Zain, the telecoms brand based in Kuwait, has seen a mixed reaction to its latest spot, which features a would-be suicide bomber being overcome by singing opponents to his cause.
The ad begins with a man making a homemade bomb, interspersed with shots of a wedding and a baby. A child’s voiceover says: “I will tell God everything. That you’ve filled our cemeteries with our children and emptied our school desks. That you’ve sparked unrest and turned our streets to darkness.”
Then, in a series of scenes designed to echo real-life attacks during Ramadan in the Middle East, the bomber is confronted by various members of the public who sing about mercy conquering violence, being tender in faith and worshipping God with love, not terror.
The film features real victims of terror attacks. The ad’s end screen ends with the message: ‘We will counter the attacks of hatred with songs of love. From now until happiness’, and a link to Zain’s Facebook page.
According to the BBC, it is not uncommon for brands in the Middle East to advertise around such a poignant message. However Zain’s take on such a sombre subject has also drawn criticism.
The film recalls the real image of a young boy injured and covered in dust, which was originally taken in Aleppo by Omran Daqneesh – a photographer who has condemned the ad.
He said on Twitter: "We won't allow anyone to exploit our blood, our children and our martyrs for marketing purposes."
However others have praised the video for its positive messaging. YouTube commentator M Sij said: “Thank you so much for this peaceful message," while the video has – at the time of writing – received more than 54,000 positive ratings on the platform.