LONDON — Fashion brand Zara said on Tuesday (Dec 12) it regretted the “misunderstanding” over an ad campaign featuring statues wrapped in white that triggered calls for a boycott by some pro-Palestinian activists, and it had removed the images.
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.
Six posts showcasing the campaign were scrubbed from Zara’s Instagram page, and parent company Inditex said the photos had been pulled from all platforms. Zara had already pulled the “Atelier” photoshoot from its website and app home pages on Monday.
The “Atelier” collection, of six jackets, is one of Zara’s most expensive, priced from US$229 (S$ 307.58) for a grey wool blazer with chunky knit sleeves, to US$799 (S$1073.15) for a studded leather jacket. The jackets were still for sale on Zara sites.
Inditex is due to report results for the first nine months of its fiscal year on Wednesday, with analysts expecting sales growth to slow slightly in the third quarter due to an unusually warm October in Europe. REUTERS