Some Moroccan netizens questioned the role of Morocco's High Authority of Audiovisual Communication (HACA) in the Sprite initiative.
Rabat – Soft drink Sprite recently launched a campaign in Morocco titled “#Li_fl_Bal_Itgual,” meaning “say what’s on the mind,” which consists of putting urban culture tags on Sprite cans.
The cans feature reformed versions of several popular Moroccan sayings to match the initiative’s objective, which is to give a voice to the youth, according to the Coca-Cola Company.
The sayings include “Mra w Ness w Ness w Ness,” meaning “a woman and a half, and a half, and a half.” It is a modification of the original saying, “a woman and a half,” indicating that a woman is even more than what the proverb suggests.
This, according to the company, promotes the empowerment of Moroccan women.
Another tag is “Lbess stylek Ywatik,” meaning “wear the style that fits you.” It is a modification of the original expression of “wear the size that fits you.”
Coca-Cola says this term pushes people to express their “deep personality,” ideas, and creativity.
For Coca-Cola’s director of marketing in North Africa, Achraf Fayda, “Sprite confirms its innovative approach in favor of urban youth in Morocco and around the world.” He indicated the campaign “was designed to pay tribute to the creativity of young Moroccans and their multiple inspirations.”
“It advocates the values that are shared by young people, such as the desire to surpass themselves, help others, grow and succeed together,” he added.
However, the new campaign sparked controversy among Moroccan netizens, some of whom had a different opinion. These critics condemn the company for promoting violence, referring to one of the expressions on Sprite cans that says “Barhouch w kad b houma,” meaning “a kid who can manage a neighborhood.”
This is a rewording of the original proverb, “Ferran w kad b houma,” which means “an oven that is capable of [cooking] for a neighborhood.” The proverb is generally accepted as an indication of someone who is capable.
However the word “Barhouch” in Moroccan dialect, Darija has several meanings. It can refer to a kid, but also to a trouble maker.
In Amazigh (Berber), the word “Barhouch” refers to a hybrid species of greyhound dogs, which could be also regarded as an insult by many in the Moroccan culture.
Some Moroccan netizens also questioned the role of Morocco’s High Authority of Audiovisual Communication (HACA) in the Sprite initiative, expressing their astonishment.
One of the comments said: “What is this level ? Which category is targeted by this ? They only care about sales, but not our interests.”
Another wrote, “They wanted to make trouble-making a positive value, because stakeholders are troublemakers.”
HACA usually intervenes to sanction companies for violating moral codes or promoting violence, especially against television and radio programs.