Doha 08th November 2013: Coca-Cola, the giant soft drink firm removed the advertisements for its energy drink with the slogan “burn on” from the Villagio mall in Qatar after an online outcry.
Through social media networks, many users criticized the act of placing such “insensitive” billboards at a site of major fire last year which killed 19 people.
Martin Weekes, the father of New Zealand triplets Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes who were among the dead, slammed the campaign.
“It’s almost beyond belief, it’s disgusting really. I just don’t understand how people could be either so insensitive or tasteless over something like that,” he said.
“This is Coca-Cola, it’s an organisation that understands all about the power of brand and Coca-Cola is based in Atlanta in Georgia, one of Lillie, Jackson and Willsher’s friends who was killed in the fire came from Atlanta so it’s even knocking down a kid in their own backyard.”
“We no longer live in Doha as the memories are too painful however I was contacted overnight by a friend with a photo of an ad campaign for your energy drink Burn being promoted outside the mall where the fire occurred. Please remove this as it is totally insensitive.”
“If they think we are going to forget about our children they are wrong, and other people aren’t going to stop either. It didn’t take long before the poster went out for people to start contacting me so obviously a lot of people are upset by it.
“Keeping the story out there and the pressure on is the only way to get justice served.”
Coca-Cola apologized for the ads and has removed it.
The firm said on face book: “The ad near the mall in Qatar has been removed and we apologize for any unintended offense this may have caused. The ad was part of a much larger network of outdoor ads across Doha aimed at promoting one of our brands.”
Four people were sentenced to six years in jail in the mall fire case. Nineteen people, including 13 children, were killed in the fire at the Gympanzee nursery in the Villaggio shopping mall on May 28, 2012.
The Weekes who lost triplets in Qatar mall fire gave birth to twins a girl, Poppy and a boy Parker in August.