2020/2021 Winners & Shortlists


BrandEXPO 2020 DUBAI
CategoryNot-for-profit / Charity / Government

Why is this work relevant for Media?

Expo 2020 Dubai is a government organized event which has a very challenging KPI of 25 million visitors during a 6 month period. The expectations from the local visitors is 3 visits per person during event period. Regular media will not cut it through. Therefore, the best way to ensure we reach our target is by empowering local communities and ensuring that each group rallies behind the Expo 2020 brand.


Past World Expo’s were B2B events. For Expo 2020 Dubai we have to change that perception as this one is for everyone. It welcomes food lovers, art lovers, innovators, families, kids, entrepreneurs, you name it. To make the task more challenging, Expo 2020 Dubai is expecting to welcome 25 million visitors when the total country’s population is less than 10 million. As 27% of the total UAE population are under the age of 25, it is highly dependent on the young audience to deliver and influence visitation. For that purpose the UAE government initiated the Expo 2020 School Programme. The program is dedicated to creating programs and school curriculums that drive advocacy and commitment among schools and students across the UAE inspiring and empowering them to explore, create, and learn in a fun and immersive environment.

Describe the creative idea / insights (30% of vote)

Schools had to believe in the purpose of the Expo 2020. Expo 2020 Dubai believed that to build a greater nation it had to involve those who will shape the future. The children. If schools felt that their students played a key role in the formation of the Expo 2020 they would have more reasons to support the project and to rally behind the kids of their schools. The Expo School Program resonated really well with students but in order to sustain the enthusiasm, a more engaging initiative that is tangible and longer term would have to come to live. That was when the Expo Young Innovators came to life.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

Some of the world’s greatest ideas were born on the humble napkin. From the writing of popular novels, to the world’s first MRI! The idea was to show students that no idea was too small and that no dream was impossible. Students were asked to unleash their creativity to come up with innovative solutions to everyday challenges, starting with a single napkin sketch. If shortlisted, students are asked to submit their video showcasing how they would explain their ideas using regular everyday material. The winner ideas would then be selected to be showcased at Expo2020. The best way to empower and support the initiative is by reaching out to a niche audience of teachers, educators, schools and parents across the UAE. They were our focus and advocates in endorsing the young population. From media perspective, we decided to make the best use of digital and offline environments.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

To ensure we received the necessary hype yet minimized media wastage, we had to utilize very targeted media platforms. We pushed the activation on several digital platforms: targeted EDMs, social mentions, highly targeted SMSs, massive video activations, HTML banners and paid social campaigns with a direct call to action. We also used offline environments through specialized print publications and also collaborated with the top Arabic (Al Arabiya), English (Virgin Radio) and Hindi (City FM) radio channels who had RJs visiting schools to support and promote the Young Innovators Project. Schools started posting videos of the students that have been selected on their social pages, honoring them on school grounds and supporting them with necessary material to take them to the next round. Hoping that the little idea that started in a classroom in their school grounds will make its place in this mega event.

List the results (30% of vote)

11,500 website visitors, 6,800 individual and group innovations were submitted from 8,000 students. Feedback received from the school principals after the campaign are incredible with promising perspective on upcoming Expo 2020: “Really looking forward to bringing my students to Expo 2020 Dubai, I am certain it will be a fantastic learning opportunity for all of us. Countdown to Expo 2020 Dubai.” Campaign Reach: 1,140,000+ Campaign Engagement: 750,000+ Campaign completion rate increased by 18x, CTR by 2x and online submissions 3.5x compared to similar previous campaign. Overall the Expo School Programme engaged with more than 100,000 students, 30,000 educators and 800 schools in the region.


Name Company Role
Sandra Khawand Create Media Group Creative Team
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