Building visibility through branded mall stands & kiosks

A few days ago we wrote a post on the recently completed Al Ain Photographia Award photography competition that we developed and managed for our client Al Ain City Municipality. As a follow-up, we’ll be dedicating a series of posts on various elements of the entire campaign – focusing on the conceptualizing of some of these campaign components with comments from members of team Zaman.

Today’s post is on the use of outdoor branding as a tool to create visibility to wider audiences.

For the campaign, our client wanted to create an interactive branded stand for the photography competition that would be staged in one of the popular malls in Al Ain City – Al Bawadi Mall.

The challenge for Zaman was to create a stand that was both visually intriguing and interactive but with strong focus an end purpose which was to inform the public about the competition and encourage them to participate.

We decided against going for the somewhat expected route of “shock & awe” often associated with mall stands that are disruptive and/or gimmicky in both visuals and function as a way to attract the attention of mall patrons.

After a few days of research and a few brainstorming sessions, we settled on a concept for an interactive stand that mimicked and in some regards added to the mall experience of patrons to a mall in Al Ain e.g. provide seating or enable kids to play, etc.

We explored a few international examples like the TKTS booths in New York and the “It’s in Your Head” installation by Berlin’s Magma Architecture.

Taking inspiration from these and combining them with factors such as the much smaller area of space we would have to work with we toyed around with a few ideas –(i) a small gallery showcasing images and themed showreels of Al Ain to inspire photographers about the competition, (ii) creating a miniature theatre-like stand with staggered seating facing a small screen which would run showreels related to the photography competition and Al Ain and (iii)a basic branded photo booth for mall visitors to take pictures of themselves, among others.

On weighing the pros and cons and also some cultural elements of how mall patrons in New York would respond to a themed mall stand versus mall patrons in Al Ain, UAE, we came up with a concept that took the best elements from all of our ideas and the result was the Al Ain Photographia Award 2011 mall stand seen below.

Made from steel for structure and painted mdf wood sheets for the body, the stand is 3m x 3m x 1.5m in dimension. To remain consistent with the visual elements of the entire campaign the same camera artworks used on the website, prints ads, etc were also applied to the stand. The competition brief as well as sponsors logos were added to the stand itself as well as in the leaflets available in the stand. We also designed an area with a laptop to encourage interested competition participants to immediately register on the website.

The mall stand was on display for one month and was located near the cinema area within the Al Bawadi mall, to tap the high footfall of young & working professionals, teenagers and families.