2020/2021 Winners & Shortlists


CategoryUse of Music Technology or Innovation

Why is this work relevant for Entertainment?

How many sounds can help you find your way while using public transport? For Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority (RTA), international creative music agency simplified the whole customers’ experience of navigating through the city, whilst making the journey exciting and enjoyable through sound. For RTA, having an ownable sonic branding strategy that allows them to engage with their customers even more, is also an opportunity to regenerate from the noise pollution we experience daily.


Established in 2005, RTA is the transport authority for one of the fastest-growing cities in the world. With hundreds of thousands of passengers making millions of trips every day, RTA is a key part of Dubai's everyday life. As a world-leading service that represents the future of transport infrastructure, they needed a meaningful approach to brand sound, something that would be flexible yet consistent for all touchpoints – from the ticket machines to closing doors and announcements. That's why we ideated, developed and deployed a sonic identity that builds trust and consistency across the network and represents the true meaning of RTA: a vital, beloved and vibrant part of day-to-day life. RTA's sonic identity, which now lives across their above-the-line communications, also needed to weave organically into the experience of using the network; a sound to be adopted by the people of Dubai to accompany each one of their journeys.

Describe the creative idea

To capture the heartbeat of Dubai, our team validated their ticket and hopped on all five modes of transportation. As experts in identifying distinctive and compelling audio, we were able to capture and record the sounds of each – from the acceleration of the metro to the hum of a boat engine. We also recorded sounds from Dubai city as well as the desert. These sounds were then mixed into samples and grouped into melodic, percussive and atmospheric sounds so that our composers would have a creative palette of playable instruments to work with. For example, the ‘Engaging’ adaptation is happy, family-friendly and fun - perfect for Product or App sounds. Whereas the ‘Transparent’ one is more ambient and ideal for background music at events, or for voiceover-heavy radio advertisements.

Describe the strategy

We developed a strategy that would not only ensure the sonic brand was consistent but reflective of the efficiency of the network and the future-facing energy of the city. Our breakthrough came from the observation that transport in each city has a very particular and identifiable sound. New York sounds like a mix of the subway, highway and police sirens. London is a synergy of cabs and bicycles. Bombay sounds like traffic and horns. Therefore, we had to discover and capture the sounds of Dubai to create a distinctive palette of sounds that were tied to the rhythm and melody of the city. This strategy ensured that the sound of RTA would be familiar and true to the city in order to build trust, and would link the brand sound intrinsically to the city. At the same time, it reflects the brand values and energy of their 6,300 employees.

Describe the execution

We worked closely to integrate these sounds into RTA’s above-the-line communications, and also work the sonic brand into the day-to-day touchpoints that punctuate the transport network. Over the last twelve months, RTA have been implementing the sounds across its network and they can now be heard across all modes of the city’s transport. The result was 465 minutes of audio produced and implemented across all the transport networks, including trains, taxis, buses, trams and boats, using the real sounds of the city which make up the sound of RTA, serving as an identity system for all communications. The strategy delivered an iconic sonic logo and brand theme that can be adapted for different marketing collateral and used as functional sounds incorporated into the very fabric of the RTA transport system.

Describe the outcome

We recorded 465 minutes of audio, which was remixed, produced and implemented across the network to be heard by 353,244 passengers making 1,6 million trips every single day. The sound of RTA is now the soundtrack to every one of these trips, becoming part of the sonic fabric of daily life in Dubai. We delivered a world-class sonic brand built from the ground-up with sounds unique to the brand. The sonic brand has become an integral part of RTA’s identity, rendering RTA the first government entity in UAE to have a sonic brand.


Name Company Role
Anthony Vanger MassiveMusic Project Lead
Roscoe Williamson MassiveMusic Creative Strategy