First there was this:
A video which is still stuck in the collective memory of the Lebanese with the line "Ajial tanmou ma3 sohat" (generations grow with sohat - sohat meaning "health" you get also a de facto double entendre). Sure, it was shot within the means at the time, maybe a high budget for the era? It is dated, tacky, and emotionally primitive.
Now there is this:we sought to depict the art of healthy living in a modern and fresh way. Using contemporary dancers of all ages, we personified a splash of water to illustrate that without water, there is no life."
They got themselves a high caliber international photographer (Lois Greenfield), did a very clean art direction, managed to coordinate the final effort in a very visually appealing way.
The result? A final image that speaks to no one (except the Frenchie-Coucou who already gravitate towards the brand and have it delivered by the 19Liter jugs to their Laqlouq summer haciendas). Will this make the brand more approachable? I doubt. Will it enlarge its target audience? I think not. Will it make it more funky? No, not really. Will it "reinvigorate" the brand (as per Leo Burnett's explanation)? I am not sure to whom they want to reinvigorate it so as to answer this question.
What Sohat ended up with, is a visually interesting ad, but one which is divorced from the emotions Lebanese would interact with.
No wonder I am still enamored with that old video above!
What struck me the most in this campaign is how close the imagery is of a certain other brand: Raymond Weil - specifically their "Precision movements" campaign.
Now here's a shocker!! Who was the photographer for this iconic campaign by Raymond Weil?
It's none other than Lois Greenfield (the same photographer who shot Sohat).
No wonder the imagery worked for Raymond Weil (precision!) and sort of left me cold with Sohat (mineral water for the supposed masses).
Morale de l'histoire: You can get a top notch international photographer, but this does not land you an ad one can sympathize with!