Ramadan is here and Muslims have commenced their annual fasting ritual in accordance with the statutes of the Islam. Ramadan, which can either be called (Puasa or Bulan Puasa) is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and Muslims all over the world observe this as a month of fasting, which lasts for an average of 29-30 days. This annual ceremony is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam and is marked by abstinence from sinful activities such as sexual immorality, cursing, fighting and procrastination.
During this period, it will not be surprising to find many outdoor advertising spaces filled with PR messages targeted towards Muslims as they commemorate the Ramadan season. You can bet that advertisers will not fail to leverage on this opportunity to reinforce their brands and show their love for their Muslim customers. This season portends great potential for brands to foster brand loyalty and credibility through a well planned promotional outdoor advertising campaign.
Arabel, dealers in various Islamic materials such as Islamic bridal wears, veils, prayer items and television, have started rolling out billboard and lamppost advertisements to commemorate the season. However, there is something significant about their campaign messages. One of their bill-board advert shows a lady fully dressed with a Hijab and her hands placed on a stack of books. The ad message goes thus “The ink of a scholar is holier than the blood of a martyr.” Another lamppost advert reads “Seeking knowledge at a young age is like engraving on a stone.” Some of the lampposts have pictures of young girls dressed in a hijab, along with their ages and location.
A critical analysis of these messages reveals that Arabel is utilizing the Ramadan season to reiterate the fact that the Islamic religion is supportive of girl-child education, as indicated by the lady and girls used in the billboard and lamppost adverts respectively. The ad communicates the indelible value of education, comparing it with engravings on a stone. In addition the advert has messages depicting Islam’s value for education and peace against war and illiteracy. This belief is contrary to the activities of the Boko Haram sect who kidnapped over 200 girls from their school in Chibok.
Is it then safe to conclude that the advertisements by Arabel Nigeria subtly communicates a message to the insurgents that the girls in their custody have the right to education? Do the adverts posit that the activities of insurgents negate the tenets of Islam? Can these advertisements be seen as a clarion call to the terrorists to end the insurgency and release the Chibok girls?
Over the years, Arabel has used outdoor advertising to sanitize the public on the tenets of the Islamic religion, emphasizing beliefs such as peace, unity and harmony. It has depicted itself as an organization that seeks to correct the misconstruction of Islamic values and beliefs.
However, their recent campaign, fostering the importance of education, would be better if it is written in Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa; the 3 basic languages in Nigeria. This is because the campaign is targeted at the general public and as such should communicate with each member of the public as advertising in English alone assumes that everyone is literate.