A Super Bowl ad from Coca-Cola has upset Arab-American groups, who call it racist.
The Super Bowl isn’t until this Sunday, but already analysis of ads is rampant -- and bad news for Coca Cola -- one of its ads is being called racist. In the ad , an Arabic man is seen walking through a desert and spotting a giant Coke. Other characters, like motorcycle baddies and cowboys, appear and race for the Coke. At the end viewers are asked to choose who should win in the ad on game day. Only problem? The Arab man is not an option . Arab-American leaders are asking what kind of message Coke is trying to send with the ad -- arguing it portrays Arab people as backwards and incompetent, and demanding Coca-Cola change the ad before Sunday’s game. zap2it has direct quotes from some leaders... “ 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?’ … ADC’s Director of Legal and Policy Affairs, Abed Ayoub [says] ‘ … it is clear that the Arab is held to a different standard when compared to the other characters in the commercial.’” A spokeswoman for Coca-Cola has responded , saying the ad is a cinematic nod to film characters of the past, and that Coke is an inclusive brand to all demographics. So far CBS, the network airing the Super Bowl, has chosen not to speak out. The buzz comes, coincidentally, just days after The New York Times published a historical piece examining how Coke used to market only to white customers in the ’20s and ’30s. The piece created some online buzz , though it also notes, Coke started to change that in the ’50s and began donating to the NAACP. Still, as recently as 1999, Coke settled a discrimination case brought against the company by black employees. And the outcry against Coke comes on the heels of Volkswagen’s Super Bowl ad being called racist, too -- it features a white man sporting a Jamaican accent... but the ad has actually since been endorsed by the Jamaican government.