LONDON: A new advert by Tesco to mark Eid celebrations aims to help British Muslims “feel seen, heard and understood,” the chief customer officer of the UK supermarket chain told Arab News on Tuesday.
“For so many Muslims, Ramadan and Eid are important moments in their calendar — with food at the heart of celebrations,” said Alessandra Bellini.
“We developed this campaign to share the stories of these communities at this special time and are proud to help them feel seen, heard and understood.”
About 4 million Muslims across Britain are set to mark the occasion for the end of Ramadan. The 30-second advert, titled “Alia’s ‘worth the wait’ samosas,” features a British Muslim family, led by mother Alia, hosting a feast featuring vegetable samosas.
The video is part of Tesco’s “Food Love Stories” recipes range, which promotes simple and accessible cooking.
George Rivers, Tesco’s head of campaigns, told Arab News: “It was really important to us to tell this story in an authentic and real way, so that’s why at every step of the journey we made sure to listen to, involve and consult with people with lived experience.”
The advert is the latest in a series of public relations releases by the supermarket chain, in tandem with ad firm BBH, which was hired by Tesco in 2015.
A Tesco press office spokesperson told Arab News: “We worked closely with the Race and Ethnicity Network at Tesco when developing the campaign, to ensure the experiences of Ramadan and Eid were represented authentically.”
BBH, using research from diversity and inclusion consultancy The Unmistakables, found that 67 percent of Muslims in the UK feel underrepresented or negatively portrayed in British media.
As a result, BBH and Tesco turned to Ramadan celebrations, including iftar feasts, as a way to boost the supermarket chain’s profile and cater to Britain’s growing Muslim community.
Helen Rhodes, BBH London executive creative director, said: “Our creative ambition was simple, to create work that is not only representative but also gave a voice to our Muslim creative industry.”
As part of the partnership, Tesco in 2017 featured a Christmas advert showing a Muslim family celebrating the occasion.
The advert garnered accusations that Tesco was disrespecting the Christian faith. In response, the supermarket said: “Everyone is welcome at Tesco this Christmas and we’re proud to celebrate the many ways our customers come together over the festive season.”
One Twitter user, @LouisePentland, said: “Apparently (a small minority of) people are upset with the Tesco advert because there are Muslim people in it. How ridiculous. Why not just enjoy Christmas and love everyone?”
Commenting on Tesco’s past Ramadan adverts, BBH said: “We focused on the moment of iftar, the evening meal that breaks the fast. To commemorate the event, we used digital posters in a new way: On huge billboards, food appeared and disappeared in line with fasting times — so the plates filled up exactly at sunset, and then emptied again when the sun went up in the morning.”
Tesco’s series of campaigns with BBH led to a 275 percent increase in the number of mentions of the brand on social media, The Drum reported.
The supermarket chain’s new Eid advert has been praised for shining a spotlight on the country’s Muslim community during the holy month of Ramadan.
After the advert was released on Twitter, many users praised Tesco’s attention to detail and the music played over the clip — a cover of the Rudimental song “Feel the Love” by Leo Kalyan, who used both English and Urdu.
The advert was met with widespread praise on Twitter. One user, @EduRashida, said: “Gorgeous ad. Would love to be able to access the soundtrack/know who did it.”
Another, @MissEmmaTurner, said: “Beautiful advertisement and absolutely right to celebrate and represent Muslims during Ramadan and Eid.
“It’s about time all faiths and celebrations are represented. Can’t wait to see more diverse ads going forward.”