London, December 12, 2023, The Europe Today: Fashion brand Zara withdrew an ad campaign featuring statues wrapped in white that sparked calls for a boycott and protests outside stores by some pro-Palestinian activists, saying on Tuesday that it regretted the “misunderstanding”.
People left tens of thousands of complaints about the campaign on Zara’s Instagram account, saying the images resembled photos of corpses in white shrouds in Gaza. “#BoycottZara” trended on messaging platform X.
Zara’s announcement illustrates the challenge for global brands navigating the sensitivities around the Gaza war. Zara is the first major Western brand to take such a drastic step after criticism for what some saw as insensitive advertising.
Zara said the campaign, which also featured mannequins with missing limbs, had been conceived in July and photographed in September, before the conflict erupted in October, and was meant to show unfinished sculptures in a sculptor’s studio.
“Unfortunately, some customers felt offended by these images, which have now been removed, and saw in them something far from what was intended when they were created,” Zara said in an Instagram post.
The images were used “with the sole purpose of showcasing craftmade garments in an artistic context”, it added.
“Zara regrets that misunderstanding and we reaffirm our deep respect towards everyone,” Zara said.