“I’m on sonight you know my hebs don lie I’m startin to feel is right; all ze attraction, ze fricshon, you know pepe says it’s berfection.
Pepe was clearly lying to this wanna-be Egyptian Shakira, but as far as ads go, the new Melody Tunes series come pretty close.
They are the latest in the channel’s string of controversial ads, providing more humor this time than disgust, apparent by their wide YouTube circulation via emails and Facebook.
The ads attempt to place hot English videos into a truly Egyptian context. Ordinary men waiting at an Egyptian bus stop start singing what is faintly recognizable as Madonna’s “Hung Up as they wave their arms in a circular motion. The image of these men, the Egyptian backdrop, and the heavy accents singing “time goeza by, is fresh and elicits a cheap laugh.
Halfway through the ad and cut to the actual video, with crotch shots of Madonna in her underwear in a nightclub a world away from the life the microbus men know.
And this is where larger issues could begin to be raised in a deeper article than this about good taste, culture, and globalization.
In another ad, a boy gets whooped by his mother for writing on the wall. His bratty brother revels in the moment, teasing his fallen brother by singing Akon’s “Smack That while doing said motions.
The words are suiting but Akon had nothing of familial rivalry in mind when he sang “Smack that, all on the floor, smack that, give me some more, smack that, till you get sore.
The strangest and most disturbing of the videos is almost too crude to describe here. A mother trying to quiet her crying son takes her cue from a cotton candy seller walking by. “I’ll taka you to the candy shop. I’ll let you lick the lullypop. Go ahead boy don’t you stob. Keep going till you hut the spot. Soon mother and now-calm son are jiving to the song. But this is no lullaby, this is 50 Cent.
The clips are being circulated widely, winning 5-star ratings on YouTube, and receiving the invariable “LOL or “LMAO comments indicating uproarious laughter.
“I think it’s a clever idea. It’s innovative and it’s never been done before, says one viewer. “It depicts a funny side of Egyptian society.
But not everyone is laughing.
“I think they’re disgusting, says another viewer, Dalia. “I think some of them are very bold, we’re not used to that here.
But the question is whether the ads were really ingenious or merely observant. Arabic videos are already replicating their Western counterparts, breaking the subtle sexuality barriers to overt cleavage and thigh shots, and strip show moves.
A birthday party I recently attended for 8- and 10-year old sisters had the club DJ spinning songs like Black Eyed Peas’ “My Humps and Aqua’s “Barbie Girl, to which the girls were not only dancing but also singing the lyrics. One hopes they did not yet understand what they were singing but they will soon enough.
Melody was especially being discussed after the death of Ashraf Marwan last month, whose son is the owner of Melody. After playing Quran for three days, some began to wonder whether the channel would mellow its tune, only to return with bolder ads than ever.
Previous Melody ads were also controversial for their audacity. A chubby Melody mascot who “fights boredom hits teachers, old men, and others he considers boring. His sidekick, named “Booby is a superwoman-styled woman with prominent, sometimes bouncing – you guessed it – breasts.
In probably the most provocative ad and its latest, the Melody mascot puts on his goggles and we see through his eyes the object of boredom appearing as a large egg. In English, this may not sound like much but the Arabic pun implied is one of the crudest and most vulgar of Arabic terms.
“They’re obnoxious and petty and don’t make me laugh, continues Dalia, who thinks the ads are not appropriate for this society.
As the latest series of ads promoting Melody English adroitly reflect, however, “our society is changing as the cultures have merged, clashed, and synchronized for better, or for worse.