Saturday, March 12, 2011

“Lebanon Blues”

“What do we think of ImpactBBDO’s latest campaigns to promote Lebanon?” Danielle Baiz (@meinLebanon) asked on her blog, This is Beirut, yesterday (March11).

And Abir G (@abzzyy) writes in her blog Life in Still Motion: “Shame on Lebanese Tourism Ministry… “

That was hours after Social Media platforms FaceBook and Twitter, and I’m sure many others, began sharing three tapes produced by advertising agency Impact BBDO SAL for Lebanon’s Ministry of Tourism.

According to the blurb at the bottom of the three YouTube videos:

“For the first time, the Lebanese Ministry of Tourism decided to communicate to the potential tourists and more specifically to the Europeans. The emotional TV ads portrayed a young man in a pub in London and a woman in a café at the heart of Paris, two of the most beautiful and exciting cities in the world. Instead of highlighting Lebanese touristic sights, we decided to focus on their feelings once back from their holiday. Since only Lebanon offers the ultimate holiday experience, it generates in them feelings of Lebanon blues.”

The 36-second videos are titled "Lebanon Blues." There’s Lebanon Blues UK, Lebanon Blues France, and a Lebanon Blues USA.

The comments on Danielle and Abir’s blogs, as well as under the YouTube videos (most of which show “comment removed”), express the feeling of outrage and disappointment with these ads.

I would like to add my voice and wonder:
  • With all the creative talent in Lebanon, who came up with these ads?
  • There are tens of blogs posted every day with a different feature of Lebanon? Why not use that talent?
  • Lebanon has some of the most gifted and creative writers, filmmakers, producers, journalists and bloggers in the region. Could the Ministry of Tourism not have tapped into this wealth?
  • How much money did the Ministry of Tourism waste on these videos?
  • With so much to show about Lebanon, is it only women -- dancing and drinking -- that you want people to come away with?
I spent three weeks in Lebanon last November. I was able to write and get material for seven posts. I could have done one every day, there is so much to write about, but I also had to spend time with my sister, relatives and friends.

These posts are still read and viewed on Mich Café until today. They get the most page views from all over the world – the US, Canada, Australia, Korea, France, the UK, Germany, Spain, Holland, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia...

Dear Lebanese Ministry of Tourism, this is how I communicate my love for Lebanon to “potential tourists”: 
Dear Lebanese Ministry of Tourism, that’s in three weeks! Give me time, and I’ll write about every single village, mountain resort, street, beach, monument, restaurant, café, the people, the food, the traditions... I’ll show “potential tourists,” what Lebanon is about!

Will you give me a job?

Well, I do it anyway…!

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