UNLEASH YOUR CREATIVITY, a competition to foster the talents of the next generation
Posted on 2019 May,21  | By Ghada Azzi

“Unleash your creativity


The Unleash your Creativity competition requires from each participant to develop a written integrated marketing campaign proposal to a chosen client who is a "real-life" respected organisation that will truly appreciate the work produced by the participating students and offer the potential to take their efforts to market implementation.

This year, students steeped in the discipline of advertising and marketing representing eight universities (AUB , AUST, LAU, LU, NDU, USEK, USJ, and Balamand) have worked on the same brief, to come up with an extensive multilevel campaign for Saad Tours, a Beirut-based full-service inbound operator with focus on Lebanon, offering preferential rates to groups and companies.

Competing teams were tasked with finding an innovative, and integrated, way to create awareness about their services while targeting Lebanese residents, Lebanese expats and foreigners. They had to focus on this main line: “Lebanon as you have never seen it before.”

In the first round of the competition, 150 contestants presented their idea. After project evaluation, 10 semi-finalist teams were narrowed down to pitch their campaign to compete in the finale. An additional group bypassed through an online public voting, collecting the highest number of votes on social media--2,921 votes in total.

Over the course of a week, all 11 groups went into coaching sessions to learn how to pitch their campaign one last time to compete in front of the jury. Everyone involved in these sessions emphasized that these coaching sessions aided in sharpening their skills and talents in career development as practitioners in a dynamic industry. Coaching were delivered by Asma Lakis from Vanguards, Joe Abou Khaled from Impact BBDO, Tarek Haddad, Suzanne Talhouk, and Christine Mardirian from J. Walter Thompson, Rani Sader from Sader Law Firm, Nayla Saba from Avoid.Agency, and Hrair Kouyoumjian (Independent Coach).

Obviously this is an opportunity for the students to walk through the doorway into the industry learning from the pros. The benefits for the students are endless. They are being introduced to the challenges that they will eventually face and that exist in the industry, and ways to overcome them.

In response to the client brief, the teams were working to deliver an end-to-end plan from the research stage to the creative concept, right through to the final presentation of their ‘Big Idea’.

The competition also offered students a unique opportunity to practice working collaboratively in a high-pressure environment. Students spoke of the intensity of the class as well as the chance it gave them to learn about many areas of communications.



On the 2nd of May 2019 Fernand Hosri Group & Saad Holding crowned their winners of the 4th edition of the Unleash your Creativity Contest at the newly inaugurated Middle East Airlines Training Centre.

The teams presented their work in a 20-minute multimedia pitch to a panel of judges, comprised of Tarek Haddad MD of J. Walter Thompson Beirut; Joe Abou Khaled, Regional Creative Director at Impact BBDO; Elie Abou Mrad from Banque Du Liban; Bassem Bawab from Beirut Trade Association, and Maya Saad Essaidi from Saad Holding.

The winning group was offered an internship at TBWA Dubai and the 2nd and 3rd runners up won internship at J.Walter Thompson and Impact BBDO in Lebanon. One additional group was selected through public voting and got an internship at Beiruting dot com.



1ST WINNER: Jennifer El Helou, Morgana Issa, Layale Salem, Joelle Dagher, and Remie Abou Ghosn from the Lebanese University (Faculty of Information - 2).

2nd WINNER: Nour Shahrour and Michelle Abou Mrad from American University of Beirut (AUB).

3rd WINNER: Georgio Balaa, Joelle Harfouche, and Yara Wakim from IGE – USJ

The 1st place winners won an Internship at TBWA/Raad Dubai whereas the 2nd and the 3rd won internships with both Impact BBDO and J. Walter Thompson.

The public vote winners earned an Internship at Beiruting.com.

Bassem Bawab (Jury Member), Member of Beirut Trade Association said that the winning team stood out as “They were the most creative, and their presentation skills were excellent. He also extended his advice to students to persevere in this way and be creative as much as possible, and to always try to think out of the box.”



Joe Hasbani, Marketing Consultant for Saad Tours, expressed his satisfaction, saying:  "Unleash your creativity was truly a memorable experience. I was really taken by surprise with the level of creativity the students showed as well as the fresh perspectives they offered. Fernand Hosri Group were outstanding all through and the process and ceremony were truly up to standard and very distinguished. I cannot thank everyone enough for the wonderful experience, and would love to be part of it again and again."

The students also learned how essential having different perspectives from marketing and strategic communications was to their success. According to Remi Abou Ghosn from the first winning team having students from another school on this project was a tremendous advantage. “I met many students from other universities and the day of the ceremony we congratulated each other. In addition, I didn’t forget the day when we arrived at the 10th finalist and then we won the first place in this competition, it is unforgettable,” she said.

“This competition has taught me a lot, so I gained more confidence and I got to trust my abilities. I learned how to work in a team, and live the competitive spirit, and also learned how to control the stress,” said Layale Salem from the same team.

“We did a lot of really good work and put a lot of time into it, so it feels good that we were recognized,” said Georgio Balaa, who came 3rd with his team from USJ. “What I liked and enjoyed the most about this competition is going up to that stage in-front of a huge crowd and challenging myself to speak out loud and transfer the message of our campaign idea,” added Joelle Harfouche.

Unarguably, Ferand Hosri is helping the next generation of marketers and advertisers develop the critical research, analytical and creative skills they will need to launch a successful career in the industry.

“We’re thrilled to be able to provide students an opportunity to use what they’ve learned to help solve a real business issue for Saad Tours,” asserted Carina Boustani, General Operation Manager at Hosri Holding.




Carina Boustani , General Operation Manager at Fernand Hosri Group

This is the 4th edition of Unleash Your Creativity Contest. How did the competition evolve since inception and what novelties have you introduced this year - if any and why?

The competition has evolved a lot since the first edition! Every year we work on enhancing the overall experience for the participants making it a memorable one.

We create the opportunity to meet top notch experts and get one on one with them the opportunity to learn the things that otherwise they can’t find in books. And mostly to network with other students who in turn will be the decision makers of tomorrow.

How are briefs picked each year and do they always relate to one of the group's brands?

The brief doesn't have to be for one of Fernand Hosri Group brands actually Saad Tours is part of Saad Holding an independent entity. We try to expose the students to different fields and sectors other than FMCG, which is usually the most common projects at university. We have plenty of interested sponsors in the lineup for the coming years but we can’t give names yet.

Is the marketing challenge participants work to solve related to the actual marketing objectives faced by the selected brand ?

It is definitely based on real marketing objectives as the students need to do real market analysis and they are judged on their creativity in overcoming the problematic that was presented to them; for instance, it could be increasing awareness in a specific target audience or increasing sales in a particular region etc.

What was the brief about this year?

The students were supposed to present a full-fledged campaign for Saad Tours, targeting Lebanese residing in Lebanon, Lebanese expats coming for holidays, and foreigners.

The aim of this campaign was to increase the awareness of the brand inside and outside the Lebanese Market while highlighting its rich history and the advanced level of service.

Once the competition ends, what happens do the winning campaigns? Do they ever see the light?

The winning campaigns are usually partly implemented and the students are given the chance of actually working on that execution. However, and since the judges are not only from the client side, the client might want to implement one that was not part of the winning campaigns or a combination of different campaigns. What I mean by this is that all the students get exposed by this project and many get recruited. The audience is composed of people from the business sector or banking sectors and are often impressed with some of the performances and offer job opportunities. 

What's the involvement of the professional advertising community? Do they help winners land a job for instance?

Yes sure! Many actually do and it is becoming a reference on their CV facilitating their recruitment by the fact that they got shortlisted among the finalists and have assisted to the coaching sessions

Beside, the advertising community was extremely helpful the opportunity and the amount of information and time the students are getting in their internships be it with Tarek Haddad (JWT) or Joe-Abou Khaled (Impact BBDO) is beyond outstanding. Their is a lot of personal involvement unlike regular internships that they would otherwise experience.

Unleash your Creativity Contest is said to be a CSR initiative in line with Fernand Hosri group’s on-going commitment to sustainable development? Can you explain how does this translate all through into the end result?

Unleash your creativity puts forth the young talents on the labor market equipping them with strong baggage through hands on experience with real clients. We focus on building capacity key factors in sustainability.