The Good Note in Beirut
The Good Note, an initiative offering children on the streets of Lebanon an easier way to get the basic items they need, has won the PR Grand Prix, Direct Grand Prix and Integrated Grand Prix at the Dubai Lynx Awards. The influx of Syrian refugees in Lebanon has intensified both the needs of street children and the feelings of suspicion. Pedestrians are concerned that money given to children will only go to adults to pay for cigarettes, alcohol, drugs and weapons. Bou Khalil Supermarket worked with JWT MEA to develop an alternative currency which can be used to acquire food, water, household supplies, and personal hygiene items. Good Note vouchers can be purchased from Bou Khalil supermarkets and given to beggars instead of money. They can be used at any of Bou Khalil’s eleven branches in Lebanon, along with affiliated pharmacy Pharmalife Hazmieh.
The good note was designed to look exactly like a currency note. The starting point was the Lebanese 1000 Lira (equivalent to $0.66) which is not only the smallest note in the Lebanese currency but also a note associated with the street and beggar lingo. The 1000 in the good note is highlighted to reinforce the association in value to the 1000 LBP. The color scheme is similar in its greens and blues but the good note has a hint of purple/pink that adds a colorful, innocent edge to the note. The iconography and patterns were carefully designed to reflect all the good things beggars can buy with this note – fruits, vegetables, bread, pharmacy products etc. The voucher that is in both English and Arabic features an inspiring message that reassures the giver about the initiative’s mission: “In this note we trust to spread good change”.
“Lebanese are not donating to children in the street as before because we don’t know where the money is going, if it’s going to another person benefiting from the child,” said Shawqi Bou Khalil, manager of Bou Khalil Supermarket. “So we thought of the Good Note, which replaces money.”
A cross-platform communication led the people to buy the Good Note and hand it to street children instead of money. In-store communication informed shoppers of the Good Note and its availability at all Bou Khalil branches. Outdoor and print communication shed awareness on giving responsibly with visuals of illicit items handcrafted from Lebanese currency. An online film depicted Lebanon having lost faith in its children, calling for change. The Good Note engaged on social media with real-time stories from the street via its Instagram account. All initiative information and Good Note points of purchase were made available on thegoodnote.com.
The Good Note initiative resonated across Lebanon and the world, covered by local media and international media including Voice of America, Sky News Arabia, Al Jazeera and Yahoo News. The buzz led local partners to pour in. Local cafes, bookstores, chocolatiers and even renowned jewelers are selling Good Notes to their customers. Less than a month into the campaign, JWT MEA and Bou Khalil are ready for a reprint, and there are more than 25 million Lebanese pounds worth of Good Notes circulating around the country.
The Good Note campaign was developed at J. Walter Thompson Beirut by executive creative director Nicolas Geahchan, associate creative director Paola Mounla, senior art director Sally Alzaza, copywriter Maya Khourchid, junior art director Carla Aoudad, managing director Tarek Haddad, account director Had Hindi, account manager Lea Halwani, head of production Gilbert Nahas, agency producer Clara Tomb.