Spain has started a new safe sex campaign that is aimed at high school and possibly college students. It’s a pretty hilarious rap. When I first watched it, I thought it would be a failure. However, I think I gave the Spanish health ministry too little credit. Not only have I heard the high school students singing it but I also have even begun to sing it after the commercial comes on. Even though I still think its ridiculous and the teens who sing it do it in a semi-mocking tone, the health add has successfully penetrated daily life and continued to influence long after the television turns off. Anyhow, I am including it here so that you can all see it. I find the ‘hip’ (I have no real idea) slang particularly hilarious as well as the fact that it just doesn’t flow all that well.
Spain seems to be overwhelmed with many government ads and public service announcements. For instance, there are poster campaigns against domestic violence. The woman’s face (seen below) states, “Don’t even think about laying your hand on me ever” while the man’s face says “One stops being a man when he hits a woman”. I think it’s a great campaign and it was the first thing I saw when I landed in the Alicante airport. I like how the add attempts (possibly succeeds) in creating a new imaginary in which domestic abuse is neither a man’s right nor a sign of his masculinity but rather a cowardly and emasculating action. That campaign seems to be limited to only posters but they are in very public places that seem to not discriminate or focus on certain populations.
The other ads have a wider reach because like the safe sex announcements they are on television. The first is the very colorful and beautiful commercial against child abuse. The commercial does not reveal what it is about until the very end. Until then it simply a colorful world with a child’s dark shadow and hands that become part of the world. It is difficult to explain so just click play so that you can see it. It is very beautiful and seems almost like a combination of an ipod commercial or maybe an Of Montreal music video.
Another good ad that is near and dear to my heart is the one concerning Romanian immigrants. I have only seen that commercial in Alicante but I find it both effective and interesting. Spain has recently experienced an influx of immigration from sub-Saharan Africa, Morocco, Latin America, Poland and Romania. The add I saw was solely about Romanian but it was a commercial dedicated to integrating Romanian immigrants. I think its particularly amazing when compared with US rhetoric concerning Mexican immigration. There (USA) as many scholars have noted the rhetoric concerning immigration uses negative connotations such as ‘flooding’, ‘tides’, ‘invading’. Furthermore immigrants are often characterized by the stereotypical idea that they are ‘lazy’ and sucking up welfare and social security. On the other hand, the Alicante add portrays a very dapper, elegant, man that is the heart of a very successful and luxurious hotel. The narrator is the owner of the hotel and he is explaining that his employee is hardworking and professional. The tone of the commercial draws in the spectator in such a way that one almost expects it to be an ad for some hotel but instead it ends with the hardworking employee stating, “ I am Romanian”. The add ends by extolling all the hard work that Romanian immigrants are doing in Spain and how they should be respected and integrated as important members of Spain’s population. Having only seen US ads (that tend to come out in California during elections) of broken fences, dark shadows, and litter, I was pleasantly surprised to see an alternative view of immigration. Here is the ad so you can form your own conclusions.