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Ramadan 2018 Top Trends Recap. Here’s what brands need to know

World Cup fever is slowly disappearing as national team cheerers come flying back from Russia, and we put our hopes aside, saving our energetic cheers for our next turn at the next world cup.

This year’s main two advertising seasons were put together, culminating into one giant season that has been uploading ad after ad.

With a new Ramadan season, comes new trends in the advertising industry.

Think Marketing is taking a look back at what made this year’s Ramadan special and how the world cup took over for most of it.


To be or not to be, FIFA World Cup mixed campaigns

One of the biggest shifts this year has of course been the year’s biggest trending topic, our return to the international football competition.

WC mania swept over Ramadan, taking most brands with it.

Major brands as such Telecom Egypt’s WE (also their first Ramadan venture), Pepsi and Coca Cola stepped away from a Ramadan theme to focus entirely on the world cup.

Telecom Egypt’s WE’s 3-part spy ad series garnered a lot of attention for completely jumping out of the box, especially as it is their first Ramadan since its establishment.

You can read more about it here > Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

The series culminated into the national team sponsor’s WC anthem.



Although titled “Ramadan Campaign,” it is clear that the brand leaned too heavily on its world cup focused theme.

Pepsi followed the national team around as they prepared for their upcoming matches. The beverage brand also continued its use of the vertical/native format, stemming from last year’s successful 3-way campaign for Ramadan.

Pepsi’s decision to push forward with not only the native format, but alongside a more personal style of Vlogging, aimed to build a more intimate relationship with the team.  The brand released 3 videos of the same Vlogging style with player Saad Samir.



Rival beverage company Coca Cola also went for a localized approach, but with an international flavor.

As a main sponsor of the world cup, Coca Cola holds tremendous power when it comes to WC campaigns and this year was no different.

Following with a global campaign, Coca Cola Egypt went along for the ride as Coca Cola embarked on the “Colors Crosses Borders” campaign.

This included working with several artists from all over the world to provide each country with their own localized WC anthem derived from the original 2018 anthem “Colors.”

The artist chosen to represent Egypt? Tamer Hosny.



Many brands visibly stepped ahead and targeted the WC hype train but were unsuccessful in really merging Ramadan and the world cup themes together.

Telecommunications company, Vodafone, was the only brand to successfully merge the two major advertisings seasons together.

The brand played its usual card of a bright celebrity-filled musical but injected a WC theme by including the national team alongside its cast of celebrity actors.


Read more about the campaign here > Vodafone launches first mixed World Cup and Ramadan mega campaign


Trending Celebrities

With world cup mania happening, it made sense that brands would gravitate to the national team for casting calls.

Ahead of the playing field was of course Mohamed Salah, who made multiple appearances in Vodafone, Pepsi and Uber content pieces.

Mohamed Salah’s strong game play and budding popularity, on and off the pitch, has made him into the media darling of the year. It makes these brands’ decisions to jump on the Mo Salah train all the more strategic.

Fellow national team player, Saad Samir, comes second to the Liverpool star, with multiple appearances with also Vodafone and Pepsi. Samir was also the star of Pepsi’s Vlogging experience.


Keeping Modern

Avant Garde/Modern filmmaking has been making a strong statement since last Ramadan, when Nestle’s Mega Ice Cream opened Ramadan with its underrated hit, which would be then followed by Lamar and Gloria Ceramics also using the style.

The directorial style comes back with Mega leading the pack once again through a powerfully aesthetic and colorful ad reminiscent of a Wes Anderson movie.



Simple Beats and a focus on Lyrics

There was a big shift from last year’s most popular musical style, Mahgranat, to a more simplistic beat and lyrical focus this Ramadan.

A targeted approach, this enables brands to really ensnare viewers, if the copywriting/lyrics are done well. It also emphasizes the emotional approach, working well with sentimental or emotional messages.

We can see this shift in ads by Banque Misr, Mahgoub For Ceramic and Porcelain, Head and Shoulders and a whole host of NGOs and Hospitals taking the plunge.



Head and Shoulders made it on our 5 non-cliché Ads for Egypt’s return to FIFA World Cup, find out what the others were here.

Banque Misr’s fun video assets should also be noted as a trend that is slowly growing in popularity.


Niche Audience Targeting

While Ramadan is usually a mass appeal season, brands have been gradually moving from mass audience targeting to more niche grabbing advertising.

We can see this trend predominately in ads by Persil, Palm Hills, and Juhayna, while water beverage Flo used a niche audience to grab attention for goodwill.

Persil targets the often-forgotten segment of women football fans, Palm Hills hits the head with a focus on more cultured or art-loving audiences, and Juhayna directs attention to the plights of those who are lactose and intolerant.

Read more on Persil’s campaign > Moms could be the best world cup supporters? Persil says YES!



Unfortunately for Palm Hills, there has been speculation and criticism about the ad, as its concept is strikingly similar to this ad by Lexus Europe which was released only half a year ago. It doesn’t take away from the direction though, as it continues to be a beautifully shot ad.


Know of any new trends that should be here? Let us know in the comments!

Think Marketing

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