Ad Critique

How to connect with Islamic tradition to give your products real bite

7, October, 2011


The  context: Looking after teeth is extremely recommended in Islamic tradition. This was done using a special twig called ‘miswak’ which is rubbed across the teeth and gums in the fashion of a toothbrush. The miswak releases a special sap which is said to care for teeth. Islamic tradition recounts that the Prophet Muhammad was never seen without his miswak, and that he said that cleaning teeth was almost a religious obligation. Miswak is therefore considered the original and authentic form of teeth cleaning with special natural benefits.

The concept: A grandfather takes his grandson for a walk to show him how hard it was to find the stick called ‘miswak’ which he used for cleaning his teeth when he was younger. He points out how strong his teeth are as a result of the miswak.  The grandson also wants to look after his teeth, and his grandfather tells him that now it is much easier to take care of teeth! After demonstrating the scientific benefits of the Colgate toothpaste and how joyfully the young child brushes his teeth, the grandfather gives him a cuddle and exclaims how quickly children learn.

What we liked: The product is very clear about the ‘miswak’ connection, including it in its name. The story gives clear imagery of the natural source of the miswak by showing the grandfather - who represents heritage and authenticity – out in the environment. The graphics then represent how the sap of the miswak has been incorporated into the product – even including a coloured stripe to represent it. In order to back up the miswak ingredient, the science of the product which includes calcium and fluoride is highlighted to underscore that this is superior to other equivalent products. Finally, the family is united and the words of the grandfather indicate that the special tradition has now been passed onto the next generation. Family values, longevity and teaching of youngsters resonate strongly with the target Muslim consumer.