du’s Innovative Ramadan 2016 Campaign Using Vogon: An EMEA Telco First

August 2016

du innovates with the Vogon tool to create customized variants of the same YouTube video for hypertargeting audiences - an EMEA telco first. Note: Vogon is a new technology that is not currently available for commercial use in EMEA. A successful trial was completed by a MENA telco.


Build brand affinity

Adopt a hyper-targeted approach during the busy Ramadan ad season


Used Google data to analyze video consumer behavior during Ramadan

Worked with creative and media agencies to develop 150 messages based on feedback

Transformed initial 5 second greeting YouTube video into 150 variations using Vogon tool


Campaign launched in 2 weeks from planning to execution despite video challenge

Overachieved user reach targets, with 80% user reach registered on mobile

A 23.1% ad recall uplift was registered within the 18-24 segment

Viewers of entertainment content saw a 24% uplift in du’s brand favorability

During Ramadan, advertisers compete to showcase and differentiate their brand amidst a cluttered landscape; to that end, du wanted to stand out by trying a new concept: Vogon. Vogon is a tool that creates multiples of a single video with slight customizations on each version, allowing for a hyper targeted and more personalized approach to advertising during the busiest ad season of the year. This is the first time Vogon is used by a telecommunications company in EMEA, as Vogon is currently a pilot program in EMEA and du's innovative experimentation with the tool was a pioneering trial run in MENA. It is a bold digital move of shying away from large productions and focusing on achieving one objective: building brand affinity with a subtle approach using online video.

The plan was to create customized variations of a five second greeting ad for Ramadan like the base video in exhibit 1, and then leveraging the power of YouTube targeting to deliver various messages that are relevant to the user interests and context. Simply said, du could then wish a “Ramadan Kareem” to a lady watching a dessert channel with a message that is entirely different to what a person who’s catching up on their favorite Ramadan series would receive - all done dynamically, in du’s native font and with the same video base.

Base Video: used for mapping hypertargeted message

Scenario (1): When a user is watching a video on how to make desserts


Scenario (2): When a user is watching a prank

Scenario (3): When a user is watching a Eurocup football video ahead of the Germany vs. Poland game

The challenge with the campaign was three fold. Firstly, what are users doing on YouTube in Ramadan so we can cater the right messages? Secondly, is it possible to scale the simple asset into multiple videos without the hassle of video production? And lastly, how can we achieve the right targeting to make sure that the message is 100% relevant to the user who's watching 

The Approach

To address the first challenge, Google Analytical teams analyzed user’s interest in Ramadan and developed real behavioral scenarios based on what users watch, what time of day they watch, which influencers they seek, etc. Accordingly, 150 scenarios were developed.

The creative agency Leo Burnett had to then take the copywriting challenge of developing 150 messages (both in English and Arabic) around every identified scenario. Messages had to be short, relevant and witty to deliver on the brand affinity objective.

“du’s use of the Vogon tool is a first in the region and a great example of creative and media partners working together to drive relevant brand communications,” said Danielle Jamal of Leo Burnett. “Leveraging the tool’s capabilities, we were able to push the creative boundaries of video through clever witty messages that helped the brand stand out, and, even more importantly provide its audience with a contextually relevant and memorable experience during the cluttered period of Ramadan.”

To address the second challenge, the Vogon tool was used to dynamically integrate the developed messages in the video in no time, using du’s font – delivering 150 different video variations depending on the scenario.

The third challenge was the most daunting – the whole creative effort would cause user confusion and negatively impact the brand if delivered out of context (imagine receiving a cooking message when watching a gaming video). The media agency team from Starcom developed and implemented a thorough targeting strategy for this video campaign in Adwords – with zero miss risk - leveraging topics, placements, and keywords targeting.

“Vogon summarizes the essence of intent based marketing as it empowers brands & marketers to be relevant in real-time. The tool saved all parties involved months’ worth of efforts while minimizing the room for error with a thorough media strategy. What more can a marketer ask for nowadays?” Omar Madi, Director of Performance Marketing at Starcom Mediavest. 

Delivery and results

The campaign – from ideation to being launch-ready – took two weeks with close collaboration between client, agencies and Google. Over 150 videos and ad groups were ready to be launched on the first day of Ramadan – spanning a period of 2 weeks.

The results were nothing short of expectations. The campaign delivered on the reach and exposure target thanks to the careful media execution. Mobile – as expected - took the lion’s share with 80% of user reach.

“Vogon allowed us to send the right video message at the right time targeting the right user. It’s like normal life where a customer served by name feels a personalized touch - we achieved that with Vogon.”

- Humaida Alkhalsan, Director of Corporate Communications, du

Brand lift surveys - running in conjunction with the YT videos - registered a 23.1% uplift in ad recall within the 18-24 segment – with even higher ad recall associated for users who were exposed to specific campaign categories (reaching 37% in time related campaigns). The survey also showed that users who watched the the entertainment ads registered around 24% uplift in brand favorability, i,e those users are having a positive opinion of du after watching these ads.

“Innovation forms the bedrock of everything we do, from our diverse operator services to the way we approach and communicate with our customers," said Ms Khalsan. "With Vogon, we took a collaborative approach, and worked as a team to ensure that this first in the Middle East message was clear, concise and that it wholly represented our brand in a very unique way."

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