Billboards placed on Egypt’s most crowded highways shockingly grabbed people’s attention to a new campaign held by an oil cooking company. They feature a young women brokenly looking down with disappointment while a lot of fingers are directed to her with only one question: “Are you a Spinster?”
The campaign, called “Enty El-Mathal” (You are the role model), aims to highlight the stereotypes Egyptian women fight and successfully overcome. However, its teasers backfired on its original aim, causing a satire of negative comments among people.
Egypt’s Consumer Protection Agency stopped the campaign and ordered the removal of all the billboards from the highways, stating that it offends women.
The decision came after many calls from women’s support organisations that seek the help of the Consumer Protection Agency to stop the campaign that supports violence against women. One of the billboards displayed an old Egyptian quote saying, “Break the girl’s rib, she has another 24”, which promotes the use of violence and force against women since they are able to adapt.
“This campaign promotes hatred and downgrades women’s role in the society,” said Atef Yacoub, head of the Consumer Protection Agency in a phone call during a show that was aired on a privately-owned TV channel.
The campaign originally aimed to share female stories of success and breaking social taboos, yet the teaser ad caused a wave of criticism, especially after showing that it supports violence against women.
People’s reactions on social media differed, from attacks to questioning the relationship between supporting women’s causes and a cooking oil company.
“I’ve been working in the field of marketing for 12 years, and I totally understand that this is a teasing campaign,” said Jasmine Aladdin in a Facebook post, “but there are 10 other ways of delivering the same message in a different way!”
“Grabbing people’s attention shouldn’t be in a shocking and provoking way like the one Sunny used. There is no need in the Egyptian society to further promote such an attitude [which promotes violence]. 40% of Egypt’s population won’t understand the higher meaning beyond the teasers and the only thing that would stick to their mind is the shallow meaning that it supports violence”, she added.