Friday, October 31, 2008

A series of smiles for Pepsi new look

October 20, 2008: a sudden face-lift for what is famed to be "the choice of a new generation."
Pepsi has recently rolled out a brand new fresh campaign--not so fresh though, as sameness seems to be the name of the game; repeating itself endlessly appears as a safe step, certain to maintain Pepsi’s brand visibility in today’s massively turbulent culture.
For the record, Pepsi's third-quarter profit was dragged down by weak U.S. sales, and fell short of a Wall Street earnings estimate for the first time since 1999.
A downfall, which could explain why Pepsi has announced that they are undergoing a drastic relaunching of their branding and packaging to bring "new life" to their flagship brands, with a new logo that is supposed to represent more than one smile.

Pepsi’s Chief Marketing Officer Dave Burwick set the tone for the change at a meeting of Pepsi bottlers when he said If we don’t change quickly, we run the risk of being a footnote to history,” according to Beverage Digest.

However, such a move appears a bit awkward for one of the world's most famous brands, as it is understood that change should be combined with a fundamental repositioning. In this re-brand operation, no sign of repositioning whatsoever.
But an all new brand communication strategy.
The company has chosen to jump on the cyber bandwagon, embrace new social media and start engaging with consumers; Pepsi intends, through this experiment- a Flickr album, a Friendfeed account, soon a Twitter profile-- to bring consumers "behind the scenes through technology and conversation.”
The production, marketing and delivery strategy have indeed, all been refined down to the highest efficiencies and profitability.

“Pepsi, reached out to 25 ‘digital and social media influencers’ with three separately-shipped packages. The first contained five cans representing logo design from 1898 to 1950. The second contained five cans representing logo design from 1962 to 1998. The third contained (yes, you guessed it) the newly launched can design - six of them full of actual Pepsi. Accompanying the final shipment was a DVD highlights of the company’s 110 year history including the debut of the new logo and packaging across all product lines. You can watch the video here.”
Quoted from adrants.

Of course, it's surprising to see a company like Pepsi engage in this way. “We’re changing the way we do things and want to have you along for the ride,” reads 'The Pepsi Cooler' page on Friendfeed, where contributors/social media experts include Bart Casabona, Bonin Bough and Josh Karpf and Steve Rubel from Edelman, the PR Company in charge of Pepsi’s communication and image.
“I am working with Pepsi as part of my job with Edelman Digital. We are thrilled to be assisting with this endeavour. In the future, PR agencies will need to step from behind the scenes and openly participate in social media with clients when appropriate,"
notes Steve Rubel on The Pepsi Cooler page.

According to new school marketing, a brand must meet change with change. In order to help spreading the word about the re-branding and shape Pepsi’s social media future, the tools adopted speak highly and loudly about a wind of change. Having more engagement from Pepsi is a great idea and is obviously part of the new strategy. Pepsi has decided to change in regards to its relationships with consumers; it has decided to stream with dynamism to stay in touch with dynamism and change in the making. But is changing logo and opening up a conversation all what Pepsi has in mind? The Pepsi new experiment will be fun to watch…

As for the new look, it is characterized by stillness and consistency: the cans retain some similar design elements ... all are still blue and have the familiar Pepsi globe logo; nonetheless, the new can design is as minimalist as it can get, with low caps writing --(
Lower-case seems to be hot nowadays)-- of the name for Pepsi, Diet Pepsi & Pepsi Max, [Mountain Dew got renamed Mtn Dew & Gatorade received a redesign, focusing the brand on the letter G.]; and that globe-logo looks like a cloned icon of the Democrat party, an Obama emblem more than the ‘oh so familiar’ Pepsi tag.
Actually, the brand's blue and red globe trademark became a series of "smiles," with the central white band arcing at different angles depending on the product.

One more interrogation remains? Are people that brand loyal to cola anymore? Will a change of logo increase the fan club size?

According to marketing guru Seth Godin, “at the end of the day a brand logo is just that -- a logo. If you want to promote the logo and make it a part of the cultural conversation: 1) think about meaningful connections and impacts, 2) determine how people can people get involved online/offline 3) make it about them - not why.”

Hopefully, all this branding ballet isn’t a total waste of money, and Pepsi is up to something --worth the bucks. Aside from PepsiCo Inc.’s acknowledged intention and plans to spend $1 billion in China over the next four years, as the troubled economy cuts into sales and profit in the U.S.


The Pepsi logo, one of the most recognised ever, has changed many times over the years. Here's a chronological history of the various logos.

Click for More on Pepsi's many logo variations

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Graphis Platinum Award 08-09

Ziad Alkadri, a Lebanese national based in Canada, was commissioned by the New Talent Conservatory committee to design a poster to launch the Rachmaninov Piano Concert 2007, in commemoration of the September 11 World Trade Centre tragedy.
His poster won the Graphis Platinum Award.
The mission of the New Talent Conservatory is to promote talented and young musicians. And the winner of the 2007 Piano Competition gets invited to play a Rachmaninov piano concert in commemoration of the September 11 dramatic events.

Ziad Al Kadri Poster Design
Platinum Graphis award

AA: Could you provide us with a brief about your background and Volt+, your journey through design and advertising?

ZA: I graduated in 1996 from the American University of Beirut and hold a Bachelor of Graphic Design. I have now more than ten years of experience in design and communication, mostly acquired through my work at different local and international design firms in Lebanon, Qatar and Canada. Currently, I work at Xerox/CMHC as a team leader and design services manager. My responsibilities encompass the management and art direction of the creative department. I started Volt Positive in 2003 as an experimental design atelier in Montreal. I think that design should be practiced in an environment where ideas and concept development is the result of the interchange of skills and practices of a group of artists, designers, thinkers, craftsman. Today, Volt Positive is a virtual Atelier, located on the internet, it includes an email address where everyone who is interested- among them are most of Volt Positive clients- in sharing ideas and suggestions is more than welcomed.

AA: Do you submit work to Graphis each year, “giving it a shot” as we say? Or what made you send in this poster design?

ZA: I love Graphis publications. Other than the fact that Graphis have existed for many years, it’s one of my favourite publications since my studies at university. I find their choice for design materials outstanding and most of their work published is real design. Real design has the ability to raise the viewer’s emotions and not just another well-executed and masterfully photographed artwork. So far, I have been published twice in Graphis. The first time was for the Pear Symphony Orchestra logo design (Gold Award) and the second for the New Talent Conservatory piano concert poster design (Platinum Award).

AA: Did you believe in your chances of being recognised and snatching any award?

ZA: I had a feeling the second time, but that feeling was probably because I had won the first time. I must admit that the first award with Graphis was an immense joy.

AA: You belong to a local creative unit and your bio is quite atypical, isn’t it? Therefore, your Platinum Graphis Award is a statement in itself, as it says bluntly that the brain trust for good ideas isn't being held by a few people within the few ad-agency ‘celebs,’ the most awarded creative so on so forth… What do you say?

ZA: All designers have a chance to prove that their work is worthy of being published, awarded or recognised, but most valuable is that it should serve one purpose at least, their and their clients satisfaction.

AA: What a statement like “best awarded agency” sound to you? Do awards generate higher profit?

ZA: I believe that design is first awarded when the designer has succeeded in translating his or her client’s message in such a way that the result would have a strong impact on the emotion and common sense of the target audience. Awards are a proof of good and added value on the artwork performed. It has definitely an impact on the good will of an individual or firm which consequently could have an impact on profits.

AA: Many believe and preach for more “engaged design,” as designers hold enormous power. And with it comes responsibility. What’s your stance on such a statement? Do you believe design is a political act or should act as one?

ZA: As I mentioned earlier, I believe that design is a tool to communicate visually a message and to stir the viewer’s curiosity in a compelling way.
Whether it is a political, social, institutional, corporate or commercial statement a design is about, I definitely agree that it should be engaging, and mostly it should have the power to reflect, alter and recreate a whole community and then a culture.
Our responsibility as designers is to adhere to the ethical and moral norms of the way our culture is driven.

YO! What Happened to Peace?

To better understand what 'Yo! What Happened to Peace' does, ArabAd recently caught up with its founder, activist artist John Carr, and asked him some questions, in turn illuminating Yo!’s overall philosophy, why they chose to tour the world with their 300+ archive of anti-war posters, and what message Yo! can provide for those in the design arena?

ArabAd: Can you tell us more about Yo! What happened to peace?
How did the initiative start? What was your motive behind starting it?

John Carr: Some friends of mine from CWC International, a multi-faceted creative company with offices in New York City and Tokyo, asked me to curate a street poster show for their Tokyo art gallery. I've always been a student of politics and history and a fan of political art. I had been making posters at the time and attending anti-Bush, anti-WTO and anti-War demonstrations, so I pitched them on doing an anti-war poster show. This was around the beginning of 2003- the US had already invaded Afghanistan and an attack on Iraq seemed imminent. By the time the show opened, the Iraq War had begun. I invited some of my favourite political and street artists to participate and the response was very positive. After the first show I was in love with the project and just wanted to spread it as far and wide as possible.

Could you brief us about your background before starting Yo Peace?

JC: My journey to political consciousness began when my family moved to Tehran when I was eight years old. After two and a half years I returned to the US. This was around the time when hostages were taken at the US Embassy. I was shocked to hear my schoolmates (and radio personalities) advocating nuclear war against the country I had just lived in, and then to hear my Catholic school teachers telling me how non-believers (Muslims, including many friends I had made) would not be allowed into heaven. At that point I started to catch on that the "official" story isn't always true, and that I should always question things. Fast forward to teenage years, being exposed to political music like punk rock, hip hop, and reggae, I became exposed to all the artwork that accompanied the music. It was quite shocking to learn about covert wars, the overthrows of governments, life in the ghetto, etc. for a young person growing up in relative isolation in the suburbs, but I knew right away that I had to learn more and get involved. I eventually got into poster design to express my own feelings and ideas.

AA: How do you evaluate the journey of Yo so far? Are you satisfied with the impact? What were the major hurdles along the way?

JC: It's been an honour to work with the amazing group of artists whom we represent. I am very proud of the exhibitions we have put on. When we mount an exhibition we usually pack the gallery walls from floor to ceiling with posters. The pieces in our show are mostly hand-crafted prints made using traditional printmaking techniques such as screenprinting, letterpress, etching, stencil and woodcut. This translates in to rich textures, bold colour and striking form. One common response is that viewers leave the gallery overwhelmed by the visuals and they feel like they've been engaged in a lively visual dialogue about war and peace. I'm satisfied in the sense that we've had many opportunities to reach diverse audiences, but of course I wish we could be in more places and reach more people! We're ambitious in our goals to network with artists and audiences worldwide to promote peace and justice and sometimes it can be frustrating to operate on a shoestring budget while our corporate counterparts selling sports shoes have seemingly unlimited funds, but that's just part of the challenge.

AA: In your opinion, how powerful is the poster as a medium and what do you think is its advantage over other forms of print media?

JC: The poster is just right. It's big enough to dominate the street on a pedestrian level, to represent on a life-size or larger-than-life scale, more than a sticker or flyer or newspaper headline. It's small enough to be intimate, more so than a billboard. It engages people in the public environment in the middle of their busy day or it stares at them from their bedroom or office wall. It doesn't get closed and filed away like a book or magazine but it persists in the field of vision.

AA: How do you rate the level of participation from the Middle East in Yo's exhibition?

JC: To this date we have no artists from the Middle East in the Yo! show, except for those who now reside in the US. We have an open submission policy, so any interested artists can send images of their work to

AA: Can you tell us more about Yo's travelling exhibition? Where have you been so far? What's on your future agenda? What are the main benefits from such a road show/exhibit?

JC: In the US, we've done shows and events in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, New York, Washington DC, Charleston (South Carolina), and Chicago. Internationally, we've exhibited in Japan, Italy, Belgium, England, Sweden, Ireland, and we're getting ready to go to Mexico in early October. One of the best things is to be able to show people in other countries that most people in the US don't like or agree with the politicians who lead us into unjust and murderous wars. The other benefit is the continued building of artist networks that bear fruit long after the exhibition has ended.

AA: What are the stimuli that keep you going?

JC: Political art is a way of life and obsession for some of us, so we do it because we don't see any thing else that makes sense. Our planet and species are constantly on the verge of destruction. I can't think of anything better to be doing as an artist than bringing this fact to people's attention and offering humour and insight as a way to deal with it.

AA: Can you tell us more about the 'Art is Hammer' award presented to you by the Centre of the Study for Political Graphics?

JC: We'll be receiving the award on October 4th. It's really a great honour to be awarded by CSPG, which we think of as the mother of all political art organisations in the US. They have over 50,000 political posters in their archives and they regularly mount exhibitions and offer themselves up as a resource for writers and researchers. Check them out at!

Yo! What Happened to Peace? was started in 2003 with 14 prints and an opening hosted by Cross World Connections in Tokyo as a response to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Committed to highlighting the beauty of hand-crafted printmaking techniques as a method of visual protest, the show has traveled the globe continuously adding new artists and artwork. In the spring of 2007, a Yo! What Happened to Peace? book was published, featuring 144 colour pages of over 200 prints from the show, a die-cut stencil cover and an introduction by Winston Smith.
Currently based in Los Angeles, the show was founded by curator John Carr.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

WPP new wedding

acquires majority stake in leading Middle East venture

WPP announces that it has acquired a majority stake in Team Y&R Holdings, the region's largest diversified communications conglomerate, founded by Talal Makdessi (ArabAd Man of the Year 2007), established in 1997 and in which WPP has held a minority stake since 1999, and which operates in the MENA region.

THG's Chairman is Talal Makdessi & Chairman and World President of IAA Joseph Ghossoub is the Director and CEO.
The Holding Group (THG) a.k.a Team , operates through a wide and diversified range of expertise by companies including Team Y&R, Asda’a [its PR unit], Intermarkets, Mediaedge:cia [the media buying unit], Polaris [another PR firm] and Wunderman.

Team Group has significant operations in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Kuwait, Morocco, Jordan, Qatar and Oman and employs over 1,200 people. Major clients include Emaar, Etisalat, Alpha Telecom, Royal Jordanian, Almaza Beer, Winston, Ford, LG Electronics, Mashreq Bank, Microsoft, Sony Ericsson, Commercial Bank of Kuwait and Visa.
Team Group’s claimed revenues of US$100 million for 2007, with gross assets of US$242 million.
Such a hulking investment is a first its kind; an acquisition that speaks by itself, and where it looks like WPP has more surprises in store coming our way; as this unexpected move confirms WPP’s new strategy, of a full load roll out and networks development, in fast growing markets and sectors.

To be Continued....

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Microsoft bid for Yahoo

Microsoft has proposed to Yahoo's Board Of Directors its interest to acquire all Yahoo shares for $31,
which is currently estimated to be worth $44.6 billion.
The deal is half cash, half stock.

"Today the market is increasingly dominated by one player who is consolidating its dominance through acquisition," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer wrote in a letter to Yahoo!'s board of directors.
"Together, Microsoft and Yahoo! can offer a credible alternative for consumers, advertisers and publishers."
By doing so, Microsoft aims to further consolidate the Web advertising industry
and create a credible competitor to Google.

Cristal Awards-Mzaar

Friday, January 18, 2008

The SRC AWARD, ACT Responsible

The competition deadline has been extended until January 31st 2008.

IAA Socially Responsible Communications Award

The International Advertising Association (IAA) in association with Advertising Community Together (ACT) launches the first worldwide Award to recognise the role of Socially Responsible Communications.

The two main themes are :
  • Environnemental Ads: Visual communication examples regarding environmental areas, such as Water Preservation, Climate Change, Biodiversity and natural areas Protection, Desertification, Renewable Energies...
  • Social Ads: Visual illustrations on subjects such as Solidarity, Human Rights, Childhood Protection, Poverty, Education, Sanitation, Racism...and also Alcohol Abuse, Drug Addiction, Personal Health, Road Safety, Obesity Prevention, Organ Donation...

Ads created for TV, Cinema, Press, Outdoor, Postcards and Interactive ones published since January 2007 can be submitted.
250 euros is the participation fee for each entry.

All new entries and ads from ACT Responsible Collection 2007 will compete for this Worldwide Award which will be presented during the next IAA World Congress in Washington DC in April 2008. The winners will also be part of the ACT Responsible world exhibition tour.

To submit your work click here

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Super-slim MacBook Air

Apple big boss Steve Jobs has just unveiled the ultra-slim MacBook Air laptop computer that he billed as "the world's leanest laptop". At the Macworld Expo opening in San Francisco- January 15, 2008-, Jobs slid the laptop from a brown envelope typically used for inter-office mail.
"It's the world's thinnest notebook (computer)," Jobs said with a smile. "We went out and looked at all the thin notebooks out there and tried to distill a best-of-breed."
The super-slim MacBook Air is less than an inch thick and turns on the moment it's
opened. It weighs three pounds and have battery life of five hours. The ultra-lean laptop is priced at 1,799 dollars and will begin shipping in two weeks, Jobs said.

On another level, Jobs pointed out that Apple Inc. has sold four million iPhones since the cellphone, was launched in June 07. He also unveiled iPhone software upgrades including a location-detecting map feature crafted with help from Internet giant Google and wireless communications firm SkyHook.

Google wove a "location finder" into its mobile map service last year. SkyHook has mapped 23 million wireless signal "hot spots" in the United States and Canada, and is working on Europe, and uses the information to triangulate positions of wireless-enabled mobile devices.
"We are using both of them (Google and SkyHook) and it works pretty doggone well," Jobs said while demonstrating the 399-dollar iPhone's new map feature, which is part of a free software upgrade made available this Tuesday(15 jan 08).
"The iPhone is not standing still. We keep making it better."
SkyHook map technology, which works without need of mobile telephone service, will be part of a 20-dollar software upgrade package for iPod Touch devices, Jobs said.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Microsoft on conquest mode

Microsoft Corporation has offered approximately $1.2 billion USD for the acquisition of the Norwegian software firm Fast Search & Transfer, a leading provider of enterprise search solutions.
The transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2008, as the board of Fast has unanimously accepted the takeover offer from Microsoft.
The complete details of the offer, including all terms and conditions, will be drafted in the document expected to be sent to FAST shareholders sometime around January 14th.

Fast Search & Transfer aka FAST focuses on data search technologies. It operates in the enterprise search sector but has over the course of 2007 significantly moved out of this business and towards search monetization and on-line advertising related business. Also Fast offers a number of search-derivative applications, focused on specific search use cases, including publishing, market intelligence and mobile search.

“Enterprise search is becoming an indispensable tool to businesses of all sizes, helping people find, use and share critical business information quickly. Until now organizations have been forced to choose between powerful, high-end search technologies or more mainstream, infrastructure solutions. The combination of Microsoft and FAST gives customers a new choice: a single vendor with solutions that span the full range of customer needs,” said Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Music album in my pocket

Shall We Say AdiĆ³s to our CDs & Welcome Music Plastic Cards?

Rolling out January 15, SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT launches credit card-sized album vouchers.

Dubbed Platinum MusicPass, it is a digital album card people can buy from retail outlets across the U.S. --with music to download through it-- playable on all MP3 players, including iPods, and of course on your computer.

It is crystal clear that such a creative offering is an attempt to counter attack the increasing loss in music sales.  According to Nielsen SoundScan, sales of 584.9 million albums or their digital equivalents last year were off 9.5% from 2006.
Sony BMG hopes this innovative approach will help delete or at least decrease illegal downloads and music piracy, as these cards will entitle the consumer to purchase an entire music album.
However, and since it is possible to burn copies of the files acquired for personal use, illegal sharing will still prevail and the claimed mission of the # 2 record company -- after Universal Music-- to wipe out free downloads won't be a piece of cake.
Nonetheless, the cards do offer several advantages over traditional Compact Disc.

"We see MusicPass as a great way to bring digital music to the physical retail space. We believe it will have strong appeal for a broad range of customers, and that it will ultimately expand both the digital and physical markets for music," said Thomas Hesse, president of global digital business and U.S. sales at Sony BMG, in a statement.

The cards come in two different retail prices: $12.99 and $19.99 and are redeemable for one year from purchase, or in accordance with retailer local and state laws.
The redemption/download process is said to be simple and streamlined.
In order to get the content from their MusicPass cards, consumers scratch the back of their card to unveil their pin number. They then visit to download their music files and bonus material.
Tracks can be added directly to iTunes, Windows Media Player, or the like.
Download speeds always depend upon everyone's Internet connection.
MusicPass supports both PC and Mac.

Right now, you can purchase a MusicPass for 37 artists-- of Sony label of course -- including, Bob Dylan, Pink, Santana, Alicia Keys,  Tony Bennett. 
All of the cards will feature either bonus material that can include music videos, interviews with the artist, bonus audio tracks, lyrics, or in the case of compilations, an extensive number of tracks.

MusicPass are set to hit the Canadian market late January.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Andrea Jung got the apple

Apple has elected a new director: Andrea Jung.

  • In 1998, the American Advertising Federation inducted her into the Advertising Hall of Fame.
  • In 2001, Time Magazine/CNN declared her one of the 25 Most Influential Global Executives.
  • in January 2003, she was featured in Business Week as one of the best managers of the year.
  • She has been ranked among Fortune magazine's "50 most powerful women in business" for the past five years, including being ranked at #3 for 2003 and 2004.
  • In 2004, the Wall Street Journal named Jung one of "50 people to watch in business" .
  • Newsweek magazine named her one of "10 prominent people to watch in 2005".
  • Jung is a Magna cum Laude Graduate of Princeton University. She is fluent in Chinese (Mandarin).