Text above reads roughly: “What are you waiting for? 0 percent downpayment. Now you can be independent”
It’s hard to believe this is real, but a Lebanese real estate company “I Group” is actually marketing itself by using images of abused women and encouraging them to buy their luxury apartments to escape criminal spouses.
Their English Facebook ad is more explicit:
Of course most new apartments in Beirut costs hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, so we are not sure how most single persons (or almost any human person) living in Lebanon can afford them.
Commentators were furious:
To some pretty odd answers from the marketing team…
Others pointed out that the apartment would take years to build and could hardly be considered a viable solution for immediate abuse:
But the company Facebook team stubbornly held on:
Some resorted to sarcasm like one guy who asked in Arabic: “If I beat my wife but not on the face does she still qualify for the offer or should I beat her on the face? And what if she beats me, do I qualify for the offer or is it just for ladies?”
Others just didn’t hold back:
We’ve seen terrible and sexist real estate ads before, such as the use of scantily-clad models and dismembered bodies for retail companies.
One company “Trillium Development” famously put out an ad that read “A real man buys her a (multimillion) apartment” That ad got some bad press and is now hard to find. But the company still has a previous ad up on its Facebook page with a similar message:
Will this time be any different? Will I Group come to its senses?
Of course it is not just real estate. We need to have a serious discussion in Lebanon on the portrayal of women in billboards, which are ubiquitous across the country. In fact the representation of females by ad agencies and corporations is pretty dehumanizing overall in Lebanon and largely free from any critical thinking disucssions. I’ve pointed this out in the past, noting that this kind of imagery is not just disturbing to look at; it also has far reaching social and developmental effects.
Thanks to Helene for spotting this.
I Group has removed the photo but stopped short of an apology, claiming in a new post that readers misunderstood the campaign and that it had nothing to do with profitability.