Truth be told, nobody’s going to bet on a camel to win a race...
By David Menzies for MSN Autos
An automotive-related postscript to Super Bowl Pretentious Roman Numeral XLVII: the grievances of Perpetually-Offended Inc. continue. Not about the game, mind you, but about some of the ads that aired during breaks in the play.
Astute readers of this space might recall Friday’s blog wherein I lamented that Volkswagen’s Super Bowl ad for the Beetle (I assume we can drop the “New” descriptor now?) was preposterously labeled as racist.
It you haven’t seen the spot, it features a Minnesotan office worker embracing a Jamaican accent and the Caribbean laidback lifestyle to spread joy. I’d reckon the ad generates smiles and chuckles from approximately 99.9% of the populace. Which leaves us with the 0.01% lunatic fringe that finds offense everywhere.
Alas, now Coca-Colas is under fire by the usual suspects thanks to its delightful Super Bowl ad that depicts a desert race.
At issue: an Arab character is depicted with a small herd of camels and the Arab isn’t eligible for votes regarding who will win the race. (Viewers are asked to log onto cokechase.com where they can vote for their favourite team.)
This is somehow, some way offensive.
Not that I’m camel-phobic, but I did ride one in Egypt many moons ago and it was a slow and spine-jarring experience, making a circa-1975 Trabant with fried shocks seem like a Maybach cruising the Autobahn by way of comparison.
Regardless, a camel stands about as much chance of winning a race involving horses, motorcycles, and a bus as I do of winning the 100-metre dash at the next Olympics (which is to say, rhymes with “hero.”)
Alas, in this day and age of, “I think therefore I am... offended,” perhaps we can expect to see anti-gun zealots outraged by the cowboys’ six-shooters. And Harley-Davidson owners could make a fuss regarding the stereotypical way motorcyclists are depicted. And maybe the greenies can lodge a complaint regarding the carbon footprint of the diesel bus.
Regardless, anyone with common sense and a sense of humour (never a given these days, alas) realizes Coke isn’t trying to denigrate Arabs simply because an Arab character is depicted with some camels. And the fact this character isn’t eligible for voting isn’t a form of advertising apartheid – the last time I checked, there were no advertising standards insisting that all characters depicted in an advertisement should be eligible for online voting.
The irony is that those Chicken Littles who cry racism (even when it doesn’t exist) tend to be their own worst enemies given that VW and Coke are getting far more awareness from their ads than if nobody had raised a stink. Generating awareness is what good advertising is all about.
Postscript: I voted for the Bad Landers – the obvious favourite – to win the race. At time of writing, the Bad Landers were a distant third to the Showgirls and Cowboys.
Gracious, who do I complain to?