Ad Critique

Advice for brands targeting Muslim women: dare to challenge the stereotypes

13, October, 2013



Brand: Lakeridge Health | Country: Canada

The context:

The news and media are constantly full of discussions about what Muslim women should or should not wear, and how they should or should not participate in society. At least that’s how Muslim women feel. From stories about whether niqabs should be permitted (face-veils) to whether headscarves are cultural matters or not, Muslim women express strongly that it is what they wear and how they look that dominates the public debate. Yet for them, getting on with living life is far more important.

This advert was published in Quebec where the health centre is located. It was run at the same time as heated public debates were discussing the banning of the niqab in Quebec.

The concept:

The advert was first run in print in a newspaper, and then published on Facebook. The campaign covered social media including Twitter. It garnered immensely positive coverage both in the locality as well as internationally.  On the Facebook link we’ve included above, there have been nearly 2000 shares plus many many reports of it ‘going viral.’ Lakeridge itself reported nearly 80 applications within 3 days of publication.

The image and strapline are clear in who they are targetting directly, but establishes a wider principle that the centre is seeking to establish itself as open to cultures and diversity.

What we liked:

The clear simplicity of the text gets to the heart of what Muslim women want to express every day. Fed up of the surrounding media controversies by headscarves and face veils, this clear image attracts their attention standing out from a crowd of adverts that don’t feel personal when it comes to recruitment. This image looks like me, unlike all the others, is the thought. And the words express what is important to me, says the strapline.

The message is built on a clear and open consumer insight which Muslim women often repeat, that they are covering their heads, not their brains. In this advertisement, the sentiment is made clear and simple.

The image and text are upbeat, and to the point. The brand is unequivocal in its message, and this appeals to the female Muslim audience. Whilst for many brands, clues as to the intended Muslim audience are sufficient – welcome even – the open and direct approach of this brand will attract both target employees, as well as position itself with the wider community as welcoming of diversity.

The courage of the brand, publishing the advertisement at the height of a veil controversy, makes it cut through all the noise of competitors as an alternative view point.  It’s courage will be rewarded by Muslims, as well as by the wider community, as the response has shown.