Lebanon’s Murr TV re-launches hit talent show Studio El Fan

November 4, 2009

Lebanon’s Murr TV is re-launching popular talent show Studio El Fan on Sunday as part of a bid to reassert itself in the marketplace after an absence of seven years.

Murr TV, also known as MTV Lebanon, went live in April this year after years in the wilderness thanks to its closure by force in September 2002 for political reasons.

ElisaBut now it is hoping to announce its return with a splash and chip away at LBC’s dominant position with the help of Studio El Fan, which was originally aired on Télé Liban during the 70s and 80s before moving to LBC in the 90s. The show is widely credited with launching the careers of stars such as Diana Haddad, Nawal Al Zoghbi, Wael Kfoury, Elissa (pictured), composer Jean-Marie Riachi and designer Zuhair Murad.

The show will consist of 32 episodes, with categories including song, poetry, dance and modeling.

‘Sexist’ ad sparks controversy in Lebanon elections

May 11, 2009

With less than a month to go until Lebanon’s elections on June 7, the political campaigning has intensified with some parties’ advertising causing controversy across the nation’s blogosphere.

fpm-sois-belle-et-voteAs reported in the latest issue of Campaign, a poster by the Free Patriotic Movement, also known as Tayyar, has inflamed feminist groups and spawned a host of satirical spoofs.

The ad, supposedly aimed at encouraging Lebanon’s young women to participate in the electoral process, depicts an attractive female model next to the headline ‘sois belle et vote’ (be beautiful and vote). Tayyar have used a play on a well know sexist phrase ‘sois belle et tais-tois’ (shut up and look pretty) to get their message across.

But some, including the nation’s women’s rights campaigners the Feminist Collective, view the outdoor ad as exploitative and directly offensive to women, accusing it of the sexism it attempts to lampoon. “Isn’t your ad really saying: ‘hey, men! Look at us! We have hot women! Vote for us!” suggests a posting on the group’s blog.

The group launched their own version of the ad lambasting the male dominated list of political candidates. The doctored spoof shows the model with a black eye and encourages women to protest by not voting: ‘sois intelligente et vote blanc’ (be smart and vote blank).

With voting affiliations split across the nation’s various religious communities, it appears the election will result in a closely contested battle for seats. As a result, digital campaigning has come to the fore, with the nation’s bloggers and designers attempting to influence potential voters via social media and updates direct to the electorates’ inboxes.

Samsung ‘Jesus’ ads removed from Lynx website

March 28, 2009

jesus1The Dubai Lynx has removed all of FP7 Doha’s winning work for Samsung from its website following a request by the Korean electronics company.

The move has been made in response to the religious fall-out in Lebanon caused by an FP7 Doha ad featuring Jesus taking a photograph of a group of nuns with the new Samsung SL310W.

The ad has been depicted as an attack “against Christian symbols” by certain factions in Lebanon and is causing significant damage to Samsung’s image in the Levant.

FP7 Doha’s Samsung work is currently under investigation by the Dubai Lynx, as is its work for clients Higeen Mouthwash and Nissan. FP7 is also undertaking its own internal ‘fact-finding mission’.

Steve Lane, festival director of the Dubai Lynx, said the presence of the ads on the Lynx website had been fanning the flames of the controversy in Lebanon.

A decision on whether FP7 Doha will be stripped of its awards is expected early next week. If the decisions go against the agency, it could be stripped of its Agency of the Year title. Other FP7 Doha ads have also been removed from the website.

Update: In a statement released by Samsung in Lebanon, the company has categorically distanced itself from the ad.

“The company did not commission, develop or approve the publishing of the religiously insensitive advertisements,” said the statement. “This advertising campaign was produced and submitted by marketing agency, FP7 Doha, without the knowledge or consent of Samsung Electronics.”

Sunny Hwang, president of Samsung Electronics Levant, added: “At no time was Samsung Electronics aware of these advertisements and the company has not approved or commissioned FP7 to create any advertising campaigns. Samsung has the utmost respect for all cultures and religions and would never produce or approve the use of such culturally insensitive advertisements.”

Phillip Thomas, CEO of Cannes Lions, the organisers of the Dubai Lynx, said: “We accept all entries to the Dubai Lynx Awards in good faith and trust the agencies competing to be honest and accurate with their submissions and details of client sign off. It appears in this case that FP7 Doha has knowingly tried to mislead ourselves and our jury regarding work they claimed to have created on behalf of Samsung Electronics, which in reality the client had never seen or approved.

“We have openly stated that any submissions to the awards found to be in breach of our entry criteria will be withdrawn and that will be the case here. We will be vigilant in checking all winning entries meet the criteria in all ways, and if they are found wanting then we will act.”