Zara campaign outrage over Gaza 'looking for something to be offended by'

The company said it regretted a "misunderstanding" about the images which showed a model holding a mannequin wrapped in a white material
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

11.06 13 Dec 2023

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Zara campaign outrage over Gaz...

Zara campaign outrage over Gaza 'looking for something to be offended by'

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

11.06 13 Dec 2023

Share this article

A global backlash against a Zara advertising campaign is part of a trend of people ‘looking for something to be offended by,’ a political commentator has claimed.

The Spanish fashion brand has pulled the advertising campaign amid claims it featured images resembling the death and destruction in Gaza.

The brand has come in for heavy criticism online - with protests held outside some of its stores around the world.


The campaign featured a model in a setting that Zara said was supposed to resemble unfinished sculptures in a studio.

In one image the model is seen holding a mannequin wrapped in a white material over her shoulder.

There are also damaged and limbless statues seen in the background, along with broken plasterboard.


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A post shared by ZARA Official (@zara)

In a post online, the company said it regretted a "misunderstanding" about the images.

It said the campaign was conceived in July and photographed in September.

"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," reads the statement.

A Zara store sign in Dublin, 4-9-09. Image: Kevin Foy / Alamy

On Newstalk Breakfast Political Journalist Ella Whelan said she believes people are reading too much into it.

"Perhaps you could say if you were looking for links to the very serious events that are going on in Israel and Gaza, then you could find them," she said.

"I think most people see it as just an advert with a few mannequins in it.

"I think there's a lot of people who care very deeply about what's going on in that part of the world, and don't necessarily see a Zara advert as the first priority for commenting on that."

'Let's have that conversation'

Ms Whelan said the issue is part of a trend to "look for something to be offended by."

"The problem with that is that it shuts down political discussion," she said.

"If we want to have a conversation about the very serious things that are taking place... then let's have that conversation.

"If you're creating a censorious climate in which you have to stop doing things because it might offend someone then that's not good for politics [or] public discussion".

'Always going to upset someone'

Ms Whelan said big businesses are being put in the middle of causes such as Pride, Me Too and Black Lives Matter.

"There has been this trend for companies to think that they have to do something... that shows that we're right on, basically," she said.

"The trap with that is, in the world of politics, you're always going to upset someone if you put out a certain message.

"So, rather than just being about the business of selling clothes to a particular age range that I don't think goes to the clothes shop looking for political causes.

"Just do that - you get into a world of trouble when you try to create a sort of moral authority within the business world on politics," she added.

Ms Whelan said she goes to a lot of other places for her politics, but not to Zara.

Listen back here:

Main image: A photo of the-now pulled Zara advertising campaign. Image: Zara

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Advertising Campaign Ella Whelan Fashion Brand Gaza Mannequin Moral Authority Newstalk Breakfast Zara

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