During Ramadan in Indonesia, consumers expect to see a specific type, and set, of advertisements to air on TV; fruit syrup, ulcer medicine, oral health and dessert products. Traditionally, the themes will revolve around home, family and goodness of heart. Portraying the good mother as nurturer, or family harmony, and the brand or product as the hero of the story.
Ramadan this year is quite different. We have seen a shift of focus and changes in tonality in the themes that the ads are conveying.
We have identified four new themes that are emerging:
- Well-being and living life to the fullest
- Acts of kindness
- Creativity opens up possibilities
- Bringing back tradition
These themes are a response to how the COVID pandemic impacted the world, how people perceive their lives now and the shifts in human interactions and values.
During the pandemic, we were being isolated, locked inside our homes alone, or only with our immediate family. We began to value emotional and psychological health and wellbeing, unlike before, and we built intimate and warm bonds with people we believed to share our values – hearing terms such as “people with the same frequency” as a way to express strong connections. Many also honed new skills to fill their time, becoming more productive than before.
The changes felt and experienced deepened our view of the world and the people around us. Thus, many brands responded to this, adjusting themselves to fit into the new world’s perspectives.
In the 2023 Ramadan ads we are seeing that the people or the person become the hero of their story, while the brands and products are empowering and enabling them to be the best version of themselves.
1. Well-being and living life to the full
Fast forward to today, post-pandemic, and we are seeing people coming out more, living a more balanced life, valuing personal space and time. Health and wellbeing are two big themes that came out during the pandemic and are still being carried forward today. Two brands that carry this theme well in Indonesia are SariWangi and Bimoli.
Bimoli conveys that happiness (wellbeing) is important, unlike previous ads that focus only on family and health. Today, they are depicting a more cheerful, self-happiness message in their advertisement.
Whilst SariWangi focuses on enjoyment, enabling people to keep enjoying life, whilst the tea helps with the physical (cholesterol) health. They have moved away from language that creates guilt and more into the importance of emotional health after 2 years of lockdown and isolation.
2. Act of kindness
As the pandemic brought pain and suffering to many people, we observed a new behaviour in the rise of acts of kindness, derived from the traditional, Indonesian long-held value of togetherness. People want to help because they believe that kindness can alleviate some pain and suffering and we’ve seen three brands that have used this theme for 2023; Mylanta, Teh Botol Sosro, and Royco.
Ulcer medication advertisements are one of the most common during Ramadan in Indonesia, however, Mylanta is depicting a different angle from the ‘traditional fasting’ message around Mylanta helping consumers fulfill their fasting obligations. The Mylanta Ramadan ad this year is conveying unhindered kindness in helping others.
Whilst Teh Botol Sosro, even though it still has some traditional elements of breaking fast together in the mosque, it portrays this moment as an act of kindness and a way to bring happiness to others.
Interestingly, Royco continues to centre the message around the rational and instructional, but it does portray an act of kindness as part of the story.
3. Creativity opens up possibilities
Another theme that highlights the new skills that many consumers learnt during the pandemic is the trend of home-made food that was one of the popular themes on social media. Three brands that are tapping into this are Nutrijel, Indomilk Kental Manis and Nutella.
Nutrijel has 2 ads that use the same theme.
Although food creation may an entirely new theme, they are conveying pride in one’s creativity. Whilst in previous years, their ads have revolved around the mother’s creativity as a way to show her love to her family.
Indomilk takes a rather different angle where it brings travel experiences in-home as the answer for the 2 years of limitations and closed borders. Highlighting that creativity can bring home other cultures to enrich their experiences.
And lastly, Nutella, well known as a foreign brand that has created demand in Indonesia. Nutella is inserting itself in Indonesian traditions, using local snacks to fit the brand into the Ramadan repertoire, empowering creativity with modern ingredients.
4. Bringing back tradition
Bringing back tradition is also an important theme this year post the pandemic isolation and three brands are using this theme; BlueBand, Avian Paint, and Glow & Lovely.
BlueBand is reminding consumers that festive cookies and cakes are traditionally made best with this brand. They go back to the tradition of visiting and gathering with family, BlueBand is inserting themselves and reminding consumers that they are the traditional choice.
Avian Paint also reminds consumers of the tradition’s pre-pandemic; repainting their houses before Eid Mubarak in order to be ready to receive guests.
Lastly, Glow & Lovely are recognizing that since the social limitations have been lifted and reunions and iftar will return, they are reminding consumers that looking their absolute best is important when seeing people that they may not have seen in 2 years.
Overall, the advertisements during this Ramadan are tapping into optimism and the hopefulness of life and the future. Happiness and the cheerful tonality across all ads are positioning Ramadan and Eid Mubarak as the remedy to fight the bleak and depressive memories of the pandemic.
Gone is the scare and fear messaging, in fact, they are enabling and empowering happiness and enjoying one’s life to the fullest with positivity and optimism.
This theme will continue to take more and more space in consumers’ mind and priorities in the future, as people want to be hopeful. Therefore, brands should start carving out their opportunities in this space so as to continue to be relevant and connect better with consumers.