Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Unica - witness to our lives and urban legends.


Gandour is certainly part of our collective memory, so much that Beirut/NTSC has dedicated a full banner for it in the past:
 Its Dabke biscuits made it into my project "Lebanon's contemporary history book":
Beirut/NTSC created a furore by saying that Gandour's Tarboush (formerly known as Ras-el-Abed of the racist "tete de negre") was not even Lebanese (it was Swiss). All of this is to lead us to the new Unica ad.
Unica is one of the popular brands from Gandour, which has been forever with us - we took it to the shelter, picnics, school, and all that. Which is why the above Gandour ad has a vintage (dare I say Instagream-ish feel?).
The TVC is well shot, even if it does not stray out of the cliches which have come to be expected from anything invoking the past: 70s cars and fashion, even the Piccadilly theatre - I stand to be corrected but is this the real banner of the theatre? Below are 1) the banner used in the TVC 2) One taken from footage shot in the late 70s in Hamara for the movie Nahla by Farouk Beloufa:
Again I stand to be corrected, but since they include this I thought I would share my archive.
Naturally, the campaign also extends into billboards which are snapshots taken from the TVC one way or the other:
The line in all the new campaigns is "3ayesh osasna" (literally "living our stories" but figuratively "witness to our lives").
One last anecdote from Beirut - the story of the couple taking a polaroid on the Ferris wheel reminded me of the urban legend whereby a man bribed the worker in charge of functioning the wheel so that when the cabin would hit the top it would stop and he would propose to his fiancee. All went well but when the cabin was on top and stagnant the shelling started and the worker fled keeping the couple trapped overnight in the cabin.... 
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