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Cause Marketing During Ramadan

In 2012 in the United Arab Emirates, Unilever and the UAE chapter of the Red Crescent Society teamed up for a cause marketing effort that took place during Ramadan, a month-long fast that observant Muslims across the globe annually observe in the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar.

In 2012 Ramadan began on July 20 on the Gregorian calendar. During the 29 to 30 days of Ramadan, Muslims fast…that is, refrain from eating or drinking… each day from dawn to dusk. When the day’s fast ends at dusk, Muslims then partake of food and drink, oftentimes as a communal feast as in the picture above. Needless to say, Ramadan is easier when it takes place in the winter rather than the summer months.

In this campaign, Unilever’s Comfort Creations brand of fabric softeners set up a series of drop-off points for used clothing, which the Red Crescent Society then provided to the needy. The drop-off points were located in three malls in Dubai. In 2012, the campaign was extended to a mall in Kuwait. It’s hard to overstate the popularity of indoor malls in the Middle East. Having grown up in the desert kingdom of Arizona, I can relate.

Called, ‘Share a Touch of Love’ the campaign resulted in more than 45,000 donated items in less than a month’s time.

According to the press report I saw in The National, a UAE newspaper, “all charitable activities in Dubai have to be conducted in partnership with the associations or foundations approved by the Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities under the Dubai Government, Unilever returned to Red Crescent for the third year.”

Wikipedia says that charity is an important part of Ramadan. Muslims tithe a portion of their wealth throughout the year, which they call the Zakat. In Islam the Zakat is “obligatory as one of the pillars of Islam; a fixed percentage required to be given by those with savings. Sadaqa is voluntary charity in given above and beyond what is required from the obligation of zakat. In Islam all good deeds are more handsomely rewarded in Ramadan than in any other month of the year. Consequently, many will choose this time to give a larger portion, if not all, of the zakat for which they are obligated to give. In addition, many will also use this time to give a larger portion of sadaqa in order to maximize the reward that will await them on the Day of Judgment.”

From what I read, I couldn’t get a sense about whether the Muslims who donated the clothing during Ramadan considered their donation Zakat or Sadaqa.

But I can see why Unilever would want to run this cause marketing campaign during Ramadan.

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