I once read that “all it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to remain silent”
on this note I would like to share with all of you the content of the e-mail which i received today with regards to the 2009 Dubai Lynx.
Draw your own conclusions and please do share your opinion.
The Middle East press industry never fails to surprise you, isn’t it? It often becomes the Mediocre East press industry, because people just don’t put enough effort into what they’re paid to do and we get a whole bunch of crap reporting. Most editorial teams are content with not getting off their chairs and letting online content fill up their pages. But surely you’ve got big balls to take on the mighty FP7. Good on you, mate.
So here’s a story you can tell some beautiful airhostess at a bar, weeks from now.
As expected, FP7 Doha was named Agency of the Year. With 100 entries in Print and Outdoor each, they had their path to the stage all marked out. And if you thought they had a quiver full of big brands last year, take a look at the heavy artillery they brought in this year: Samsung, Heinz, 3M, Toys’R'Us, Higeen, Rakha Nissan Motor Co., WWF. Nothing could stop them. Stellar work on each brand came through from the fertile environment of Doha, whose citizens are known to have the same IQ levels as Nobel Laureates and award show judges.
But behind that gold-sequinned veil lies a story that I couldn’t make up even if I wanted to. What follows is not the Gospel truth. It is only a map that you could follow, if you want to find the Holy Grain of Truth.
1. FP7 Doha have created a Silver-winning campaign for Higeen Mouthwash (http://www.dubailynx.com/winners/2009/print/win_3_1.htm). Its titles are: Cow, Pig and Sheep.
In the Middle East.
Clearly, this mouthwash is targeting the pork-eating majority of its consumer market. And which one would that be exactly? Your readers would definitely like to know.
Strangely, it was not objected to by the editor of the publication it was released in. Or by its readers (Will wonders never cease?). So which brave company decided to sanction this bold advertising campaign that would win the hearts and minds of people? It’s none other than the Munir Sukhtian group of companies in Jordan (http://www.higeen.com.jo/). My thoughts exactly.
On closer examination of their functioning website (http://www.sukhtian-htm.com/Default.aspx?tabid=165), you will find that the 3 variants advertised in the campaign, do not feature in their range. Instead of Herbal, Citrus and Mint, you find Soft Mint, Cool Mint, Strong for Smokers, Herbal and Winter Fresh. What’s more, the packaging and logo are completely different from the packs in the award-winning ads, which look more like Listerine imitations. So as a simple consumer, if you saw these ads in a magazine and went down to look for this particular bottle of Citrus mouthwash, you wouldn’t find it. Because it doesn’t exist. But it’s got a Silver Lynx. Applause please.
2. FP7 Doha have created a Gold-winning campaign for the Samsung washing machine Model No: WF338AAB. Brilliant stuff. I really like the ad and want to buy the machine right away. But guess what? It’s not available in the Middle East. Currently, as per their website, it is only available in the US. (http://www.samsung.com/us/consumer/detail/detail.do?group=homeappliances&type=washersdryers&subtype=washers&model_cd=WF338AAB/XAA)
So what’s Samsung up to, advertising models that aren’t available here?
And then there’s that ad with Jesus taking pictures of nuns with a Samsung camera.
In the Middle East.
In an ad.
And it was released without any objection.
To say nothing of the other ad with the sexy teacher, whose panty-skirt is giving her eager students more wood than they can handle. Blink blink.
I hope you can ask Samsung what’s their marketing strategy in all this.
3. FP7 Doha have entered 15 ads this year for Rakha Nissan Motor Co. in Print and Outdoor each (see the festival brochure which has all the entries listed). Of these, the campaign for the Nissan Cabstar Truck was shortlisted in Print and Outdoor. There was also a TV ad, “Jackson 7” for Nissan Quest, which was shortlisted in the TV & Cinema category. Strangely, the Dubai Lynx organizers removed these ads from the shortlist as well as the festival gallery on Tuesday at 3 pm, just hours before the actual awards ceremony. Why?
Shouldn’t FP7 Doha be upset that so much hard work and money had gone to waste? It was their client after all (where the hell is Rakha Nissan Motor Co. located anyway?). Why else would they have created 15 ads and posters, plus a well-crafted TV ad (“Jackson 7” shot in Paris – sounds like a winner to me) featuring those ever-popular characters from the Middle East – homeless African-American musicians? Head-scratching stuff.
4. FP7 Doha have created a campaign for WWF that was shortlisted. (http://www.dubailynx.com/winners/2009/print/win_99_12.htm) But surprisingly, they didn’t put a web address in the ad. It’s also missing the WWF tagline “for a living planet”. Isn’t that strange? Maybe this nice lady will be able to shed more light on the matter.
Ms. Ida Tillisch
Director, Business Development and Marketing, EWS-WWF
Tel: +971 4 3537761
Mob: +971 508 543408
FP7 Doha think this is over. But I think the fat lady in the abaya has still to sing.
What you do with this information is up to you.
As a bonus, I’m sending you screen grab from Maged Nassar’s blog which had his entire scam portfolio displayed. He removed it on the morning of the awards ceremony because he had originally done the ad for UPS. Wonder if he entered it into One Show like that…
Have a nice hunt.
PS: You’re wondering who I am. Some frustrated habibi who lost bitterly to the Copperfields from Doha. Or maybe someone who has watched this farce long enough to have realised that this creatively-restricting market allows for a nibble of indulgence. Not a feast.
this is an update which I received today.
PS: On the awards night, I remember seeing that a bronze was awarded in TV to FP7 Doha, inspite of them not being on the shortlist anymore. The tough jury thought it was full of local insight, so they went ahead and gave it a thumbs-up. Odd.
So I went back to the first Dubai Lynx TV shortlist and I found that FP7 Doha had done the “Jackson 7” ad for a brand called “Quest” on behalf of Rakha Nissan Motor Co. Having worked on the category in my time here, I know cars pretty well and I’ve never heard of a model called Nissan Quest. Have you?
I felt something was fishy. I made some calls and did some online research and found that they’re indeed referring to the Nissan Quest, but this model is not sold in the Middle East, let alone Syria where that dealer is located. (Doha to Syria, what a creative leap, eh?)
The Nissan Quest is only available in the US and its sales are declining, so they’ll be discontinuing it in 2010. Jackpot.
Now in these times of recession, how did FP7 Doha find the budget and the audacity to do an ad for a product that isn’t sold locally? The answer is easy.
The desperate desire to become Agency of the Year makes them blind to reason.
Related posts: FP7 Doha work vanishes from Lynx website