Monday, November 9, 2015

Byblos bank changes tone - I miss the old one...

In 2014, during a very - very - lengthy banking transaction at a Byblos Bank branch, I saw a beautiful heart-warming string of ads for personal loans. Funny, well-scripted or real, with beautiful copy which is either sincere of perfectly-staged, wonderfully casted, with a very small twist that made the ad even more human and lifelike. Should you not believe me, just watch them here. Which is why I am a bit surprised in the "new" tone of voice of the Byblos Bank ads.
Are they "nice"? Yes. Well shot? Definitely. But what was missing was that sweet ingénue tone of the old ads. The ones about expecting mothers picking nurseries for kids, or a family renovating an apartment within budget and with run-of-the-mill tastes. The casting in these new versions is deliberately horrible, which could have been too funny (meaning so horrible they end up kitsch such as the evil mother-in-law in the Vanish ad!) but sadly stopped several degrees of that to just "annoying". Whereas I am not usually labelled an optimist, the older ads managed to infuse that feeling in me - that things would be OK somehow, that life can truly be enjoyed in its small pleasures, that families can gather around splitting taste choices (that epic "but he gets to choose the television" as said by the housewife about her husband in the home remodeling ad), and so on.
Look I am an uncle myself, so definitely I would really not pick a set of drums for my nephews or niece. But how about this - what if the scenario was a housewife stumbling on pieces of Lego all over the house because the uncle (me!) gifted the kid a construction set. "What it is is beautiful" and it would make me feel so. As a consumer, as an uncle, as someone who has to wait for a long time at any of the branches of Byblos watching these ads in loops.
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