With reduced working hours and more time spent at home, media consumption increases massively in the Arab world during Ramadan.
This clearly presents a huge opportunity to engage with our audiences and extend our reach – more people are online, and these people are actively searching already, and therefore more open and receptive to our messages – but what should we be saying and how should we say it?
During Ramadan, more hours are spent on social media, watching TV and flicking through newspapers and magazines. Whilst a lot of this activity is focussed around searches for recipes and cooking tips, restaurants for Iftar, gift/shopping inspiration, and TV drama series; travel and hospitality take the spotlight towards the end of the month as people prepare for the Eid holiday.
The Holy Month is an incredibly important time for Muslims, and trying to push a commercial agenda goes against the spirit of this period, unless it is undertaken with sensitivity and respect. With that in mind, we’ve shared a couple of our favourite Ramadan communications that we’ve seen so far – that go beyond a commercial message and marketing gimmick to add an authentic message and make a difference:
Careem have done it again, by looking at ways they can genuinely add value to their community, in a way that is relevant to their business.
The ride-hailing app that was recently acquired by Uber has introduced a way for customers to donate food to the UAE Food Bank. The app has been updated to give people the option to select ‘UAE Food Bank’ from the ‘Car Type’ menu, they can then enter their address as the pick up location and a delivery bike will pick up the food and deliver to the food bank fridge that the customer had selected – at no cost to the customer. They’re also offering the option to donate points from their Rewards Programme.
This campaign is the best that we have seen this Ramadan, and one of the things that make it even more appealing, is that it hasn’t been used as a marketing stunt. Messages were sent to customers and across social media, but there was no mass advertising. It’s such a fantastic initiative, it would have been good to see more PR/media coverage to help raise awareness, but this has not been pushed hard as it clearly is a genuine contribution to society and a way of increasing loyalty and engagement with customers, rather than a blatant attempt to grow the business or brand awareness by hijacking the season.
Amazing work – Ramadan Careem indeed!
Coca-Cola is one of the few brands that have fully embraced the desire for genuine messaging and story telling during Ramadan.
Marketers and analysts around the world compare Ramadan to Christmas in terms of a religious holiday that has huge commercial impact and involves an increased focus on family, friends and community, with gifting and celebratory meals a key element of the season. The number of Muslims in the world is catching up with the number of Christians, and yet most brands that compete fiercely and spend thousands of dollars on Christmas ad campaigns, do little more than post a static and tired image with the words ‘Ramadan Kareem’ and the same Islamic iconography (coffee pots, crescent moons, lanterns, etc) during Ramadan. It’s a huge missed opportunity to reach a large target audience for a lot of brands. Coca-Cola recognise this and use this period to increase engagement and emotionally connect with their audience (Muslim and non-Muslim alike) without any of the standard stereotypes. I was a big fan of the Coca-Cola Middle East 2015 campaign Remove Labels, last year’s global campaign was also a great educational piece, and this year’s #TastierTogether campaign has also been particularly effective for delivering an authentic message.
Hopefully these have inspired you as they have us, and if you are still thinking about how you can engage and communicate better during this period, just remember a few golden rules:
- Be respectful – this is the most revered and holy time of the year and needs to be treated as such
- Know your audience – if you are not a practicing Muslim, speak to those that are so that you truly understand what content, language and tone are most appropriate and effective during this time
- Add value and make a difference – don’t just use Ramadan as a marketing gimmick, think about your operations. How can you really add value or do something to genuinely contribute to the community at this time?
- Do your research – tone of voice and style of content may change at this time, as does the way media is consumed, and the timings of consumption. People are generally online later, with more usage on mobile and to watch video for example. Review your strategy and collect data to see how this needs to change during this period.
Please do let us know if you have seen any other Ramadan campaigns that you think are particularly effective, as we’d love to add to this list!