Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mobinil: 20 Million Pretty People

So it's becoming a bit of a conspiracy theory in Egypt about telecom companies running the show behind the veils of government and all that... looking around it's hard to dismiss that idea. Everything you see these days, every product or event seems to be assured of Vodafone or Mobinil's well-scrubbed fingers in there somewhere. Kinda makes you feel if either of these companies should decide to declare war, they'd have an army at their disposal - a WELL-CONNECTED one, at that. Scary.

And so, when Mobinil's 20 Million campaign came out all I kept thinking of was that scene in Terminator 3 when they turn on the Skynet program and it begins its little world-domination plan; needless to say, the reaction was "And it begins..."

Seems that public opinion of the ad is generally positive; the word frequently used in blog reviews is 'inspirational'. Speaking in very broad terms, I agree with that; it'd be nice to think that if 20 million people decided to get off their asses something good may come out of it. I also like the 'imagine' concept here; it gets my attention without too much negativity that usually comes with it due to my distrust of words like 'imagine'.

(yeah sorry, I'd like to give a fully positive review for once but not this time)

It's a shame that the campaign has flaws, it really is. But most of them wouldn't even be negatives if it weren't for Mobinil's blatant ambition that radiates from the ad. Let's start with the message itself; some of the voiceover's words sound well enough, keeping your attention with some innovation coupled with realism - but others are just weird.

20 mil can cultivate the country in a month? Fair enough. 20 mil can dig a Suez Canal in less than a week? Um I dunno why we'd bother to do that, but cool. 20 mil can link up hands and span the globe? ...This is getting a bit silly now. (Never mind that someone calculated that 20 millions average adults lined up would not, in fact, be able to do it.)

Speaking of people, the 'human factor' could really have been put to better use. I saw the billboard before the TV ad, and every time I see the model with the tagline '20 million Egyptians' I can't help but finishing it with ',none of which look anything like this.' You have to admire make-up artists for the work they do, cause it's ads like this that remind you how easy it is to go too far with ensuring that facial features show and neglecting the prime purpose of any make-up at all: to make the people look real. Mobinil failed in that sense; the 'fellah' they have on there just looks like he's got his business suit lying underneath the galabeya, for example (and Egypt's got pretty girls here and there, but not THAT pretty). Looking at the TV ad, with so many oh-so-pretty faces hording my screen, I felt like I'm in that movie Gattaca.

This wouldn't have been such a huge issue for me normally - but the line '20 million Egyptians' sets a standard that these models just don't meet. As an Egyptian I don't feel like I have anything in common with these people - which for me ruins the campaign's core concept.

So yeah I have to wrap it up simply: the idea for the campaign is good, really good - but its execution just doesn't meet its standards. With some good copy editing and a better direction in casting or make-up, this could've been a truly inspiring ad. It's a shame that it tried to settle for cute.

Basha Rating: 6.5/10

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Gross Line

An ominous green virus has plagued Egypt's billboards in the last month affecting millions of Egyptians in the process. This epidemic looks set to continue for an indefinite time with thousands of people needing to wear protective glasses to block out the grisly and grotesque typeface. Hospitals have seen a surge of people flock their rooms with symptoms like uncontrollable vomiting, green hair growth, and in rare cases: baby hulk syndrome (BHS) (Not British Home Stores), which off course is the buildup of bone and muscle, accompanied by a downgrade of the brain to that of a 3 year old.

If you are suffering from BHS or something related, you may have to thank FP7 for it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wildlife After-Hours

"Now Open Till Midnight: Al Ain Desert Wildlife Park"

Advertising Agency: Bates Pangulf, Dubai, UAE
Creative Directors: Prasanna Hegde, Richard Nugent
Copywriter: Prasanna Hegde
Art Directors: Richard Nugent, Rajaram Ojha

Via: AdsoftheWorld

Poor logo, I think. But at least the visuals say a lot and play off the copy quite nicely.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Wazupppp Now?

This viral ad for Barack Obama's presidential campaign, got top honors according to GoViral.com. Directed by Charles Stone III, the original director of the famous Wazup Budweiser Ad; this is set 8 years later and features the characters in dire circumstances, such as being posted to Iraq and the stock market crash. Genius.

McDonalds Magic Delivery

Agency: Fortune Promoseven, Egypt

It amazes me how Egypt still rampages unchallenged in the TV ad arena, but then again maybe it doesn't so much. I'm still in a good mood after watching this - a 31-second clip for bloody McDick's, no less. Right to the point, humorous, avoids the 2alsh factor that's always easier to sneak in an ad than one might think. What more can you ask for?

To answer my own question, I have another one: How'd you suppose the guy got in the house, anyway...?

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Agency: Leo Burnett, Kuwait

Via: AdBlogArabia

Incoming calls are free with Viva. Just like other things that go into your ear cost-free (purple Q-Tip, pink earphones etc.) That's it right?

Don't really know what to make of it, just lost me with this one

Aids Awareness

"Sometimes its better to be negative"

Agency: Intermarkets Dubai, UAE

Via: AdBlogArabia

It's about time somebody tried to raise awareness about the important issues, such as Aids. It is an under-discussed problem in the Middle East, and it's good that they took such a creative approach to it. Well done.

Stay Protected

Agency: JUNG von MATT, Berlin
Executive Creative Director: Boris Schwiedrzik, Christian Himmelspach
Copywriter: Jens Daum
Art Director: Frederik Hofmann

Via: AdGoodness

Though not an ME ad, I'm still obviously a fan of the simpler ideas regardless where they're from.

I kept checking if the angle of the sunblock bottle is aligned with the shadow and though it seems a touch off, it still passes. I kind of like the incorporation of the product image itself (almost always in the corner) with the visual of the ad. A refreshing twist to an idea that might have not been considered great otherwise.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Quality Street

Agency: Africa, Brazil

These really caught my eye when I first saw them. Thumbs up for the art direction, and although I believe the copy can be better, it still tells/sells me what I want to hear. Now, diamonds and reflections, and reflections in diamonds. Yes. I know what you're thinking. But as cliche as they may seem, these ads are candy to my eyes. *

* Kaz is away in search of chocolate

On another note, did anyone see Jupiter and Venus I think, in the Cairo skies today, looking like sparkling stars next to the moon?

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Muppet Show Kinda Reaction

Agency: Ad Spade, Jordan

What's this then? Cop taking measurements?... 'extreme measures'... oh I get it now! That's brilliant! Now we're talking! And Jordanian too? Well done, that's pretty good... Model management, eh? Ah I see, not bad at all... well it could be better, and I could've done without the Envogue badge on his arm, it's a little campy bas ishta... and the copy could be better too... maybe should've... come to think of it, the 'measures' thing's a bit cheesy... it's not a very good ad at all, actually... it sucks! Boo! Boo I say!!
Ok the last couple of lines were kinda more for comedic purposes but you get the idea... Overall assessment? 'Bleh'...

Not all chickens are created equal

For the launch of the first Nando's Chicken Restaurant in Kuwait, Leo Burnett Dubai went all out, creating an integrated campaign that included teasers, signage, print, DM, advertorials, chickens on treadmills, music videos, hip-hop tracks, and more. Shortlisted in the last Dubai Lynx; this is "The Tale of a Revolutionary". Enjoy.

The MTV Oud

Agency: TBWA/Raad
Client: MTV Arabia

Absolute class. It's a 1960's parody of a Farid Al-Attrash musical film add a little bang off course. This won a gold in the last Dubai Lynx. Fully deserved.

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