Friday, August 1, 2014

Lebanese Army - is it a faux pas?

Before I start getting the backlash, I wish to emphasize that not only was I previously in the Lebanese Army (as a lieutenant during my military service) but that later I was responsible for some of their ads and know how difficult it is to come up with new themes year after year for them.
Today, August 1st is army day, and more than ever we need their presence and actions and rally around them. But their ad this year, felt pompous with the "we are the right and people's hope" - the "we" bit ruined it all. The ad felt very self-praising, aggrandizing, and haughty.
It's a pity considering they produced some incredible gems in the past  and here I am thinking of "min al el dam ma bye2leb may" (who said blood does not turn into water?) which is a take on the local proverb "blood does not turn into water" (which emphasizes family ties) but in their case it was about the many casualties they suffered in southern Lebanon while still being able to get water after Israel's withdrawal (the visual was that of former Lebanese president Emile Lahoud drinking from the said water from what was now a liberated land).
Perhaps next year's ad will go back to a better tone. Till then, all best wishes to the army.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ksara: the sun stood still while setting

Ksara came up with a super summerish campaign, makes me regret I used the title "of all these things is made my summer wine" not so long ago as it is very fitting for this post. Still, there are three visuals, the one above, one with a man and a woman with their lips about to be interlocked with the line "linger", and one of a group of friends eating at dusk with the headline "long lunch". I believe the third is something the client wanted so bad to add some diversity to the "couple" themes (and it's the weakest of the campaign). The other two fill the spot correctly. The major flaw of the campaign however is the copy... it's simply superfluous! You already have "sip summer" so why add "pause", "linger", or "long lunch"?
You want to stress anticipation? You want to induce the sense of farniente and Dolce Vita? Good... Then why dumb it down as if the consumer would never get what you are saying with the visual. And if you really - and I mean really - want to add a line, at least let it be something that would add value to the already good visual and layout (plus the "sip summer").
What would really have made a difference would have been some classy Arabic all while keeping the English signature, I really felt this campaign would have went stratospheric if the line "wel chams bi lahzet l'ghyab..." (والشمس بلحظة الغياب) which is taken from Wael Kfoury's breakthrough hit and a reference to the line "and the sun at the time of setting, would standstill for a week" (والشمس بلحظة الغياب تبقى جمعة بمحلها).

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Taxi night is back

Reseach credit GH (soon to be GM)
Taxi nightis back, and apart from the laudable effort of actually getting drunk people home and thus avoiding fatalities, their ads this year are quite on the spot. "So you feel suffocated in a taxi? And you don't in an ambulance?" and the second is a play on words for "trou7 w terja3 bil saleme" (may you go and come back safely) with "terja3" turned into "teskar" (get drunk). At a time where the market seems more than dead, this is a refreshing injection.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

36 Photos by Tarek Chemaly on 7UPstairs Publishing

Today, I am pleased to bring you "36 photos" a film that lingered in the camera far too long before being exposed. Actually, the works are originally part of my Superm-Art-ket exhibition (plus a few previously unreleased works) which took place in early 2002 (but the works themselves were done between 1996 and 2001). The current versions have been reworked so as to respect the people who own the artworks (either as sale or gift or other means of acquisition). I hope you enjoy.
Below are a couple of internal pages:
323699 - Tarek Chemaly
Monsters from the bullet hole - Tarek Chemaly

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Loewe Meccano and the Lebanese collective memory

The current Loewe collection includes so many references to Meccano with the new creative director Jonathan Anderson taking the helm (shoes, charms, and a silk scarf seen above). I post this not as a fashion item but more like a social observation. My quest to find that point where personal remembrances become collective memories and hence induce a sense of community and in extenso a national identity will never cease. Note that Meccano made it to my "Lebanon's History Book" project.
Artwork by Tarek Chemaly
And lest we forget, in another artwork entitled "Meccano" from the Bouée series.
Detail from Meccano by Tarek Chemaly

When I grow up I want to be Telmo Pieper

All images (c) Telmo Pieper

When artist Telmo Pieper found a set of childhood sketches, he went back and made real life drawings out of them... All skewed proportions, odd shapes, and realistically unrealistic execution, the project reeks of genius. By the same token, it's me who invented the Smart car with my lego set (I would always do that odd shape of a two seater and no one figured out why I would do that - until the future proved me right).

Friday, July 25, 2014

El azra2 ghab/Dominant rouge series by Tarek Chemaly

...And for everything else there's Mastercard (Tarek Chemaly)
Bathhouses by the river (Tarek Chemaly)
Food for thought (Tarek Chemaly)
Happy meals (Tarek Chemaly)
At a time when photos were still developed, and when one still needed to wait for the film roll to finish before doing so, one time it took the family forever to do so and when the photos were developed, they were dominant red in color. So a friend explained “with time the Kodak loses its blue”. Based on that concept, I went back to small digital works done between 2000-2001 and another batch done in 2003 and eliminated the blue (and green) to have them fully red in colors. The title of the series comes from a song by Romeo Lahoud originally sang by Salwa Katrib “Khidni ma3ak” (take me with you) specifically the time “matra7 ma lawn en azra2 ghab” (when the color blue has vanished).

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Solet Tapis - I see dead logos

Remember Haley Joel Osment from the Sixth Sense fame and the line "I see dead people"? Well, I guess I am someone who keeps seeing dead logos. I think (I am seriously not sure) that Solet Tapis did a logo change... The reason I am hesistant is simple - their old logo is e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. and the new one is on some banners (I think some delivery trucks too)... It seems the new one is morer in lowe case (the older one was in capital letters) except for the letter S that is. And the word is now written in attached letters in a sleeker more agile font. What is kept is how the s eventually underlines the logo like a carpet itself.
The still not opened website displays the following:
Which seems to validate the theory that indeed, the logo has changed (and a selling line has been added, which is to be fair adequate to the brand - meaning it doesn't overpromise nor is it cheap)... If only they would let the old one die in peace.