Communication consultant Tarek Chemaly explains how advertising cohabitates – or tries to – with the Lebanese revolution.
Investing in advertising when the market is bad is a known recipe for success, because when conditions improve, clients are bound to remember your brand. Lebanon however, never was your typical market: marketing departments work on a haphazard basis; advertisers are there to make a quick buck; consumers have little or no brand loyalty. And the latest political and economic crisis – seen as a revolution by some – makes things even worse: everyone is trying to save money under the very strict capital controls, banks are now exercising (customers can only withdraw a couple of hundreds dollars weekly from their accounts), which translates into a sharp drop in ad spend. In fact, the questions facing advertisers are, even, existential. When a country is questioning the very foundations of its system and future, advertising becomes more testy: how will people react to advertising – brands trying to promote themselves and their products – when they live in a pressure cooker every day?