On May 26, Zain posted its Ramadan anti-terror video featuring pop singer Hussain Al Jassmi on YouTube. Since then, the video has been trending on YouTube amassing international coverage and more than 4.5 million views at the time of writing. It has also garnered criticism for featuring a young boy in a bus with a striking resemblance to Omran Daqneesh, the Syrian boy whose photo became famous last year following the strike in Aleppo.
While the ad has largely seen a positive response, many viewers have commented on its misleading use of the young boy’s injuries as a result of terrorists, instead of the government. Some viewers have also commented on the stereotype of showing bearded men as terrorists and not those in a suit.
Perhaps the creators of the ad could’ve been more careful in their choice and use of certain imagery, but at a time when the region – and religion – is perceived under blanket stereotypes, it’s a brave call for a brand to present a positive side and message.