Dubai Metro ad initiative rides into final stages


    The multi-million dollar Dubai Metro advertising campaign by the Roads and Transport Authority moves into its final stages with the approaching deadline of its launch on September 9.

    After the initial “My City My Metro” campaign, aimed at introducing the concept of mass transportation, the RTA proceeded with their “Connecting Dubai” campaign, educating users about its features and other complementary modes of transportation system.

    The authority that is responsible for Dubai transportation system has launched a massive campaign covering almost all the platforms, including print, radio and even outdoors. RTA did not disclose the cost of this campaign but it is believed to run into millions.

    RTA had earlier signed a commercial arrangement with Arab Media Group for advertising on all its platforms, newspapers, radio stations and TV channels.

    Emphasising on the impact and importance of the final stages of the launch campaign, Peyman Younes Parham, Director of Marketing & Corporate Communication of RTA said: “To bolster this massive project, a marketing campaign was unleashed in April 2009 in co-ordination with Saatchi & Saatchi – a subsidiary of Publicis Groupe – the fourth largest group in this industry worldwide.

    “This campaign paved the ground for many activities, structures and processes to deliver and explain the valuable services to commuters and the whole community. In order to make the most impact of the campaign on Dubai residents, an integrated strategy was adopted to merge various tools, concepts and marketing resources.”

    Explaining the agenda of the campaign, Parham said: “The core of campaign revolves around the findings of an extensive research carried out by the RTA in the context of DDP/IC Wilson Joint Project in the summer of 2008, which revealed a number of prevailing perceptions, psychological barriers and anticipations among people towards public transport in Dubai.

    “This information, which was directly derived from potential customers, had been utilised in enhancing the marketing campaign to ensure its maximum effectiveness.”

    The biggest challenge to ensure the success of Dubai Metro is to break the habit of people and convince them to use the mass transportation system.

    This too is categorically addressed by the RTA in a dedicated campaign highlighting the advantages of using metro.

    Explaining this specific objective of the campaign, Parham said: “The prime challenge confronting us today is how to orient and transform the habits of peoples. Luckily, this study offers us the proper platform to embark on a drive to win the hearts and minds of people, and explore how to educate them on the benefits that will accrue to them as a result of switching to public transport in general and Dubai Metro in particular.

    “Among the salient features of Dubai Metro campaign is the method through which we address our prospective customers. Dubai Metro, which will be the backbone of public transport in the city, has been designed to serve the city and its residents.

    “So it follows that Dubai Metro will be their natural choice; and this triggered the theme of the campaign ‘My City, My Metro’; as we all want Dubai residents to be proud of the Metro of their city.

    “The strategic marketing campaign of Dubai Metro has been divided into three phases, and in keeping with the ‘Friendly Stamps’ theory of Saatchi & Saatchi those three phases span the branding of Dubai Metro in a four-level trip: (1) from just known to somewhat known, (2) known for a positive thing, (3) known for a different thing, and eventually (4) known for something generally appealing to people, and here the personal link between Dubai Metro name and the people is generated.”

    Parham gave a breakdown of metro campaigns that are broken down into the periods with very specific agendas and objectives.

    “The initial phase was run in April 2009 to unveil the concept of the campaign and remind the people that Dubai Metro will shortly be launched. This phase established the structure of Dubai Metro branding; which in turn laid the foundation for communicating and launching the core concept under the theme ‘My City, My Metro’.
    “The underlying objective of the concept was to instill a sense of pride and belonging in the hearts of people towards the Metro, considering it yet another major achievement to be added to the impressive array of Dubai’s successes,” he said.

    The optical theme of the campaign visualises the smooth mobility and interlinks provided by Dubai Metro to people. The graphical content of the ad shows how Dubai Metro links the milestones of the emirate such as Burj Dubai, the Palm Island and Jumeirah Grand Mosque to name a few. A host of media outlets have been carefully selected to serve the strategic objective of delivering this initial message across to customers and lay the ground for the following phase.

    “Phase II aims at educating people through sending multiple key messages showcasing the basic benefits of Dubai Metro to a wide spectrum of the targeted audience. In the light of our researches and general objectives, these basic messages have been classified into messages linked to the brand, and practical tactical messages.

    “Messages linked to the brand feature several episodes such as the advanced built-in technology of all components of Dubai Metro project, safety aspects, gold class carriages, exclusive women and children compartments and several other services provided to commuters such as the freely accessible WiFi internet connectivity in all components of the metro system.

    “The practical tactical messages cover many aspects which include fares, tickets, schedules and station locations. This campaign will traverse advertising perimeters to involve government departments and stakeholders from the private sector.

    “Phase II also witnesses the launch of a key and crucial element of the campaign, where we will be moving at multiple fronts in co-ordination with the media and our partners. Considering the nature of ad messages, much emphasis will be placed on printed, radio and online media as well as public relation activities. Through Saatchi & Saatchi, we have tasked a renowned visual artist from New York called Josh Cochran to materialise the optical theme of our printed ads.

    “We have opted to adopt coloured drawings style for our campaign as it gives us a flexible and effective tool to deliver all our messages in a friendly manner. We have not applied this method before and we have a strong feeling that this campaign will capture the attention of the global audience, without compromising the relevance to the local audience in Dubai as well.

    “The printed ads campaign will be supported through radio channels as we have designed several innovative methods of delivering our messages in a stylish manner in co-ordination with our partner AMG. The campaign will master more support from diverse PR activities and other promotional tools to ensure the provision of handy and detailed information to travellers. In a nutshell, this campaign will have a unique and creative approach likewise the Metro project itself.”

    Commenting on the local contribution and relevance of the campaign, Parham said: “As this campaign has a national identity, RTA has teamed up with several local partners to boost the effectiveness of the campaign, which will witness a comprehensive and sweeping drive using multitude of traditional and non-traditional consumer touch-points.

    “Moreover, the campaign will be closely monitored personally by Kevin Roberts, Worldwide CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi and one of the prominent marketing & advertising gurus, as well as Elias Ashkar, Saatchi & Saatchi Mena Regional CEO.

    “This authentic follow-up will continue throughout all phases of the campaign.

    “Our objective of this campaign is to see people talking about how Dubai Metro has transformed their life for the better and that everyone feels the pride of using the Metro.

    “We hope these concerted efforts will prop-up our ultimate goal of making Dubai the greatest city in the world,” he said.

    By Vigyan Arya