Posts by Ahmed Mahjoub - Dubai

WWF urges UAE consumers to think about carbon footprint

In an arid, hot region, the prospect of a warmer globe is frightening, and our latest AnxietyIndex survey in the UAE found the impact of global warming is now among the drivers of anxiety here. But despite several educational initiatives from the government, consumers haven’t become significantly more green. There’s plenty of room for improvement: The World Resources Institute puts the UAE second only to Qatar in its ranking of countries by per-capita carbon emissions, reflecting years of an oil-rich economy growing at a very fast pace.

The World Wildlife Fund and the Emirates Wildlife Society are behind a visually compelling TV campaign to raise awareness about the link between the UAE’s carbon footprint and consumer behavior. A 2-minute-plus spot encourages people to “be wise about what you buy,” largely by purchasing more local products. “Choosing imported beef, for example, results in a cascade of environmental costs,” the narrator warns, then outlines what some of those are. The ad uses Visual Fluency (one of our trends for 2010) to draw viewers in, with animated newspaper cutouts illustrating the points.

The campaign seems like a good way to start dialing up existing anxiety and motivate behavioral change. It will be interesting to see whether local brands, which haven’t engaged in any real green initiatives so far, take up the cause.

‘This Is Dubai’ campaign showcases emirate’s human side

Much has been said about Dubai since its recent financial troubles and the challenges faced by its economic development model. A wave of criticism, with articles such as “The Dark Side of Dubai” by The Independent’s Johann Hari, hit the city. As the bad news piled up, residents’ anxiety kept rising. (For more on anxiety in the UAE, visit our Trends and Research page.) People were wondering, “What will come of Brand Dubai?”

This Is Dubai, launched earlier this month, is an attempt by the emirate to show the city’s human face. It presents an alternative to the global perception of Dubai as a city that’s home to the most ostentatious—the biggest, tallest, widest—of absolutely anything and instead shows Dubai as a place of determined spirits and cultural diversity. Following the Emirates Airlines campaign “Meet Dubai,” Brand Dubai is moving toward more transparency, dialogue and focus on its people over its construction achievements.

A focus on Dubai’s people is the right strategy to foster more positive attitudes both at home and abroad. The campaign is currently being heavily discussed across local social media—not surprising, considering that a movement of support has been gaining momentum on Facebook in the past year, with thousands of people expressing their trust in the city directly or conversing with its highest authority. The campaign should go further and let the audience contribute, detailing their own experiences and stories about Dubai.