‘Disgusting’: Zara campaign pulled over comparisons to Gaza photos

Zara has pulled its latest campaign after consumers drew parallels between the ad and the ongoing atrocities in Gaza.

The Spanish fast-fashion behemoth released the images on December 7 on its website and social media pages, featuring American model Kristen McMenamy and photographed by Tim Walker.

The campaign, called “The Jacket”, showed McMenamy posing in what appeared to be a deconstructed workspace filled with empty boxes and destroyed walls, and surrounded by statues – some of which are missing limbs, and others wrapped in white cloth.

Social media users were quick to call out the pictures, drawing comparisons between them and the harrowing images – particularly of corpses wrapped in white shrouds – seen out of Gaza following the October 7 attack by Hamas in southern Israel, and Israel’s subsequent, ongoing retaliation campaign.

Zara’s Instagram account was inundated with tens of thousands of comments, many including Palestinian flags, while #BoycottZara was trending on X (formerly Twitter).

“I don’t believe anyone in branding or marketing saw the wrapped statue in that Zara photo and didn’t think of this,” one user wrote on X, sharing one image from Gaza of a mother hugging what looks to be the body of her child.

“But even if it was a mistake – you’re not aware enough of current affairs to be working in marketing [if] you approved it through ignorance. This image is searing.”

Another user questioned if “Zara [will] face any consequences of its disgusting campaign when it comes to franchise in the Middle East”.

“It’s horrible!” a third wrote. “I was so shocked when I saw that.”

Following the backlash, the campaign images were removed from Zara’s website and app – though Inditex, which owns the retailer, told Reuters the change was part of its normal procedure of refreshing content and not in response to criticism.

Inditex did not comment on the boycott calls, but said the collection was conceived in July and the photos were taken in September.

In Britain, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) told the BBC it had received 50 complaints about the campaign.

“We’ve received 50 complaints about this ad. Complainants argue that the imagery references the current Israel-Hamas conflict and is offensive,” an ASA spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that the ASA was reviewing the complaints but was not currently investigating the advert.

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