ASDA'A Burson-Marsteller wins International 'PR Campaign of the Year' Award for Burj Khalifa launch
The PR agency that kept the world guessing as to the actual height of the world’s tallest building has ended the suspense surrounding the winner of one of the PR industry’s most coveted awards.

Leading Middle Eastern public relations consultancy ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller picked up the International Business Awards’ title of ”PR Campaign of the Year” for its five-year campaign to launch the 828-metre high Burj Khalifa.  The agency along with winners from 28 nations was honoured at a gala ceremony held at Istanbul’s Ritz Carlton Hotel on September 27, 2010.

In a role encompassing communications strategy, multi-market media relations and hands-on event management, ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller partnered with developer Emaar Properties from the tower’s initial design phase through to its dazzling unveiling in January, 2010 before a live -global TV audience of millions.

Also known as the Stevies®, the International Business Awards are among the most highly regarded global PR industry awards. ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller saw off competition from a number of international PR firms, as well as communications teams from multinational corporations and government agencies in the “brand and reputation management category.”

Boasting the world’s highest observation deck on Level 124, the world’s first five-star Armani designer hotel, luxury residences and exclusive office suites, the Burj Khalifa is a testament to Dubai’s status as a global hub for tourism and commerce and more than justifies its bold claim to be a ”vertical city” and ”living wonder.”

Standing 828 metres (2,716.5 ft) tall, the 200-storey Burj Khalifa has more inhabitable floors than any other building in the world, a staggering total of 160.

Michael Gallagher, president of the Stevie® Awards, said: “The Burj Khalifa campaign stood out for its complexity, strategic approach and the scale of its execution across international markets to multiple audiences.

“It’s not easy to give a story legs for five years but the agency managed to do it. Brand and reputation management is one of the awards’ most hotly contested categories, which shows the quality of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller’s thinking and the extent of its hard work.”

Naaman Atallah, Chief Operating Officer, Emaar Properties, said: “ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller was an integral part of the communications team from day one, and effective client-agency teamwork is a critical aspect of every successful PR campaign.

“The launch of Burj Khalifa from a communications perspective involved a tremendous amount of planning but also the ability to respond rapidly to unforeseen developments and to think on one’s feet. ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller did a great job showing what a full-service agency is all about – providing everything from high-level strategic advice right down to rolling their sleeves up and getting the job done on the ground. Our congratulations go to the entire agency team.”

Sunil John, Chief Executive Officer, ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, added: “We knew that communications for Burj Khalifa would be a marathon not a sprint.

“The idea to withhold the final height of the building was conceived together with our client and it really proved a masterstroke, keeping the excitement of both the media and the public going right up until launch.

“Working with Emaar is a great privilege and the Burj Khalifa campaign has been a tremendous learning experience for both the client and agency. We all felt a sense of pride on launch day and in many ways Burj Khalifa has brought the people of Dubai closer to their city and the UAE as a whole. It’s always uplifting to receive recognition from one’s industry peers, but we regard this Stevie® award as the result of a wonderful joint effort.”

ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller has represented Emaar for more than a decade and was a key advisor on the positioning and communication of one of the world’s most ambitious construction projects from the outset, from the tower’s groundbreaking in 2004 to its glittering inauguration on January 4, 2010.

The 2010 International Business Awards received more than 1,700 submissions from organisations and individuals in more than 40 countries.

The winners were selected in two phases of judging, preliminary and final. The preliminary judges were recruited worldwide and assigned categories based on their experience. The final judging was done by Members of the Board of Distinguished Judges and Advisors of the International Business Awards, and other handpicked business leaders from around the world.

Nicknamed the Stevies® from the Greek word for ”crowned”, the awards are approximately 16 inches tall, hand cast and finished in 24-karat gold and depict an individual holding a crystal pyramid.