US: Coca-Cola Co defends Super Bowl ad against racism charge
Coca-Cola says the ad is a nod to past movies
The Coca-Cola Co will air its latest Super Bowl ad as planned despite some Arab-American groups branding it racist.
A company spokesperson told just-drinks today (31 January) that the spot, which can be viewed below, will run in its arranged slot during Sunday's game. The spokesperson added that Coca-Cola takes feedback on its campaigns seriously and is "an inclusive brand enjoyed by all people across the world".
Reports yesterday said that Arab-American representatives were angry over the depiction of the central character in the ad, which shows an Arab walking through the desert with a camel. He meets other characters, including Las Vegas show girls, cowboys and leather-clad bikers.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) said: “Why is it that Arabs are always shown as either oil-rich sheiks, terrorists, or belly dancers?", Reuters reported.
The president of the Muslim Institute for Interfaith Studies told Reuters the ad “is racist, portraying Arabs as backward and foolish camel jockeys”.
Coca-Cola defended the commercial, saying it took a cinematic approach and the characters are a nod to past movies. It said all characters have names and backstories that can be viewed online.
A 30-second ad slot for this year's Super Bowl reportedly costs an average US$3.8m. Coca-Cola's 60-second commercial will reportedly air once during the game's first quarter.
Earlier this week, SodaStream said it had been forced to change its Super Bowl ad for taking a swipe at its soft drink rivals.
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