Saturday, August 27, 2016

Bic vs Faber Castell back to school pens

Faber Castell and Bic both have a back to school campaign. "Write your future" says Bic versus "a new way to express" claims Faber Castell. Bic seems to emphasize its cristal pen has a reliable ball, while Faber Castell wants you to know there is a "new way" (wink!). Well, I can no longer remember the last time I bought a pen as I guess either I am relying on digital or I get my pens free from conferences or whatever. Still, interest duel....

Friday, August 26, 2016

Bouza Salem vs Cafe Najjar - compare and contrast

First there was Nescafe Cappucino, now there is Bouza Salem. Interesting as both - Salem and Najjar - are based on the same concept: before anything else, have this product. In the case of Bouza Salem, "ice cream before eating", or "ice cream before study" - versus the Najjar new position "before anything else, there's Najjar". Do note that Bouza Salem launched its campaign last year - Najjar more recently so. Still, you be the judge!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Lipton, sensing the mood of a nation

Stop. Chill. Express. So goes, in three words, the new campaign for Lipton tea courtesy of Pimo. Actually, online through a dedicated website, or through live events which are moving from one area to the next, Lipton is trying to push people to see the glass "half full" as opposed to "half empty" - but it all starts with a question "in your opinion, what do you see?".
Not long ago, there was a hashtag that was launched #lawshoumasar (no matter what) is dedicated to those die hard Lebanese who still believe in Lebanon and in the Lipton current campaign talk see the glass "half full", whereas the rest of us - the realistic ones - tend to see it half empty. It also seems this is the first part of a wider campaign.
Well, it took me a long time before appreciating tea, but now that this done, Litpon green tea is my go-to drink. The good news is that the cup is either completely full, or in the next 5 minutes, totally empty - nothing about "half" of the Lipton green tea cup in my dictionary.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Zaher Hallab launches his tech channel

In a world where bloggers seem to be nothing but megaphones for brands, it is a refreshing change to see someone like Zaher Hallab launch his own tech channel. Zaher is a personal acquaintance for full disclosure. Sure, he was smart enough to launch a channel with a limited audience, and I say that because I grew tired of all those trying to be everything to everyone - testing cars and then doing movie "reviews" and then meddling into socio-political issues. At least Zaher knows whom he is talking to and talks to them well.
Yes, I did note the Android toys in the back fanboys, so back off - to each his preference (I say so knowing I have meddled in both worlds). But the video is indeed nice, fresh and Zaher is his usual bubbly self.
Even if I am not a techie, I do love the video and hopefully, more will show up.
Enjoy the first outing!

Social media in the Gaza elections

Now that is interesting! Palestinian elections are knocking on Gaza's door, and Hamas the party that rules the strip has deployed a social media campaign with the hashtag #thank_you_hamas - I purposely took shots from the movie showing women as I thought it was interesting. Do note that, coming from the Middle East, I refrain from judging anyone who elects anyone else - no matter who that elected person is. The reason is simple, whereas Western nations want to apply democratic principles to the region, whenever the outcome is not what they wish for, God knows what would happen!
But the case of Hamas working on social media, a place where criticism can easily be placed, and where a counter-campaign has already started and is spreading already - which of course raises a big question when it comes to how willing is Hamas (and Fateh for that matter, their archrival) to engage in open dialogue about matters at hand away from propagandist electoral youtube videos.
I must at this stage repeat, what some nations or populations deem as normal, others do not see it so. In an article I read about women driving in Saudi Arabia, there were many female voices not too enthusiastic about driving for many reasons ranging from how men should service women, to the difficulty of changing tires on the side of the roads and all else. So whereas it is easy to criticize our skewed socio-political systems, let us remember that perhaps this is how the populace wants them to be, and if this is not democracy - then I wonder what is!

Middle East Airlines, a mixed feelings safety video (UPDATE)

The new Middle East Airlines safety video is a thing to behold, a real Geita cave of wonders! Safety videos are all about - well, safety. To begin with they freak me out! But Middle East Airlines turned them into a touristic brochure - any monument worth seeing in Lebanon is featured and emphasized all while explaining how to duck in case of air turbulence. The production seems shaky at best, and the kaleidoscope of all the touristic landmarks is a little too much to handle if one trying to understand exit during emergencies. Does it work? I don't know, it is too long and therefore counter productive. Is it nice? Not overtly so when production fails it. Final verdict? No clue! I don't know if anyone will bother watch it as they struggle putting their carry one in the overhead compartments!
Update: I have been accused of being too harsh on the MEA video and you can compare and contrast with the Air New Zealand Hobbit video - which whereas long and therefore counter-productive has a very high production value. To be honest, I am perhaps the kind of jittery traveler, which reminds me of the Nike Zoom Air ad which ran during the 1996 Olympics "tell us what it is, tell us what it does, and don't play the national anthem while you do it". So when it comes to safety videos, I really, really want to know where the hell is my oxygen mask without seeing Baalbeck as a reminder of what fresh air really means.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Ryan Lochte: The perks of being a wallpisser

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly
Ryan Lochte has lost several of his endorsement deals - Speedo and Ralph Lauren being the most visible - following the fabricated "robbery" story in the Rio Olympics which was actually a cover up for a smashed door in a petrol station followed by urination on the wall of the bathroom. The athlete is going through the usual PR-set tour of apologies about being "immature" and what not.
A bleak story that the media is relishing on.
But if history is any indication, there's little the American public craves more than a story of redemption. The examples are too numerous to count and include the biggest celebrities and some of the highest grossing ones - be it on the music or movies level.
Drugs, infidelities, public mishaps, blundered national anthems, words spoken on a hot mic, financial failings and the list continues. Only those who do not play the game of public redemption after falling get punished. Think how long it took Winona Ryder to be back on top with Stranger Things series (after her 2001 shoplifting and many years spent a little in the wilderness without proper spotlight shining on her incredible talent) versus other celebrities who went back to stratospheric fame not long after their scandals broke following extra short stints of rehab or whatever their agents thought would reclaim their public image.
Which brings us back to Lochte, at 32, he was already at the end of his Speedo deal, and frankly how longer could he represent Ralph Lauren anyway with the market to mid-thirties male models shrinking and him being tied to the brand simply as an Olympic representative only.
Whereas I have little sympathy to Lochte and his arrogant fraternity boy antics, as a communication story, this is pure gold. The harder he falls now, the more noteworthy will be his climbing up from the bottom will be noteworthy.
And the American public loves such stories.
An athlete coming back from a major adversity, against the odds, to actually act like a normal civilized human being would.
Indeed, "what would Ryan Lochte do?" to achieve that....