As soon as you switch on tv these days, you will come across not one or two but many commercials celebrating the spirit of Ramzan in some way. Every year, a few days before or during the holy month, a whole new array of advertisements, specifically targeted at building a connection with the masses, takes centre stage, replacing older ones.
While some ignite an immediate response, others tend to have a larger purpose in mind. For instance, brands which cater to products whose consumption increases during the month of Ramzan — such as lal sharbat and cooking oils — tend to cash in on it as masses buy more of these products. Contrary to that, others just wish to build a connection with consumers by bringing out adverts that are relatable and leave a mark on them, resulting in top-of-mind awareness.
“In Ramzan, food consumption is more than usual so brands dealing in related products cash in on it and it definitely has an impact on the revenue,” says Armughan Hassan, a director-writer, who has been in the business of advertisement filmmaking for years. “Compared to the past, advertising in Pakistan has shifted towards more narrative-based commercials that help build a connection with consumers. Themes such as family dynamics and moral values are relevant to viewers and form an emotional connection with the brand,” he explains.
“Even if that doesn’t always result in generating more revenue instantly, it creates a strong brand image in the minds of consumers. When they go out to make a purchase, that brand is on top of their minds and that, in turn, results in higher sales,” he says.
Speaking of Ramzan-specific advertisements, and how crucial they are to sales of a particular product, it is believed that they have a major impact on revenue at the end of the day. However, this is not always the purpose behind commercials that are launched in the market during this time.
Alamgir Janjua, General Manager Marketing, Mezan Group, says, “We specifically advertise in Ramzan to connect with the masses, revenue is secondary for us because most of the shopping for Ramzan takes place a couple of weeks prior to the month,” he says.
“Every year we come up with a different theme and we make sure that the message resonates with the audience. By sending these kinds of messages, we are trying to tell audiences to be kind, not to be selfish and show simple gestures of kindness towards their family. And I think this is the essence of Ramzan as well.”
Do companies see a surge in terms of revenue as well at the end of the month? “Yes, the impact is definitely there,” responds Janjua. “Because right after Ramzan, comes the eid season and oil is something that is very important for kitchen. So, we do see an upsurge during Ramzan and after that, but I believe that it has also to do with the goodwill that the brand has generated over so many years of regular advertising.”
Do banks believe in any Ramzan-specific advertising? “People are more inclined towards religion during the holy month and refrain from interest-based dealings,” said a banker on condition of anonymity, who is a firm believer of not to advertise in the month of Ramzan. “So, I don’t want to lose my impact by launching a small-scale commercial compared to fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) budget during this period just for the sake of it.”
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However, reflecting on the impact commercials related to food and festivities have on sales, he adds, “They do make a certain impact on revenue due to more consumption as they are very Ramzan-oriented.”
There is no denying that food consumption rises to a major extent during this month, but it is also true that such adverts connect to audiences on a whole new level apart from just bringing in revenue. Viewers identify with the brand, even if they don’t buy their products always, and develop a positive and strong image in their minds. Thus, it’s a win-win situation for the brand in either case.
*This is an edited version of the article