We see ourselves in Wall Corp as marketers in the field of financial services. Our primary passion is maximizing value to our clients, just like all marketers. We just do it better. That said, we’re putting our friends in Renault marketing team in Egypt under the spot for the campaign that was launched earlier in September 2015.

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Here is what Renault Egypt did: a very well produced commercial that shows how Egyptians have always used French terms, even if a little tweaked to an Egyptian accent, to describe car components and parts. Renault’s message was that Egyptians speak French when they talk cars, then their choice should be a French car. It’s rather an emotional campaign that plays on both nostalgic roots of the very first car consumers in Egypt as well as sarcasm, also an emotion, of the way it’s used now. Sounds like a success.

Needless to say, it was both informative and funny. The author of this post went to a French school but never knew that what is called “Jackman”, which sounds pretty much like an American surname, is actually “Echappement” which is French for the car’s exhaust. It was similarly funny to hear the Egyptian version of all these French words, especially that you’d know the right pronunciation of half of them.

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Echappement is Sharman or Jackman in Egypt.

If we assume Renault aimed at some brand awareness, they were very successful. The campaign could standout, in a good timing during a low-season, which means fewer people are watching the media, and Renault managed to be talked about for a little while. But being in the Egyptian market with such a marketshare, Renault Egypt probably seeks something more than just awareness. Renault is probably into trying to create desire and convert consumers of other cars to become Renault clients.

Renault Egypt folks had a plan: let’s analyze our strengths and leverage them, which is a very successful marketing strategy of leveraging a company/brand’s strength points to market for its products. However, Renault Egypt fell into a little glitch: French isn’t one of Renault’s strengths. It’s in fact one of its biggest weaknesses. French cars aren’t really known for good performance or great spare parts, strong supply chain or excellent services. It might be known for its design allure, yeah probably.

What it turned out to be is that Renault Egypt then tried to flip a weakness into a strength: a rarely successful strategy but it helps save the face sometimes. Question is: how did the purchase intention improve in response to this emotional sarcastic campaign? I’d say not much. It probably very much increased awareness, especially that Renault Egypt was very successful and smart in inserting some car models into those commercials and print ads, but I wouldn’t think it improved purchase intentions much. I’d also argue it reminded people of the weakness of the car: being French.

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That said, I expected Renault Egypt to be the first to show compassion with the late attacks in France, just like any brand uses social media and public relations in general to convey positive messages. Well, if Renault Egypt wants to be associated with France that much, they should be strong allies anyway. This would have both increased brand awareness (everybody was talking about France) and improve brand image for being positive and compassionate with the cause.

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Written by Bishoy Sabry

A ground-shaking business professional and colorful leader experienced in marketing, consultancy, management and business development. Corporate manager, investor and investment evangelist. Public speaking expert; lectured in many corporate and academic events in the past few years. MBA ’16, graduated in spring 2010 from the American University in Cairo (AUC), Egypt’s global university and the region’s most reputable educational institution. Believes in the intersection of Art and Business, Startup and Corporate, all being at the heart of every organization. Famous for being the biggest fan of New York City and quoted for motivational speeches encouraging others to change the rules of the game or even the game itself.