Shaqille O’Neal highlights the appeal of Abu Dhabi in 'Big News with Shaq' campaign by Serviceplan ME and Dejavu
Posted on 2022 Dec,19

Listen to the article

To announce their exciting event calendar for the winter of 2022, the Abu Dhabi Department of Tourism and Culture recruited famed NBA legend Shaqille O’Neal. 

Shaq is famously known for his love of Abu Dhabi, and the series of ads featuring Shaq as a news anchor borrow from Shaq’s quirky online personality for some ROFL fun, while the events are the true star of the show. 

The Abu Dhabi Calendar, much like the city itself is a very dynamic and exciting one. And each experience becomes a headliner event. So they wanted to create the gravitas around each experience, and the concept of merging Shaq as the new anchor to announce the upcoming lineup of events felt like a perfect match. It also helps that Shaq has followers across age groups and varied interests, because Abu Dhabi has something for everyone as well.

Titled ‘Big News with Shaq’, the humourous series of short films feature the legendary NBA player in a news anchor role highlighting the appeal of Abu Dhabi as a destination to promote the Abu Dhabi Department of Tourism and Culture for winter 2022.

Serviceplan Middle East created the quirky spots that were directed by Nalle Sjöblad with Production company Dejavu



Akhilesh Bagri CCO, Serviceplan Middle East explains: “It’s a busy time for tourism around the world, with COVID restrictions all but gone. The idea of taking a humorous approach to this campaign was a no brainer consider the comedy chops of Shaq. The challenge was to make sure that the content becomes a thumb stopper on people’s scroll. If bitesize content is king, we thought why not super-size it. This approach gives us a chance to post fresh content all through winter. We thank Déjà vu and DCT for giving us this opportunity.” 

Manasvi Gosalia, Executive Producer, Déjà vu adds: “As exciting as it is to shoot with legends like Shaq, the logistics involved in a run-up to it is always like walking a tight rope. We had less than half a day of shoot time with Shaq, understandably considering his packed schedule and travel. We found a way to find him mid-commitments and maximize that time to get the results we were looking for.  Of course, Shaq is simply flawless when the camera starts rolling, so that made things easier. The only downside to his perfect take after take would be that now we don’t have a bloopers reel.”



Title: Big News with Shaq

Client: Nouf Alboushelaib/ Director Of Strategic Marketing & Communications Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi

Client: Imane Zebrini/ Brand Unit Head - Strategic Marketing & Communications · Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi


Agency: Serviceplan Middle East

Chief Creative Officer: Akhilesh Bagri 

Creative Director: Andre Couto 

Managing Director: Natalie Shardan


Worldwide Executive Creative Director: Jason Romeyko

International Communications Officer: Lee Sharrock


Production company: Dejavu

Director: Nalle Sjöblad

Director of Photography: Max Smeds


Executive Producer: Manasvi Gosalia

Producer: Sampada Harkara

Executive Producer Authentic Brands: Jeremy Castro

Rolling Pictures USA Producer: Mark Maxey

Rolling Pictures USA Producer: Stephanie Holland


UPM/ Line Producer: Mark Maxey

Production Manager: Jimmy Ray

1st Assistant Director: Scott Carter

Script Supervisor: Ramona Taylor

Creative Director: Michael Fitzgerald

Production Designer: Rodrigo Cabral

Art Director: Katherine Thorpe

Big News Desk design & fabrication: Jenny de Jaager

Key Grip: Tomo Sasaki

Gaffer: Mike Wilson

Production Sound Mixer: Doug Horvat


Shaq stylist: Renee Brown

Shaq double: Elijah Everett

ABG – Shaq Associate: Cara Parks

ABG – Shaq Associate: Melissa Bergson


Post Production: Dejavu

Post Producer: Rafic Sawaya

Editor: Rizwan Maple

Grade: Faisel Merheb

Online: Dejavu