ABU DHABI MEDIA COMPANY Abu Dhabi, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
HERTZ RADIO Manila, THE PHILIPPINES
RAMA INTERNATIONAL LIMITED Dubai, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Why is this work relevant for Entertainment?
Type ‘Museums are…’ into Google’s search bar and you can probably guess what you’ll find. The first fill-in-the-blank suggestion is ‘Boring’. ‘Museums are boring’. Some connotations just stick.
The Highway Gallery turned this perception on its head.
12,000 UAE residents drive daily between Dubai to Abu Dhabi on what's considered the busiest, yet dullest highway flanked by the desert on both sides. We provided an entertaining, live audio-guided museum experience. Giant art pieces were placed every 10km. But that's not all. Every time their car passed by an artwork, their radio synchronized and surprised them with the story behind it.
Museum culture is not part of UAE culture. Even when UAE citizens travel to museum cities like Paris, London or New York, they’re not motivated to visit these cities' acclaimed art collections.
Because of its novelty, and it’s ‘first in the region’ appeal, Louvre Abu Dhabi’s grand opening successfully attracted visitors. But soon after, the museum became another landmark for tourists to visit, not a place for residents to continuously return to for inspiration or entertainment.
How could we convince local audiences/non-museum-goers that art and museums are far from outdated and boring, they’re actually fascinating and full of stories everyone can enjoy?
We set out to prove Louvre Abu Dhabi isn’t a traditional – or predictable – museum.
Describe the creative idea.
Coupling creativity with technology, we merged billboards and radio – two ‘outdated’ media –into one innovative experience: 'Louvre Abu Dhabi Highway Gallery'.
As commuters drove down the E11, the busiest highway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi and leading to Louvre Abu Dhabi, they encountered the museum's masterpieces like never before.
Every 10km, over 100km in total, drivers were exposed to one of the best museum's artworks featured on giant 9-metre high frames on the right side of the way. But that's not all. Every time their car passed by a frame, they were surprised by a 30-seconds story about the relevant artwork, broadcasted instantaneously on their radios.
Describe the strategy
We decided to create interest by offering a sneak peek into all that’s being missed. We wanted to disprove false assumptions about museums, and give everyone a reason to care about, and visit, this 21st century museum.
Knowing more than 12,000 people drive the Dubai-Abu Dhabi E11 highway every day, listening to their radios but without much to look at, we decided to use the highway and the radio to provide a surprising first-look into the museum. But we had to use them in a way that would reflect the nature of Louvre Abu Dhabi: contemporary; creative; a new perspective on art and humanity.
We developed the first ever radio-guided 'Highway Gallery', or the world-most-innovative and interesting museum esplanade. As commuters approached 9-metre-high billboards displaying masterpieces from the museum’s collection, their radios immediately broadcast 30-second stories about each artwork, proving just how interesting – and accessible – art really is.
Describe the execution
Here’s how it worked:
The museum’s iconic masterpieces were reproduced in giant frames and placed along the highway leading from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.
Next, each artwork was fitted with a solar-powered FM transmitter that synchronized the frequencies of the UAE’s top three radio stations’ with the museum audio guide.
And anyone who wanted to engage had the choice to tune in.
When approaching each artwork’s’ radio perimeter, drivers and passengers experienced the masterpieces like never before: right outside their windows, but also through an engaging story behind each piece, instantly broadcast through their car speakers.
During the official launch, hosted by the Department of Culture and Tourism and the Prime Minister’s office, reporters, celebrities, curators and social influencers traveled the Highway Gallery through VR headsets.
Intercity buses, taxis, and car rentals also supported the project.
Describe the outcome
+160,000 visitors - almost matching the opening month numbers, in the absence of all opening events.(1)
12,000 average cars reached daily.(2)
100+ kilometers from Dubai to Abu Dhabi covered with 900+ square meters of art - making art part of the UAE's background.
1,180% increase in mentions volume - making the museum part of people's conversations.(3)
31M Social Impressions, going from 330K impressions in only fifteen days.(3)
Free regional and global coverage - CNN called the gallery “first of its kind in the world”, Lonely Planet mentioned “Abu Dhabi became a lot more interesting” and The National called it “Highway to Heaven”.
The tech and media innovation is currently under consideration by government bodies to use it as a warning system that provides live safety alerts to passengers.
(1)Nielsen, Visitors Barometer, April 2018.
(2)Abu Dhabi Department of Public Transport, 2017.
(3)Crimson Hexagon, April, 2018.