Learn more about Sustainable Brands 2015 San Diego

brands under fire

UAE Flags Cultural Sensitivity of Puma Shoes

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 30, 2011 03:56 PM

img src

There is still plenty of debate over just what is OK to do with an American flag and what’s not. Cutting it when it’s a cake? Putting it in doormat or napkin form where it will get soiled? And, of course, the big whopper of American-flag questions: is it cool to burn the thing?

While those debates may rage for eternity in America’s dorm rooms and statehouses, it is likely becoming extremely clear to the folks at German shoe and sportswear company Puma that one country that doesn’t like to have its flag put anywhere else than on a flagpole is the United Arab Emirates.

CNN reports that Puma has put out a new limited-edition shoe that features the UAE flag in honor of the nation’s 40th birthday on Dec. 2 and citizens are not loving the concept.

“Puma should have borne in mind the cultural sensitivities of the people of the UAE,” Abdullah K, an Emirati professional, told CNN’s Inside the Middle East blog. “The flag is a very sacred symbol for the UAE. It cannot be trivialized, especially not as footwear.”

An Arab expatriate working in advertising and marketing, Ramzi Khalaf, told the site, “Big brands have to realize that you cannot have one idea for the whole world. Each area you operate in has to have tailor-made solutions. Especially here in the Middle East, where cultural sensitivities are key, you have to be very careful."

According to CNN, Puma has not commented.

In America, though, there hasn’t been any kind of obvious uprising over American flag shoes, couches, toolboxes, towels, knives, planters, smoking apparatus, and whatever else you can imagine.







Smoking Apparatus


kristiaan helsen Hong Kong S.A.R. says:

Interesting story; so China does not seem to be the only country that is highly sensitive
about the use of national symbols like flags in marketing materials

December 1, 2011 02:36 AM #

uggonlinesale United States says:

From the tons of comments on your articles, Keep up the good work.

December 1, 2011 05:45 AM #

flaggirl United States says:

Please consider sending all worn American flags to our Stars for our Troops program.  Each one that touch the lives of 50 US Veterans or Soldiers even after their flying life is done!  www.gettysburgflag.com/...Troops-AmericanFlags.php

December 1, 2011 02:35 PM #

Comments are closed

elsewhere on brandchannel

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
brandcameo2014 Product Placement Awards
Apple loses its crown to a new #1
Coca-ColaIt's the Journey That Matters:
Coca-Cola Opens Up With Story-Based Web Refresh
debateJoin the Debate
Is product placement a waste of money?
Arthur Chinski and Joshua Mizrahi
Model Behavior? Brands Beware
U.S. Legal Changes Impact Use of Brand Ambassadors
paperCorporate Citizenship in Canada
Fresh thinking from Interbrand
Sheryl Connelly
Sheryl Connelly

Meet Ford's Resident Futurist
Highlighting the Present—and Future—of Branding in Latin America and Iberia