When the royal decree granting women the right to drive in Saudi Arabia was announced, most car brands immediately started devising promotions and flooding the market with offers for the first women to buy a car. But the women of Saudi Arabia didn’t need offers, they needed confidence. It was an unprecedented opportunity for Nissan – a brand which stands for making the innovation and excitement of driving accessible to all.
Nissan Saudi Arabia seized the opportunity by creating a campaign that generated locally relevant, reactive and share-worthy content that not only mobilised the majority of open-minded Saudi men but also, challenged the highly vocal conservative minority, who were reluctant to give their support.
Our objective was to normalise the idea of women driving to all men in KSA, and in so doing, give women the confidence to get behind the wheel. We needed to fundamentally shift the attitudes and behaviours of men and women in KSA around the hot topic of women driving.
Describe the cultural/social/political climate in your region and the significance of your campaign within this context
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is intent on reforming and modernising Saudi Arabia, from a societal, cultural and economic perspective. Given the collapsing oil prices alongside the economic and social demands of and an exploding youth population, he’s convinced the time is now.
His Vision 2030 strategy aims to repudiate both the nation’s dependence on oil and its support of religious fundamentalism. One of the biggest tenets of his audacious plan is to stop the marginalisation of women in Saudi Arabian society. The first and most dramatic step was the Royal Decree announced on 26th September, which gave women the right to drive as of 18th June 2018.
Despite the decree being passed many conservative vocal Saudi men still felt reluctant to support women in exercising their new-found right to drive. Research stated 82% of women in Saudi wanted to apply for their license and drive; however only 32% of Saudi men supported this decision. Focus groups were commissioned to hear what Saudi women had to say about this, in their own words. They revealed that the negative sentiment around women driving was beginning to impact their willingness to act. Most women were adopting a “wait and see” approach.
Describe the creative idea
The idea had to demonstrate beyond doubt to real Saudi women that Nissan understood what the right to drive meant, and that Nissan was there to support and empower them now and beyond June 2018. After all, this is merely the first step on the path to a brave, modern new society in Saudi Arabia.
We planned to mobilise the open-minded majority, drown out the loud, opinionated conservative minority and persuade the undecided men of Saudi to support women’s right to choose. We needed to normalise the idea of women driving to all men in KSA, and in so doing, give women the confidence to get behind the wheel.
To bring the idea to life we gave real women of Saudi Arabia a first driving lesson to remember by using influential male members of their family – fathers, uncles, husbands, and brothers as their supportive and encouraging surprise instructor.
Describe the strategy
The Royal Decree was met with mixed reactions in Saudi Arabia. An official survey in October 2017 revealed 82% of women intended to apply for a licence and drive yet only a minority of local men (32%) were willing to support women of the family driving – 26% were against it, with a further 42% undecided.
The negative sentiment was infiltrating the mainstream and fostering a sense of reluctance and hesitation; yes, women still wanted to drive, but in their own words, at least half were going to “wait and see”.
We decided to tackle the resistance from the minority as mentioned earlier and deliver a healthy shot of confidence to two critical groups of people:
1)Vocal Traditionalists: The conservative and vocal majority of men, who were reluctant to accept women’s right to drive.
2) Hesitant Heroines: Women who were eager and excited to drive, but reluctant to take action.
Describe the execution
News of The Royal Decree broke at 11:30pm. An hour later, the "2018-GRL" Tweet was developed. Knowing Twitter is the leading social platform in Saudi Arabia for breaking news, this made the most sense.
To further cement the idea and Nissan's point of view, two 6-second films were posted on Facebook a week later: one showed the number-plate being pressed, the other a Saudi woman getting into the driver's seat. Other carmakers were now back to posting about their offers and products – the momentous nature of the decree all but forgotten.
The next step was the biggest; Saudi women received their first driving lesson from an influential male in their family. The content generated was enjoyed across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Finally, all Saudi men were encouraged to show their support by submitting driving tips under the #shedrives to a highlights album on Instagram.
Describe the results/impact
Generate Earned Media
“GRL 2018” Number Plate - *Over 562,000 organic impressions (+125% over Nissan benchmarks).
Online Driving Lesson Film – **4 million impressions (+19% over Nissan benchmarks).
Online Driving Lesson Film – **2.3 million views (+96% over Nissan benchmarks).
Earned Media & PR Impressions
Coverage on TV and online including Reuters, CNN, Al Arabiya and BBC Worldwide has been valued at 2.1M
Time spent with campaign film
**1.9M minutes watched (+48% over Nissan benchmarks).
Viewer retention rate - 70% viewer retention rate (+40% over YouTubes benchmark for excellence).
Engagement rate (likes, shares and comments) – 10% engagement rate (+100% over YouTubes benchmark for excellent engagement with content. "GRL 2018” Engagement - 8.8% engagement rate (+252% over Twitters benchmark for excellence)
Drive Positive Brand Sentiment
Overall positive sentiment on social media, despite the polarizing nature of the campaign.
Positive sentiment – 68%.
Negative sentiment – 13%