Stephen B. Leacock once said: “Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.”
For the past five years, I have been doing just that: advertising and marketing products for financial gain.
But with time, I came to think that: what if we arrest the human intelligence long enough to create positive behavioral and attitudinal change?
I don’t want to use people as an end to sell; I need people to be the end!
I need to create positive change in Lebanon, I want to be able to “sell” attitudes, ideas and behaviors…rather than just products.
This thinking led me to have an extreme interest in social advertising & marketing.
A definition of social marketing could be: the use of marketing/advertising principles to influence and to change a behavior in order to improve the quality of life for that individual, or for the community as a whole… Whether it’s related to the environment, public health, safety, or community development etc…(not to be confused with social media which are social networking websites)
Permanent, large-scale behavior change is a process that will require time and patience and a long term strategy. People don’t change behaviors easily. But if we can figure out how to make behavior change EASY, FUN, and POPULAR it becomes easier for us to encourage it.
A perfect example to illustrate the above is a brilliant recent campaign done by Nahwa el Mouwatiniya NGO (Towards Citizenship) for a project called Yalla961.
Nahwa el Mouwatiniya is a local NGO aiming to create positive change in the civic society by encouraging citizens to participate in public life through “informed activism and engagement.”
For that they developed a campaign called Yalla961 with a direct straightforward message “visit your municipality today and run for the next upcoming elections in 2016!”
As described in their Facebook page, they are empowering youth and encouraging them to meet and communicate with their Municipal council in order for their needs to be met. And upon doing that, they will become more responsible, knowledgeable and active community members enabling them to prepare themselves to run, 5 years from now, for the municipality elections and become Mayor in their area!
The campaign targeted the youth through a mix of communication channels: TV – Cinema – Billboard – Digital (Facebook & Youtube)
Please go through all the ads they developed below (specially the 5minutes animation) they are extremely interesting and have great content!
Frankly, for as long as I have been working in the advertising / communication industry I rarely see good social marketing campaigns done in Lebanon – they either went wrong in analyzing the target, the media channels used, the tonality of the communication, the actual content or message, the strategy used etc…nothing persuasive enough to effect a change in any way.
But i think Yalla961 campaign did it all brilliantly.
They knew exactly the message they wanted to send, the subject they are treating and the audience they are communicating to;
all illustrated through the modern rap song, the easy and simple to understand illustration animation, the popular language, the graffiti, the direct messages etc…
The campaign turned out to be extremely engaging and talked to all of us youth in a positive confident tonality that really triggers us to TAKE ACTION! They made it possible to turn public engagement into something fun and hip!
Besides all the great work and effort done on this campaign, I think the NGO should try to push it even further by increasing its visibility through viral marketing, it should use the Facebook page of Yalla961 not only to communicate the campaign but to engage people by encouraging them to write on the page all the things they’d like to accomplish if they ever become mayor of their area (this can advertised through flyerbox) and it should prepare from now its communication strategy until 2016! I hope that this is not a hit and run campaign otherwise people will forget and lose enthusiasm.
To be completely honest, I consider myself as someone who really wants to change society but I barely communicated once with a mayor and did it just to insult him then shut the phone (instead of working collaboratively on the solution.)
But I can say from now, that through Yalla961 campaign, because it knew exactly how to talk to me, that
I WILL MOST CERTAINLY RUN FOR THE 2016 MUNICIPALITY ELECTIONS!!!
(Unless I got the Canadian immigration visa :P:P:P)