It’s the second Super Bowl XLVII ad to be called racist this week. First the Volkswagen “Get Happy” ad was criticized as being racist towards Jamaicans, now Coca-Cola has come under fire.
Arab-American groups have criticized the above ad that shows an Arab man walking through the desert with a camel. The man sees cowboys, “Mad Max”-type people and showgirls racing to reach a gigantic Coke bottle. Viewers asked to vote on which character should win the race, but the Arab character is not a choice.
Warren David, President of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), says, “Why is it that Arabs are always shown as either oil-rich sheiks, terrorists or belly dancers?”
Imam Ali Siddiqui, President of the Muslim Institute for Interfaith Studies, writes to Reuters, “The Coke commercial for the Super Bowl is racist, portraying Arabs as backward and foolish Camel Jockeys, and they have no chance to win in the world.
“What message is Coke sending with this?” asks ADC’s Director of Legal and Policy Affairs, Abed Ayoub. “By not including the Arab in the race, it is clear that the Arab is held to a different standard when compared to the other characters in the commercial.”
Coke has responded through spokeswoman Lauren Thompson, who writes in an email, “Coca-Cola is an inclusive brand enjoyed by all demographics. We illustrate our core values, from fun and refreshment to happiness, inspiration and optimism across all of our marketing communications.”
The ADC wants to know if Coke can fix this before Sunday’s game on Feb. 3.
“Coke should understand and respect their consumers and have a better understanding of the market they are sharing,” adds Ayoub.