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Yes I have… I  am sorry… I have been saving these for the OLD New Year but then , of course, I got busy as well…

Anyways, I know all of you are feeling bad about the Season’s festivities being over… So maybe it’s a good chance to wallow in denial!

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Disclaimer: I am aware that most of my dear readers are nothing like the Lebanese Laila I speak of. In fact, my readers are amazing bright Lebanese women who reject being branded with media stereotypes and have worked hard to become well established respected  professionals .  Male readers, especially those from outside of Lebanon, may not believe that such a species of women actually exists here, but it DOES… And unfortunately,  it co-exists with the cliched “Haifa like” “Lebanese Laila”. Images and personifications of which are all too painful for true Lebanese women to see. So I am really sorry my dear readers for delving to explore this cliche, I do not abet Laila or aspire to be like her, but I  I believe that the Lebanese Laila is a brand. A brand which in spite of all of the harm caused, can teach us a lot!

This post is part of the Kolena Laila Campaign.

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Yes the “Lebanese Leila” gets a lot of laughs and criticism from us women for being silly, superficial, unambitious, short-sighted… But then again, doesn’t Laila always get what she wants effortlessly? And isn’t that what everyone, not just a marketer, wants? … Now you’re listening? Well, take notes:

1) Be where you community is.

No my dears, Laila does not Blog! Laila does not even Twitter! Some of you may say it is because she does not have much to say… But no, it is because she knows all too well her target audience. And she knows that her target audience of Don-Juans and starlets does not read, does not spend time in soul digging and does not have an artistic streak. She knows that her audience is on Facebook, and she makes sure to have a very attractive profile there. Which brings us to point two.

2) Always give your audience what they want.

They don’t read, but they have eye-balls and curiosity. And Laila always makes sure to have a great set of profile pics of her at “such and such party” or “such and such wedding” make-uped and air-brushed to perfection.  Her fans, her target audience, her prospective husband to be, will devour these photos  and comment on them (audience engagement). Moreover, these photos together with the comments will enlarge her footprint on the web and spread her content through her audience. And that is what every brand wants!

3) Be active in connecting to your audience.

Laila is always the first one to wish you a Happy Birthday, give you a nudge / missed call if you have not connected in a while and adding you on facebook after meeting you after a random gig in Gemmayze. And that is how she retains a “loyal” network of connections. [Chuckles of Disbelief in background] Well these strategies are exactly what allow Laila to get extra $$$ on her mobile phone credit whenever her heart desires, get a free invite to a party, or even get that necklace that she put as her display photo for a week on facebook with a tag ” I WANT THIS” instead of slaving for months to buy it…Sad, But True.

4) If you can’t create  – imitate.

To us mere mortals, Laila seems like a fashion victim, with her Haifa lips, tatooed eyebrows, Shakira Curls, Rihanna Shorts… Then again, doesn’t Laila make heads turn in the mall (product placement)? Doesn’t she have her photos all over Layalina and Mondalite (free PR)? Doesn’t she have more friends on facebook as a result (brand equity)? And eventually more choice of rich cavaliers for her to choose to be-wed (product demand) ? And keep in mind this is what she wants!(achieving marketing objectives)


5) Know your competition.

Even Layla knows, that in today’s open age it is a loss not to keep track of what your competitors are doing and using it to your advantage. She will always text you when Celine’s dress is too short, Jana’s husband is cheating on you, or email you and another 100 of close friends a video of Dana wasted at a party. She would always go shopping with her drop dead gorgeous cousin, whom her fiance adores, just to advise her to buy the ugly top and last season boots. And yes , when she was 16, she would spend hours browsing through her “frenemies'” new photos, because if just one of them got their nose done this year, she also had to do it.

So you see, if Laila can do it and achieve her marketing objectives, you with YOUR BRAIN can as well, just play by the rules of the New Media Age.

So tell me, have I missed anything?

P.S. I Found this FANTASTIC lebanese blog all dedicated to Lebanese Illustrators, check it out: http://kootoob.blogspot.com

Images via: Maya Zankoul, http://kootoob.blogspot.com and  Stavro .

How can voting for the most beautiful girl on campus support education? I do not mean to sound as a feminist, as I am all in for men opening doors … but really something is undeniably wrong with our educational system, if universities are competing with each other on who has “the fairest of them all”. And then I imagine kids deciding which university to attend basing that on: “Oh, University A has the best chicks!”

Anyone with me?

Miss Universities lebanon - beuaty meets education?

This was sitting in my draft folder for an eternity, I’m gonna just quick post it since the issue was brought up @twitter.

Dunkin Donuts Fire Fighter's campaign

From mid-October until the end of November, Dunkin’ Donuts customers will be able to donate 1,000 L.L. to the Beirut firefighters’ brigade with each purchase of 1 small Dunkalatte or Dunkaccino and 1 Donut. The Beirut Fire Department will use the amount collected to purchase severely needed equipment that will enable them to better save and preserve the environment and thus, to benefit the society at large.  Source : Executive Bulletin

 

Where Dunkin Donuts Fails?

– The guys does not look like a Lebanese Fire Fighter.

– The posters only started appearing recently, while I was stalking shops all of last month to find one.

Lessons to be learned

If you want your campaign to succeed, have images that your audience can identity with.

IF you want a campaign to succeed, campaign in advance agressively.

35 pubs and bars on Gemmayze Street in Beirut participated in the non-smoking night* that took place on Wednesday 28 October. Nevertheless, many of these establishments did not uphold to their promise to the organizing NGO, Rotaract, and were blazing with glittering buds and retortful puffs. I know I am late on the posting train** about that, but I have been analyzing it backwards and forward thinking: “What would’ve been done to make it a success and give non-smokers a night to ENJOY?”

One one of the pubs we passed had a 'bright' marketing ploy - an anti-campaign - "Smoking Friendly environment".

One one of the pubs we passed had a 'bright' marketing ploy - an anti-campaign - "Smoking Friendly environment".

The answer is very simple: Education, Promotion, Reward and Punishment!

Admittedly, all nights are busy in Gemmayze, and from my new born addiction to Dinner Dash I can now see how hard it is to cater to all the client’s needs. Nevertheless, on this special night an extra effort by the Ushers, Managers and Waiters in welcoming the guests and explaining the event their establishment is participating in would’ve gone a long way. Just Putting the leaflets on each table, would ‘ve served the purpose. For instance, the vile smokers in our restaurant did not know / have not been told that the night was a non-smoking night (or so they told us).  This is something Rotaract needs to educate all the pubs about for next year to avoid any mishaps.

A further step to be taken, is finding out who the smokers are and thanking them in advance for making this effort and providing a happy environment for all. Maybe some brochure or leaflet which included a thank you, the accomplishment they are making, ways to quit… would’ve helped if physical time was unavailable.

Now for reward. In my world a LOT is focused on giveaways, and promotional materials. What could help smoker’s through the night? Some nicotine patches and nicotine gum distributed at entry would have further enhanced the night’s theme and would’ve made any smoker beyond shameful to light up inside. and if smokers were to go outside for a smoke, why not thank them by a mini-desert or a free drink? Smokers could also be given extra privileges like a 10% discount for their next visit, or even faster service.

And now for PUNISHMENT, shaming is a good punishment. And here I have a great story to tell you!

This weekend we came back home to some poop on near our flat’s entrance (which is also shared by our neighbors). What simply stepped over it and ignored it (I’m not cleaning that!). But what our two neighbors did was INGENIOUS, and I have to  give them so much credit for thinking of this! They wrote on an A4 the following: ” Please clean after your DOG, our entrance is not a TOILET!“***  and pinned it to the door. And when we came back in the afternoon, the poop was gone and the A4 was snatched from the door. Justice has prevailed!

The pubs and bars that participated in the event have benefited immensely from the free publicity and the extra amount of visitors who wanted to relax in a smoke free environment. But what about negative publicity? What about Rotaract binding them to some penal clause in case of breach and monitoring them more effectively? And a last word on shaming, what if those vile smokers from our story were faced off by the ‘metre’ after they lit up, who would have with a smile reminded them of the policy and offered them a desert / drink on the house  (had they been informed about the policy in the first place)? You see the reward – punishment (in our case shaming) – reward is a very effective and simple manipulation tool that or parents have used on us, and at heart we’re all children!

Dear Rotaract! Us non-smokers really need this night to be a full success next year!

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* You can check out The Star Scene photos of the Night

** Check out these great posts by Lilliane & Maya.

*** turns out one of our new neighbors has a dog :S

As with any problem, a great counter measure against Climate Change is raising awareness. Many of us feel helpless, and idle living in a country whose leaders “have bigger problems to think of”‘*than the country’s eco-health. And that is why it is easier for our government to invest in fire fighting equipment, rather than invest in its prevention…

But I do not want to swerve from the subject here, though all is admittedly interlinked to the main topic. What I wanted to talk about was how can consumerism, and your personal buying behaviour affect climate change, and even corporate social responsibility? You as a single consumer, may today start a trend that will generate thousands of green practices in the future.

If that last phrase sounds surrealistic to you, keep reading!

The Laws of Supply & Demand

 In Economics 101 we all learned about how the curve shifts when the demand for certain products rises above the supply curve. With time the market responds to increase the supply of in-demand items, while items on the decline of their life cycle are soon ousted out of the supply chain. So when you as a single consumer decide to buy solely green or greener products, even if they are initially unavailable in the market place, inevitably, if you stick to that consumer behavior, those products will find you! So thinking and buying Green will elicit other service and product vendors to think on the same brain wave on a large scale save the world? Don’t laugh, as a final argument on that point read Lebanon Opportunities article on how Going Green is profitable for Businesses.

So knowing that, what can you do?

– Learn more about what are the greener alternatives to products. There are so many things you can do here: Use roller deodorants rather than these CFC packed spray cans. Buy a smaller car, you’ll save up on the gas and help the environment. Buy eco-friendly energy saving light bulbs. And consider going meatless once a week.

– Buy fruits and vegetables in season.

– Try to eliminate product with bigger carbon footprints. For example go for local & organic foods as opposed to imported goods at all times.  When standing in the supermarket we  often think of imported products as better alternatives to local imitations, but think about their carbon footprint! I love this project by James Reynolds, called Far Foods which aims at raising awareness of the Carbon Footprint of imported goods and all goods in your shopping basket for that matter. 

– If you can’t find greener products, always ask! Repetitive questions in the vendors’ mind equal business opportunities! Remember , demand generates supply and not the other way round.

– As first step, start buying less of those carbon points packed products!

… the list is endless

Have a Global Outlook on Your Lifestyle

As with products think about your day-to-day actions, and analyze them in terms of your carbon footprint:

– Do you really need to take that plastic bag for your two bars of chocolate that you are gonna eat now?

– If you are already using an eco-tote tell that cashier that pre-packing the items in plastic bags defeats the point! ( yes they truly do that! for them the eco-tote is another product and not an eco-tool)

– Try going to closer venues as opposed to those that need a longer commute

– Don’t jump into the car if your destination is 5 minutes away! Lebanese love luxury, but that is too much.

– If you see carbon negative behaviour expressed by others educate them.

– Don’t print, unless you need to & if you do make sure its economical.

campaign for reducing electricity consumption– Turn off the lights when you can do without them, or light a candle when you are in a romantic mood.

– Washing your dishes with cold water in the summer, and taking cool showers is refreshing and eco-friendly.

– Think of investing in alternative energy sources for your home.

– Recycle,  be it at home or at work…

– Something I am working very hard on is closing the water tap while brushing my teeth…

– Preach, bitch and moan to others regarding their non-ecofriendly behavior.

This list can go on and on forever… It’s amazing how much we can either do or don’t to pitch in. Remember being a good consumer, contrary to what corporate tycoons want us to believe, is about consuming less!

I honestly believe that if we teach by example and raise awareness around us, everyone around will have to give in as more and more people choose the green path, there will be pioneers even in our governments…

So why don’t we do something about it while we still can?

The Age of Stupid will be screened in Lebanon at Empire Sofil on the 25th & 26th of October.

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Read also other Blog Action Day Posts by fellow Lebanese Bloggers:

 
* Liberal quote from someone in the Ministry of Environment that was voiced out to me by a journalist who was asking him how the government is encouraging corporate green practices.

Have you seen these banners on the streets or maybe received an emailer? Take a closer look…

C&E becomes AUCE

 

C&E is made up of all dried up branches & AUCE of thriving greenery. What’s your automatic association? C&E is crap! No?

Now read the tagline ” Ism Jadid Li Madin 3arik” ( Which is liberally translated to : ‘New name to a legendary past’).  Don’t you see a contradiction?

How can a some feeble shriveling tree branches represent a glorious past?

Besides knowledge is supposed to be a well rooted mighty tree and now a collection of green bushes, don’t you think?

Someone really went out their way to make AUCE look bad!

Do you know of any other re-branding campaign disasters?

Now aren’t these folks ingenius with picking their dates? Don’t they know that 999 like 666 is considered bad luck?
Anyways I think it is interesting that they have decided to run a competition in order to promote the opening date. Click on the picture at the end of the post to be part of the fun!
RTA Promotion for Dubai Metro Header

RTA Promotion for Dubai Metro Header

 

History is all about what happened in the past. Making history is what happens in the present. Be a part of it by participating in the biggest draw of the century with your chance to win a ‘GOLDEN TICKET’ to be one of the first to ride on the Dubai Metro on 09.09.09.

Answer the question of the day to double your chances of winning. 

 

 

click here for a chance to win the golden ticket

click here for a chance to win the golden ticket

 

See also:  Twestival Dubai Auctions off Golden Ticket

Paradoxical Testimonies of Peoples’ assumptions regarding my cooking skills ( said to my face)

RH: ” I do not imagine her being that type… You probably just prepare everything and she just turns on the flame and puts it on the stove”
KI: “I’m sure you’re the cook in the house, not her, now can you tell me some simple dishes I can make as I am going to start  living alone”
My Brother: ” When she lived with us she only did salads and baked potato and the occasional omlette”
GS – Co-worker: ” Are you going to invite me to Iftar?…. So the menu will be Salad, soup and escalope?…. No I do not think you can cook anything else…”
My Aunt & Dad: ” Are you eating well? Where do you get food from? You cook by yourself?”

  Compliments ( Mainly from significant other, but trust me when criticizing he is completely unbiased)

‘SO’: “She can only cook but she also creates things from scratch.”

 {more to come as juicy things come along}

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