Georges Kyrillos: ‘Every day was a learning day in 2021’
Posted on 2022 Feb,16

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Lebanon has had very difficult years, following the Beirut port blast, the many lockdowns and an economic crisis like no other. ArabAd talks to Georges Kyrillos, Creative Director, TBWA\Raad to discuss how agency and team thrived throughout such a tumultuous time.

How would you describe in one word the year that passed?



Were you able to find certainty despite all hardships and adversity crippling businesses in the country? 

The last two years put everyone out of their comfort zone, perpetually in alert mode. 

Survival instinct was bound to kick in and push us to surpass ourselves in order to keep the momentum. 


Did you feel at risk at some point of getting pulled out of the game? And what helped you reinforce your team’s belief in Lebanon and strong commitment and dedication to sustaining the business?

As TBWA RAAD Lebanon, we are committed to think with a swift problem-solving mindset. We all lived up to it and showed how much of “Lebanese at heart” we really are.

We had to be part of the solution and not the problem, so we injected positivity and strength through our work.

With MTV, we supported and empowered the heartbroken families of the Beirut blast victims through “The Unbreakable” campaign that showed the faces of the victims and accused authority of an extreme lack of justice.

We pushed the Lebanese people to get vaccinated with the “Kellna Daketra” campaign with MTV, using humor as our weapon of choice.

We helped the Lebanese army reimagine its role and remind the citizens of its peaceful achievements with PeaceCamo.

Through the Ministry of Tourism, we encouraged expats to visit Lebanon in such horrible times with Crazy love - Bejnounak Bhebbak, that had the number 1 trending hashtag.

All of this helped us be more connected to the daily realities of Lebanon, hence our constant passion.


How have you managed to channel your energy into keeping up? 

I owe this to every pirate at TBWA; motivation is contagious, a deeply-rooted dynamic in the TBWA culture.


What has been the most important thing you’ve learned over the last 12 months?

How to be resilient and how to dust off ourselves, and to always count our blessings and move on. Every day was a learning day in 2021.


Has your passion and energy remained intact in such a gloomy climate?

When you master the art of turning each challenge into an opportunity, you pretty much survive anything.

Amidst the atrocities of the civil war, Lebanese managed to bring about the best music; adversity won’t prevent us from creating the best ideas.


“Today, we have the option to be virtual expats, especially that the bread and butter of new businesses come from the region.”


The Lebanese crisis —and the global sanitary crisis —have challenged managers and marketers to rethink the way they do business and plan the future of their organizations. Where the biggest opportunities lay mostly for you? Where does “new business” typically come from today? 

Years ago, this would have been unthinkable, you either stay in Lebanon and dissolve or move abroad and becomeLebanese expat somewhere in the world.

Today, with the needed tools readily available, we have the option to be virtual expats, especially that the bread and butter of new businesses come from the region, more specifically the GCC countries. Many agencies managed to do the same by enforcing the creative talent from Beirut to serve the entire region at competitive costs.


What are the shifts that you foresee taking place in the year ahead? And what do you think will be your biggest challenge in 2022?

The panoramic view on the year ahead is quite clear, the major shifts are always happening; it’s essential to always remain up to date. 

Having said that, this will be one of our major challenges. In Lebanon, it seems that time has stood still, or worse, it’s going backwards as the rest of the world is moving at full speed. 

Lebanon is like the titanic, the question is not if the ship will sink or not, the question is how many people will survive, move to a new horizon, and adapt to a new reality.

Ironically, in the same scrolling session, one reads articles about the metaverse and the global digital age, scrolling down a bit more, one gets taken aback by articles about internet cuts, power cuts, fuel shortages, and general misery in Lebanon!

We will have to redouble our efforts, keeping pace with the latest developments, in order to remain competitive on a global level and to continue catering to the region where most of our work is coming from.