Stories of Peace of Mind Narrated by Lebanese Filmmakers and Signed Blom Bank
 | By Ghada Azzi

BLOM BANK’s recently launched campaign is like no other. This time, the bank decided to do things differently and rather unconventionally. BLOM BANK has understood how much the media landscape has become saturated, and consumers have tuned out the noise. However, what hasn't changed in the bank’s approach is the need to develop great ideas that are true to the brand and resonate with consumers.

Based on the concept of storytelling, BLOM BANK and its ad agency Impact BBDO thought to illustrate how different people perceive 'Peace of Mind' and achieve it through their journeys in life. They turned to the art field and enlisted the creative talent of four high-profile Lebanese film directors-- Philippe Aractingi, Chadi Younes, Leila Kanaan and Jad Aouad-- to exploit the depth of 'Peace of Mind', the bank’s motto, through its diverse expressions.

“We had a bigger pool of ideas/scripts coming from various directors. We chose these four because they fitted well with the brand’s principles and touched on subjects that the bank values,” explains Roula Safi VP Impact BBDO, Lebanon.

Stories were written and filmed to entertain, educate, inspire, and touch lives; but most importantly, to portray reality and real people. All directors received the same budget per film and had the final call on how to allocate this budget. Each director took full liberty in his/her choice of cast, location, music, etc.

The result: four shorts, spanning 2-to-6 minutes. These examples aren’t glorified TV spots; they’re full-fledged short movies--four heartwarming stories that connect with all audiences and use the power of narrative and storytelling to communicate BLOM BANK brand message in an entertaining way.

For the first time in Lebanon, and probably in the Middle East, short films were created for digital consumption and TV spots were used only to support this online content, and not vice versa. 30-second TV spots were aired on local TV channels as trailers to redirect viewers to the bank’s Facebook page to watch the short films.

Impact BBDO had to find the right trigger to make BLOM BANK go unconventional, take a creative risk and engage with interesting branded content. "Consumers today are having difficulty trusting a brand’s intentions. They want to know what a brand stands for and what they value and they want that brand to live it every day – in everything they do and how they do it," asserts Safi. "These short-films tell inspiring stories, not product benefits. They have the power to create that level of engagement where audiences are immersed in the brand and being entertained, that’s invaluable. All we were interested in is to communicate the bank's values, energy and pulse revolving around its motto."

The films, which attracted so much attention online, have hit the mark with this rethink to the art of old school advertising, where the brand is not pushed directly. The branded content and entertainment the bank offered its audience is indeed a much more commendable approach than the stock standard vehicle heavy brand messaging that the banking industry is notorious for.

Indeed, it didn’t take long for the engagement level to peak on BLOM BANK’s social media pages through the release of the first two films, “Raja’s Journey” by director Philippe Aractangi and “Matchbox” by director Chadi Younes. This engagement even soared further with the release of the last two films: “About Sophia” by director Leila Kanaan and “Jebneh Darfiyeh” by director Jad Aouad.   

Ten years ago, branded films weren’t a big part of the market. Commercials reigned supreme for years, but the video takeover on the Internet and social media has shifted the balance of power.

"Commercials serve a very strong role for an organisation such as ours, but in combination with some of this entertainment and long-form content we’re able to tell better and deeper stories," explains Isabelle Naoum Head of Communication at BLOM BANK. “The sheer number of people who experienced the content was big validation to the bank's approach to deeper human-inspired and unique storytelling,” she added.

As a content marketing format, film is relatively more expensive and creatively demanding, but it seems BLOM BANK felt the outcome is worth the price. With four films under their belt already, the bank intends to continue their approach to art and video. And as a continuity to this campaign, other phases are said to follow.

After all, there's something very attractive and contagious about brands that feel totally energised, and offer content based on something truly genuine: their reality, their passions. Wrapped around their brand story, these films have brought BLOM BANK's motto to life and closer to our hearts.

This is a lesson for the many brands that are only focused on the transaction – rather than cultivating a relationship that matters for the evolution of their brand.