To celebrate the launch of Chicago as its 9th U.S. destination, Emirates Air Line and agency Atmosphere Proximity are launching a social media campaign that invites people in the Chicago area to spell “H-E-L-L-O” using pictures taken throughout the Windy City.
"The Emirates brand has a huge global presence, but in the U.S. they are not as well known," says Atmosphere Proximity's Michelle Parks McCourt. "Our challenge was to create a compelling, socially driven campaign that would not only introduce Emirates to Chicago but bring to life the spirit of our brand — Hello Tomorrow — in a new market. Our idea: create a cultural exchange between two iconic cities through one shared message, 'Hello'."
Each week on the airline's social media channels, Emirates is posting its own letter from Dubai (for example, an "E" written in the sand at Jumeirah Beach). Fans will be then asked to return the greeting by snapping a picture of the same letter in Chicago and posting it on Instagram, Twitter or the contest landing page using the #HelloChicago hashtag.
Emirates is giving away several pairs of round-trip tickets to Dubai and selected submissions will be featured online in a shared Hello message from Chicago to the world.
This social media campaign is supported with digital, out-of-home media, print and event sponsorships, all aimed at raising awareness that Emirates Air Line is launching daily service from Chicago to Dubai and on to more than 140 global destinations beginning August 5.
Moreover, the integrated campaign is designed to target both business and leisure travelers, although the photo-contest component leans more on raising awareness for the brand among leisure travelers, say Atmosphere Proximity executives. "The Emirates passenger shares the brand’s passion for exploring new cultures and taking a look at the world in unique ways so the task to capture their city in an unexpected way was a great way to reach those leisure travelers excited to see more of the world through Emirates."
Still, this campaign was a collaborative effort. Atmosphere Proximity worked with Havas for media and MSL for PR outreach to work with local business partners like Choose Chicago.
This is one of the first major projects since the agency was named the AOR for Emirates North America in 2013. Already, the agency had been working on the Emirates global business for about 8 years as one of its lead digital agencies. Atmosphere Proximity also collaborated with Emirates' creative agency Strawberry Frog for the brand launch of Hello Tomorrow.
As Emirates continues to add more gateways in the U.S., it’s possible that Atmosphere Proximity will leverage the social activation in other cities, say executives, but there are no plans yet.
Emirates Air Line spent $5.42 billion AED on sales and marketing in 2013-14, up from $5.27 billion AED spent in 2011-12, according to its financial filings; Sales and marketing were 6.9% of Emirates' total operating cost in 2013-14, up 2.9% year-over-year.