Ramadan is only a week away and brands are getting locked and loaded for this year’s Arab Superbowl, and audiences across the country and region are getting excited.
As with every year, Ramadan is the marketing battleground, with brands saving up a full year, sometimes even two, of advertising budget to compete.
Last year was filled with some amazing work, and some new trends challenging classic original songs and mass celebrity marketing.
We’re looking forward to this year’s brand race, and here are the 6 most anticipated campaigns of Ramadan 2018.
#RamadanClassico: Coca Cola vs Pepsi
As with last year’s most anticipated campaigns, we start the list with the beverage industry’s biggest giants and feud. Last year’s battle between the two saw Coca Cola run a second campaign in what seemed to be the company’s way of trying to catch up with Pepsi’s innovative 3-way video campaign.
Coca Cola released their first ad early into the first week of Ramadan 2017, focusing on the sharing spirit of the holiday.
Pepsi held out for some time before releasing what would become 2017’s most innovative Ramadan campaign with “Yalla Nekamel Lametna,” which invited viewers to gather with friends to watch the full ad.
Read more about the campaign > Pepsi campaign could be the most innovative advert of Ramadan 2017
The ad, featuring funny man Samir Ghanem, was a big hit as an innovative engagement strategy, but had issues with many people getting confused with the concept.
#اعلان بيبسي #رمضان ٢٠١٧ – سمير غانم – #بيبسي مصر بدون لمه 😀 Marketears Pepsi
Posted by AboBakr Ahmed on Friday, June 9, 2017
Due to its nature, Think Marketing will be sharing an edited version, putting all 3 videos together. For the original post to watch together with friends and family, please click here.
Perhaps Pepsi will be able to raise the stakes again this year with their creativity. There are rumors that this year’s ad will be shot entirely with cellphones, focusing on social media’s native resolutions and shapes.
In just a week after its launch, Pepsi managed to take over 54.3% of the total viewership between the two, as well as 61.9% engagement. In response, Coca Cola released another campaign right at the end of Ramadan, before Eid.
Coca Cola has since deleted the video off of their social media, but you can read more about it here.
As always, people are excited to see what these two brands will do this year.
WE [Telecom Egypt]
This will be Telecom Egypt’s big entrance into Ramadan as new telecommunications service provider WE.
So far, the brand has been creating some fun and very localized campaigns during its short time active, although it did hit a small issue with one of their ads that had to be pulled down due to bad African stereotypes.
As WE’s first ever Ramadan, there is a lot of pressure on the service provider to make a grand entrance into the annual telecom battle.
The brand has already had to deal with two fires in its short time; with social media up in arms when WE decided to poke its competitors by putting Vodafone ambassador Mohamed Salah on the WE sponsored national team plane, and with comments about its logo choice.
If WE wants to truly show its in the game to stay, Ramadan 2018 will be its main stage.
Another telecom provider, Etisalat continues to be a looked-forward brand when it comes to Ramadan, but not always for the best reasons.
Having celebrated last year as its 10th year anniversary in Egypt, Etisalat decided to focus its Ramadan campaign on its branding rather than focusing on Ramadan themes. This wasn’t the first time that the brand would ignore traditional Ramadan themes and focus on summer-like themes during the holy month.
اللي عايز يطلع لقدام ميبصش وراه…. مش هنتكلم على العشر سنين اللي فاتوا بس هنتخيل نقدر نقدم لك إيه في العشر سنين اللي جايه…. وهنبدأ بـ 10 أضعاف باقتك أو شحنتك ليك أو لأهلك وأصحابك! #امسك_في_حلمك للاشتراك كلم #666*
Posted by Etisalat Misr on Sunday, May 28, 2017
The brand’s 2016 Ramadan campaign was also summer-themed, and not relevant to the holy month.
Will they break the mold and move with the crowd this year?
Mandolin may be a small chocolate bar, but their newest persona isn’t and it continues to make ripples throughout social media.
Learn more about last year’s campaign here > Mandolin strikes again!
After returning recently to store shelves, Mandolin received negative feedback for its store positioning. The brand fought back with what would become a popular and beloved character, who fought for all things Egyptian.
كفاية تقاليع بقى ونبي! #قدرها
Posted by Mandolin Egypt on Thursday, June 1, 2017
Mandolin may not have campaigned a lot this year, but its ads have continued to stay funny and relevant to their audience. Will they create another great ad this year?
This Air-conditioner brand crashed into audiences with great witty humor and its fun situation last year. The ad went viral almost instantly, with people falling in love with its great script and creating various memes.
لا شيء يفوق منى لا شيء يفوق كاريير
Posted by Carrier Egypt on Saturday, May 27, 2017
The jokes created from this ad continues until today, marking its solid step in the right direction with its marketing strategies.
The question is, will they be able to continue their creative streak or will they fall prey to not being able to raise the bar once more?
Most Anticipated Trends
In the past few years we get enough does of marketing messages that play around the family connection and nostalgia. So, we might see aggressive activations that hammer on more humanized yet personalized concepts.
Egypt qualified for the 2018 World Cup after a 28-year absence. Ten thousand Egyptians expected to attend Egypt matches in 2018 World Cup but millions will be waiting to watch Salah and his squad singing the Egyptian national anthem with high hopes to go beyond the group-stage.
Egypt will begin World Cup matches against Uruguay on June 15 while the month of Ramadan is expected to start on May 16. Do not be surprised to see an integrated communication plan for premium brands that merges Ramadan and World Cup in one prolonged tactical campaign.
Last year, among the usual styles of music and celebrity marketing, rose a great new trend in Ramadan, and in everyday, advertising.
This year’s most anticipated design trend will be Arabic calligraphy plus Avant Garde, or Modern, take on advertising.
As we mentioned in last year’s “Reading between the lines of Ramadan 2017 advertising trends” article, many praised Nestle’s and Lamar’s choice on using modern colors and filming styles to capture audiences.
Following our Social Media Design Trends of 2018 article, dozens of brands have recently made the move to multiple different color schemes, which can be easily translated to the modern filming styles.
Brands such as supermarket chain Metro and croissant snack maker Molto have made the change earlier this year, could they be preparing for a fun and quirky Ramadan campaign?
Either way, we’re excited to see this trend be used more this year, as Egyptian agencies start to get more flexibility with their clients in getting creative.
What campaign are you looking forward to this year? Let us know what you’re excited for in the comments.