My misadventure at Aïshti, CityMall, Lebanon

Today, while I was waiting for the coloring product on my hair to work its magic, I grabbed one of those magazines that are usually available at the hairdresser’s. It happened to be April’s issue of Femme. After turning a few pages I stumble upon this two-page advertisement:

What I saw were mainly these elements:

  • Yellow Aïshti box
  • Silhouette of a woman wearing a short dress
  • A naked woman holding a pair of scissors in her right hand

From the movement of the woman, it appeared to me that it was as if she “cut” her way out of the  Aïshti box, since she is walking from the right to the left.

I used to love Aïshti’s previous ads. They communicated glamor, exclusiveness and made me dream. But this advertisement came as a shocker to me. I had never seen a fully naked woman in a Lebanese magazine before. So I photographed it with the phone (as I always do when I see something that I would qualify of “weird”). It also made me think about what was going on in the advertising world and the excessive use of the female body for advertisement.

Later in the evening I went to City Mall, I passed by Aïshti’s store there. I thought I’d just go in there and ask about the advertisement. Maybe I was missing something. That’s where things got a bit messy: I immediately felt that I was unwelcome. I asked the lady about the advertisement… but how did she react?

She looked at me upside down, then said aggressively that it was the magazine’s fault. At that moment, I said: “But usually, Aïshti’s ads are so classy, what happened here? Why did they need to show a fully naked woman this time?” The lady replied that the ad has been changed then in a pause: “The naked lady in the ad did not mind…Why would you?”…”What did you see in the ad anyways?” she continued. I told her that it felt like if I’m not dressed from Aïshti, I should feel naked. “See? You got it all wrong! This ad means that we dress you from head to toe!” and then she gave me a complaint card saying: “I can’t pass your message to the management but you can fill this card if you don’t like it or you have something to say.”

I filled it briefly and left. All I did was ask a question with the hope to get an explanation. I did not understand the down look I got a the reception. Umm, well, first, I don’t usually go shopping in high heels wearing D&G in City Mall. I visited every shop on Via Del Corso in Rome, Italy in a less than interesting attire yet I was better treated. (Geez! I came back with 10Kg of overweight because of excess shopping!) And second, all I did was ask a question. (Sorry, but I usually do that when I care and made the effort to go inquire in order to be able to build an informed opinion.)

I think that the lady could have directed me to someone who was more apt to give an answer if she felt it was not her job to do so since I’m not supposed to know who does what in the store.

Put aside my misadventure at the store, what do you think of this print advertisement?

Here is a print screen of the ad from the website:

Update:

Ivy’s experience with Aishti in June, 2011: http://ivysays.com/2011/06/13/an-unfortunate-incident-at-the-aishti-outlet-in-ashrafieh/

14 thoughts on “My misadventure at Aïshti, CityMall, Lebanon

  1. Normally the ad is approved by the authorities … there is certain rules that can be followed when dealing with nudity in Lebanon, on TV for example there is an authorized time for each thing that we want to show (kiss, breast, naked woman, nipples … ) and I imagine it would be the same in the magazines… I can’t see it very clearly but I can see that we can’t clearly see her breasts & nipples so that’s why they let it pass…

    Halla2 considering the idea, I’m not a marketing professional and I don’t know what they want to say…As a normal person I didn’t understand the idea…

    Amma about the woman in the shop, actually I can understand her, it’s not her work and she has nothing to do with this … Personally I would hace called their offices and asked about it

    • Actually, this is a bad quality photo (taken with a phone). Everything is very clear.
      Concerning the woman, I know she had nothing to do with this. All I did was ask a question, I think she could have directed me to someone who was more apt to give an answer if she felt it was not her job to do so. I’m not supposed to know who does what in the store. What was the point of the aggressiveness though?

  2. Teaches you to ask questions : P

    But seriously, don’t think for a second that there is any artistic or psychological concept or actually a concept behind their ads. Did you notice that huge billboard they had on the highway over their branch? The one with the Aishti box placed on a mouse trap? Now that was honest!! : )

  3. Aishti aren’t even nice to their customers. You could have been dressed in the best brands, holding $2000 worth of Aishti clothes and she still would have been mean.
    I don’t think she understands the ad either. If it was “we dress you from head to toe”, I think the naked woman would be going into the Aishti box and coming out dressed. Or the silhouette on the box would be naked (not naked women, just silhouette), and would come out actually dressed in Aishti.
    I don’t like this ad. I don’t think they even know what they want to say, they just put a naked lady to attract attention.

  4. The quality of service in Lebanon is non-existant. High-end stores and restaurant don’t care about the customer. Their employees are disrespectful and untrained.

    BTW Aishti has a departement that takes care of all their ads. So this is definitely not the magazine’s fault.

  5. I don’t see why this blogger is offended by seeing a naked woman. The wonderful thing about Lebanon is that we have freedom of speech and we can say and show what we want–unlike other Arab countries. Would you prefer to see a veiled woman? I personally am offended by veiled women but I can’t prevent advertisers from showing them.

    • Sorry Rabih, but that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of.

      You being “offended” by veiled women is the same, actually even worse, than someone being offended by seeing a naked woman. Your statement is completely hypocritical and paradoxical; you contradict your own phrase! Not to mention, it just shows how REALLY close-minded you are. Please, practise what you preach, or don’t preach at all. If you enjoy saying and showing what you want, then why can’t veiled women enjoy being veiled?

      Which, by the way, wasn’t the blogger’s main point..

  6. I’m honestly not surprised at the way you were treated, and you can’t tell me that you were too..
    Everywhere I read about Aishti, there’s a customer that was treated horribly. The clerks have an ego issue it seems, and they want to feel like they’re above everyone, especially when you’re not in D&G 1000 inch heels to the mall. I know, because it always happens to me.

  7. Hey,
    I just wanted to tell you that I am not surprised either that the lady who work there treated you in such a weird and uncivilized way.Not that I know her or any of the people who actually work for Aishti,but I once was there,at Aishti citymall with friends,and these women(the employees) were telling each other trashy jokes and then someone came and asked about a guy ,so one of these women was like:”Oh,You mean the gay?He is soooo gay”.My friends and I were almost shocked.So,you must have had to deal with one of these brainless women.And concerning the ads,you can do nothing about it,it is the media,always focusing on a woman’s body and telling these young ladies that looking too skinny is the one and only condition to be beautiful.

  8. Well I’ll give 2 opposite point of view:

    The first is that the women is turning her back on Aishti and sad I prefer to be naked than wearing Aishti clothes, like she is bored from Aishti’s clothes.

    The second is that if you decide to be stylish and glamorous and not taking into consideration Aishti’s goods and turn your back on it you’ll just be naked and you will lose your style.

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