I’ve noticed a big tendency in Lebanon for advertisers, to use and abuse “circumstantial marketing”, as in taking advantage of current events or situations to sell their products.
You remember Johnnie Walker’s famous war commercials
Or Almaza surfing on the parliamentary elections wave
Or even Exotica taking advantage of the summer wedding season
Now, a lot of people have a tendency to condemn this type of exploitation, not in all cases, but whenever it concerns delicate subjects such as natural catastrophes, wars, or celebrities’ deaths for example.
For the sake of my following arguments, note that I am not one of these people. I consider that as long as the brand has an already established image, or in the case of Almaza, when “circumstantial” becomes a brand element, and when the ad is created with taste, isn’t offensive to any of the directly concerned parties, and most importantly, as long as it finds a clear, logical, creative link to your product, slogan, logo or any other element of your brand, exploiting current events is acceptable and often generates some of the most creative work we’ve seen. Proof is the VW example in France, and as mentioned above, the brilliant Johnnie Walker war ads.
However, when it is used solely for lack of brains in the creative’s head, when an event is exploited simply because it is current and attracts attention, without even bothering to link it to your brand or product in any way… it leads to mediocre work as is the case with this year’s palm of mediocrity: the unmissable Kassatly Chtaura Buzz campaign.
Beyond the fact that they’re exploiting a world icon’s death to sell their product, (which, to the extent of my knowledge hasn’t been done, and wouldn’t be done by any other brand worldwide) and that (let’s face it) the subtlety of the allusion is most probably lost on a big chunk of their target segment, the media space budget allocated on this is ridiculous (if you’ve been in Lebanon in the past weeks, anywhere from Tripoli to Saida, you’ve been bombarded with this atrocity), you’d think they could’ve spent quarter this budget on a creative with a brain. I like to hope the result would’ve been more honorable
Proof that some advertisers in Lebanon are still a few miles behind…