Ad Critique

Hungry and humorous? How to cut through the commercial clutter at Ramadan

29, June, 2012


The context: During Ramadan, the time to break fast is given to the exact minute, which is the moment that the sun sets. It is a well-known social phenomenon that people watch the clock hawkishly to ensure that they do not break their fast even a moment later than necessary.

The concept: The clock watching is visualised through the setting of the sun. The advert opens with the devoted Muslim fully observant of the command not to eat before sunset.  We watch him as the seconds tick by, mouth open. He pauses to lick his lips. And then the mouth opens again. And then comes the punchline: we turn to see the sun low, but not yet dipping beneath the horizon, and we understand the slowness of the advert and the lack of movement, for this is how the one fasting often feels before the moment of iftar.

What we liked: We identify with the command to observe the detail of the fast, with the human experience of hunger and waiting. Devotion is balanced with human experience. The advert does not treat the viewer with kid gloves or paint a picture of unattainable piety. Instead, it focuses on the real human experience of fasting, and draws humour from the gap of the aspiration to achieve the pious prescription with the human sensation of hunger and desire for delicious food.  It is a rare moment of humour in a Ramadan market usually aimed at conveying upliftment and spiritual attainment and so cuts through the noise. It also respects the viewer by not showing the food actually being eaten.