A video of a recent flash mob at Landmark Mall sponsored by Qtel in honor of National Day has been quietly taken down following complaints from some Qataris.
Friday’s performance, which the telecom company tweeted yesterday, appears to be the first flash mob here to engage so many sectors of society.
It includes Qatari men doing traditional dance, women lip-singing patriotic songs and expats breakdancing all at the same time as a huge crowd looks on. As it progresses, it shows locals and expats almost engaging in a kind of dance-off.
The four-and-a-half minute video, which was posted ahead of National Day, was viewable last night, but has since been made private after it sparked the ire of some locals.
Still, it received more than a dozen retweets, and a Facebook post teasing the video got 380 likes, indicating significant support for the performance.
A Qtel spokeswoman said the company had no comment about the video being pulled.
The incident is yet another example of how carefully businesses in Qatar must tread when reaching out to a diverse community with different views of entertainment.
Previously, companies have come under fire here and even deleted tweets for promoting events that involve dancing and alcohol.
And despite support from some Doha residents, talent show Arab Idol canceled auditions here last month after criticism from the Qatari community.
On Twitter, many tweeted their displeasure under the hashtag #QtelFail, while others responded directly to Qtel, calling the performance “an abomination” and “disgusting.”
@qtelqatar What was the marketing team thinking? Someone ought to be fired for this abomination.#QtelFail
— Rashid Al-Mohannadi (@BuSneada) December 16, 2012
@qtelqatar How disgusting the way you combine the poetry with a foreign dance.
— Rashed Al-Hajri(@M5Rashed) December 17, 2012
Others expressed frustration with the video’s criticism:
@hendfakhroo thank God u live in Bahrain.Seriously, people here are drama queens. What the hell is the big deal about the flashmob!
— Mohammed Al-Jufairi (@Halawala) December 17, 2012
Meanwhile, the company has rolled out a deal in honor of National Day that is sure to sit well with everyone: 1,878 free local minutes or SMS for Shahry customers and Hala users who top-up QR50 or above from today to Wednesday, for use during those days (1878 being the year the founder of Qatar is credited with unifying the country).
Credit: Top photo courtesy of Qtel’s Facebook page