Photo: Ads Of The World
Last year, when we published a survey of advertising in Islamic and Muslim countries, the slideshow was one of our most popular galleries of commercial creativity.From McDonald’s famous golden arches in jarring Arabic script, to a beauty contest in which only women’s eyes were shown, we were all fascinated by the way advertisers in strict religious cultures handled — or avoided — the universal themes of sex, wealth and consumption.
Now we’ve updated our survey of Arabic and Middle Eastern advertising.
The one thing that hasn’t changed is the cleverness with which advertisers handle the burdensome rules on their creativity.
Here’s a look at several campaigns from big, international brands that have specifically Muslim pitches for their brands. We selected the work from the invaluable Ads of the World web site.
There's a stereotype that because many Muslim women cover themselves that this means there is an overall ban on nudity or sexuality in their pop culture. In fact it varies from country to country. Client: Esemmat Insect Killer: Advertising Agency: TBWA, Istanbul, Turkey .
This ad for a Dubai tourist spot is an excellent example of the tightrope that advertisers walk in Islamic countries. If this was a Western resort, she'd be in a bikini. Client: Maydan Beach. Advertising Agency: Gyro, Dubai, UAE.
Here's one way to talk about sexuality when you can't show it: Use monkeys. If you're not curious about the chimp reading 'Playape,' then wait till you see the orangutan crime boss. Client: Freska. Advertising Agency: Kairo, Egypt.
Change is a lingerie and swimwear brand. This launch ad was intended play off censorship in Saudi Arabia and 'to transform censorship into art.' The ads were in English to target an upscale bilingual audience. The agency was Ogilvy Jeddah.
This special effects epic for Bahrain's big telco company would probably have won an award if it had been produced for a U.S. company. It took the agency more than one year to make. Client: Batelco. Advertising Agency: FP7/BAH, Bahrain.
In Indonesia, cats smell as bad as they do in the West. This poster is for Bubbles 'cat cologne.' The agency is Grey, Indonesia.
Yep, they have Apple retailers in Islamic countries too. Client: iCity Kuwait Advertising Agency: Paragon Marketing Communications, Kuwait.
Arab advertising is often unafraid to play to stereotypes. Here, a keffiyeh-wearing desert nomad warms his hands at night over a spicy chicken sandwich from Kudu, a chain restaurant.
This was part of a campaign for Kushbu, a fashion line based in the U.K. which sells 'Islamic Wear' online. Yes, covered women care about their appearance.
The Dawn is Pakistan's largest English-language newspaper. It delivered soaking wet copies to its upper class subscribers to draw attention to its fundraising for victims of flooding in other parts of the country. Client: Dawn. Advertising Agency: IAL Saatchi & Saatchi, Pakistan.
This concept appears to pay homage to the movie 'Inception.' It's for a big Bahrain telco directory brand. Client: Batelco Directory. Advertising Agency: FP7/BAH, Bahrain.
This bus in Iran was dressed as a tiled floor with fleeing germs for Domestos bleach. Agency: Point of View, Tehran.
This ad displays a sense of humour about Islamic observance. It's for Nandos spicy chicken, and it shows a starving man who can barely wait for the sun to go down during Ramadan so he can eat. Agency: Tonic International, Dubai.
There's more going on with this ambient signage for wChat text messaging than meets the eye. In the Maldives, chatting used to be done in doorways. Men and women could be seen — and thus less likely to misbehave. The speech bubble suggests there's a more discreet alternative. Client: wChat. Advertising Agency: Think Associates, Maldives.
Yes, some Muslims in Qatar have Persian-style rugs. Champion Spray On Fresh will stop them smelling like sheep. Agency: Grey, Dubai.
As we saw in our previous look at Saudi advertising, the desert kingdom has a particular (and understandable) fascination with water and cold. Client: Munch. Advertising Agency: Brandwill, Saudi Arabia .
Not every Muslim country expects women to cover in pop culture. This ad is for Soy Joy, a non-dairy fruit snack, in Indonesia. (Does Disney know what its princesses are up to in Asia?) Agency: Dentsu Indonesia.
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