Ramadan Kareem! How brands are celebrating Ramadan stories across culture
This year, 23rd March marked the beginning of Ramadan – a holy month in the Islamic lunar calendar dedicated to fasting from dawn to dusk, community connection, charity and spiritual reflection.
Up until recent years, brand campaigns acknowledging Ramadan’s importance to Muslim consumers were limited to geographic regions such as MENA and Asia, without much recognition of the multitudes of Muslim diaspora globally. However, the last few years have finally seen brands begin to step up – championing and celebrating Ramadan stories across culture. Let’s take a look at some examples from across categories showing a step towards speaking to the many hybrid identities of Muslims in the UK.
UberEats OOH Campaign
UberEats leans into the common functional heartland between the brand and Ramadan – food. A series of digital billboards featuring imagery of different signature Iftar dishes have been installed across the UK. Iftar is the meal to break fast at sunset, and is a time for families and local communities to come together. Each digital billboard states the city-specific Iftar time as dusk times get later day by day and vary from region to region – promoting the brand’s ‘scheduled delivery’ offering in a way that displays a true understanding of Muslim consumer needs during Ramadan.
L’Occitane Ramadan Calendar
L’Occitane combine the well-loved Christmas advent calendar model with the month-long period of Ramadan to create a Countdown to Eid calendar for beauty and skincare lovers. The circular, full moon shaped box nods to the lunar month and geometric patterns on-pack connote Islamic art and architecture. This hybrid twist to festive advent calendars is recognisable to Muslims living in the west with familiarity and closesness to Christmas – whilst creating an opportunity for the same anticipatory excitement of a festive occasion for the run up to Eid.
Adidas Terrex X Muslim Hikers Campaign
A campaign with equity and inclusivity at its heart, Adidas partner with Muslim community hiking group and OUTO – a not-for-profit initiative striving for anti-racist outdoor spaces accessible to all. The Muslim Hikers group faced racial abuse after their appearance on BBC’s Countryfile, and persistent inequality of outdoor access to marginalised groups (only 1% of visitors to UK national parks come from “Black & Minority Ethnic” backgrounds – from research by Campaign to Protect Rural England). In response, Adidas Terrex created portable and durable prayer mats to make the practicalities of on-the-go ‘salah’ – prayer performed by many Muslims five times a day – for Muslim hikers much easier. The campaign recognises the intersectional needs of UK hikers, and diversifies the possibilities of sportswear – a shift we have seen gain traction ranging from Nike’s sports hijab and FlyEase technology shoes to Adidas’ SoulCap swimming caps designed for people with long or voluminous hair in a range of sizes.
3 key takeouts for brands:
صلة (noun). connection; relationship
- Beyond the Month: develop a better understanding and connection to Muslim consumer communities beyond the Holy Month – exploring intersectional needs all year round.
تنوع (noun). diversity; variety
- Not a Monolith: Whilst Ramadan is a time for unity, Muslim communities themselves are diverse and global – many embody a variety of identities and identify with varying spectrums of Islam.
(noun). understanding; recognition
- Representation Matters: the equitable representation of diverse communities is not just a tickbox DEI excerise but an opportunity to include and champion all consumers in your brand experience – paving the way on ensuring everyone is seen and understood.
Lailah Choudhry, Senior Semiotician