Cannes Lions


FP7/DXB, Dubai / SMARTLIFE / 2015

Case Film
Case Film






There are over a million blue-collar labourers in Dubai, building the dreams of the country (UAE) and its people. Brick by brick, nail by nail, they are also silently working towards their own dreams of giving their children a better education and hence, a better life. But even though some labourers hammer in over 200,000 nails a month, their salaries (as low as 200-300 USD) will never be enough for that dream.

SmartLife Foundation (an NGO for Dubai's blue-collar labourers, affiliated with the Community Development Authority of Dubai) wanted to help build their dreams.

So, we used the same nails the labourers hammer daily, and created SAPNA (which in Hindi and Urdu languages means "Dream") - a Wall of Dreams on a prominent street in Dubai during the holiday shopping season.

We invited people across the country to buy a nail for a minimum of 10 AED (~2.7 USD) and hammer it onto designated markers on the wall. This little act of labour gave people the chance to feel a fraction of the labourers’ efforts - and give back one nail at a time.

The wall's location (hotspot in Dubai) and its timing (the festive holiday season) positively provoked shoppers to contribute and support the cause. And as the wall was completed, the dream came to life, with all the nails forming the image of a child being handed a graduation hat.

At an absolute zero cost, the wall became a centre of attention, attracting 55 different nationalities from all walks of life, along with endorsement from popular Arab celebrities and influencers, as well as leading print, radio and TV channels, and international websites as far as France, Japan and Thailand.

SAPNA became a popular on social media with people's photos generating over 250,000 free social ads.

As a result of all the organic word of mouth, over $730,000 was generated in earned media.

The money raised will help provide a first-class education to the labourers’ children right up until graduation.

In 2015, the wall will be replicated in the UAE during the festive season of Ramadan and Eid, across the region (Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Ras Al Khaimah, Jeddah, Manama) and across key events in the UAE (such as Cityscape and Big 5) building many more dreams, one nail at a time. It has also been invited to 3 Asian countries to help support their migrant blue-collar labourers.

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