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After the success of Stayin’ on Yas, Badr Bourji tells us more about the campaign

The campaign became Yas Island’s most successful advertising campaign in its history, being viewed 16 million times and shared by audiences 21,000 times over social media. Badr Bourji, marketing director, Experience Hub Yas Island tells more details about this campaign.

Yas Island Abu Dhabi has seen incredible social media results following the conclusion of its viral iconic campaign, Stayin’ on Yas. Following three friends as they channelled the Bee Gees in a staycation like no other on Yas Island, the campaign gained significant traction among UAE audiences. The sixty-second spot saw 16 million total online views, over 111,000 interactions and 21,000 shares while live for 10 days only, making it the most successful advertising campaign, in terms of audience reach and engagement, in the destination’s history.

Stayin’ on Yas was launched on social platforms on 25th July 2021 and was developed by the creative agency Momentum UAE, with support from Dejavu and Starcom

 

Badr Bourji, marketing director, Experience Hub Yas Island told Campaign ME more details about Stayin’ on Yas.

Where did the idea come from? (insights, strategy, thinking behind the campaign)

Unlike travel where the experience of the destination leads the decision making; when it comes to staycations in the UAE, it’s the hotel that acts as the gateway to the decision making process. We wanted to take a different approach to what was typically being communicated in terms of UAE staycations that mainly highlight resorts, tanning by the beach and lazing by the pool. By contrast, Yas Island promotes an active lifestyle as a dynamic destination, offering guests exhilarating experiences across a diverse range of attractions. As the region’s leading leisure and entertainment destination, we saw an opportunity to inspire people to demand more from their time-off by telling them: Break like you mean it. So instead of settling for the same old staycation, Yas Island lets you, your family and your friends enjoy everything, from record-breaking theme parks, racing, climbing and flying, to world-class shopping, dining, golfing and hotel stays… all in one destination.

Our strategic goal in a nutshell: Challenge consumer behaviour of seeking cookie-cutter staycation experiences to real travel & adventure worthy experiences. In order to achieve that, we had to break through the clutter and own the staycation message with a powerful and catchy campaign.

What was the process of developing the campaign? (Why the 70s, why Bee Gees instead of ABBA for example, etc)

One of our first challenges is standing out in our consumers’ mindsets as a viable and fun staycation choice. To do this, we needed a hero content piece that cuts through the typical category clutter and is relatable across all generations. We needed a piece that is memorable, out of the box, built for social and above all else extremely entertaining – we are the region’s leading entertainment destination after all. Our goal is to position staying on Yas as an extremely cool, playful and unique experience. An experience that is both timeless and legendary. By re-imagining the universally-loved Bee Gees song and adding a Yas twist to the lyrics and chorus, our objective was to get people to not only pay attention to our staycation packages but put us in an entirely different league compared to other offerings. The musical ‘earworm’ approach allowed us to turn the phrase ‘Stayin’ On Yas’ into a fun and unforgettable call to action.

What were some of the considerations/challenges of the campaign? (pandemic, rewriting the song, who wrote the song, BeeGees buy-in and royalties)

The campaign was a big challenge since its inception considering the surrounding conditions, but we saw in it a bigger opportunity as we looked forward to the future. The campaign was first presented to me by Momentum DXB three months into the pandemic, and you can imagine what the world looked like in June 2020. Lockdowns travel restrictions, mainstream fear; and here we are discussing a song with ‘Stayin’ Alive’ lyrics to be re-written for leisure purposes as COVID-19 ravaged through the world. The controversy, the feasibility, whether or not we were going to be allowed rights for the music, the uncertainty, the complexity of producing at the time and the concerns of how it will be received were all in mind.

Any interesting/funny stories during the process?

Despite approving the campaign instantly without a single change, I didn’t realize presenting the idea would require me to sing the script over a dozen times to senior people in the country and oh boy that was not at all fun for someone that doesn’t sing, not even to himself, ever!

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