Fashion brand Zara pulls ad accused of Gaza insensitivity, says it regrets

In Europe

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Marcos del Mazo | LightRocket | Getty Images

Clothing brand Zara pulled an advertising campaign that swathes of online commenters said evoked the destruction in Gaza.

Following several days of fierce criticism across social media platforms Instagram, X (formerly Twitter) and TikTok, the company said it was removing its campaign, titled “The Jacket.”

Pictures posted on social media and its website featured a model holding a mannequin seemingly wrapped in white plastic, fragments of plasterboard, a roughly painted crooked wooden box, rubble and statues.

“The campaign, that was conceived in July and photographed in September, presents a series of images of unfinished sculptures in a sculptor’s studio and was created with the sole purpose of showcasing craftmade garments in an artistic context,” Zara said in a statement.

“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 regrets that misunderstanding and we reaffirm our deep respect towards everyone.”

An Instagram post featuring the statement generated more than 61,000 comments within three hours of being posted Tuesday. While some welcomed the move, many continued to accuse the brand of insensitivity and a major marketing misstep.

Content creator Amro Maskoun, who has 5.2 million Instagram followers, commented: “I really respect deadlines and campaigns filmed in advance and this is what we all do. The only difference here is that you’re a HUGE company that is supposed to have a person called ‘strategic marketing manager.’ This person’s duty is to make sure it’s the good time for the campaign and I don’t believe they weren’t aware of the ongoing situation in Gaza!”

The Israeli military’s bombing of the Gaza Strip in its campaign to eliminate Hamas following the Oct. 7 terror attack has flattened neighborhoods and killed more than 18,000 Palestinians, health authorities there say.

The Hamas attack in southern Israel killed approximately 1,200 people and saw more than 240 taken hostage.

Zara’s retraction highlights the intense sensitivities around posting online amid the war.

In early November, British food and clothing chain M&S apologized for an Instagram video showing green, white and red paper hats burning in a fire, part of a campaign recorded in August with the theme of ditching Christmas traditions.

Online commenters argued the hats reflected the colors of the Palestinian flag. M&S apologized “for any unintentional hurt caused.”

Zara’s Spanish owner Iniditex is scheduled to report nine-month results Wednesday.

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