Whole Foods and upstart natural meals brand Saffron Road are employing Facebook, Twitter, and blogs to target Muslims for Ramadan, a month-long spiritual holiday beginning Aug. 1. While the former brand is focusing on earned media, the latter has begun buying Facebook ads, as well as paid promotions on Elan, a Muslim lifestyle content site, and Zabihah.com, a halal restaurants guide.
Saffron Roads' Facebook ads target users who have identified themselves as Muslims in their profiles. They're being pitched a 50 cents donation to charity if they "like" the brand's page on the social site. Beneficiary charities are Whole Planet Foundation, The International Federation of Red Cross, and Red Crescent Societies.
A skyscraper ad is in rotation on Elan, offering a $1 off coupon with the copy, "Try Saffron Road's NEW Halal products for Ramadan." Similar creative is running via a box ad (300X250 pixels) on Zabihah.com.
It's the initial full-fledged Ramadan-based campaign for Saffron Road, a one-year-old brand owned by American Halal Co. that says 30 percent of its customer base practices Islam. Lisa Mabe, spokesperson for the company, told ClickZ News that the paid ads began July 15. And while they will run through the entire month of Ramadan, ending the morning of September 1st, she explained the two weeks prior to the start of the holiday are of utmost importance.
"Often times, Muslims' online activity dies down a little bit during Ramadan because it's a fasting period," Mabe explained. "People are tired and hungry during the holiday, so they are not spending as much time on the web."
Whole Foods has begun posting articles by My Halal Kitchen blogger, Yvonne Maffei. The current post offers a storytelling contest where the winner who best describes how they get through Ramadan fasts with wholesome foods will receive five freebie coupons for Saffron Road items and a $100 Whole Foods gift card. The contest is being promoted via the blog and the grocer's @WholeFoodsPR Twitter account. In Maffei's posts, she will not only recommend Saffron Road products, but other halal-certified items available at Whole Foods.
Early this afternoon, the retailer tweeted the following message: "Check out @MyHalalKitchen recipe for tabbouleh & a chance to win great giveaways from @SaffronRoadFood & @WholeFoods http://cot.ag/rmKYyG http://cot.ag/rmKYyG."
Whole Foods also plans to begin pushing the initiative via its Facebook wall on July 31, according to an email from the Austin, TX-based company.
Mabe added, "Saffron Road is the first halal-certified brand to be available nationwide in a store like Whole Foods. That's significant for the Muslim consumer."
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
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