How far can advertisers push the envelope using Saudi women ads?

November 10, 2017 6:58 pm


No sooner had Saudi announced the lifting of the ban on women driving late September 2017 than companies from Ford to Volkswagen to Jaguar started firing off ads targeting the new market of millions of Saudi women drivers.

  1. “Welcome to the driver’s seat” by Ford Middle East

  1.  “Welcome to the driver’s seat” Fby Volkswagen

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Read: This brand is giving away free cars to women in KSA

Coca-Cola came up with a daring video, which it released on Nov 2, a YouTube ad that shows a young female driver being taught how to drive by her father,

The new Coca-Cola ad is making waves across social media, with 60,000 viewers watching it just four days after its release. It is now attracting google ads, like Kurban travel, but the point, according to Coca-Cola, was that the one-minute ad titled “Change has a taste,” is meant to enable the “economic empowerment of women.”

This is a smart attempt at aligning Coca-Cola with the aims of Saudi Vision 2030, as outlined by Crown Prince Mohammed  Bin Salman, the driver behind lifting the women ban as well as other moves to diversify income for Saudi and bring about changes that will attract FDI and non-oil income.

It doesn’t hurt that in 2016, Coca-Cola announced plans to build a $100 million bottling plant in Saudi Arabia, which will be completed in 2019.

Where are ad companies going with this?

The strange thing about this ad is the fact that women are usually associated with cars on ads, with the ad playing suggestively on the cars’ curves, a classical sales approach to draw people to buy the vehicle.

But using a woman in a car to sell a soft drink?

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This ad is careful not to suggest the car brand, because that’s not the point.

The following question arises: to which limits will advertisers push the envelope using Saudi women drivers in their ads?

In the Coca-Cola ad, they crossed new borders showing a Saudi woman drinking from a bottle, which is unheard in Saudi society ads.

What new fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) company will try the next Saudi woman car driving ad?

Could cigarettes be a possibility? In 2016 Saudi banned smoking in public areas, but cars are private realms, however The Daily Mail says that only 600,000 women in Saudi smoke, a 10th of the population.

What about fast food? Could it be another possibility? Well, it would be really ironic if a fast food chain released an ad featuring a Saudi woman having a burger or a sandwich while driving, hopefully while parked at a drive-thru.

Don’t miss: Do you buy what fast food outlets are telling you?

Let’s wait and see. meanwhile watch the current ad below.

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By Hadi Khatib
Hadi Khatib is a business editor with more than 15 years' experience delivering news and copy of relevance to a wide range of audiences. If newsworthy and actionable, you will find this editor interested in hearing about your sector developments and writing about it.



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