Today in inexplicable news from the Middle East, Abu Dhabi-based Al Hilal bank has come up with a new gimmick to entice female customers to spend, spend, spend, in the face of a huge oil price crash and a plummeting stock market. In a move that screams out “JUST HOW MANY LEGALLY BLONDE GIFS CAN YOU FIT INTO ONE BLOG POST ABOUT THIS”, the bank (whose headquarters, totally coincidentally, you can see from my apartment) will be introducing… wait for it… a scented credit card. Scented.
The “For Her” card emits the musky Arab scent of oud from an absorbent pad, but in the interests of protecting our delicate lady noses from the plasticky scent of unbridled consumerism, it seems like you’ll also be able to customise the card with your own perfume.
Lady credit cards for fragile lady fingers are nothing new, even (especially?) in the Middle East – travelling in Oman recently, I saw multiple billboards proudly advertising a pink credit card with a giant flower.
What’s extra bizarre about this one is how it’s being marketed as somehow empowering to women.
“Today’s modern woman wants to send out a strong message about her individuality and her capacity to become a productive member of society while staying true to her heritage”; the card “is also a reflection of Al Hilal Bank’s full support for women and our passion for innovation and social responsibility,” read the extremely natural-sounding quotes from the bank’s head of corporate communications, Mariam Yousef Ahli.
I’m curious what the takeup of this is going to be. I don’t know about you guys, but I definitely cannot wait to uniquely express my feminine mystique by toting my feminine musk-ique credit card out to one of Abu Dhabi’s enormous shiny shopping malls to buy some, like, pink shoes or whatever. Bend and snap, ladies.
Learn more about this super great idea by reading this story in UAE paper The National, or get more fascinating insights on life as a feminist expat in Abu Dhabi by following me on Instagram @ailsanancy or checking my blog, The Seabird Monastery.