Monthly Archives: June 2013

Beirut Animated 3 – The Review

By Admin I: yes we are the type that gets panic attacks for not being able to attend all interesting design event happening in Beirut, but we always manage to report as much as we were able to witness so you can move your fat asses and go next year. Guys, it’s such a shame to have an almost empty room at a panel discussion in an animation festival. It’s such a shame because the majority of you hipster designers, spend your days and nights nagging about the field and getting more and more constipated about it (excused, I know). So Despite the fact that most sessions lacked audience (except the Lebanese and Arab short animation films session), Beirut Animated proved a very high level of organisation, great content and innovative events.

Let me start with the Panel discussion about independent animation in Lebanon (Moderators: Lina Younes, Saud Boksmati), that featured Lina Ghaibeh, Chadi Aoun, Mahmoud Korek, Myriam Sassine, David Habchy, Ahmad Beiruty, Amine Alameddine, Emil Adaimy, Rachel Mouawad and the one and only Reina Abbas. Most of the discussed issues were indeed what is currently needed for animation to become an industry in Lebanon, such as animation schools for example or a whole animation program starting from traditional techniques and on, and the fact that our universities are mostly ‘Dakakeen’ animation with one or two courses stuck in a whole Design program (the panel was surprisingly in Arabic! Hallelujah). Okay you’re actually right, but at one point the debate shifted to ‘nehna bel Alba’ and ‘nehna bel AUB’ in an endless attempt to use their eau-de-javel buckets. Guys, with all due respect, the students you called arrogant and ignorant were able to break through locally and internationally. Those same students are in competition with you, and add this reason to why we have no industry, it’s mainly because educators are afraid of professional competition from their own students, and students are too sick of the design education system that’s based on mass production in most of the cases. Reine Abbas was the most intriguing member of the panel, being brutally honest of how random is design education at universities that treat students as clients.

The second event at Beirut Animated is the Lebanese and Arab short animation films session, which was a delight to watch, but again varied from the overly conceptual works that you actually pretend to get just to fit in, and the brilliantly animated stories such as the super insightful Hoffili-Berber Wedding by Lotfi Mahfoudh from Tunisia, Fouad by David Habchy and Joan Baz and Inside-Out by Rachel Mouawad.

Beirut Animated went all around the city with ‘mouhawalat tahreek qitar‘ a collaborative short film produced as a result of a workshop held at the Mar Mkhayel train station. Waraq collective had a good share of the festival as well, with their Hully Gully trope at Luna Park Rawcheh, where they made use of the trope being one of the oldest animation techniques to create a live interactive installation that shows an animation cycle on a certain speed.

Designers and animators of Beirut (in case you exist), you’ve missed on a lot if you haven’t been to this year’s festival; the thing is that it’s once each two years (consider changing that metropolis dudes) and has whatever this field needs to improve: talent, will and good work. It only lacks your presence, yes, you, the arrogant visual artsy fartsy crowd of Beirut.


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Short films in the bath, the Roman bath

The Outbox Film Festival Campaign Review

By Admin I: some campaigns make you actually wonder why agencies struggle so much with their complicated advertising attempts, simply because their huge egos always need to go through a rough phase before the self-celebratory phase called “forced ideas”. Well, we might not be the advertising gurus, but we can spot a good campaign when we see one, exactly what happened when we saw the ‘Outbox International Film Festival’.

The campaign works on one very minimal concept: ‘Short films in the bath, the Roman bath’, that was pushed into the fun exaggeration of pushing a literal idea to the edge of become lateral.

Founded in 2010 as a modern take on ancient open-air theaters, the Outbox International Short Film Festival runs in a public space accessible to anyone who’d like to attend. The festival accepts film submissions from all countries and genres. There are no applicant fees, and entrants are chosen solely for their talent.

With a purely cultural event that’s free in every sense, the festival celebrates cinema outside the box, with outstanding work, whether in motion or in 2d graphic, and a bathtub that didn’t fail to make us laugh and question the need for big agencies at a country where good ideas can be found whenever, wherever!

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Samsung CTC: missing the big idea

By Admin NK: Samsung, or may we call it the ‘Lebanese version of Samsung’ (you´ll understand this throughout the post) has released a new TVC promoting their phone warranty. The aim is to be funny but the result will leave you with a “seriously!?” at the end of the video. With a capital S.

I mean I personally had to repeat it to understand the concept. Not because I have a mental disability of not understanding failed Lebanese humour but because I´m a “brofessional” that needs to act all “bro” and cover failed Lebanese advertisement for you.
So let´s start with a few things: Can we stop with the big old phone joke? There are tons of viral videos using this same trick all over the internet (check this link). And no one can use them as a spare anymore anyway, so it doesn´t really make sense (forced humour ya’ll). Maybe it would’ve been much clever for the Lebanese version of Samsung to add a competitive brand (just like the awesome Apple vs Samsung ads that we’ve seen) instead of putting a phone that has no meaning whatsoever; adding a competitive brand doesn’t mean going blunt about it, since our media law restricts such brand uses, but at least doing something interesting that’s a bit less cheesy.
Guys we admire the whole we´re-not-showing-our-product thing but I still think that the big idea is missing here, big time!

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Last year’s BDW reviews: 01 02 03

Beirut Design Week 2013 goes BR: NO. We’re kind of anticipating your questions when it comes to Beirut Design Week 2013: we’re not going to tone down criticism because we’re a part of this year’s event. We made it more awesome and stuff, but doesn’t mean we sold our balls to the devil. (excuse my refined vocab).

To be quite honest, some improvements are quite evident if compared to last year’s visual mess for example. The Helvetica overdose was substituted with Frutiger (and Frutiger Arabic – do I hear too ‘lazy’ to design?) which already looks better. Colours are more consistent and serious, the website is clear and everything seems to fall into place correctly including the online video (A bit deja vu, but works quite well, knowing that no agency is behind it). On the other hand, BDW13 comes with workshops indigestion, between the huge amount of participants, lots of design bullshit Pluto based ‘thinkers’ and some DIYs. A lot of those. (Some workshops are quite interesting such as Maajoun, Kashida, ours, ours, etc..)

Let’s not give away too much when it comes to reviewing content, we’ll be covering BDW13 extensively next week, but we’re honestly taking advantage of this post to promote Brofessional Review’s double contribution:

A Guerilla Advertising workshop, a call to have fun breaking some rules, and a surprise ‘Brofessional Show’ at the week’s closing conference at LAU. We’re very honoured to take part in such events, knowing that the organisers are more of a ‘one man show’ trying to take this field a step further rather than sticking it to a tantes Ashrafieh audience.

Can’t wait to see you all, BR’s going to rock! (inserts a well deserved hair flip + cat fight SFX).

Beirut Animated and the busiest June ever!
By Admin I: Okay so we’re stressing here at BR! It’s indeed a busy period in Beirut where all events are tightly scheduled one after the other, making June the ‘must be in Beirut’ month!
It starts this weekend – actually tomorrow – with Beirut Animated (though sticking to ‘Beirut moutaharrika’ even in Latin is much more interesting) an animation Film Festival featuring Arab films, international independent films, retrospectives, special programs, workshops and discussion panels.

“Beirut Animated is organized once every two years by The Metropolis Association. The festival aims at promoting animation in Lebanon by showcasing International, Arab and Lebanese animation productions. Moreover, the festival seeks to become a platform where professionals from Lebanon, the Arab region and the World can meet, exchange and discuss issues related to animation, its production and development”

I have personally attended the last version of the festival 2 years ago, and let me tell you, the works featured were of a great value, presenting new techniques and rich stories to an audience that struggles between the local artsy-fartsy scene that’s not able to get a step beyond a hipster-fake attitude in film-making, and a European ‘imported’ wave of films making more buzz then any Lebanese film festival simply because ‘les tantes ashrafieh’ prefer “Le Festival du Cinéma Européen‘ over any other initiative.

The 3rd edition of this non-competitive festival will take place from the 14th to the 18th of June, 2013 at the Metropolis Empire Sofil in Ashrafieh and will be touring in 4 key cities of the Arab world: Tunis, Tangier, Cairo and Dubai.
Looking forward to attend, encourage and review! 

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Exotica father’s day: back from coma-land

By Admin I: few months ago, we kind of decided to ditch reviewing exotica. The brand was going downhill without looking back to its advertising glory days, or to any criticism; we already know that agencies and especially multi-nationals can be too arrogant to show improvement that’s directly based on feedback, but exotica was in total mess. Anyhow, and after a long coma, the brand got back on track: we can firmly say that the father’s day campaign is with no hesitation their best ad since 2 years. (again, unless google proves it being a copy).

Clean art direction, good photography and a simple smart metaphor that made it a hit. No excessive use of plants or flowers, no cheesy lines, no forced connections, practically nothing that reminds of their few last campaigns/flops.

Other than the typeface they insist on using (and it’s a personal opinion), nothing went wrong this time, so if it takes a season of advertising recession to bring back the good work, hello recession!

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Terranet brings back competition 

By Admin I:  after a long period of practically no advertising campaigns in town, a period when the most creative outdoor was a badly illustrated cheese ad, Terranet came back to release its 3G internet dongle campaign that’s one of the very best works of the past 2-3 months. It would be very sad to know that the campaign was not produced in Lebanon (or for Lebanon), but it’s worth noting that the links, or the metaphoric associations used are pretty damn smart. The ad is layered: exaggerated illustrations that interfere with photography, a blend that looks very interesting and well executed (though it’s not technically a piece of cake), so Tarek, we have to disagree.

So it’s a very well done visual, an even better concept, but a glitch with the message. Psy is instantly recognizable and very funny, Willy Wonka takes some time, and Mark Zuckerwhatever takes a whole lot more to stare and think. The layering in this campaign made it harder to perceive, and definitely not suitable to be an outdoor distributed all over Lebanon, where very few can identify with. It made it no longer second degree, borderline far-fetched.

Good job with art direction and concept, but Terranet definitely missed using the right medium for the right audience. Wake up advertising!!