The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) was quick to cry racism about a Coca-Cola Superbowl ad, which depicted a stereotypical Arab wandering the desert with a camel while bandlanders, cowboys and showgirls raced past him for a chance to win some Coke.
Warren David, President of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), asked “Why is it that Arabs are always shown as either oil-rich sheiks, terrorists or belly dancers?”
They were just as offended that the character was excluded from an online poll to choose the winner of the race.
“What message is Coke sending with this?” asked Abed Ayoub, ADC’s Director of Legal and Policy Affairs. “By not including the Arab in the race, it is clear that the Arab is held to a different standard when compared to the other characters in the commercial.”
It turns out that they were wrong on both accounts. The man was neither Arab nor was he excluded.
A tumblr page created for the character reveals he is supposed to be a famous silent film star named Vincent de Fairweather. Among the posts is a picture of him drinking a bottle of Coke.
“Those fools just raced past by a craft service with coolers filled with Coke,” reads the caption. “Bonne chance, my friends. Note, I stay in character even at the craft service table.”
A video version titled “The Last Laugh” was released during the Super Bowl.
“They explained themselves pretty well, and I would say we feel better now that we have a better understanding of the campaign and the intent,” Ayoub halfheartedly apologized. “I feel once the entire campaign comes through, then people will understand our position.”
That’s just like those people to put their foot in their mouth, and by those people I mean activists.