Branding out of context
By Admin I: we’ve previously featured successful Lebanese branding jobs on this blog (link), so as stated earlier, we do think that some design work, actually works; but let me tell you, we have an epidemic design disease. A shawarma place is opening at each and every corner in Beirut, and most of them are becoming franchisable businesses spreading their ‘shawarma culture’ across the region (and harming many small traditional street food businesses as well).
Wether you support this Mc-shawarma phenomenon or not, and whether you think that shawarma is Lebanese, Turkish or Mongolian, you can really notice that most of these branding jobs are highly highly westernised.
Let’s start with ‘Shawarma Republic’ – united we sandwich: those guys clearly sell shawarma with some extra dripping attitude. An Americanised approach playing it ‘cool’ and making shawarma hip, fine, whatever, but what really bothers here is mostly their communication strategy. 2 years ago, the Shawarma Republic launched a campaign playing on the Obama campaign posters designed by American contemporary artist and graphic designer, Shepard Fairey in 2008.
So practically, we’re not only taking branding out of context, more specifically a traditional street food brand out of context, but we’re sticking it to a blunt affiliation with another context, another culture, something similar to affiliating hamburgers with Arak or Koussa mehshi.
Another brand showering us with presence, communication and visuals, ‘Shawarmanji’, claiming modernity, and also westernising traditional food, but moreover taking random decisions in the whole cultural aspect of it. The shawarma Kiosk is now a small tidy shop that uses no man hand, but instead, electrical machines that carve into your memory, i mean food.
The point of this post is not attacking modernised design. Well okay, I’m lying. The post is about shedding light on a phenonmenon that’s taking us by a storm. Why are we suddenly westernising everything to make it hip. Why are we designing for the sake of design?! Why is design in this case prohibited from using one very important tool in any communication process: CONTEXT!
Why are we branding out of context, using a combo of Swiss type and American art direction for a place that sells oriental food. Don’t tell me to calm down, this is a cultural blasphemy.