2019 Winners & Shortlists


CategoryCharities & Non-profit

Why is this work relevant for PR Lynx?

Our influencer-led campaign relied entirely on earned media; we have partnered with an influencer who donated their time and posts free of charge throughout the phases of the project. Our objectives were: - Delivering key messages to build awareness on the client’s mission and vision - Enhancing the reputation of UNHCR to target demographics through key personality associations - Call to action: enticing regional audiences to make donations Our partnership with the influencer generated coverage beyond our initial activation, on both traditional and non-traditional channels. It had a magnifying effect especially on social media, given the success of the activation.


In January 2019, an unseasonably harsh winter season was adding to the misery, suffering and danger faced by the more than 1.2 million Syrians forced to seek refuge in Lebanon. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, facing an unprecedented global refugee crisis that was draining its funds, launched a winter hardship fundraising campaign that needed to make the maximum possible impact in minimal time. As Storm Norma brought heavy snow and flooding to shelters across Lebanon, over 570 informal tented sites – home to 22,500 refugees – were affected. Faced with the challenge of relocating refugee families – many comprising widowed mothers and their children – we were briefed to: • Raise awareness of the plight of refugees in winter • Magnify UNHCR’s call to action for donations to provide assistance to those affected • Turn around the project in the shortest possible time, and for a tiny budget

Describe the creative idea.

Given the extremely tight deadline – just seven days from initial brief to execution – our idea was to leverage the popularity of a social media influencer to propagate our important message. We decided to roll out an authentic and highly relevant influencer-led campaign, which would include a call to action video from the field, where our chosen influencer would relay the reality of the refugee plight in a meaningful way, striking an emotional chord with their audience while borrowing other influencers’ audiences to entice them to make donations. Ideally, our influencer would have an emotional connection with the parts of Lebanon most affected by both the weather and the refugee crisis, and would be willing to uncover the real picture of what is happening in informal settlements to show solidarity with refugee children and their families.

Describe the strategy.

Influencer research generated a number of candidates, but one stood head and shoulders above the rest in terms of reach and relevance: Joelle Mardinian • Regarded as one of the most powerful Arabs of 2018 , she is widely popular amongst peers and the public • She had adopted a baby boy in December 2018, after he was left on the roads of Tripoli, in Northern Lebanon • She was already raising awareness around children’s needs in Lebanon • Her audience is aged between 25 and 34, 69% female and 56% Arabic speaking. Importantly, 25% of her 9.5 million followers are located in the UAE and 16% in KSA – key fundraising countries. It was a risk to pin the mission on one influencer; thankfully we had a clear schedule and Joelle was fully on board with UNHCR’s mission – and was eager to donate her time free of charge.

Describe the execution.

Joelle embarked on a full day mission facilitated by the agency and UNHCR to Anfeh, a small town in Northern Lebanon, where 22 refugee families lived in informal settlements. The field trip included Joelle’s participation in the distribution of winter assistance - mattresses and blankets - as well as interactions with families and their children. Joelle covered the mission on her Instagram stories from start to finish, in an authentic and emotional way. With multiple call to actions throughout the day, she invited her 9.3 million followers to each to donate $1. To measure results and success, a special link was created for Joelle to track the donations she facilitated. The link was up and running on that same morning and was shared on Joelle’s Instagram stories and page. A wrap up video of her mission was created which was sponsored by UNHCR and re-shared on Joelle’s page.

List the results.

Influencer campaign was covered by top tier media outlets across the region, including Executive Bulletin in Lebanon, Al Liwaa, Al Jazeera, Al Bayan, Kuwait TV and TRT. A news story around the campaign achieved reach of 11,905,742 for an ad value of $61,524. Field mission helped increase conversation around hashtag #????_?????_??????? by an incredible 39.2%. Social media • Reach: 1.3 million • Reach of Instagram Stories: 224,766 • Number of Instagram Stories: Over 90 • Video Views: 216.6k • Number of likes: 100k • Donations raised to date through Joelle’s page: $7,000 • Total estimated UNHCR donations from winter campaign; $102,000 Media mission went viral among influencer community: journalist Zeina Yazigi, actress Shaima Sabt and TV presenter Mahira Abdul Aziz all supported Joelle’s mission, relaying stories to their own millions of followers. Following Joelle’s visit, other celebrity influencers reached out to UNHCR asking how they can assist in raising awareness


Name Company Role
Stephanie Tasrini ASDA'A BCW Senior Account Manager
Rasha Ghanem ASDA'A BCW Associate Director
Alistair Crighton ASDA'A BCW Associate Director - Growth, Innovation & Editorial Services
Sadiq Al Hamed ASDA'A BCW Associate Account Manager
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