Car adverts explode as Saudi women's driving ban lifted

Here we take a look at some of the adverts that have come out since the announcement by King Salman

Hot on the heels of the excellent news that women in Saudi Arabia will finally be allowed behind the wheel, came countless advertising campaigns with the aim of wooing this unexpected new market.

There have been some clever graphic design campaigns paying heed to the traditional Saudi dress code, but as I scrolled through numerous adverts “welcoming” these women drivers, something niggled me. Behind the “good-vibes” show of support for the decision, opportunism lurks.

Here we take a look at some of the adverts that have come out since the announcement by King Salman, just five days ago.

Jaguar Mena

The stop-motion animation of Jaguar Mena's effort is cute enough. But a handbag featuring spilled contents is a little stereotypical.

Cadillac Arabia

This contribution to me is an airbrushed vision of the past that seems to hint that women should maintain their modesty, despite their newfound transportation freedom.

Ford Middle East

This eyes-in-the-rear-view mirror concept is certainly attention-grabbing. The niqab-draped view out of the front windscreen behind the main focal point suggests a level of driving visibility that looks frankly dangerous.

Nissan Middle East

Keeping it simple appears to have been the smartest option: Nissan Middle East's 2018 GRL KSA number plate is a lesson in classy minimalism that succeeds in telling the story without resorting to tired gender-courting shenanigans. Although even saying girl as opposed to women is a little patronising.

It will be interesting to see the uptake from women drivers in the kingdom when the ban is lifted next year – no doubt many will still be kept from the driver’s seat by familial and societal pressures. But in celebrating this leap forward, let’s not be swayed into thinking that the car manufacturers deserve any particular praise.


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