Ad Critique

The American Muslim story, as part of the American dream

13, June, 2013


Brand: Prudential | Country: USA | Campaign: Day One Stories

The context:

The biggest generation in America is retiring—10,000 people every day. Among the increasingly affluent and educated sectors are American Muslims. Studies show they are more optimistic than their peers about the economic future and want to be engaged in the mainstream of brand outreach and advertising.

The concept:

Hundreds of people across the USA were asked to photograph their first day of retirement. The sunrise. The day. Themselves. These photos and the accompanying documentaries were collated on a website displaying this user-generated content to capture a moment of transition in a life.

As part of this creation of nation-wide stories, Prudential developed a range of adverts looking in detail at several different individuals and their needs for retirement planning. One of these was for a Muslim retiree called Mujahid Abdul Rashid. It depicted his family life and the importance he placed on planning, in the same ordinary American style of the entire series of documentaries. Like all the other documentaries, Abdul Rashid is a real person, not a character.

What we liked:

The Prudential campaign brought a Muslim character to mainstream audiences as part of the breadth of American society.  This is possibly the first mass-market product commercial where a person who is identifiably Muslim is depicted in an ordinary every day American setting, to a wider backdrop of a range of Americans. For Muslim consumers, this is incredibly powerful. Our own research has indicated that setting Muslim consumers within the mainstream is one of the things they hope for most from brands.

Further, the documentary shows the importance of family life and togetherness, along with the passing down of wisdom, and an emphasis on planning. These are all qualities important in general to retirement planning, but also highlight through this own personal story how they are important in day-to-day Muslim life. The family is given prominence with photos and interaction with his wife and grandchildren. This longevity and family orientation appeals hugely to Muslim consumers.

The only disappointing note in this excellent engagement by Prudential, is that they have yet to step up with pride to the advances they have made in outreach to a growing and affluent American segment through depicting an ordinary Muslim as part of their target consumer base.  Of course the praise that the campaign has received may well encourage both Prudential and other brands to deepen their engagement with (American) Muslim consumers.