The first Ramadan marketing campaign launched in Finland’s largest shopping centre Itis.
Like all around Europe, seasonal holidays are easily noticed in the shops and malls of Finland. Mother’s Day, May Day, Mid-summer, and other campaigns alike are celebrated with sales, balloons, and irresistible offers. But how many Finns noticed that Ramadan began at the beginning of June? The biggest holiday of Muslims began on the 6th of June and will end with a festive Eid-al-Fitr celebration on the 6th of July.
Scandinavia’s largest shopping centre Itis (www.itis.fi), located in East-Helsinki, is the first in Finland to approach the Muslim consumers during Ramadan. The campaign is not coincidental, as 25% of the population in East-Helsinki speak another language than Finnish as their mother tongue, with most inhabitants being Muslim.
Business owners and shopkeepers throughout the years, have noticed how Eid has always been a busy day at Itis. “The area is surrounded by a few mosques, so it is natural for Muslim consumers to go to celebrate at Itis after Eid prayers.”, says Sara Salmani. Salmani is one of the founders of Qufi Creative, a creative agency established in 2015 which helps European brands target their marketing at Muslim consumers. Qufi Creative helped Itis build this years’ Ramadan and Eid campaign. The agency has previously produced and directed the first Middle-Eastern Film & Arts Festival in Helsinki.
“European Muslim consumers are often neglected or marketing fails due to poor background research”, adds Anmar Matrood, also a founder of Qufi Creative. Both Salmani and Matrood strongly believe that brands and companies will need more help with marketing and branding as the Muslim population in Finland and Europe is rapidly growing. Id is a consumer holiday just like Christmas, which is a business opportunity that needs to be acknowledged.
Shopkeepers of Itis were helped with, for example, creating multilingual marketing material. They were also given advice in selecting appropriate products for sale to target Muslim consumers. Well-wishes in Arabic calligraphy were designed and exhibited around the shopping centre.
“We at Itis are extremely happy to be pioneers in embracing multiculturalism through marketing. For this campaign, Qufi Creative was a natural partner of collaboration, due to the fact that the agency has extensive knowledge on the needs of the Muslim market, as well as a broad network with the Finnish Muslim community.”, says Itis’ Marketing Manager Anna Homén.
“We’re extremely happy to see that Itis has been brave enough to take this first initiative in acknowledging Finnish Muslim consumers.”, says Matrood.
Clothing mogul H&M was the first to use a Muslim model in their campaign. Itis has been the first to launch a Ramadan campaign in Scandinavia. What would be the first steps for businesses to take if wanting to approach this consumer market? “Small gestures are the best way to take that first initiative. A simple Facebook status wishing a Happy Ramadan is already a nice way to communicate that your company is taking this consumer group into consideration. Of course, that’s not enough to keep up interest in the long run, but that’s another story”, says Salmani.