afaqs! news bureau

Coke’s quietly supportive message for Muslims worldwide

Brands seeking to build advertising around a holy event are often viewed with scepticism. But this ad from Coca-Cola has been appreciated.

Back in 2015, when Coke’s ‘Remove Labels this Ramadan’ ad went digital, its marketing director for the Middle East had this to say: “The holy month of Ramadan is a time for people to connect with each other to show solidarity, empathy, and care for others. It was important to reflect these values in our campaigns so we could fully engage with consumers. We knew that YouTube was the best platform for our 'Remove Labels This Ramadan' campaign, as it allowed Coca-Cola to share its message with millions of people across the world amplifying these common human values.”

The Remove Labels campaign highlighted a limited-edition run of red Coca-Cola cans that features the brand’s white dynamic ribbon without its signature logo. The backs of the cans include the anti-prejudice, pro-tolerance message: "Labels are for cans, not people." The ad immediately struck a chord worldwide and trended both locally and globally.

This year, Coke has come up with another remarkable Ramadan spot about a young Muslim woman who, in addition to enduring the late-afternoon discomfort of fasting, must also put up with harsh gazes and outright mockery from other people on the street. She is offered a soda from a passer-by and once it is sundown, they enjoy a quiet drink. The ad has been created by FP7/McCann UAE.

‘What unites us is bigger than what divides us,’ is the ad’s closing line. A version – probably unofficial - uploaded to YouTube has been viewed nearly 2.5 million times. What is more striking is that – despite it being a marketing message – the ad has generated immensely positive feedback for sending out an uplifting message.

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