Ramadan offers significant opportunities for brands to reach a focused target audience. In this blog, our Strategist at Socialize in Dubai, Shivani Kulshrestha, looks at six brands that have stood out for her during Ramadan this year.

Like Christmas in the West, Ramadan is the key shopping season for the Middle East. On our side of the world, this is when most brands will launch their highly-anticipated, limited-time offers and sales.

But it is also a time where companies look to make a difference, by finding a creative way to bring Ramadan values to life, in the homes of their consumers. Here are some of our favourite pieces of work from 2021.

‘The ¾ Pizza Box’ from Pizza2Go
Food wastage was the hot topic this Ramadan - with roughly 25% food wastage generated during Iftars in the Middle East, which inspired Emirates Red Crescent and Pizza2Go to launch their own food waste campaign. 

Introducing the ¾ version of Pizza2Go’s classic pizzas allowed consumers to automatically prevent 25% of natural Iftar waste. The specially priced ¾ pizza also donated 25% of the spend to Emirates Red Crescent, supporting those in need during the month dedicated to charity and giving back to the community. 

Old El Paso tackles food waste with ‘Wrap It Up’
With 85.6% of Muslims eating home-cooked meals every day during the pandemic, food waste is a key issue at this time of year; inspiring Old El Paso and our team at Socialize to challenge the region to wrap up their leftovers into delicious meals with a Mexican twist. 

Launched with a TikTok video and track, the brand created the #WrapItUp recipe generator where users could enter in their leftover ingredients and be presented with a Mexican recipe for the next day. Taking Ramadan values a step further, the brand promised to donate to the UAE food bank for every recipe generated. 

The campaign reached 4M people and 90K visits to the recipe generator, allowing consumers at home to make the most out of their Iftar meals, for themselves and others.

Oorderoo inspires us to use the internet for good 
In a month that encourages people to pause, reflect and create positivity, telecommunications brand Ooderoo andFP7 McCann Doha, put out an animated film with one core message: to make the internet better.

Launched across the Middle East, South East Asia and North Africa, the film depicts the internet as a child, one that the world made and has a say into how it can be molded, through our actions - for better or worse.

By using this metaphor, the film shows us that if we treated the internet as a child of our making, we wouldn’t be as careless and irresponsible with it but instead would do our best to make it a force for good; and what better time to start than during Ramadan. 

The campaign generated 1M views, with commenters sharing their appreciation for seeing a telco company take the opportunity to stand for something more than just sales this Holy month.

Home of Switz ‘The Endless Virtual Iftar Table’
Home of Switz sensed the region’s concern about spending another Holy month in a pandemic and having to partake in another series of Iftars without friends and family.

With KSA being given the highest social control measures, we worked with the brand to use social media as a way to connect these households; by launching a filter that allowed users to be featured on @homeofSwitz Instagram story highlight: ‘The Endless Virtual Iftar Table’. The filter gave people outlines to take a picture of their dinner, in a way that enabled them to be stitched together with other tables. 

The campaign was called سفرة دايمة، دايماً , a twist on a common Arabic phrase said at the beginning of meals, which wishes for this joyous moment of food and coming together to never end for their guests. By Eid, the campaign connected over 100 tables across the region, bringing us closer through social, in a time of social distancing.

Whilst the above campaigns champion Ramadan values, it’s a common misconception that all brands look to this period to give back. Most campaigns that air during this time are looking to capture the attention of an audience at home, and the change in behaviour this creates, as a result of the holy month, rather than solely reinforcing its traditions. This is particularly applicable to countries outside the GCC.

‘You’re Stronger Than Addiction’ from The Addiction Treatment and Control Fund in Egypt
Not all successful activations during this season are product-led; a key example of this was the campaign run by The Addiction Treatment and Control Fund in Egypt, who launched a tonally different campaign, with addiction at the heart - leveraging consumers' increased social-screen time to educate on the dangers of drug abuse in a time where people consciously have to give up recreational usage. 

In the past, the brand’s Ramadan campaigns would feature celebrities in order to drive home its message but this time, visually depicted the highs and lows of addiction, using a roller coaster (a common activity enjoyed by the youth during Eid) with powerful voice over. 

The campaign generated over 80K engagements, 5.4K comments and 5.7K shares, higher than their last Ramadan campaign. The comments section turned into a thread of love and support for those afflicted with the disease.

AlexBank’s ‘Cheer From Home’
AlexBank and its collaboration with Liverpool FC took advantage of the increased TV watch time - often spent on football matches, after Iftar. People will often be found shouting advice to players on the TV from the couch.

Inspired by this social behavior, AlexBank partnered with Liverpool’s Mohamad Salah to highlight the futility and hilarity of trying to coach players from the sidelines of their sofa. Mo Salah jests at a fan sitting on their couch, instead redirecting his focus to a way he can actually be part of the game in a useful way - which is by buying merchandise through AlexBank’s new card. 

The campaign generated 8.9M views and 88K engagements, with many of the commenters calling themselves out for yelling at the TV when in reality, it makes no difference.

Brands that can leverage changes in behaviour and sentiment during this period hold the key to success, using increased screen-time as a prime opportunity to educate, entertain and leave a lasting impact, that continues conversation even during Eid, after Ramadan ends. 

For further insights into consumer behaviours during Ramadan, check out our blog post from earlier this year: Rethinking Ramadan