By the Panda and a bunch of helpers: So It was an awesome opportunity to be able to have some fun with a group of amazing people during Beirut Design Week. We decided to host a Guerrilla advertising workshop simply because it suits most what this blog is about: balls and purposeful irritation. The workshop held at the awesome Alt-City, started with a brief presentation about the use of Guerrilla strategies in advertising, showcasing some examples and making a clear distinction between Guerrilla and Ambient media. The Panda was there and helpers took charge of grouping the participants. We ended up with 3 groups and the work started.
When we started planning for the workshop, we insisted on having an outcome. You know all those workshops that present something taken from a search engine, yes? We refused to do that. The purpose was brainstorming together over the brief that clearly stated the following: participants need to: 1- create and develop a character to become the next apolitical president of Lebanon (could be anything), 2- promote that president using Guerrilla strategies.
And hell it was hard.
After a mix and merge of people coming from very different backgrounds (I seriously mean ‘very different!’), the groups reached 3 results and we managed to execute 2 of those ideas (prototyping and testing phase only).
Group 1: The next president is a woman called ‘Nabeela’ and she’s a random picture bought from Souk-el-ahad. Nabeela behaves exactly opposite to any politician. She says what politicians are scared to say, embraces her hypocrisy and channels it. Nabeela in a way represents a character that will break the norm, the cliches and the political etiquette to make a difference. The team planned to stage social media buzz, TV interviews faking the presence of this character and causing a serious dilemma.
Group 2: The next president is called ‘7azem’ (means firm), he represents the absolute non-hesitation in taking decisions. To promote their president, the team used reversed psychology and started questioning everything, alter street signs and intervene on public spaces to show the need for Mr.7azem.
Group 3: This group decided to play with balls (we had no say in that, they took their decision). The group’s president doesn’t really exist because to them, a president does nothing but ‘play with his balls’ (translated from Arabic). To promote their sarcastic approach to presidency, the team hit the streets with a chair and 6 eggs (also taking in mind the Lebanese insight of eggs) and challenged the crowds in Hamra to go creative and do whatever they want to do with a chair and eggs. The audience sensed awkwardness first (like duh!) yet some (mostly middle-aged) got the idea on the spot. In the end our society does identify with ‘doing nothing’ but that.
Feedback varied, and being a blog that stirs things up, we do take criticism unlike many, so here’s what Dany Njeim from TBWA-Beirut had to say (not edited):
Day one: It was nice to see young students and graduates (called ‘helpers’) managing the workshop and bringing it to life, we usually hear plans and ideas but never see anyone executing them. Even though, I expected to see an old person (to be helped by the ‘helpers’) in the domain sharing their experience and tips for success by presenting the Guerilla marketing in details, its evolution, how to generate it from an existing insight and idea etc.
The introduction was entertaining and fun, having the annoying Panda in the room, and seeing a cool infographic presentation of the Guerilla marketing with a few examples of it.Out of the sudden, time warp, ‘here the brief’.Such a type of media cannot be simply introduced in a few words, especially for people who are not familiar with the advertising domain. OKAY now we can all be creative but I thought the main reason of the workshop is to give an ‘intensive session of Guerilla marketing techniques’.The brief was simple, yet sensitive. ‘Representing the next apolitical President of Lebanon” by applying a Guerilla stunt down the street is not quite safe, especially at this time, in this city, this regime, during the late political/military clashes all over the country.Eventually, all the participants were shocked and felt awkward upon hearing the plan.Day two: Following the shock factor and being afraid of the regime who dragged a guy to the jail just because of his tweet, around 80% of the participants didn’t show up the next day for the obvious reasons.The application of the Guerilla down the street was not planned properly, was random and spontaneous; which led to the ‘we-all-saw-this-coming’ fail.So mainly, it was good to try, I am sure that the participants who were not related to the domain were entertained by the brainstorming session, but the few fundamental problems were the absence of a professional leader and lack of communicative information that were supposed to be declared containing the full schedule of the workshop.It was a really good move for a group of students, enjoyed your fun spirit; unfortunately that did not meet my expectations.
To wrap it up, we really enjoyed hosting this workshop. It was our first attempt to do something interactive and fun, to share experiences and brainstorm together. We truly believe that most of our readers are as opinionated as we are, and we’ve always enjoyed that to the fullest. The purpose was again to question and challenge ourselves and audience and go with them to the streets and get inspired.
Cheers to Alt-City and BDW13, to the Panda, the helpers, the sweetest Joumana Ibrahim for giving great feedback to groups and most importantly to you guys!!