Ashee Sharma

Over 5.7 million views in 5 days: Is this really a tourism ad?

Shah Rukh Khan says #BeMyGuest on behalf of Dubai Tourism. The three-minute-long YouTube video is being well received.

Dubai Tourism has launched a new campaign #BeMyGuest featuring Bollywood actor, Shah Rukh Khan. The three-minute-long film has been conceptualised by Nirvana Films.

Using a display of culinary, shopping, cultural and adventurous settings, the film captures the vibe of the city, and Shah Rukh Khan's dynamic relationship with it. It also brings alive the hospitable spirit of the city through the actor's candid interactions, as he plays host to Dubai's tourists and residents.

Over 5.7 million views in 5 days: Is this really a tourism ad?
Ad film-maker, Prakash Varma who worked on the iconic Vodafone ZooZoo commercials, has directed the film. Music is by Rupert Fernandes.
Over 5.7 million views in 5 days: Is this really a tourism ad?
Commenting on the association with Khan, Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), says, "Shah Rukh Khan truly represents the beautiful relationship that Dubai and India share. In line with our vision of hosting 20 million visitors per year by 2020, our tourism efforts are increasing every year, with a major emphasis on the Indian market."
Over 5.7 million views in 5 days: Is this really a tourism ad?
As one of Dubai Tourism's series of upcoming initiatives with Bollywood, one such being the Bollywood-themed park, this 360-degree campaign emphasises on nurturing the relationship between Dubai and India. Prior to its release on December 10, the campaign was promoted through a series of teasers on Facebook.
Over 5.7 million views in 5 days: Is this really a tourism ad?
Sharing his experience of working on the film, Prakash Varma, (in a Facebook video) says, "For any director it's always exciting to think something new. There's a lot of pressure to create something simple, yet memorable. It's all about the edit, the music... I am very happy with the stuff that we've got."

Sunitha Ram, producer at Nirvana Fims tells afaqs! that process was initiated in September when Dubai Tourism contacted Varma. The brand was also in talks with Khan.

"The brief was to make an exciting campaign to showcase adventure, beaches, family experience, local flavours and interactions through and with SRK. Varma wanted to make a differently engaging film and once the concept was finalised, his focus was on creating an environment to get the most genuine reactions for each of the sequences. That's the key to the film and the campaign - all reactions are 100 per cent real," she shares.

The 'cast' was brought to each location under the pretext of being part of a general tourism campaign. None of them were models or actors. It took a couple of days to shoot the film at prominent locations such as the Spice Souk, Sunset Beach, and Dubai Fountain.

The biggest challenge, informs Ram, was to ensure that Khan's presence was kept low key, even in crowded places such as beaches and malls. "We had planned it in such a wat that the movements (entry and exit at each location) of the crew, the selected cast and SRK were seamless. All we get is one take, and we had to ensure that no matter what, we get it in the cans! All in all, the process was much fun and extremely challenging," she adds.

Striking a chord...

Over 5.7 million views in 5 days: Is this really a tourism ad?
Karan Shishir Amin, head - digital creative, Cheil, says, "Dubai is known to be a shopper's paradise with the annual duty free sale being the highlight. This campaign presents the city as offering great adventure sports and food while taking it beyond being just a shopping destination."

According to Amin, Shah Rukh Khan as brand ambassador, adds a "premium and exotic touch" to the campaign. "His presence and sudden appearances among the people of Dubai brings an element of surprise and intrigue to the film," he adds while pointing out that the film does look a bit staged.