Sanascope: Expo 2020, Emaar – A Branding Twist To New Year @Burj Khalifa

The world watched in awe as Downtown Dubai lit up in a breathtaking view of six-part firework, laser and record-breaking LED show to welcome 2015. While an estimated 1.5 million people, from all across the world, are said to be around the Burj Khalifa to experience the feat firsthand, scores of others sat comfortably at home to watch the event live streamed by Emaar Properties on its YouTube channel. I chose to stay home to catch one of the biggest New Year events Live. Perhaps not as much as the millions that were clamouring for space near Burj Khalifa, but I enjoyed every bit of the Live telecast too. Though admittedly, after the first five odd mins, I switched to Al Jazeera channel to watch the telecast. The size of the screen may have a role to play in that.

True to every superlative that Dubai stands for, the NYE celebrations at Downtown Dubai was reported as the biggest and one of the best celebrations globally, bringing Dubai in the same league as New York, London, Sydney, Paris and Rio. As I watched the sign-offs paying respect to the leaders of the Union, the flags of countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain apart from the honouring of the UAE flag, the logos of Expo 2020 and Emaar stayed with me. It was perhaps the marketing mind at work, but for me, while Dubai continues to beat other cities and create new records in tourism and New Year celebrations, Emaar Properties, the real estate developer behind Burj Khalifa got yet another perfect opportunity to promote itself, and to a global audience.

The NYE celebrations brought tourists from across the world to Dubai, and if interviews to the scribes are anything to go by, amongst the travellers were many who said they were looking to invest in property in Dubai or opt for the Emirate as their future home – meaning, prospective buyers. Aware of how NYE celebrations in Dubai helps build brand Emaar and attract investors and buyers alike, advertisements of the real estate giant played on the live streaming on YouTube and at the Burj Khalifa. Emaar advertisements were all over New Year celebrations in Dubai. Perhaps that is why just ahead of the New Year, Emaar revamped its organizational structure proposing to prepare for future growth.

At present, Emaar accounts for more than 18 per cent of Dubai’s gauge in stock market. End of 2013, Emaar Properties had registered assets worth AED 64.93 billion while in 2014 it announced one of the largest dividends by any listed company in the UAE of AED 17.12 billion. In the last two years, Emaar has launched its most ambitious projects – the Dubai Creek Harbour at The Lagoons in a joint venture with Dubai Holding, Dubai Hills Estate with Meraas Holding, the expansion of Arabian Ranches and The Opera District in Downtown Dubai.

The massive NYE celebrations were also used to promote Expo 2020 that the UAE is gearing up for. Though still five years away, the UAE markets are already associating with relevant partners to put together a massive affair during the Expo.

Despite the platform, the opportunity and the scale, not too many other brands were seen pushing themselves during NYE in Dubai. My friends, who waited for taxis till about 4 AM to get back home, tell me that some brands did attempt to connect with the crowds on-ground but nothing significant. The benefits of this platform were reserved for Expo 2020 and Emaar giving both the properties the biggest and grandest platform at the tallest tower. I still think if brands should seek a better plan to leverage such opportunities but as I said, it is the marketing mind that should be blamed for such thoughts.

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