At the beginning of the week, I criticized an otherwise-stunning Sapporo beer online ad for its reliance on tired old Japanese cultural stereotypes.
This is not an isolated incident of yokelling it up for foreigners. Australia's current global tourism campaign, which is playful in its stereotyped portrayal of the land and its inhabitants, has angered many at home. “Why do we have to portray ourselves as a nation of backward bogans (hicks) stuck in a timewarp on the global stage?”, said one commenter.
It's in this context that I was amused to see the trend parodied so pointedly by Nando's, a South African fast food chicken chain, in their pre-World Cup campaign:
(warning: pixelated partial nudity)
Yes, I know. It's sexist. It's juvenile. And the puns are appalling. (I laughed, but I share my five-year-old son's sense of humour.) Look past that for a moment, though, and notice something else: the urban multiculturalism.
Nando's is known (infamous, actually) in South Africa for its controversial — even deliberately offensive — ads. The brand is anything but progressive. And yet they're the ones challenging our outdated view of Africa, gained from the dog-eared pages of an old National Geographic?