A new Coke ad, which is set to air during the biggest money-making opportunity for the nation’s advertisers–the Super Bowl–is being described as racist by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, who want to see it either changed or taken out of the commercial lineup completely.
The ad features an Arab man walking through the desert and being passed up by a group of cowboys, Vegas dancers, and several others in a race to get to the soft drink. Part of the problem, the ADC says, is that Arabs are continually depicted in a stereotypical way in American ads; the other issue is that the commercial was presented as a way for audiences to participate in an online vote to see who of the group should reach the Coke first. The Arab man wasn’t an option.
“The Coke commercial for the Super Ball is racist, portraying Arabs as backward and foolish Camel Jockeys, and they have no chance to win in the world,” Imam Ali Siddiqui, president of the Muslim Institute for Interfaith Studies, said.
Coke insists they are an all-inclusive brand and that it is never their intention to push away a potential customer base, but Abed Ayoub of the ADC says that’s exactly what they’re doing.
“What message is Coke sending with this?” he said. “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 should understand and respect their consumers and have a better understanding of the market they are sharing,”
The ADC hopes to speak with the company in order to get the ad changed before Sunday.