Our Blog

  • Ramadan voices from around the Ogilvy Noor network: UAE

    This week we’ll be bringing you Ramadan reflections from the Ogilvy Noor team around the world. Combining local insights with personal experience, it’s a chance to get close up on a month that brings together families, communities and enhances spirituality, through the lens of Ogilvy Noor’s deep experience in building relationships with Muslim consumers.

    You can read yesterday’s blog from Bangkok here.

    Today, the Ramadan view comes from Vaquas Alvi who is marking Ramadan in Dubai, in the UAE.

    Ramadan brings community, charity and brands together

    Ramadan always begins with excitement, because no-one is quite sure when it will begin until the night before, when the crescent moon is seen in the night sky. Many people can find lunar calendars baffling, and they come knocking at my door for the answers.

    Ramadan and work at Ogilvy

    Our offices have relaxed working hours for all the employees without any discrimination. Having said that, we are always at our most efficient as workloads become increased and varied, because many companies and clients in the Middle East do follow reduced working hours directives. This is where the working day is shortened to take account of the physical difficulties of no eating and drinking during daylight hours.

    Cultural sensitivity takes the front seat as well, as most non-Muslims avoid eating and drinking in front of those who are fasting and try to be respectful.

    Ramadan brings the joy of communal iftars, shared among colleagues, friends and family. At our offices, we hold a big iftar for all the staff and everyone participates with enthusiasm to experience Ramadan festivities and the special meal first hand.

    Planning for Ramadan

    Most of our clients start planning for Ramadan activations by the end of first quarter. Beverage and food brands make most of their sales during the Ramadan period and hence it is crucial to get the message, delivery and communication right.

    Due to increase food and beverage spend by shoppers, brands take this opportunity to run activities such as promotions, price discounts, bundling and events. In-store environments also get the Ramadan buzz.

    Television programs run branded cooking shows, religious quizzes, game shows, and air new drama serials during the entire month. Prime time shifts to the post iftar slot and continues until midnight.

    Local traditions, the khaima

    Brands leverage the old Arab concept of ‘Khaimas’ (tents) to relive traditional desert customs. People bring friends and families to open their fast often sharing their food with those around them. The khaimas are abuzz with different communities and cultures, and I for one learn about the many ways that Ramadan is celebrated whenever I go.

    Branding for Ramadan

    Brands show different Islamic symbols to reinforce their relationship with Ramadan and Muslim consumers.  A crescent, a minaret, a Quranic phrase is normally shown in the majority of communications. But these are very typical. There is a big opportunity for brands to go beyond scratching the surface and invest time in understanding the real meaning of Ramadan in order to have a deeper connection with their audience.


    Ramadan is one of the busiest times for brands, as they all rush to gain the attention of shoppers. Malls open late into the night to facilitate Ramadan and Eid shopping. Some are even open 24 hours, and special promotions and discounts are widely available.


    In keeping up with the Islamic philosophy of giving to the needy and helping the destitute brands join hands with orphanages, hospitals, charity houses and give away a certain percentage of their sales proceeds. Donation drives for zakat (charitable giving) is a major activity that happens in the month of Ramadan.

    Ramadan and branding for Muslim consumers – the opportunity

    This blessed month comes with a huge opportunity to connect with Muslim consumers and understand better their relationship with Ramadan and what brands can do to connect with them in a more meaningful manner.

Comments are closed.