To laugh or not to laugh?

Bata is pretty popular and affordable shoe company in Zimbabwe. It’s the equivalent of Payless in the USA. I recently came across this commercial from 1988. Obviously marketing has changed a lot since then, but it lead me to begin to consider a lot of things. (Esp. Since we have been discussing soft sell versus hard sell advertising in my Digital Media and Culture class).

I think that this commercial is funny. It is quirky successful, in that it makes you see that shoes will protect the dancers feet. I think the concept behind this is kind of funny.

My only concern is whether or not it portrays Zimbabwean traditional dancers, or Africans in general in a negative light. The implication is that these traditional dancers are stupid for not putting on shoes in the first place. In addition, one can not/should not dance without shoes or your feet will hurt. I am not sure if it paints a positive view at all.

Anyway, I am still thinking about it. I am not sure what to think.


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