• Viewers are divided over the new Coca-Cola ad over a father teaching a Saudi women how to drive. (Coca-Cola)
A new Coca-Cola ad aimed at Saudi Arabia's historic decision to lift the driving ban for women has divided some viewers.
By
Riley Morgan

7 Nov - 1:21 PM  UPDATED 7 Nov - 1:46 PM

Coca-Cola has released an ad based on the Arab nation's momentous decision to allow women to drive from June next year, but viewers have questioned whether the timing of the ad is tasteful.

The ultra-conservative kingdom was the last country in the world to allow women to drive and the global soft drink company created a fun ad around the decision.

The commercial, posted on Coca-Cola's Middle East YouTube page on November 2, shows a father handing keys to his daughter for a driving lesson.

After several stop-start attempts to drive, the woman takes a drink of Coke and begins to drive around with new-found confidence.

The ad was released under the hash tag 'Change has a taste' to promote the push for women's rights in the Arab nation.

The commercial has been viewed close to 65,000 times on the YouTube page, but some on social media were divided.

Plenty praised the decision to celebrate a positive change in a nation that has long been critisised for oppressing women's rights.

Some viewers were disappointed Coca-Cola chose to capitalise on a momentous moment in the nation's history.

The public affairs director for Coca-Cola in the Middle East, Omar Bennis, told SBS News the ad is celebrating the legacy of positive social change.

"Coca-Cola is continuing its legacy of celebrating positive social and cultural change in its advertising campaigns by releasing a topical and timely ad in the Middle East: The Taste of Change," Mr Bennis wrote in a statement.

"The ad, which debuted on 02 November, celebrates the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s decision to lift its longstanding prohibition on women drivers, focusing on a heart-warming scene of a father teaching his daughter to drive.

"The campaign touches on the brand’s values surrounding diversity and inclusion and aligns with Coca-Cola’s commitment to enable the economic empowerment of women."

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The decision to allow women to drive was a decree by King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud announced on Saudi State TV.

Saudi Arabia has some of the world's tightest restrictions on women.

Under the country's guardianship system, a male family member - normally the father, husband or brother - must grant permission for a woman's study, travel and other activities.

The Arab nation continues to take steps towards lifting the oppression of women with its latest decision to allow women into some sports stadiums.

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