Written and Edited by Daniel Kilkelly
Recently, companies in Egypt have been making some changes, and I’m sure that as soon as you read the words, ‘Egypt’ and ‘changes’ you were able to figure out why changes have been occurring. The revolutions in Egypt, and those throughout Northern Africa, have resulted in massive waves of reform, mainly politically but companies have made adjustments for these shifts as well. One of the adjustments that I would like to focus on is the transformation in advertising.
I find that there is absolutely nothing strange about this increase in sales for fast-paced consumer goods. Of all the products you could sell, larger investments, such as a refrigerator or a house, are symbols of security and wealth. As Egypt continues to experience a negative economy, it hardly seems appropriate for such purchases to be made. As for smaller purchases viewed as commodities and treats, it’s much easier to make allowances for, and flashy, positively charged advertisements drive impulse purchases such as those for Coca Cola. The bottle itself is an advertisement. The use of white letters on red should be a very familiar combination to you as a consumer. For example, have you ever seen a ‘SALE’ sign? Egyptian consumers find it easy, therefore, to purchase these products, and with a message that says, “Make Tomorrow Better,” emphasis is placed on reminding consumers of the revolution. This can place the idea in the mind of the consumer that, “I deserve this,” or, “This is what I stand for.” Plus, many of the commercials for these goods depict younger individuals. This is ideal since this is truly the intended market and given that younger individuals played such a primary role in the revolution, there is strong connection between the images in the commercial and the reality the consumer has been through.
A historical example where a similar mentality was used by Coca Cola could be seen in post-war Germany during the Cold War era. Many Germans were undergoing serious depressive notions, and the burden of reconstruction was felt by all. In response, Coca Cola promoted a series of advertisements with the phrase, “Mach mal Pause – Trink Coca Cola.5” This translates into, “Take a break – Drink Coca Cola.” What was important about this idea was that during the time period that this advertisement ran, many Germans were working round the clock to help rebuild their livelihoods and their country; many people simply needed to be reminded that it was okay to take a break, and certainly after a long, hard day’s work, one deserves a break.
A further similarity can be drawn to anti-American sentimentalities. Both in post-war Germany and present-day Egypt, these feelings are perpetuated by the two cultures, yet amazingly, Coca Cola products have still been very successful. This is made possible by empathetic advertising. If you can design a commercial that says,” I am German,” or, “ I am an Egyptian,” then you have made yourself a part of another culture, and you are no longer viewed exclusively as a foreign company belonging to a country with which the consumers’ country has had negative relations with.
Thus, these revolutionary-themed commercials should be expected to do well in Egypt. With the provision that a commercial has done well in empathizing with its audience, pitches a simple appealing message, and instills positive emotions in its potential consumers; fast-paced consumer goods should see continued high sales performance, although a different strategy will have to be applied in order for larger investments to become more viable options for consumers.