Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Buying climate change and hyacinths from Exotica....

Maybe I am reading too much into a simple ad... Bu then this is what Beirut/NTSC has always been about I suppose. Now, the first thing I saw in the new Exotica ad, was this alarming note about global warming and potential catclysms that might follow. Maybe the ad is simply about the advent of autumn that's why "nature's changing" and then below the logo - on the place usually reserved for the brand's signature - there's "hold on to green." It could simply be about holding on to a nature that is forever evolving....
But again, I just saw all of this from the angle of a warning, as if by not holding on to green, we are causing this major catastrophy in nature and hence that's why nature is irrevocably changing.
Here are some words I do NOT associate Exotica with: global warming, 2012, end of the world, greenhouse emissions, end of green life, species extinction and so forth.
Some words I DO associate the brand Exotica with are: Urban but outdoorsy lifestyle, event commemoration, bonding people, zen lifestyle, equilibrium of the senses.
The result? I am not sure lamenting the passage of the seasons and perhaps even the impending doom is the best strategy (and while I am at it, if you are going to say "hold on to green" in your tagline, I do not understand the repetition in the image of a "tree hugger" - although I love that melancolic tone the colors imply) - what I do think of when I remember Exotica is their very old tagline "Exotica plante la joie". Yes, there is something about Exotica that is positive catalyzer, and Leo Burnett got it so exceptionally right when they did that TV ad (shot on a dime) of the girl arranging pens instead of flowers on her desk.... All of this reminds me of that wonderful poetry line by Persian poet Muslih Eddin Saadi (or Sadi):
"If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,
And from thy slender store two loaves alone to thee are left,
Sell one, and with the dole,
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul."
(which basically means, if you have lost all your material wealth, and only have two loaves of bread left, sell one, and with the money, buys hyacinths to feed your soul) which is why, instead of the lament and the wailing of "hang on to green" I propose (drums roll):
"Exotica, plants to feed thy soul."
Which also works so well with that stunning visual and the impeccable art direction... But then, what do I know? Had I been any good at greenery I'd have remained the agriculture engineer that I graduated as from AUB!


Darine Sabbagh said...

I really dislike this "hold on to the green" slogan. It is really alarming and not even relevant to our region where green is all year round. On the second hand, while seeing the billboards, i did bot even notice the slogan (Hold on to the green) and only paid attention to the main call of the campaign.

Danielle said...

You? An agricultural engineer? NOOOOOOO.

Aya Elsa Yassine said...

Dear Tarek,
You mentioned in your post that the ad was very repetitive in regard to the image of the tree hugger, have you come across any other ads for the same campaign? I have come across your blog while researching the relationship between Leo Burnett and Exotica for my senior marketing course at AUB.I would be very grateful if you could send me any helpful links that might help me regarding the trends in the campaign.

Thank you

Aya Elsa Yassine

Tarek Chemaly said...

Dear Aya, that was the only visual in the campaign. Basically the campaign does not aim to "sell" anything from Exotica, it is a reminder of the brand (i.e. a brand equity exercise) to fill the gap until the Christmas campaign comes. Contact me on my personal email should you wish for any more info. Tarek