In some countries, desecrating or deliberately misusing a flag ends up in a jail sentence. It’s serious deal. But in Lebanon, to raise awareness about the dramatic cuttings of cedrus libani, the country’s very symbol, a provocative campaign was creating around that very idea. If the cedar symbol is taking away, the Lebanese flag is similar to the Austrian one. Before an important basketball match between two local teams, the anthem moment – usually pretty boring, while theoretically solemn – evolved into an awakening one, generating boiling conversations on national identity, its symbols and the way Lebanese people, both in the country and abroad, should act about it. The moment was dedicated to cedars threatened by deforestation, since the tree-symbol was taking out of the flag and the national hymn replaced with the Austrian one. The stunt, filmed during the pre-game proceedings at the basketball match, became the fuel to feed the conversation about Lebanese cedars and their dissolution as species. Thanks to the wit idea, the Lebanese flag stood for good for its country and evolved from a passive to an active symbol. What could have been a diplomatic incident, turned into a positive message, reaching out 37 countries, while rising cedar adoptions by 23 percent. The campaign had 3 shortlists in Cannes Lions 2019, in the Entertainment for Sports, SDG and PR Lions. The team working on the case was a mix between creatives working in the UAE, for #VMLYR Dubai and their Lebanese client, proof that sometimes foreigners can have a clearer view than locals and can come up with more poignant solutions.
KALPESH PANTAKAR / VMLY&R / CD
FERNANDO MIRANDA / VMLY&R / Creative
BAHAA FAKHREDDINE / VMLY&R / Creative
ANTOUN KHALIL / FEDERATION LIBANAISE DE BASKETBALL / Advertiser
TOUFIC TRABOULSI / INDEPDENDENT PRODUCTIONS / Production