3-D billboard advertising frenzy catching up (Focus on Media)

DUBAI - A new unconventional (3-dimensional) billboard advertising trend has gripped Dubai over the past one year. Eye-catching campaigns of Lipton Tea using two four-wheel vehicles (one on top of the other), the giant-sized oval-shaped Ford logo at Al Garhoud, a lifesize silver-colour Samsung Mobile phone near the Deira City Centre are just some examples of how such advertisements have made an impact on the brand conscious consumers in the emirate of Dubai.

By Meraj Rizvi, Asma Ali Zain And Zaigham Ali Mirza

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Published: Thu 7 Aug 2003, 12:02 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 10:11 PM

"The idea was to stand out among the hundreds of conventional billboards, aggressively advertising our products," says Rehan Merchant, Executive Director of Emirates Neon, one of the pioneering media suppliers in the UAE. Besides, the mileage we got from new innovative 3-D billboard campaign has been unmatched, he pointed out.

According to Mr Merchant, creative unconventional billboards are comparatively highly priced, but the client understands the need for creativity and innovation to get more mileage in the competitive market. "If the clients have the budget, they seek something impossible," said Mr Merchant, whose company is geared to deliver the impossible - right from the concept stage of the advertisement to its engineering and final installation.

"It did take us long to convince Lipton about the concept which was created by TMI-J.Walter Thompson in Dubai. But, today, the concept designed locally has become a global campaign for Lipton," Mr Merchant said.

Outdoor advertising budgets have been on the rise - with a small-sized company allocating a budget of the order of Dh100,000 annually for the same, while the budgets of multinationals cross a million dirhams annually. "With such budgets, we now have more room for trying out innovative campaigns and the 3-D concept is the outcome of such imagination, says Mr Merchant, stressing the unconventional advertising is appealing and environment-friendly and is here to stay.

He pointed out that in the next couple of months, Dubai will witness a number of 3-D billboard campaigns of products ranging from perfumes, cosmetics, cars to food and Emirates Neon is prepared to meet the challenges of the new trend in advertising. "We have been the trend-setters in the UAE with our first 3-D campaign carried out for Peugeot three years ago, followed by Carrier airconditioners, Ford and now Lipton."

Dubai has seen a staggering growth of nearly 100 per cent in outdoor advertising space over 2001-2002 and the trend is likely to continue with major international events, apart from the popular annual Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) and the ongoing Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS), scheduled during the next few months, Mohammed Al Noori, Head of Advertisement Section at Dubai Municipality told Khaleej Times.

"Apart from the increase in outdoor advertising space, we are also witnessing a growth of creative and innovative approach and ideas in this arena," Mr Al Noori said. He said that although the new trends in outdoor advertising sprouted in Dubai barely a year ago, they have proved immensely successful.

"There are some three 3-D billboards which will be installed in different venues in Dubai, while there are others of the mixed type coming up in many places. We have seen more of this type of outdoor advertising during the ongoing DSS," Mr Al Noori said. He, however, added that the section ensures that the specified technical guidelines and other requirements are complied with, in line with the Local Order 30 of 1986 on the Control of Advertisements in the Emirate of Dubai.

Apart from using billboards, several shops also display their products quite prominently, though on a relatively smaller scale. Giving details about the display of an engineless and tyreless car atop his shop in Industrial Area in Sharjah, the owner of Al Raghad Spare Parts and Auto Services, Hussam Ahmed said that the idea just struck him about six years ago and it has been quite successful. "I opened this shop almost seven years ago. Because we have many spare parts and useless cars, it just happened to strike me that I can display this car on top of the pillars in front of my garage so that my clients can spot my shop easily," he said.

Mr Ahmed informed that earlier several people, including the nearby shopkeepers, were amused by the display, but now everybody is used to it and it has become a landmark. He also admitted that the display did manage to attract new customers and still continues to do so.

Arvind Kumar, PR manager of a Dubai-based advertising agency, said that though unconventional methods were appealing and lure in customers, the slow and conventional method of advertising would always remain a popular form. "I admit that the unconventional methods are popular among the masses because of their nature of display, but I am sure that the slow and steady method of luring a customer will always remain successful," said Mr Kumar.

Another person from Welcome Advertising, who wished to remain anonymous, said that advertising was all about change. "The new methods coming up are bound to be popular because they have the power to attract and people are always looking for change. So whatever catches their imagination will become popular," he said.

Commenting on the growing trend of various types of mobile and 3-D billboard advertising, Mr Al Noori noted that the emirate has always been in the forefront in innovative ideas in outdoor advertising. "Being the region's hub for business, finance and leisure, Dubai is developing at a fast pace and with that the outdoor advertising is also changing and evolving," he said.

The municipality, which is the regulatory body for these advertisements, has "appointed consultants to look into the fundamentals and essential laws that regulate outdoor advertising and a thorough study is being carried out to formulate guidelines and clear specifications."

Mr Al Noori said that the section has been very stringent with its various regulatory requirements. While there is never a compromise on public safety, the section also never meddles in creativity of the advertisements, Mr Al Noori said. "In Dubai, creativity is given all the encouragement and space to blossom. We leave the creative part alive in Dubai," he quipped.

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