‘Enty Al Mathal’, an advertising campaign by cooking oil company ‘Sunny’ has been criticised for being offensive to women and subsequently suspended by the Egyptian Consumer Protection Authority (CPA).
The advertising campaign centres on a number of local Arabic proverbs which are seen by many to demean women and normalise gender-based-violence, one of them being ‘Break a girl’s rib and she will grow 24 more’. They have been included in the campaign on billboards in the streets of Egypt.
Their official campaign video (above) states that:
“There is a specific path women are drawn to take — your destiny is written in proverbs and passed from one generation to the next, but your beauty, determination and spirit have broken all stereotypes and proverbs, and you have truly proven that you are 'the example',”
A spokesperson from Hub advertising, who were responsible for the campaing explained that:
“We were basing it on a psychological strategy called ‘short sharp shock,’ getting the attention of consumers through shocking them.'- (Nader Khalil, Hub Advertising, via. Al Masdr)
Although it seems that Sunny had the correct intentions, many women's rights organisations, including the National Council for Women found the billboards to be offensive and asked for them to be removed.
Hammam Al Masry: social worker and democratic governance regional coordinator at ActionAid NGO in Amman believes that although Sunny’s campaign sought to break gender stereotypes, the tools they employed were unwise and failed to reach the targeted societies.
“In my view Sunny should face consequences for its negligent actions. When you have access to resources and mass media you should do your homework and study well before taking on such a complex social issue. Marketing is a strong and effective tool and should be used to build a comprehensive understanding of all disciplines regarding social sociology.’ - [Hamman Al-Masry, ActionAid NGO]
Sunny's right to display the billboards is currently suspended and it is unknown whether they will continue with the campaign.