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I guess there was a high demand from clients for using plastic bags, as opposed to the paper bags. And I gave great Kudos to Souk Tayeb for researching greener alternative, but I would have still loved them to use Paper bags with a combination of eco-totes. But then again Consumer is KING!

 

souk tayeb returns to using biodegradable plasic bagssouk tayeb returns to using biodegradable plasic bags

I hate for books to sit around unused, makes me feel guilty that they are not fulfilling their ultimate purpose. I got this book as a present from one of my colleagues who is really into mind maps, and decided to get me a book of my own instead of lending me his. And since I was too lazy to exchange it at Virgin, and naively thought I would read it, it has now been proudly perched on a shelf for over two years.

Tony Buzan, is said to have groundbreaking techniques that will expand you consciousness, but his techniques did not work for me, because my mind does not work that way, simply. But,  maybe you’ll get more out of it. As I said, the book is almost completely new, besides a small crease in the corner of the front cover, which is inevitable for paperbacks.

For a chance to get this book just leave a comment on this post. There’s only one condition, the pickup of the book needs to b either in Beirut or Tripoli (well I’ll go as far as somewhere in Lebanon).

So try out your luck, if you don’t like it, you might also pass it on to a friend.

Read full book review here.

coaching for parents

What do you think of this?

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Kept wondering about the origin of this creative e-mailer, then I saw the Billboards and my curiosity was spurred even further. The answer was simple the Dbayeh* Marcellina is a franchise to a successful Australian chain. Anyway, if you happen to be in the area print out the above voucher for a free desert (up till November 09) and share your impressions.

 I praise the internet Gods for this  age that we live in! An age  in which one can extend a call-out to anyone and be answered. Remember I sent out an inquiry to Cedar’s Premium regarding their Kazouza drink? … Well graciously, Mr. Joseph Najm , the AGM Cedar’s Premium SAL, has been very helpful in giving me full disclosure & replying to my nosy questions throughout a series of emails. And not only is the Kazouza mystery uncovered,  but I have also been able to get a sneak preview of his company’s plans for the future and the overall brand philosophy.

 Turns out the are 3 more elusive flavors, which we haven’t stumbled upon yet, totaling to a magical octagon: orange, lemon ice, pink lemonade, watermelon, strawberry melon, grenadine lime, tamarind and berry mix. And Mr. Najm says that the drink can be found in many supermarkets and minimarkets, however it will be a while before it will be distributed to all shops. So you’d better watch out, and inform me of locations of sightings 🙂

 As we all were guessing, the product’s mission is to take us back in time with a twist, ” Kazouza 1941 is the nostalgic, yet renewed,  Lebanese product/brand with varied and innovative flavors and a unique bottle shape differentiating it from available products in the market. It was decided to name the brand Kazouza 1941 to be true to our positioning of an authentic Lebanese product.” But what we did not know was the source of the magic numbers 1941, but be clueless no longer as Joseph explains, “1941 was the year “Kazouza” product was launched under the “Najem” brand; it was the first bottled soft drink in Lebanon, as the Sprite or 7Up lemon lime today.  And Cedar’s Premium is a new company owned by the descendants of Najem in 1941.”

 And with an eye on the future and a proud smirk on his face ( I can only presume that this is what was taking place behind his laptop’s screen), Joseph leaves us expecting more by adding, “Cedar’s Premium will launch in the near future other typical Lebanese products/brands such as but not limited to Jalloul which will have a different target segment and packaging.”

 

I think it is a beautiful story of rebirth of a family business, especially that I am a sucker for all nostalgic products. And I would once again like to thank Mr. Joseph Najm, for the attention he has given me, by taking his time away from strategic planning and marketing to satisfy a blogger’s curiosity.

 

P.S. I know I have been a bad blogger lately, as I am being drawn back to my work routine and the tasks are building up.

It is that time of the year when companies must decide on their end of the year gifts. Gifts which will enhance the company’s brand identity and stay a constant reminder to its receiver of the company’s message and generosity!

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Kazuza Grenadine & Watermelon soft drinkThis is our new found discovery in the soft drink niche. One day prince charming simply noticed these in the local ‘dekkane’. There were three flavors: Lemonade; a bottle of which has mysteriously disappeared, Watermelon; as you can see from the photos we did not have much restraint with that either, and the last survivor – the Grenadine & Lemon Flavor. If you like variety in your soft drink Kazouza is a great equivalent to Freeze, especially with its unique Watermelon flavor. But I am sure you’d agree that it is also a great feast for the eyes, great Kudos to the designers who created this hip concept!

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Kazouza bottle top

Kazouza is truly a mystery drink. The label hints it’s been there since 1941, but asides from this little shop near our house, we couldn’t find it anywhere. And as for the manufacturer- Cedars Premium Food & Beverage SAL (definitely Lebanese) , I couldn’t find them in any listings or directories and their website is still under construction.

Kazouza logo

Kazouza Grenadine & Lemon and Watermelon Bottles, Lebanese Soft DrinkI would definitely recommend you to grab any of the bottles, that is,  if you get your eyes on them. I have dropped the manufacturers a line and hopefully I’ll get the mystery solved soon. Nevertheless, if you know more, or see more, tell me about it! This has got me real curious!

Kazouza Grenadine & Lemon Bottle

Thank you for bearing with me through my internet silence. I would like to wish you & your families a Happy Fitr, hope you have been enjoying the holidays as much as I have! Certainly, once I return back to the office there will be a huge post dedicated to Corporate Fitr Greeting Cards.

But today I would like to take a look at a few un-traditional “Halal” Products & Resources which have popped into my scope this month.  What is the idea behind those? Are they serving their purpose?  And most importantly, how genuine are their brands?

First stop, Halal YouTube alternatives.

While IslamicTube isn’t something new, there’s a new kid on the block – Naqa Tube. Unlike Islamic Tube which only offers Islamic content, Naqa Tube is trying to offer a full alternative to YouTube. Visitors can upload their own Videos, which they can edit themselves through the site, and publish it after it gets sensored by Naqa. Some of the YouTube content is  also edited by Naqa and hosted on their site. Curious of what these standards may be ? Asides from the obvious, no nudity, comes an array of prohibitions: no images of women (even properly covered), no music whatsoever, content harming the Saudi state, any of its scholars or citizens is prohibited ( talk about freedom of speech).   The founders claim that during the first two months of its launch the site has received around 6000 visitors, a nothing by YouTube standards.  And then let us sigh and wonder how come Naqa’s team haven’t a doubt that Naqa is the viable alternative for the conscious muslim?

& What about Halal Search Engines?

The developers are ecstatic at having over 500,000 visitors in the first two months since I’m Halal’s launch and are hoping it will be he default search engine in every Muslim home. So how does it work? We’ve been having a party at twitter trying to beat this engine and researching what it considers as Halal & Haram. Basically, it works on the principle of  ‘ignore it & it will go away’ , where words such as sex are classified as completely Haram  (3 out of three) and no results whatsoever are displayed, no explanations offered. So you can not even fetch religious and educational texts on forbidden subjects, or rather keywords. So the search formula implemented by the developers is completely out of focus. Of course it must be easier programming wise to just block keywords rather  filtering out immoral  and offering alterative beneficial content as this will involve ranking & indexing.

Take it for a spin: Pork is completely Haram, Bacon isn’t. Haifa is all halal, Pamela Anderson is 1/3 Haram.A ll sexual innuendo including the words gay & ass are 3/3 haram though these words are initially neutral.

Another failure in I’m Halal team’s search capabilities is awareness (or honesty). They position I’m Halal as the first Halal search engine, but with just a basic Google search I’ve found a bunch of alternatives : http://www.musulman.co.uk/, http://www.theislamicsearch.com/, http://www.islamicsearchengine.com/, which are far more viable.

& Halal Cosmetics?

In products leveraging on religious values, the most important element of the brand’s  success & continuity lies in having an untainted reputation, with the public identifying and believing in the brand’s integrity, moral values and honesty. In our Social Media world any veering from the straight path becomes all too apparent… And that is why I am wondering why the following story hasn’t hit spotlight and angered the public, because personally, I felt really duped when I found out this,  by just doing simple google search. But let us hit it from the top….

Layla Mandi has recently been all over the media promoting her new line of Halal cosmetics OnePure now sold in Dubai, which she conceived after converting to Islam and finding out ”that even touching haram animals was forbidden and it was natural for me to understand that to use haram products on my body would prohibit me from praying. I would absorb forbidden ingredients into my skin which I could not wash off”(from the company’s about page).  Layla’s pitch of sincere devoutness came packaged in photos of her proudly sporting a traditional 3abaya and a veil, both on the OnePure website and across the media… making us perceive her as someone who embraced Islam in all of its details and lived by it.

layla

Well we all live under the sun, and apparently it is at least in part a Marketing ploy. Because, only a few weeks before all the PR action Ms. Mandi is bravely sporting her blond hair and beautiful décolté line at Canada Day Party (also in Dubai). Not that I am a puritan, but it is pure hypocrisy to pretend to live a certain lifestyle to make more sales! And wouldn’t her product still sell without this dress-up?

Layla Mandi @ Okku Canada Day Party Source: http://www.ahlanlive.com/13221-canada-day-party--okku

Layla Mandi @ Okku Canada Day Party. Source: http://www.ahlanlive.com/13221-canada-day-party--okku

How do you feel about this? Do you know any other controversial Halal Products?

boot_girl

 

Those who like the Boot-over-Jeans look will immediately appreciate the genius of this nifty accessory. No more hard manual labor stuffing your jeans in and fear of it bulging out & scrounging around the knees* … Stiruppz will keep your jeans perfectly tucked in at all times! And according to the suppliers website they provide the perfect level of tension, getting their job done sans discomfort.

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The price, 25 USD, seems a bit over for the ”alligator clips – elastics”  combo, plus one will need to ship them from the US, and everyone knows Lebanese Customs taxes are a bitch. So it’s extra skinnies-into-boots for me until a viable Syrian or chinese alternative is available. Nevertheless, one cannot but admire the products idea, it has that floating flashbulb characteristic. Right Gals?

 

stiruppz.com

[Images via: stiruppz.com]

 

* Guys reading this are definitely thinking Gals OVER think it, but we really do!

 

Someone ought to do this to the Lebanese ‘politicians’ as well shouldn’t they? Can you imagine all the fun and political pun that will come out of it? Imagine people of opposing political views gathering for Tea? This is a great promo item for ‘black campaigning’ too! I love it!

 

5_-DemocraTea

5_-RoyalTea5_-StripTea

These products are offered by German Design Company Dunkey Products and are part of their ‘Tea Party’ Series. They also have a whole range of other interesting ‘non-tea related’ cult items.

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