How was the online conversation about The Jacket?

Social listening: key to navigating controversies like Zara's

8 min
Social listening: key to navigating controversies like Zara's
Social listening: key to navigating controversies like Zara's

Just five days after its release, and in the face of numerous criticisms received for the promotional images in its collection Atelier, Zara decided to withdraw the campaign”The Jacket”.

Are you interested to know what the online conversation has been like regarding this campaign? Keep reading!

We have carried out a social listening analysis covering nearly 4,000 mentions of 10 data sources (including news, X (Twitter), audiovisual/broadcast and blogs, forums, and others). Here are the most relevant findings.

Let's go there! 🚀

How was the online conversation about The Jacket?

On December 7, Zara Atelier launched The Jacket collection. Among the promotional images, statues wrapped in white cloth stood out, which some users found offensive because of their resemblance to the Muslim funeral rite and its relationship with the war in the Gaza Strip.

The brand published a total of 7 posts, mainly carousels, from December 7 to 9. From the launch to the withdrawal of the campaign, there were nearly 500 mentions linking it to the situation in Gaza.

December 12 saw a significant increase in online conversation about The Jacket, surpassing 2,000 mentions, just after Zara announced the withdrawal of the campaign.

As a result, phrases such as “contexte artistique”, “dernière Campagne” or “intention initiale” were widely used. This was enhanced by en X (Twitter), which contained a French translation of Zara's statement and which was retweeted more than 1,000 times.

On December 12, French was predominant among the most commonly used words. France, together with the United States and the United Kingdom, led the conversation, accumulating 55% of the total mentions among the three.

The post in which Zara announces the withdrawal of the campaign is the one that generates the most interaction on her Instagram profile, accumulating around 4% of the interactions achieved by the brand throughout 2023. In addition, 3 other posts by The Jacket would be in the Top 10 publications with the most interactions, due to the volume of comments they accumulate (between 134K and 188K, each).

But the content of the online conversations goes beyond this campaign, remembering that this is not the first time that Zara has faced accusations of being pro-Israel.

In 2021, the controversy arose when its designer, Vanessa Perilman, sent messages to the model Qaher Harhash, which put the company in the spotlight. Although not directly related to the collection The Jacket, these names frequently emerged in the mentions of December 12.

The withdrawal of the campaign, which generated a lot of media coverage, did not change the general tone of the publications made by the audience. When it's not neutral, the prevailing sentiment is negative, with anger being the most common emotion, followed by surprise.

What can we learn from the campaign? The Jacket?

Importance of contextual and cultural sensitivity

According to Zara's statement, the campaign was conceived in July, carried out in September (before the conflict between Hamas and Israel broke out) and launched in December (2 months after the outbreak of the crisis in the Gaza Strip). This highlights the unpredictability of how global events can change the perception of an advertising campaign. Is it possible that these images, published at another time, would have had less impact?

It is necessary that campaigns, their images and their messages be reviewed as soon as they are published, in order to avoid the publication of content that, although initially neutral, may be perceived as insensitive or inappropriate in the context of recent events.

Social listening and quick response

The Zara campaign was active for 6 days (from its launch on the 7th to its withdrawal on the 12th). During that period of time, the 7 posts on Instagram accumulated close to 1M of interactions, most of them comments.

This highlights the importance of social listening to evaluate and ensure that campaigns remain as close as possible to cultural trends. The ability to monitor conversations and reactions surrounding a campaign in real time (in this case) allows you to adjust your approach, respond appropriately to public concerns and, ultimately, align your messages with the sensitivities and values of your audience.

Could the controversy have been detected and the necessary measures taken in a short period of time without monitoring social networks and online media?

Take responsibility

In its statement, Zara does not assume direct responsibility for the images of the campaign. They focus on explaining the moment of their conception and realization, the intention behind the images and express their regret for any misunderstanding generated. And this is what the online publications highlight after the announcement made by the brand. In addition, this campaign has been linked to an event that occurred in June 2021 for which the brand was already accused of being pro-Israel.

Would apologizing have made a difference in the management of this crisis and in the perception of users?

How could we go deeper into the analysis?

To delve into the analysis of what happened with this campaign, what impact it may still be having and what could have been different, we could, among others:

  • Measure in isolation The evolution of mentions of the hashtag #boycottzara and the Palestinian-themed mentions, before, during and after December 2023.

What is the trend in its use? What type of publications are they included in? Which users are using it? What are your interests and ideology?

  • Research similar campaigns a The Jacket in which the company's response was different. For example, the Marks & Spencer Christmas campaign, in whose statement of withdrawal they apologized.

Did the inclusion of an apology in the company's statement mean a change in user sentiment? How long did it take them to withdraw the campaign? What geographical coverage did you have?


Suscríbete a nuestra Newsletter

Recibe los últimos artículos directamente en tu bandeja de entrada.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Al hacer clic en "Suscríbete" aceptas nuestra política de privacidad.