Through ethnographic research on the streets of the Arab world, unseen stories about the nights of Ramadan were uncovered. With the veil on the nights of Ramadan lifted, these untold and unique stories were worth sharing with the world.
And that’s exactly what Cadillac Arabia did this Ramadan, with its agency Saatchi & Saatchi. Finding light in the dark nights during Ramadan, Cadillac launched 'Brightest Nights,' a four-part social-first branded content series, exclusively in vertical formats, that was rolled out across the four weeks of the holy month on social media platforms.
Ramadan a period when night becomes day and day becomes night; schedules are turned on their heads as the day is spent inside, fasting, and praying, while night transforms into a time of celebration and liveliness. As a brand that has historically deep roots in reflecting cultural stories and eras, Ramadan was an ideal time for Cadillac to document and reflect the culture during Ramadan that no one talks about – the night culture. Additionally, the mobile-filming approach gives each episode an organic and authentic feel versus the overly produced clichés of Ramadan. It puts the brand’s cultural ethos front-and-centre, but also highlights its innovative spirit via a fresh and bold format and theme, with 'driving culture since 1902' a slogan to show, not just tell. In this way, 'Brightest Nights' cements another cultural milestone for Cadillac.
“The thinking was simple, and our objective two-fold: How can we create content that ties back to our brand purpose as drivers of culture during the holy month? And how can we break the clutter on social with an exciting format in the process?” explained Akshaya Sikand, Head of Marketing at Cadillac Arabia.
Each episode centre's around one city: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, and Kuwait.
The journey starts with Sofiane Si Merabet, also known as The Confused Arab, a Dubai-based artist and travel blogger. 'Rihla,' the first episode of the docu-series, centres around the city of Dubai, and its historical significance in the region as a melting pot of people and cultures, a city of modern and old, past and future, urban and Bedouin, all told through Si Merabet’s musings over a pensive voiceover.
Then, the narrative shifts to Hayat Osama, a renowned Saudi Arabian photographer and director, who for once leaves her photography equipment at home and opts for a phone camera to tell her story. 'Qabila,' follows her and her friends as they navigate a Cadillac through the busy streets of Riyadh at night, buying food, watching children fill the air with their laughter, and documenting the spirit of Ramadan, almost palpable through the screen. “What is it that you like most about Ramadan,” she questions her friend, sitting next to her in the passenger seat. Food, spirituality, and happiness are some of the themes they touch upon, as they go back and forth about the significance of the holy month for them as Arab youth.
On the other hand, hundreds of miles away, famed first Emirati motorsports racing driver Amna Al Qubaisi is taking things a bit slower, much slower than what she is used to. “Over the years, without me realising it, I feel like Ramadan was teaching me how to be disciplined,” she explains in 'Tamahol,' an episode that follows her, for once, outside of the fast lane. Working out, sitting at home, and taking a late-night drive is all the discipline she needs during Ramadan, the one month she hits the brakes and unblurs her vision to introspect and really notice the important things around her.
And finally, the last 'Brightest Night' is documented by Kuwaiti photographer and art director Maha Alasaker as she shines a spotlight on one of Ramadan’s most colourful and lively traditions: Gergaoun, a Ramadan event where young children dress in colourful traditional clothing and go door-to-door asking for sweets from neighbours. In 'Moujtama,' she shows the magical light of Ramadan not through her eyes, but through the eyes of the children around her, her nieces and nephews, a light that adults seem to have lost sight of.
'Rihla,' 'Qabila,' 'Tamahol,' and 'Moujtama,' work together to not only deliver a cyclical story about the significance of Ramadan, past and present, but also show audiences a unique side of Ramadan.