong choice of speakers.

All we need is, again, less bullshit!