This campaign is relevant to the Media category because it involved a groundbreaking channel strategy that helped to make the world watch the UAE’s arrival on Mars. With just one ambient media execution in just one location, we helped the Emirates capture the attention of more than 82 million people, an accomplishment that would not have been possible without an inspiring and innovative implementation plan.
As a part of its space exploration agenda, the United Arab Emirates launched the Mars Mission and sent a probe to the Red Planet on 20 July 2020. The probe was set to arrive on Mars on 9 February 2021. This meant the country would be the first Arab nation (and the fifth nation worldwide) to arrive on Mars. The UAE government wanted to make sure that everyone in the world was watching because the Emirates Mars Mission’s Hope Probe would be the first probe to provide a complete picture of Mars’ atmosphere and share the information collected with the whole world.
The concept for the mission was ‘Impossible is Possible’, a reference to the many amazing things that have occurred in the UAE and to the difficulty of sending a probe to Mars given that 50% of the earlier missions to Mars had failed.
Describe the creative idea / insights (30% of vote)
Although not many people know this, Mars has two moons – Phobos and Deimos. These moons were in the probe’s line of sight during its arrival, so we decided to bring them to Earth to make the people of the UAE feel as if they were in space.
Describe the strategy (20% of vote)
91.96% of UAE residents are mobile internet users, and 98% are active on social media*. We knew that if we gave them a powerful image, they would have the tools to share it. So, during the first week of February, we made two mysterious rock-like shapes appear in Dubai’s night sky, and social media picked up on them quickly. Within a few hours, the videos had taken the internet by storm and this ensured that the media covered the ‘Double Moon’ phenomenon. After the buzz built up, we made a government announcement via social media and to the press revealing that the phenomenon was actually a projection of the Mars moons that were visible to the UAE’s probe in space. In the address, a government official invited everyone to tune into our live stream and watch the UAE arrive on the Red Planet.
*Source: Internet World Stats
Describe the execution (20% of vote)
The Hope Probe was scheduled to arrive on Mars on 9 February 2021, so we put the two moons in the sky over Dubai’s desert on 3 February.
Using super-realistic sky mapping projection technology that had never before been seen in the Middle East, two giant 70-metre cranes and a 40-metre holo screen, we projected two exact replicas of the Mars moons onto the Dubai sky. The screen and the cranes were invisible at night, and the moons – which were visible for miles – looked incredibly realistic.
List the results (30% of vote)
The results exceeded our expectations and helped us reach the UAE Government objectives. ‘The Hope Probe’s Arrival’ on YouTube was the most watched live stream ever in the UAE. The activation reached more than 82 million people, which is equivalent to more than 8 times the entire population of the UAE. With a single stunt executed over 3 days in just one location, we achieved over USD 8.2 million in earned media, and more than 380 broadcast networks in over 50 countries covered the story.