Coca-Cola has just released an ad that makes a subtle, yet obvious and quite insensitive reference to 9/11. The ad – shot in Arabic with English subtitles – features a father who tells his son he wanted to be a pilot when he was his son’s age. This was clearly meant as a cheap shot over the 9/11 attacks in much the same way that the Ground Zero mosque was.
The CEO of Coca-Cola is a Muslm Turkish-American named Muhtar Kent. In this latest ad, a guy named Tarek is being congratulated by his family for being accepted to an engineering school, though he doesn’t really want to become an engineer; he wants to go to photography school.
In the ensuing father-son discussion, the oh, so kindhearted father tells Tarek that when he was his son’s age, he wanted to become a pilot (yes, pilot) but became an engineer because that’s what his father wanted. He then hands Tarek a letter of acceptance to a photography school.
For anyone who thinks this wasn’t a jab at 9/11, you probably believe global warming is the reason ISIS is slaughtering people in Iraq and Syria. These commercials don’t just get done in five minutes. There is careful thought, collaboration, and consideration given to every word and detail. To think that not one person thought that a Muslim pilot reference might be inappropriate, strains credulity.