Keep the Flame Alive


Issue 35 | June 2015


Leo Burnett Beirut

Creative Team

Chief Creative Officer Bechara Mouzannar Regional Executive Creative Director Malek Ghorayeb Creative Directors Areej Mahmoud Davina Attallah Art Director Nadia Deghaily Copywriter Lama Bawadi

Production Team

Regional Managing Director Kamil Kuran Head of Communication Peter Mouracade Regional Innovation Director, Levant Samer Shoueiry Innovation Director Tony Kayouka Communication Director Hisham Kekhia Communication Supervisor Diego de Aristegui Communication Executives Misbah Natour Raphael Jadaa PR Executive Ghassan Jawhar Junior Digital Planner Tina Sioufi Production Company Stoked S.A.L Managing Director PR, Levant Jo Chemali


November 2014


Lebanon went through civil war from 1975 to 1990.

It had always struggled to keep a balance between the different religious and ethnic groups that live there. The war in Syria had not just brought an intolerable number of refugees, it also brought new tensions.

But Lebanon had overcome all its difficulties once before. It could do it again, if the country remembered what it was capable of.


A message of hope was delivered to the nation through a TV commercial and an online film. It depicted a lone flame, which could not be extinguished by wind or by rain. The message was, "Storms will always pass but the fire inside burns on."

When people went online to talk about the ad, they were encouraged to create messages using the hashtag #KeepWalkingLebanon.

The most powerful of these messages were turned into art by a fire calligrapher, spelling them out in the dark in flames. Hundreds were used as campaign visuals and many were taken up and published in newspapers and on influential blogs.

Finally, on January 1st, Lebanon's leading talk show dedicated a two-hour episode to the campaign's content changing the show's title from the 'Republic of Failure' to the 'Republic of Hope'.


14,189,000 users were reached in Lebanon with 306,022 views of the online film. Around the world there were 38,400,000 impressions earning around $766,000 in media value.

Over 2,500 user messages of hope were generated. Four different publications changed their editorial stance in order to promote hope.

In a saturated market JW market share (Nov/Dec 2014), from leader position, grew by 19.99% vs. last year's 2.2% growth, +6.54 ppts ahead of category. Black label value share grew 31%, 10ppt faster than category. Red label volume share grew by 4% since campaign launch (source AC Nielsen).

Our Thoughts

Lebanon is buffeted by all the storms of the Middle East. Refugees and agitators pour across the borders and the man in the street watches the tensions rise with a grim fatalism. But the country’s ad agencies have long seen their role as giving a voice to the people, be it to fight corruption, political interference or, in this instance, defeatism.

It is brave stuff and many brand owners would have retreated in a fluster from a similar invitation to provide political comment. But fortune favours the brave and it is heartening to see that patriotic Lebanese drinkers have rewarded Johnnie Walker for its stance by drinking plenty more of its product.

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