Lebanon lacks the social infrastructure and governance capabilities to meet the needs of its own citizens. As a result, there are no formal channels to help the refugee population. Thus, as a leading brand since 1935, Bou Khalil felt compelled to step in on ground. Moreover, gangs exploit some street children, using the money handed to the children to buy illicit items. While the majority of street children beg to survive, the Lebanese public stopped giving money entirely as they were unsure of where it was going. As the public’s primary inhibition to giving money to street children is the fact that money can buy anything, we created a new currency to be handed out to street children that can only buy good things (with restrictions on alcohol and Tobacco). In doing so, Bou Khalil supermarket enabled people to start giving again by assuring them they are giving responsibly.
Lebanon has absorbed more than 2 million Syrian refugees. More than half are children, drastically increasing the number of children begging on the streets. Some were exploited by gangs, who used the money handed to the children to buy illicit items and substances. Unsure of where their money was going, the Lebanese stopped giving, leaving the majority of street children who are unaffiliated with gangs without basic necessities. Bou Khalil supermarket wanted to help. To renew the population’s trust in street children and get them to give again, we enabled them to give responsibly with an alternate currency. The Good Note can only be spent at Bou Khalil supermarket branches and its affiliated pharmacy. A cross-platform communication campaign caught local and international attention and partners began pouring in. We got the Lebanese to give again, turning a supermarket chain into a social service network.
The Good Note costs approximately $1 and is worth the same amount at all Bou Khalil supermarkets and its affiliated pharmacy. A cross-platform communication campaign led people to buy the note and give it to street children instead of money. In-store communication was placed in all the supermarket branches. Outdoor and print communication raised awareness on giving responsibly through handcrafted visuals of illicit items made from Lebanese currency. An online film depicted the country losing faith in children, calling for change. All communication led to thegoodnote.com, containing all initiative information. We engaged on social media with stories from the streets, via the Good Note Instagram account. On-ground, we educated the children on the note and where to spend it. To maximize reach, we put Bou Khalil supermarket on wheels by creating the Good Truck. All profits from the Good Note benefit an organization that cares for street children.
The initiative resonated across Lebanon and the world. The Good Note was covered by local media and international media including Voice of America, Sky News Arabia, Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, Shots magazine, Yahoo News and Arabic Economic forum. In less than one month, public interest generated $4.2 million in earned media and PR and reached an estimated 20 million social media users. The buzz caused local businesses to pour in to partner with the Good Note, with cafes, bookstores, chocolatiers, pubs and even renowned jewelers now selling Good Notes to their customers. As a result of this interest, we are now ready for a reprint. With more than 25 million Lebanese pounds worth of Good Notes circulating around the country in less than a month, we got the Lebanese to give again and turned a supermarket chain into a social service network.