Cannes Lions


PHD, Dubai / undefined / 2015

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McLaren Automotive are a small global Supercar brand operating in the wealthy emirate of Dubai.

In 2014 McLaren asked to help launch the brands new model, the $300,000 McLaren 650S.

This was much harder than it sounds though as in the UAE Ferrari reign supreme. Not only do Ferrari have their own theme park, but culturally 'Ferrari' represents success to the target audience.

McLaren are a comparatively understated brand, with a budget 1/8th of Ferrari'. Nevertheless we were trying to build brand differentiation and considerateness, but with such an affluent and refined audience to reach, precision targeting for the launch was crucial.


Early on, we recognized that anyone with $300,000 to spend on a Supercar were likely to expect services on their terms and convenience. Given delivering test drives was the core campaign KPI, we needed a solution that not only reinforced McLaren's brand ethos but removed barriers in the path to purchase too.

With this in mind, we partnered with Uber a brand who share McLaren’s brand values of technology and innovation. Uber's top spenders living within defined, highly affluent areas of Dubai were each sent an invitation and promo code which would allow them to request a test drive using the Uber interface.

On the day of the test drive activation, three Uber branded McLaren 650S cars took to the streets of Dubai, driven by McLaren sales people who we’d trained as Uber drivers.

McLaren sales agents brought the vehicle directly to the consumers doors, and conducted a 30 minute test drive with the prospective buyer


In 3 days, 110 unique prospects (making over 7,000 requests!) opted-in to drive the car. It is important to understand these numbers within context, and remember that we were targeting a select audience based on High expenditure on Uber, cross referenced with their Geo-graphical location. These filters enabled us to reach a well-qualified audience, which standard Direct Marketing would take McLaren three months to reach the same volume of leads.

In total, 16 test drives were conducted – this would usually take 4 weeks to deliver the same volume and was only limited due to the availability of cars and budget for the campaign. We are already planning to extend the volume later this year, as well as roll out the activity in Saudi Arabia too.

Since the activation ran, Uber offices globally have expressed interest in re-running the campaign, and other luxury automotive brands have begun copy-cat activity.