Lebanon's Advertising Association Launches a Nationwide Communication Blitz to Revive Economy
Posted on 2020 Jul,27  | By Ghada Azzi

Lebanon Advertising Association (AA) has launched today a nationwide cross-industry multi-media communication campaign to help revive the economy, which has suffered a serious setback due to the many crisis Lebanon is currently witnessing.

Described as an "advertising festival" by George Jabbour, the President of the Advertising Association (AA), it is actually a marketing blitz with regard to the scale of the campaign-- introduced to the press today--"with the aim of stimulating investment and encouraging advertisers to continue, or return to, advertising."

Scheduled to run all through August and September and divided into two phases, the messaging is simple with double meaning under the tagline--'Ana Ou3lin' which means in Arabic 'I Declare' but also 'I Advertise'; the kind of catchy tagline that can make sense in the current context -- flexible enough as it leaves room to many variations and push it further as to give the entire concept a much more powerful message with manifold statements.

Indeed, the tagline itself, which is now a registered trademark, is a bold nod and and an opportunity to mark the centennial of the declaration of the Greater Lebanon. Its brevity and directness put the focus on what’s important today and is meant to stick in people’s minds. It calls for brands and people to jump into the creative process too and continue the sentence with one of their own and make a statement that is relevant and relatable to the brand or their own take on the Lebanon they long for.

As a part of this campaign, AA is also putting in joint efforts to create awareness about the imperative of advertising in time of crisis, as the primarily objective seems to be that our industry should continue to operate in the current circumstances.

And for this purpose, AA and all sectors of the ad industry have coordinated their efforts to bring this campaign to life-- with all local media offering ad space pro bono.

The campaign has been created by Sami Saab, Founder and Creative director of Phenomena who explained that "the need for such a major marketing initiative was felt out of the unfortunate state of the ad industry, with empty billboards lining the streets, hardly few campaigns running on TV and radio and almost none in the newspapers. Advertising seems to be gradually vanishing from the landscape let alone from people's minds.

“The economic impact of the pandemic will be felt for many months to come. We created this campaigns, as we believe that together we can turn this crisis into an opportunity," states Saab. "We believe in times of challenges, effective and efficient communication is vital. With the collective intelligence among ad land players, we are pleased to be of service to the ad community and support the march towards a brighter future.”

It is a well-known fact that advertising provides the vital impetus to the economic engine of every nation. It is also rightly said that in good times it pays to advertise and in bad times, one simply must advertise. Therefore, any brand that is interested to join in will have to pay 60 million Lebanese Lira to benefit from great exposure through a well-crafted marketing communication package. It should also come up with their own slogan that fit in with the brand's message and go under the 'I Declare" punchline. This plan would also encourage companies that do not currently advertise to invest in advertising again. Such an initiative intends to serve as a stimulus for the wider economy and provide a welcome boost in investment for Lebanese media.

All of this is of course vital to help revive confidence in advertising.
But it is the uncertainty around how the Covid-19 crisis will unfold and be phased out that is a large driver of pessimism because it is making it hard for businesses to predict cashflows. Many organisations report they are currently living ‘hand to mouth’ with little ability to forecast for the future.
"We are in for a very difficult few months for advertising as it is for the rest of our economy and country," concludes George Jabbour. "We should remain optimistic and I believe that through our creative and entrepreneurial abilities, and using all our creative energy and ingenuity, we will see this crisis through and look back with pride at how we rose to this challenge."