This blog post is part of an exchange between students at Stanford University and at American University in Cairo.

Melody Ad Link:

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

This entry was posted in CCR exchange: Stanford-AUC, Fall 2010: Political Cartoons and Ads analysis. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Booby!

  1. Ingrid and Ben says:

    We agree with your assessment in regards to incompatibility of this ad with Western culture due to the language being the main source of the humor. While we watched this ad we were slightly amused by the physical comedy, but until the end didn’t really understand what was going on due to the language and culture barrier. That being said, the fact that the guy was a midget was surprising and resulted in incongruous humor, however the point of the ad was lost on us.

  2. Morgan McCluskey & Geffen Oren says:

    Despite the language barrier, this was a hilarious video! It seems if we did know what they were saying it would be funnier, but the tone of the video and the reactions of the girls were clear enough to make it funny. However, we can see that were this video not presented in the sarcastic and intentionally humorous way, there are many aspects that could be offensive to some people. It was funny in a ridiculous sense, but a lot of people in American might find it inappropriate.

  3. Aliza Rosen says:

    We did not find this ad to be very funny. Although the language clearly presented a barrier, the images were effective in telling this story of the little person hitting on different Egyptian girls. We can understand how the shock element of surprise that the main male was a little person was slightly funny, but it wasn’t humorous enough to carry the whole thing. We actually found this kind of disturbing and offensive to little people, as it appears it as the Melody man and woman were ganging up on him and promoting violence toward minorities. Perhaps it is a cultural difference, but this advertisement would not be regarded as “politically correct” in the U.S.

  4. Kristen and April says:

    We think that the “shock humor” effectively translated despite the language barrier, but we weren’t sure what this ad was trying to promote or reveal. We found some of the humor a little abnormal and not very comedic. For example, we did not find the violence amusing, and the use of a “midget” was mildly offensive and confusing. In our culture, it considered rude to even use the word “midget.” Instead we would use a more “politically correct” term such as “small person.” It might be a societal difference in what is considered comical that makes us feel this way.

  5. Aziza and Coral says:

    It was a little easy to get the general gist of the clip. However, we were not able to get the full effect of the jokes because of some of the colloquial expressions used.
    We thought it was funny, but some parts we found offensive. For example, the girl being called “Booby” seemed like an objectification. While a lot of people would find this funny, we personally felt it was rude. The joke about the girl who wasn’t pretty seemed mean. Also, the term “midget” is offensive in our culture, people usually say “little person”. But the surprise factor of him jumping out of the car and being so small was very funny, especially after acting like such a manly-man. Also, the way the man was flirting with the women we found funny, because that is the way that men flirt with women in the streets here.

  6. James Nagle & Rohan Shah says:

    After watching this ad we found ourselves laughing, not because the prospect of someone getting bitten by a snake is funny, but because of the shock associated with the commercial. Shock humor has become commonplace in the United States as well with companies such as K-Swiss running shock based ads. We didn’t find that the humor was derived from a sense of superiority over the little person, but more from the surprise of what he says and the overly violent reactions of all the people in the commercial. The trickery by the woman in the yellow suit also provides a great deal of humor because the little person becomes so easily distracted and Melody man is able to get him back.

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