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How Ramadan and Eid Advertising Is Changing Around the World


We check in with adlanders from Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, the UK and the USA to find how different markets and dynamics are shifting brands’ priorities during the Muslim holy month

How Ramadan and Eid Advertising Is Changing Around the World

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan is a key celebration in the marketing calendar, but the way brands engage with it differs wildly depending on where you’re sitting in the world. In countries with a Muslim majority, brands and agencies have a well-developed and sophisticated understanding of cultural nuances and contemporary trends. Creatives enjoy bringing together the sincere spiritual, charitable and family-focused aspects of the festival with technology and, where appropriate, a sense of playfulness.

In other parts of the world, Ramadan and connecting with Muslim consumers throughout the year is something that is relatively new to brands and creative agencies. And that marketing is evolving to fit the specific cultural contexts.

First, to understand the opportunities and potential pathways for brands, it’s worth getting a handle of Ramadan marketing at its most cutting edge. For that you need to look to markets with large Muslim populations - for example across the MENA region in countries like the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Lebanon you’ll find rich emotional storytelling, humour and incredibly smart tech and data-driven experiences and innovations (check out the 2023 Ramadan trends from the MENA region here).

Equally, South East Asia is another part of the world where you can find brands competing to stand out in the busiest shopping period of the year. While the tried and tested formulas of sentimental TV ads have become an annual highlight, marketers are finding they’re having to refresh their approach and innovate in the face of demanding gen Z.

By contrast, in non-Muslim majority countries like the UK, Australia and the USA, Ramadan and Eid-related marketing is still a developing phenomenon, that’s just starting to scrape the surface. 


In Indonesia, it doesn’t get bigger for marketers than Ramadan. While it is a secular country,  it is the most populous Muslim-majority country and home to over 230 million followers.

To say that Ramadan is a colossal time for Indonesian businesses would be an understatement, as Ajay Tawde, head of experience at Ogilvy Indonesia points out. “Every year the impact of Ramadan on the Indonesian economy is significant. The Indonesian government estimates that Ramadan-related spending accounts for up to 2% of the country’s GDP. Mudik (home-coming) is a mass-migration when Indonesians travel to their hometowns for Idul Fitri (Eid). In 2023, the Indonesian government estimates, 27 million private cars and 25 private motorcycles will be used for Mudik,” he says. “The Indonesian Ramadan is not only a time of spiritual reflection but also an essential economic event for the country. The grand festivities and increased consumer spending during Ramadan highlight the significance of this month in Indonesia.”

To really comprehend the surge in spending during this time of year there’s one thing you need to know: employers are mandated by the government to pay people extra, dispensing a Religious Holiday Allowance (Tunjangan Hari Raya). So there’s literally more money in everyone’s pocket.

Small wonder, then, that it’s the time of year where marketers and agencies pull out their biggest and most impressive TV ads. TV is also popular in the evening, when families are breaking their fast together.

“TV is still a prominent medium during Ramadan and the prime hours are before dusk and before dawn,” explains Khaira Chandra, senior strategist at Wunderman Thompson Indonesia. “During this time, TV is used to alert viewers to the call of prayer to signify the time to break the fast at dusk, and as a companion while suhoor, the meal before the dawn before the fast, starts.”

“Television commercials during Ramadan are equivalent to Super Bowl ads, where marketers dedicate a big portion of their advertising and promotional spend on that one significant event,” says  Joseph Tan, CEO of Romp, part of Accenture Song. “During this season, most brands from every category, including state-owned enterprises, would be actively propagating messages of forgiveness, reflection and family togetherness in their marketing effort. Typically, food, beverages, snack and telco would be the more prominent categories considering the ritual of sahur (meal before fasting), the time leading to break-fasting and meal consumption during break-fast itself. Returning to hometown for Lebaran in a brand-new motorcycle or car speaks volumes of one’s progress; hence automotive has a considerable share of marketing presence to help attain those aspirations.”

Romp, part of Accenture Song’s Hari Raya campaign for Telkomsel, the largest telco provider in Indonesia, where we showcased how Telkomsel can help forge kinship not just at your destination with family but also with strangers during the journey.
Over the years, brands have become an integral part of the annual celebrations. Both Ajay Tawde and Khaira Chandra say that flavoured syrup brand Marjan’s annual ad is the campaign that truly signals that Ramadan has arrived.

“Marjan always brings alive the spirit of Ramadan across Indonesia by staying to the message that Ramadan is more joyful when you share it with others. Their communication has used a beautiful fusion of Indonesian folklore modernised for the challenges faced by Indonesian Muslims during Ramadan today,” says Ajay.

“There is a popular saying of, ‘if you stumble upon new Marjan videos and see Marjan start to get prominent display in supermarkets, then you know it’s approaching Ramadan’,” agrees Khaira. 

Other brands that are known for their Ramadan marketing include tea brand Teh Botol Sosro whose ‘90s slogan ‘Berbuka Dengan Yang Manis’ (‘Break your fast with the sweet one’) is still popular today. Khong Guan biscuit brand is another that viewers look forward to. 

Covid-19 has cast a long shadow over the past few years’ Ramadan celebrations - this year, with restrictions finally more or less lifted, there's been a real excitement around a real reunion. 

“Most Muslims are excited about the much anticipated in-person family reunion this Eid as covid domestic travel restrictions were in place for the past two years,” says Joseph Tan. ”Hence brands would be eager to leverage this and promote how their products or services would be significant or able to enhance these monumental moments. More importantly, we believe that Mudik (the quintessential trip back to one’s hometown) would be the contextual focal point for most brands this year. 

However, that’s not to say that consumers will be carelessly spending. Still reeling from the impact of covid, and with a wary eye on the choppy global economy, many consumers are keen to make sure they don’t fritter away their THR allowance, as Ajay at Ogilvy explains.

“The last three years covid-19 changed not just life during Ramadan but also how Ramadan was celebrated. In the past few years, while Ramadan was muted due to movement, restrictions and uncertainty it was still imbued with hope and optimism,” says Ajay. “While covid-19 might not be as big a caution during Ramadan 2023, there is on-going volatility in consumer minds due to inflation, war, layoffs, and the possibility of recession,” they say. “Ramadan brings along THR (Tunjangan Hari Raya) a festive bonus given to all employees often called 13th month salary. THR empowers consumers to participate in celebrations and festivities. However, consumers are preparing to take some calculated measure to ensure they do not splurge uncontrollably.”

Indeed, in their recent research into how Indonesia’s gen Z feel about Ramadan, M&C Saatchi found that young people would prefer to save money and spend on second hand fashions. If ‘deinfluencing’ has really hit Ramadan, brands should take note.

“I think what surprised us was how pragmatic they are in the way they are looking at life,” says Anish Daryani, founder and president director at M&C Saatchi Indonesia. “They know things aren't easy, they know things are getting tougher. So when we heard they wanted to cut their spending by 75%, that was a bit of a shock. A lot of them said they wouldn't shop at all.”

More generally, as businesses race to shoehorn their brands and products into Ramadan, there’s also increasing scepticism about authenticity, particularly brands that make overblown use of the word ‘halal’ to describe their goods on the shonkiest of premises.

Moreover, socially aware young people with gen Z’s sense of justice are scrutinising brands’ credentials. Charitable giving is a key tenet of Ramadan and an important value for Indonesia's youth. Smart brands are adapting and figuring out how to communicate more authentically.

“Brands feel the need to be a little bit more genuine, especially when they're trying to connect with the younger audiences, because they can really see through the facade,” says Anish.” And so therefore, there is an attempt to try not to exaggerate or try to be a little bit more genuine in the message that they want to send out. So fundamentally, the messaging remains the same, that doesn't change, the sense of Ramadan remains the same. But the way it’s being delivered is evolving, it is more contemporary, it's more thought provoking, and aligned to social causes, aligned to solving societal problems.”

Brands are also shifting in accordance with gen Z habits, showing up beyond the traditional TV ads on platforms like TikTok. Trends like shop streaming are also proving to be hugely popular.

“Since putting ads on TV during Ramadan is very costly, brands get creative on digital,” says Khaira at Wunderman Thompson. “For example, there is a rising trend of using TikTok Shops live stream to engage directly with audiences. Scrolling TikTok and watching the live stream can be an activity to kill time – and sometimes when a brand or a seller’s account has reached a certain number of viewers, TikTok will give a random discount making viewers anticipate the drastic and sudden discount. This further enhances the popularity of TikTok Shops in Indonesia.”

Indeed, Tiktok in particular sees a surge of shoppers around Ramadan as Ajay explains. “Live shopping via marketplaces (Lazada, Shopee, Tokopedia) as well as TikTok has become extremely popular during Ramadan in Indonesia. The popularity shows an ongoing re-orientation of a transactional e-commerce shopper to a more involved ‘consumer’. TokopediaPlay (the livestreaming platform of the ecommerce marketplace) saw a seven times increase in total live streaming views during the month of Ramadan. Ngabuburit (leisure time prior to breaking fast) especially has become an important period of live shopping. In 2021 TikTok debuted its livestreaming function on the first full day of Ramadan. In 2022 an internal study by the platform revealed that 67% of TikTok users shopped more during Ramadan.”

Indonesia during Ramadan can be hot and humid, and the countdown to Iftar can try people’s patience - and that’s led to one really curious behavioural trend. People are turning to gaming to while away the minutes. “Gaming has become very popular during that time, so it helps them if they're really hungry, and they're starving and impatient for the fast to break. Mobile gaming has emerged as a sort of the distractor to be able to focus attention also,” says Anish.

It’s not just tech and gen Z tastes that’s changing up Ramadan advertising in Indonesia, there’s also an evolution in the way women are portrayed. That, says Khaira at Wunderman Thompson, is something to be really optimistic about. “There has been progress in women empowerment. The past few years have seen brands communicating how the role of women is changing, and they need not follow societal expectations fully. Since Eid is the time for families to reunite, often women face questions around their single lives, whether they will get married or when they will have kids. Olay Indonesia used their platform to launch a campaign, #LiveWithoutLines, that shows how Indonesian women can answer these questions. “


In Malaysia, Islam is the national religion so Ramadan and Eid are a huge celebration, even for non-Muslims. Munas Van Boonstra is managing director at Media.Monks Malaysia and she says that it’s the busiest retail period of the year, with consumers spending more than at any other time. On the one hand, there are the festive necessities - food, kitchenware and fashion - but there’s also a push on big ticket items like TVs, appliances, cars and motorcycles and home furnishings.

“Therefore, media spends for brands and industries during this massive retail window is much higher than usual and for some brands would be the highest in the year. Malaysia is expecting higher spending this year since the start of the pandemic in 2020,” says Munas. 

Competition is fierce and, says Munas, brands are pushing hard on digital and social channels. “Brands have to invest into multiple video formats across multiple platforms, engage content creators, personalisation at scale and look into shoppertainment,” says Munas, who also says that brands need to adapt to consumer expectations. “Marketers should consider bundles and packages as consumers look for them.”

However, big brand TVCs are a central part of the mix for Ramadan and Eid. Every year, Malaysia looks forward to rich, long-format storytelling ads from organisations like Watsons, TNB (the country’s electricity board), and Petronas as well as numerous FMCG and financial sector brands.

Munas was involved in this 2021 campaign for Malaysian telecomms company Maxis. The campaign, Raya Si Sakan #NikmatRayaBersama saw them turn their prime festive adspace into a space for small enterprises to promote their products and services.

“The brand storytelling ranges from religious, heartwarming, highlighting the less fortunate, encouragement of charitable acts and directing communities towards good deeds to comedy,” says Munas.

There’s one ad that’s risen above the rest as the mainstay of the season: the campaigns from Malaysian business leader and so-called King of Dates Yusuf Taiyoob. His distinct breathy voiceovers have become iconic.

“Yusuf Taiyoob’s iconic whisper ad literally signals to Malaysians year on year that it’s Ramadan time!” laughs Munas. 

It’s also a time of year that frees brands up to connect with consumers in a different way. “This is the season where we see a lot of sentimental and emotional marketing with a higher than usual focus on charitable giving,” says Munas. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to drive an empathic side of their brand instead of potentially the usual sales-driven messaging.”

That being said, consumers are increasingly scrutinising brands’ activity to ensure they are truly lining up with the values they espouse during the Holy Month. “Brands need to ensure that their Ramadan marketing campaigns are authentic and aligned with their brand values. Consumers are increasingly looking for brands that are genuine, so brands need to avoid appearing opportunistic or insincere. I have seen brands force feeding their brand house messaging.”


Nearly 7% of the UK population is Muslim - according to the most recent UK census that’s 3.87 million people - and more businesses are starting to realise the extent of the opportunity. However, it’s fair to say that the local marketing community is undergoing an inconsistent transition with significant wins and a fair few cringe-inducing misses.

Arif Miah is creative strategy director of Mud Orange, a London-based creative agency that works across fashion and food to finance, creating impactful campaigns that are deeply rooted in contemporary culture and authentically engage multicultural audiences. As he points out, Ramadan and Eid are catalysts for a bustling seasonal economy.

“In Piccadilly Circus, London, ‘Happy Ramadan’ lights were switched on to mark the start of Ramadan and will remain in place until Eid.  As Muslims fast during the day, there is a huge Ramadan economy that’s bustling across the 30 nights as people visit mosques, eat out with friends, play sports, go to the gym and more to make the most of non-fasting hours. You just have to visit a Muslim prominent area to see the lively vibe as communities come together to celebrate. “

Historically, the biggest and most active advertisers in the UK around Ramadan have been Muslim charities. “Ramadan is the Super Bowl for British charity giving, as British Muslims are expected to donate £60 every single second across the month. So, there’s loads of advertising from charities and donation platforms to raise money, with promises of 100% donation policies to attract donors during this charity giving season,”  says Arif. 

His agency Mud Orange worked with Givematch, the donation-matching tech platform, to launch its first ever Ramadan campaign to give British Muslims a smart, social and fun way to fulfil their charity goals. “To stand out against the charity congestion, we tapped into the need to achieve ‘more’ during Ramadan. We found that during Ramadan, life goes on steroids as there’s more getting together with friends and family, more prayers, more giving, more blessings, and ironically more food! So we produced the campaign ‘Moment for more’, which doubles down on this cultural insight, showing that British Muslims can supersize their Ramadan through Givematch. The creative uses language and terms synonymous with Ramadan giving such as Donation Policies, Zakat & Sadaqah, but flips it on its head to flaunt the power of donation matching - injecting a fun tech flavour to disrupt the outdated approach most charities take during the season.”

This year, brands have stepped up with campaigns that seek to strike a chord with British Muslims. Uber Eats’ Iftar Incoming activity playfully acknowledges the temporal nature of fasting. Adidas has teamed up with Muslim hikers to launch a prayer mat that makes the great outdoors more accessible to Muslims. But perhaps the biggest mainstream brand to engage with Ramadan at the widest scale is supermarket Tesco.

Last year Tesco grabbed headlines with an outdoor campaign centred on Iftar, the evening meal that signifies the end of the fast. Their huge digital billboards filled up as evening drew nearer. This year Tesco has gone further with a huge campaign centred on a Ramadan-specific TVC that focuses on the wonder of the festival. For the ‘Together This Ramadan’ work, creative agency BBH worked with strategic diversity and inclusion consultancy The Unmistakables, as well as collaborating with Tesco’s own Muslim colleague network.

That research is paying off and enabling work that resonates. “It's great to see that brands have educated themselves to create campaigns showcasing the true meaning of Ramadan,” says Fida Khalid, social media & marketing manager at Untold Fable, UK. “Contrary to popular belief, Ramadan is the best month of our year. We can’t wait for it to come and never want it to end when it does. You wouldn’t think that depriving ourselves of food and water would make us so utterly happy. We don’t care to fill the emptiness in our stomachs, but rather the emptiness in our hearts and souls from trying to be the best Muslims we can be, even if it’s just for 30 days, and to see brands illustrate the beauty of this is just heartwarming.”

It’s perhaps unsurprising that it’s supermarkets like Tesco that have taken the lead - even before these big mass campaigns, with Eid aisles and such. As Arif points out, the extended period of feasting is unlike any other festival in the UK.

“Supermarkets have led the way over the last 10 years with their Ramadan aisles. Unlike what most will assume, fasting during the day means feasting during the night – it’s like 30 Christmas dinners!” he emphasises. “So Supermarkets dedicate a seasonal aisle dedicated to Ramadan, and although the range of products are pretty stereotypical and don’t acknowledge trends in Ramadan cooking, supermarkets have consistently served British Muslims well. 

Fida is keen to work on a Ramadan campaign - pointing out Untold Fable’s diverse talent network - but as an observer, she too has largely noticed the advertising from supermarkets and charities. “The only brands I’ve ever seen taking a role in Ramadan have been Muslim charities or supermarket brands. Looking back at marketing efforts within the UK, Tesco has always been at the forefront of Ramadan marketing in the UK, taking the initiative to get involved annually with Ramadan campaigns stretching back a good few years. I believe their efforts come from their rewards. By tapping into a lucrative consumer need, Tesco has established a new customer base from the enormous market of Muslim consumers within the UK, a significantly large scale audience that brands are unaware of as Muslims contribute millions towards sales, such as the £200 million spent on goods during the 2021 Ramadan alone.”

Outside of the supermarket and food space, other sectors are starting to get in on the action, though it has largely been a fairly narrow and limited affair. “More recently, fashion and beauty brands have played a role during Ramadan, from The Body Shop Eid gift sets, MAC cosmetics' Ramadan range, H&M’s modest collection, to ASOS Ramadan Edits. Throughout the month there is a continuous ‘hum’ of brand activity, but the vast majority of brand activity is isolated to their own channels such as in-store fixtures, website tabs or email blasts,” says Arif. “Whilst activity is rising year on year, Ramadan and Eid is still yet to be acknowledged as a brand moment which results in the lack of creative attention.”

Fida agrees. The brands that are engaging represent small pinpricks in a largely apathetic media landscape. “Personally, I don’t think there is a strong presence of Ramadan or Eid in the UK,” she says. “Maybe it’s a lack of general education or media coverage, but I always have to remind the non-muslims around me that it’s Ramadan.” 

Nonetheless there have been significant shifts in the Ramadan marketing landscape. For one thing, Arif says there's a growing understanding of the true meaning and significance. of Ramadan. “It’s been great to see brands start to recognise Ramadan as an Islamic month rather than a month for ‘Asians & Arabs’. For far too long Ramadan has been visualised by dangling lanterns and samosas (not even a joke). Today, we see brands trying to engage the Muslim experience by tapping into quirky cultural insights that are beneath the surface.”

Another welcome shift is that international brands are starting to understand British Muslim culture and experience as distinct and unique. “It’s great to see a concerted effort to produce localised creative ideas. For a long time, campaigns and executions have been imported from the Middle East which fall flat and go viral for all the wrong reasons (see MAC makeup mishap). Even though there’s still very shallow activity, it’s great to see brands starting to have the British Muslim experience in mind.”

However, there’s still a lot of progress to be made and for every brand that makes an effort to engage with Muslim creators and experts and takes the time to make a meaningful connection, there are brands that see nothing but ‘£’ signs. Perhaps the most egregious example this year is fast fashion brand Pretty Little Thing, which has been heavily criticised for selling skimpy sleepwear and revealing dresses under its Ramadan edit. 

“Like come on, front plunge sleepwear for Ramadan?” laughs Arif. “Marketing teams need to work with creative partners that understand the cultural moment and how your brand can best play a role across all touchpoints.”

Brands and businesses in the UK are very much in the foothills when it comes to Ramadan and Eid - Arif can’t wait for marketers to get past the sense of novelty.  “Although there’s been some good progress, the campaigns we see this year are fixated on the cultural nuances without considering the cultural experience. So whilst it’s attracted attention from the marketing community, it doesn't really add any value or creative connection with British Muslims. There’s almost a fetishisation around food and time with basic execution which doesn’t excite British Muslims. Whilst Ramadan is a time to connect with God, it’s also a time for togetherness, community, rejuvenation and resolution – it’s like Christmas and New year all in one. It will be great to see fully fledged campaigns that champions the essence of Ramadan beyond the cultural quirks that others find interesting.”


In Australia, Ramadan is a festival that’s growing in significance and major brands are starting to pay attention. In the most recent Australian census, 813,392 people identified themselves as being part of the Islamic faith, which is 3.2% of the population. That number is a 34.6% increase on the previous census.

“There is a large and growing community for whom this is the most important time on their cultural calendar. And increasingly, organisations, brands, and audiences recognise this every year and embrace the traditions and engagement opportunities that Ramadan and Eid provide,” says Lou Petrolo, managing partner at Etcom, WPP Australia’s multicultural communications agency.

As more organisations focus on diversity and inclusion, and brands are becoming more open with their involvement, it’s becoming seen as less of niche interest and more as an exciting opportunity to connect.

“Major brands are being more overt and open with their involvement in Ramadan. Ramadan is now often part of their communications strategy, and they are publicising their involvement and promoting their products and services beyond channels that only speak to the Islamic community. More and more brands are looking to showcase their offering to the community through Ramadan and EID events,” says Lou.

However CultureVerse is a multicultural communications and engagement business (part of the Think HQ group). Jessica Billimoria (head of CultureVerse), Farida Sharifi (senior community engagement coordinator) and Nicolas Ojeda Amador (localisation & production executive) note that this engagement isn’t universal and that Ramadan activity isn’t as prominent as other cultural festivals and events throughout the year. “The most noticeable brands taking a role in Ramadan are major supermarkets. Then we tend to see many smaller retailers and restaurants tying their marketing approach with Ramadan and Eid. It’s actually surprising that Kmart hasn’t jumped on board!” they say. “However, perhaps given this celebration is so connected to faith and religious practices we wonder if brands are more hesitant to leverage it as a marketing opportunity compared to something like Lunar New Year?”

Lou points to the incredibly popular Ramadan Nights cultural celebration in the Sydney neighbourhood of Lakemba. In 2022, it attracted over 1.2 million people - more than the Muslim population of the country - and it’s predicted that this year’s outing will be even more popular. It’s something that the CultureVerse team has evolved from an informal gathering to a more organised festival.

“While some people feel it’s lost its roots as a Muslim event, CultureVerse’s senior community engagement coordinators first experienced the market in March this year and felt it took her back to her childhood and the buzz of Ramadan she experienced in Pakistan,” they say.

CultureVerse highlights that there’s more exciting and relevant media platforming stories around Ramadan. “New ideas like the new podcast  ‘My Ramadan’ by SBS which features well-known Muslim personalities and everyday Australians sharing their experiences of Ramadan and Eid. It builds understanding in an engaging and accessible way, about what this celebration is and how things are changing.”

There are plenty of examples of big brands stepping up. Etcom has worked with Woolworths, who acknowledge Ramadan by including more fresh fruit and other product lines like dates and dried fruits, which are traditionally used to break fast. They also supply free water to communities via mosques. They’ve also worked with MoneyGram, who activate incentives and special offers to help the community in sending money to loved ones overseas. Major retail and leisure brand Westfield extends its trading hours at shopping centres to allow Muslims to shop and eat before sunrise and into the evening during the festival.

Meta Australia has been celebrating Ramadan with a range of initiatives, joining forces with Muslim creators and organisations, who will be sharing their experiences across platforms like Facebook and Instagram. KitKat is also promoting its Ramadan gift boxes to Australian customers, and in recent years major local advertiser Meat and Livestock Australia has stepped into marketing lamb during Ramadan, focusing on the great supply of very fresh and Halal red meat available in Australia.

One of CultureVerse’s biggest projects is around creating supportive driver safety campaigns that remind fasting drivers to take precautions. “We tend to work with a lot of government clients, and we’re seeing road safety messaging connected to Ramadan and targeted to communities who are fasting during this time. Driver fatigue connected to fasting has played a role in road accidents and deaths in the past, so we’ve worked on proactive messaging in English and additional languages, with bespoke and culturally-tailored visuals to bring a reminder about road safety and fatigue to communities at risk.” 

From Lou’s perspective, it’s not enough for brands to just dash out some ‘Ramadan Mubarak’ messaging. “Brands must authentically engage with communities before, during and after the month to build trust, credibility and loyalty among the audience. Brands that show accurate cultural understanding and a commitment to the community are the ones that establish prominence, affinity and longevity with the Islamic community.


When it comes to Ramadan and Eid, it’s instructive to compare the USA with the UK. Both countries have a similarly-sized Muslim population - in America 3.45 million people follow Islam according to the Pew Research centre. However, retail brands are only starting to dip their toes in the water with Eid collections - a recent Associated Press report revealed that Target and Party City have been featuring Ramadan goods in store, while Walmart’s collection only has a presence online. Mainstream, above the line campaigns? Not quite.

There are a few possible reasons for that. While in real terms, the Muslim community is sizeable, it still represents just 1.1% of the population. Moreover, many Muslims in the USA are recent immigrants, with 58% of Muslims over the age of 18 in the USA born overseas

W. Sky Downing is VP strategy director at Hero Collective and she’s an American adlander who has had the opportunity to see the potential for Ramadan up close, having worked in the MENA region for four years on brands like Infiniti, UNHCR (United Nations), Nido, Kit Kat, Canon, and Lux.

“I worked with the UNHCR in Lebanon during the Syrian refugee crisis, which was an eye-opening experience,” she recalls. “One of the projects I worked on was how to expand the giving season of Ramadan beyond the 30 days and keep the donations coming in throughout the year. I helped with their storytelling strategy and how to capture content, encouraging them not just to document the tragedies that were happening and why the money was needed, but to follow stories that showed where the money was going and how it changed people’s lives.”

However, W. Sky believes that brands in the USA are hesitant and yet to truly engage with the Muslim community as a significant part of American culture. She notes that racial and religious discrimination still disproportionately impacts American Muslims.

“I would be remiss not to acknowledge the history of anti-muslim sentiment in the United States and the legacy it still leaves today. According to a recent Gallup poll, Muslims (48%) are more likely than Americans of other major religious groups to say they, personally, have experienced racial or religious discrimination in the past year,” she says.

“For improvement to be noted, I think brands have to start accepting that Muslim populations are a vital part of the US population that has been historically under-acknowledged. I believe many American brands are unsure how to approach or remedy this in a meaningful way. The first step, though, begins with learning and understanding.

“For many looking from the outside, the perception of Ramadan is that those of Muslim descent are simply fasting for a 30-day period, not far off what some may do for Lent. However, there is more to it than just fasting. The observance of Ramadan has the ability to teach us love, humility, and patience. And in turn, I learned that there was so much to learn and celebrate, even for those who may not be Muslim or observe this moment each year. So, as we face a cultural evolution of inclusivity, I can’t help but think about how US brands (as well as consumers) can lean into the spirit of the Ramadan season and create a genuine engagement experience that is reflective of the Muslim experience.”

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LBB Editorial, Mon, 24 Apr 2023 16:00:00 GMT