Ad Critique

How to break down barriers of prejudice: use knowledge

15, September, 2011


This week at Ogilvy Noor, we are looking at how a very deep rooted value such as challenging prejudice, can form the basis of a powerful and single-minded advert. In particular, the effectives of the advert is particularly strong as it relates to a brand whose core product is knowledge – which Muslim consumers know is the key to challenging prejudice.

The context: Prejudice is deeply frowned on and runs counter to Islamic values. By contrast, creating a sense of unity and breaking down barriers is highly valued. Finally, knowledge is seen as the key to improvement of the self as well as society as a collective.

The concept: The advert shows individuals who are trapped behind unseen barriers, their own ignorance. This prevents them from connecting with others or taking part in daily life. The climax arrives with breaking through the invisible barriers. The advert asks: “Our prejudices… Our invisible walls. Isn’t it time to demolish them?”

What we liked: The advert uses a very simple, clear and direct message. This message appeals not just to the value of challenging prejudice, which resonates deeply with Muslim consumers, this value is a universal value that appeals to all. This is a great example of how shariah friendly values make generally good business sense.  The advert is not fussy. It repeats the theme of being locked into our own prejudices – even though we may not see them – again and again, depicting different individuals in different settings.  This highlights how even in diversity we can be separated.  The advert plays on creating a sense of unity – collectivity is a very powerful feeling amongst Muslim societies.The resolution of the problem is clear: break through the prejudice. The clear but unshowy display of the brand at the end offers the solution to the viewer, and avoids unnecessary ostentation. Clear direct answers are always appreciated the most. The concept works well in relation to a newspaper which is a source of knowledge.