Ad Critique

Laughter is the best (Islamic branding) medicine

15, December, 2011



The context: Public stand up comedy is still a relatively new and novel concept within Muslim communities and is often viewed with some scepticism.  Muslim cultures display deep senses of humour but these are usually within private and informal circles. Laughing out loud in public is often unfamiliar. In minority Muslim countries there are two additional challenges. Given the often difficult political climate Muslims face, they may wonder “is it possible to find being Muslim funny?” Second, they are used to a high quality of stand up comedian, and will not accept ‘second rate’ comics just because they are Muslim. The stand up comedy tour of Muslim comedians that is promoted in this advert is one of (if not the only) comedy tour currently available to the Muslim – and wider – public. It’s therefore interesting and insightful to see how they are promoting not just themselves, but also the wider concept of comedy to a Muslim audience.

The concept: Although this is a fairly straightforward model of advert for a stand-up comedy tour, it highlights some key points in order to break down scepticism and barriers from its target Muslim audience. First, it makes it clear that the performers are “Three Muslims”, which addresses the issue that Muslims are often sensitive about that it is others poking fun at them. There is a reassurance that this is comedy from within. Then it turns to the audience who is used to comedy and feels that Muslim comedians don’t really reach high standards and suggests: “No restraint”.  The comedy clips highlight some issues that will immediately reach the heart of a wide variety of Muslim cultures. And finally, and importantly, the cut-aways of the audience show a range of people enjoying previous shows.

What we liked: This advert is growing a new market and is addressing the key points to help Muslims overcome any doubt, scepticism or even fear of engaging with their service. Their clips demonstrate that they have successfully made Muslims laugh previously, that a wide range of people have been amused by their shows, and that they are laughing with Muslims and not at them. This latter point is key to creating a dialogue with their potential audience. It is clear from the standard format used to promote the tour, and the quality of the taster jokes that Muslims can expect the standard of humour they are used to and do not need to compromise.