Zara Under Fire

The Offensive Ad Campaign Triggers Anger and Boycott Calls

The Offensive Ad Campaign Triggers Anger and Boycott Calls

In the wake of an offensive advertising campaign, Zara proves there is such thing as bad publicity! The famous Spanish clothing company sparked huge controversy after publishing its new collection’s ad campaign, including images mirroring the war destruction in the Gaza Strip, which many activists considered offensive and showed no respect to the Palestinian victims.

More than a month ago, Zara was one of the first global brands to back the Israeli occupation forces by allocating a portion of its profits to them. However, the company’s support went too far, taking advantage of Palestinian’s unfortunate situation in light of the ongoing war in Gaza to promote its new collection. The controversial advertising campaign sparked outrage on social media, as it published images resembling the destruction in Gaza, showing a model carrying a body wrapped in a shroud and standing amid the ruins of a building with stones hanging from above, among other photos of mannequins with missing limbs.

What made this advertising campaign receive more contempt was showing a map of Palestine in the form of a broken piece of marble in one of the pictures, which was clear evidence of the company’s hidden intentions behind this campaign.

استخدام العلامة التجارية "زارا" فكرة مستوحاة من الإبادة المستمرة في غزة لترويج مجموعة جديدة
©ZARA, Photography by Tim Walker The Offensive Ad Campaign Triggers Anger and Boycott Calls

The global fashion company apologized and removed the advertising campaign after facing severe criticism and widespread boycott calls from pro-Palestinian activists. However, what added fuel to the flames was Joey Schwebel, chairman of Israel’s Zara franchise, hosting an election campaign event for the right-wing Israeli politician Itamar Ben-Gvir in his home in 2022, as it showed his direct support to Israel, which also indicated the company’s stance.

Read more: Ahmed Fouad Dazzles Riyadh’s Trunk Show with His Premium High-end Suits.

Boycott for change and accountability
The boycott of all international brands that support the Israeli occupation forces has erupted in most Arab countries as a response to the fierce war in the Gaza Strip. In countries such as Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, and others, individual and governmental movements – established to expose all brands supporting the occupation – launched strong calls to boycott the products of brands that have taken pro-Israeli stances, whether because they have financial ties to Israel or investments there. A quick tour of the branches of brands such as Starbucks, H&M, Zara, Hardee’s, and others will prove the effectiveness of the boycott movements as they have become empty of visitors.

In Palestine, Palestine’s Chief Justice, Mahmoud Habbash, issued a religious fatwa prohibiting dealing with the clothing company Zara and boycotting its products and called on Arab Islamic countries to follow in the footsteps of this fatwa. Former Palestinian Authority spokeswoman Nour Odeh also denounced Zara’s stance, saying: “How does Zara feel about a franchise owner in Israel who supports the notoriously violent and shamelessly racist politician Itamar Ben-Gvir? Is this what Zara wants her name to be associated with?

The Offensive Ad Campaign Triggers Anger and Boycott Calls
©ZARA, Photography by Tim Walker The Offensive Ad Campaign Triggers Anger and Boycott Calls
The boycott has crossed borders to reach the Western world, especially after Arab efforts to bring the truth to the surface and reveal the true colors of the occupation forces and their intentions of genocide against the Palestinian people. This movement has gained support in the Western world as well, with a large segment of American society expressing solidarity with Palestine and joining the boycott of brands associated with the occupation. American citizens have been using their private social media accounts to share videos of themselves burning clothes purchased from Zara or visiting cafés and restaurants that do not support the war on Gaza.
While we are witnessing a global awakening to the repercussions of the Israeli war on Gaza, solidarity with the Palestinian cause has also risen among many Western celebrities, who have taken action and participated in demonstrations demanding a ceasefire and condemning the crimes of the occupation against the Palestinian people. Many hashtags calling for a boycott of various brands have also spread on social media.
What Arab influencers had to say about Zara’s offensive Ad: 
Preacher Nabil Ali Al-Awadi said via X: “Even if they deleted their post, they have brought out what they have in their hearts”.

Jamila Al-Zaidi said via X: “#Zara brand has deleted this post after facing a wave of criticism. This is a lesson for us to continue boycotting these products that support the killing of children and innocent people, and not give them any excuse”.

Hussein Meddy wrote on his X account: “Massacres and corpses have become a promotional material for international fashion industry, they have never marketed anything by chance. Dispensation is needed rather than boycotting”.

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