Zain Ramadan advert causes social media stir

Kuwaiti telco's ad has amassed over 4.7 million views on YouTube since first being published last week
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Tue 22 May 2018 02:01 PM

A Ramadan commercial created by Kuwait-based telecommunications company Zain has gone viral on social media, sparking an intense debate about its depiction of Arabs and current affairs.

In the commercial, a young Arab boy is seen singing to a number of world leaders including Donald Trump, Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un, calling on them to come to the aid of Muslim refugees and help end wars in the region.

In one scene, the boy – standing in the Oval Office of the White House – invites Trump to have iftar at his house “if he can find it in the debris”.

The boy is later shown sitting at a table with his family and Putin, as well as walking along a beach near Angela Merkel as refugees come ashore.

His iftar, the boy notes, will be in Jerusalem, “the capital of Palestine”, an apparent reference to the recent American move to shifts its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Many Twitter users have praised the ad, including Jordan’s Queen Rania, who said that the world “would do well to listen to children’s voices.”

“A huge well done to the creative team for coming up with this genius idea and everyone who worked on this amazingly powerful production,” noted another Twitter user.

Another Twitter user thanked the company for picturing “one of the most harrowing humanitarian crises since the Second World War”.

Others, however, harshly criticised the ad for being in poor taste.

“Zain Kuwait, just another company that capitalises on the current political chaos in the region and the fact that people are emotionally driven,” wrote a UK-based Twitter user.

“A very harmful ad. People in Palestine and Syria and in any occupied country don’t beg criminals for justice,” wrote another. “They [Zain] use ids to trigger people’s emotions I such a humiliating way. I believe that Zain failed this time.”

Since first being published on May 16, the ad has amassed More than 4,733,000 views on YouTube.

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Last Updated: Tue 22 May 2018 02:02 PM GST

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