Jeez, I didn't know my sarcastic reaction to Emirates Airlines' Hello Tomorrow advertising would ripple through Dubai all the way to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, aka the DPRK.
First Chairman of the National Defense Commission of the DPRK, First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army, and Father of Dragons (I made that last one up!) Kim Jong-un has outlawed sarcasm, a method of satirical wit that has long plagued the esteemed workers of the great North Korea.
He really did ban it, reportedly because he was getting sick of people agreeing with him “ironically.” The Twitterverse was aglow with this unexpected gift from our friend in Asia, my favorite being:
On a related noted, there's apparently some truth that the paranoid leader plans to call The Simpsons to enforce his well-thought ban with this little baby:
The ban makes me wonder if this tourism ad is real or a the actual hoax that spurred Kim to consider if his people take him seriously:
It's a pretty sad lot. I am sure you will agree. (And to the folks at Emirates Airlines, I didn't touch one of your ming-boggling advertisements!) So, like I did last week, let's jump into some of the ads and see what's game-changing and what's not...
"Arrive Beautifully" ad - Virgin America
REACTION: Listen, I really don't mean to keep picking on airlines for their wacko ads (and honestly, I'm going to be the victim of a random strip search if I'm allowed on Emirates or Virgin America again), but WTF is going on this flight from New York to San Francisco? Was she late for her plane after a long Sunday Morning Walk of Shame because her Studio 54 cocktail dress was riding up too much? Is she back on the hunt while blowdrying her hair and flirting with the guy in seat 2C? All I can say to Virgin America is you can expect a column in the near future devoted to your hallucinogenic magenta and purple advertisements. And to the guy in seat 2C, Joe Namath called from 1971 and want's his Dingo Boots back:
"Cuff Links" ad - Elysian Hotel, Chicago
REACTION: Why do ads for most independent luxury hotel brands always seem to feature the same catalogue-model-perfect multi-racial looking dude, dressed in tailored suit, armed with every hipster accessory he can carry? Also, why does said hipster need to flaunt the fact he would rather be riding his skateboard instead of zooming in his $140,000 sports car down Lakeshore Drive with companion of his choice? Thank goodness Hilton Hotels and Waldorf Astoria bought this property. Hopefully they'll change this disaster of an advertising campaign.
"A new surprises at every step" ad - Himachal Pradesh, India
REACTION: It's not so much that Mary and her little lamb have been oddly-Photoshopped into this ad with a passenger train roaring toward her that bothers me. What strikes me as as truly odd is that if children walking around the Himalayas is a thing in North India, the ad agency could have hired an actual girl for a few rupees. And what of the poorly-worded slogan? I don't want to typo-shame anyone (goodness knows I need 10 proofreads and there are still mistakes in my writing) but "A new surprises at every step" is an automatic hall of shame inductee. Skip the five-year waiting period. You're in!
"Some Guests Jut Don't Want to Go Home" - Swiss Deluxe Hotels
REACTION: That's not creepy or anything. All that's missing is the call to the BAU Unit in Criminal Minds in the next scene. Aside from that, I really don't know about sleeping in a room where the headboard table lamps are an inch away from the ceiling. Note to Swiss Deluxe Hotels: We don't want creepers stowing away in our freshly cleaned rooms and ceilings lower than seven feet. Check and check.
"Forget about work for a while" ad - PST Travel
REACTION: Why doesn't the ad just say, "Let it burn Mr. Fireman!" Meanwhile the old guy with the dog is on fire, the little girl's hair is on fire, and the guy in the Dodgers hat is also on fire. All I can think of is the stupidity of the people who conceived this one. If Donald Trump were evaluating this ad in The Apprentice boardroom he'd be screaming "You're Fired!" until his face turned purple.
"Those Who Know How To Live..."- Trump Hollywood
REACTION: Speaking of Trump...How about this Trump Hollywood ad? Look closely at the silver-haired fox who escaped from the bathtub in the Levitra ad. Is he scoping out the view of the beach or the view of his much-too-young wife. I get that ad - geared to the one-percenters who need a weekend getaway to escape the Financial District of Manhattan in Florida. But when I look at the these two who probably boarded their environment-raping private plane, primed for a weekend of bourgeois leisure and throw up a bit in my own mouth.
"We do everything for the perfect holiday" ad - Switzerland
REACTION: I looked at this ad maybe 101 times and I have nothing. Not a word speechless. I am completely clueless on what's going on in the Swiss Alps with a guy and his tools and a line of cows.
"See Asia Like Asians Do" ad - Multipass Travel Agency
REACTION: Simply the most racist ad I've ever seen.
"Firefly Sticks to You" ad - Firefly Airlines
REACTION: I thought sexist airline ads were a thing of the past. Last year when Nikki Minaj took my seat in business class, I covered a bunch of misogynistic ads from days past. It seems that one of those Mad Men can muster up some SMH ad concepts when this one hit the travel magazine pages. Based on what I see, the Firefly flight attendant's derrière is half off. Is that before you land or after? Needless to say, I'm not the only one who was offended. Facing mounting pressure, Firefly deleted the ads from its Facebook page and made a public apology: