Ad Critique

Seeing the funny side of Eid

15, August, 2012


Religious traditions, children and humour might seem an unusual combination, but in this month’s AdCritique we look at a campaign called Ramadan and Eid baby, that breaks away from the ‘goody two shoes’ portrayal of Muslims and gives Muslim consumers a chance to smile at their foibles in living the joys and the challenges of Islamic devotion.

(Above) Gulf Bank’s Eid advert ‘Growing with you’: After a month of being teased by their baby exhibiting his delight at eating while his family fast, he sleeps through the entire Eid celebration despite their efforts to wake him, ensuring his family miss out on their daytime feast and family festival.

The context: Ramadan is a time of spirituality and community within the Muslim world. The Quran and Islamic traditions describe the immense rewards and benefits of fasting, and as a result Muslims around the world embrace fasting and prayer with joy and vigour during this month. However, it is an open secret that fasting is difficult. Yes, Muslims talk with enthusiasm about the motivation, meaning and upliftment that Ramadan brings, but they also know how hard it is to endure long days with no food or drink. People inevitably feel tired, and whilst will power will be high, food can be a tease.

The concept: Showcase the reality of Ramadan, and what it really feels like, thereby connecting with the reality of people’s lives and the rhythm of their family experiences and aspirations.

The campaign: Children are not required to fast in Ramadan, and continue to eat and drink as usual. Children are also at the heart of a family’s celebration of Ramadan as well as Eid. In this campaign, the child teases the family with cheekiness as he eats his food throughout Ramadan. However, when it comes to Eid when the family can finally celebrate and enjoy their food, he sleeps throughout the day despite their efforts to rouse him.

The campaign ran films and bumpers during Ramadan. The films were shown during the day to attract the most users, and later at night the bumpers were aired as a reminder of the original film. A competition on Facebook was created where viewers can upload videos of their babies eating or sleeping. The winners were determined based on the number of “likes” they received. Followers on Twitter had the chance to discuss and vote for the best bumper. Greeting cards were designed and mailed to a specific audience from the bank as direct mailers, further highlighting the core message of the campaign. (Details courtesy of Dubai Lynx 2012

On Eid day, a new TVC was run showing the family waiting to go out for the Eid celebration, but the baby resolutely sleeping, and spoiling their fun. The month long campaign built a relationship around this family, a typical Gulf family and their realistic emotions and experiences. The Ramadan and Eid baby campaign was part of Gulf Bank’s new corporate position of ‘growing with you.’

What we liked: The campaign recognises the commitment that Muslims make to their religious duties, and is honest about how difficult and challenging they can be. This acceptance of the reality of religion is fresh and realistic, and creates a connection with the audience. It exploits the humour found in the seam between Muslim aspirations for religious observance and how they may fall short. Muslim consumers also place great emphasis on family and experiencing life as a holistic unit, respecting and including each member. Children, of course, are key to family life as well as representing the future potential of the family and of Islam. With the campaign running throughout Ramadan, it reflects back to Muslims exactly what they are experiencing and allows them to laugh at themselves, as well as see the reality of their lives on screen.  Finally, the concept of growth is a powerful one: our research shows that Muslim consumers place great value on longevity, on being part of a family, and of growing together through commitment.

Below: images from the TVCs run during Ramadan, getting to know the family, and seeing the little baby’s teasing tactics first hand.