An Nahar’s blank newspaper is relevant for direct because it’s success relied on a direct response from the public. By using the newspaper as a vehicle to write their own headlines for the future that they demanded, An Nahar built a relationship with consumers that ultimately resulted in the desired response. Media outlets, celebrities and influencers organically picked up on the campaign and furthered this direct drive by calling on the people to make their voice heard by participating in the activation.
Following the first nationwide elections since 2009, Lebanon, due to political infighting and gridlock, had been without a government for over 5 months. The lack of functioning government stalled the country and pushed the economy to the brink of collapse. Politicians from all camps used the countries press to placate the public by way of a continuous stream of excuses all while being paid to do nothing. An Nahar, the nation's leading newspaper, has a long history of standing with the Lebanese people in the face of adversary. The paper decided that action needed to be taken to shock the growingly apathetic nation into demanding that the democratically elected government fulfill their obligations.
Describe the creative idea.
The Lebanese people have grown tired of their politicians excuses which fill the pages of every newspaper in the country. To cut through the growing apathy, we decided to take a bold step to illustrate exactly what the politicians were doing — nothing at all. Our idea was to print an entirely blank newspaper to send shockwaves throughout the country. Once we had garnered enough public interest, we would call on the nation to fill the pages with the future that they demanded from their politicians.
Describe the strategy.
In Lebanon politicians/political parties own and directly control a number of different media outlets. As an independently owned newspaper, An Nahar’s readership values the papers impartial editorial style. When it became clear that a number of politicians were using the press to perpetuate political gridlock, An Nahar decided that it needed to act. In the face of growing apathy, we chose to print a blank newspaper because it would cut through the cluttered news space and draw interest from all sides. We then decided to leverage our outspoken base to help spread the campaigns message across different mediums.
Describe the execution.
After printing the news daily for over 85 years, An Nahar released an entirely blank newspaper. The blank newspaper caused a wave of interest and speculation in the country. When that speculation reached its height, the papers’ editor-in-chief called a press-conference to reveal our activation — she called on the nation to use the blank newspapers to write the future that they deserved. The activation quickly became a number one trending topic on Twitter and the country was flooded with alternative futures. International media, politicians and celebrities took notices propelling Lebanon’s political crisis into the into the global spotlight. Something even Lebanon’s politicians couldn't ignore.
List the results.
-Number one trending topic on Twitter
-Coverage in over 100 international publication including (New York Times, Washington Post, BBC)
-Best selling edition of the newspaper of all time