2020/2021 Winners & Shortlists


Short List
CategoryLocal Brand

Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation?

We took a direct approach to the way we communicate with our customers by involving the public in the creation of Etisalat's new Happy Alphabet. This encouraged positive interaction between brand and consumer, as well as business and other brands. Instead of simply releasing a new phonetic alphabet with positive words, launched an integrated campaign, inviting people to participate in choosing the new words and running competitions across several platforms - helping them to really experience our brand promise of 'Together Matters'


The UAE is looking to become the happiest place in the world, happiness is an actual national policy goal. Etisalat wanted to find a way that they could spread happiness and positivity amongst their customers. We identified their call centres as a place that people could potentially be frustrated and therefore an opportunity to make a positive change. Our operators were still using the military phonetic alphabet when addressing customers, which has many negative connotations, and in a country with over 200 different nationalities, we saw an opportunity to spread a positive message. Our objective was to create more positive interactions between our staff and customers, highlighting our efforts to be part of the government's happiness policy.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

We looked at the place where customers have the most potential to be frustrated, call centres, and decided to implement a new initiative where we could make our customer interactions a more positive experience. To celebrate the International Month of Happiness, we launched The Happy Alphabet. A new phonetic alphabet made up from positive words totally changing the way people communicate. This was a complete u-turn from the military phonetic alphabet that was used perviously.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

The UAE is a massively diverse nation, with over 200 nationalities calling the country home. We wanted to find a way to celebrate the nation's promise to fulfil it's obkective of being the happiest country on earth and bring a new positive way for people of all nationalities and races to communicate. Any and every Etisalat customer. Etisalat's Call Centres are open to any customer which gave us a great platform to execute this campaign - we had the opportunity to speak to the masses through one brand. We asked our customers to help choose the new words that would make up our alphabet by voting for their favorites online and on social media. Running radio and social competitions alongside an outdoor campaign, inviting the people of the UAE to come together and create the Etisalat ‘Happy Alphabet’.

Describe the execution (30% of vote)

We invited the people of the UAE to come together and create a world first ‘Happy Alphabet’. We ran an integrated campaign inviting our customers to help choose the new words that would make up our alphabet by voting for their favorites online and on social media. We utilised Facebook and Instagram to interact with our followers and start the conversation on social media. We set up a microsite where people could vote for their favourite words, the most popular of which would make up the new, positive, phonetic alphabet. We amplified the campaign with a radio campaign and competitions that allowed people to pick their favourites and win prizes in the process.

List the results (30% of vote)

15,000,000 Media Impressions 18% Increase in Social Engagement 12% Customer Satisfaction during the First Month 12,000,0000 Happy Customers

Please tell us about the brand in relation to the locality or market where the product / service is distributed

Etisalat is the largest telecom company in the UAE which allowed us to localize and execute the campaign the whole country. We worked with local experts in social sciences and linguistics to select words that had a greater positivity and meaning within the UAE, this allowed us to effectively use the right words for the campaign. We worked with people in call centres to regionalise the campaign and train them how to utilise the new phonetic alphabet in the best way possible.


Name Company Role
Dani Richa Impact BBDO CEO
Paul Shearer Impact BBDO Chief Creative Officer
Logan Allanson Impact BBDO Creative Director
Ben Griffiths Impact BBDO Associate Creative Director
Samer Khansa Impact BBDO Business Unit Director
Ali Zein Impact BBDO Executive Creative Director
Hisham El Gamal Impact BBDO Group Account Director
Mostafa Hashish Impact BBDO Senior Strategist
Mohamed El Shorafa Impact BBDO Account Manager
Tiago Cortez Freelance Senior Copywriter
Roberta Totaro Freelance Senior Art Director
Johannes Frederick De Beer Impact BBDO Senior Art Director
Chris Shearer Impact BBDO Copywriter
Irina Siraeva Impact BBDO Art Director
Shezad Ali Impact BBDO Animation Artist