As the Wall Street Journal recently covered, there has been an increase in ad spending in certain sectors in Egypt, but perhaps more interesting is the anecdotal evidence in the change of messages that are resonating with consumers.
In the weeks since Egypt's uprising, the television airwaves and Cairo's streets have been filled with revolutionary slogans.
"Build your country!" shout billboards hovering over the city's congested roads. "Develop your country!" urges another over smaller text demanding that Egyptians "Don't stop!"
But the signs aren't the work of revolutionaries. They are advertisements for Snicker's, the candy brand owned by Mars Inc., the U.S.-based confectioner.
Since thousands of protesters ousted former President Hosni Mubarak in a nearly three-week revolt, the enthusiasm for revolution has been redirected and repackaged for television ads, billboards and jingles selling products including hair gel, soft drinks and candy.
A television spot for Coca-Cola Co.'s Coke, which looks similar to a Latin American commercial called "Sky," shows hundreds of kids dressed in trendy clothes climbing to the tops of buildings in downtown Cairo. There, they lasso the sun, pull it out from behind menacing storm clouds and bask in the radiant glory that is the new Egypt. "Make tomorrow better!" the slogan beseeches.
A Pepsi ad urges: 'Think, Participate, Dream, Express who you are.'
Local brands are not to be left behind. A restaurateur renamed his cafe "January 25 Cafe," after the starting date of the uprising. In the middle-class Cairo suburb of Agouza, a billboard for Mink brand hair gel shows a young man with a spiky hairdo. The background of the billboard is an Egyptian flag next to a slogan that reads, "I am Egyptian."
This re-messaging for the Egyptian market has helped to lift ad spending in Egypt for consumer products.
Ad spending in Egypt actually increased to about $329 million in May from $310 million in February, according to data from Ipsos, a regional advertising and marketing research firm.
The revolution was hard on high-end products and large investments. Expenditures on household appliances and real estate between February and May of this year were down 46% and 44%, respectively, from a year earlier.
But in the category of fast-moving consumer goods, Egyptian advertising has increased in 2011. Advertising of soft drinks and snacks and appetizers surged 30% over the same period.
How will the more subtle art of public relations re-package messages in Egypt? We think the answer is obvious.