afaqs! news bureau

Coca-Cola denies ties with Israel in a Bangladeshi ad; faces backlash

The commercial was subsequently withdrawn but was uploaded on YouTube and FaceBook later.

A new Coca-Cola commercial for the Bangladesh market has stirred a lot of backlash as it attempts to distance itself from Israel amid the Gaza war. The new ad which features two big celebrities from the country is aimed at dispelling the alleged ‘misinformation’ that Coca-Cola is an Israeli product.

The ad shows a conversation between a shopkeeper and a tired man who is offered a bottle of cold coke. The tired man denies the offer saying he isn’t consuming products from ‘that place’ without mentioning Israel.

The shopkeeper then explains to him and a few people in the surrounding that Coca-Cola is not from 'that place' and that claims linking it to that country is misinformation.

“Listen guys, Coke is not at all from ‘that place’. For the past 138 years, people in 190 countries have been drinking Coke. They drink it in Turkey, Spain and Dubai. Even Palestine has a Coke factory,” says the shopkeeper.

The tired man then takes a sip out of a coke bottle.

The commercial first aired during the India-Pakistan cricket match in the ongoing T20 WC and sparked an outrage in the country.

Ever since the war in Gaza broke out on October 7, 2023 many companies are finding themselves in trouble and are facing  a decline in sales in Muslim-majority countries with consumers calling for a boycott on them for allegedly having links with Israel. Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Starbucks and Nestle are among the few brands that are in troubled waters. Coca-Cola allegedly is believed to have a factory  located in the Israeli settlement of Atarot in the occupied West Bank, which is considered illegal under international law. The lines "Even Palestine has a Coke factory," has particularly irked audiences. The ad is being condemned by netizens for hurting sentiments, being insensitive and even spreading misinformation.

As per media reports, Coca-Cola removed the commercial from its YouTube and Facebook pages however, quietly placed it back with the comments section on both platforms disabled. On TV the commercials continue.

As per local reports from Bangladesh, Coca-Cola sales have declined by 23 % in the country since the Gaza war. The beverage brand has recently intensified its advertisements in the country. 

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