Inclusive 'love-bites': Lebanese food-chain features same-sex couple in advert
The online advert by Crepaway, which was shared on the chain's social media platforms on Wednesday, has been hailed as the first in the country to feature a lesbian couple cuddling by the seaside as the voice over says "and here's to never hiding your love-bites".
The ad, which runs in the English language, celebrates diversity and invites custumers to "come as you are".
Minutes after it was published, it quickly gained traction on social media, and has since been hailed by thousands of users for its inclusive message.
Initially, some speculated whether featuring a same-sex couple was intended by the advert.
When asked by one of the followers on Facebook whether including a same-sex couple was a move in support of the LGBT community, the restaurant responded: "Yes! We're all about inclusiveness, acceptance and support."
For the campaign producers, the idea of inclusiveness remains the overriding message behind the advert.
"The two girls are being perceived as either friends or a couple by the audience, and we're really supportive of both perspectives, as again inclusiveness and acceptance are some of the key values of Crepaway, our client," Wassim Haddad, new media director at WonderEight told The New Arab.
Haddad believes the advert, directed by Samir Syriani, reflects Crepaway's objective of celebrating all their customers.
"Our inspiration for the ad was the client's brief, which was to relaunch 'Come As You Are' with a campaign that promotes inclusiveness and acceptance, celebrating every single customer we’ve had over the past 33 years, and extending the invitation for years to come," he said.
"We're happy and proud so far of the reactions and the immense positive support that this work is receiving, and specifically the positive reaction nationwide to the referred scene."
Crepaway's bold move in a country - where LGBT community members are often targeted by police - was hailed by many across social media platforms.
"Commend you for the subtle push for diversity. Great guts, great job!" one Facebook user said.
"I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by this spot. Well done for challenging norms," another Facebook user commented.
"Even if it's coming from an enterprise that is only supposed to serve you crepes, salads and subs, this ad marks a milestone for the acknowledgement of the silent LGBT community in Lebanon by featuring a glimpse of forbidden 'love bites', a first on the scale of the Arab world," a Facebook user said.
"A huge step forward for @Crepaway and its all-inclusive spirit. Bravo @wondereight for a helluva job conveying that message," a Twitter user said.
The Crepaway advert also comes on the heels of other efforts as activists in the Arab world push to use social media to promote LGBT rights and raise awareness.
While a 2007 poll by the Pew Research Centre showed that only 18 percent of Lebanese people believed "homosexuality should be accepted by society", recent pro-LGBT activism has grown across the country.
Lebanon remains more tolerant of LGBT issues than other Arab states, although police still stage regular raids on nightclubs and other venues popular with the LGBT community.