Thought provoking, conversation led integrated campaign engaged Arab youth and rolled out across the Middle East by Abu Dhabi based team
4 June 2013: Hill+Knowlton Strategies (H+K Strategies), a leading international communications consultancy, has won the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) gold SABRE award in the multi-cultural marketing category for its campaign to launch Sky News Arabia.
Presented at the annual SABRE awards dinner on Thursday 30th May in Barcelona, Spain, the award recognizes the campaign's insight and understanding of Arab youth to drive conversation and engagement of this key target audience prior to launch of the pan-Arab multi-platform news network in May 2012.
The campaign, dubbed ‘AFKAR' (“Thoughts”), centered around a regional debate tour hosted by Sky News Arabia which provided a physical and social media platform for influencers, social media personalities and Arab youth to share their views and ideas on relevant topics that impact their daily lives.
Hill+Knowlton's campaign focused on driving conversation and interest among the 15-24 age group, a demographic that makes up over thirty percent of the region's population, prior to launch of the region's first 24 hour news network across four screens – television, mobile, tablet and PC.
The SABRE awards are the world's leading competition for the public relations industry, recognizing excellence in public relations and communications and celebrating campaigns that demonstrate the highest levels of creativity, integrity and effectiveness. This year the awards attracted more than 2,400 entries.
Sconaid McGeachin, president & CEO India, Middle East, Africa & Turkey of H+K Strategies, commented: “Insightful strategy, rigorous planning, a strong regional network and seamless execution were fundamental to deliver a campaign worthy of winning a prestigious gold Sabre award.
“AFKAR created a social movement that gave youth a voice and resulted in the rapid adoption of Sky News Arabia as the trusted news network of choice across online, mobile and TV. We're delighted that the Sabre awards, the Oscars of the PR industry, has recognized an innovative and integrated campaign that resonated with a young, news hungry audience in the Middle East, and drove action and results.”
Utilizing extensive external and H+K Strategies research, the approach combined direct engagement, social media, thought leadership and influencer engagement, underpinned by an intensive print media editorial campaign.
At least four social commentators – with opposing views around a specific topic for each event – were recruited to participate in live debates moderated by a different Sky News Arabia presenter in each location with a theme of ‘the role of identity and how that translates across countries.'
The 16 week long launch campaign delivered more than 500,000 “Likes” on Facebook and, more importantly, typically more than 25,000 “talking about” Sky News Arabia on the social network every day. On Twitter the network attracted more than 65,000 followers in three months from launch and is listed over 500 times. Sky News Arabia was a trending global topic on launch day, and these results continue to be reflected in increasing numbers of viewers and engagement.
This is the second gold Sabre award presented to Hill+Knowlton Strategies in the Middle East following the success of its rollout of the Dove Campaign For Real Beauty.