2019 Winners & Shortlists

YOUNG BRIDE

Short List
Client/BrandRDFL
Product/ServiceRDFL
EntrantJ. WALTER THOMPSON Beirut, LEBANON
Type of EntrySectors
CategoryCharities & Non-profit
Idea Creation J. WALTER THOMPSON Beirut, LEBANON
Production J. WALTER THOMPSON Beirut, LEBANON

Why is this work relevant for PR Lynx?

There are so many problems that plague Lebanon, it takes an actually shock to shake a change of ways. And so, we decided to shock the country but with the actual and legal truth. Since there is no law against underage marriage, we opened Young 3arous, a legal underage matrimonial agency that lives on a website and in malls on a booth. We tackled the campaign in such a shocking manner that our message organically spread. Everyone was talking about young 3arous with outrage: The people, The police, the media. All the outrage engaged over 5 million people.

Background

Operating since 1976, RDFL is one of the first NGOs to fight for women’s rights and equality in Lebanon. In 2017 RDFL became the number one enemy of early marriage in the country, a practice that is still legal in Lebanon, resulting in more than 3,000 child brides in 2018 alone. Up until this day no effort was able to legally protect these young victims and, as an NGO fighting for gender equality, RDFL wanted to petition the government to implement a law setting the legal age of marriage at 18. RDFL wanted to bring the conversation about early marriage to the forefront of political, religious and social matters.

Describe the creative idea.

After campaigning against child marriage for two years, RDFL had to use a new rhetoric and so, decided to embrace the tradition too. They did that by also adopting the old Lebanese tradition of matchmaking and taking it one step further by introducing the first ever e-matrimonial child bride agency, where expats and others could find their underage bride.

Describe the strategy.

The biggest challenge was that early marriage rarely receives the public, therefore legislative, attention it deserves. So RDFL decided to shed light on the matter and expose it in the most modern way in order to reach an affluent wider audience that used to turn a blind eye on the matter; instead of traditionally fighting it, they made it the topic of the hour by creating digital and on-ground platforms that promote it.

Describe the execution.

Profiles of underage girls filled the pages of young3arous.com, the campaign website, and were spread on dedicated social media pages. For those unfamiliar with e-commerce, an in-mall booth was set up to offer the child brides. Most of the girls on offer were actual young brides, either dead or who had suffered traumatic injuries both physical and psychological because they were too young to bear children. And just like that, we had around 5,000 potential future grooms of young brides. They were naturally lured on the website and into a dedicated database. Finally, the best talk show in town invited RDFL to go public with the initiative on prime-time TV.

List the results.

In less than a month, the initiative attracted over 5,000 people to the website, mostly expatriates, and engaged over 5 million people on-ground, on tv and on digital platforms. On the local scene, the country was outraged. The police shut down the social media accounts in question. The people operating the booth were taken into questioning. Media was outraged and went into overdrive, with the best talk show in town taking the lead in exposing the tradition for what it really is and gaining $2 million in earned media and PR. By the end of the campaign, RDFL had built its database, with the signature of 2,942 future grooms of young brides, pledging to stop this ugly tradition. That's hopefully 2,942 fewer child brides next year.

Credits

Name Company Position
Nicolas Geahchan Mirum Beirut Chief Executive – Communication & Content
Sally Alzaza Mirum Beirut Associate Communication Director
Paola Mounla J. Walter Thompson Beirut Creative Director
Rita Cherfane J. Walter Thompson Beirut Art Director
Maher Dahdouh J. Walter Thompson Beirut Copywriter
Tarek Haddad J. Walter Thompson Beirut Managing Director
Billy Baz J. Walter Thompson Beirut Business Director Content Unit
Gregory Muyesseroglu J. Walter Thompson Beirut Account Executive
Renee Atallah J. Walter Thompson Beirut Freelance Line Producer