Sami Saab on Phenomena's Ideas for Social Good
Posted on 2017 Aug,18

Beirut-based Phenomena is an agency that devotes much of its creative energies toward creating cause-related advertising and raising awareness for a plethora of important causes. Sami Saab, Phenomena's Founder and Creative Director, explains why his team is fond of such campaigns and the benefits of working most of the time pro bono to advertise for a cause. Here are his comments and a snapshot of the main social issues Phenomena recently tackled.

AA: Could you comment on the difference between working for a brand and an NGO or government campaign?

S.S: When working for any brand or on a governmental campaign, our role of a 'problem solver' remains the same. However, the approach for the government ad or any strong and solid social cause is more sensitive and impactful, because it is aimed at hitting a larger audience. Moreover, when government hires an agency, they consider the latter as the expert. On the other hand, when we work for a brand, there are different levels of marketing heads who try and come in between an agency’s creative work. 

AA: You've been working much for charitable, governmental and non-governmental organizations.. What benefits you get in involving your agency in such projects ?

S.S: Beyond the public good, a primary motivation is the ubiquitous national platform to show off our work, associated with something that's important. In a creative perspective, working for NGOs and the government, is very rewarding and challenging at the same time. This creative exercise, that is without restrictions, benefits the entire team creatively, along with the self-satisfaction and motivation of taking part in change and making a difference in the society. The biggest achievement is the positive change these campaigns bring.

AA: Is it your aim to generate more than just social awareness or is it the organization job to focus its efforts to drive real change?

S.S: Our concept depends on the brief presented, or as mentioned above with governmental campaigns, the current situation in the country.

The core comes from the trust of the client and the power of their cause and our aim is to push this cause into creating change and trigger a sense of responsibility or create an interaction with the public.  


GNK Traffic Academy: A series of TVCs aimed at introducing the Academy, which educates children about road safety and driving at a young age. The main concept was to show that even during play time, the children were driving responsibly and with respect.


Kafa: The wedding of a young girl becomes more like a funeral. Marrying off a young girl is similar to burying her future, her dreams, her ambitions, her life…The funeral wreath with a wedding congratulations message (“mabrouk el jezeh”) says it all--a play on words between jezeh (marriage) and jnezeh (funeral). A powerful arresting visual with a provocative line.


Gebran Tueni Foundation: 11 years after the assassination of Gebran Tueni, a question remains unanswered: Who killed Gebran? So simple yet so powerful. A pertinent and graphically strong visual that sums up a prevailing mood in the public opinion.


Greenpeace (Teaser / Reveal): Introducing the solar power comes as an alternative to the question we all ask every single day, quite a few times. 


TFI -Tobacco Free Initiative: a campaign focusing on the Shisha and its negative effect not just as a health hazard, but as a lifestyle. Most Lebanese have become addicted to what has become a trendy habit that makes them lazier and makes the whole country go passive and less productive. The line says: the country is in such a mess.. What happened to law 174 (on smoking in closed public spaces)?


Army Day: A visual that showcases a simple numerical copy: 24/24/10452. A simple yet arresting campaign to express the fact that our Lebanese army protects the entirety of the Lebanese territory round the clock.


General Security 71 Years: A play on words and with the numbers to celebrate the 71 years of the Lebanese General Security.