Posts Tagged ‘lebanon

02
Jun
14

Real Estate Advertising and Advertising Real Estate


Real Estate advertising is mushrooming faster than buildings. But the corny ads that stand in ovation to the utter lack of creativity are not the problem.

The problem is that most, if not all the campaigns speak to a microscopic elite in a country where over the two third of the population can barely afford a loaf of bread.
The problem is that clients lack so much marketing acumen that taking them for a ride and making them to spend an arm and a leg becomes child play. Besides lacking originality, their advertising speaks to an audience that reads the newspaper in the back of their limousines while being chauffeured to destination. An audience that does not even look outside the dark tinted glass of their cars.
I got news for those Real Estate companies: Your “target audience” as your agencies taught you to call them, will never look for a 2 million Dollars apartment on a billboard on the Zalka highway! This audience does not need advertising claiming “Paradise on Earth” (in Lebanon…) to trigger their purchase behavior!
Having said that, some potential buyers might shop for a flat on outdoor media, but then, who might those prospects be? Did you ever worry about dissecting your audience, not by how much money they carry in their mattresses, but by their propensity to fill your flats?
Because, in Lebanon, the short-term fast buck over-rules the long-term brand-investment, advertisers always choose to go for the easy route; note that it is the smartest one, or the actual golden goose.
If we want to build the country on mob money, and Gulf tycoons, then be it. But for heaven’s sake, stop bragging about patriotism, and stop using nationalistic and outdated slogans. Lebanon does not, and will not get any better with your tall buildings. The way it’s going right now, it only will get uglier.
The fact is that, by playing the ostrich, we are as morally corrupt as the mafiosi who buys the 2 million Dollars flat.
My dear real estate developers, here’s an idea to make money and sleep restfully at night. We need condos, we need thousands of flats for the average Lebanese, the honest one. We need small town houses for the thousands of daily commuters who, for a change, work honestly and hard to earn their buck. Now you do the math. But before doing so, use (what’s left) of your marketing understanding to admit that, since the late eighties, economies have undergone a paradigm shift, from a margin to a volume market. Hell! Even Apple realised it! You can make more money by selling more and cheaper, rather than selling less but more expensive. You can make more money by selling to the poor!
Here’s another insight: The rich buy your flats in good times, when economy is flourishing and the cash is safe. But when hard times hit – and they do often lately – the rich are the first to hold their horses back. The average consumers on the other hand, buy an apartment because they “need” one. Their decision to buy is not investment-based, it is need-based. And here once more I implore (what’s left) of your marketing understanding to answer the 101 question: what does marketing address? Yes, yes, “needs”.
By doing so, you win a favorable reputation, you build a better brand, you will be respected and loved by the society, your product will spread to cover the nation, and you will be one of the rare businesses where the very nature of your product is intrinsically a CSR program. You will need to advertise less, thus use your marketing cash on smarter programs, or simply stash it if you wish to do so.
No, I am not a communist! And no, I am not asking you to refrain from erecting those beautiful skyscrapers that adorn our capital. All I’m saying is that , in a country of endless paradoxes, it would be a stimulating change to see someone “think smart” about creating an equilibrium. But that’s just me.

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Real Estate Advertising and Advertising Real Estate by Ibrahim Lahoud is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://ilahoud.wordpress.com/.

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19
Mar
14

“For quality control, this phone call is being recorded”…


“Good morning, you have reached Terranet, for sales dial 1, for support dial 2, for a psychiatrist dial 3. (The last one is my recommendation, strongly)
“For quality control, this phone call is being recorded”…

– Hello, this Rami, how can I help you?
– Um, hi, I purchased a new Cisco modem, and I would like you to guide me through the configuration please.
– It’s very easy. Just set the VCI and VPI…
– Woooa! Hold on. Set the what?

– (With an audible yawn) Set the VCI and VPI. Did you configure the modem?
– Huh? I’m calling you for that!
– Is it hooked?
– (No it’s not! It’s in the microwave getting defrosted, I would have loved to say) Yes it is. Hooked and I logged in to it via my browser. Shall I tell you the options I have and you tell what to do?
– (With the end of another long audible yawn) What do you have?
I start enumerating the options for every setting. I only heard his voice twice:
– VCI 0, VPI 35
– Is that it?
– Yes
– So now all I should do is connect to the Internet.
– Yeh
– Thank you

I hang up, reboot the modem and try connecting to the Internet. Nothing.

I call again:
“For quality control, this phone call is being recorded”…
– Hello, this Hussein, how can I help you?
– Excuse me, I was talking to Rami regard..
– Rami is busy on another line, how can I help you?
– Ok. So I got this Cisco modem and I configur…
– Hold on!
– Yes? This is Rami
– Oh hi! I spoke to you a while ago regarding a Cisco modem…
– Cisco modem? Regarding what?
– Configuration?
– Oh yeh. So…
– Well, it’s not working…
– Why did you get a Cisco?
– WHAT?… Because YOU guys told me, get a Cisco or a D-Link… So I got the Cisco…
– Yeh, but the THOMSON you have now is better….
– Ok. But I got the Cisco now, and it’s not connecting. The “Internet” light is off.
– Do you have phones at home?
– Yes. Why?
– Disconnect them all and retry?
– Excuse me?
– Yeh, you might have a “loop”
– A loop? Uumm, Uhun, yep. Cool. Ok.
A loop? I thought I was installing a modem, not knitting a pullover!
I disconnect all the phones at home, reboot the modem and try to connect again. Nothing.
I call again:
“For quality control, this phone call is being recorded”…
– Hello, this Samer, how can I help you?
– Can I speak to Rami?
– Moment…
– This is Rami, how can…
– Rami, it’s me again (I just mastered the cut-you-in-the-middle-of-a-sentence technique!) I disconnected all the phones, it’s still not working.
– Well, I don’t know (with such a lazy voice)… Get a technician… Or the modem is defective.
– Defective? It’s a brand new Cisco! All is working perfectly, but it stops at “Internet”
– Yeh, it might be defective. It happens…
– Oh. It does? I did not know that… Thank you anyway for your precious assistance Rami!
I hang up.
Welcome to the world of Lebanese ISP customer support!
If “For quality control, this phone call is being recorded”, all ISPs would be out of business by now…
20
Feb
13

Women scare us… and I love it!


This is to men who “wear” manhood instead of living it.

So, we give visas to every nationality; we harbor every terrorist group you can imagine; we open our border to foreign workers who flock by the thousands; we sell 100% ownership of land and property to every citizen in the world (including aliens from outer space)…

But hey! If the Lebanese woman gives nationality to her children, our social fabric equilibrium is screwed.

We elect deputies based on how much money they have, which religion they represent, how corrupt they are, how much “donations” they can make, who they follow (including which “foreign regime”), how low they can bend over…

But hey! If we bring women to the parliament, the country is screwed.

She gives birth, she raises, she cooks, she cleans, she works, she runs, she follows, she manages, she represents, she satisfies, she beautifies, she smiles, she endures… so much.

We watch her give birth, raise, cook, clean, work, run… and endure… so much.

And yet, we have the guts (no, no balls… at all), to deny her the very basic rights that were equally given to mankind.

We brag about freedom, of expression, of religion, of choice, of marriage, of political affiliation, as if we are the gods of freedom, as if we have grasped the breadth of the word… And yet, we deny her the very basic rights that were equally given to mankind.

Yes, this is manhood. We are the proud Lebanese men, those who are in the know. We are the ones who know how to harness the best of the world’s laws and jurisdictions to erect a nation.

We picked women treatment from Afghanistan, women civil rights from Saudi Arabia, women human rights from Iran.

We forgot to look at India, Great Britain, Iceland, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Argentina, Bolivia, Switzerland, Philippines, Ireland, Sri Lanka, Finland, Lithuania… where women were not elected to parliament, they were presidents, heads of state.

I pity a nation with double-standards.
I pity a country built on prejudice.
I dread the men of Lebanon, and you know why?

Because they are afraid of the Woman. They are afraid of loosing their clout and hegemony. They are afraid of being stripped naked, revealing their ignorance, short-sight, lack of tact. They are afraid of facing a peer they consider a foe; someone who might for a change use a brain instead of balls to induce change; someone who would negotiate instead of argue.

Can man do better? I don’t mind, but then again, if he could, he would have accepted the woman as equal centuries ago.

©2013 – Ibrahim N. Lahoud

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Women scare us… and I love it! by Ibrahim N. Lahoud is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at https://ilahoud.wordpress.com/.

10
Oct
12

GENERATION [TED]x


This is dedicated to the many who still believe that the few can make a difference.

You’re alive when you’re 53 years old, sit next to a 26 years old, and feel he’s reached 53 and you’re back to 26. This is the essence of the elixir of youth. And that is what I miss in Lebanon. That is what I never found in Lebanon. Never, until now.

TEDx is my fountain of youth, where I go to quench the my thirst for eternal rejuvenation.

I never felt at ease with people of my age, and I never understood why. And then, last year, at the first TEDx event, I saw the light. There is a child in me.

Children do not seek higher goals. That does not make them less achievers than the rest of us. That does not make them any less inspired than the rest of us. And, for sure, that does not make them less motivated either.

TED is not food for thought. There is no food for thought. When everyone else looks, you see; when everyone else hears, you listen, and when everyone else feed their thoughts, you act. And that is it. That is all what TED is all about.

And I can prove it.

Just imagine for a while the licensee of TEDx Beirut indulging in “food for thought”, pondering the idea, sleeping on it for a while… I would be 90 and still looking for a 26 years old to sit next to.

In a country where hope is more prohibited than smoking, inspiration becomes “food for soul”. And someone had the guts to do it. Someone had the will to share. Someone had the insight to bring in the 53s’ and 26s’ together and let the former fuel their life, and the latter grow their horizon, both ignited by the same passion; the passion to confirm that it is indeed the end that justifies the means in a simile-nation where it’s the means that justify the end.

The next TEDx is around the corner. The yearly fountain of eternal youth is here again to inject a 26 in my 53. And the child in me is packed and ready to go.

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Generation [TED]x by Generation [TED]x is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at https://ilahoud.wordpress.com.

© 2012 Ibrahim Lahoud

16
Aug
12

I HATE TO WRITE. I HAD TO WRITE.


I once tweeted asking if the kidnapping and counter-kidnapping thing works with mosquitoes… I had to make use of the learnings from the latest happenings in Lebanon.

We are beyond pathetic. We are beyond pitiful. We are beyond acting, let alone thinking. We are way beyond solving.

Did the Lebanese-Syrian trade treaties stipulate anything about importing and exporting revolutions? I will most certainly not get into analysis and speculations. I will leave that to the poor souls who think they are in the know, and those who have teleported their personalities straight onto the tip of their tongues.

I am not eloquent when it comes to politics, but defense strategy? Seriously? What strategy? To defend who, what?

The best defense strategy, tested and proven, is education and civic sense. Deprive people from both, and that’s you get: Lebanon. Speaking of education, teachers are one of the most under-payed categories. To make things worse, students are now a bargaining chip. If we get this far, no wonder families have their own armies!

So, I just wonder…

I wonder why since the new government came into being, theft and crime rate shot up.

I wonder why bank robberies suddenly skyrocketed to new heights.

I wonder why the electricity became inversely proportional to the pledge the government made to fix it.

I wonder why gas prices go up when worldwide oil prices go down.

I wonder why only the mentally challenged earn a place in the government.

I wonder how they could devise a long-term planning strategy when they can’t even implement a simple traffic law.

I wonder why can’t they defend the country with the same fervor they defend the “neighbors”

I wonder how they dare to speak and give lessons in patriotism when their allegiance is invested everywhere but in their nation.

I wonder where do the inter-religious feuds fit If Israel is the common enemy.

I wonder if Syrians fought amongst themselves during the Civil war in Lebanon.

I wonder where did the 10452 Km2 go if the North is an Emirate, the South is off-limits, the Bekaa is an enclave, and most of Beirut is a military barrack…

I wonder how can they lie so bluntly to themselves before lying to us.

I wonder how do they still believe that they are actually lying to us.

I wonder what they tell their children when asked about what they do.

I wonder what to say to my own children when asked why are we still here.

I wonder why I am still here.

But beware, we all can wonder this much. We soon will ponder, and when we do, your lies, schemes and petty strategies will rule our leftovers. Our leftovers.

The thing is, we live in a rat hole where every family can have one army instead of having one army for all the families…

24
Jul
12

What’s wrong with my country?


There are those who publicly and arrogantly sell their country.
And then there are those who sit on their ass and feel sorry about their country being sold.

 

There are those who believe in the wrong cause and destroy a nation.
And there are those who do not believe in any cause and sit on their ass feeling sorry for their destroyed nation.

Here, we have both, and both are wrong.

That’s what is wrong with my country.

17
Dec
11

All I Want for Christmas – The Last Post of 2011


For this Christmas, I want the driver of that modified Subaru Evolution with a loud exhaust as wide as his empty brain cavity, to beat him till he begs for mercy.

I want the driver of the tinted-glass Picanto, to humiliate him till he decides to spend the rest of his days walking, and I want his car to set on fire.

I want that woman in the black Range Rover with a four digits plate number, to tie her hands behind the wheel, put a brick on the accelerator and watch her fly and hit a wall, and I want her cell phone to dial a long distance number and leave it on for a week, and her lipstick to… you know what!

I want that policeman playing G.I Joe on the intersection under my office with a finger up his nostril and a beer belly down his pants, to glue him in the middle of the road, hands shackled behind his back, and watch him scream like a baby girl watching the Subaru Evolution guy rushing straight at him.

I want the electric generator guy to teach him manners, the hard way and make him understand that his generator has more power that all his neurons combined.

I want the bank teller… To tell him who the client really is, hold him by the necktie and hang him from the top of his ego.

I want a gum-chewing clothing shop saleswoman to be sentenced to chew the same gum for a year while smiling and saying “how can I help you”.

I want that disgusting ugly castrated macho with mustaches like a floor mop to stick his lit shisha up his… you pick a hole!

I want the owner of the double parked Mercedes in the hospital parking to stand on the white line divider of the parking lanes, take the space of two cars, and get a first-row show of the insults he usually gets but doesn’t hear.

I want that Neanderthal bastard who pushes through the line at the ticketing counter of the movie theater to be squeezed between two gays till he feels something hurting his throat!

I want that bunch of botox-filled women talking loudly in the restaurant to have their ears stuffed with hearing aids with the volume pumped to the max till violent noises and squeaks melt what’s left of their brain.

I want the group of nouveau-riches, talking politics, drinking expensive Scotch and smoking fake cigars they never knew they are fake, to put each and every theory of theirs to work, and make “only” them live through it.

I want every Facebook user who presses the “Like” button on a group to swear they really like it. I want them to prove to me that their 1432 friends are really friends.

I want a restaurant owner to eat from his own restaurant kitchen.

I want a Muslim to read the Holy Quran and a Christian to read the Holy Bible, and then dare to talk about true tolerance.

I want an illiterate politician, any politician, to make him listen for a whole day to his own speeches on loud speakers.

I want every “Patriotic” Lebanese who lives in abroad to come back to Lebanon, stay there, and then tell me they’re patriotic.

But I’m easy… So I will just settle for a pair of ear-plugs, and one of those blindfolds they provide for free on long flights. That’ll do.

Happy Holidays!

p.s. I don’t really hate this country. I just hate it’s geographical coordinates, and the fact that unlike a zoo, the animals are on the loose and the visitors in the cage.

Creative Commons License
All I want for Christmas, the last post of 2011 by Ibrahim N. Lahoud is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at ilahoud.wordpress.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://ilahoud.wordpress.com/.

©2011 – Ibrahim Lahoud




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Reason To Believe by Ibrahim N. Lahoud is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at htt://ilahoud.wordpress.com.

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