Ad Critique

Local insight is crucial: The tale of ‘mudik’

4, November, 2011


The context: This ad depicts the tradition of ‘mudik’ where urban dwellers return to their ‘home’ villages to visit their relatives during the festival of ‘Lebaran’ or Eid. It is also considered a time of relaxation and getting out of the city. Urbanites are considered to have become ‘modernised’ and wealthy. Mudik is felt to be a return to roots, and an appreciation of simplicty and the good things of rural life.

The concept: This advert is part of a series featuring a character called ‘Joni Blak Blakan’ or ‘Honest Johnny’. In this advert he returns to his village to meet his family for Mudik. He is greeted by family members showing off their goods and money. The blingy gold watch is labelled ‘New!’. A young woman parades her outfit with the label “Latest Collection!”. The young men strut their stuff with the tagline “Branded!” And even the old lady shows off her “Fashion!” Johnny calls a rude halt to this showing off and reminds them that Lebaran is not for showing off. The family look suitably chastised and proceed to give away their new goods in charity.

What we liked: There is a plethora of advertising around Eid in Muslim countries. This advert stood out as refreshing and humorous, using gentle but thought provoking comedy through a deep insight into local customs. It does not preach a religious message, rather turns the usual assumptions about city and rural dwellers on their heads. It uses the insight that one motivation for going ‘home’ to the village during the Eid holidays is to show off their success in the big city. Some even take out big loans in order to do so and default afterwards. The advert generated positive recognition and tackled a habit that everyone knows about but doesn’t necessarily get aired in public, using gentle comedy. It is a great example of how creativity is appreciated by Muslim consumers and brands can and should be brave in the way they approach them.