More than a Ramadan Story

Trends / Realness
We Are
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Maxine Ihezie
May 4, 2021
Many brands use Ramadan as a time to celebrate their Muslim customers and tailor their campaigns to visualise this community. However, this can be viewed as tokenistic and temporary in the eyes of those being reflected. Our consumer data shows that 4 in 5 consumers expect brands to be consistently committed to diversity and inclusion, so a seasonal approach is insufficient. Furthermore, only 14% of consumers feel accurately represented in advertising imagery, so even when visualising these holidays, it is likely that brands are still missing the mark. But there are ways to get closer to reality – not only during the holy month of Ramadan, but beyond.

1. Bring More Variety to Ramadan

When visualising Ramadan, remember that there are shared traditions outside of fasting, and that there are nuances within Islamic religion. Muslims make up a quarter of the world’s population and for those observing the holy month, it is a time of abstention, introspection and rejuvenation. However, there is a tendency to exclusively depict the practice of fasting, or a food filled table during Iftar (the evening meal that begins at sunset). At Getty Images, we see this reflected in our customer searches, with searches for terms such as ‘Ramadan Food’ increasing by 101% in the last year. In order to visualise Ramadan more authentically though, choose visuals that depict other aspects of the holiday, such as charity work and spiritual reflection.

2. Show Cultural Nuances

As much as there are common practices, Muslims are not a monolithic group. Muslims come from different corners of the world with different nationalities, ethnicities and cultures that are mutually exclusive. As such, practices during Ramadan vary from culture to culture. For example, bathing rituals are carried out in Indonesia, while ballads are performed in Albania. To authentically communicate with the Muslim community, it is important to understand the regional context, and to show the nuances between cultures.

3. Break Stereotypes

Unfortunately, media narratives about Muslims typically push negative stereotypes which have contributed to Islamophobia across Europe, North America and Asia. From prohibiting face coverings in public to travel bans, hostility is rising. To combat issues of prejudice, simply celebrating Muslims during religious festivities will only go so far – representation needs to be consistent whilst challenging anti‑Muslim rhetoric. Achieve this by showing the full spectrum of proud Muslims. Show multidimensional lifestyles in the home, at school and work. Be intentional and show Muslims as bold leaders heading business meetings, adventurous explorers, and community members socialising with loved ones.

Engage your Muslim audience by being intentional with your visual selection. After all, getting visual representation right is the key to increasing awareness and breaking stereotypes. Use our gallery below for inspiration and check out our MuslimGirl collection.
Establishing Trust