In November 2014, Abu Dhabi Media (ADM) took on a multi-channel overhaul, which has just concluded with its last channel, Abu Dhabi Sports, re-launched in early August. At the start of it all, ADM’s rebranding task was allocated to Les Folies, a multi-disciplinary integrated design house based out of Dubai. The same company was also responsible for the refresh of YAS TV, Abu Dhabi TV and Emarat TV, each of which was individually deconstructed and re-introduced this past year. ADM’s rebranding initiative was intended to reflect the immense amounts of change Abu Dhabi is undergoing. ADM wanted to reflect the capital city’s leadership role in a completely new positioning of the four channels.
Speaking holistically about the ADM reinvigoration project in a statement to the press, Obeida Sidani, cofounder and design principal at Les Folies, who led the creative direction on the project, said, “We flew in the best talents, technologies, equipment and specialist crew members to match the quality and breadth of output with the size and scale of this project. But, ultimately, it all boiled down to the heart of what each channel stood for and the stories we needed to convey.” He highlighted the fact that visual art was a key component of each channel’s fresh identity, as is typical of projects that fall under Les Folies’ direction. There was careful attention paid to each channel as collective and individual entities.
The idea behind the revamp of YAS TV – ADM’s local sports channel, which re-launched this past February – focused on the intersection of old and new, heritage and evolution, Sidani tells Communicate. “The dhow becomes a speed boat, the desert race transitions into a buggy, the falcon transforms into a bullet, each reflecting a different sport.” Released in March, Abu Dhabi TV, on the other hand, got a makeover that was visually conveyed through a display of landmarks around the city, while the voice of the Emirati people was the main focus for Emarat TV, which also re-launched that month.
Sidani notes that the whole project repre- sented a milestone for Les Folies, thanks to the creative freedom Abu Dhabi Media bestowed upon them: “Often, with such massive projects comes a great deal of inflexible and risk-adverse decision making toward untested creative ideas and concepts,” he says.
Beyond creative direction, branding and de- sign, Les Folies and ADM also worked closely throughout the development of a full rebranding campaign for the latest rendition of Abu Dhabi Sports, around one core message: “Every ground can be your playground”. With this in mind, land- mark locations around the city of Abu Dhabi – such as Abu Dhabi Corniche, Sheikh Zayed Bridge, Emirates Palace, Yas Marina Circuit and Al Bahar Tower, to name a few – were trans- formed into sports fields that focused on eight primary athletic activities: football, tennis, jiu- jitsu, fencing, MMA, sprinting, swimming and basketball. Bringing these activities to life in select unconventional locations, the idea was to call upon audience members for their active participation in the game.
Since it began, the entire project has spanned seven emirates. During this time, Les Folies worked with Filmworks, VIP Films and BPK Productions for a total of 36 image promos.
Talking about Les Folies’ work with Abu Dhabi Media throughout the rebranding initiative and the projects’ wrap, Sidani says, “With ADM, we were entrusted with redirecting the company’s branding and marketing strategy from a consolidated approach that re-imagines a distinct look, feel and story for each of the four channels.”
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