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Successful advertisers push the boundaries of taste, class, decorum and sensibility, while having fun with their clients’ brands. The key to their funny ads is the honesty of these ads—diving deep into the core of their brands. Yet they achieve this success by having fun, instead of “working.” Navigating your brand safely through the new advertising media takes more than a good punch line. Meticulous planning, thorough understanding and flawless execution are as critical to your success as they are in telling a joke properly. Or else you become the joke.
If good humour comes from great pain, then the Egyptians have got to be some of the funniest people in the world. They call it ad-dammal-khafif, or “light blood.” It ’s the Egyptian term for a sense of humour. Everyday, I see Egyptians’ light, acidic blood work its magic. And they love to turn it upon themselves! Take for example, the local English-language music channel. It’s called Melody Tunes. They play the usual MTV fare, and are fairly up to date. The best part of watching the channel though, are their promotional videos—hilarious 30-second spots, where ordinary Egyptians make complete fools of themselves with popular western songs, sung in their heavy Egyptian accents, in everyday scenarios.
Leo Burnett in Cairo put together these series of real-life-meets-pop-culture spots for their client, Melody Tunes.
The effort goes in exact opposition to the hipster feel of iPod spots, which suggest your writing rendition of the soundtrack in your head is actually sexier than it is.
The parodies also touch lightly on cultural misunderstandings that occur when pop culture is imported.
This is something we can especially relate to, considering our mom thought “Hit Me Baby One More Time” was an anthem for masochists.
These 30- second promos do more than make us crack up with laughter, they inform us that advertising in the Middle East has reached anew level where Middle Eastern ads are no longer mere copies of foreign material. People in the region are now willing to have a nice laugh at their own expense and are proud of their different lifestyle.