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. With insufficient state services to provide for them, this left many street children without basic necessities .
Founded in 1935 and pledging “generations of care”, Lebanese supermarket chain Bou Khalil created the Good Note - an alternate currency that can only be spent on good things such food, water, blankets and prescribed medication at Bou Khalil Supermarché branches across Lebanon and its affiliated pharmacy. All profits from the Good Note benefit an organization that cares for street children .
A cross-platform communication campaign led people to buy the note and give it to street children instead of money, while simultaneously educating the street children on the new note and where to spend it.
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, Yahoo News and Arabic Economic forum . Public interest generated $4.2 million in earned media and PR and reached an estimated 20 million social media users .
With more than 25 million Lebanese pounds worth of Good Notes circulating around the country , the initiative successfully leveraged communication to change attitudes and create a behavior shift – re-establishing trust between the Lebanese population and street children, changing perceptions at a societal level, enabling the Lebanese to give again by assuring them they were giving responsibly and simultaneously enabling street children to access basic necessities.
The initiative successfully raised awareness at a local and international level on giving to street children responsibly as well as the Bou Khalil Supermarché brand itself, amid a hyper competitive retail industry where too many local and international players are fighting over a decreasing pie by effectively bringing to life its brand promise of generations of care via an on-ground initiative that would make a difference at a societal level.
The buzz from the campaign effectively increased consideration among the entire Lebanese population, via clear communication of the brand’s core beliefs and brought the country’s oldest supermarket chain to the younger generation of Lebanese.
The Guardian “Syrian children forced to work on streets of Beirut face severe exploitation”. Published Monday February 16th, 2015. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/16/syrian-children-forced-to-work-on-streets-of-beirut-face-severe-exploitation
“Children living and working on the streets in Lebanon: Profile and Magnitude.” Joint study published by the International Labor Organization, UNICEF , Save the Children and the Lebanese Ministry of Labor, February 2015. https://www.unicef.org/lebanon/Final_Study_SBC_En.pdf
Please note this information is confidential. The NGO wishes to remain anonymous, so as to continue seeding the note on ground, without disturbance or retribution from street gangs.
Data collected from media agency’s analytics after the campaign.
Data collected from media agency’s analytics