Monthly Archives: September 2009

Bekhsoos.com, A Queer Arab Magazine

I’m not sure how I stumbled into this. delightful surprise.

Bekhsoos is a great initiative brought about by the Lebanese lesbian group Meem, and run by a group of volunteers aiming at filling “the gap of lesbian- and transgender-produced writing in the Arab world”. They do so in the form of an online magazine where they publish weekly articles, stories and testimonials as well as contributions from their readers around the Arab world. They’ve been featured in a few articles already, notably in the LA Times.

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Knowing homosexuality is still illegal in all Arab countries and punishable by death in some, obviously these lesbians have balls. Seriously, all my support.

P.S.: People in the UAE, apparently, you can’t access the site because you should surf safely, says the dude with the unidentified device hanging on his face

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New 2009 Campaign for The Lebanese Ministry of Tourism

If you are a Lebanese living abroad, you will surely be impressed and thrilled because of what you feel while watching this commercial. Aiming at promoting the image of Lebanon, this ad has successfully amazed everyone because it is based on an authentic, genuine and hard feeling shared by almost everybody a few days before they have to leave Lebanon and go back to their “real life”.

Each and every Lebanese living outside Lebanon has already experienced the “I don’t wanna leave” syndrome. But why do we feel so good in Beirut? Is it because it is our home, because we are very well surrounded by all our friends and family? Not really…. Because even tourists will tell you: they have never felt as welcomed, cherished and taken care of, as in Lebanon. Then why? Is it because of the weather or because of how much the living is easy? Is it because of the amazing beach resorts, the tremendous night life, the country’s incredible cultural and historical dimension, the sensational art of receiving people and taking care of them as if they were part of our own family?

This commercial made by Impact BBDO Beirut and produced by né à Beyrouth for The Lebanese Ministry of Tourism really promotes Lebanon as one of the most wonderful destinations for holidays especially during summer. Taking advantage of all the articles or videos about Beirut that figured in many various very well-known Medias (New York Times, CNN, Paris Match and many others…)

It is true that we only realize the value of what we have just when we are about to lose it. Even though I found this ad really extraordinary, I find it a bit weird the fact that it is targeting young Lebanese since it has been produced in Arabic (with no subtitles or anything). As if young Lebanese did not know what were the assets of their own country….

|Khédé Kasra| or how to launch a successfully integrated communication campaign

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The “Khédé Kasra” global communication campaign made by Leo Burnett Beirut (no I do not work for them, I am just really appreciative and fond of their work) for the Hariri Foundation and their Women Empowerment Program, was released in June 2009 after a big buzz was generated on all traditional media and public sphere.

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The Women Empowerment Program aims at raising awareness on women’s status and rights in Lebanon and incorporating gender equality in the social culture

I find it brilliant the idea of the simple “kasra” used to encourage Lebanese women and inspire them to bring gender equality in the society. The whole creative concept on which the campaign was based is very simple but yet you really had to think of that since it is based on both common sense and something people are not really aware of: the idea that all men and women read words in Arabic as being automatically addressed to men.

The increased buzz as the result of a massive street marketing strategy (posters were set up, stickers were distributed in all areas on the streets of Lebanon) generated growing interest of journalists and other opinion leaders such as online bloggers who adopted the campaign and decided to promote it.

This video explains how the whole campaign was executed. Its whole success relies on how each and every mean was leveraged to serve the other. “Khédé Kasra” was awarded with PR Lions in the “Charity and not for profit” Category at the Cannes Lions 2009

This campaign comes in a context where Lebanese women need to actively participate in society and stand up for themselves since they are deprived of many essential rights:

– They cannot give their nationality to their children if they are married to a foreigner

– They automatically lose custody of their children above 9 years old in any divorce battle

– They are still very frequently victims of domestic violence

Cathy: Iza ma fi

Many first thought this to be Ziad Rahbani’s new track, understandably. Both on the musical and lyrical aspect, the Rahbani influence is undeniable. This is actually the work of Elie Barrak and Cathy who sign a true work of art with this track.

Cathy: iza ma fi

The music is fresh, jazzy, with a catchy tune, but more importantly, the lyrics depict in a very down to earth and witty way, the female Lebanese mentality of the 21st century.

(updated: 19:28) We often forget that, whether it’s to get laid or married, most men conforming to Lebanese mainstream moral values strive to provide the whole superficial package, both to attract and maintain the lifestyle of their women, from the first date all the way through to the first few years of marriage (after that, the females usually live off alimony)

The Rahbani legend is old news. Hope Barrak will keep it up… fill Ziad’s shoes.

I found the video later but i advise to listen to the song first. the video is below expectations

No they can’t – Dr Omar photography exhibition

Here’s a very interesting event you should all check out.

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“No they can’t” is a photography exhibition by Dr Omar (aka Ralph Nashawaty) and presents a series of 16 photographs which deals with visual memory. During the legislative elections, Ralph undertook a photographic research on how the Media interfered in our visual representations of everyday life. Through his television screen, he captured the presence of political figures to reveal his own vision of these media icons.

The event takes place at Zico house 174 Spears Street- Sanayeh from September 10th to 17th

Here’s the link to the Facebook event

|Small size. Big scope| Leo Burnett for Al Balad

While I was working on finding blogs about animation, graphic design and cartoons in advertising, I asked myself where I could find some original Lebanese-made commercials that used untraditional graphic techniques, together with great music and a strong creative concept. But the problem is that I could not think of anything.

Until I found these commercials for Al-Balad Newspaper that were awarded with a Bronze Award at the Dubai Lynx 2009.

By launching the [Small size. Big scope] campaign for Al Balad, Leo Burnett Beirut has successfully created a new and original brand identity based on the size of the newspaper, being smaller than the rest of its competitors on the Lebanese market. Main selling argument? I am not sure…

The idea of a newspaper covering a wide scope of information and targeting a large majority of the population since it has no political orientation, an online and an offline format, as well as an edition in French that differs from the one in Arabic in its editorial lign, is certainly a distinctive factor. But it does not really create strong brand positioning and I am not sure it can really be considered as an argument to gain readership. The campaign has a very strong visual impact and the message “Small size. Big scope.” is quite original. But is the aim of establishing Al-Balad as the leading source of information really slick and dodgy?