Leo Q+A: Rana Khoury
Leo Burnett Beirut’s creative director shares the inspirations and commitments behind her transformational work
Going back to her days as a university student and the president of the Human Rights and Peace Club, Rana Khoury’s longstanding commitment to social justice has informed the work she does to make a positive imprint in Lebanon, and on a larger, regional scale.
Rana joined Leo Burnett Beirut as a copywriter, and now serves as creative director. This past year, Rana’s team won the D&AD Impact White Pencil and five Cannes Lions for ABAAD’s “Undress522,” which resulted in the Lebanon and Tunisian governments amending the laws affecting rape victims. This also contributed to the Beirut office winning Leo Burnett’s 2017 “Agency of the Year” honor.
Rana also lectures at the American University of Beirut’s Department of Media and Communication, and is currently establishing a social enterprise that links women survivors of gender-based violence and sexual abuse to job opportunities.
In one sentence, describe what you do.
We bring to life ideas that have an impact on life.
You were part of the team that won the 2018 Glass Lion for ABAAD’s #Undress522. What was it like working on a project that had a significant impact in people’s lives?
.#Undress522 is a very particular project, not only because it affects the world around us, but also and mainly, it improves women’s lives in our country and the region. It taught me that a powerful idea, coupled with a strategic partnership with our client and the people, could achieve real and impactful results. This reminds me of the power of communication and its beautiful side. I am proud of what we did.
Leo Burnett Beirut was named our network’s 2017 “Agency of the Year.” What did that honor mean to the office?
I think that the Beirut office has a very unique soul. Through tough times and hardships, creativity and high spirit have always overshadowed the difficulties.
This small office in this very small country has reached international headlines for campaigns we developed with both our heart and mind. And today, being recognized by the network is not only a tremendous honor, but also a very emotional recognition that comes from our big family.
How do you incorporate your commitment to human rights/social justice with your creative work?
I think both are closely interlinked. Great insights come from real life, real tensions. And big ideas can only impact the world around us and change human behavior for the better.
What takes a campaign from good to great?
People. When people adopt your idea as their own and talk about it, and engage with it, and appropriate it, it becomes great.
What do you do for inspiration outside of work?
I try to be active as much possible in women’s rights initiatives and meet extraordinary women from all walks of life who inspire me and fill me with insights.
I also observe my baby and his day-to-day evolution in all its details, and I am amazed by our humanity every day.
What’s on your to-do list for 2018?
Create a campaign that will impact the lives of children in our country. And it’s coming out soon. :)
What’s your favorite Leo Burnett work of all time?
The first one that comes to mind is P&G Always “Like a Girl.”