Before we get into the "Back to School" advertising frenzy, we thought about presenting a quick round up of the most recent campaigns we came across throughout Lebanon, which caught our attention… With summer nearing its end, a heated yet friendly (how friendly we are tempted to ask ourselves?) battle is raging between local beer brands. On another front, we analyse why a renowned Lebanese coffee brand replaced its typical local corporate image with a Western-flavoured ad thereby raising eyebrows and causing a commotion on social media. In addition, we examine a handful of ads that tried to set themselves apart in this overly crowded market in hope of rising above the noise.
When in doubt, use a national monument to illustrate the point, or so seems to be the logic used, which directly taps into the patriotic vein.
Though this brand saluted the Lebanese Olympic team, a commendable move by all means, the overall effect came a little too late and was not stimulating enough either. Specially that that the ads are in the same vein of Arak Brun, recent re-launch campaign, yet left out the cool funky retro images used.
Seizing the opportunity that runs in parallel to the season, the bakery played on a frequently asked question namely, "raw, half done, or well cooked?" to refer to its offering of baguettes. However, that very same question relates to a summer tanning preference!
The work came across as a smart and efficient way to include the bakery's products into the ad in a subtle, yet easily understandable way.
Though the intended statements may have been clear, considering that it's the Olympics, the communication on the other hand was so complex, that an explanatory leaflet would have served it better.
"Break a record", fine that is the easy part. "Break a hand" - as Churchill said about Russia in 1939: "It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key", however, where it is and how to unlock the ad remains something of an enigma itself. So, break a leg Exotica and hope your next ad comes across as more comprehensible.
Celebrity endorsement is nothing new. What is new, is the format the brand took when employing renowned local media figure, Mona Abou Hamza, as ambassadress for the brand’s image.
This not only lent the work great buzz, but also cemented the message of freshness considering her vibrant persona. The online ads run the audience through Hamza’s hectic worklife yet “precious moments” in a diary like series (#MonaDiary) to emphasise the protection Persil dark has on the colours she is wearing. How effective is celebrity endorsement? that’s the main question that remains to be asked.
The blue mug says it all. Turkish coffee in a mug - over-caffeinated, hallucinatory, dreamy, out of touch with reality - and that's just the new campaign based on a new punchline "before anything, there's Najjar".
The ad reminds us of Nescafe Cappucino's own "before anything else, there's Nescafe", not to mention the similarity between Najjar’s blue mug and Nescafe’s red mug. Another intriguing fact lies in the way the brand seems to be repositioning itself in hope of appealing to a newer and younger audience, who, strangely enough is comprised of surf enthusiasts. Tough one can argue relevance, then again, the entire matter could also have been based on the re-pitched account that called for a newer and funkier direction.
For all its popularity, the brand cannot be qualified as "cool", though not for lack of trying. The new campaign—#3ishaMaT2oula, Pepsi’s local twist to the global #SayItWithPepsi campaign-, which rides the bandwagon of emoticons - and ergo, the WhatsApp, social media savvy generation talk, aimed at introducing the brand into everyday conversation the youth habitually engage in. It is, "cute", and definitely puts Pepsi back on the social map during summer with the introduction of hundreds of proprietary PepsiMoji characters. Despite the fact that it does not rate high on the creativity scale, it however does know who its audience are and how it wants the conversation to be held.
The message communicated in this ad is as clear as it is fresh! So fresh in fact that a cow's udder was used to further illustrate the point. Though dairy products may be at a disadvantage when promoting their products, the execution, proved inoffensive, rendering the campaign palatable (pardon the pun!). With no other competitors commissioning any advertising for this category in the market, the simple presence of Taanayel draws the consumer to the ad quite successfully insuring brand recognition and continuity.
Capitalising on the American National Hot Dog Day held on the 14th of July, the brand used four different visuals. These tell a love story taking place between a bun and a hot dog.
The best one, "without you my heart/inside part is empty" is almost visually identical to the other three, which suggest that the visuals might have been under-cooked. Alternatively, they might have been kept intentionally minimal to focus on the message itself. Still, if the purpose of an ad is to be noticed, this campaign did indeed get seen.
Almaza, which launched a new ad as "Lebanon's Beer" got swiftly spoofed by Beirut Beer in a TVC that replicates the faux-patriotic feel with the lead actor and director drinking Beirut Beer instead of Almaza at the end of ad. Though the latter did get a new look, it however did not change much compared to its former self.
With summer being a perfect time to promote beer, Amstel also made a major return to the market with a big campaign. Interestingly, Heineken, which owns Almaza also owns Amstel. In other words, the mother brand launched and placed two competitive brands head-to-head to gain more market share.
On a similar note, Beirut Beer, despite all their campaigns, still struggle to have a foot in the market, which drives one to wonder about the influence campaigns have on the general number of bottles sold.
Prior to jumping on the bandwagon, Air New Zealand had pioneered a new age of safety videos – that tell a story (the Hobbit story). Following that same path, two other airlines, Qatar Airways and Air France also rolled out well-produced ads, which must have resonated well with Middle East Airline. As a result, the company borrowed the concept and transformed the safety video into a touristic kaleidoscope of a brochure. Despite the fact that safety videos are usually long and counter productive, especially for jittery travelers trying to keep safe, MEA managed to entertain the audience, while positioning itself dead centre in a move that deserves praise.