Above is a picture of an ad The Gap has included in their 2013 holiday campaign. One quick glance and I thought, “Nice. Good for the Sikh community”. Right?
Well, not right for many Sikhs who still found the ad to be “offensive”. After reading comments on why some Sikh’s disapproved, I started to think if there were ads that featured visibly Muslim men or women. Did I ever get frustrated or annoyed?
I started to google.
Right before that Gap ad, I remember seeing this all over the internet:
I’m sure you or someone you know had comments about that one.
Oh and do you remember this?
Rolling my eyes.
I also came across these that showed up in my search of “offensive ads”.
Ask yourself, when exactly is it considered “offensive”? How far is going “too far”? Or, when are “minorities” going to feel accepted without there being a clichéd depiction of their “type” of people?
The first thing I said to myself with the two Muslim ads shown above wasn’t, “That’s offensive”, but “Why are they BOTH in a burqa”? (Please refrain from your political views/comments. I am aware the first picture has nothing to do with fashion, but it gained just as much popularity as the Diesel ad, hence why I used it)
I may not have full knowledge of marketing strategies but common sense would be branding your product wisely. Whatever you’re trying to sell or show should deliver your message clearly, it should motivate the buyer/viewer and most importantly, it should create a connection.
In regards to the last two ads, (one was in a French Vogue magazine while the other was in a DKNY ad that was meant to show “diversity” by shooting in Haiti). Painting a Caucasian a darker color or vice versa does not create a connection. To me that just shows lack of creativity, an unnecessary controversial discussion and a cheap way to seek attention.
Now, I cannot speak behalf of the Sikhs and explain why the Gap ad had its flaws. Perhaps it’s because I do not see any, but as a young Muslim I do have a bone to pick with you and your ads that “include” us: Enough with the pictures of Muslim women in burqas. It’s getting basic and beyond wack.
Yes, we want to be featured in your ads. We just want to be shown how we see us because that is who we are. Our women are wearing the same tops or bottoms as the girl who doesn’t follow our religion, she just chooses to wear it differently.
Our men with the long beards do own the same suits as the white males on your online catalog and they too purchase your funky bowties. Not all of them are in their long white thobes wearing keffiyahs around their neck. We blame you for constantly adding those typical pieces of cultural (sometimes religious) attire to our faces and bodies. Stop it.
Perhaps not enough Muslims are in marketing and that is why you’re sending out the same “message” over and over. I’m going to give the excuse that you do not know better. However, try not to repeat the same mistake in the future and hire us to work with you.
This has nothing to do with our rights as Muslims living in America and I am not trying to pull the “Muslims are always a victim” card. Trust that we are not as annoyed as we are bored. We are helping you realize that being basic is typical and being typical makes us look the other way. We are asking that you allow us to work with you and build a connection the appropriate way.
Little things like being featured on your site or magazine mean everything when it’s done right. (y)