They baa-rely thought this through. An Islamic fashion label from Indonesia, Rabbani, has recently come under fire for an ad campaign that aimed to promote the use of the hijab to Muslim women but has instead drawn outrage for its use of a goat as a model.
The ad campaign, launched to welcome the upcoming Eid Al-Adha holiday, features a photo of a goat wearing a hijab along with copy that reads, "QURBAN [the animal sacrifice ritual during Eid al-Adha] is not mandatory, but WEARING THE HIJAB is."
The ad was put up on a billboard near the Pasteur toll gate in the West Java capital of Bandung. It didn't take long for the ad to go viral and receive scathing criticism online.
Following the controversy, Rabbani both confirmed that the ad was indeed theirs and that they had taken it down on Sunday due to the criticism.
"We didn't have any intention to harass anyone, we just wanted to remind Muslims about the obligation to wear the hijab," Rabbani's sales and marketing director Nandang Komara told reporters in a press conference in Bandung yesterday, as quoted by Republika.
Nandang said they took down the billboard because they respect the differing opinions of people in Indonesia, but he stressed that there was no motive to insult anyone behind the ad.
"We just wanted to remind [Muslim women] to obey the mandate to wear the hijab so they don't become like the qurban animals," he said, adding that the label apologized for the controversy the ad created.
This isn't the first time Rabbani has been accused of engaging in tasteless marketing. Two years ago, the label launched a shameless promotional campaign that was difficult not to see as a passive-aggressive attack on Indonesian comedian and TV host Rina Nose, who, at the time, had recently decided to stop wearing the hijab.
Last year, on the same billboard in Bandung where they had placed the goat ad, Rabbani put up a highly misogynistic ad, supposedly to encourage young Muslim girls to cover up, that said, "Children these days. The higher their skirt, the lower their achievements. Don't be like that!".
Another highly controversial Rabbani ad involved national hero Raden Adjeng Kartini, who fought for emancipation and equality for Indonesian women. Kartini did not wear the hijab, but Rabbani photoshopped one onto her head in their ad.