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29th April 2022
Featured Story of the Week: Two years ago, when lockdown hit us all in 2020, Ramadan was one of the first big cultural occasions to be affected. The Muslim month of fasting was stripped of its congregations and iftar gatherings. Gone was everything that made Ramadan magical for the UK’s approximately 4 million Muslims. While everyone was trying to survive being shut in their homes and isolated, this meant Muslims felt a double whammy of loss – what others were going through, plus Ramadan snatched away from them. But something surprising happened: with all of us at home, and precious little good news to uplift us, Ramadan and Eid gained coverage and prominence unlike ever before. The challenges of Ramadan got more coverage than ever. Stories were told and iftars went online and became accessible. The challenges of Ramadan became everyone’s challenges, and the joy of Muslims on Eid became everyone’s joy. Fast forward to 2022, and Ramadan is back, and when it comes to our high streets and online it’s bigger than ever. Fueled by the shared experiences, and a more conscious approach to inclusion ignited by the anti-racism movement of 2020, there has been an upturn – and a thoughtful one at that – in engaging with Muslim audiences. Tesco created a digital billboard with empty plates that transform after dark, with the caption: ‘In honour of everyone fasting, these plates only fill up once the sun goes down.’ It’s reminiscent of similar ‘sundown’ campaigns in the Middle East and South East Asia, but it feels joyful to be reinvented for the UK. Iftar was served for the very first time in the Virgin Atlantic airport lounge for Muslim travelers. And on the flights to Pakistan, meal service ordered was flipped in the timing so it would arrive in time for iftar rather than before. Read more here.

Article of the Week: Coca-Cola has launched a new flagship store in London in an attempt to grow “brand love” among its customers. The store is located in London’s Covent Garden and stocks Coke-branded accessories and premium clothing lines. The new store ties in with Coke’s 'Real Magic' brand platform, launched in September 2021. Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey has previously said one of the platform’s key aims is to create “best-in-class consumer-centric marketing experiences”. The store is focused on fashion, with particular attention paid to streetwear. The products available are premium, featuring collaborations with designers such as Soho Grit, Alma de Ace, BAPE, Herschel and Staple. There is also a chance for consumers to engage in personalisation, through a Coca-Cola can customisation feature. This ties in a digital aspect to a physical store, as consumers use a screen to design their own can. Read more here

Government to press ahead with privatisation of Channel 4: The government is set to move ahead with its controversial plans to privatise Channel 4. The plans had already been met with criticism from the advertising industry, with leaders saying they were concerned about the ramifications of privatisation on programming, the independent production sector and media plurality. The government has claimed that, under private ownership, Channel 4 will no longer be restricted from producing and selling its own content and argued that this will allow it to diversify its revenue streams and “improve its long-term sustainability”. Read more here.

Innocent transform Trafalgar Square into overgrown garden:  Filled with more than 6,000 plants, flowers and trees, the installation at the London landmark, is part of the launch of Innocent's "Big rewild" campaign. The brand will help to create and protect natural spaces by planting meadows, fruit orchards and preserving global forests. Frank devised the activation following a poll of 2,000 adults, which  revealed that 43% were unaware of rewilding and what it is. A team of gardeners and horticulturists turned the 30 metre by 20 metre space into a green paradise with a replica lion statue covered in live foliage, turf and meadow. Three million seeds via plantable seed papers were handed out to help people start their rewilding journey and educate them on the importance of nature in tackling climate change, led by Innocent's UK partner the Orchard Project. Visitors to the site were invited to pick up and rehome one of the plants at the makeover helping to create further pockets of nature across London. Read more here

Heineken black-screen ad touts renewable energy: Heineken turned the lights off for an ad in Brazil to plug a renewable energy initiative. The 45-second ad from Publicis Brazil uses no light and is all black for 30 seconds, an energy saving move to promote the brand’s broader Green Energy Project in Brazil. It aired on 33 million TVs during Brazilian prime time. According to the brand, the amount of energy the ad saved was enough to power a city with 57,000 residents. The brand’s energy saving work includes switching to renewable energy for its brewing along with partnerships with renewable energy companies to provide green energy to 208 million consumers. The program already provides this energy program to bars and restaurants. So far, the energy distribution project includes residents in Minas Gerais, Goiás, Paraná, Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul, Distrito Federal and São Paulo. Residents of other states can join the program from the second half of 2022 to the first half of 2023. Read more here.

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