As the estimated 1.6 billion Muslims around the world begin to embrace the holy month of Ramadan; a time of reflection, enlightenment and fulfillment, advertisers and brands around the region have just finished piecing together their latest seasonal campaigns aimed at luring in more sales, viewership, footfall; basically more engagement with their target audiences whoever they may be.
With advertising sales in the region close to doubling during this month alone, brands of multiple industries intending to headway in the big race will have most likely incurred a major dent in their advertising budgets during a time when every single advertising page, billboard, TV or radio spot is going for a major premium. Mobile spend alone is valued at more than USD200 million in Ramadan and this is by four main companies!
If you want your brand to be respected, heard or considered, then it has to make an appearance of some sort during Ramadan; as expensive as the move seems, it is essential.
The good news is that there are alternative mediums to conventional media: digital media. Online usage in the Middle East has been reported as more than 30% higher during Ramadan and up to 70% higher in countries such as Egypt or Oman where populations are predominantly Muslim, according to a recent report by The Social Media Agency. Advertisers spent more than $9.6 billion on digital advertising in Q1 of this year according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau; 15% more than last year further validating the effectiveness of this medium.
Reality is that Ramadan is for Muslims what Christmas is to Christians and is logged in the annual communications calendar as a peak season; and it is. People are ready to consume more of everything and they have the time, the money and most importantly, they have the appetite.
For brands looking to launch advertising or PR campaigns in the MENA region, it is important to acknowledge the importance of Ramadan beyond mere branding or visibility; it is a bonding opportunity with the Muslim consumer who will represent one quarter of the earth’s population in 2030!