Who is Ryan Reed?
Avid traveler, amateur adventurer and full-time storyteller at M&C Saatchi UAE.
Ryan Reed joined Ogilvy South Africa as an Art Director and a few short years later, Creative Director. He received local and international acclaim for his work on Volkswagen, helping make it the most loved and awarded brand in South Africa. Appointed to the Board, Ryan helped build Ogilvy Cape Town’s reputation as the lead creative agency in the global network. He moved to Y&R Dubai as Regional Creative Director, working with an inspiring team that brought home 3 consecutive Agency of the Year titles, and a regional record breaking performances in Cannes. Ryan is now the Creative Partner at M&C Saatchi.
Creativity has no limits, it takes a lot of teamwork to create something that doesn't happen overnight.
Advertising agencies offer a combination of strategy, design, technology and advertising services to clients, and are staffed by creative professionals and are generally defined by their values.
Many destinations turn to them to ensure that their marketing work will establish a strong relationship with people and thus attract the right visitors to their destination.
That is what DCT Abu Dhabi did for its “Extraordinary Stories” campaign and Hugo Marcos spoke with Ryan Reed, CCO of M&C Saatchi UAE, to better understand the creative process behind of a successful series of stories.
HM: You have been invited to produce a successful tourism promotional video. Creatively, where do you start?
RR: With its people. They are the characters in a destinations story. They are the culture, the history, the energy and the beauty of a destination. Listen to their stories and your story writes itself.
HM: How was the creative process of “Extraordinary Stories”?
RR: Less process and more discovery. We set out on a physical journey to discover Abu Dhabi, from one side to the other. Stopping to experience the culture, the people and the remarkable stories each destination held. The more we journeyed, the more we discovered, the more extraordinary Abu Dhabi became as a destination.
HM: What were the main challenges during the creative process?
RR: The scale and diversity of the Abu Dhabi offering. How do you pack so much wonder into a short-form medium? The story was endless, the more we saw the more of it we wanted to tell. We shot enough remarkable footage to tell many extraordinary stories.
HM: What were the goals for “Extraordinary Stories”? In your opinion, did you reach them?
RR: To firmly position Abu Dhabi as the must visit destination in the UAE. Everyone knew our glitzy neighbor Dubai, but we wanted to offer up a more authentic and connected experience. The best of all worlds; culture, history, relaxation, adventure and excitement. A destination with its eyes on the future but feet firmly rooted in its heritage. A destination that captured hearts and minds and not just imagination. Based on the response and increase in tourism, I’d say people are eager to find their extraordinary story in Abu Dhabi.
HM: Can you explain us the marketing strategy of the “Extraordinary Stories” and give us some insights regarding the impact on the public and media?
RR: The insight and strategy was quite simple; people travel for a multiple of reasons, whether that’s soaking up the sun or some culture, getting your adrenaline fix or retail therapy, there is one insight that connects all; travelers want to create stories to tell. In the era of social media, those stories were even more important and being told in real time. With Abu Dhabi offering so many authentic reasons to visit, it was simply a matter of letting consumers know that whatever their reason, their extraordinary story is waiting for them in Abu Dhabi.
A solid Content Pyramid strategy was devised. Our hero film led the way at the top, leading down to a beautiful content series that unpacked Abu Dhabi for different markets, and then to partner and consumer co-created and curated content.
HM: What do you think are the trends that both advertisers and agencies are betting on in the Travel Video Marketing sector? How important is the story telling?
RR: Authentic experiences delivered through technology. Enhanced mobile experiences and VR technology with value placed on the emotional journey as much as the physical. Storytelling is crucial to marrying these worlds to create an unforgettable experience.
"A story that touches and moves the audience because it’s true to the destination. And if it wins, it’s proof that the destination is truly extraordinary."
HM: What key indicators do you consider to be the most appropriate to measure the success of a Travel Video Marketing campaign?
RR: Of course, an increase in destination searches, bookings and visitors was the aim. Other brand metrics such as awareness, affinity, sustained engagement and consumer propagation is essential. But it’s not bad getting over 23 million views on one YouTube film too.
HM: Awards give credibility, increase reputation, and help build customer trust. There are festivals specialized in rewarding Video Marketing in the tourism sector. What impact can have both the destination and the agency advertising the fact of winning a prize in an International Tourism Film Festival?
RR: Being awarded in a category as tough as tourism demonstrates the ability to tell a different story. One that’s original, relevant, beautiful and meaningful. A story that touches and moves the audience because it’s true to the destination. And if it wins, it’s proof that the destination is truly extraordinary.