Zara has expressed “regret” over a “misunderstanding” related to an ad campaign that faced criticism for using photos resembling images from the Israel-Gaza war, BBC reported.
After facing days of backlash on social media and receiving complaints from the UK’s advertising watchdog, the remaining pictures have been withdrawn. Among the images was one depicting a model holding a mannequin wrapped in white plastic.
Zara said customers saw “something far from what was intended when they were created”.
People left tens of thousands of complaints about the campaign on Zara’s Instagram account, saying the images resembled photos of corpses in white shrouds in Gaza. “#BoycottZara” trended on messaging platform X.
Zara said that the campaign, advertising its Atelier line was “conceived in July and photographed in September”.
“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 said in an Instagram post.
The images were used “with the sole purpose of showcasing craftmade garments in an artistic context”, it added.
“Zara regrets that misunderstanding and we reaffirm our deep respect towards everyone,” Zara said.
On October 7, Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel, killing 1,200 people. Israel launched retaliatory attacks on Gaza, which has killed 18,200 people, BBC reported.
A crowd of protesters gathered in front of a Zara store in Tunisia’s capital Tunis on Monday, chanting and waving a Palestinian flag, Reuters reported.
One of the store’s display windows was splattered in red paint.
Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority said it received 110 complaints about the Zara campaign saying the imagery referenced the war in Gaza and was offensive. “As Zara has now removed the ad, we won’t be taking any further action,” the ASA said in a statement.
Six posts showcasing the “Atelier” campaign were scrubbed from Zara’s Instagram page, and parent company Inditex (ITX.MC) said the photos had been pulled from all platforms. Zara had already pulled the photoshoot from its website and app home pages on Monday.
The “Atelier” collection, of six jackets, is one of Zara’s most expensive, priced from $229 for a grey wool blazer with chunky knit sleeves, to $799 for a studded leather jacket. The jackets were still for sale on Zara sites.