Ad Critique

Celebrating Muslim women: The Eyes have it

5, June, 2011

The context: Arabic culture has a long history of admiring beautiful eyes. In addition, since Muslim women may choose to cover their hair (hijab) or even their faces (niqab), eyes become an important feature of their public self-expression.

The concept: Being beautiful and maintaining your Muslim identity are compatible. Whilst supporting Muslim women’s desire to remain modest, it celebrates the beauty of their eyes – in their physical appearance and the personality behind them. This fits into the Islamic concept of valuing women for who they are, as well as recognising that they can and should be beautiful.

The campaign: An online campaign where women submit photos of their eyes along with descriptions of themselves to describe things like what kind of fashion statement they make, how they describe themselves and what makes their eyes twinkle. Other women vote on the most attractive eyes.

What we liked: The concept celebrates beauty in a culturally sensitive and appealing way by tapping into the Muslim values of remaining modest. It encourages women to take care of their beauty whilst supporting their desire to veil, understanding that women who veil still have pride in their beauty and appearance. Whilst the campaign is driven by appealing to Muslim concepts, it is inclusive of all women’s aspirations to have attractive eyes.  In particular it is a peer-to-peer campaign, encouraging women to support other women and enjoy female beauty. It builds on Olay’s brand emphasising that beauty is not just skin deep, but aligned with the consumer’s deeper values. As a bonus, it showcases that Muslim women are not homogeneous – they have their own looks and personalities, and supports individuality in expression.