Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Byblos Bank slices life perfectly.

Testimonials and slices of life have been the bread and butter of bank advertising since forever, and were brought to Lebanon in the mid-90s by advertisers who graduated from universities outside of Lebanon (and TV screens were filled with people giving their names and buying stuff, or alternatively receiving car keys upon graduation et je passe).
So why I am positng about ads (which turned out to be already a couple of years old to boot) and which are only shown internally at the branches of Byblos Bank? Because they are very good ads actually. You see, one of the issues of the testimonials and slices of life is how unbelievable they are - fake, staged, and acted with next to zero authenticity. The reason we all still remember the Nido ad where the kid is followed from infant to university graduate is because everyone is so uterly authentic we sympathize with the characters so much that Nido even included a flashback in a relatively recent ad on the roads.
Which brings me back to the Byblos ads. As I was sitting in two different branches for several hours each time conducting complex transactions, the ads which run on loops in the internal TV screens started showing. For lack of better things to do, I sat there watching. And damn me, I was hooked!
Since the sound had to be off in order not to annoy people (and since to begin with I have a hearing disability) I enjoyed reading the overimposed copy on the ads and truly it was - either totally non-scripted or scripted to perfection (in copywriting terms, such words can only be this good if they come from the characters themselves or if everything is choregraphed to the last word).
And the details! The mother showing the echography photo of her unborn child, the hush sign at the end (baby is sleeping) of the same "baby room" ad, the horrendous artworks and the "of course he picked the TV" in the "home remodeling" ad which show that it's truly "monsieur et madame tout le monde" who have access to and eventually use such loans.
All of this is truly a refreshing take on a stale formula which has been abused to death!

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