Brand Protection Group Promo, Case study FAKE IT ALL by H&C Leo Burnett Beirut


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Industry Public awareness, Public Safety, Health & Hygiene
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market Lebanon
Agency H&C Leo Burnett Beirut
Associate Creative Director Yasmina Baz - Tania Saleh
Creative Director Areej Mahmoud - Caroline Farra - Celine Khoury
Digital Creative Director Patrick Honein
Strategic Planner Dima Kfouri
Released September 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Social Media
Chief Creative Officer: Bechara Mouzannar (Leo Burnett Beirut)
Deputy Managing Director: Nada Abi Saleh (Leo Burnett Beirut)
Creative Director: Areej Mahmoud (Leo Burnett Beirut)
Associate Creative Director: Tania Saleh (Leo Burnett Beirut)
Digital Creative Director: Patrick Honein (Leo Burnett Beirut)
Communication Manager: Sarah Sakr (Leo Burnett Beirut)
Senior Art Director: Nayla Baaklini (Leo Burnett Beirut)
Strategic Planner: Dima Kfouri (Leo Burnett Beirut)
Digital Planner: Michael Chaftari (Leo Burnett Beirut)
Arabic Copywriter: Grace Kassab (Leo Burnett Beirut)
Junior Communication Executive: Misbah Natour (Leo Burnett Beirut)
Managing Director: Kamil Kuran (Leo Burnett Beirut)
Media placement: Digital Stunt - Facebook - 15 March 2011

Summary of the Campaign
In carrying out an anti-counterfeit campaign, we realized the best way to demonstrate the danger and inconvenience of counterfeit products is to give people a direct taste of it. Building on the idea "the closest things to you can be fake", what would be closer to you on social media than your own facebook profile? By targeting key influencers through facebook as opposed to simply inviting them to a press conference, we turned our victims into ambassadors that helped us spread our message online.

The Situation
After 15 years of Lebanese civil war and 20 years of instability, resulting in poorly controlled borders, counterfeit is widespread here.

Despite strict laws against it, counterfeit is still part of the culture - everywhere to be seen, yet barely noticed. Almost any brand has a fake equivalent in stores.

The public needed to know. And so we needed journalists and bloggers to pick up the story and spread it.

The Goal
Our objective was to create an anti-counterfeit awareness campaign and promote the client’s call center. We wanted to unconventionally reach out to the key people who are the most active online and have the biggest following.

The Strategy
Using the fact that in Arabic the words Imitation / counterfeit / and fake all mean the same thing, we wanted to spread the message that: "The closest things to you can be fake". We wanted March 15, the International Counterfeit Day, to be the climax of our campaign. Knowing that facebook is the most popular social media platform in Lebanon, we decided to carry out the biggest social media stunt in the history of the Middle East. We wanted to unconventionally use facebook to directly target selected 250 influencers, bloggers and journalists who would help spread awareness, instead of opting for the region’s usual PR strategy to communicate to them: a typical press conference.

We used International Counterfeit Day to directly target our selected bloggers and journalists, faking their facebook profiles a week in advance. Their fake profile included their picture and a name very similar to their own. Each person got a facebook friend request from their own imposter.
When the victims received friend requests from their impostors, panic struck the social media scene.
Within 24 hours, all our victims had asked their friends to report the fake profiles as news of the issue spread.
We then sent a personalized message to the targeted individuals, explaining the campaign and offering them an exclusive media kit.

Documented Results
Without a budget, our facebook stunt technically reached 250 major influencers, but subsequent coverage reached more than 40,000. With major blogs covering the story, it reached 80% of the Lebanese blogosphere.

It has now even reached the Middle East’s leading university, The American University of Beirut, where it’s being used in class as a successful case study on the creatively effective use of social media.