Casestudy of Egyptian Shockvertising: Dice Underwear

Afternoon peeps,

In a country where the media scene is becoming more fragmented than ever before, New TV stations and websites are now spreading like wildfire; it is becoming extremely difficult and costly to reach out to your target audience. Because now they’re not where they used to be before, neither behaving in the same manner.
With that said (especially if you’re a startup/small brand with low awareness) you need a breakthrough strategy to literally “break-through” the advertising clutter and stand out as a brand with a unique character, attitude and values.

Last week, we all woke up to a set of commercials that shook some profound values and taboos that are not usually discussed publicly. A set of commercials belonging to an unheard-of brand that goes by the name; Dice Underwear.

Check below (Warning: explicit sexual references)

Taking an academic look at the matter, Dice Underwear is using a notorious marketing strategy that merges both shock and advertising; or as it is most commonly known; Shockvertising..

By definition; shockvertising is a type of advertising generally regarded as one that deliberately, rather than unintentionally startles and offends its audience by violating norms for social values and personal ideals....

Shockvertising is a strategy used by numerous brands globally; the most remarkable and recent would be Benetton's UnHate campaign in late 2011; showing world political and religious leaders kissing, in an attempt to bring their differences aside. This campaign caused massive dismay from the general public; that some took matters into their own hands and actually tore down its billboards. The Vatican issued an official statement requesting campaign cessation; just 48 hours after its launch.
Locally we've witnessed some milder examples of the same through in-your-face sexual innuendos in a couple of Melody Entertainment campaigns (Wadee3 & Hamzawy campaigns for example); A campaign that scored extremely well with the youth and even became part of everyday jargon of some.
Shockvertising is designed principally to break through the advertising “clutter” to capture attention and create buzz around a given brand/product or cause.  Quite honestly, Dice Underwear did not fall short in delivering on any of the above.

Just 2 weeks ago, if we had done a quick dipstick to know if anyone has heard of a brand called Dice Underwear, I'm sure we would've gotten rather faint results... Today, I believe it is very difficult to know someone who hasn't seen, talked about or even heard of the new Dice Underwear commercial and was intrigued to take a look at it.
Likeability and brand affinity aside, I believe they overscored on their awareness KPIs

Dice Underwear became a household name overnight, due to a bold advertising tactic that the majority of the Egyptians took with a pinch of salt, so reactions varied from seeing it too offensive, rude or overboard; to just meeting it with a raised eyebrow and a smirk. Samples of mixed reactions below

The beauty of this execution lies in the fact that this particular brand does not need to be “polite” per se, they actually do that and say what they said!
Meaning that the nature of the product makes it in itself a taboo, just because they’re in the underwear business. So law kda kda taboo, yb2a 3laya w 3ala a3da2i b2a… They took the bold route of executing it, went out there with clear sexual insinuations that their target audience would understand and appreciate; because this is how they talk and behave anyway.

From a positioning, product design and pricing standpoint; it would be safe to assume that the core target audience here would be 15-30 B/C Males; who are already more rampant than ever before (esp after Jan 25 which showed them they now matter), rebelling against anything and everything, they cuss, swear, make dirty jokes w bey3akso el banat fel share3..
It would be naïvely stupid to assume they don’t talk this way already; so the brand is simply talking to them in their language, which will help them score higher affinity with that audience cluster, thus reflecting in higher sales…

I don’t think we made the same fuss when French Connection launched their FCUK line in the early 2000s. We were all proud owners of their t-shirts that speak for a certain cult with a given set of values. This is just a local version of it.
Yemken 3o2det el khawaga b2a!

The only point here I blame them for, is that they should’ve made their media selection more specific, because at the end of the day, a TV ad is viewed by everyone, so is an outdoor sign.
As a consequence, children and conservative sects of society are naturally exposed to such messages; which would trigger negative feedback.
It would have been better if they had gone viral with minimum mass media usage, in order to avoid the headache of criticism the campaign is probably causing them already...So the problem is not with the message itself, the problem is that the wrong people saw it.

Looking at things from another angle, seeboohom yefra7o… It might be the last campaign of such caliber we see… With all what the country’s going through these days, you never know.. yemken yelgho el boxers w yragga3o el barbatoz tani! haha

Mel akher kda…
Shocking, check
Safla w mon7atta, check
Dammaha khafeef, check
Delivers the message, double check
Love it, HELL YEAH!

Final take on this, chapeau bas.. Excellent campaign, spot on.. Bravo! 

Vodafone - متخليش حاجة توقفك

Morning friends,

Its been quite some time since I've wrote anything, depressing times honestly.. I'm sure everyone would agree.
Writing about advertising didn't seem like the right thing to do these days, until I saw this; the new Vodafone copy of Mohamed Mounir..

Cynics would say the idea might actually seem pretty simple, an idea that is repeated a million and one times already, showing the life journey of some singer.. so what?

So to answer that point of view would be; yes. The idea is fairly simple and might be repeated a million and one times; but the fact of the matter is that the choice of celebrity here is different from any other; Mohamed Mounir is a revolutionary icon from a lot of angles; his choice of words, fusion of different music genres, on-stage performances and bizarre attire does not act in conformity with what the society said it should back when he started in the mid 1970s.

Mounir is an exemplary artist who set his own standards, created his own halo and outperformed himself every single time; beating every adversary on the way... till he reached the stature of being called "The King" by his loyal fanbase and later on by the general public as well.

The choice of such a decorated character accompanied with a strong connection with a brand as solid as Vodafone would probably make this ad one of the most powerful this year..

I'll go through some of the elements that helped me assemble the above opinion and pass such a verdict on the ad given that I usually take such pieces of work with a pinch of salt and scrutinize it to the core

1. Choice of character and brand connection:

Well, I believe we already dwelled into the history of Mohamed Mounir and who he is, so no need to reiterate these facts.. The strength here doesn't only lie in Vodafone's endorsement of Mohamed Mounir (and the bags of money behind that) but of how the creative agency; JWT, connected Mounir's journey to the Vodafone brand.
The ad shows the life of a world-class singer and how he managed to crawl out of a small village in Aswan onto the spotlight of the Egyptian singers hall of fame.. A journey that took a lot of effort, perseverance, innovation and assertiveness on what one wants for their destiny.
Mounir is an example of a zero-to-hero character, someone who had nothing and now has everything, he's obviously someone a lot would aspire to (forget about the A/Bs who would still look at things with the tips of their noses; we're talking mass here). So all this married beautifully with the new line of "Don't let anything stop you", falls bull's-eye under the "Power to You" umbrella which Vodafone has been globally adapting since mid 2009...
I've surveyed a dozen of fellow marketing/advertising professionals re this; and some of them think that Mounir's choice weakens Vodafone's stance since Mounir has already been used by a rival telco operator a couple of years ago.. I respectfully disagree; Etisalat used Mounir as a part of a bigger crew that glorified the Etisalat brand (and cost them a shitload of money of course) on its 3rd birthday in a festival-like environment  (and worked beautifully with people), Vodafone however did the exact opposite; they glorified the endorsee and gave him the weight and airtime he deserves; with minimal presence of the brand that is only visible in the last 3 seconds of the ad. To me this this would make the idea sink better because I'm not advertising Vodafone here, I'm advertising the fact that there are people out there (such as Mounir) who went out there, followed their dreams and made something of themselves.. and at the end; hey, VF just wants to remind you that el qowa bein 2edeik and that u can take control of ur destiny, because we just saw an example of that.

So to counter that point once and for all; with the magnitude of this ad (copy duration and content), I even forgot Mounir ever did advertising for someone else before.

2. Casting

One of the core reasons why I think this ad will score very high on its communication KPIs is because its believable, its real..
As far as I'm concerned; the casting on this ad can easily win an Oscar for best casting/make up..  The 13 year old Saad Yassin is now a celebrity already as he resembles Mounir in his looks, walk, talk and singing style..
When you're watching the ad, you feel that is actual footage off Mounir's video library, not just some actors they got together to shoot an ad w shokran.

3. Cinematography & Music

The ad opens with Mohamed Mounir's close-up, so no further teaser of who we think the celebrity is (versus Adel Emam's ad where he appeared in the last 15 seconds in a 90 second copy).. Again this reiterates the fact the VF here is celebrating the Mounir phenomena, not the VF brand.

From my very humble film production knowledge and if I correctly remember my marketing textbooks; I believe cinematography of this ad is very good; as one of the guidelines of celebrity endorsements is to use a different camera lens than the one normally used for regular ads.. To give the viewer the feeling he's watching a movie rather than just another ad... They did that beautifully; coupled with some Instagram-like effects on the telescene, the ad really gives you the feeling it was shot in the 1970s.
Music is also excellent, builds up in the right time to the right scene to give you that epic ambience, that shiver down your spine that you can actually be the one that stage someday (whatever that stage of success means to you).

So to conclude, I was actually in an awe state upon seeing this... being a true believer that everyone has a potential-volcano willing to erupt with talent (targama 7arfeya shwaya, haha)..

With that said, I find no better line to close this than with Mounir's own words;
كل المفروض مرفوض... اثبت للعالم إنك موجود

Till we meet again,

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