Honey Birdette under fire for marketing email using phrase associated with Israel-Hamas war

Australian lingerie company Honey Birdette is under fire for using a phrase associated with the Israel-Hamas war to advertise its latest collection.

To promote the new lingerie set called ‘Ayah’, the brand sent a marketing email to its subscribers earlier this week, which quickly received backlash on social media.

The marketing email features the subject line “ALL EYES ON AYAH!” – a clear reference to the pro-Palestine phrase “ALL EYES ON RAFAH”, which has been used heavily this month during Israel’s raid on the Palestinian city.

Source: Reddit

Journalist and podcast Soaliha Iqbal called out the brand via Instagram on Wednesday evening.

“This isn’t the first time [Honey Birdette] has come under fire but it is truly one of the worst things I’ve seen come out of this brand. Absolutely despicable marketing campaign. Free Palestine,” Iqbal wrote.

Iqbal argued the lingerie set also appears to borrow from aesthetics associated with hypersexualised Arab women – “shimmering metal chains looping along hips not unlike accessories used for belly dancing”.

She noted that ‘Ayah’ is a Muslim name, and refers to a ‘sign’ of God’s existence.

“At a time where we are seeing an increase in both the dehumanisation and fetishisation of Arabs and Muslims (really, these are two sides of the same coin), it is particularly questionable to use this name for a lingerie set,” she wrote in the Instagram post.

“Why would Honey Birdette think this is a good idea? Who signed off on this? What purpose could there be for this marketing ploy aside from either mocking or co-opting Palestinian resistance?”

By Thursday morning, Honey Birdette had turned its Instagram comments off.

For over a decade, industry body Ad Standards has received numerous complaints about Honey Birdette promotions and advertisements for over a decade.

Just last month, the brand once again breached the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) Code of Ethics, and was non-compliant when approached by Ad Standards.

Mumbrella has contacted Honey Birdette for comment.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.