Zara says it "regrets" a "misunderstanding" about an ad campaign criticised for using photos resembling images from the Israel-Gaza war. It has pul
Zara says it “regrets” a “misunderstanding” about an ad campaign criticised for using photos resembling images from the Israel-Gaza war.
It has pulled the remaining pictures following days of backlash on social media and complaints to the UK’s advertising watchdog.
One image showed a model holding a mannequin wrapped in white plastic.
Zara said some customers saw “something far from what was intended when they were created”.
Some social media users on X, formerly Twitter, had called for a boycott of the fashion retailer.
Zara said that the campaign, advertising its Atelier line, was “conceived in July and photographed in September”.
On 7 October, Hamas launched an attack on Israel, killing 1,200 people. Israel launched retaliatory attacks on Gaza, which the Hamas-run health ministry in the territory says has killed about 18,200 people.
Zara’s campaign – called “The Jacket” – contained a series of images in which the model was pictured against a background of cracked stones, damaged statues and broken plasterboard.
Some on social media suggested they were similar to images emerging from Gaza.
But Zara said the campaign presented “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”.
In a statement issued days after the controversy first emerged, Zara said: “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.”
In November, M&S apologised after being accused of posting an Instagram photo of Christmas party hats in the colours of the Palestinian flag on fire.
The image, taken from a Christmas advert filmed in August, show showed red, green and silver paper hats burning in a fireplace.
M&S said its intent was to “playfully show that some people don’t enjoy wearing paper Christmas hats”.
But following criticism from social media users, it said: “We have removed the post following feedback and we apologise for any unintentional hurt caused.”
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it had received 116 complaints about M&S’s advert.
Zara’s campaign has led to 110 complaints to the ASA, which it is currently reviewing.
A spokesperson for the advertising watchdog, said: “Complainants argue that the imagery references the current Israel-Hamas conflict and is offensive.”
Prior to the backlash, Zara said “The Jacket” campaign was “an exercise in concentrated design that is conceived to showcase the finest aspects of Zara’s creative and manufacturing capabilities, Zara Atelier offers one garment, six ways – and with unlimited possibilities”.