Ad Critique

Building childhood memories with Muslim children, and brand affection with Muslim parents

30, July, 2013


Brand: Crayola | Country: USA, but available to all online

The context:

Young Muslims are growing up in Western nations feeling themselves at once strongly patriotic and strongly Muslim. They see their national, Western and Muslim identities as complementary, all of which make up who they are. Our research has found that these Muslim Futurists want to see themselves, and their aspirations reflected in the mainstream, including in the commercial space. One particular challenge for parents is how to foster these strong identities that allow Muslim children to be confident in their heritage, at the same time as seeing themselves reflected in the wider culture in the same way that all children do. Brands rarely recognise how simply reflecting Muslim identity, events and culture can create powerful connections with Muslim consumers.

The concept:

Crayola created print outs for younger children to colour in, on a Ramadan and prayer theme. ¬†Available in time for the Islamic month of fasting, the drawings reflect prayer, mosques, the reading of the Quran, and thoughts on Ramadan. For older children, lesson plans are available on subjects including “Honoring Muslim traditions”, “Moon over Mecca”, “Dates from Tree to Table” and “Celebrate with Henna hands”.

What we liked:

Both the colouring sheets and lesson plans reflect the interest, identity and faith of Muslim children. Parents find it hard to secure good quality, accessible and fun materials and by offering a good range easily available on their website, Muslim parents are sure to be delighted, and will feel strong affection for Crayola. Crayola has filled a gap.

This is a smart move by Crayola. In Western countries which are the brand’s primary territories, whereas the general population tends to be ageing, Muslim demographics are by far the youngest. They have the largest households in general, and some of the highest fertility rates. In short, Muslim consumers are not just currently under-served, they are a growing segment, growing faster than their peers when it comes to children.

Recognition is also an important factor for Muslim consumers who feel that brands do not reach out to them and rarely show sensitivity to their needs. Crayola will be marked into their hearts by having done so. Both for parents and children, these products are now irrevocably tied to meaningful activities and significant events in their lives.

What is heartening is that despite fear-mongering by the far-right that the brand is catering to Muslims, there has been a strong dignified silence so far. This will increase Muslim consumer affection. We would strongly recommend brands to avoid engaging with far-right hate tactics, or to emphasise commitment to the Muslim consumer segment as one of many consumer segments, to be treated with equal respect.

Surprisingly, there appears to have been little outreach from the brand to its Muslim parents and children, which is surely a missed opportunity. With Eid on the horizon, this would have been a perfect chance to showcase gifts for Muslim children. It is worth noting that word of mouth and brand loyalty are particularly powerful among Muslim consumers, and the brand still has a chance to full engage with a whole un-served segment building from the strong foundations it has already laid.