In reviewing the New York Times Article of August 11, 2010 (“Advertisers Seek To Speak to Muslim Consumers”), the author wondered aloud about the pursuit of Islamic and Muslim consumers by marketing agencies and their clients. The marketing groups have famously pursued the consumer interests of the so-called Generation Y (“Gen Y”). Now, they appear to be pursuing the consumer interests of the Muslim and Islamic generations of the world. Which leads one to consider, will this demographic sector of the world population be referred to as Generation I (I for Islam) or Generation M (M for Muslim)?
GenI (or GenM) occupies about 24% of the world’s population (about 1.57 billion out of a global population of around 6.9 billion) according to the article. This seemingly new (and very big) marketing and advertising category is being developed to appeal to the Muslim population of the world. Further this marketing and advertising demographic has a very special, niche and focused appeal. The requirements of halal (being any object or act that is permissible under Islamic law) should and must not be offended by the tastes and requirements of the Muslim demographic. Further, the NYT article suggests that this new phase of advertising also appeal to Shariah – the sacred law of Islam – in order to reach its marketing demographic.
Some famous and not-so-famous examples of this might be that the words halal and Shariah have not yet entered the (Western) vocabulary of Microsoft and their Word processing software! The famous cell phone company Nokia, has even learned of the power of appealing to Islam. Their phones have applications (“apps”) which now alerts their Muslim users to the five daily Islamic prayers and more (such as Islamic Holy days). Islam has become so important that even teas (such as Lipton – a Unilever brand) and Emirates (Airways) are rated high and low by those of Islamic faith around the world. The reasons for the ratings are partially understood. Emirates (Airways) appears to have a low rating for its in-flight serving of alcoholic beverages – which are a “no-no” under Islamic law. The irony here is that the airline is based out of Muslim countries and is seen as the largest Muslim air travel supplier in the world!