I’m sure we’ve all seen Zain’s new backup ads by now with the old man and his old wife. It created quite a stir when they first aired during ramadan.

The ad basically used the old wife character to portray how she (the mobile) can be easily replaced by the old husband with another mobile incase of loss, damage..etc if he subscrib with Zain’s backup service. Most women (and some men) in my family found it offensive. My mother wanted to write a post on this blog and give Zain a piece of her mind. Other female members of my family were also offended and quite shocked by how degrading to women this whole ad campaign was. Other people had mixed reactions. Me and Mishary had our own little debate where one of us thought it is completely and utterly inappropriate to compare mobiles to women (wives) and the other thought they were funny. We even received emails asking us to say something about those ads. Here is an excerpt from an email we got:

“Zain should stop airing them immediately and apologize to all the people who felt offended by the Ads”

I also asked some of my friends and got different responses. Their responses:

  1. I LOVE it! I laugh each time I see them on tv.
  2. They’re hard to get.
  3. Sexist and offensive.
  4. and this has to be the best response and the most intriguing argument I got:

  5. The ads ruffle some insecure feathers. It plays on typical and old stereotypes. Our grandfathers used to think somewhat similarly about women; they’re replaceable. And this what annoyed the Kuwaiti females the most.. It would’ve been offensive if they hired a young couple to do the ad, but they didn’t, they made them old, and that is how (most) old Kuwaiti men used to think about women anyway.

    ma3alaina.. We’ll let you decide for yourselves. Participate in the poll on the right sidebar to answer this question:

    What do you think of the new Zain backup Ads?


    This entry was posted on Sunday, October 5th, 2008 at 5:47 am

    20 Responses to “Zain Ads Controversy”

    1. KTDP says:

      The new name is crap. The new ads are crap. Viva will rule the world ……..

      (yes, I am in one of my moods)

    2. Dodo says:

      finally someone mentioned that!
      i find their ads sooooo offensive,, i even emailed Zain complaining about being racesit and sexist,, they didnt reply till now! slaima!!

      Zain MO zain :/

    3. :::ShoSho::: says:

      Well this is the first time I see it.. Coz I just don’t watch tv lol!

      Anyways, I found it beyond offensive.. I found it silly and stupid.. I am not speaking as a woman, or think its sexist but I thought “is this the best thing they could think of? How stupid!” ..

    4. Bo Ya3goob says:

      Come on its not that offensive its just an ad and i admit its funny its not that racesit or sexist its just an ad wala nothing BIG ya3ney its not that big a deal its not about complaning to them or something!! what i like about dodo comment is

      ZAIN MO ZAIN NOW THATS FUNNY if i am working in wataniya or viva i would put that qoute in the add zain mo zain:P

    5. Om Yasafee says:

      Thank you Yousef
      Im very glad you waken this irritating issue.

      I felt totaly disgusted and found it very offensive, the first time I v seen it .
      and its must be stoped .

      I m sure it was the idea of an old sick playboy man.
      old womens and Mothers, (and old Men too)must be put in a respectable images .
      their must be lot of funny ideas, but dont drag old womens inside it.

      we was always loyal to zain .not any more ,and I m thinking of changing to Wataniyah or Viva ,and telling every one I know to change .

      and Im realy waiting with eagerness to your Mother respond.

      Have a great peacful day
      Om Yasafee

    6. bo9ale7 says:

      haha i think you guys are over reacting . we had that debate at home when the ad was first aired . Females hated it and some of the men were ok and others thinks its funny.

      i personally think its funny it has nothing with insulting a woman its just an ad.

    7. Ansam says:

      one of my friend came to our house and she was angry at those ads… she was on the phone with 107 to actually complain! I started laughing! Sara7a… people are not seeing the twisted comedy within the ad… shda3wa sexist o offensive!! 3ind alla si3a 😛 (and again I betray my kind :-S) well… its an ad! Like any other ad that people would take seriously (like the VolksWagen and Nissan ones) shda3wa! get the message behind it!!! I personally liked their backup ads!

    8. Bo 7amaD says:

      I wont elaborate alot on how i think the add goes, but here it is:

      Since i work in a marketing department with many ideas that float around the office, you must know that from a marketing point of view , this ADD is a WINNER !!

      why ? it created fuss, frustration, and yes PEOPLE ARE STILL talking about it.

      On a personal note, i find it completely offensive. i even found it more offensive when i watched it with MUM.

      Now, the add where she was covering up from the broadcaster is fun fun fun fun no matter who is watching , some ppl might say ” ohhh they’r belittling women’s mentality, i say NO, it is only promoting how sincere and conservative they were.

      the rest of the ads are completely offensive.

      i see those ads as something that should be told between friends on a light hearted manner. Other than that is not acceptable.

      Here is my dirty little secret, i laugh so hard when i see those ads, i have tears in my eyes !! ( the one where she freezes up ).

      Ohh Ohh the other add with the glass and light reflection is UNWANTED.

    9. Tweego says:

      1st I love the add it is smart and funny

      2nd it was made by a lady in her 20’s

      3rd I think in this region ppl are not used having opinion that matter and now that they believe they do they are getting too sensitive.

      4th yes I am kuwaiti

      5th Stop finding what is wrong in everything and start enjoying what is right (it is smart and funny)

      6th if it was reversed, the old man was the phone how would every body feel about that?

    10. MiYaFuSHi says:

      I am one of those people who could do without those ads. Now a lot of people are saying we are over-reacting, but I really don’t think so. Yes it is a joke, but the joke is at the expense of women, and when it is coming from one of the top companies in Kuwait, it has more effect and you expect better from them.

      I don’t care whether the woman were old or young, replaceable or irreplaceable. The fact is they compared women, and women only, to phones! That’s downright sexist. Joke or no joke, it’s sexist.

      I think the women of Kuwait have been working hard to get rid of those mentalities, and those ad’s are a step back, normalizing such degrading sexism.

    11. get over it!
      and if you dun like it, switch the channel!

      you obviously have never seen global ads, where they refer and attack other people, other companies and other races, sexes!

      I never watch tv and i might not get the idea of this ad, but seriously, you need to watch some international televesion for a change

      and Yousef, if you wanna say crap about me commenting here, tough luck, it’s only me who doesn’t see there’s nothing wrong with this ad, as i’m not the only one with negative commets!

    12. Yousef says:

      K welcome back 🙂 you’ve been missed wallah. Why would i want to say crap about you commenting here? and why did you assume that I hated the ad? no seriously and sincerely.. welcome back 🙂

    13. MiYaFuSHi says:

      Person 1: “My brother follows me around everywhere, guess he loves my company”

      Person 2: “Oh he’s just like my dog, he does that too”

      Would that be offensive??

    14. Because you always hate my comments even though when other people keep saying EVEN worse than what i do!

      And about the welcome back thing, are you “drunk” 😛

      I always thought you hated me man!

    15. lfc-q8 says:

      at home when they played the ad no one noticed that it was sexist or bad after reading about it on the blogs then i noticed but i guess its not a big deal

    16. c;est la vie says:

      Am glad you and other people noticed and talking about it cause it seems that companies thinks that people are shallow .When you see the ads first time you will laugh but after few times you will start thinking that they are comparing old mobiles to women and this gives ideas to men but it seems that this the company employee culture ,do you remember their ad where this kuwaiti singer get married to 4 :p.people who thinks this is just an ad and why make fuss about do you know that its really effect peoples minds ,do you know that just a flash of someone drink coke in the middle of a movie makes you feel that you want to drink too .People are getting smarter so companies should take care . by the way did you noticed lipton tea ad where the tea jar suicied cause they don’t need it any more ,what do think ?

    17. liliuokalani says:

      i actually didn’t see the ad until i saw it online. i found it extremely offensive and distasteful! I for one don’t think old women should be portrayed as senile and forgetful. Grandmothers shouldn’t be put up in that image. they should be revered and considered a treasure to the community. wtf ever happened to the old type of zain ads. those were good!

    18. Jacqui says:

      I don’t find them offensive, instead I find them funny and outright brilliant.

      Imagine us women being compared to mobiles, objects that keep track of all your friends, all your appointments, your pictures, your msgs, everything. Basically a walking dictionary in your pocket or if you have the new iPhone then you are a walking world of Internet. That should be a compliment to women, seeing as how men view us as major information sources, okay there are some parts where it’s like “you’re mobile is broken or off” or whatever but still in the end, its not degrading women instead it’s giving them more of their worth, without your mobile you wouldn’t be able to get by one day. I dare you to try it, you will constantly be checking for new messages, missed calls, trying to call someone to get info. So a woman as a mobile means that she is the guy’s means of communication with the rest of the world.

      Without a woman/mobile, men would not be able to survive so back up your information 😛

      Just my two cents.

    19. master says:

      hate it hate it hate it

      I don’t find it sexist
      I just hate the idea of using old women or (grandmothers) in Ads thinking they are cute, funny and can sell

      how many ADs do we have with grandmothers in them????

      totaly not funny, specialy the Ad that she covers herself from the man in TV…malagaaaaaaaaa

    20. Adrenaline says:

      The ads are funny…ur not supposed to dig deep and try reading between the lines of funny ads.

      Its not about degrading women..although i think if Zain had different virgins of the ads where in some ads the mail is being replaced it would have been much nicer…and women would not voice any concerns.

      Looking at the bright side … Zain brought to light the fact that we are still living in a society that women are second class citizens\creatures.

      Its true..come to think of it hehehehe