MAC Cosmetics Middle East has been mocked for its recent Ramadan-themed tutorial video titled “Get Ready For Suhoor”, featuring a makeup artist applying kohl, eyeshadow and mascara on to a woman before she eats.
Netizens have called out the company for mistaking suhoor (pre-dawn meal) with iftar, the meal that Muslims typically have with family and friends when they break fast in the evening. According to netizens, is also far more common for Muslims to dress up for iftar, rather than the wee hours of the morning for suhoor.
Some netizens on Twitter said that while they loved the inclusion, it was a “missed opportunity” by MAC Cosmetics. Others even roasted the company by posting a dishevelled picture next to a screen shot of MAC’s video, stating “This is the real suhoor look.”
— Moiz Awesome Qureshi (@MoizAwesome) May 26, 2018
Um. I love inclusion & I love @MACcosmetics, but who's putting on a full face of makeup – or any makeup at all – for a pre-dawn meal?? #Ramadan #Suhoor https://t.co/1l5uqDzsKD HT @Meha pic.twitter.com/LsMah6jZTh
— Malika Bilal (@mmbilal) May 25, 2018
A+M has reached out to MAC Cosmetics for comment.
Where to put your ad dollars when it comes to media buying
Meanwhile, the first week of Ramadan has passed and brands have slowly been launching content related to the Holy Month. Closer to home, in a prior interview, Amit Sutha, MD, Universal McCann and Ensemble Worldwide Malaysia said while there has not been a “seismic shift” in budgets, since major brands still continue to invest on media spend during Ramadan, there have been a slew of companies that place their dollars purely in digital and mobile executions.
This results in more “intense competition” when it comes to gaining consumers’ attention, which can be tackled with creativity and innovation, Sutha said. “Whether it is programmatic storytelling, dynamic print executions or geo-location awareness out-of-home executions, the options are aplenty for those who are looking to differentiate their creativity,” he added.
In Malaysia, video executions spanning TV, digital, mobile and OOH are still the most popular options among Sutha’s clients during Ramadan. While print is still widely favoured, it is being used for congratulatory messaging closer to Ramadan.
At the end of the day, there is never a ‘one-size-fits-all’ media strategy, and buys are dictated by the nature of a company’s product.
As such, some brands might focus their ad dollars during sahur, and others during the late hour or in the afternoon, Sutha added.
The rise of KOLs during Ramadan
In addition to platforms such as TV, digital and mobile, engaging key opinion leaders on social platforms and having on-ground events are also critical for clients that have Ramadan-specific products and promotions asthere is a shift in consumer behaviour pattern.
During the months of Ramadan, viewership is known to peak around early prime, late prime, late night and early mornings from a TV perspective, and during lunch breaks for digital. While the logic is to follow audiences across day-parts, the category in which the brand operates also plays an important role in the scheduling by time band.
Meanwhile there has not only been a shift in marketing dollars on media buying, but also on marketing priorities and clients are now place more emphasis on the 4Ps of marketing – product, price, promotion and place – in a bid to create greater relevance among consumers during Ramadan. Brands that have already included digital media as part of their overall media strategy, are beginning to place more focus on expanding their digital efforts, optimising content for multi-screens.
While some companies might market to consumers based on specific timings of the day during Ramadan, what is more important to focus on is the aim. As such, smaller brands can potentially draw more momentum from pre-Ramadan marketing activities, than if they were to launch their marketing efforts during the month of Ramadan. Marketers should move past the metric of awareness during this period and focus on relevance instead.
Media planners Marketing spoke to described suhoor as the “prime time” for communicating a brand with “strong values” and one that is able to effectively influence consumers. During the fasting period in the day, brands should aim to entertain, inform and engage on multiple platforms and create a narrative for the evening or next day. It is important for brands to remain relevant during iftar to gain a share of voice and cut through the clutter, by posting content that celebrates the day’s achievements and helps consumers prepare for the next day.