Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) alumnus, Jad Ibry (BA’20) in Advertising and Marketing, has developed a marketing campaign that was granted seven awards at the Middle East Public Relations Association’s
(MEPRA) annual 2023 Awards Ceremony.
On behalf of Memac Ogilvy
, a leading creative agency in the MENA region, and Global Education Management Systems (GEMS), an educational institution operating in the Gulf region, Ibry submitted his innovative marketing campaign strategy, “The Alternative Alphabet,” which would later amass a total of seven awards at the 2023 MEPRA Awards Ceremony, in the UAE.
Deemed one of GEMS Education’s most successful campaigns, “The Alternative Alphabet” was awarded Gold for Best Campaign in the UAE, Best Integrated Campaign, Best Use of Digital Communications, and Best Campaign Demonstrating DE&I Initiatives (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion). It was also awarded Silver for Best Collaborative Campaign, as well Bronze for Best Use of Thought Leadership and Best Use of Content—Creative, Editorial, or Video.
Stemming from GEMS’ mission to mitigate the severity and prevalence of mental health issues within learning institutions, Ibry, alongside others, sought to establish a specialized alphabet and empowering language that would safely address such complex topics and eliminate the obstacles accompanying those conversations. The idea was that alphabet association would help people navigate mental health discussions easily, as is the case for young people who learn new words by associating them to a specific letter. After applying several approaches, namely interviewing individuals with mental health problems, as well as working alongside licensed psychologist, Dr. Sarah Rasmi, to design an informative poster, Ibry suggested taking it a step further.
Ibry decided to gamify the alphabet they had just developed; that is, he designed a fast-paced card game that would increase the speed of conversation in an accessible manner. Accompanied by his colleagues, Ibry devised the game’s objective, rules, materials, cheat sheet, and subsequently designed the packaging and appearance of the initial prototypes and boxes.
At a later stage, Ibry came up with the marketing campaign used to promote the product: he headed towards the Dubai American Academy
and shot a short film where he asked interviewees questions about their mental health. The aim was to showcase the difficulty of discussing certain topics and later demonstrating how easy this task becomes with the help of “The Alternative Alphabet.” With the support of GEMS and Thrive Wellbeing Centre
, Ibry organized a mental health awareness workshop where the game was officially launched and made available for guests to play. The positive response to this initiative was huge: “The Alternative Alphabet” was advertised on television channels, radio stations, news editorials, and social media platforms. Viewers commended the initiative shedding light on under-discussed topics. The overall feedback motivated GEMS to incorporate the game into their official curricula.
As to what this means for Ibry, the NDU alumnus takes pride in this defining moment in his career. Acknowledging that this rigorous project required balancing his marketing and design skills, Ibry reflected on his time at NDU, stating that it prepared him to handle projects and work seamlessly in a group setting. From providing market knowledge to introducing the know-how of current trends, NDU was Ibry’s stepping stone into entering a fast-paced domain and standing out. With this incredible achievement, Ibry has held high some of NDU’s core values, which lie in championing for mental wellbeing and raising a young generation of advocates. Fortunately, it seems that Ibry is set for additional success. Speaking to NDU, he insisted that “this is only the beginning for him.”
Jad, NDU is proud of your distinguished achievement. We wish you further success in your future endeavors!