2020/2021 Winners & Shortlists


CategoryTalent: Digital & Social
Production PULSE FILMS Los Angeles, USA

Why is this work relevant for Entertainment?

The approach for this campaign is deeply rooted in film-making beyond marketing and advertising. The craft needed in writing, directing and editing this 7 min film lives in the entertainment world. In addition to this, the strategic approach to how we rolled out our distribution and launch lies in the feature cinematic world. Our cutdowns were trailers, we teased and then told the full story. This is a film you watch, are entertained by and positively influenced by. Like any great content it brings you on a journey, draws you closer to the characters, and leaves you wanting more.


Dubai - A city rooted in heritage, yet thriving on ambition. Whether as residents or tourists it’s a city that millions of people get to see, experience and love. But there is a whole world out there that doesn’t consider Dubai as a destination city. That has never seen its soul, its opportunity, its richness in character. To increase consideration, we needed to tell this story to the rest of the world; we needed to speak to the global audiences that this narrative hadn’t reached yet. The objective was to show them a different Dubai - a destination where experiences turn to memories to treasure and stories to share. We needed to capture Dubai's lesser-known dimensions for wider consideration. We needed to do so through authentic story-telling that would create a positive impact. We needed to create a narrative; a journey that people could see themselves in.

Describe the creative idea

A Story Takes Flight is about unearthing the soul of a city. Showing how you can visit a place for one reason, and yet find something different very different to what you came for. The film places three Hollywood stars into the heart of the city. Their individual journeys showcasing the depth and diversity of what Dubai has to offer. While mostly scripted, unlike traditional tourism marketing this needed to feel authentic. Our director was hand-picked for her immersive, unorthodox style. Gwyneth, Kate and Zoe ‘played’ themselves - a photographer, an art collector, an adventurer - each taking the viewer on a personal journey of discovery, capturing, the unexpected and the eclectic possibilities of the city. The theme is about how Dubai can help you find the best version of yourself through discovery. The message that Dubai is a city where stories are made, not just told

Describe the strategy

Dubai Tourism wanted to go beyond its existing largest inbound markets and reach new audiences - not a small ambition. There was recognition that breaking down some stereotypes was essential to changing perceptions. Our approach was to stay rich in storytelling. For tourism, we turned to the most basic form: personal journeys and human discovery. Equally cinematic and relevant to the category in theme, we took the viewer on a visually rich exploration, uncovering the many layers of the city Utilizing the global talent reach, the campaign was activated across 33 countries, in an array of digital assets from the main film, multiple trailers, celebrity-focused teasers, audio stories through to written articles. With the participating celebrities’ social media channels, providing global impact into the billions.

Describe the execution

This film is huge in every aspect. In its team, its cast, but most importantly in its ambition. How do you tell a diverse global audience that Dubai is a place for them?. We turned to the most basic of storytelling – journey and discovery, and did so in the most credible and cinematic way possible. We partnered with global and local experts to ensure this project delivered on its ambition. The level of expertise required to close parts of Dubai down for 6 days while working with 3 of the world's biggest stars was, to say the least, challenging. After months of planning, the project went live mid-November. Adopting a tease, tell, expand approach. Teasing with celebrity-focused trailers across social, telling the world the story through film assets across digital, TV, Cinema, and expanding on these stories through shorter films, audio clips, and articles on VisitDubai.com.

Describe the outcome

The campaign went live across 33 countries in over ten languages across many forms of digital executions and collectively had global impressions of more than 2.4 billion. During the campaign, we saw a 12% increase in audiences seeking more information at VisitDubai.com. This was directly related to the priority markets we targeted. Thus fulfilling our objective to influence perceptions positively to motivate consideration. By leveraging reach and influence and working outside of traditional tourism marketing narratives we found new ways for Dubai Tourism to speak to a global audience, inspire consideration, and show the city in its most vibrant light. The campaign performed beyond our intended KPIs. Thanks to global awareness and positive sentiment, the client has fulfilled their objective of getting a story to take flight.


Name Company Role
Dominique Delport VICE President International
Ciaran Bonass VICE Arabia Executive Creative Director
Oliver Woodley VICE Arabia SVP Commercial
Carl Jreissati Jreissati VICE Arabia Head of Client Service
Mahmoud Hassan VICE Arabia Account Director
Dubai Tourism team Dubai Tourism team Dubai Tourism team Dubai Tourism team
Reed Morano Director Director
Colin Watkinson DOP DOP
Kris Homsher Pulse Films Post Production
Davud Karbassioun Pulse Films Executive Producer
Hillary Rogers Pulse Films Executive Producer
Aristides McGary Pulse Films Producer
Natalie Parish Pulse Films Producer
Davey Spens Pulse Films Creative Director
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