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Who do you think you’re talking to?

Who do you think you’re talking to?

With many Arabs today asserting national pride, do marketing communications need to change their tone? Tarek El Jundi reports.

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April 6, 2011 3:59 by



Perhaps the most iconic example of effective communication during times of turmoil came during the 2006 war on Lebanon – Leo Burnett Beirut’s Broken Bridge Johnnie Walker billboard.

This campaign assured people that their brands “believe in their country as much as they do,” recalls Kuran.

“We managed to convey messages of hope, via a couple of prominent brands,  that Lebanon will survive no matter what happens.

“It was not a message to try and sell something, more a message by the respective brands to engage with people and tell them that the brands they love are part of the fabric of their society and believe in their country as much as they do.

“Brands today need to interact with people as people and not as consumers.”

A recent example comes from Memac Ogilvy Tunisia – see GMR, March, page 8 – which, sensing a post-revolutionary anti climax – created a virtual world where consumers could imagine their ideal country.

“We needed to find a way to encourage the people to get back to work and start rebuilding the country we had all fought for,” said Nicolas Courant, creative director.

“To do so, we strongly believed that we all had to focus on what we want for Tunisia, rather than look back nor complain about the present.”

The saliency of campaigns such as this, at this particular time, is amply illustrated through the Third Annual ASDA’a Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey, released last month.



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