This blog post is part of an exchange between students at Stanford University and at American University in Cairo.
Melody Ad Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKbLqQ_OoQU
Surprise and superiority are the two primary reasons why all people laugh. While incongruous is one of the six additional motivations for laughter, it still supports the main two reasons. The Egyptian Melody channel aired a new series of ads for its corporate campaign under the theme “Melody Tata7ada El Malal” which means Melody challenges boredom. The majority of the Egyptians see the ad very funny while a minority sees it inappropriate. In this commercial, language is the main reason for laughter. Actually this is one of the reasons why Egyptian movies and commercials can’t be aired in the west. Most of the commercials and movies are dependent on the Egyptian tongue that would be hard to absorb by foreigners. In this advertisement the comments that were said by the guy are representing a cultural aspect in Egypt. Egyptians would find this ad as funny because it is imitating the way men flirt with Egyptian girls in the streets.
In this ad, we were surprised with what the guy was actually saying to the girls passing by his car and how the girls seemed to some extent indifferent to his rude comments towards them. The comments said by the guy were hilarious and surprising. One of the comments that the guy said was, “Beauty is characterized by the beauty of the soul… go home.” This comment shows sarcasm as he doesn’t stand for what he said that beauty is characterized by beauty of the soul so the fact that the girl wasn’t pretty makes us laugh because at the end he says, “Rawaa7,” which means go home and this shows his sarcasm. The guy’s final flirting comment to the last passing girl was hilarious, as it was incongruous and unexpected. His facial expressions and the way he told the girl “your mom must be a bee to get all this honey,” was very funny. This made the audience laugh out of surprise; as such a comparison was totally unexpected to a pretty girl.
Furthermore, in this ad the element of surprise was commonly used as a characteristic for laughter. A scene where we were surprised was when the Melody man surprisingly slaps the guy and curses him saying, “Your mom must be a chicken to get all this egg yolk.” This comment makes us laugh out of surprise and of how incongruous it is as the description the Melody man gave to the guy was hilarious and surprising. One of the huge surprises was that the guy in the car who was flirting with the girls in the street is a midget. We would never guess that this guy is a midget as his comments are unlikely to be said by a midget. The other surprising thing that happened was the beating that the midget gave to the Melody man. Of course, we would never imagine a midget beating up a big man as Melody man, so out of surprise and incongruity we as audience would laugh.
Finally, the last scene where the Melody man traps the midget inside a garbage can and puts a snake inside make the audience laugh because we wouldn’t expect something like that to happen after the midget has beaten up the Melody man so out of surprise and superiority we laugh. Being superior to that midget makes us appear and feel strong.
To conclude, this ad is mostly about language so it would be difficult for the American audience to grasp it like the Egyptian audience. Also this ad is representing a cultural aspect in Egypt where it is not found in America so it adds to the difficulty for the American audience to understand. However, there were elements such as surprise, superiority and incongruity that will make anyone, despite his nationality to laugh, such as the midget beating up the fat Melody man.
By: Youssef, Mark, Ahmed, Osama and Mohamed