Another Stereotype of the Month entry:
What Do You Think of This Kahlua Ad?
Yes! Let those savages worship white folks like the Gods they are! Just like during Colonialism!
Wishful thinking much?
Posted 05 Dec 2007 at 11:30 am
FYI, here's a quote from the advertiser's website:
"The mysterious origins and mystical heritage of Kahlúa inspire discovery and curiosity, which we brought to life in this campaign," said Cyril Claquin, senior vice president of marketing for Malibu-Kahlúa International. "In each execution, those who explore their curiosity are richly rewarded, an idea that we believe will inspire consumers."
Posted 05 Dec 2007 at 8:18 pm
Comment: I'd say this isn't as bad as the Zagar and Steve commercials, but it's in the same ballpark.
The Mesoamerican Indians are dancing to the beat of a drum under torchlight. Even if nothing else is known about them, the images convey the idea of savagery. We know these Indians are primitive and uncivilized from a thousand fictional precursors.
The question "Are you kings?" doesn't quite suggest the Indians worshipping the white people, but it's the same idea. Only kings drank the brew made from chocolate. Kings were exalted as quasi-religious figures. If the Mesoamericans didn't worship their kings, they certainly bowed to and obeyed them.
I'm not sure if I find this ad racist or not.
However, it's interesting how it fits into the historical myth that natives often mistook Spanish conquerors for gods. It's a very controversial theory, but it's believed to have mostly been perpetuated by the Spanish, promoting the belief that natives were simple, naive and easy to conquer, and is widely dismissed. The most widely told version is that the Aztecs mistook Cortes for the god Quetzalcoatl, because his arrival coincided with legends of the Sun God's return. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quetzalcoatl
I wonder if the writers of the ad were aware of these myths and playing on them.
Posted 08 Dec 2007 at 3:50 pm
I was wondering when someone would call these commercials on their racism. People always seem to make exceptions for racism against native peoples. Do we have to remind them that it's not ok?
Posted 08 Dec 2007 at 4:40 pm
i am an actor, in one of the three commercials shot down there in mexico for this campaign. The other two ads are much more toned down in their portraying of the mayan warriors, and i think once the whole campaing roles out, there will be a more fair portrayal on the air. This one seems to be getting a lot of flack, but there other two are:
a man inviting a group of mayan warriors into his home after a party he threw had already ended… becasue they have kahlua AND ice…
the other, which features myself, is the manditory drive responsibly ad that liquor companies must air now when they advertise on TV. It's a guy in a bar drinking, goes outside to hop in his car and go home despite his friend saying haven't you had enough, and as he stands there looking for his keys spears and arrows pop all his tires. He looks up, sees, the mayan king and warriors (representing, so to speak, his conscience perhaps?) and then hails a taxi. To me, it says we all need a bit more mayan in ourselves. It shows that they are in charge, and represents their actions as being wise, common sensical and authoritative over the white man. me.
anyhow, it's great to find there is a dialogue out there about the content in advertising. i think it's so important for people to keep big business in check by responding to anything they see as unfair or misguided.
That said, i love that comment about cortes and being mistaken possibly for the sun god… the writers for these things are generally really smart people. i wouldn't be surprised if they were aware of the myth….
Posted 06 Jan 2008 at 11:31 pm
Your third ad says to me that Indians are violent and savage. They may be "wise" enough to stop someone from drinking and driving, but they do it by using primitive weapons—by chucking spears first and asking questions later.
What if they pulled the driver aside and tried to reason with him instead? Is it inconceivable that Indians might react intellectually rather than emotionally to a potential problem?
Indiana Jones and the stereotypes of doom
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