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 a new currency. The Good Note costs 1000 Lebanese pound (about $1) and is worth the same amount, but can only be spent at Bou Khalil supermarket branches and its affiliated pharmacy (with restrictions on alcohol and tobacco). To introduce the new note to the Lebanese, we launched a communication campaign boosted by organic public relations via interest generated from local digital influencers, opinion leaders and key media figures. Local, international and online media picked up on our efforts, spreading the initiative even further. The Good Note became prominent on social media, fed by an Instagram page and people even started building their own content around it. As a result, we gained international exposure and got the Lebanese to give again, turning the country’s oldest supermarket chain into its only social service network.
The goal of the Good Note was to create a shift at a societal level, re-establishing trust between the Lebanese public and street children, so as to enable the Lebanese to help the devastating situation on-ground and give street children access to desperately needed necessities. To do so, we created a communication campaign that generated interest from targeted local influencers, opinion leaders and media, seeding our message into the Lebanese societal fabric, while earning international exposure.
The initiative launched one month ago and grew organically as partners poured in.
Good Notes were on sale at all branches of Bou Khalil supermarkets, with in-store communication. Print and outdoors raised awareness on giving responsibly and an online film called for societal change. On ground we educated street children on the Good Note and maximized our reach by launching the Good Truck, a mini-Bou Khalil on wheels. We engaged on social media via real-time stories from the streets fed from the Good Note Instagram account. The buzz generated by digital influencers, opinion leaders and media extended our points of sale as local businesses poured in to partner with the Good Note, selling them at their venues. Moreover, local organizations partnered to create new campaign elements such as the Good Ride, a bike ride across Beirut to give out Good Notes to street children organized by a local biking community.
The initiative created high output and awareness across Lebanon and the world, covered by local media and international media, generating $4.2 million in earned media and PR in under one month. Coverage included a full-page story in Lebanon’s English language newspaper during regional turmoil and in Shots magazine concurrently with a tribute to David Bowie. The initiative attained high knowledge and awareness, reaching an estimated 20 million social media users in under one month. The Good Note’s Instagram account gained 1000 followers in its first week, including Amnesty International Spain and Save the Children Canada. The initiative spurred public action with local businesses pouring in to partner with the Good Note. With bookshops, chocolatiers and even renowned jewelers now selling Good Notes to their customers, we are ready for a reprint and there are more than 25 million Lebanese pounds worth of Good Notes circulating around the country.
Our strategy was to target all different levels of society with a campaign that generated a PR burst. In-store communication placed in all the supermarket branches targeted Bou Khalil shoppers. Outdoor and print communication targeted the public at large, raising awareness on giving responsibly. An online film depicted the country losing faith in children, calling for change. On social media we engaged online users 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. At every point of the campaign, we involved digital influencers, opinion leaders and local and international media who spread the initiative online and across the world.