|Product/Service||PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGN|
|Entrant||TBWA\RAAD Beirut, LEBANON|
|Category||Media & Publications|
TBWA\RAAD Beirut, LEBANON
Why is this work relevant for PR Lynx?
Faced with dwindling attention around the important topic of missing persons in Lebanon, MTV decided to take a public stand on the evening news in order to deliver a more powerful message than any news report could. By vacating their seats, MTV’s anchors showed viewers that they would abandon their objective stance and become advocates for a cause that touches their public. By doing so, they forged a much stronger and more genuine relationship with their audience and established MTV as a news station that’s out there to influence decision makers and make a valuable difference for a humanitarian cause.
Over 17,000 people have gone missing since the start of the Lebanese civil war in 1975. To date, their families and friends are desperately searching for answers on their whereabouts. Multiple demonstrations have been held to pressure the government to take action, yet little has been done, because authorities are concerned they will reopen old wounds and stir up tensions in a country that has a long history of being divided along sectarian lines. As time goes by, family members are passing away, making it more challenging to collect useful DNA samples that would help clarify the fates of the missing; yet, the urgency of the topic has been fading into the background. MTV, as a news network, wanted to bring attention back to cause by adopting a very disruptive tone.
Describe the creative idea.
Since regular news coverage of the topic had been overlooked, our idea was to make a groundbreaking statement that would guarantee the public took notice. People are used to the news following a very rigid protocol: well-dressed anchors who are seated and reciting the headlines. Our idea was to start one of the most popular evening news bulletins with vacant seats—something that has never been done before on live TV. Our “disappeared” anchors on December 10, International Human Rights Day, raised a lot of questions and created buzz.
Describe the strategy.
In Lebanon, the evening news is a “sacred ritual” for most people, who drop everything they’re doing to tune in to their channel of choice. To maximize the reach of our message, we scheduled our stunt to coincide with the opening of the evening bulletin of MTV, one of the country’s most watched TV channels. We ensured that we had the full attention of our target audience- namely the public and policy makers. Rather than opting for the typical “preachy” approach that viewers have grown numb to, we went with a subtle tactic, letting the absence of the anchors speak for itself. The purpose of this strategy was to surprise our viewers and grab their attention; cast a light on the lack of responsiveness the cause has been getting; and strike an emotional chord with viewers that would build sympathy for the cause and affinity with the station.
Describe the execution.
We collaborated with MTV Lebanon to present a first-of-its-kind news report. At the start of the evening news, while the station’s intro music played, and the camera did its ritual scan of the studio, something was amiss: the anchors were nowhere to be seen. The headlines began to be recited, yet the anchors still didn’t appear, leaving viewers wondering where they had “disappeared to”. After the break, they reappeared to deliver a moving message: that they had vacated their seats for minutes to draw attention to the thousands who have been missing for years and stand in solidarity with them. Later in the program, a mini-documentary broadcast the heartbreaking experience of a woman whose brother, father and uncle are all still missing.
List the results.
Through MTV’s news bulletin, as well as its online broadcasts and social accounts, we reached over 1.5 million people – more than 1 in 4 Lebanese – for a stunt that cost $0. Additionally, over 3 million Lebanese were reached abroad, through MTV’s satellite broadcast. We secured prime-time earned media for the cause, worth over $5,000,000. The stunt was picked up and addressed by the country’s most popular talk shows. Furthermore, the country’s top bloggers spread the message, along with leading publications from the Middle East and beyond and numerous TV stations. Across social media, thousands of comments and shares poured in, raising awareness of the missing in Lebanon. But our most important result by far was that we brought back hope to the families of the disappeared.
||Chief Creative Officer
||Regional Creative Director
||Senior Art Director
||Corporate Communications Director