In an attempt to bring joy to an annual event celebrated all over the world, a few lucky mothers got a chance to see their estranged children working abroad return for a surprise visit to celebrate Mother’s Day. What follows is a talk ArabAd had with Tracy Abou Mrad, Head of Marketing, BA United Holding about the campaign that took on a life of its own when it was fully endorsed and covered by local and regional TV networks with millions of online views.
How did you come up with the idea for this campaign?
The idea saw the light due to solid collaboration between The Spot marketing department and Intermarkets, our communication agency. While developing our yearly communication plan, we stressed on the strategic need to leverage the Spot and raise the equity of the brand in order to pave the way for the opening of our flagship’s third mall in Choueifat by early 2017.
Why did you choose Mother’s Day?
We decided to hijack this occasion due the alarming youth immigration figures that showcase the fact that 59 percent of young Lebanese whose age is between 34 and 39 are living outside their country and looking for better business opportunities. It also became obvious to us that these young expats, who visit Lebanon during summer or on major religious holidays, never do so on Mother’s Day.
These sad findings drove us to look into the economic and social problems that are driven by this shocking reality. We initiated a focus group with mothers of expats who revealed to us that one of their happiest moments is when they receive a call or a social media post from their expatriate child on Mother’s Day, which is when we saw the potential in capitalising on that opportunity and took immediate action.
How did you manage to engage young Lebanese the world over?
Reaching and appealing to young Lebanese expats was quite challenging. It is worth noting that we had, in hand, a relatively small budget to execute and launch our initiative. So, we developed three amateur tutorial films that we launched and promoted on Facebook and Instagram. During the first few days, the participation was shy and we barely collected velfies… The campaign was then spotted by young local celebrities and digital influencers who were moved by our insightful initiative and organically decided to endorse our campaign… And this is when the real fun began.
What more can you tell us about the participation rate?
The celebrity endorsement truly fueled our initiative…Videos started flowing from more than 70 cities around the world. In three weeks we received hundreds of creative, funny and emotional greeting content. To sum up the answer to your question, the campaign was viewed online by 1,300,000 users and more than 50,000 unique users engaged under the #shta2tellikmom hashtag (Arabic for 'I miss you mom').
Does that mean you helped hundreds of expats come back to Lebanon?
We wish we could bring back all young expatriate to celebrate Mother’s Day with their moms. However, as mentioned, our allocated budget did not allow that. Nonetheless, we succeeded in surprising two mothers by bringing back their children (you can find both filmed emotional encounters archived under #shta2tellikmom hashtag). That is not all! In this campaign everyone was a winner, as all participants got for their mothers a valuable gift to mark the annual occasion. We took the names and contact numbers of the participants' mothers and got in touch with them on the 18th of March to invite them to redeem the valuable gift that their expatriate children won for them. That is how The Spot succeeded in injecting happiness in the hearts of hundreds of lonely mothers.
#Shta2tellikmom was aggressively promoted on TV few days prior to the 21st of March. How were you able to make this happen considering your limited budget?
Our initiative and activation were organically dispatched on evening news by all local TV channels on the 21st of March. Yet the big bang took place during our last week of the campaign when we were approached by one of the most viewed TV channels in Lebanon who asked to “jump over” our initiative.
From the 18th of March till the 21st, mothers could see their children greetings closing the break segment on TV… The frequency was quiet high as the station was replaying six velfies/hour. Last but not least, our campaign became the main topic of a live prime time TV show on the 21st of March. Our happiness was inexpressible.
Going back to your question, we did not pay one penny for all this. TVs related to our cause and helped us to further leverage it, allowing us to reach an additional 12,890,000 viewers. This made us really proud of our initiative.
What is next for The Spot?
Our bag is far from empty, as we are committed to adding happiness to our communities and fans. I cannot reveal more at this stage, but expect to hear from us with insightful initiatives that feed into our promise of being the focal center of happiness.