Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Musings on Burger King and Borat

Despite the many shocked faces I see when I say I haven’t watched Borat, I refuse to lend my eyes and sacrifice my ears to view a single minute of it. Reading about it is bad enough for me. Imagine having to sit through Mr-Hanging-Balls and camera-crew scour the remote villages of ‘Kazakhstan’ (in reality filmed at Glod, Romania)-- making fools of unbeknownst villagers, have them open their doors, catch them on tape and next overlying the most wretched of fictitious dialogue over what was filmed.




Borat humiliates "Mom", has an Incestous "Sister" and The Man with a Sex Toy Fist


The BIASED me says that the producers and Cohen himself were preying on the lack of knowledge and the communication divide between the natives and him.

So when I chanced upon this campaign named “Whopper Virgin”, by Burger King to market its burgers, I was having mixed feelings. And believe you me, I am a Burger King fan.

According to the website, the ads will document the ‘Virgin’ whopper experiences of people from what I see to be (purely from guess work at the moment) maybe some Eastern Bloc country (dressing and beaded hats), an Inuit community (physical appearance and furry shoes) and a remote SE Asian village from Vietnam/Thailand. Some also get to do a taste test between Burger King’s burger and its bitter rival’s Big Mac.




www.whoppervirgins.com


Not exactly Borat… (At least these people don’t get sex-toys affixed to their body parts and they got to eat something they have never eaten.). I don’t know if this ‘talent’ get paid for their appearance or they are aware that they are being filmed for a commercial.

Anthony Bourdain once lamented that mass tourism was changing the landscape of remote villages in Laos. Somewhat similar in this case, this talent have been brought from the realm of the unknown to know the existence of commercialism - like how some missionaries worked in days of the past, perhaps these natives should feel ‘enlightened’ as they have been touched and duly greased by the oily fingers of fast-food.


My point is this, while many TVCs are scripted and mostly always 'fake', and even though these ‘real reactions and emotions’ bring to the art of filming advertisements to another ‘high’….

Is it considered ethical? Am I over-reacting or is there a tiny inkling of deception and exploitation is this new “adver-mentary” (advertising-documentary) style of speaking to the target audience while ‘connecting’ with them?


As a practioner, is this to you considered acceptable
?


The ad/film has not been revealed yet and this are just my preliminary thoughts on it. Perhaps it has been tastefully done, with large stroke of humanity and a sprinkle of commercialism.


Perhaps I will eat my words along with a huge whopper and fries.


Perhaps.

1 comment:

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