JWT, an ad agency in the USA, conducted a study on Muslims as a distinct demographic and market segment in the USA.
Among the findings of the study:
- Over two-thirds (69 percent) of American Muslims say they are often judged by events outside their control, a view of Muslims shared by 60 percent of the general sample. At a time when Arabic names or Muslim attire routinely attract unwelcome attention, more than half of Muslims (53 percent) fear that their right to express their religion is under attack, and 39 percent of the general population agrees with them.
- Much of Muslim angst is driven by widespread perceptions of anti-Muslim bias in the media. Well over half of Muslims (57 percent) feel that media coverage is always/mostly biased, and another third (34 percent) feel it is occasionally biased. The general public senses an anti-Muslim slant as well, with 25 percent agreeing that coverage is always/mostly biased and 48 percent saying it's occasionally biased. More than three-quarters (78 percent) of Muslims say they are increasingly angry about the way the media characterizes and portrays Muslims.
- When it comes to the stuff of everyday life, however, Muslims are like other Americans. Both Muslims and the general population place a high priority on feeling safe outside their home (89 percent of both samples), personal freedom (89 percent of Muslims vs. 93 percent of the general sample), education (90 percent vs. 88 percent) and, to a lesser extent for both, career (75 percent vs. 69 percent).
- On the topic of advertising, Muslims generally reflect mainstream American views, with a slant toward the conservative. A little over 70 percent of both samples agreed advertisers should accept greater responsibility for setting a moral standard. Sixty-nine percent of Muslims vs. 59 percent of the general sample feel that most advertising sets a low moral tone for younger and more easily impressed viewers; 60 percent of Muslims vs. 47 percent of the general sample agree that the advertising they see is too suggestive or immodest.
- Muslims' biggest gripe with advertising is that it doesn't acknowledge their existence: A high 71 percent of Muslims (vs. 34 percent of the general sample) agreed that "Advertisers rarely show anybody of my faith/ethnicity in their advertising," and 72 percent said that if they felt advertisers generally wanted or appreciated the business of Muslims, they would pay more attention to ads.
- While most Muslims (61 percent) feel that it's hard to be a Muslim in America, many are optimistic; indeed, 73 percent said they are confident that Western society would one day accept Islam.
Moreover, it says:
Muslims are not necessarily looking for marketers to provide any specially targeted products, although Islam does require specific food and packaged goods (halal), clothing (modest) and financial transactions (shariah- compliant). What they are primarily looking for is acknowledgment from marketers, says Mack. "The challenge and the opportunity for brands are to connect with Muslims in a low-key way that recognizes their American-ness and seeks to understand their particular attitudes." "Every step of this study has been hugely instructive for us and for our clients," says Salzman. "We started out with the intention of learning about the 'Muslim community.' We quickly found out that there is no such thing as a single American Muslim community, much as there is no single Christian community. Muslims vary hugely by ethnicity, faith, tradition, education, income and degree of religious observance, to name a few factors."