Arab-American groups have sharply criticizedÂ a Coca-Cola Super Bowl ad depicting an Arab walking through the desert with aÂ camel, and one group said it would ask the beverage giant to change it beforeÂ CBS airs the game on Sunday before an expected audience of more than 100 millionÂ U.S. viewers.
Coca-Cola released an online teaser ofÂ theÂ commercial last week, showing the Arab walking through a desert. HeÂ soon seesÂ cowboys, Las Vegas showgirls and a motley crew fashioned after the marauders ofÂ the apocalyptic ‘Mad Max’ film race by him to reach aÂ gigantic bottle of Coke.
‘Why is it that Arabs are always shown asÂ either oil-rich sheiks, terrorists, or belly dancers?’ said Warren David,Â president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, or ADC.
In its ad, Coke asks viewersÂ to vote online on which charactersÂ should win the race. The online site does not allow a vote for the ArabÂ character.
‘The Coke commercial for the Super Ball isÂ racist, portraying Arabs as backward and foolish Camel Jockeys, and they have noÂ chance to win in the world,’ Imam Ali Siddiqui, president of the MuslimÂ Institute for Interfaith Studies, said in an email.
‘What message is Coke sending with this?’Â asked Abed Ayoub, ADC’s director of legal and policy affairs. ‘By not includingÂ the Arab in the race, it is clear that the Arab is held to a different standardÂ when compared to the other characters in the commercial,’ he said.
CBS declined comment. Coca-Cola spokeswomanÂ Lauren Thompson said Coke took a ‘cinematic’ approach with the ad, employing theÂ characters as a nod to movies of the past.
‘Coca-Cola is an inclusive brand enjoyed byÂ all demographics,’ she said in an email. ‘We illustrate our core values, fromÂ fun and refreshment to happiness, inspiration and optimism across all of ourÂ marketing communications.’
Ayoub said ADC intended to contact Coke andÂ CBS Corp on Thursday to ‘hopefully start a dialog.’
‘I want to know why this happened and how canÂ we fix this if possible before Sunday,’ he said.
The ADC garnered attention back in 1992 whenÂ it complained that lyrics in the Walt Disney animated film ‘Aladdin’ wereÂ racist.
Ronald Goodstein, professor at the McDonoughÂ School of Business at Georgetown University, said he was surprised by the imageÂ as well.
Source: The Daily Mail