• Transform magazine
  • May 29, 2017

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Brand in Action: Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Open

Kristinsdottir lets fly on the first tee.jpg

What: Hosted by the veritable matriarch of the United Arab Emirates, Fatima bint Mubarak, the Ladies Open tournament in the UAE has become a world class golf event. This November, the best female golfers in the world took to the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club in the emirate of Abu Dhabi – an area known not only for its golf, but for its resident seabirds and flock of gazelles. The golf course provides amble sustenance for the sand gazelles that call the area home. In creating the branding for the tournament, global sports agency Wasserman, took inspiration from the surroundings and from Mubarak herself.

How: Wasserman worked with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council to create a women’s invitational tournament in the emirate. Men’s golf had been firmly established in the region, but there was opportunity still for homegrown and international golfing interest to take hold. A partnership with Mubarak was key to increasing interest among the Emirati audience, who sees Mubarak as the mother of the nation. The goal was, “To use golf as another platform to help create more healthy and active lifestyles in the UAE,” says David Collins, senior vice president at Wasserman. The partnership secured a three year deal with the Ladies European Tour, but also sought to encourage grassroots take up of golf among locals.

Why: The brand reflected the community-led nature of the event with a colourful, bright and cheerful visual identity that broke from the standard mens’ tour look. Wasserman also integrated aspects of Saadiyat’s location – like its famous gazelles – into the brand. “We felt that was a really powerful symbol of the location, but also what we were trying to achieve with the event,” says Collins. “We took a somewhat risky move by not actually including the word ‘golf’ within the tournament name. We felt that because of the influence and the degree of reverence toward our tournament patron, that wasn’t necessary and was a little bit more cumbersome.” That vision plays out on the 18th hole with a dramatic sea of magenta gazelles leaping toward the Persian Gulf. “I’ve never seen something as dramatic and as beautiful as that,” Collins says.