Impact BBDO

AnNahar Newspaper
"The Elections Edition"

Client: AnNahar Newspaper
Product: AnNahar Newspaper
Title: The Elections Edition
Media: Print, Outdoor, Digital
Country: Lebanon
Date Of Campaign: Feb 2, 2022

Background: Lebanon, pushed past the brink of collapse, is suffering from historically high inflation that has thrown 75% of its population under the poverty line. Necessities such as food, petrol, medicine and even ink and paper are scarcer every day. Lebanon’s predicament is primarily attributed to a political class that has dominated parliamentary elections since the 1990s. A nation in pain hangs on to the frail hope that the upcoming election will bring critical stability and pave the way towards real change.In an outrageous and blatant attempt to obstruct the election, officials have complained that shortages of paper and ink needed to print ballots could cancel the upcoming elections. An-Nahar had a historical role in protecting the sanctity of free speech and Lebanon’s fragile democracy. As the newspaper strived to stay true to its essence, it was imperative to prevent the sabotaging of a decisive and long-awaited election.

Idea: How could we allow for a ridiculously trivial excuse, the shortage of paper and ink, to deprive an entire nation of its democratic rights? And so, An-Nahar decided to go silent for the first time in its 88 years of existence. On February 2nd, the daily newspaper did not go to print. Instead, the paper and ink that were to be used for that day''s edition were instead used towards a greater cause - the printing of voting ballots. Trucks delivered that days’ entire supply of paper and ink to the government’s printing associate.With this move, An-Nahar would send the Lebanese government a powerful message, showing the world that none of their reasons would validate any attempt to take away a decisive election from the people of Lebanon.

Results: The non-existent edition went viral with the nation supporting the movement on social media and taking part in their own way to safeguard the election. In a symbolic show of support for an entire nation’s cause, people made donations of paper, books, and magazines to the government. Lebanese magazines and press companies also joined the movement by donating printing provisions.The campaign was heavily covered locally by political shows, top broadcast channels and competing newspapers. Even election candidates joined in, offering support for the movement.The online edition that day became the highest-read in AnNahar''s history.Enough paper and ink has been donated from this movement to print ballots for the entire voting population of Lebanon. As of now, the Lebanese elections are scheduled to go ahead as planned. And the government has stopped mentioning the shortage of paper and ink to print ballots.

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