Friday, February 26, 2010

Did 'Dubai' do it?

I've been reading some of the reports around the world about the leak at Dubai Aquarium.

They often add the the old property crash/debt crisis/Burj Khalifa lift problem stuff, so they become very negative about Dubai. And of course it encourages the real Dubai/Arab/Muslim bashers to jump in with their comments.

Here's a classic from the Huffington Post for example:

"Coool! Dubai is the farce of modern society. They have everything.... but it's built with our oil money ..... they are NOT a modern society... they are the oppose. People still get flogged for kissing in public, jailed for infidelity, and any other horrific thing you may hav heard about; men whip women on the beach in bikinis, spit on them...and that's just the tip of the sand dune."

Anyone in Dubai recognise the place from that?

But I did enjoy a couple of the other comments:

"It was probably caused by a stray bullet from the not-so-secret Mossad hit squad.

Boy! When things go wrong..."


"Dubai has a lot of problems,,,,,,,,,,,,,, i.e. bankruptcy; closure of their new tower; this.

Is it possible that they themselves staged the hit on the Palestinian murderer to take attention away from its own problems?"

Anyway, that was really an aside, I distracted myself.

What I was going to post about was that while 'Dubai' is taking all the flak there's an important part of the story that isn't included.

'Dubai' didn't make the huge acrylic window, 'Dubai' didn't design the aquarium and 'Dubai' doesn't operate it.

The difference in reporting is interesting.

Buildings collapse in other cities but the stories aren't negative about the city itself.

Toyota has major problems and the negative stories are about Toyota. Not about 'Japan'.

But with the aquarium leak, and other stories about problems in Dubai, it's 'Dubai' itself which takes the hits. In fact, the aquarium problem must surely relate to either the designer and operator, Oceanis Australia Group, or to Emaar.

The viewing panel, which leaked, was commissioned under the supervision of Oceanis Australia Group. I can't find the name of the manufacturer, although there seem to be only three companies in the world capable of producing it. It's the world's largest acrylic panel, 32.8 meters wide, 8.3 metres high, 750 mm thick and weighs 245,614 kg.

When it was commissioned it was, according to Emaar's press release:

" the limit of production abilities by major acrylic manufacturers..."

It isn't in one piece though. If you stand at an angle to it you can see where the panels are joined. The panels are apparently fused with acrylic-soluble cement. From what I can gather from the stories it was a joint that was the problem, although the information is vague as usual and I could well be wrong.

I assume the panels were joined in the specialist factory, in Japan or wherever, which built it. Or could it be that the panels were joined here? That might be something that could be (but won't be) clarified by Emaar's PR people.

It would be good to hear from Oceanis Australia Group and from the manufacturer of the window about what happened and why.

I wonder if the PR people from the three organisations are talking to each other and getting factual information together that would stop the speculation...

Huffington Post story is here.

Emaar's original press release is here.


Anonymous said...

You reap what you sow!

If it were up to me, I'd demand my money back from the mechanism known as PR Dubai for doing a lousy job in selling Dubai to the masses especially in the West.

JiE said...

The city/emirate Dubai has created the brand 'Dubai' to market the city for tourism and business.
The marketing has then been done by linking spectacular projects to the brand, such as palm islands, malls with aquariums and fantastic buildings.

If many of these projects are interrupted, not even started or shows as failures, it is inevitable that the brand Dubai is hurt as well.

It is the brand that is hurt, and since the leaders have connected the emirate to this brand, the emirate is also hurt.

I have never seen any marketing of Japan linked to Toyota. (Though Dubai's electronic's stores still use "Made in Japan" as some sort of quality mark, like we saw in the 70's in Europe...)

So, indeed, you reap what you sow!

Seabee said...

I agree with you both, and it's interesting how the poor handling of PR has panned out.

Going along with the 'Miracle of Dubai' stuff that preceded the 'Dubai is doomed' stories we now get was a huge mistake and set Dubai up for the chop.

It's worth reading Alexander's post about the need for truth in PR.

The policy seems to have been to go along with the good stories, however over the top, and then rant against the inevitable bad stories as inaccurate and unfair.

The old mistake of believing one's own publicity.

Lack of understanding, lack of honesty, lack of transparency. All the things you shouldn't do.

Adam said...

You also have to balance out with the wishes of the people who own the places. And who installed, supervised the installation, who PM'd the thing. And what changes were made to the OG plan.

I hear lots of horror stories from my friends in the construction industry.