Having been the first to react to the announcement of the decree on with a post on Twitter featuring a number plate execution, here we followed up with a real-world stunt where we could capture highly emotional content - content that would have the power to challenge attitudes and change behavior. We set up a driving school for a day in a private car park, where women could legally get behind the wheel to experience driving for themselves, for the first time. Secondly, and this is where it got even more interesting, unbeknown to our brave female protagonists it would be the men in their lives who would actually give them their first driving lesson: brothers, uncles, husbands and fathers whom we had recruited and brought to the event as a surprise.
The Royal Decree encouraged most brands to jump on the bandwagon. However, we wanted to do more than get involved. Nissan wanted to be a genuine enabler and make a meaningful difference. So we set-up a real world stunt, that would generate a genuinely emotional content film - a film with the power to change minds and hearts. We were the first and only brand that gave women a real chance to drive - sure, they drove Nissan Altima cars, and it was in a Nissan-branded car lot, but the focus of the content we generated is what driving means to Saudi women, and significantly, how important it is for men to support their decision. By surprising our female learners with an unexpected instructor for their first driving lesson, we achieved this and established #shedrives as the unofficial hashtag of the movement.
We expected the campaign to be referenced and celebrated internationally, as was the decree. However, we wanted to effect attitude and behavior change in Saudi Arabia, especially amongst more conservative men in households.
The initial tweet, featuring the "GRL 2018" car number plate visual, generated 562,000 impressions and 8.8% engagement rate (benchmark for excellence is 2.5%).
In its first week, with a very small paid media budget, the content film generated 7.6m impressions and 2,064,300 views (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube), with 9.4% engagement rate (> 5% is seen as excellent). The viewer retention rate is 59% - YouTube benchmark excellence as 50%. Overall, people have spent 976,487 minutes watching the content, equivalent to 1.86 years of viewership, with 64% of the views coming from men in Saudi Arabia.
Earned media coverage on TV and online, including Reuters, CNN, Al Arabiya and BBC Worldwide, has been valued at over $2.1m.
The Royal Decree was met with delight from both within Saudi and across the world. It set the tone for how King Salman sees the future. Since then, we analyzed data, conducted focus groups and monitored social media to discover that there was still much resistance from conservative men. This had the potential to demoralize certain women and make them feel reluctant.
Sure, we wanted to give real women the chance to get a real taste of driving a car, but we also wanted to show how other men were supporting their decision. By showing other men supporting women's decisions and showcasing their point of view, we not only made a brave stand as a brand, but we started to make it feel normal. We directly promoted real Saudi men, who had different feelings towards the new decree, getting involved and supporting the women in their household.