Pick of the Week: Fifa's Midnight Ramadan League ad is beacon of authentic storytelling

Campaign portrays a community that has long been underrepresented in advertising and professional football.

Fifa’s latest campaign – the winner of Channel 4's annual Diversity in Advertising Award – introduces the Midnight Ramadan League, a grassroots club in Birmingham that helps Muslims continue playing football during the month of Ramadan. Matches take place on Friday and Saturday nights between the daily fasts.  

The ad’s star is a real Midnight Ramadan League player – a teenager named Qaiser – and his little sister, who also loves football. In the story we follow Qaiser as he breaks the fast, eats and prays at home with his family, before setting out to play football with his friends and receive some unexpected help from one of his heroes, Leicester City midfielder Hamza Choudhury. 

Fifa’s campaign is important because representation of British Asians in professional football – and in advertising – is sorely lacking. But while this ad serves that bigger agenda, nothing about it feels disingenuous. It is well-crafted and every detail, from the music to the food the family eats, was considered and chosen with care and deep knowledge of the group it depicts. The result is a genuine and rich portrayal of this community, an "unapologetically Muslim commercial", as director Bassam Tariq called it. 

That kind of authentic storytelling can only be achieved when the team making it is truly diverse, as the creators from Fifa, Adam & Eve/DDB and Pulse Films were. At the beginning of the process, A&E/DDB met with Pulse and asked that as many people as possible on set come from a diverse background. That effort paid off with a campaign that will finally welcome a vast group of players who may have never before seen themselves on screen or in the sport they love. This ad feels special now, but hopefully soon it will be the norm. 

Brand Fifa
Agency Adam & Eve/DDB
Creatives Selma Ahmed and Genevieve Gransden
Director Bassam Tariq
Production company Pulse Films