After Egypt's ad agencies shut down for two weeks during the turmoil leading up to former President Hosni Mubarak's departure, TBWA Egypt's staffers came back to work full of ideas after long brainstorming sessions held by telephone during the days it was unsafe to venture out of their homes. For one project, called El Balad Baladna ("This Place Is Our Country"), TBWA is partnering with its household cleaning products client Henkel to help people make Egypt a cleaner and better place.
Every weekend, starting last week, volunteers will descend on a different neighborhood. Last Saturday, almost 100 volunteers converged on Batal Ahmed Abdel Azis Street, a road in the Mohandiseen neighborhood on the west bank of Cairo that protesters marched through last month on their way to Tahrir Square. The volunteers, wearing jeans and red jackets and face masks, scrubbed and cleaned the sidewalks and walls and painted over graffiti.
The effort is sponsored by Henkel brands Persil detergent and Pril dishwashing liquid. A TV spot by TBWA that Egyptian TV channels are airing for free explains the project, along with posters and a social media campaign on Twitter @elbaladbaladna and at facebook.com/elbaladbaladna.
Mahmoud Mostafa, marketing director of laundry and home care at Henkel-PDC Egypt, stressed in internal emails that the street-cleaning project is a corporate social-responsibility initiative rather than a brand-promotion exercise for Henkel.
To carry out the weekly cleanup and renovation effort, Henkel and TBWA are providing garbage trucks to dispose of trash, tools like brooms, buckets and garbage bags, paint and brushes, and Dac disinfectant and General, cleaning products made by Henkel in Egypt.