Talking about localisation… In order to modernise and diversify the country’s economy, Mohammed bin Salman or MbS has been introducing controversial economic and social reforms in Saudi Arabia. The Crown Prince has vowed to take the country away from religious fundamentalism and reduce its dependency on oil revenues, but perhaps one of his most exciting reforms regards the role of women in the kingdom. Their role is set to drastically increase in society – enjoying greater freedoms, and on the 24th June, they were finally granted the right to drive. With this in mind, Creative Culture looks at how brands have been reacting.
In 2017, Uber announced it would allow women to sign up to become drivers. This year, the company is taking it one step further by implementing changes in its app which will allow female drivers to set their preferences to female-only riders – a decision made in response to Ipsos research which reported that 74% of potential female drivers would only want female passengers. Uber has also partnered with Al Nadha – a Saudi Arabian charity which promotes gender equality – to financially support women who want to obtain their license.
Despite only offering their 24/7 roadside assistance service to anyone who bought one of their cars, Chevrolet is now expanding their offer to include all Saudi women, no matter what car they drive. As part of their offer, Chevrolet are offering Emergency Towing, Fuel Delivery and Courtesy Transportation.
As one of the first brands to celebrate the announcement, Coca-Cola has produced a television advertisement which celebrates the new reform. The ad shows a father and daughter swapping seats so that he can give her a driving lesson and uses the tagline of ‘Change has a taste’. Despite being designed to celebrate the reform, the brand was actually criticised on the grounds of commercially benefiting from women’s rights, with many comparing it to the Pepsi ad with Kendall Jenner.
By Edward LeBoutillier