The Independence Day campaign was brought to life on outdoor, social media and through print. We invited people to express themselves and celebrate the army in a way that was tailored to each medium: magazine readers were invited to write; demonstrators to spray paint and social media users to post their support (all 3 mediums were used as crowd-sourcing platforms in one recognizable way). The outdoor and magazine engagements were shared on social, while posts were rebroadcast on LED screens. In this way every medium reinforced engagement on the other. Finally, we involved celebrities and attracted coverage during prime-time news.
On October 17, 2019, massive anti-government demonstrations broke out in Lebanon. Hundreds of thousands took to the streets to protest long-standing corruption and express their lack of faith in the state’s institutions. The Lebanese army was ordered to intervene, and they were immediately perceived as “oppressors” by their own people. On Independence Day, when the army holds its annual parade and greets the public through an outdoor campaign, we were faced with a difficult task: how to re-instill faith in the army and rally people to celebrate its contributions.
Describe the creative idea
Rather than plastering billboards with pro-army messages and speaking at the people on Independence Day; we opened up the space for the public to speak on behalf of the army. We covered billboards across the country with the army’s emblem and an incomplete slogan – “In defense of Lebanon’s _____(blank)” and invited people to fill it in with spray paint, beginning with 4 of Lebanon’s most popular celebrities. In this way, every citizen had the opportunity to express their own sentiments towards the army. Participations were shared on social.
We also launched an edition of the army’s official magazine with the incomplete slogan on the back cover, so people could fill in their opinions and upload pictures of them online. After the posts poured in, we broadcast the most inspiring answers on LED screens across the country.
Describe the strategy
Nothing can re-instill people's trust in the army, but knowing the army is on their side. We had to demonstrate the army cares about the people and only the people, without taking sides. Hence we gave the possibility for people to tell the army what they would like it to focus on. Showing a dedication to the people's agenda.
Insight: People need to know the army is on their side to retreat it.
Strategic idea: Personalize the offer to the people's demand.
Describe the execution
The campaign was unveiled on billboards across the country on Independence Day. Four reputed Lebanese celebrities from different walks of life (an ex-sports champ, a comedian, a writer and Lebanon’s first female pilot – 550 K followers in total) were immediately invited to spray-paint their answers and upload pictures/videos of themselves doing so online. This triggered people to create and post their own slogans on social media. The November edition of the army’s official magazine was also launched with the incomplete slogan on the back cover, reaching 80,000 of the army’s followers and enabling them to express their support and post pictures of their slogans. Finally, following Independence Day, the most moving social posts were rebroadcast on LED screens across the country for a total of 5 days.
List the results
-Reach: Over 3 million people
-Thousands of slogans were created
-Campaign was covered on prime-time news and online by 20 of the country’s top news outlets
-100 K reactions online
-30% increase in positive sentiment towards the army online
-0 clashes between the army and people on Independence Day
-Finally, we were able to re-instill faith in the army and rally people to truly celebrate its contributions. A civil parade was held in parallel with the annual military parade on Independence Day, for the first time in Lebanon’s history.