Questioning Halal Product Advertising

The society claimed to be embarrassed when seeing the commercials on television which most of them showing vulgar images, instead of providing information about the prroduct. This also happens with products that already obtained halal certificates.

Rustinawati could not help feeling annoyed when watching advertisement of an instant noodle on television. “What is the relevance of instant noodle with a giril wearing tight pants and making erotic movements?” he wrote in a letter sent to LPPOM MUI, some times ago.

Rustinawati was not alone. In the office of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), similar protests were also voiced by other community members. “Many citizens complained and report to MUI. There is a well-known producer of instant noodles that had been given halal certificate, but they launched sales promotion using sensual and vulgar advertising image,” said Chairman of MUI’s Fatwa Commission, Prof. Dr H. Hasanuddin AF.

In a report, they stated that the noodle product ad featuring a woman dressed in a mini and tight shirt, looks too sexy, showing her sensual body parts and dancing erotically is banned by the (Muslim) religion. The ironic thing is that the impression displays halal logo in the background, so there is the impression, as if the noodle products that have obtained the halal certificate and its legality promotional ad has received permission from the MUI.

In response to these complaints, Hasanuddin AF, MA., asserted that the products have been given halal certification, must also follow the rules of religious morality when launching advertising campaign. He acknowledged that the authority of the MUI Fatwa Commission merely seting a fatwa halal, while advertising and product promotion is the authority of other institutions.

However, as a sense of responsibility in safeguarding religious moral of the poeple, MUI urges and reminds to the company and broadcast television commercials to consider social norms and religious.

Moreover, the MUI in collaboration with Institute for Food, Drugs and Cosmetics (LPPOM) MUI has launched a “Halal is My Life” campaign. The halal requirement is not only applied to the material aspects of the product, namely halal certification process. The halal certification also covers life as a whole. Similarly, a professor of Islamic University Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta/ added explanation.

Reported to KPI

With regard to the impressions that are considered vulgar, MUI will forward the people’s complaints to the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI). Because of the problem shows that the realm of television broadcasting authority of the IEC. “As an institution khidmatul-ummah, which serve the interests of the people, we have to continue the public complaints and complaints to the IEC as the competent institutions in the field of broadcasting,” said Hasanuddin AF.

MUI undertakes two steps simultaneously. First, launched an advocate or taushiyyah to companies, broadcasters or producers of the advertising, in order to maintain the value of halal consistently. Producers should not only pursue commercial aspects, but also follows the provisions of religious morals. Secondly, at the same time, MUI also take steps in response to the people’s complaints by submitting a report to the KPI as the competent institutions, in order to revise the content of the ad impressions, and prevent the shows that can undermine social morality in general.

A few days after the large public protests, the advertisers finally made a wise step: urging the parties that broadcast the advertising to stop it. The advertising then stopped and appeared again after it was re-edited. The eroticism image was cut off.

The advertising of halal products that are not in harmony with the halal message lifestyle is not only present in the instant noodle ad. Several other products, such as coffee ad, liniment, and some food products, also deserve criticism. The ad does not provoke controversy since the frequency of occurrence is not too often and the level of “offense” was also relatively mild. The ads do no show eroticism and movements that create the impression of sexy, but they use impolite style of clothes.

From the advertising strategy, the messages conveyed by a number of halal products through advertising on television are tend to be improper. There is no element of education to consumers, in relation to product knowledge or the benefits of the product being advertised. While the halal logo just appears with no meaning. Therefore, it is natural that consumers like Rustinawati judges that the ads on television are often not relevant to the product being offered.

However, it does not mean there are no advertising halal products that are positive. The advertising of a freshener product, for example, some time ago carried a halal aspect as one of the selling power. Similarly, a sausage ad and a body care product also carried the same halal message.

Of those few, cosmetics advertising Wardah seems to be most dominant in conveying halal message. As a product that has a specific segmentation, i.e. Muslim, Wardah seems to understand that advertising is a communication process that has an important power as a marketing tool.

Ahmad Zaki, an advertising practitioner, said that the advertising strategy plays a vital role in determining the success of an ad. The strategy is the basis for building a brand and keep advertising and marketing elements are in the right track and consistent. As the rules of communication, advertising should be able to answer about the purpose, the intended target, where the ad is placed, when it should be done, and why it should be done.

In the context of halal products, advertisers should understand that the target is the Muslim consumers. Advertisers need to understand how the Muslim consumers think, act and behave. They should observe what makes them to be interested to hear, see and then follow.

By creating a brand image that is appropriate for a product, it would be very useful for marketers, because the brand image will affect consumers’ assessment on the expected alternative brand, which does not only meet the needs of consumers, but it can give better satisfaction to consumers and feel more secure. The better the brand image attached to the product, the beter consumers will be more interested to purchase the product. (FM)

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