Would you be surprised to find out that the ads you see on TV and billboards differ from country to country? Of course, not, it’s only natural to add some cultural aspect to your ads, however, Islamic advertising is completely different in Muslim countries. Like, for example, in Saudi Arabia, women often will be cut out from the ads and unless it’s only their eyes in the picture. Meanwhile Indonesia does the opposite, showing more playful and female characters, similar to European ad standards and expectations.
Let’s take a quick look at several ad campaigns from well-known, international brands that have specifically Muslim pitches for their brands. You’ll see how the Saudi Arabia bends and changes the advertising techniques, because one way or another, they are considered to be culturally or socially inappropriate.
Starbucks’ logo was deemed to be too raunchy with all those boobies. Instant boner, right?
With all the laws and traditions in Saudi Arabia prohibiting women to show their faces, let alone something more, how does one stage a beauty contest? Simple! They’re choosing the winner just by looking at their eyes. Genius.
Now this ad for lingerie and swimwear from Change is actually pretty clever and creative, literally transforming censorship into art.
This is worse than the Japanese hentai censorship! Katy Perry got a few new clothing items scribbled with a pen to give her that sweet, humble look.
As you may have guessed, movies posters get the same treatment as Katy’s album cover – legs, cleavage and shoulders need to be covered. Only this time this also applies man as well, even such well-known anime characters like Goku will need to be “dressed”.
Nudity is simply not allowed. No skin, no legs, no boobs or butts, of course. Everything else is a fair game. Although it’s somewhat different for different countries.In Saudi Arabia you can’t show anything but eyes and hands, while in Dubai people don’t seem to care all that much. That’s why nearly all western magazines need to be edited by hand to meet the requirements of the more conservative audience.
Then there are some cases where changing everything is just easier, faster and cheaper, so some brands develop their campaigns specifically for the Saudi Arabia, but generally try to keep the same atmosphere and spirit as the original ad.
The Western world won’t even look twice at this ad, but when you live in a desert country, where water has more value than gold, you can see how this image is a genius concept.
Look at HP here. They clearly know who to aim in their ads. Two young women, a typical oriental background and a clear shot of the product tell the customers who exactly this advert is for.