Dubai Lynx

Abu Benti

TBWA\RAAD, Dubai / MAX FASHION / 2022

Awards:

4 Shortlisted Dubai Lynx
Case Film
Film
Supporting Images

Overview

Entries

Credits

Overview

Background

MAX is a fashion retailer primarily popular among consumers due to its affordable prices and good quality clothes. One of the most unique things about the brand is that it is born and grown in the Middle East, and while it has become a multibillion-dollar business, it understands the region like no other.

So, while the pandemic impacted the retail category heavily and sales for all the brands, including MAX declined, MAX knew that the answer was not just about running year-long promotions and sales.

In a challenging category, amid retailers seeking short-term sales to appeal to Arab mothers and launching limited-time discounts, MAX needed to deepen its emotional appeal. Arab women prefer buying from brands that are meaningful to them and have some form of purpose.

How could we make MAX stand out in an increasingly commoditized category and expand our brand appeal with our customer segment: Arab women?

Idea

Have you heard someone being called “Ahmed Abu Mohammed” even though his name is “Ahmed”, not “Mohammed”?

This is a practice called Kunya.

Essentially “Abu” mean “father of”. And so Ahmed – is being called “Ahmed, father of Mohammed”. That’s kinda nice, isn’t it? It gives you a sense of pride as your name acknowledges the next generation and shows your belonging.

However, the practice only applies to sons; even if a father’s first-born is a daughter, she will not be given the place of honor in her father’s name. It gets worse - even if a man has only daughters, he will not be called by the name of his daughter but by the name of his father!

We decided to go after this age-old discriminatory practice against women and created Abu Benti - an initiative inviting fathers to include their daughter’s name in their kunya/nickname.

Strategy

To challenge a practice that is ingrained in the culture for thousands of years, we needed to create something that is provocative, yet sensitive at the same time. Max is a brand that appeals to the masses, and we couldn’t make it come across as a rebel that is going against the society.

Speaking to many Arab fathers, we realized that they take immense pride in their daughters’ ambitions and want them to be successful. There was no gender bias existed when it came to support and encouragement for their children. We needed to gather endorsement and trust from as many fathers as we could.

To solidify Max’s association with the initiative, we needed to create an engaging experience that enabled fathers to become champions of this initiative. We also decided to leverage digital mediums & engage with different father influencers, to spread the message far & wide.

Execution

Launched on February 1, also known as International Arab Women’s Day, a film kicked off the conversation. We asked different fathers about their kunya, why it doesn’t involve their daughters’ names, and hearing their positive reaction to a new kunya including their daughter’s names.

An in-store activation was launched to allow fathers to fully embrace their new nickname; they could visit any MAX store, bring their favorite T-shirt or sports jersey, and customize it to include the new nickname, allowing them to wear their daughter’s names with pride.

In addition, outdoor billboards and in-store banners were designed encouraging fathers to join the initiative.

We also reached out to different Arab father influencers and persuaded them (and therefore also reaching their followers) to change their Instagram handles to their new kunya.

Outcome

Since launch, Abu Benti has positively surprised thousands of store visitors with a new way of looking at an age-old tradition, motivated to adopt their daughters’ names in their kunya.

On social platforms, the initiative has spread swiftly, reaching over 1.2 million people in just 4 days. Many influencers across the region participated & hundreds of users expressed their thoughts echoing similar sentiments:

“A daughter deserves her father being called by her name!”

“It made me cry”

“My husband always wants to be called Abu Dana”

“Love this! Why wasn’t this done for so long!”

“I always wanted someone to speak about it! My father doesn’t even mind it!”

Additionally, the initiative has also started making rounds in media, with many leading publications covering it extensively.

This is just the beginning. With Abu Benti’s positive impact spreading all around, it is set to become a movement across the region.

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