Panasonic in Mecca

Panasonic has quietly been a top topic in Japanese news stories concerning the Middle East this month by winning a contract to put up the first corporate billboard in the holy city of Mecca. The billboard will be near the airport and will be for consumer goods aimed at pilgrims.

I note that this has been published in a few media outlets in Japan, where the press release was issued in Japanese, but I cannot find news stories that report this in English and see no evidence that the story was published in Arabic.

A thread at 2ch brings up some interesting points that should have given Panasonic pause: “Isn’t this like breaking the prohibition on tall buildings in Kyoto?” and “I’m sure this is fine because they were speaking with Muslims on the deal, but I wonder what the extremists will think.” On the one hand it’s great that Japanese companies are breaking ground and leading the way as they push into new markets, but I hope they’ve done their cultural due diligence.

One thought on “Panasonic in Mecca”

  1. I don’t know why, but this reminds me of the match between Japan and either Saudi Arabia or Bahrain that I watched on Japanese TV a couple years back, where at the end of the match the Japanese sponsors marched out and gave the team captain and the game MVP prizes. Except it was Kirin beer and Ito Ham pork.

    It was a good thing the Japanese squad won…

Comments are closed.