martes, 7 de agosto de 2012

When Lebanon gives you lemons...

There is this old saying I really like: "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." And I think the Lebanese have mastered the art of making the best out of what they have.

As you know, things in Lebanon have not been particularly stable or quiet. A lot of people, from different places in the country are displeased with how things are turning out. And I am keeping this general, as this blog is a place where I don't inlcude, to the extent possible, any political views.

So, as I was saying, things are not turning out so great in Lebanon lately. And one of the favourite ways for some Lebanese to express their discontent is through burning tires. Once there is a problem, be with goverment, with another group, for bad wages, etc. the tires go up in flames and the streets are blocked.

What I love about this place is that someone actually saw this as an opportunity for an add campaign. A fancy mall is having its summer sales, and found a creative way for attracting costumers:

The add depicts a young woman, wearing fashionable clothes and extinguising burning tires with price reductions. The word "chill" both applies to extinguishing the fire, being away from the smothering heat of the summer and also chilling as in not making a big fuss out of things. The words in Arabic under the word "chill" say "and don't leave", probably refering to the thought that Lebanese would leave if things in the country got really "heated".

I find this add of particular interest because it is both an add campaign and a political statement. Maybe the publicist was just trying to say, "Life goes on. Come shopping".

The design studio Bjorka has turned the symbol of the tires into art pieces, to protest pollution in Beirut (I can only imagine the amount of bad stuff that gets released into the air when you burn a tire). Their moto? "We are Tyred". I don't know if they meant to use the "y" to spell the word in British English, or they are hinting to Tyr in Sounth Lebanon (these days I see political messages everywhere).

And lastly, I recently heard a story of a person who actually made the business of tire delivery in Tripoli, in case someone wants to start a protest. You call the number and... Tada! Tires delivered at your place of choice. I don't know if this is an urban legend, but knowing the Lebanese's ability to make the best out of things, it wouldn't  surprise me.

So when in Lebanon, if you are given lemons, you make lemonade. And if you are given burning tires... well, possibilities are endless.