Posts tagged ‘social media campaign’

#UAEDressCode – A Social Media Debate

Two UAE nationals took the responsibility of raising the flag on dress code violations in Dubai. The campaign was launched on Twitter by Hanan Al Rayes and Asma Al Muhairi. They used the hagsh tag “UAEDressCode” and began educating Dubai residents and creating awareness on the norms, traditions and culture of the country and the emirate.

The campaign was launched during the month of May.  The hashtag #UAEDressCode has attracted many followers since its launch. And the campaign has helped stir a conversation on both social media and local media outlets. One question was raised across all platforms; should foreigners or expats abide by such rules. Users on social media labeled the initiative as a restriction on personal freedom, and stated that everyone should be free to do whatever they want in a city that opened its doors to an international audience.  The campaign became viral on Twitter and spilled over to different social media channels such as Facebook and various Blogs. The campaign is now at an international level and also transformed into an “off-line” controversy, when the topic was discussed in the Federal National Council on 12th of June.

Over a 45 day period (5th May – 18th June 2012) of monitoring, we captured a total of 10,025 conversations from the UAE. SocialEyez analyzed a total of 1,116 conversations when compiling this buzz report.

63% of the coverage was captured on Microblogs such as Twitter, followed by 32% captured on Social Network such as Facebook.  The remaining 5% was divided amongst Newspapers, Blogs and Forums/Message Boards.

The aim of the campaign was to educate the public on local traditions rather than enforcing dress code regulations for tourists and resident expatriates.  Furthermore the campaign’s language changed from Arabic to English with the growing local and international attention. The campaign received mixed reactions; few users loved the initiative and echoed its benefits across all social media platforms. While the remaining users thought that this was an unnecessary movement targeting the expat community.

The dialogue on social media platforms suggested that many expat women found the campaign to be “offensive” and that it represented women in “an unpleasant way”, making way for an anti-campaign movement promoting the belief in a free choice of clothing as a basic human right.  With the rise of the anti-campaign some users no longer wanted to be a part of the discussion asking for a conversation between locals and expats instead of a disrespectful argument on social media.

The change of attitude towards the law can be seen in a poll by “The National” on 13th June which showed that 70% of the respondents thought that a dress code law is required.  However on 23rd June, 64% voted that tourists and residents should be more educated rather than creating a law.  Overall the majority of people supported the campaign #UAEDressCode, users who conversed in Arabic were pro-campaign and encourage the idea of a law with 67% of positive reactions or support and no negative reactions (the remaining 23% were neutral posts with links to news articles about the campaign).

The subjects of the discussion are showed below:

Users who were pro-campaign encouraged the idea of covering up stressing that it was a matter of respect to dress adequately in UAE. 10% of the comments were written in an offensive way, and around 20% preferred a dialogue between locals and foreigners. Apart from tradition and culture a few discussions raised religion and that expatriates were to respect the fact that the UAE was indeed an Islamic country. A small percentage of users suggested introducing the abaya as appropriate clothing for all residents.

To prove the fact that foreigners do not wear “respectful” clothing in the UAE, many users stated that they saw “naked” women in malls and some even attached pictures to their tweets and posts.  The latter lead to further discussions as some active users did not appreciate looking at exposing pictures of women online.  Some comments also stated that a dress code should also be required for men, i.e topless and revealing shorts.  As a consequence of immodest clothing some users pointed out that, women get “evil” looks from men and this could be the reason for sexual harassment.

 

Users who reasoned the campaign (mainly tourists and expatriates) thought that lack of information and awareness was causing the problem. Some comments focused on the changing tradition in the UAE, asserting that locals themselves are not wearing traditional dresses anymore.  Moreover, shops for selling revealing clothes and the music and advertising industry are to blame for the origin of indecent clothing. These users requested the local community and authorities to educate expatriates and tourists on how to dress appropriately in the UAE.

The social media users who were against the campaign questioned the need for such restrictions and defended the expatriate community. Some users had difficulty to understand the priority of topics, as in their opinion there are more urgent issues that could be discussed.  They also accused the campaign supporters of being Islamists.

There were several neutral posts containing links to topics related news articles, and many comments contained a meta-discussion about the campaign, promoting the demand to trend the hash tag #UAEdresscode.  In addition to spreading awareness, organizational questions to the founders of the campaign were raised as well as a comparison to a further campaign (no2nudity).  Last but not least there were also some thankful comments which stated the success of the campaign and how it found its way through the social web.

Some examples tweets:

Conclusion:

Overall the topic “UAEdresscode” is not only interesting because of the content and the debate itself, but it also demonstrates the impact a Social Media campaign can create.  This campaign has been trending and is viral for longer than a month. It has spilled over to other media channels both online and offline and has made a difference in the real world, e.g. by triggering a fundamental social discussion in UAE’s headquarters.

Whether you agree or disagree with the act of policing people’s clothing, such a campaign seems unique because it was not launched by the governmental authority, but by two individuals, and their tools of communication was not conventional media like broadcasting and the press, but rather twitter. As a step towards education tourists and expatriates the Abu Dhabi authorities have now introduced an Ethics guide. A 14-point guide released by Abu Dhabi Police General Headquarters on the 5th of July, 2012. Omeir Al Muhairi, Deputy Director of Police Operations at Abu Dhabi Police GHQ  said “The code of ethics has been issued to ensure that tourists fully adhere to local rules and regulations, and do not upset the traditional and cultural values. The guideline has been prepared so the tourists have all the comfort and enjoy their visit at the same time ensuring the security of the society and respect of traditional and religious values”.

Scope Note:

The Buzz Report monitors trends and themes that dominate current discussions on various Social Media platforms. This explicit search was conducted globally with a special focus on the UAE about the campaign #UAEdresscode. The mentioned posts and comments were captured in both English and Arabic from the 5th May – 18th of June 2012. The keyword for the search was “UAEdresscode” in different spelling variations and hashtags and was afterwards checked manually.

If you are interested in monitoring any special event, political development or a certain brand/product we welcome you to contact us at info@social-eyez.com. We also appreciate any suggestions and improvements for this Blog. Also follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook-Page to get regular updates regarding future Buzz Reports.

Successful B2C Social Media Campaigns in the Middle East

Finding the right social media approach for your brand is a crucial point in the marketing strategy of a company. For successful companies the question is not whether they should be using social media or not, but how to do social media the right way. Clear trends show that brands simply can’t afford not to participate in this booming media universe. Last year 82% of all B2C companies were using social media and the numbers continue to increase. For B2B businesses this share was even higher, reaching 86%. Among the most successful brands are companies like Coca-Cola, Starbucks or Red Bull.

(source: Social Bakers)

As part of  the overall social media strategy many companies show a large variety of approaches to get connected and engaged with users online. Especially B2C businesses tend to show creativity in how to get the attention of their online audience. Businesses invest in research and learn from best practices to implement a social media strategy of their own, resulting in either a weak campaign or a winning campaign.

In many cases a successful social media campaign is simply based on a good idea and not a large budget. In this weeks Buzz-Report SocialEyez takes a closer look at few of the most successful social media campaigns with a special focus on the Middle East region:


The Just Falafel Facebook campaign

Concept: On their Facebook page ‘Just Falafel’ launched a campaign encouraging university students to submit a 120 second video on why the fast-food chain should support a specific academic goal. The page titled  ‘Help Us Help You’  offers a free scholarship to the winner who will get full academic tuition with all expenses paid for until a degree is secured. ‘Just Falafel’ puts aside approximately Dh 1.4 million. The campaign started on January 16th and will conclude on February 16th. Mohammed Bitar, founding partner of Just Falafel, explains the concept as: “We couldn’t spend a lot of money on our marketing plans initially and most of our business was generated through social media. Now we feel, it’s time to give back to the people who have helped us become successful”.

(Update: January 23rd)

Buzz: During the last few days the Just Falafel Facebook campaign gained huge social media attention. On Facebook ‘Just Falafel’  reached over 300,000 total “Likes”  and over 45,000 “People talking about this” (last Update February 19th). In just six days (January 23rd to the 29th) the site gained over 25,000 new “Likes”. Regarding user comments, the feed-back is overwhelmingly positive. For example Facebook Fan Ghislaine Justine stated: “I have shared because I believe that every single one of us has at least one talent, sometimes that we are not aware of or have not been able to develop because of financial issues, background, or just circumstances. I applaud initiative such as this. I hope one day I’ll have the cash to offer the same chance to someone out there.” Dubai based Fan Jessica Miranda added: “I think this project r really amazing, God bless to all the people behind this project.” Interestingly some users did not only show their appreciation for the projects but also actively tried to help and convince others to participate. Zeeshan Ramzan from Dubai advices others: “On Just Falafel page on the left corner it says Win a scholarship! go sign up there.”

The Just Falafal campaign is also a good example that a well realized campaign does not have to be limited to social media only. Multiple regional online-newspapers like the Khaleej-Times and gulfnews were reporting as well about the promotion.

The Hyundai UAE Facebook campaign

Concept: With the slogan “The Best Comment Contest”  Hyundai UAE launched its big social media campaign on Facebook. The basic idea consists of users “liking” the page first and then answering the question “Why Hyundai is considered one of the Modern Premium brands?” Every week the best answer with the most votes wins an iPAD2. The campaign is scheduled to run for four months. Khaled Issa, CEO of Hyundai UAE, describes the goal as following: “Strategically, Hyundai UAE wants to increase the awareness about its Premium Brand by engaging its customers and fans through an interactive and a rewarding contest”.

(last Update: January 31st)


Buzz: Compared to the ‘Just Falafel’ competition, the coverage of the Hyundai campaign proceeds relatively slow. Nevertheless the campaign has only just started and will run for three more months.  So far over 10600 users “liked” the page with 2100 users “Talking about this” (last Update February19th). The launch of the campaign was also posted in some online-newspapers such as albawaba and gulftoday.

The user conversations on the Facebook page itself were mainly about regulations and terms of conditions of participating in the promotion. User Abu Hassan asks: “Can you show me the steps how to do the invitation?” while Facebook fan Dennis Riverda complains about the rules how winners are selected: “Hyundai Admin – good morning..I am a supporter of the leading contestant in your I like contest, since yesterday we were campaigning for them but their score is not moving? why is that so? please answer.. thanks..”

Conlusion

As a conclusion for these two examples, the power and influence of social media campaigns becomes evidently visible. Many a times a good concept with the right rewards has the power to trigger a lot of attention. And this attention does not have to be limited to social media only. The examples highlight that well penetrated campaigns might even skip over to local newspaper sites and other media platforms. The key to success is not only a good idea but also a well organized implementation strategy. In the two cases described above the social media team of the brands were responding quickly, providing ample information and creating a space to communicate.

Scope Note:

The Buzz Report monitors trends and themes that recently buzzed on various social media platforms. This explicit search focused on the two social media campaigns from Just Falafel and Hyundai UAE. The mentioned posts and comments were captured during January 2012.

If you are further interested in monitoring any special event, political development or a certain brand/product we welcome you to contact us at info@social-eyez.com. We also appreciate any suggestions and improvements regarding this Blog. Also follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook-Page to get regular updates regarding future Buzz Reports.

Recent published Buzz-Reports:

Egypt Elections Social Media Summary

UAE National Day

Jailed Blogger: Maikel Nabil

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