Coca Cola lands in trouble over its ‘Extremist Pakistani’ ad campaign.
As #ExtremistPakistani trended on Twitter, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) slapped the multinational company with a ban on their ‘Extremist Pakistani’ TVC. The content of the ad implies that most Pakistanis are extremist.
This was the ad that Coca Cola approved for audiences in Pakistan:
Jazbaat ki inteha, ehsasaat ki inteha, dosti ki inteha, mezbani ki inteha aur uss se bhi ziada Pakistani hone ke jazbay ki inteha – yehi sab tu hai what it means to be #ExtremelyPakistani! pic.twitter.com/A3Hwz002mi
— Coca-Cola Pakistan (@CokePk) July 24, 2019
PEMRA issued a notice to the MNC on July 30, 2019, after the regulatory body received numerous complaints regarding the ad in question.
Coca Cola Ad Pulled Off Air
Coca Cola’s TVC was immediately pulled off aired on the basis of offensive content.
Here is PEMRA’s circular regarding the ban on the ad.
“Whereas, it has been observed that Satellite TV channels, FM Radios and Distribution Service licensees are airing a TVC of Coca Cola. The content of the advertisement is not only offensive but also tantamount to demeaning the Pakistanis, as a nation.”
Based on PEMRA’s notice the ad has been banned from telecast under section 27 of PEMRA (Amendment) Act 2007.
If the ad is to air again the content must be reviewed, and controversial content omitted from the TVC.
While the ad hasn’t been seen on screen since the ban, in case of non-compliance, legal action shall be initiated under Section 29, 30 and 33 of PEMRA (Amendment) Act 2007.
Public Backlash on Coca Cola’s ‘Extremist Pakistani‘ Ad Campaign
While PEMRA does take notice of offensive content on its own, Coca Cola’s ‘Extremist Pakistani‘ ad campaign was banned after public backlash. People filed complaints against Coca Cola’s TVC through Pakistan Citizen Portal and PEMRA’s Complaint Center.
“PEMRA is continuously receiving complaints and criticism from the general public through Pakistan Citizen Portal and PEMRA Complaints Call Centre on subject TVC. The public at large is criticizing theme of this advertisement which is promoting negative perception against Pakistan and Pakistani nation, world over.”
Singer Jawad Ahmed says the advert ‘shows how low can the marketing of a brand stoop to, just to make more money‘.
The new #Coke Ad is an ugly interpretation of the word ‘Extremism’.It shows how low can marketing of a brand stoop to,just to make more money.
It is dumb & immature of marketing team of Coke to use such a highly socially sensitive word so non-seriously just to sell their bottles. pic.twitter.com/FLh0oP4DTn
— Jawad Ahmad (@jawadahmadone) July 28, 2019
Other reactions were just as harsh
— Adeel Asif (@aadeelasif) July 28, 2019
Killer coke pic.twitter.com/q16aQsmVm2
— BrandZuka (@BrandZuka) July 28, 2019
The term ‘Extremist Pakistani‘ led to public anger, as well as mentions of ‘inteha pasand’ (extremist) in the ad itself.
— Usman Awanℹ (@usmansulemanus) July 29, 2019
— Hafiz Rana Akif (@HafizRanaAkif) July 29, 2019
Some sympathized but still didn’t agree with how Coke depicted its message.
— E.J (@ejopinion) July 30, 2019
One hopes that the people behind this TVC could have done their due diligence before approving it for public viewing. Because this ad by a big time MNC appears tone-deaf at best.