Living it up


A new air of optimism prevails in Lebanon today. And as is often the case after a Lebanese war (there have been about half a dozen over the past 50 years) the country is buzzing with excitement and carrying on with life as usual. The streets, recently crowded with political propaganda, have suddenly been switched back to mercantile mode:


Many of these ads replace giant posters of the new President, Michel Sleiman who had ordered his pictures taken down last week. The hope was that other politicians whose faces continue to dot the streets would make similar calls. Local advertisers, on the other hand, still see flag waving as an excellent marketing strategy.

Everyone seems to be catching the buzz, including the national brewery, Almaza:


The cell phone company, MTC Touch:


And Persil, a leading clothing detergent brand:


These massive ads are expensive high quality prints. Some cost tens of thousands of dollars to produce and install. But money seems to be no object for some firms.

Heeding the president’s request, an advertising group known as THG almost instantly replaced this 10 story Sleiman poster it sponsored last month:

With this equally sized spot on the same building:

Wealth and creativity abound in Lebanon but I wonder how, and if, nation-building–which the country sorely lacks–can ever be made as lucrative as self-promotion.