ArabNet Beirut - March 2015 - Panel Discussion: Social Influencers and Brand Sentiment

Hi folks

I was honored to be part of the panel discussion entitled: Social Influencers and Brand Sentiment.. this was part of the prestigious ArabNet Beirut Conference

The session was moderated by Amer Tabesh, Producer and Presenter in Future TV

Fellow panelists were:
- Peggy Khoury - Social Media Manager - Phoenicia and Vendome Hotels
- Nadia Mneimneh - Fashionsta and Instagrammer
- Gino Rady - Lebanese Blogger and Social Media Icon

Check it out..
Hope you find it useful :)


The campaign that saved Ramadan 2014..

Every year, comes out 1 campaign that becomes an icon for years to come.. From “Bibo far2a3 Gigi” in the early 2000s, to Melody Tunes (ol Ingelesh, ol za tayem) in 2007, Maxibon “Abooya” & Mobinil Dayman Ma3 Ba3d Song in 2012.. this year, it is beyond no doubt that Tecno Mobile is this campaign.

 ِAfter a rather disappointing season this Ramadan with little good copies; Hany Ramzy's thighs, and the Fridge that el gen el azra2 el quite fond of.. Tecno Mobile come to us with a fresh concept in 8 different copies that are all as hilarious..

It is becoming inevitable that mobile is the most important device in our lives, it is the one device that does not stay more than 10 meters away from you at any point during the day, you wouldn't go back home if you forgot your wallet but you'll definitely go back for your mobile.... need I say more?

With more than 120% penetration on mobile phones in Egypt, it is about time to elevate the smartphone penetration, currently sitting at a mere 15-20%.
Not the whole world can afford an iPhone 5S or a Samsung G5, someone had to step in with a more convenient option.. a more affordable thus attainable option.. is Tecno Mobile that option?

From a campaign point of view, the ads are great.. Great creative input from BBDO Cairo, great interpretation and cinematography from award winning director (and ex creative director) Ali Ali..

The situations are real, everyday hiccups that you find yourself in and only a smart phone can help.. 
Speaking of real situations, we actually beat you to a donkey selfie a couple of months ago on a business trip to upper Egypt :)

From another stand, the campaign seems to be getting a lot of heat for 2 reasons:
  1. A lot of people look at the campaign as an elitist one, looking down at doormen, mechanics, makwageyya...etc.. Well the fact of the matter is, if you're already one of that class, you'll probably just find it funny because these are situations that you come across in your day to day..
    Haters will always be haters... But that wave seems to be gaining popularity
  2. The phones sells itself as the "Smartphone for everyone"... I dont think "everyone" can particularly afford a phone that is 2300-2800 LE... Coming to think about it, the caliber we saw in the ad would be barely making this amount of money a month, let alone spare it on a smart phone for their leisure.. so I'm not sure if the disconnect here came from the client brief (which didnt highlight the price), or the agency that took their humor way too far to actually omit the fact they're actually going off brief..
    Either way, being so humorous about a certain chunk of society, while giving them a phone they can't afford will definitely loop back to point #1, that you're actually making fun of them...
    Also one piece of advice to Tecno Mobile social media handlers, make your dialogue on Facebook in Arabic, immediately... Some people are already not too happy with the ad but are asking for the phone anyway, at least reply back in the language they prefer; don't talk from your ivory tower up in the sky.. they wont like it and they'll lash you for it... soon
Concluding remark... great ad, loved the scripts and the humor...  I just hope it sells well with such a hefty price-tag.
Thank you BBDO and Ali Ali

Thats all this time..
Till we meet again,

Ramadan 2014 - The Sh*t Ads post

Hello Friends,
Hope Ramadan is treating you well so far..

As we approach the end of Ramadan with less than 10 days ahead of us, I took all the time possible to wait for these to counter the damage they've done to us over the past 20 days.. But since there wasn't much into their campaigns than what we actually saw... so i'll have to crown them the worst of Ramadan 2014


Being the local underwear brand in the country, it was no surprise the Cotonil will go with a local activity.. But this, this is just taking local and throwing it out of the window...
With a series of very frail teasers that leave you not longing to keep track of what comes next; they come to us with this copy.. A TVC that says nothing about the brand, humiliates Hany Ramzy by dancing in his undies (a sight probably no one would want to see) and destroying a classic piece of Egyptian culture.. Fouad El Mohandes' and Soad Hosny's musical from Ganab El Safir (1966).. Even worse, they haven't even paid the rights to the music, thus why it's been taken off air.... El Hamdulellah!

A silly copy that was wisely replaced with this copy.. Which i think is a much better alternative, but the damage has been done anyways... The sight of Hany Ramzy's thighs will probably stick in my memory for a while..

Bank Misr:

OK so weak creative with bad humor is one thing, but an entirely stolen concept that has absolutely no cultural relevance is just absurd.
Riverdance has risen to stardom in the mid 90s when introduced to stageon EuroVision by an Irish couple… So its not only pertaining to a certain culture, its actually very specific to a certain family that seem to have made this a profession.. The relevance of this copy to anything Egyptian has raised a lot of eyebrows and created a major wave of questioning and ridicule on social media, such as the below.

Recipe of a failed copy, a bad song with inaudible lyrics and incoherent choreography that is not even in sync.

What really bothers me actually is the fact that for the past couple of years, the Bank Masr people have always come to us with pretty decent copies (Corporate Copy and and Masra7eyyat in 2012).. Too bad they approved this concept this year..

Mega Cookies:

OK.. so I took my sweet time with this, watched all the copies, over and over again… Asked friends inside and outside the industry; thinking that something is wrong with me and I cannot get it..
Turns out that everyone share the sentiments to the Mega Cookies ad… a horrible set of ads that have nothing to do with….. anything, really!
From standing at the edge of someone deathbed to getting robbed to a Korean ping-pong…. What are they trying to say here… seriously?
I’ll do my best to decipher the message here… amongst all life’s pressures, Mega Cookies will take you out of it all on a 5 minute journey of indulgence that you won’t feel anything else around you?

I think the team at Nestle thought that it would be a good idea to take things over the edge and take the risk of an eccentric copy, as they did with the first Maxbon copy of 2012.. but this one was taking it a bit too far..

The result? A major backfire in Nestle’s face that dropped brand love to subzero levels in a jiffy… khosara!

Concluding remark
I'm not writing all of this just to shoot someone in the foot, hope the makers of these ads take this critique with an open heart, use the learnings and run with them for a better stronger come back next season

Till we meet again,

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