Islam’s Holy Month: A Time for Self-Promotion

During Ramadan—Aug. 1-29 this year—ad spending in the Muslim world surges as people often spend hours watching TV during the day-long fasts. Big companies develop special campaigns that highlight traditional values while urging the faithful to buy their brands.
McDonald’s (MCD)

TV spots show the golden arches shrouded in cloth, playing on a local custom of covering restaurant windows during the day to avoid tempting fasters.
“You can’t wait to break your fast.”
Coca-Cola (KO)

After this year’s political turmoil, an ad depicts traditional Ramadan lanterns as a symbol of a brighter future.
“For every person who sees the glass half empty, millions offer each other Coca-Cola.”

Spots highlight the cultural milestone of a child’s first Ramadan fast, urging families to mix up a pitcher of the Kraft Foods (KFT) drink.
“It’s my first fast. Everyone should get Tang.”

Though Muslims are urged to avoid excessive consumption during Ramadan, auto dealers frequently offer discounts during the holiday to keep moving the metal.
“Ramadan is generous.”
MoneyGram International (MGI)
Internet ads by this U.S.-based money-transfer service evoke holiday traditions of kindness and generosity.
“Experience the joy of giving during Ramadan.”

Matlack is a Paris correspondent for Bloomberg Businessweek.

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Companies Mentioned

  • MCD
    (McDonald's Corp)
    • $101.07 USD
    • 0.98
    • 0.97%
  • KO
    (Coca-Cola Co/The)
    • $41.95 USD
    • 0.01
    • 0.02%
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