Ramadan 2010 - Day 20 Commercials Critique

Saba7 el kheir ya Masr..

Shwayet e3lanat kda 3al saree3...

1. LINKDSL NETwassel Campaign:

A timely retaliation move by the country's first ISP, as TE Data has been hitting right, left and center in the past period..
Link DSL comes back with a pretty decent corporate copy. Its simple, warm and informative.
Note the orange polo t-shirt of the guy in the ad, a clear reference to Mobinil's full acquisition of last month (after partially owning for a long time).

A simple yet nice ad that would make u smile every time you watch it..

Grade: B

2. 3 Chefs Half Chicken Campaign

A nice set of ads... Although they're a bit exaggerated and cliché (the whole family sobbing because of the mom cutting onions has been used ever since the Charlie Chaplin era), but I actually like the ads, they're funny, light and stamped with the "Leo Burnett Cairo" trademark, the cheerful telescene and tone of colors.

The little kid (the son) is just out of this world, outstanding performance, funny, cute, playful...EVERYTHING... he's just GREAT!

You got some talent, kid... and probably you also got some more acting contracts coming your way soon

Grade: B

3. Scib Radio - What are your colors?

This is the first time I ever review a radio ad, because honestly there weren't any radio ads worth even mentioning... Although we've been tremendously progressing on TVC production and ideation, however our radio copies are way below world-class standards (just reminders, constant musical reminders that you hear a 100 times a day, thats why you know them).. But this set of ads actually took a complete turn in Egyptian radio copies... 

Steve Allen; US TV legend once said that "Radio is the theater of the mind, while TV is the theater of the mindless"..
I'll only use the 1st half of this quote in the above review... They indeed played along this line, I dare any of you to listen to this ad and not imagine what the voiceover says (the White dress, Red Sharbat...etc).. You might even close your eyes and go into a brief nostalgic trance reflecting a memory similar to that sound you just heard..

Thats is the beauty of this campaign, it takes you beyond just listening. It actually forces you to use more than the 1 sense you should be using.. It makes you think, imagine and maybe even SEE things.. This is something we haven't been used to do with the current ads on the radio.

Scib Paints and Leo Burnett Cairo have successfully managed to cut through the clutter of 1000 ads per minute on Nogoom FM to the extent that all the ads sound all the same!

Hope this would elevate radio production and ideation to a whole new level...

Grade: A

Thats all for this one folks.. Take it easy friends,

Social Awareness Campaigns

Good morning friends,
Hope u had a nice weekend..

Today, I wont be grading the ads I show, as the below ads don't aim at reaching their sales quota, nor out-voice competition .. They've got a more noble purpose, the overall welfare of the Egyptian people.

Although the creative concept is not great, nor is the production quality.. but the fact that someone took the initiative to invest money and effort in an attempt to make Egypt a better place is definitely something to be commended.

1. Anti-drug Campaign:

I don't think its going to be hard convincing people out there that drugs have indeed penetrated this society deep.. 
Lets admit a lot of us tried some of this stuff in an earlier stage of our lives. Even up-till now we know at least a bunch of people who are regular "consumers" of drugs (be it Class-A Cocaine, Acid, 'shrooms or just good old hash and Cannabis; Bango)... Although I'm quite ashamed to say that, but I know of people who smoke up even during Ramadan, this is how dependent people have become to drugs.... completely hooked

According to the National Centre for Social and Criminological Research (NCSCR), "consumers" of drugs has touched upon 10% early in 2010.. Meaning there is 8 million "modmen" fel balad!!
Most of this 8 million ppl are males between 15-35, which is an utter catastrophe, because its this same age group of people who should work their asses off during this period of their lives, to make something out of their careers and rise up with this country!!

The ads are too cliché , but they show the causes, the signs and the consequences.. Which is more or less what people need to be aware of..

2. Domestic Violence:
Another major issue that we face in our society is the loss of respect between spouses to the extent of physical assault.

According to the 2005 Egypt Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), Domestic Violence and assault on women range from 25% in A/B+ Classes to 40% in B- and below classes. These numbers are expected to grow to 30-50% with all of today's life pressure.

Violence against women has a host of negative reproductive health outcomes, including more sexually transmitted infections (STIs), higher rates of unintended pregnancy, limited utilization of prenatal care, and low birth weight. Egyptian women who experienced spousal violence reported having more children and more unintended pregnancies.

Well, not to belittle or dilute such matter, but this reminds me of Adel Emam in "El Wad Sayed El Shaghal", when he told Mostafa Metwalli "Di zoga w omm, wel omm madrasa... 7ad ye3mel fel madrasa kda??"
Although this is a skit in a comedy play, but it indirectly reiterates a principle that all religions and cultures have stressed on its importance.
Good mothers = Good generations to come... its that simple!!

3. Ethics Revival

Although there aren't any figures that can actually quantify this, but it is no secret that our society values and day to day ethics are going down the drain, maybe the above can serve as a reminder and help people refresh their memories of what is appropriate to do or not to do in some cases

A concluding note, I'm no angel, nor am I a preacher... Its just that I really hope to make this country a better place, for our generation and generations to come... and these ads are a mere reflection of other people out there who have the same thoughts and are thinking along the same lines.
When people talk about reform, they always refer to actions in the future, actions that only the next generations will reap its fruit... what about reform NOW? something that our generation can make use of.. Yes, I am being selfish.. I want to live in a better Egypt!

Hopefully we'll see this change happening in our lifetime, not watch upon it from heavens..
Till we meet again, 


Mid-Ramadan Commercials Critique - Part 2

Hi there,

A quick sequel to yesterday's post, because after I posted yesterday's review, some ads were released only yesterday and this morning... so consider this a quickie before the weekend!

1. El Misrieen Corporate - White Cheese:
Maybe I have a soft spot towards local brands that do high-quality ads, but is this ad great or what?
I love how they took a song from the deep roots of the Egyptian culture and turned it around, great copy-writing there. 
However, I wasn't so sure about the bit where they tear down the old logo, also the fact that the factory was old, dusty w 2ayel lel soqoot.. for me it shows that the company was at sub-par level before, then after the revamp it became great..
They should show continuous and consistent quality... or am I over-analyzing things?

Anyways.. I like the ad, good stuff!

Grade: B+

2. Sprite Lemon and Lime Ramadan 2010 - Promo 2

The Lemon and Lime characters are back with yet another copy..

This one has a mix of fiery, more daring statements (clear reference to arch-rival, 7UP), with some good old non-sense for HA-HA purposes (I'm not sure if it worked for u or not, it hasn't for me, except for the "Ghazat" part)!

As mentioned in a previous review (although I personally like these ads), but they're so extreme to the extent that I got some feedback from people who said they'll stop drinking Sprite because they think the ad is horrible.. So its either ADORE or DESPISE, no middle ground..

You choose....

Grade: B


3. Coca Cola Happiness in Cafe - Making:

Personally, I think that shooting this TVC was much harder than following a written script.. You don't know which table will order first, you don't know how people will react and you have ONE SHOT to make it work (for ppl outside the advertising field, it can take you 3 days to shoot a 30" spot).

Personally I think going for activations and BTL is a brilliant idea for the below reasons:

  • Recruiting brand loyalists from within the target will definitely create a lot of buzz around the brand.. Imagine yourself one of these ppl in the cafe, and you won yourself a PS3 or an LCD courtesy of Coke.. How many ppl will you call on the way back home to tell them about it, and how many ppl will these ppl talk to.. until your story becomes "a friend of a friend" legend.. The hardest medium to infiltrate and evaluate/monetize is "Word of Mouth", it also happens to be the one with the highest impact. Get people talking about your brand positivley, you're made! :)
  • Low cost: Although I can imagine that setting this up and getting it right at the first and only time was HELLACIOUS, but the cost of producing this TVC is a fraction of cost compared to any other commercial (even if you account for all the prizes that they gave away).. So its a smart and cost-effective move.
  • Pepsi didn't come this year: I know this too much of literal translation, but really "PEPSI magatsh this Ramadan"... Maybe they have an agenda, maybe they had a problem, thats not the point at discussion here.. Either way, Coke made use of that intentional/coincidental  absence and I bet brand health stats will go over the roof after these ads.
Grade: N/A, I already graded the copy before.. 

Thats it for now...
I'll see u next week Inshallah with more ads and reviews,

Mid-Ramadan Commercials Critique

Afternoon fellas...

Its mid-Ramadan already, hope u made the best of it..
And if u didnt... yadob tel7a2 :)

I believe by now most of the brands have unveiled their copies already, except if Pepsi have something HUGE in store to make up for their failure this year (I got an anonymous comment a couple of days ago that this might be by choice, not a force majeur issue; which is a respectable POV).. 
But I think if Pepsi did this by choice, then its even a bigger problem, letting go of advertising in a high-consumption month wouldnt serve their market share too well..

This one won'e be too much of a "critique", because I just realized that most of the ads I have on this post are ads that I like, coincidentally.. But you definitely have the right to disagree and debate

Yalla beena...

1. Coca Cola Happiness 2 - The Cafe:

I'm starting to like these, although I've been still getting comments that they're fake (eg: no one would order a Coke in a cafe kda... i dont know, the order looks fake).. But I LOVE the fact that I can walk away with a PS3 just for drinking a can of Coke..
Besides, it didnt just stop at a guy with a bullhorn-mic and some confetti falling from the ceiling like in the supermarket copy.. 
The stuff they did (Agmad wa7ed fel donia sign, PS3, the musical parade and of course going back home with a free LCD) made people GENUINELY smile and laugh their hearts out, you can tell from the looks on their faces... 

I can't wait to see el far7a el gayya fein indeed! :))

Grade: A

2. Palm Hills - Choose Life Corporate Copy:

Its not really my field of expertise, but why do I get a feeling that the whole ad is a series of stock footage that just reflects the script (reflects it beautifully though)...
So there wasn't really a lot of effort/production done here.. Get some readily available stock videos, add music, dub our beloved Omar El Sherif's VO on it and you've got yourself an ad..

I like the ad though; the script flows nicely, the footage is expressive (even if its "borrowed") and Omar El Sherif's voice can sell u anything.

Grade: B

3. Schweppes Gold:

Although the ad is fine... average ya3ni.. But I have a personal problem with adapted global copies.. The ad does not feel Egyptian and definitely does not look Egyptian..
I believe this country is so cultured, full of history and rich with ideas. That is why I feel that brands that adapt global/regional copies take the "easy way out"..
I know that it is not always easy to pull out production budget for each and every single project but if you want to infiltrate the biggest market in the region with a proper copy that would deliver on your ROI, then you might as well pay the price for it.

Grade: B-

4. Scib - Mahmoud Saeed:

I completely love this one, colorful, insightful, cheerful... You'd want to watch it over and over again, and every time it would draw a smile on your face.

Memories are indeed crafted on walls and stay for tens and even hundreds of years sometimes.

Two Thumbs up to LB Cairo for the effort spent on this one.. A lot of "art" is behind this TVC, real art!!

Grade: A

5. Vodafone Celebration:

Although I hated the 2 other copies of this campaigns, but this one is definitely better than the previous 2..
The music remains the same, but this edit is much more "festive", the production quality is better.. thus making the ad look generally good.

Grade: B-

6. LG - Tamer & Shaw2eya: 

The Korean white-goods giant returns with probably one of their strongest campaigns ever in the Egyptian market.. 
Although I'm not a fan of the Egyptian version of Dharma and Greg, and absolutely HATE the Shaw2eya character, but I have to admit the ads are humorous, insightful and educational..

The beauty here is that the T&S characters represent 2 extremes in the Egyptian social spectrum, and how they'd respond differently to LG's high-tech gadgets.

Tamer the A-class socialite , well educated and articulate gentlemen explains the benefits of each LG product to his wife Shaw2eya, the C-class, "Ol Englsh Ol za tayem" kind of character, but who aspires to be someone better and higher on the social scale..
So here they carried out a preemptive strike by depicting all the questions that a C-class person might ask about their products (Shaw2eya), and have another consumer answer them (Tamer) in a simple, humorous and informative manner..

Great job DDB..

Grade: A

7. Shay El Aroosa

Now this is exact opposite of what Schweppes did a couple of paragraphs above.. they took the details of the day-to-day life of the average Egyptians and looked for moments where tea came into play within that moment.
Although some people thought the ad is too cliché... I believe its very well researched, consumer and usage insights are spot on, the song is great.
True, that Al Aroosa tea is THE tea in Egypt, of all classes.. great way to uplift the image of a brand with such heritage in this country..

A beautiful ad, just beautiful... 

Grade: A

8. Fantaloup Activation and TVC

I had given the Fantaloup TVC a B-, causing some heat with friends at Coke.. and I had promised to give my full opinion when the rest of the campaign unfolds.. Well, it just did and it KICKS ASS!!

To complement the TVC's idea and theme, Fantaloup went ahead with some ambient BTL placements in key areas.. Ala the Parliament elections signs (which are very popular in C-D classes), everyone in most neighborhoods now is supporting Mesil7i, the poor dude who'll lose his job if Fantaloup doesnt sell.. 
Great idea, low cost, high impact... Two thumbs up and a hat off!!

Grade: a very proud A

Hope u enjoyed this one...
Till we meet again, Adios!

Ramadan 2010 - Day 11 Commercials Critique

Morning peeps, hope you had a chilled weekend!

Its funny I was apoligising a couple of days ago for a short post and complaining that there aren't enough ads on Youtube... Well, I got my wish granted, so this one is going to be quite a rich one..

So.... Lets dig right into it...

1. Chevrolet Aveo:
The FP7 team make it again with one fantastic ad... beautiful, just beautiful!
Its funny, witty, insightful and pointing out the major benefits of the car.. apart from a couple of clichés that are usually present within any other car ad (throwing away ur living room because the car is more comfortable, And taking ur kid's entire scouts squad in the car because its so spacious).. but thats fine, I still like it...

The target of this ad has been identified beautifully, young people who are still kicking off a career, open to life and are very ambitious (hell, the guy in the ad is called Mr.Tamoo7, the literal translation of "ambitious").

Also, I absolutely adore the attention to detail this team has put into the copy, the amount of details in this ad is unbelievable.. the kids wearing easter bunnies and his wife coloring an egg while the VO says (Shamm el Nessim), the Hamsa hands on the wall and the colleagues actually smoking "beysheeto" while they're saying that people will get jealous.... and a lot more

Its a combination of little things that make this copy stand out and shout "This team have done their homework"

Two thumbs up..
Grade: A

2. Mirinda Tamr Hindi: 

I wouldn't be exaggerating if I said that this is the worst ad I've seen in a LONG time... A guy drinks a Tamr "Hindi" Mirinda, and suddenly becomes all Indian with chicks in saris and Punjabi MCs jumping all around him..... what the hell??
How does this tie up with....... ANYTHING????
So the next time I drink an American coffee, I'll find myself in a cowboy hat fast-drawing Billy The Kid of The Wild West??? Oh, Come on.. Enough with the sterotypicality!!

Seriously, this is extremely disappointing!!
The weird thing is that the team who worked this ad is the same team that worked the Mirinda Green Apple ads earlier this year, which I think were beautiful (see them here,

PS: Its also worth saying that the Tamr Hindi (Tamarind) tree originally grew in tropical Africa (Cameroon, Sudan, Tanzania and Nigeria).. India just happens to be the world's biggest producer...  So it didnt even turn out to be an Indian drink afterall!

Nothing more to say here...
Grade: F

3. Mobinil - Part 2:
Another version of the ad but still remains a part of the same fiasco.. The ad is noisy, pointless, fast-moving and utterly incomprehensible... It keeps me wondering, "What do you guys want to say??"

This is a problem with Mobinil ads since forever; They focus TOO much on the creativity of the ad, leaving too little space for the message they want to convey... Think of any Mobinil ad you've ever seen, I bet you'll never remember what the ad wanted to say.
To be very precise, you'll remember the talking monkey, Yasmine Abdel Aziz saying "7amra", you'll remember last year's Kareoke ads and you'll probably sing it word-for-word... but you'll never remember what the ad wanted to convey.

Grade: C

Birelle - Male rehab center:

These copies have been airing for a while, but they released a new copy in Ramadan that is part of the same campaign so I included it there too..
The ads are cool, funny and one you'd want to see again and talk to your friends about... 
But the question here is when did the whole positioning of Birelle become associated with "Manhood"?

This question has been in my mind for a while (nearly a year now), but I remember when Birelle first launched, it was about the elite, the top notch executives who finished the hottest business deal on a glass of Birelle and a Havana Cigar, people who appreciate such a taste.. it was even double the price of any other soft drink on the market...

So now they're basically out there to cater for any MALE in the country?? 
I'd say the "elite" sales figures were not reflecting too well on business revenue, were they?

Grade: B+


The Coke team strikes again, and they're back to kick-ass... This is one fine, fine ad!
Although I wasn't a very big fan of these 2 "lemon" characters, but this ad will score very high on affinity with people, in Ramadan specially.

People would relate big time to this ad because of the fact that they're portraying the lemon characters as guests on a "scandalicious gossip" program.. and Oh, how many do we have of those in Ramadan..!
The Lemons are out there giving fiery statements about digestion and how important they are on the dining table.. hell yeah they are!!

I also love the fact that the TVC concludes with a replica super of the ETV CH1 & CH2, giving you an impression that its a real program..

PS: Its worth mentioning however, that its the kind of ad that would either be LOVED or completely HATED by people... its THAT extreme!
I've already been getting some mixed-emotional feedback about this particular copy!

But I personally like it! :)

Grade: A

A couple of quick endnotes here:

1. Our audience is not stupid: 
The Egyptian consumer in particular has seen this industry evolve over the past 30 years, and knows how to analyse, believe or not to believe these ads.. So Egyptians are ad critics themselves, each and every one of them.. So although we still see some sub-par TVC (Ex: 0900XXXX competitions), but generally the ad scene in Egypt is picking up big time.

2. Where are all the Food commercials in Ramadan?
This was an observation from someone who does not work in the field, but indeed its a point well taken.. We are not seeing a lot of Ghee, Oil, Sugar and grade-2 & 3 products on TV. 
I believe this is attributed to the high competition of TV stations over the past 2-3 years with the launch of the likes of Al Hayat Group, Panorama Group, Modern Group....etc.
This created a lot of fragmentation of viewership, thus you cannot reach most of your target audience using only one channel like you used to do before (ETV CH1 and CH2 and that was it)..
Now ad placement is becoming more complicated and costly, something that only Multinationals or strong local clients can accommodate.

Till we meet next time, 

Ramadan 2010 - Day 6 Commercials Critique

Hola Amigos,

Hope you're holding up well with the fasting in this heat.. Rabbena yataqabbal! :)

This one will be a bit short, as I'm starting to run out of Ramadan ads on Youtube, but thats no problem, they'll surface sooner or later.. or I'll have to source and upload them... so don't worry, reviews will keep coming in..

1. Coca-Cola Corporate - Ramadan Terrace:

A clear global/regional copy for Islamic countries (looks like a Pakistani production), doesn't follow the trend/colors/thinking stream of their creative team at FP7 (which I honestly think are one of the best in town currently).
The problem that some MNCs dont understand that each market has its own set of values, traditions and habits that differ from one market to another, specially in Ramadan.. But for cost-effeciency and global positioning purposes, global/regional copies are a mandate sometime. Just adapt it, add some Arabic supers and voice-overs and.. voila, ur on air!

The idea is cool, Coke bottles as flying Fawanees, sounds good... but mix that with Non-Egyptian music, a cast that doesnt even look close to Egyptian and not even a single item of Egypt's own Ramadan props..... uhmmmm.... I dont think this will click with the people..

Grade: B

2. Pepsi - Sales Promotion - 2.25Ltr for the price of 2Ltr

After a 1 week wait (missing a quarter of Ramadan already), they come out with a 2.25Ltr bottle for the price of a 2Ltr bottle.. a weak 10" graphics caopy that was done overnight... desperate? of course... saves face? of course not!
I would've rather have them not release anything than release this..

Obviously there's a problem... a big problem!
There's word on the market that they continued their contract with Ahmed Mekky like last year. Too bad for them though, there's also word that Mekky broke his leg and won't even be able to continue shooting his Ramadan Series "El Kabeer Awi", thus the TVC shooting is out of the window too (but again, thats still speculation and rumors, nothing confirmed so don't say you heard it here)

Force majeur situations in such crucial time are not never a good thing, that where your "HR Crisis Management Employee Training Programs" come into play..

I'm starting to feel for them after connecting these dots... but that still doesnt change the grade..
They better come back with a kickass copy (that they're probably working on right now)

Grade: Still an F

Thats it for now.. I'll be uploading some ads soon for your viewing and my reviewing (I like that, it rhymes nicely) :)


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