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A reel legacy to be told, by Al Masaood’s Marwa Kaabour

Marwa Kaabour, Group Head of Marketing Communications at Al Masaood, explains how the Abu Dhabi conglomerate’s half century coincided with the UAE’s and how it produced a stunning film to celebrate twin ongoing journeys.

The UAE’s National Day has long been celebrated with immense fervour and lots of pride by Emiratis and expats alike. After all, this nation tells a great story of human ambition, conviction and resilience.

2021 marked 50 years of the UAE – a herculean landmark occasion and, coincidentally, 50 years for Al Masaood. The oldest family conglomerate in Abu Dhabi had to celebrate its golden jubilee with the nation.

Al Masaood’s success can be attributed to the UAE and its insatiable striving for progress; one can almost say the company depicted the country’s agenda for growth and perseverance.

The marketing team had to find a way to celebrate the company and the nation at the same time. Since the core of our business is industrial, logistical and transport, a lot of what we did was intertwined with the foundation of the UAE’s economy.

Through a short, documentary-style film, we captured the shared journey of progress by contrasting monuments and developments in the UAE with those of the industries we operate in; mainly transport, energy and construction. And because we did not want a reel that turns into beautiful footage of industries and landmarks, we brought in the human element in the form of different types of audiences we serve, young and mature Emiratis and expats.

The idea from the ground up

As the first step towards building the right communication direction for the campaign, we took the initiative of hosting an ideation session to sharpen the brand persona. The ideation session was intended to produce fruitful insights and a deeper understanding of the brand. The session brought together different groups and perspectives. What was most amazing about the brainstorm was how old the company was perceived as a person. Our founders may have passed away, but the youngest segment of our audiences – the automotive crowd – is mostly aged between 20 and 35 years of age. We needed to celebrate 50 years having the look, not of a wise old man, but a young, aspiring Emirati, one who matches the persona of our customers, and one to match our drive and energy towards further future growth.

The second consideration was to tell a story that covers all our market segments and offerings. As a highly diversified business, we needed to tie in the industrial segments, such as energy, power and logistics with the customer segment such as automotive and business services under one main theme.

The brief

Tying together all these strands into one uniform, nicely flowing story was the challenge we took to the market. We quickly worked on putting together a tender for an advertising and production partner to crystallise all our thoughts, directions and desired persona into one strong brand film that tells it all.

An intense two-month period followed with briefings, meetings, questions and clarifications to get the ball rolling on this project. At this point, we were still just at the proposal level.

An award-winning partnership

Winning our hearts and approval with their proposition, the tender was awarded to Cheil, who in turn partnered with Bazooka Films to creatively tell our story. True to their purpose, and with creative director Simon at the helm, the team devised a plan that creatively connected the Al Masaood brand with its array of businesses and global principles to the people of this nation, its history, journey and proudful grandeur.

Taking it to the reel

The final product of this grand plan saw a strong brand film where Al Masaood is depicted as a young, male, Emirati character (our protagonist), ambitious and energetic as we desired our organisation to be perceived.

The labour of five full days of shooting in 18 different locations, the brand film showcased the Group’s different businesses, linking the industrial side of the city to the more illustrious, the cultural to the more cosmopolitan, thereby portraying all the groundwork and development that the capital has undergone, rendering it as the perfect mix of past and present.

The journey of Al Masaood has seen its fair share of trials, and as this video was shot post the pandemic (being on its own one of the most unprecedented tests to the world), we resorted to strong words like ‘challenges’ and ‘setbacks’ in our storyline to indicate that it was never a well-paved road along the journey. Also, to depict the perseverance and resilience taken to carve our position in the market, we opted for words like ‘fortitude’ and ‘grit’.

In terms of audio-visual effects, we opted for a bed of classical music and implemented a technique of alternating between black-and-white, in an effort to showcase the historical milestones on our journey, and then swiftly returning back to full-colour visual tone and atmosphere to showcase our vibrant present.

Finally, closing with the question, ‘What more can be done together as one?’ holds true to the promise that our journey still continues. We have not reached our destination as we keep forging forward, connecting our trail of growth and development to that of our nation.