Reporters Without Borders Promo, Case study VROOOAR BAHRAIN by Publicis Brussels


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Industry Charities, Foundations, Volunteers
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market Belgium
Agency Publicis Brussels
Associate Creative Director Tom Berth, Geert De Rocker
Creative Director Alain Janssens
Art Director Kwint De Meyer, Daniel Van Den Broucke
Copywriter Paul Servaes
Released March 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Best use of Broadcast
Executive Creative Director: Paul Servaes (Publicis Brussels)
Creative Director: Alain Janssens (Publicis Brussels)
Associate Creative Director: Tom Berth/Geert De Rocker (Publicis Brussels)
Copywriter: Kwint De Meyer/Paul Servaes (Publicis Brussels)
Art Director: Daniel Van Den Broucke/Kwint De Meyer (Publicis Brussels)
Account Manager: Mikaël Ogor (Publicis Brussels)
TV Producer: Jan-Frederik De Greve (Comotion)
Radio Production: Sonicville (Sonicville)
Photography: Sonicville (Sonicville)
DTP: Frederic Dupont (Publicis Brussels)
Art Buyer: Laurence Maes (Publicis Brussels)
Media placement: newspaper ad - La Libre Belgique - 20/04/2012
Media placement: radio spot - Crooze FM - 20/04/2012
Media placement: tv ad - RTL-TVI - 21/04/2012
Media placement: online film - YouTube, Facebook, website of RWB - 20/04/2012

Summary of the Campaign
Bahrain has 2 faces. Every sports follower knew that the Bahrain Grand Prix Formula One was organised in the weekend of the 22th of April. But almost nobody knows what has happened on the streets of the country the rest of the year. Bahrain - where police shoot on peaceful demonstrations and kill, jail or dismiss journalists, netizens and photo reporters to create an information blackout – during that very weekend only shows a side of glamour, money and fakeness.

The campaign shows this literally: In a TV commercial, a radio commercial and press ads, the reporter’s information is drowned out by the sound of roaring engines. Yes, even in the press ads the sound of F1 was drowning out the reality of Bahrain.

All executions sign off: "Don't let Formula One hide the reality of Bahrain."

The campaign was launched 3 days before the Grand Prix, the moment that Bahrain was on every news channel. It was the ideal moment to hook on to the attention and the campaign didn't miss its effect: it was widely spread; news channels talked about it; and even Anonymous broadcast the film on hacked Formula One sites.

The Situation
The annual Press Freedom Index states Bahrain as one of the most dangerous places on earth for journalists (Press Freedom ranking 173rd of 179). Since 2011, the pro-democracy protest movement in Bahrain has been crushed down. The regime imposed a blackout on information: journalists have been attacked, jailed, dismissed. Websites were blocked. 3 people died for defending the right to inform others.

But the world knows only about 1 thing happening in Bahrain: the Formula 1 Grand Prix on the 22th of April, an effort of the regime to repair their image and portray Bahrain as a haven of peace.

The Goal
Reporters Without Borders wanted to sensitise people and show the other face of Bahrain. Bahrain is more than a peaceful island hosting the Formula 1 GP: it’s also a stage for dramatic events and daily suffering. Let’s make people aware of the violence used against those trying to provide us with real news.

The Strategy
Reporters Without Borders aimed to subtly infiltrate the media, and show another face of Bahrain, at the very moment that all eyes pointed the Formula 1 Grand Prix.

In an online film, a radio commercial and print advertising, we see and hear how the Grand Prix suffocates the truth. The harsh report on daily Bahrain is drowned by the Formula 1 good news show.

Reporters Without Borders posted the film on its own online channels (YouTube, Facebook, website of RWB) on 19th April, 3 days before the Grand Prix.

In the TV film we see one of the only journalists, Arwa Damon from CNN, reporting live from Bahrain about a peaceful demonstration where 4 people were killed, until her voice is drowned out by the sound of Formula One engines. The tagline says, "Don't let Formula One hide the reality of Bahrain."

This message was also spread in a radio commercial using the same technique.

The press ads look like a chaos of images at first sight, but looking closely you discover 2 sights: images of Formula One shaping the word VROOARR; the sound of Formula One engines hide horrible images from real situations on Bahrain streets underneath. These print ads spread the same message: "Don't let Formula One hide the reality of Bahrain."

Documented Results
Thanks to its viral potential, people increasingly picked up and spread the Bahrain film originally posted by Reporters Without Borders. In no time, the film was viewed over a 10,000 times on YouTube and showed up on blogs and websites.

1,200 people signed a Reporters Without Borders petition against Bahrain’s violent regime. Major Belgian TV channels and news sites reported about the campaign.

Anonymous, the world-famous hacker group, defaced a number of websites associated with F1, and posted the Reporters Without Borders film on the hacked homepages.