GOVERNMENT OF UAE MEDIA OFFICE Dubai, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Social Behaviour & Cultural Insight
TBWA\RAAD Dubai, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
OMD Dubai, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
ITP PUBLISHING Dubai, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation?
July 2020 – when the world was witnessing a collective historic moment in the form of a pandemic, the UAE was gearing up for another historic moment – launch of the first Arab space mission to Mars. Instead of being a passive witness to this landmark event, we wanted people to become a part of it.
We created the #FirstArabicCountdown, world’s first-ever launch countdown in Arabic and invited everyone to share their version of it. Sparking a movement, it brought together people from across the region & beyond, garnering over 100 million impressions, 32 million views and 8 million engagements.
July 2020, T-16 days before the launch of the Emirates Mars Mission’s Hope Probe: The team of scientists and engineers at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre and the UAE Space Agency was gearing up for the culmination of 5.5 million hours of hard work, to launch the the Arab world's first interplanetary space mission.
Meanwhile the people in the region were just coming out of a lockdown and returning to a “new normal” at different rhythms.
In this challenging time, we wanted not just to raise awareness for this historic moment, but to give it its true meaning of hope for the region, to show that nothing is impossible, not even the dream of space travel.
And we had 2 weeks to do it.
Mass awareness & engagement were the key objectives, and hence the KPIs set were:
Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)
The Arab world has a rich history of scientific achievements, especially in the field of Astronomy. There was a time when Arabic was the lingua franca of literature, art, poetry and science. But in the recent decades, media & pop-culture have made Arabic a symbol of fear & terror.
We saw the first ever Arab space mission to Mars as a turning point in history – the perfect opportunity to not just reignite the pride in the Arab heritage but in the Arabic language itself.
This gave birth to our big idea – the #FirstArabicCountdown, the first-ever Arab space mission to Mars, launched by the first-ever Arabic countdown.
The countdown marks the final moments of years of collective effort and creates anticipation amongst everyone. We wanted to elevate the launch countdown to a rallying cry that unites people creating a feeling of shared pride, excitement and inspiration for the future.
Describe the strategy (20% of vote)
“This probe represents hope for millions of young Arabs looking for a better future. There’s no future, no achievement, no life without hope.” – HH Sheikh Mohammed said, on the launch of Hope Probe. Beyond the scientific objectives, the Emirates Mars Mission is a means to inspire the future Arab generations to pursue space science.
Understanding this facet of the mission led to three defining aspects of our strategy:
One, it wasn’t just about raising people’s awareness of the launch of the Hope probe. Our communication must inspire people & encourage them to get involved and become active citizens & residents.
Second, it needed to trigger the rich heritage of the Arab world & galvanize the people from across the region & beyond, not just the UAE.
Third, while the communication needed to appeal to people of all age groups, the focus should be on the younger audience.
Describe the execution (30% of vote)
Launched with an emotional manifesto film that addressed the pride in every citizen of the Arab world, the campaign invited people to share their #FirstArabicCountdown to the space mission.
A ‘Lens of Hope’ that incorporated audio, video and keywords to perform the countdown was produced on Snapchat to further engage the youth audience, allowing people to give the count down the go-ahead.
The campaign extended across different media, including social and digital channels, as well as radio. The Countdown aired in prime locations and landmarks, on the Burj Khalifa skyscraper, as well as outdoor displays, buildings and cinemas across the Emirates.
A number of local, regional and global influencers, TV and radio anchors and celebrities joined the mission including David Luiz, Jacqueline Fernandez, Gary Vee, Jay Shetty and Ahmad Helmi, encouraging non-Arabic speakers to learn the Arabic countdown and inviting people to tune in to the big event.
List the results (30% of vote)
1. Impressions: The campaign was able to garner 81million impressions, 30% more than targeted.
2. Views: The campaign video got over 22 million views on YouTube & other social platforms, a whopping 240% higher than estimated.
3. Engagement: The campaign got over 7.5 million engagements on social media with a 23% engagement rate, 92% higher than the benchmark.
In addition, we were able to achieve:
• 23 million unique reach across platforms
• Organically trending hashtag on Twitter
• Over 1.6 billion impressions on Twitter
• Organic participation from over 50 influencers with a collective follower base of more than 47 million, leading to more than 10 million views & 20 million impressions
Our campaign inspired millions of Arabs to see their own language in a new light and in doing so, we made the rest of the world see a different side of Arabic too – a good one!
Please tell us about the social behaviour and / or cultural insights that inspired your campaign
Arabic language has played a significant role in developing the cultures in the Middle East, Africa & Asia but also in the Western world. During the Golden age of Islam, it served as the language of poetry, literature, governance, art & most importantly – science. Astronomy was one of the sciences that saw huge advancements during the Muslim Civilization, making Arabic the language of stars.
Fast forward to the current times, continuous negative portrayal in the media & pop-culture has associated Arabic with being the language of fear, oppression & terrorism. Adding to this, the proliferation of western media, pop-culture & content has made it easier for many young Arabs to communicate in English. While they do learn about their culture & values, many of them don’t find Arabic cool enough.1
This led to our insight – Young Arabs feel close to their land but distance from their language.