To Mom with Love


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 cam­pain 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.

…the cam­paign was viewed on­line by 1,300,000 users and more 50,000 unique users en­gaged un­der the #sh­ta2tel­lik­mom.

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.

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