Part of Coca-Cola Middle East’s Ramadan campaign was recognised at a major awards ceremony after teaching its audience a moving and thought-provoking lesson.

The stirring Dark Iftar campaign — presented through a short three-minute film — was honoured with a Golden Sabre Award in October 2016, helping to shine a light on its powerful anti-prejudice message.

The campaign — based on a social experiment — tests the idea it takes just seven seconds to form prejudices about people based on their appearance.

What was the campaign about?

In the film, a group of men are seated at a table for Iftar, a meal eaten after sundown during Ramadan. They’re in complete darkness. During the meal, the group are asked to talk about themselves and give their first impressions of others around the table, despite being unable to see them.

In a touching conclusion, the lights are finally turned on and each member of the group is shocked to find that their first impressions are completely wrong. Among them sits a behavioural science expert covered in tattoos, a Caucasian Westerner who is a fluent Arabic speaker with a deep interest in Emirati culture, and a keen skydiver in a wheelchair.

The experiment proved it’s impossible to guess someone’s appearance based upon their interests — highlighting the prejudice many people face just because they look a certain way.

The bigger picture

The moving film was part of Coca-Cola Middle East’s 2015 Ramadan campaign which promoted a world without labels. To do this, they simply abandoned their own. The campaign launched a limited number of cans featuring the classic white ribbon on a red background without the famous Coca-Cola signature. Instead, the backs of the cans said: “Labels are for cans, not for people.”

Dark Iftar also went on to win the UAE Lynx Award and the Gold Lion at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.

“We were extremely happy to see that this campaign went beyond the Middle East and travelled across the globe,” said Murat Ozgel, General Manager, Coca-Cola Middle East. “I am very proud of our team who showed great leadership in designing and launching this campaign.”

Find out more about Coca-Cola GB's award-winning campaigns