Twinkies’ 2017 advertisement is not just combination of bad tunes and non-rhythmic lyrics, it also contains an openly offensive racial slur.
Part of the song lyrics featured in the advertisements reads “el hendy el a7mar albo abyad”. This lyric literally translates to “even the Red Indian has a white heart.”
A few seconds later, the advertisement features a man dressed in what can be called nothing short of a complete stereotypical and racist image of –what Edita- seems to believe is what a “Red Indian” looks like.
While some may argue that this is not really an issue we should care about –as simply speaking no “Red Indians” live in Egypt- that opinion in and of itself is quite frankly part of the problem. Airing a racist advertisement, under the assumption that no one will care enough to be offended is a serious issue.
Just like airing a sexist advertisement –like Birell Egypt’s infamous televised advertisement and its slogan- because society is sexist enough to find it cute and funny is not okay.
I really do not think ignorance of the fact that this is a blatantly racially offensive slur comes to the rescue of Edita Food Industries here. If you are going to talk about a race and/or make a cultural reference, it is common sense that you do your research first, both as an advertising agency and as a client.
Indeed, the idea that a single child watching this advertising may think that in the 21st century is is fine to call a First Nations individual a “Red Indian” is sickening. What is also sickening is the fact that the child might associate the slur with the aforementioned stereotypical and culturally insensitive image of any given individual belonging to the First Nations community.
What is finally sickening is the fact that advertising agencies and their customers in Egypt can get away with using racism and sexism as selling points for their products, because no one cares. While I am not the biggest champion of political correctness because it can go too far; I am a champion of cultural awareness, and of doing one’s research in a manner that reflects a base-line understanding of one’s social responsibility and possible scope of influence