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Giant adverts on delayed Dubai tower to stay in place for another year

Dubai’s biggest improvised billboards look set to be around for at least another 12 months.

Al Wareed Advertising, which books the giant ads that hang off the site of the delayed Sky Spiral Towers project in Al Sufouh, has renewed its contract allowing it to hang ads from both sides of the building for at least another year.

The company, founded by Tarek Al Wareed in 2006, has been using the site since 2011.

Mr Al Wareed declined to state how much he charges for the ads, or how much he pays to hire the building.

However, he said the clients that have used it – including Apple, Kia Motors and – have been happy with the results.

“The return on investment is really good,” he said.

Etisalat has a 12-month contract for one side of the building.

The other side is currently vacant after Apple’s recent campaign finished, but Mr Al Wareed said clients need to pay for periods of at least three months due to the set-up costs.

“The location has a big production cost. The printing and installation of the artwork alone will cost over Dh300,000. It wouldn’t be feasible for the advertisers or for us to have it on a monthly basis.

“Printing and installation also takes time – two weeks. We can do it faster – it was requested by Apple and it took three days only.”

He claims that the wall banners hanging from the building are the biggest in the world.

“When I discussed this with Guinness World Records, they told me it wasn’t the biggest because there is a building wrap in Taiwan. I don’t know how many thousand square metres. But that is a building wrap, not a wall banner.”

The Dubai building belongs to Ahmed Abdul Rahim Ahmed Al Attar Properties, part of Al Attar Group. It started work on building a 45-storey building, with a pair of spiralling circular annexes at either end in 2007, appointing Cairo-based The Arab Contractors.

The building was meant to house apartments and complete by late 2010.

Mr Al Wareed said he knows that his rolling, 12-month contract for this site may not last for many more years.

“Hopefully if the landlord is not going to start doing the facade work on the building [by then], we will renew it for one more year. This will be there for another one or two years maximum – not much more than that.”

Requests submitted to Al Attar Group to give a completion date for the project were not answered.

He says he has been approached by landlords of other stalled projects, but none have the prominence of this site, with the Etisalat banner visible from several kilometres away.

Lisa Knight, founder and director of Dubai-based The Brand Foundation, says that prominent outdoor adverts – especially on Sheikh Zayed Road – are effective.

Her firm advises property clients including Asteco Property Management and a number of small and medium-sized property developers. She advises developer clients to use them “because, quite frankly, you can’t beat it in terms of exposure”.

She added that apart from placing television adverts, it is the most expensive medium, costing upwards of Dh1 million per month.

“If you’re advertising property, what people are looking for is credibility. If you see a large billboard – especially in a prominent position – you assume the developer is credible and has got the liquidity to afford such a large campaign,” she said.

“Not many of the smaller players take it up, because of the outlay. But you can’t achieve that kind of exposure by spending Dh100,000-Dh200,000 on Google adverts. It’s incomparable.”

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