Case Study: Emirates' European Music Journey

Emirates’s A380 aircraft


Emirates launched its first A380 aircraft in China in 2010, and it was supported by a heavy-weighted print & OOH campaign. However, our research showed that brand affinity and recall quickly shrank after the campaign finishes. This is because the aviation industry in China is saturated by domestic airlines, and it's a particular challenging for foreign airlines to cut through.


We were tasked to promote the 27 destinations in Europe where Emirates fly to. We identified peoples in Tier 2 & 3 cities in China were the key drive in travelling abroad, and our research show that they do not necessarily know much about or distinguish the destinations in Europe apart from the big cities like London and Paris, etc.


We know our target audience are constantly looking for inspirations in life and they are interested in others’ culture.


Music is a universal language that is powerful in connecting people and culture. Statistics also shows that people who are interested in other culture are more receptive to explore music from other countries. 


Since our audiences have little knowledge or haven't even heard of the destinations, we believe we need to connect with them by bringing our destinations live - via the universal language of music!


Our media-first innovation was to bring our destinations to live by engaging our audience with music.  

Douban page

We partnered with the China’s version of Spotify -, a social platform with high proportion of early adaptors and influencers from Tier 2 & 3 cities. Together, we created a bespoke branded music-streaming hub where we provided users an interactive map with playlists that associated with each of the 27 destinations. Users were encouraged to listen and vote a song from the playlist that best represent the destination. A live-updated Emirates playlist with the top voted songs was integrated on DouBan homepage to attract traffic to the Emirates hub.


To ensure we fully utilise the live data and integrate the insights in our communication strategy, we divided the 27 destinations into 4 different batches

  1. Culture & history

  2. Beach and sun

  3. Nature & Outdoor

  4. Shopping & Entertainment


Banner advertisement

Then, based on the individuals' voting preferences, we retarget them with message related to the destination and inspired them with similar destination idea via banners and social messages.   For instance, if a user voted a song for Nice, we served a retargeting messages about the flight info to Nice, and also provide them with suggestion – ‘You may also like Marta.’


To extend the campaign further, we allow users to share the song with their friends for a chance to win an Emirates trip to the destination that their chosen songs are associated with.


By analysing the voting result, we could see which destination was the most popular one amongst our audience in China, and which ones were up and coming.  We worked closely with creative agency to have weekly updates, used the insights from the voting result for determining the destinations to be featured in the ATL creative.



  • Recorded a total 6,000 shares and entries to competition, 200,000 times of listen to our playlist

  • Sales of flight tickets to European destinations were up by 80% and search for Emirates ticket on price comparison site and travel agency increased by 140% during the campaign

  • Research showed that brand affinity and brand recall of Emirates increased by 150% and 120% after the campaign

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