Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Pray before you die.

When you get one idea for a blog, you get two... they are like night buses in that respect. 

Hello again. My battery is slightly lower and I still haven't gone to that cafe, but I wanted to share some bizarre commercials being shown on MBC (Kuwaiti channel).

I was reading David Mitchell's blog the other day. It was all about how a beer company in Britain has been prohibited from using the words "Take Courage" in its advertisements. The ad in question is a little bizarre. It features a woman in a tight dress (with a fairly ample posterior) and a man sitting on a couch drinking "Courage" beer. Apparently (and I am with David Mitchell here, WTF?) this is a "Does my bum look big in this" moment.

The advert was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority because beer companies are not allowed to suggest that beer give you courage. Huh?

This news troubled me deeply. I believe adverts say a lot about a society. In Australia, beer companies get away with having beer bottles with labels featuring a girl in a bikini, whose bikini disappears as the drinker consumes his beer. It just goes to show how depraved the Australians are. They can get away it female nudity, but we can't even have a little joke?!! And lest we forget: BEER DOES MAKE YOU CONFIDENT! I have two friends in Cairo who wouldn’t be married today if it wasn't for the sweet elixir of courageous beer.

I think we have to take a long look in the mirror (as Britons) and ask ourselves what we want our advertising to say about us. 

Do we want to be the kind of nation that bans the truth to comfort our pseudo puritanical underbelly or do we want to be a fun-loving nation (but not quite as fun-loving as the Australians, who let's face it have an unhealthy attachment to fun) and say yes, beer does in fact boost confidence and that sometimes this enhanced confidence leads to successful marriages among more timorous individuals who might otherwise die alone (I am not talking about my friends here)? And what do our adverts say about us? And who owns our commercial space?

Recently on the Kuwaiti channel, MBC several adverts have come to my attention. Some of them are quite beautiful, some are thought-provoking and some are damn right shocking. They all encourage viewers to pray...... before it's too late.

They are slightly reminiscent of drink-driving commercials in Britain. The gruesome, "that's why you should have worn your bloody seatbelt" or the "no, you didn't see that sweet little girl standing in the middle of the road because you were too bloody pissed, you stupid ****" ones. I guess you know the ones I am talking about?

Well these ones are different because they are about spiritual health- not warning you against death per se, but about life after death, and about your final destination, heaven or hell, paradise or… well, Khartoum on a hot day without electricity.

I am not a big believer in heaven and hell (as my good friend Taha now knows!!) but these commercials got me thinking... Yes, Kuwaitis and I have very different opinions on what constitutes a good society, at least they are striving and fighting for their commercial space. I don’t know who the hell (or heaven) pays for them, but the fact that valuable air time has been bought to encourage people to live better (from the Muslim* perspective) lives. 

*I guess I should add "Muslim from the Kuwaiti Muslim perspective".

I believe it is time for fun-loving, joke-telling secular Britain to do the same. We must fight for our commercial space! Who is with me?


Um, no-one else cares?

Right then, I’ll pipe down.

Nevertheless, take a look at these commercials; they are FASCINATING

Pray Before you Die (less traumatic)

The Devil as a Telecommunications Promoter

(I especially like the cupid-devil one- surely the devil is too busy to encourage text-messaging among teenagers. Unless he works for the telecommunication industry, which given my recent experience with the company, “Zain” isn’t necessarily implausible). Anyhow enjoy!

Now, I will now go do some work (Sara)...


  1. I would say they are quite disturbing, but you crack me up, Laura.

  2. Pimms also makes people courageous.