BY ALI NAQVI –
Ramadan is a month of blessing. For a number of people the blessing comes in various guises. Ramadan 2020 is going to be different in so many ways. The COVID-19 factor has changed everything. From prayers to shopping and from marketing to advertising everything will have to adapt to the current situation and SOPs.
The holy month has always been a lucrative opportunity for retailers, traders, marketers as well as advertisers. Marketing and advertising are going to suffer tremendously in Ramadan 2020. Only FMCG brands are likely to perform better but they too will be unable to back their products with new creative mainstream campaigns. A large number of ad productions were cancelled due to lockdown in the country.
Every year brands like Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Rooh Afza, Jam-e-Shirin, Surf Excel, Bata etc. come up with big ideas to get the most out of the month of Ramadan. Coronavirus lockdowns will be a blessing in disguise for brands that are suffering from creative bankruptcy to hide their debilitating marketing strategies notably Pepsi and Coke.
Pepsi has no sense of direction. The brand is trying to linger on to music but the culture of popular music is not there to support it. Pepsi Battle of the Bands is a good initiative but the brand cannot take its ride all year long. For some odd reason Pepsi is not using cricket as the mainstay of its creative strategy which used to be its strongest area. Pepsi has also failed to capitalize on the mistakes of its most ardent competitor, Coca-Cola. We may not be seeing anything as good as ‘liter of light’ campaign in Ramadan 2020 and the brand will most likely use the chunks from its previous Ramadan campaigns.
Ever since Coke’s ‘Extremist’ campaign, everything has been going downhill. The Brrr revival and the Adnan Siddique advert did little for the brand if anything at all. As far as Ramadan is concerned Coke has always relied on the graphic portrayal of celebrations and festivities. This year, as the Ramadan has started we have not seen the new campaign form Coke. Is it the lockdown or something else?
Unlike Coke, Pepsi and other FMCGs; footwear and clothing brands are facing the worst nightmare. Ramadan leading up to Eid is the best time for such brands in terms of sales turnover. If the lockdown persists and gets even stricter, as the doctors all over the country are demanding, brands like Bata, Borjan, Metro, Stylo, Ndure in the footwear category and Junaid Jamshed, Khaadi, GulAhmed and many others in clothing category will have to bear the heaviest brunt of the corona crisis.
Had the federal government taken prompt decisions in the beginning of March enforcing strict lockdowns throughout the country, the situation would have been different today. Government is thinking about allowing markets to open in the last 10 days of Ramadan 2020. If that happens, it may be fruitful for the market in short term but in the long run people will die in large numbers.