Dubai and Emaar’s new year con job

Picture: Khaleej Times via google.

Here are the highlights of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa new years eve show. No fireworks. A LED and laser show instead. And despite the inevitable hype from Dubai’s compliant media there were a lot of very disappointed people.

The big claim from EMAAR and the Khaleej Times is that “Emaar’s ‘Light Up 2018’ also clinched the Guinness World Records title for the ‘largest light and sound show on a single building,’ staged on Burj Khalifa, the global icon. The record beats that set in Hong Kong in 2013 on the ICC Building which was over an area of 46,641.52 sq metres. ‘Light Up 2018’ on Burj Khalifa, by contrast, spanned an impressive surface area of 109,252 sq metres (about 27 acres, the size of about 20 football fields) – more than double that of the earlier record set.”

But, the Burj Khalifa is three sided – the light show could only be seen on the single side that is covered in LED screens, which incidentally are used most days of the year. One side would be a surface area of only 36,417 sq metres. Rather less that the ICC building. Reality – Light up Dubai did not span the whole surface area of the Burj Khalifa. Far too many people saw no LED lighting at all.

The Guinness World Records people have been conned.

Some other notes:

The GCC flags are visible after 21 seconds. But they do not include the flag of Qatar. So the UAE managed to use New Year’s Eve to make a political statement.

If you were watching this from my old viewpoint in Executive Towers or anywhere in Business Bay you would have been disappointed.

Oddly, since part of the LED show was to acknowledge 2018 as the Year of Zayed anyone who was watching from the road named after him (Sheikh Zayed Road) saw nothing more than a few laser lights.

Finally the endless EMAAR advertising/branding is really not in the spirit of the new year.

A few notes from twitter:

Replying to @Epic_Blonde
Good for u that u r not here as we were next To burj Khalifa and experience first so disappointing the #LightUp2018 idea was disgusting campare to the fireworks 🎆. It was only 1 side show not all burj Khalifa as thousands of pps left so disappointed

A lot of people seem to be pissed off with the #LightUp2018 at The #BurjKhalifa. Was it really that bad?

Anyone else disappointed by the @BurjKhalifa #LightUp2018 Show? I don’t know what record they were trying to break. Most probably the “most disappointing NYE show”

Dubai’s #lightup2018 was terribly organized and underwhelming. We were misled into thinking we’re headed towards Dubai Mall when in fact, we were diverted towards #BurjPark viewing area – which had NO VIEWS of the laser show – just the back side of Burj Khalifa. #HappyNewYear -_-

Wow, booked rooms after seeing vids of last year’s show, so glad I didn’t shell out the $1000s for front row dinner for my family of 8. Don’t worry about crowds for NYE 2019- there won’t be any. #DissappointingDubai, #GoodbyeDubai, #WorldRecordBaitandSwitch #lightup2018

Replying to @BurjKhalifa @GWR
congrats. you received the world record in disappointing people from all over the planet during #newyear . #LightUp2018

Arguments that the light show was more environmentally friendly were put to rest in this tweet, from a film maker.

Please sum up resources, energy & damage of producing 118 tonnes of lasers & searchlights, LED panels of 1,1 mio pixels, 28 km of cables and 20 tonnes of special customised-steel mounting equipment and rethink what’s more environmentally friendly.

There is some video on twitter taken from Sheikh Zayed Road: the poster is best left anonymous.

Of course the Khaleej Times could not hold back its praise:

“the world’s tallest tower danced in ethereal web of lights”

“the entire Downtown Dubai was turned into an art canvas”

“The mesmerising laser, light and musical fountain show not only had a spellbinding effect on spectators”

The only world record being broken was that for excessive hyperbole.

The Khaleej Times article include quotes from expats :

Dubai resident of seven years, Jehan Keila Yrreverre, said the laser show was “a lot better and more enthralling than the previous fireworks displays.”

Greek expat Andrii Koleshmyk agreed and said he was “really impressed that Dubai is always keen on innovating.”

Neither of these people has any social media presence and neither exist in any google search other than related to this article. Now that may be a problem of just searching in English – but given their articulate English language quotes you would expect them to have some sort of social media presence.

I have been told that the first version of the Khaleej Times article had a publication time of around 11pm. So it was all written up in advance, which gives it the time stamp when the draft is saved. And then it was put online after midnight.

Meanwhile here are some quotes from the Burston Marstellar press release issued on behalf of EMAAR and prepared before the year end.

DUBAI, UAE, Dec. 31, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The UAE captivated the world this New Year’s Eve with a dazzling spectacle to usher in 2018.

Emaar’s ‘Light Up 2018’ also clinched the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS for the ‘largest light and sound show on a single building,’ staged on Burj Khalifa, spanning a surface area of 109,252 sq metres – more than double the earlier record.

Nonsense. How do these pr people live with themselves?

So I left my comment on the Khaleej Times article – I doubt it will get past the moderators.

“”‘Light Up 2018’ on Burj Khalifa, by contrast, spanned an impressive surface area of 109,252 sq metres (about 27 acres, the size of about 20 football fields) – more than double that of the earlier record set.”

Not true. The light show was visible on the one side, of three, that has the LED screens installed. So that would be a surface area of only 36,417 sq metres.

And – out of curiosity – just how long before midnight did you actually write this article and are any of the people that you quote real?”

My 2018 wish for Dubai – a little less hype; much less vanity and a significant dose of honesty. It would be a much easier place to like.

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