Ad Critique

Ramadan must not be an excuse for brands to exploit Muslim consumers

26, July, 2013


Vital Tea is a local Pakistani tea brand which focuses on ethics and social consciousness. In this advert they tap into the Muslim consumer’s strong resentment that businesses are often seen to be exploiting Ramadan rather than supporting Muslims who uphold their fasts.

Country: Pakistan | Brand: Vital Tea

The context: Price conscious consumers are a huge reality of any market. During Ramadan a month of caring and giving, of being respectful and mindful of the thoughts and emotions of others; these consumers are especially sensitive to prices as the focus shifts to eating heavier fried food items after a full day of fasting and hence their budgets are tight. Many unscrupulous merchants raise prices in advance of the holy month, despite consumer anger, and even despite government regulation. This puts pressure on families, and also undermines the caring and giving spirit of Ramadan. Muslim consumers feel anger that they are being exploited at a time they have no choice.

The concept: The advert emphasises how everything in Ramadan gets more expensive in order to profit from greater shelf off-take and how companies, in their bid to generate higher profits, forget to observe the sanctity of the month by putting their consumers in a bind, except for the brand showcased which is light on the pocket and great value for money.

The campaign: The campaign showcases a middle-class couple with the wife asking her husband the prices of various items upon his return from the grocery store, as she exclaims in shock each time he tells her the price she finally picks out a bag of Vital Tea and smiles at the reasonable price. ¬†She expresses a Ramadan dilemma: “On the one hand, there is the joy of Ramadan, on the other hand, there is the pain of everything being expensive.” The ad ends with her requesting companies “At least respect the sanctity of Ramadan” and urges them not to exploit consumers.

What we liked: The unassuming authenticity of the ad is what grabbed us. It is simple, to the point and yet speaks volumes, without coming across as cheap, which is no mean feat. It taps into a strong and growing consumer sentiment that brands do not respect Ramadan, but rather see it as an opportunity to make money – something that is extremely alienating for Muslim consumers. However, this brand is showing that it understands that other brands are exploiting consumers, but rather they are going out of their way to support them and their Ramadan aspirations.

Not only has the brand managed to stay true to itself but it has also managed to connect with its audience on a very basic level, and find a unique space in a noisy Ramadan communications market.