Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Arab Censorship

There are some unusual prohibitions in advertising in the Muslim world.
They are based on the national and religious peculiarities of Islamic countries.
Any advertising including logos that appear in Arabic-speaking countries should be forcibly adapted to the local cultural values and the Arabic language.

In order to achieve these goals, you need to understand what various animals and symbols mean and how different objects can be interpreted according to the Islamic traditions and customs.

For example, dogs are believed to be “filthy animals” that is why you can rarely see puppies in the local ads. There are other traits as well. Fish symbolizes Christianity. A crow is a symbol of death and a chameleon means hypocrisy.

The Crusades left a deep wound in the Arab psychology. Thus any form of a cross is considered to be a violation here. The Red Cross organization in the Muslim world is called Red Crescent.

t is prohibited to demonstrate open eyes in the advertisements in the most conservative Asian countries. Local advertising agencies have to use their imagination when they show people in ads. The most popular ways of showing eyes are pixelation, glasses and “rolled eyes”.

Magazines go through hand-censorship. Even their covers are “finalized”. Photoshop and other things including black markers, paper and glue are widely used. Any form of nudity is prohibited. Islamic culture is very conservative. Only the skin on the face, hands and feet can be showed.

Movies and Video Games
A particular attention is paid to movie advertising. Such ads must get a “retouch” in order to comply with the strict cultural expectations. Legs, chest and even shoulders of women and men have to be covered. Even cartoon characters must be dressed.

All world-famous brands that are sold in the Asian market have to be adapted to the Arabic script.

Some brands don’t even try to use fonts similar to the original ones when they translate their names into the Arabic language. They sacrifice it for the sake of their brand’s spirit using the simplest classic Arabic fonts.

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