Creative in association withGear Seven

Burj Khalifa Becomes the World's Tallest Donation Box Securing Millions of Meals

Advertising Agency
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The initiative from Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI) with the Burj Khalifa and MullenLowe MENA enabled individuals, companies and charity organisations to light up the world’s tallest tower one pixel at a time

Within one week of transforming into the World’s Tallest Donation Box, Burj Khalifa beamed bright in celebration of securing 1.2 million meals to support communities affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

In May, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI), in collaboration with Burj Khalifa, launched the World’s Tallest Donation Box. The first-of-its-kind creative initiative put the iconic skyscraper’s 1.2 million lights up for sale to raise funds and provide meals for coronavirus-hit communities during the holy month of Ramadan. The initiative, produced in collaboration with MullenLowe MENA, enabled charitable organisations, companies and the general public to purchase lights, for as little as USD 3 each, to provide vital food aid for low-income individuals and families across the UAE. 

For every light purchased for USD 3 on the initiative’s website, one meal was provided, gradually illuminating Burj Khalifa’s 1.2 million lights, one at a time, as a message of hope and solidarity to the world. 

From the moment the World’s Tallest Donation Box launched, financial and in-kind donations poured in from all over the world, as the global community came together and heeded the call to shine a light of hope for those affected.   

Khaled AlShehhi, executive director of production and digital communication sector at the UAE Public Diplomacy Office said: “Our main goal for this project was to inspire people from all walks of life to give back at a time of crisis. Our creative approach placed emphasis on bringing people together to support those in need and make a difference in their communities and beyond. The initiative highlighted the significant impact of each small act of kindness. Each individual light shining on the world’s tallest building represented a vital ray of hope, ignited by the generous donations during this critical time. It gives us great pride to know that this campaign has succeeded to connect donors to those who have been impacted by this global pandemic.” 

Donors were driven to the campaign’s microsite, where they could donate and see their lights displayed among 1.2 million others, as well as track the campaign’s progress in real-time. Each night, a live update was projected on Burj Khalifa to display the number of lights illuminated, in relation to the number of donations received. In addition to featuring a real-time countdown, the website also displayed thousands of messages of solidarity and hope from people across the globe, in support of the inspiring initiative (see bottom).

Within days of its launch, the World’s Tallest Donation Box drew massive contributions from a number of private companies and multinational corporations including Amazon, VISA, McDonalds, Unilever, Atlantis Resorts, Masafi, MAK Holding, West Zone, Tristar Group, Chalhoub Group and Bin Sougat Group. The campaign also received thousands of donations from over 115 nationalities, who donated as little as USD 3 per light to provide a meal. Within just one week, the campaign met its target, illuminating the 1.2 million lights on the façade of Burj Khalifa, which, in turn, provided 1.2 million meals. The initiative supported the overarching ’10 million meals’ campaign, the UAE’s biggest food distribution drive dedicated to supporting those facing unemployment or major income reductions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The initiative attracted global media coverage with more than 300 TV and media reports reaching a staggering 723 million viewers, a figure which is still climbing.

Mounir Harfouche chief executive officer at Mullenlowe MENA, said: “It’s not every day a creative agency gets to be a part of such a human to human initiative, with a progressive organisation like MBRGI that understands the true value of creativity and is making such a real difference in the lives of so many. As an agency, we’re proud of this partnership; this project would not have been brought to life as quickly or as efficiently if it weren’t for the valuable role MBRGI played in its success.”

Paul Banham, regional executive creative director at MullenLowe MENA, said: "For every ten great ideas that any creative, or agency has, seven or eight of those will never see the light of day. That’s just the way things go. This is why passion and professionalism, coupled with a never-say-die attitude, are priceless in this industry of ours. What’s thoroughly gratifying about this project, in specific, is that two teams became one in a matter of hours. Both client and agency came together and worked tirelessly to pull off this hugely ambitious project. Because of this, we achieved what would have normally taken the best part of three to four months to achieve, in a little under three weeks. Ultimately, helping to provide 1.2 million meals for those most affected by Covid-19, while shining a beacon of hope and solidarity across the world that was seen by hundreds of millions of people."

The World’s Tallest Donation Box achieved success in uniting all segments of society for a humanitarian cause, strengthening the nation’s status as a beacon of solidarity and hope amidst the global fight against Covid-19. 

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