Sunday 10 June 2012

Beware of Spies: Anatomy Of A Fantastic TV Ad

My eyes have been hurting (and still do) and I cannot look at a screen for extended periods of time, so I took a vacation away from the internet. I was, as a result, somewhat isolated from the news. But today I decide to check and see some of what I missed over the past 72 hours, catch up a bit. First thing I found out was that, basically, aliens invaded the Middle East. Then, while checking the Hindustan Times (because that is what one normally does in one's spare time, of course) I discover the ad warning us that spies are invading Egypt. I found a subtitled version off the New York Times, and I share it at the end of the article. I won't talk about how insane and xenophobia-inspiring this ad is, nor about how "unique" the cafe is and its homogeneous customer base, because everyone else is... even the Hindustan Times. Instead, I would like to share a few comments.

1- This is possibly one of the greatest and most awesome evil spy looks of all time. And the copywriting is brilliant.

"I hope they don't suspect me."
"They are not suspecting me..."
"Why aren't they suspecting me?! I must not be giving out an evil vibe."
"Awesome. They are not suspecting me. I'm definitely not giving out an evil vibe."

2- Now, I have lived in Egypt all of my life. Forget about a strange guy walking up to strangers for a second. Even If I walk up to my own friends and family in a cafe they would never not stand up and smile like that, or perhaps at all. Even the girl at the centre at first seemed like a rational human being who had some doubts, but it only took her a second to prove why she is friends with the other two. Where do such friendly people exist?

"Boy! We wish we had a new friend."
"OMG! A friend!?"
"Okay. We have a friend! That was.... quick. And we are very normal people."

3- Perhaps this is my most important piece of advice I have ever given in my entire life. If a strange guy stands at the cafe's entrance, surveys the room, starts looking weirdly at you, then walks up to you and says in a slow and deep voice: "I liked you so much!", then you are more likely about to be sexually harassed or attacked by a Terminator from the future within the next 30 seconds than to be interrogated by a spy from any country that has a GDP Per Capita of more than $39.

"I liked you so much!"
"Perhaps I liked you too much!"

 4- Even the guy literally went "Really?!"

"Yes, in the metro."
"Really!? Are you f****n kidding me?!"
"I need to get away from these people."

 5- And here is the full ad.


Note: some people have found the actor's facebook account and began sharing some of his private pictures on twitter and facebook. I believe in satire, and since this is a big controversial ad on television, then it is subject to satire by nature. However, I believe that sharing and satirising his private pictures is off limits, and a violation of his right to basic privacy and that of the people who appear on his pictures. Please do not share his facebook profile or pictures from it. Also, some people shared a picture of him in a police uniform and concluded that he was a police officer in real life. But his facebook profile shows a nice guy who is clearly not a police officer and merely does some part-time acting, and even his picture as an officer seems to be within the context of an audition or something similar.

Update: Jonathan Moremi @JonaMorem sent me this sarcastic fan-made version of the ad :) I'm guessing we're about to see a wave of these.

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