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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!!

MTV Lebanon gets inspired* again! 

By Admin I (Thanks to ‘NM’ a lovely reader): so we really appreciate and encourage local channels working to enhance their art direction, modernize their image and make up for the bad content bla bla, but it seems that some TV stations (okay it’s MTV Lebanon) have misunderstood the concept.

Guys, sitting allday on Vimeo drooling over animations and creative works should inspire you to do stuff of your own, to ‘create’ instead of copy-pasting. It’s such a shame to see another inspired* TVC done by the same station! Months ago, it was ‘Men El Ekhir’ with a copied promo, this time it’s their morning show ‘Alive’. The same pastels, the split-screen, the cake, the huge letters, the sky and more than one similarity that could make it a coincidence.

We don’t have much to say, other than the fact that we don’t expect much from local tv, especially if the logo is a TF1 copy, and most of the promos are inspired*. In the end TV reflects audience not vice versa and the question of originality is very very secondary in a country where Lara Kay is more famous than the amazing Tania Saleh. Go figure!Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 10.20.17 PM

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Doculand meets TeleLiban

By Admin I: so we’re clearly in the middle of an advertising recession, the type that we haven’t witnessed before and we currently fail to point fingers at. We’re in June and we can barely spot any summer campaign. Almaza is the only brand that keeps showering us with advertisements, while other brands either stick to their social media pages, or ‘ship’ some Dubai produced campaigns, change the dialect, keep the atrocity and release.

We’re not going to make a hassle out of the new doculand ad, in the end, it’s only a copycenter that claims to do all sorts of services (and sticks a ‘designer’ tag on every computer technician). Okay the campaign is hilariously bad, reminding us of the 90s advertising fever, the 1st degree, and all sorts of long scripts containing too much client opinion. In this video, the script has probably more USPs than any other campaign we’ve ever seen: doculand is fast, doculand has good client servicing, doculand had good quality copy machines, doculand has beautiful ladies at the counter, doculand has overacting cheese, perlex, ammo abou Fouad, everything!

It’s not only an ‘all over the place’ campaign, but it actually triggered us to talk about the input of a certain client in the creative work. We’ve all been exposed to those excuses: ‘the client wanted it that way, we had a better idea, I wish you’ve seen the initial proposals’, and so on, and we actually buy that agency BS, just because bad clients exist, but we’ve reached a point where agencies are craving clients, at any price, at any level.

Recession made advertising a slave, an client’s butt-kisser. It’s a whole process close to ‘Orchiectomy’, a fancy word for ‘the surgical removal of one or both testicles’.