Lone Arab

The Commercial, there is a lone man in the desert. He is an Arab man dressed in Arab clothes walking with his 4 camels. Off in the distance, he spots a lone bottle of Coke. He closes his eyes with a smile as if he were in bliss. His bliss is broken by the sound of the whinny of a horse and by a loud crackling sound of a whip. He is no longer by himself, there are 5 cowboys. They also notice the lone bottle of Coke and race off after it. A few seconds later there is the loud booming sound of desert off-road vehicles filled with people (described as “Bad Landers”), they too have noticed the lone bottle of Coke and proceed to rush post haste towards it. A few more seconds later, there is a loud rumbling of a bus careening through the desert filled with showgirls, the driver spots the lone bottle of Coke and pushes the pedal to the metal heading for it. The Arab man and his camels are left behind walking slowly towards the lone bottle of Coke. As the Cowboys, Bad Landers, and Showgirls get closer to the lone bottle of Coke, they all notice it is a rather large cutout advertisement for coke with an arrow beside it stating “50 miles”. All seem annoyed and hastily leave for the direction of the arrow, leaving the lone Arab and his camels behind. The contest, another commercial shows the players minus the lone Arab and sends viewers to visit cokechase.com to vote to see who gets to the Coke first. The problem, the lone Arab man is not one of the choices, why?
This commercial caused a lot of controversy which mostly irritated the Arab, Muslim community and others concerning negative inference this commercial gave to mid-easterners. Why had Coke left out the Arab in the contest? There are many things that were taught in class to connect with this commercial and so I will go with just a few. Could it be that the Arab is stereotyped as a bad guy and does not deserve to win? Maybe it is priming activation or spreading activation where the sight of the Arab brings up the image of a terrorist. I would like to guess that the ad does a good portrayal of a world that views those in power. Of all the players in this ad, there is a prejudice for the Arab to where he is left in the dust by those in power. However, it would seem the last laugh belongs to the lone Arab. Coke created a “media construct” to where we assumed one thing but they did not make what we thought as the outcome, they already had a conclusion.
The conclusion, as all the other players are rushing the 50 miles to the nearest Coke, the Arab looks at his ice chest and pulls out a lone bottle of Coke, smiles and drinks it.

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One thought on “Lone Arab

  1. Your analysis of what’s troubling about the commercial did a good job of drawing on subtle messages the creators of the commercial were explicitly or implicitly tapping into. I do wonder what Coke thought of the ad and whether anyone raised concerns.

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