2019 Winners & Shortlists


Short List
Product/ServiceABSOLUT VODKA
CategoryExhibitions / Installations

Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation?

The 'Civil Love Exhibition’ brings to life Absolut’s vision for a better, more open world. It allowed people not just to hear the brand promise, but also to feel it and know that the brand is acting upon it. Absolut is a brand that encourages the youth to believe in creativity as a force for progress.


In the past, Absolut was known for its iconic bottle-oriented communication. However, the brand later began following the category codes of emphasizing party culture and consumption enjoyment, losing its original path to success. The youth aged 20-30, Absolut’s current audience, are too young to remember the appealing history of the brand – which impacted the year-on-year decrease of sales. With the mission of making Absolut relevant again, we needed to return to our roots. However, art by itself will no longer cut it for our audience, as they seek substance and purposeful brands that share their values of a more open world. Our objective was to launch the new Absolut global platform 'Create a better tomorrow, tonight' in Lebanon and engage millennials in order to stop erosion in market share.

Describe the creative idea.

Lebanon is a nation of 4.5 million Lebanese divided by 18 religious sects. These sects were engaged in a 15-year Civil War, and 28 years later, Lebanon is still divided at heart by it. The Civil Love Exhibition aimed to reimagine Lebanese modern history with love overtaking all remnants of war and hate. The exhibition was the product of a collaboration between renowned Civil War photojournalists alongside post-war mixed media artist. Immersive award-winning war photography were reimagined through the collaboration. The idea is part of ‘Civil Love: The hope for a unified tomorrow', a campaign suggesting that the best way to heal the sectarian divisions in Lebanon is for the youth of different faiths to fall in love with one another. For the past not to repeat itself, we must fall in Civil Love.

Describe the strategy.

The ‘Civil Love’ campaign is designed to reach Lebanese millennials. Since art and creativity as weapon for change is part of Absolut’s DNA, we decided to first seed the campaign within Lebanon’s art and design community, which is predominantly comprised of Lebanese progressive millennials, our core aspirational audience. Beirut Design Week is the most recognized and visited art and design event in Lebanon. The event lasts 7 days throughout Beirut. In addition to sponsoring the event, we wanted to make a mark with an exceptional exhibition that brings the campaign’s point of view to life. We invited war photographers and artists to reimagine Lebanese modern history with love as the ultimate weapon, by reworking iconic war images. We held the exhibition at Beit Beirut, an iconic war-torn bullet-riddled building, that stands on the former demarcation line that divided Beirut into warring sections: east and west (Christian and Muslim).

Describe the execution

On June 22nd, we kicked off the ‘Civil Love Exhibition.’ Since Beirut Design Week is a popular event, we chose to use social media as the key channel for our communication, followed by direct channels. We created an invitation video for the public, as well as a series of ads about the artists participating in our exhibition. On June 29th, we closed the week with a sponsorship of the Beirut Design Week closing party and themed it ‘Civil Love, Not Civil War.’ This exhibition set the platform for the rest of the campaign. In August, we declared ‘Civil Love’ through social, radio, and outdoor to start the conversation. On September 8th, we set sail, moving from civil war, to declaring civil love, and ending in civil marriage.

List the results.

From a year-on-year loss in sales, to an increase of 17.69%. These figures are based on the sales data of July to December 2019 versus those of the same time last year. The overall campaign results: - Reach of 8.1 million - Total engagement in comments and shares of 160K with 70% coming from earned media. The exhibition communication had 3.5 million reach, with 2 million coming from earned media from those who visited the event, media coverage, and bloggers, and was the most visited exhibition during Beirut Design Week 2018.


Name Company Role
Mo Alghossein Interesting Times Creative Partner
Jimmy Francis Interesting Times francis@interestingtimes.me
Rita Harbie Interesting Times Associate Creative Director
Carl Kaed Interesting Times Art Director
Ali El Sayed Interesting Times Associate Creative Director
Wassim Bassil Interesting Times CEO/Founder
Ashraf Mansour Interesting Times Planning Partner
Lara Safar Interesting Times Operations Director
Sara Samad Interesting Times Account Manager
Farah Kabbani Interesting Times Account Executive
Bahaa Awad Interesting Times Digital Content/Technology Director
Ali Aladdine Interesting Times Web Developer
Julie Haddad Interesting Times Social Media Director
Vanessa Bou Assi Interesting Times Social Media Executive
Corine Shawi Clandestino Films Film Director
Halim Sabbagh Clandestino Films Film Director
Smarthub Smarthub Production Company
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