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The UAE’s Brilliant Marketing

I’m a huge fan of travel marketing and branding.

Maybe I give companies too much credit, but there’s something about a well marketed hotel, airline, or place, that instantly draws me to it. I’m not just talking about TV commercials and print ads, but there are other things that stay with me about travel experiences.

For example, if an airline has great boarding music, I almost always remember it. The same is true of a hotel with a signature scent (ideally a subtle one).

Some excellent companies market horribly, while some terrible companies market well.

Along those lines, I just have to stop for a second and acknowledge how damn good the UAE is at marketing. Feel about the destination as you may, but there’s no denying that the UAE knows how to market itself.

For example, check out these ads for Abu Dhabi:

Dubai is just as good, and possibly even better. This video has to be one of the most brilliant travel ads ever, in my opinion, and it’s played on every Emirates flight before landing (thanks to @leeabbamonte for posting about this a couple of days ago, as it reminded me just how much I love this):

I played it yesterday and Ford heard it and said “that was so good, play it again.” I played it again, and only then did he realize it was for Dubai, at which point he laughed (because his Dubai experience hasn’t been anything like that).

Seriously, the UAE does a spectacular job marketing the country as a destination. I’m not saying I think it’s necessarily the fairest look at the country, but then again, marketing rarely is.

Just to contrast that a bit, I think Singapore is a great country in many ways, yet this is what their tourism board came up with:

I just want to emphasize that the Singapore video is from 2014 (not 1998 — I was confused as well), which is just one year before the Dubai video immediately above it was produced.

Fortunately I think the recent popularity of “Crazy Rich Asians” more than made up for any bad marketing the country has had in the past.

Does anyone love these UAE ads as much as I do? What are your favorite airlines, hotels, countries, cities, etc., when it comes to how they market themselves?

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