Of the three spacecraft “racing” to Mars, the Emirates’ Hope probe was the first to reach the Red Planet on 9 February. It was followed by China’s Tianwen-1 one day later and the US’ Perseverance (scheduled to happen today). Hope left Earth from Japan in July 2020 and had to make a special maneuver in order to be captured by Mars’ gravity. The risky process was successful and the crowd was over the moon. Hope will orbit the planet for at least one Martian year — 687 days — with a mission to study weather events.
Such a historical moment had to be marked somehow: Public monuments, buildings, and heritage sites across the federation manifested their enthusiasm. For example, the Burj Khalifa turned into a bright “hourglass,” counting down to the big moment.
Another event saw two mysterious moons appearing in Dubai during the first week of February. The portrayed phenomenon — which raised suspicions amongst the public — was, in fact, a representation of Mars’ two moons, Phobos and Deimos — something that’s probably in Hope’s line of sight. Behind this astronomical wonder stands MullenLowe Dubai, which created it to drive people’s awareness around the UAE’s arrival on Mars.
Sure, such initiatives entertained the locals. But the UAE wanted to shout out about this significant milestone in their history and encourage the rest of the world to embrace this achievement of theirs. As such, TBWA\RAAD agency in partnership with the UAE Government Media Office and Dubai Airports decided to welcome travelers with an ink “carrying” a little bit of Mars in its DNA upon arrival.
“To commemorate this historic occasion and celebrate the mission’s incredible victory with the rest of the world, we have created a special stamp printed with ‘Martian Ink’ — made of basalt rocks found in the deserts of the UAE. This will be embossed on the passports of all the visitors to the UAE arriving at this time for a limited period,” said Khaled Al Shehhi, Executive Director of Production and Digital Communication Sector, UAE Government Media Office.
Visitors who arrived at the UAE airports on 9 February had their passports stamped with the Martian Ink. The stamp carries the image of the Hope probe orbiting Mars, all outlined in red. The stamp marks a new era for Arabs in time and space. Travelers were greeted with the “You’ve arrived in the Emirates. The Emirates is arriving at Mars on 09.02.2021” message.
The limited-edition ink is not actually from the Red Planet. It was born out of volcanic basalt rocks — found during a special expedition to the UAE’s Fujairah Mountains and Sharjah’s Mleiha Desert — which give the mountain ranges here a distinctly rugged look. These minerals share the same properties as those found on Mars and, once collected, they were crushed into a fine paste, dried in the sun, and combined with adhesives to form three different colors that represent Mars.
Client: UAE Government Media Office
Executive Director Marketing & Communications: Khaled AlShehhi
Social Media Manager: Latifa AlMarzooqi
Social Media Executive: Ghaya AlBannay
Editor: Sherouk Maher, Hana Shafeek
Chief Creative Officer: Walid Kanaan
Executive Creative Officer: Bruno Bomediano
Creative Director, Copywriter: Alex Pineda
Art Director: Osama Siddiq
Motion Designer: Zeina Abuzaid
Designer: Juliana Arboleda
English copywriter: Maian Alken
Corporate Communications Director: Romy Abdelnour