Tag Archives: advertising agencies

Yes I’m a blogger, but no thank you…

I recently received an email from an agency that I will not name asking me if I could give them the visibility over my blog stats to assess whether or not engaging a relation with me and my blog would be interestinf for their clients!

Actually this subject about relationships between brands and bloggers has been making some buzz lately. These relationships can be both exciting and ambiguous and sometimes difficult. But the main issue here is that brands (and therefore their agencies) are not getting the fact that a blogger is a person who writes about a specific subject by passion and deep interest. Therefore, they should respect their privacy and their opinions by acknowledging the fact that bloggers can do whatever they want whenever they want. Also, their level of influence (and of course their visibility) is not always linked to their blog stats and doesn’t depend on the number of actual readers they have on regular posts.

I’ve been reading so much nonsense about bloggers waiting for brands to offer them gifts and money in order to write about their brands on their blogs, but no, it doesn’t always work like this. So I think this deserves some clarification.

How brands must manage relationships with bloggers?
As a blogger, I am often approached by companies, agencies or brands that want me to talk about their product or service.
In most cases, this first approach is materialized in the form of an email, usually non-personalized, which contains a press release or an invitation. Some of them, very clumsy, might also send an email by copying several bloggers, or they might also put the wrong name or wrong address of the blog. No Comment!

So… Here are some recommendations if you guys (companies, brands and agencies) hope to have a chance with bloggers.

Practice the direct approach: Avoid mail for initial contact. Instead, send a short tweet with a link… The blogger will then remember who you are more easily

– Then follow up on the mail, once the initial contact is established, send the blogger an email with the most personal information. Do not copy and paste the press release (again!!) but explain succinctly and clearly your service (or the things you want to talk about) in your own words.

Stay within the themes and topics; target bloggers that match your theme: If you want to announce something related to what’s new in your restaurant, do not waste your time trying to convince a tech blogger to write about your news, because even if he is a client, he won’t talk about it on his blog.

Do not force hand: bloggers feeling compelled to write an article will never do it or worse, they might be “evil” and tell their bloggers friends about their experience with you, and then BAM : bad buzz. So try to establish a real relationship with them, without expecting something in return. Ask them for their opinions, offer them your test, invite them to meet you. Be cool, frank, honest and transparent. Do not over-play, do not try too seduce or mislead about anything you are talking about.

Let go: if you see that the feeling is not there, it’s not worth insisting. Check back regularly to them when you have an update or a news you want to share with them but do nothing more.

– Actually, the real thing, and what brands should start doing ABOVE ALL is to propose an experience, a real project in which the bloggers will be proud to participate. This way you can be practically be sure that they will be talking about their experience with your brand, sharing with their readers something they actually liked doing. This way you are sure you would have created the best brand’s ambassadors.


| Le bijou est aussi un droit | Really?

It’s been a while since we’ve bashed on a campaign on here. I was starting to miss it. Clementine (agency) has just made the job real easy.

This campaign is wrong on so many levels I wouldn’t know where to start.

Let’s go for the creative concept: so “A jewel is also a right”? I realize this is a literal translation, but I have to say I really tried digging deeper to translate more meaningfully; didn’t find anything there. So a jewel is also a right. As in, a jewel is so many (obvious?) things, but what we hadn’t realized is that it is also the right of every woman. Please note that “a right” here, actually takes on the same significance as it would in “women rights”. Kind of pretentious if you ask me.

At this point, i thought I read “Le bijou aussi, est un droit”, as in “jewels too are a right” which in many ways would’ve made more sense if backed with the proper execution. That would be a woman actually taking advantage of all her rights (voting, working, gender equality in general…) and then signing with a slogan that would imply something like: “you fought for your rights, you obtained them, today you can’t live without them…well, treating yourself (or having your man treat you) to jewelery is also your right. Take it”. Now , I’m not saying that would be a good concept, but it could make sense on a certain level. “A jewel is also a right”: means absolutely nothing.

Now as if this wasn’t enough, the ad actually includes a call to action: “reclame-le”, as in “claim your right to a jewel”. Beyond the blatant lack of subtlety required for a luxury brand, the very concept of claiming your rights implies claiming them from someone. In this case, the only interpretation I can find is for a woman to claim a jewel form her husband/boyfriend (who’s been holding back?)… This, in the 21st century, from the agency that gave us “sois belle et vote” is sort of aberrant. If you’re going for global brand image, try shooting ahead of the traditional, patriarchal society’s mentality. How about empowering the woman to believe she can actually cater for herself, even when it comes to luxury items? But moving on…

So the copywriter sucks, we’ve established that. Now on to the art director and the brilliant execution. The first word that came to mind was “whaaaaatttt?”. I don’t get it. I really don’t. If someone does (or if one of the creators happens to stumble on this page, please enlighten me).

A woman, sitting alone. She’s sad? Maybe nostalgic. She’s pensive. What is she thinking about? Her lack of jewelry maybe? Notice none of the women is actually wearing any piece of jewelry. Ballsy, but you gotta have a concept behind it. In this case, paired with the solemn piano music, it looked more like an awareness campaign for breast cancer than anything else.   What’s with the closed, confined, dark spaces? Not a smile, not a single shiny object, not one of these women emits any positive sentiment whatsoever. Basically an ad for a jeweler that lacks all communication codes of the industry.

While most clients in Lebanon probably lack that kind of insight, agencies are expected to know better.

Watch with moderation. Seriously damages eyes, ears and brains!

Online Marketing and Advertising: Why is it growing slowly in Lebanon?


Online advertising is still in double digit growth worldwide: after a 19% growth in 2008 and a 9% growth in 2009 (yes it is due to the crisis and NOT to the market saturation) worldwide online advertising growth is expected to reach 11% in 2010 (according to e-Marketer). So yes, the spending on online advertising is very healthy ($64.69 billion).

Online advertising and communication include many frameworks. Whether it is to create a website, an online newsletter, to launch banners on many existing online sources (newsmagazines, diverse websites, social networks…) or to monitor what is being said about your brand on social media and to engage online communities in your brand’s (or company’s) project, online media are very efficient (if not the MOST efficient) when to comes to acknowledging reputation (by mastering word-of-mouth), targeting people according to their interests, and measuring the impact of your campaign, especially for small businesses (contrary to what one may think)

But why are we still behind in Lebanon?

There are about 1 570 000 internet users in Lebanon today (for a population of 4 million people) against 950 000 in 2007 according to Internet World Stats. Despite this growth of 65%, the online advertising market is still behind especially compared to other forms of advertising. It appears that one of the main reasons comes from the advertising agencies themselves that are still reticent which is why they do not always include an online section part of the global strategies they sell to their clients.

Why? Simply because there are two types of clients: the ones who have caught the importance of being present online, because their marketing executives are young and they were born with the digital era, and the ones who still don’t see the interest in converting to these new forms of marketing because the traditional means are enough for them. They do not understand that internet is the unique mass media allowing a direct interaction between the brands and their consumers. Will all lebanese based advertising agencies will be able to sell cross-media campaigns to their clients when it is the right thing to do?

The main obstacle to an unstoppable growth of online advertising strategies in Lebanon is essentially (and unfortunately) structural. It comes, and it is no surprise for anyone, from the underdeveloped telecommunications facilities. Without the appropriate infrastructure, internet will never become common practice whether it is for the ad agencies, their clients or the consumers.

The explosion of the number of Lebanese on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter  and the emergence of bloggers and other digital influencers talking about subjects other than politics as well as the majority of newsmagazines going (or growing) online is, without any doubt, the main signal that the Lebanese audience is ready, not only for online advertising, but most certainly for a web 2.0 revolution.

Let’s just hope that broadband won’t be arriving very late…