2017 Winners & Shortlists


Short List
CategoryUse of Branded Content created for Digital or Social Media

The Campaign

Research into our audience revealed the emergence of a new mindset and attitude that was different to past generations of Muslim mothers. What made these modern mums special was the way in which they were bringing together the different parts of their lives. Not only was Religion, faith and tradition still incredibly important to them but so were their changing attitudes towards modernity and forward-thinking. However, when it came to Ramadan and sweets, it was clearly a case of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. Traditional classics still ruled. What then if we deliberately went against this yearly ritual and focused on ‘if it ain’t broke, make it even better’? What if we showed the versatility of Mars in cooking during Ramadan? Therefore, our idea was to demonstrate how Mars makes everyday Ramadan moments that little bit sweeter by adding a contemporary chocolate twist to traditional Arabic Classics.

Creative Execution

Voilà. Manal stepped up to the challenge, prsenting us with a completely innovative take on classic’s such as ‘Kunafa’ (Galaxy), ‘Qatayef’ (Bounty) and ‘Mahalebeya’ (Twix). To ensure no-one missed out on these modern-day masterpieces, Manal fronted a series of ‘how to’ films for Mums to replicate at home. High-traffic channels such as YouTube and Facebook were used to keep Mars front-of-mind throughout the holy month. In addition, we utilized Manal’s own social channels and her +3m fans/subscribers to not only distribute the content further but also promote our dedicated hub –DessertMoments.com One of Manal’s great strength is her ability to make complex recipes very user-friendly and easy to replicate. This not only helped provide a strong motivation for people to share the content but also purchase the ingredients and try for themselves. Therefore, Manal’s social strategy was very much geared around audience involvement and encouraging fans to share their interpretations.

Business is booming and Mars is more desirable. An increase in seasonal relevance grew the Mars chocolate bars/small packs category value share by +3%, from 45% in Ramadan 2015 to 48% in 2016, reversing the Ramadan decline completely (Source: Nielsen). This, along with strong performance of seasonal ‘Galaxy Jewels’ ensured Mars’ highest portfolio share reading in 9 months - 56.8% (Source: Mars CMI). Brand consideration across Galaxy, Snickers and Twix increased by an average of 8%, +5% more than targeted. In addition, we more than doubled our target for purchase intent by scoring a 12% Post-Ramadan increase when compared with pre-Ramadan levels (Source: YouGov) Finally, not only did Manal’s recipes gain 7m+ views but almost one-in-five were organic, the equivalent value to 50% of the total digital investment. Campaign engagement was high, with 480,000 views of the long-form content - a conversion rate 260% higher than Mars recent digital activations.

For 11 months of the year Mars is the King of Saudi Arabia with over 50% market share. However, come Ramadan things change as consumers turn to traditional Arabic sweets. We needed to make Mars relevant during the holy season by connecting with the modern Saudi mum. An audience not only religious/traditional but also progressive and forward-thinking. Enter Manal Al Alam, the perfect guru on how to make traditional sweets with a modern and contemporary Mars twist. Manal’s new classics helped break through the clutter with 7m views boostingvalue share of bars/bitesize brands by 3% vs the previous Ramadan.

Insights, Strategy and the Idea

Adding a modern spin to Arabic classics was of course incredibly risky given the importance of Ramadan, particularly coming from a number of different brands within the Mars family. It meant we needed someone as imaginative and experimental as our audience, someone who would give us the much-needed credibility to play around with century-old classics. Therefore, we partnered with Manal Al Alam, the Regions number one food personality and influencer, known for her ability to make the ordinary, extraordinary. Highly regarded as the ‘Queen of the Arabian Kitchen’ Manal would play an important role in providing the positive influence with our audience as we knew 45% of Saudi mums seek expert recommendation and inspiration for Ramadan cooking (Source: TGI). To demonstrate the versatility of Mars chocolate bars during Ramadan, we tasked Manal with using family-favourites including Galaxy, Twix, Snickers, M&Ms and Bounty as her ingredients to work her magic!


Name Company Role
Abdalla Elabd MediaCom MENA Director
Alex Jevons MediaCom MENA Business Director
Website URL