This week, the Italian fashion brand Benetton came out with a campaign titled “UNHATE”, that has taken to the web and people’s Facebook pages pretty quickly.
Although the campaign is clever and stays true to the brand’s history of social awareness campaigns, this one gained a lot of controversy over the portrayal of the Pope kissing an Egyptian Imam. My opinion: loosen up. There’s a good message behind this….much unlike the Dutch and French insisting on defaming the Prophet Mohamad’s image through caricatures….but that’s a different story.
Anyway, Lebanon soon enough took a liking to the campaign and came up with its own version of UNHATE. Saad Hariri smooching with Hassan Nasrallah, and Michel Aoun clearly enjoying a lip sucking with Samir Gaega. Priceless!
The advertising and design community in Lebanon and the Middle East is growing, showcasing some very inspiring talent. But there are of course those that just don’t fit the bill. Over the summer, this horrible commercial started showing up on national television promoting a new “electricity” deal that the government was planning on. Besides the fact that the tune being used is anxiety inducing, the commercial in itself is not quite the smartest concept. What’s worse is HOW this commercial was shot. Although there is no written proof on my end, it’s quite evident that somewhere, somehow, someone at the electric plant in Lebanon was given orders to shut off electricity and turn it back on to shoot this spot. If you look closely, you’ll notice that this is ONE shot—not a composite.
Clearly this agency follows a well-known political party, based on it’s name “Clementine”. Further investigation on my part has confirmed that “Clementine” is founded and run by the daughter of a controversial Lebanese figure. Regardless, I’m not here to play the political party game at all. Political allegiance doesn’t matter at this point. I’m just disgusted at the way politicians feel entitled to abuse their power.
We have a long way to go, Lebanon….a VERY long way to go….
A while ago, the Lebanese Canadian Bank was caught in an unhealthy situation where it was accused of involvement in money laundering. The Central Bank of Lebanon soon exonerated the bank of any such case, but the damage had been done. Loyal customers began fleeing the institution and the trust put into the name had somehow began to dissolve away.
Last week I became aware of what is to happen next. SGBL, another trusted banking institution in Lebanon, has taken over and is now in the process of converting all Lebanese Canadian branches into SGBL branches. In a way this is a great strategy to save an otherwise very well-run bank and to keep employees from losing their jobs. But how will it affect existing customers of the Lebanese Canadian Bank? Will they be as comfortable using the services of SGBL? Will they decide to stay on? Or will they be tempted to finally make the transition to bigger and better banks like Audi and BLOM?
It’s always interesting to observe transitions in the lives of brands and those loyal to them.