Thursday, March 18, 2010

The almost free war(e)house: Israeli ad spoofing Al Mabhouh killing

Mahsanei Kimat Hinam (The Almost Free Warehouse), the discount supermarket chain in Israel has just released a new campaign spoofing the much-talked about killing of one of Hamas top figures Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in Dubai. The ad comes courtesy of Inbar Merhav Shaked advertising agency.
Actors, who have physical similarities with the distributed images of the alleged Mossad hit squad that terminated Al Mabhouh have the same props that their real life supposed counterparts had (a tennis racket, etc...). CCTV footage is even used.
Although the ad still did not air, the furore it rose is amazing making it one of the prime examples of viral marketing ever created. People will be sharing the youtube link, sending stills from the ad on the net, and basically analysing it like this blog does. The punchline of the ad is: "We offer killer prices" which is in direct reference to everything else that preceded it.
Already local newspaper Al Akhbar hammered the ad as inapropriate and far from being tasteful. Oddly, though, we in Lebanon are very much used to art-imitates-life-imitating-ads. Anything that happened in 2005 was a direct proof of a severe corelation between advertising and politics - taste or no taste.
As a matter of fact if I say "I can see Russia from my house" any alerted reader will be saying instinctively: Sarah Palin! Actually, it is not Sarah Palin but her TV counterpart Tina Fey who did while imitating her on Saturday Night Life.
And, unfortunately for us Lebanese, what we do not do on purpose in terms of linking ads to politics ends up landing in our lap. One of the most famous case was the Gillette ad which was about a TV presenter who was badly shaved, and is introduced to the new Gillette blade which he uses and so at the end of the end, his female co-presenter quips: "Naiman ya Abbas" (Naiman means literally "may it feel like paradise"). Well, what's wrong with this picture?
What is wrong is that it was aired in the same 8 o'clock news bulliten which was announcing the liquidation by Israel of former Hizbullah leader Abbas Al Moussawi.... Unfortunately, the slogan "Naiman ya Abbas" became a ironic catchphase in the process, used by anyone who is thrilled that his political opponent has been disposed of.
To quote Jacques Seguela, "please do not tell my mother I work in advertising. She thinks I am a pianist in a bordello."
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