Thursday, October 18, 2007

Crooked, straight and banned.

So... Who's the client that bans his own ad? Only in Lebanon!....
Client: Republic of Lebanon, Ministry of telecommunication.
Banning party: On bahalf of the Lebanese Republic.
Main theme of the ad: Client telling the public that international calls were now available as an extra feature on all landlines - those who wish not to benefit from the service were to call 1515 or 100 (Mainly addressed to people with domestic servants from outside countries who might "free ride" on this).
The headline: Sit crooked but talk straight... With the world over. (First part is a Lebanese idiom)
The TVC: Featured a "person" (An official of the government, a VIP, etc...) wearing white (Traditional color for official ceremonies in Lebanon for people in politics) sitting on an empty chair with the Lebanese flag behind it (Alluding to the president of the republic) announcing in an official tone the new service.
The political twist: The minister of communication, Marwan Hamade is a fierce opponent of the Lebanese president Emile Lahoud, and so the go ahead was given on a campaign that would poke the latter and make fun of him - indirectly.
The censorship clearance: Every ad in Lebanon has to go through the General Security for censorship clearance, and a special "permit number" is given to any ad. One such number was given to this one.... Despite the plitical innuendo.
The ban: MP Boutros Harb, himself a candidate to the presidency in Lebanon requests a ban on the ad because it makes fun of the position of the president and his role.
Morale of the story: There is none - no matter how you twist it!
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