Etihad brings Emirati identity with new ad campaign to celebrate National Day

Etihad has swapped Hollywood celebrity for Emirati identity in its latest advertising campaign to celebrate National Day.

The Abu Dhabi-based airline is about to launch a four-minute-long patriotic music video performed by the Emirati singer Mehad Hamad.

The video, which will go live across UAE media from tomorrow, features shots of traditional Emirati activities including calligraphy, falconry and oud playing interspersed with shots of Abu Dhabi’s modern skyline, dune-bashing and, of course, Etihad aircraft.

Entitled Hayyakum Fi Darkum, which translates as Welcome to Our Shared Home, the ad campaign is the result of seven months of work by an Emirati creative team and will run for six weeks on TV, in cinemas, on the radio and online on YouTube and the Shazam smartphone app.

Etihad declined to say how much it spent on the advert, which will also be sliced and diced into 15-second geo- targeted clips on social media.

Mehad Hamad, 55, is known for singing traditional Emirati folk and patriotic songs that are anchored by his rich tenor voice and rhythmic oud playing. However, Etihad said he would not be made a brand ambassador. It said the new video would only be made available outside the country through social media.

“This is completely different from any commercial before,” said Hareb Mubarak Al Muhairy, senior vice-president for corporate and international affairs at Etihad. “We featured Nicole Kidman for our international audience. But based on the market research we had done locally, doing a music video clip describing the Arabic poetry and calligraphy was the right approach for this advert and that’s why we used Mehad Hamad.”

Branding experts based in the UAE said that Etihad was among a number of companies putting out patriotic adverts to celebrate this year’s National Day holiday.

“Etihad is, and bills itself as, the UAE’s national airline so putting together this sort of advertisement on National Day indicates to local customers that the company identifies with the citizens of the UAE and understands what they are going through,” said Andrew Campbell, managing director at Brand Finance Middle East.

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