Monthly Archives: January 2013

Be The Minister: when design serves politics – NOT

By Admin I : So all you have to do is to guess 10 Accomplishments of the Ministry Of Telecoms, and by consequence win a chance to be the Minister Of Telecoms for one day, or to be 1 of 200 4G Pilot Phase Testers. (Big deal!)

So this minister decided to embellish his social media extravaganza with a ‘designed’ propaganda asking people questions about his accomplishments. As much as we salute his awareness of how design can serve the public good and raise awareness, the approach seems like a desperate call for buzz, almost like selling tomatoes, or in his case, oranges. (And no we’re not taking political sides).

Well, here in BR, we’d like you to believe that design can save the world and end African famine, but unfortunately it doesn’t (at least not before BR replacing Ban Ki-moon). Designing a propaganda website needs way more than pop plastic colors, a modern horribly kerned typeface and a James Bond – coming from nowhere – inspiration. Dear web designers, even if it’s a fun competition, look at international political propaganda websites, look at how engaging and valuable they can be! You are not selling supermarket products, unless the minister considers himself one! You are not, and you cannot design ‘pretty looking shit’ and call it a competition. Call us mad, you people can doom advertising as much as you want, but we’re not letting you mess with design.

Stay away!


Byblos Bank and the little push!

By admin NK: Once again Byblos Bank strikes us with another beautiful ad promoting its Personal Loan, and this year the bank’s advertising approaches are getting quite better with each campaign.

A typical love story between two classmates, yes, it may seem cliche, but who wouldn’t fall for this all over cuteness? Putting “cuteness” aside, I admired so many things in this ad: first, the cast was chosen pretty well, no brats trying to act childish cute (hint: the typical Lebanese Nido frenchie kid); second, the simplicity AND the cliche (It’s one of those ads that gets to you and you can’t help it even if you’re a cliche hater) and finally the fact that it has nothing related to a bank! They chose to showcase a literal personal story to promote their personal loan offer.

And what I personally find more awesome is that FP7 chose an approach that is not directly related to the brand image, but the brand essence (again, the kids). As I mentioned before, campaigns that use emotional approaches always tend to show a fake “I’m here for you, people” feeling, yet this time it’s better coated with “sometimes all you need is a little push”.

Bank promises might be tricky to work with, because you can easily fall into the trap of a fake hypocrite trying so hard to sell you something; Byblos Bank took on a whole ‘effortless’ looking work, adding this ‘little push’ that bank ads should have.

Good job and looking forward to sequels of this concept, that will feel somehow ‘cut’ if it doesn’t go further.

Child of the 90s | Internet Explorer: The Lebanese version

By Admin I: So the brilliant ‘Child of the 90s’ ad by Microsoft for Internet Explorer is out and buzzing on all social media platforms. The campaign works on nostalgia and even though the approach is not very new, but very very smartly done. The ad can make you go through many ‘Oprah moments’ all in less than two minutes though it fails pushing you back to explorer!

The point of this post is not featuring an international campaign, because we usually don’t do that (with two exceptions only: Unhate by Benetton, and Oreo’s 100 years ads); the whole point here is trying to ‘Lebanise’ this ad, so what if ‘Child of the 90s’ was made for Lebanon?!

Most probably, Nawal al Zoghbi will have a share, a long with some hint of the Spice Girls and the obnoxious boy bands. The 100 L.L green peanut chips, DeDe on LBC before bedtime, and a quite big load of nasty running shoes with buzzing lights!

Moving to a 90s teenager, the ‘big deal’ was probably the opening of the first McDonalds in Lebanon! Dunkin Donuts was ‘the place’ to meet all the cool buds in their black gothic era. Designers were looked at as hippies on drugs, and the best commercials were of ‘YES – 3 b 1’.

The 90s in Lebanon were pretty cool, but noticeably announced a path clearly heading to be Americanized. The 100 L.L Chips was replaced by Doritos because MTV said so, and the fun Atari moments to be replaced by the 3d PlayStation graphics and the rebellious music of Eminem and Metallica.

90s… Sigh!

Now, how would your 90s version look like?!

Khoury Home succeeds for once!

By Admin NK: So as a regular Lebanese citizen, being on the road on your way to somewhere, with all the billboards showing the same ad campaign every time you pass by a building, can be pretty entertaining and sometimes heart breaking (in case the campaign was visually/verbally horrible like most of what we see).

So as a regular citizen, Khoury Home’s Credit Campaign caught my attention. It really did because when I saw them my brain automatically went like “why, what, who, WHAT?!”. I would like to say that yes, I do like the simplicity, authenticity and the copywriting in this one (Arabic works much better than English) because again, as a Lebanese citizen, reading sentences such as “let someone else pay for once” and “empty pockets? you won’t leave empty handed” really DOES make it feel like a pat on the back especially with the offer they’re offering (well, according to their campaign).
As simple as the campaign is, I still feel that it could’ve been visually better (don’t ask me how, I’m acting as part of the audience here) and I still think that stores like Khoury Home should stick to a certain design path that would make their customers recognize the campaign without having to look for that logo (which kind of makes it hard with the red sign, too much red for me).
So comparing their campaigns, this one came pretty different, much more improved, and less literal.

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Even ‘BUZZ’ is inspired*: the creative replies

By Admin I: After questioning the ‘BUZZ’ campaign’s originality and the whole extravaganza it created on social media platforms and Lebanese blogs, the freelance creative behind the campaign had to reply in order to clarify this big issue. We honestly find her reply very grounded and logical, even though we don’t totally buy it; stuff do happen, but whenever one has a background in advertising and in agency work, being familiar to award winning international campaigns becomes a must. Reseach, research, research. This whole dilemma could’ve been avoided by a simple online research, but in the end as Nathalie brilliantly stated it, the Buzz campaign’s success is not linked to the format, nor to the scenario, instead it was due to the relevance of the lebanese insights that made the whole campaign.

We’ll be Mary Poppins for a day, and won’t fight that argument, just because we greatly encourage some more freelance creativity to take place in the age of corporate capitalism.

The full text reply:


My name is Nathalie Masri and I am the freelance creative behind the Buzz campaigns. Although, the work is a result of a group effort of highly skilled people, the concept responsibility lies with me and this is why I am contacting you directly in the hopes that you’ll share my message:

Today, the Mello Yello ad was brought to my attention. I was as shocked as all of you to see it, especially as it was the first time I come across it. It also seriously disturbed me as I value creativity and originality above all else. I unfortunately cannot think of a way of proving it was not copied and that it is a matter of creative coincidence.

That being said, I do believe the Buzz campaign’s success is not linked to the classic “wrong, wrong, right” format, nor to one classic “international” scenario between a couple at a pub, but because of the relevance of the lebanese insights that made the whole campaign.


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Even ‘BUZZ’ is inspired*

By Admin I: I really don’t want to sound like an old whining lady, but this field is such a failing fail that even fails to deliver one single decent campaign without plagiarizing international work!

You might call it ‘recycling ideas’ following the theory that preaches the end of ‘new ideas’ but who cares! A copycat is a copycat, and we sadly have to call a very well done, major hit campaign, a plagiarized work. It’s ‘Buzz’, and this time, it’s not really ‘aade mashewe el shabeb’, but more like ‘you’re in deep trouble’ fellow freelancers that we made sure to defend and praise at every possible occasion, and while bashing every multi-national agency in this country.

It’s a series of the very famous ‘Mello Yello’ ads that got ripped off this time. A very similar flow of ideas dating from more than 10 years ago. I believe that there’s a quote saying something like ‘when you want to copy, do it well’, and that’s exactly the case here; ‘Buzz’ looks fresh, beautifully art directed and hilariously insightful, but still, as original as my H&M $10 pants.

Cheers to originality, been a long time! 

Silkor’s “Look at me! I’m a baby! I sell!”

By Admin G: We all saw the new campaign of Silkor. You simply cannot miss that cute little thing.

The equation of Silkor was easy: we exhibit a cute baby face; we associate it to a line, we spend an amount of $***,*** for outdoors, and we create awareness!

The use of a baby is always a success in advertising. It has been proven. Mabrouk!

Well, the association was done in a pretty good way: 15 years anniversary with a “Baby Skin Forever” the line hits well. However the idea of hair removal associated to a pretty baby face is a bit creepy, I think. They simply could have pushed it a little bit further and make a less plain visual out of it.

Well, we appreciate the second degree thinking, but couldn’t it say ‘Baby Skin Forever’ in a smarter visual approach? Without the ‘Pampers’ European looking baby? The concept has so much potentials to play on without going as pedophile as this campaign went.

What I mean is, if you remove the Silkor logo and put instead Nivea, Nader Saab or whatever it is, it would also work, no?