New York - A coca cola Super Bowl ad has been harshly criticized by Arab American groups as racist for depicting an Arab walking across the desert with a camel.
New York – A coca cola Super Bowl ad has been harshly criticized by Arab American groups as racist for depicting an Arab walking across the desert with a camel.
The ad is expected to be aired by CBS on Sunday’s NFL Super Bowl, a game considered the most important sport event in the U.S. with an estimate of over 100 million viewers.
The beverage giant came under fire after the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee condemned the commercial and called it racist.
Coca cola released an online teaser “Coke Chase 2013 Ad” last Tuesday January 22, asking viewers to watch and decide the ending of the ad by voting on who will win the Coke.
The commercial shows the Arab walking across the desert with his camel, while a group of Cow boys, Las Vegas Show girls on their glamorous bus and Badlanders racing to win a giant bottle of Coca Cola.
“What is wrong with people stereotyping Arabs as backward camel riders who can’t compete and are worth for nothing. Enough of this wrong association” said a graduate student who preferred to speak in condition of anonymity.
At the end of the ad, Coca Cola solicits the participation of viewers: “You Decide the Ending of Coca Cola’s Big Game Ad.” However, the Arab is not part of the race.
Mr. Yassine El Karyani, a nonprofit consultant based in New Jersey was surprised after watching the video. “Why involving the Arab character in this ad while depriving him of competition with the others,” he said.
“After denying its support to Israel, although the government of Israel honored it for its continuous support to the Zionist state, how will Coca Cola justify this commercial that clearly depicts Arabs as inefficient people who cannot be part of any competition or glory?” asked Yassine.
To Ayoub Snouti, a journalist based in Boston, this ad is a pure propaganda to pass certain messages and solidify the unfounded stereotypes in the conventional wisdom of the American viewer.
“There are three messages Coca Cola wants to tell through this commercial: The American cowboys who are a symbol of control and strength to reach the desired goal; the bland girls, who will eventually win the race, depict the freedom women enjoy in Western countries; and the inability of the Arab to compete and aspire to reach the target, which accordingly put him out of the game,” said Mr. Snouti.
It remains to be seen whether the actions taken by the Arab American groups will push the beverage giant to alter this content of the ad before CBS airs it this weekend.
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