Hmm. The column’s a bit complicated this time – too much choice! There are so many logoblackophobia ads around that you’d think that all brands want to make it into Black Logo. Anyway, since we have to make a choice, let’s not choose! We’ll start with the most ignorantly racist of the lot – Malibu. From all evidence, this brand takes the cake. Two posters are doing the rounds on our cities’ walls. A stupid black guy (supposedly a pure-bred Barbados type!) takes centre stage (even Banania looks positive in comparison) in a frame of coconut palms etc. All that’s missing are the cruise ship tourists (disembarking by the million in the port of Barbados’ capital, Bridgetown) for the « tropical scene » to be complete. Pathetic! They wanted to get people talking but it hasn’t worked. It’s just too corny. And this crypto-colonial corniness makes us think of a poor little white boy telling us that colonisation « wasn’t that bad » since it got hospitals, bridges and roads built.
Rum companies – and yes, Malibu is considered a rum – haven’t moved on from this kind of brand development, however at least one will eventually have to run out of ideas for singing the praises of the colonial period, or better still, the glorious days of the Black Code. Unbelievable. It would appear that « consumers love this kind of exotic atmosphere« . But let’s not get into that because the ad is so stupid that it hasn’t even got a second look in, and hasn’t had any press coverage. A last piece of advice – next time you’re asked what you want to drink say, « anything as long as it’s not Malibu! » And, if you’re not sure they’re convinced, you can always say (I’ve tried this myself) that you’ve visited their distillery in Bridgetown and it’s disgusting – on a polluted beach with filthy open-air vats and the rum’s really bad but it’s good enough for American (fe)males… Don’t touch it!
The Kodak advertisement is subtler, more complex, has greater visibility and for the past 10 days has been a feature of every French magazine (for example, see page 76 of the 23 October edition of the news magazine L’Express). Two small children (probably brothers, possibly twins) – one is all smiles, the other is grimacing. It took a couple of days for it sunk in… and then I realised! The « yellow », or should I say « Yellow », of their T-shirts. And the little red dot (red is the brand’s colour), which reminds us of chéchia. The Banania kids are back – one with a smile on his face (just like 90 years ago) and the other « aping » it. No comment!
Lastly, let’s take a look at our English friends. Rover has just launched a new 4WD model – called the Masai. That’s taking it a bit far – 13 little Negroes for your dream car! And what’s more, their bodies make up the car’s silhouette. Young & Rubicam wanted an « exotic » concept. Well, they’ve got it. A touch of savannah, a dash of adventure, a smidgeon of foreignness and voila! You’ve got a mysterious, almost magical atmosphere. And what’s more, they’re Masai – a people that reputedly (well, since Jacques Vabre coffee it’s debatable!) refuse to have their photo taken for fear of losing their souls. It’s obvious that they’ve lost them here! In their construction of the image each person constitutes a part of the car, right down to the hubcaps. The youngest is a headlight and the biggest is the antenna. It’s just incredible! Back in the colonial days, films like Pépé le Moko told us that it took 10 camels for a woman. Here the equation is reversed – you need 13 Masai for an SUV. But be warned! It could be bad luck!
Pascal Blancard is director of the communications agency Les bâtisseurs de mémoire
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