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Ramadan and TV time
Celebrants are expected to consume even more TV than usual this Ramadan due to August timing. Adrian Murphy reports
August 1, 2011 12:14 by Eva Fernandes
sales during Ramadan, agrees.
According to MD, Saleh Abdullah Lootah, people prefer to stay with the family during this time.
“Looking at the political situation in the different Arabic countries, we might see more people staying in the region instead of going back home until their home country situation improves,” he says.
“Most probably we will end up having more Muslim/Arabic people staying in Ramadan while more western/Non-Muslims will take this opportunity to extend their vacation outside of the region.”
Choucair says Ramadan is a time when advertisers play with consumers’ emotions, both to drive consumption with special offers or rates or project a positive image of the company through CSR and brand messages.
“Big ticket items also use the end of Ramadan to stimulate Eid sales,” she says.
“Rates vary according to the station’s performance, the popularity of the programme and its expected ratings. This is how stations offset the large programming investments they make to stimulate viewership.
“Overall OMG projects TV investments during Ramadan to represent an 80 per cent jump on an average month.
“What is also noticeable is that brands increase their reliance on sponsorships during Ramadan, compared with the rest of the year. They increased by 55 per cent in 2010 over the previous years.”
However, Choucair says that there is a limited supply of Ramadan programmes this year, since the traditional production centres of Egypt and Syria have both been affected by political unrest.
“This means content is at a further premium which coupled with the perception that it will be a tough season in advertising terms, means stations need to tread cautiously,” she adds.
“As to the overall trend, the one significant point to make is that decisions are being taken later and later, which is making broadcasters very nervous about the outcome. Without a doubt, this year is particularly hard to predict with all these factors at play.”
So media spend is not just about laying out huge sums of money and hoping for the best, but it’s about the perception your audience will have of the brand.
And from a marketing perspective Ramadan poses fantastic opportunities, as well as potential pitfalls to companies if their marketing strategy is not properly executed.
“The changes in the communication landscape, varying from consumption patterns, buying habits, media environment, lifestyle and state of mind is remarkable and truly a challenge to brands,” says Johnny Khazzoum, MD, Mindshare Bahrain.
“It’s no longer a matter of a TV ad or promotion, it’s about the brand’s image, positioning and contribution to the Holy Month that makes the difference.
“From a media perspective, the shift in media consumption is like the Superbowl, consumption is at its highest, specifically FMCG products; sales go through the roof and there are even special categories and brands that rely and capitalise on Ramadan specifically.
“Therefore ensuring brand presence in a smart way is crucial for these brands or they risk losing a large share in the market.”
A good example is Vimto, which has become as much a part of iftar as dates and milk making it a very important month for its distributor, Aujan.
“Our Vimto brand has a huge association with Ramadan and a significant portion of Vimto sales happen during the holy month,” says Anwar Zaman, VP of marketing at Aujan Industries.
The ad budget at Al Islami swells by 50 per cent for the month.
“We consider this as our best investment opportunity and that should give us extra mileage outside Ramadan,” says Lootah.
He too expects a hike in ad rates, especially in TV and print, but says that development of alternative media is pressurising TV firms to review prices.
OOH becomes very important, especially in the UAE, with its fragmented population making it difficult to be effective in mass communication.
“If there is a place where all of Dubai’s population can meet is in the street, in the mall and the hypermarkets. In Ramadan the situation is even more critical due to the limited space available, so competition is at its most intense.”
Other brands hoping to make the most of their visibility and which will focus on OOH is Unilever’s Lipton and Knorr.
“In Ramadan Knorr plays an important role as soups become an integral part of the consumer’s daily consumption,” says David Porter, media director, Unilever.
“Our strategy will therefore be to ensure Knorr is available everywhere, supported by exciting consumer offers. Our investment in OOH is strongly influenced by the price and quality of display.”
And let’s not forget the fundamentals of Ramadan such as fasting and giving that can also have an impact on what purchasing choices people make.
“Not only is Ramadan about getting in touch with your spiritual side, about also about the spirit of giving and doing good, austerity and self-control throughout the day,” says Rishi Saxen, associate research director.
And once the new moon is sighted people’s iftars and gift-giving may well be influenced by the commercials aired during popular TV shows such as Bayni Wo Baynak and Bab Al Hara.
And all the hard work and investment will have been worth it.
As Lootah says: “Our focus is to have efficient spending. whether it’s higher or lower than last year, it doesn’t really matter.”
This article first appeared in Gulf Marketing Review