With nearly two-thirds of the world’s Muslims living in Asia-Pacific countries, the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and the breaking of the fast “Eid-al-Fitr” festival that follows—known as “Lebaran” or “Idul Fitri” in Indonesia, and “Hari Raya Puasa” in Singapore and Malaysia—are among the most significant religious and cultural occasions in the region.
From a business standpoint, it’s also a big deal for APAC marketers. In Malaysia, for example, advertising spend is at its highest at Ramadan, according to Luca De Nard, Nielsen’s managing director in Malaysia.
“Over the past two years, the Ramadan spike has been driven by fast-food outlets, hypermarkets, large furniture, and homeware stores,” De Nard told CMO.com. “FMCG retailers take this opportunity to gain market share by offering competitive sales and promotions on categories popular during ‘Hari Raya,’ such as fresh poultry and fish, baking ingredients, and beverages.”
According to Hellen Katherina, head of media business at Nielsen, Indonesia, the sheer volume of sales during Ramadan can outstrip the rest of the year.
“Ramadan is the busiest time of the year for all marketers in Indonesia. Some brands spend 11 months of the year manufacturing products to be sold only in that one month,” Katherina said.
So if there’s any time APAC marketers especially want to flex their creative muscles, Ramadan is it. With that in mind, here are five creative Ramadan campaigns that truly stood out during the just-ended holy month.
Procter & Gamble Indonesia
At 25 million YouTube views and counting, this April advertisement depicts a tense relationship between mother and daughter and, ultimately, forgiveness and acceptance during Eid. Working with Grey Group Indonesia, Procter & Gamble’s “AkuPilihMaafIbu” references both Ramadan’s values and the forthcoming presidential elections in Indonesia, with a call for intergenerational understanding.
To celebrate Ramadan, TikTok Malaysia, a platform for sharing short-form mobile videos, launched a series of localised in-app challenges to encourage users to create relevant and local Ramadan content. For example, a challenge co-branded with TeaLive encouraged Malaysians to be as creative as possible whilst drinking their favourite drink, especially while breaking fast. TeaLive was able to leverage the competition using TikTok video content on its owned channels.
In recent years, McDonald’s Ramadan ads in Indonesia have celebrated everyday heroes. In 2018, it was with a short film about a fasting McDonald’s delivery driver. McDonald’s Indonesia’s 2019 campaign, “My Ibu, My Hero,” created by global agency DDB, honours mothers, as a son warmly recalls all of the meals his “superhero” Ibu (mother) has prepared for him.
Meanwhile, McDonald’s Malaysia launched a special 2019 Ramadan Festive Meal Pack, Nasi McD, for those breaking fast.
Entering the world of Ramadan-related film for the first time, Malaysian telecommunications company Axiata Group released a short film, “Project Eid,” in partnership with M&C Saatchi. Featuring a tech-savvy young woman using technology to bring geographically remote family members together during Ramadan, the film showcases the power of technology and the festive season to create and foster connections.
Working with ad agency Naga DDB Tribal, healthcare and beauty chain Watsons produced a 2019 Ramadan campaign that implored Malaysians to put their hearts into the festive celebrations and rediscover the magic of Raya. The humorous and fantastical ad features Watsons Ambassador Ayda Jebat taking a magical trip back to her hometown to celebrate Raya. At its heart is a message about how what you get out of the season depends on what you put into it, as well as the importance of reconnecting with family at this time. The video has had more than 4 million views, more than eight times the views of Watsons’ previous videos.