VMLY&R, Dubai / LEBANESE BASKETBALL FEDERATION / 2019
Situation: Lebanese people are very patriotic, especially when it comes to their flag and the cedar within - their national tree and symbol of the country’s pride. It is seen across all governmental and national institutions, and paraded at festivals, sports matches, national holidays and even during elections. It is a distinctive symbol that unites citizens of Lebanon with the larger Lebanese population living outside the country. Ironically however, Lebanese people aren’t very aware about how their cedar is threatened by deforestation.
Brief: The Lebanese Basketball Federation (FLB), a national organisation dedicated to representing the country’s interests, wanted to create awareness about cedar deforestation.
Objectives: While campaign objectives were to deliver message about the threat of cedar deforestation, it was important that the message was powerful, and its reach was wide.
Without the cedar, the flag of Lebanon is the flag of Austria. The idea was to shock the Lebanese people by replacing the Lebanese anthem and flag with the Austrian anthem and flag. Once shocked we would reveal our message: If we lose our cedars, we lose our identity.
Insight - Without the cedar, the Lebanese flag becomes the flag of Austria.
Message: If we lose our cedars, we lose our identity.
Audience - Our PR strategy was to deliver our message at a place and time that would generate maximum reach - not only to people across Lebanon, but also to the larger Lebanese population living outside of Lebanon.
Implementation: Before the match started, people stood for the singing of the Lebanese national anthem. At this point, we sang the Austrian anthem instead, and lifted the Austrian flag. People expressed shock and dismay, but soon realised that the Austrian flag is the Lebanese flag without the cedar - showing that if Lebanon loses its cedar, it loses its identity.
Timeline: The stunt happened during the pre-game proceedings of at a high-profile championship basketball match between two of Lebanon’s biggest teams.
Placement: Although a LIVE stunt, it was broadcasted on national television for all to see. A film was created and shared online.
Scale: The stunt found itself on the social media of the federation, popular Lebanese blogs, prime-time talk shows and advertising forums.
FLB’s LIVE broadcast reached 51% of Lebanon’s population and was spread across 37 countries worldwide. This led to a 23% increase in cedar adoptions. For every adoption, our donation partner adoptacedar.org issued donation certificates, each detailing the precise location of the adopted cedar. Cedar seedlings were planted in 13 of Lebanon’s regions and forests.