Pump It

Do you need further evidence that there is way too many Saudi students in the US?

Though the commercial is not offending — not to me, anyway — I don’t think Saudis should be thrilled about it. The TV ad simply reinforces some of the most negative stereotypes about us.

UPDATE: There are two more commercials of the same campaign that you can find here.

25 thoughts on “Pump It

  1. I do not think this reinforces a negative stereotype…I just think it simply shows the Americans to be very gullible…as always. And it shows a good sense of humour from the two Saudi students taking advantage of the fact that eating to much junk food can make people a bit stupid and loose common sense. So I think the negative stereotype is more on the American girls just believing everything you can tell them ;-)

  2. Sadly many American’s don’t have much of a worldly viewpoint. Many don’t even have passports.

    I am an American woman living in Saudi and I am somewhat well travelled. I find this advertisement offensive, sick and disturbing mainly because us “gullible Americans” (or should I say overly trusting and naive?) so easily fall for the lies some of the folks from Saudi have told us.

    In fact, many have made the choice to move to Saudi because of being over-promised something that turns out to be under-delivered. Many people, not just Americans, not just westerners need to wake up and understand that the laws that cause people to be accountable for their actions in their country are not the same in the Saudi Arabia. I have heard numerous stories from blue-collar and white-collar workers alike about being misled. A Saudi woman once told me that “it does not matter if the foreigners come here and leave, more will just keep coming.“ And she is absolutely right. If you lie to people that are naive and overly trusting, they will unfortunately believe you.

    This commercial is just is an exaggerated simplified example of something that is all too true. American women need to educate themselves about people with no decency to tell the truth.

    • AGS, I agree with you that we, as Americans, are largely uninformed about the rest of the world. As Paula Scher wrote: “Be culturally literate, because if you don’t have any understanding of the world you live in, you’re not going to express anything to anybody else.” Please don’t think I am calling you culturally illiterate at all, I think you took a bold step in moving to KSA to experience a culture vastly different from what you’re used to, but I think your fundamental point about American naiveté is true. We are a culture that prides ourselves on openness, honesty, and personal responsibility , but I don’t think its fair to imply that Saudi’s are in these respects diametrically opposed to or lack those same values. Americans sometimes are too honest and trusting to question what they are told which also works against us, and it doesn’t matter where you are in the world for this to be true.

      On you final point about American women educating themselves that’s all too true, but dishonest people exist everywhere–its incumbent on the person to determine what they choose to believe and what not too. I believe in this case, what you perceive as the guys taking advantage of the girls ignorance has validity, but from my experience Arabs generally do not like to cause discomfort to -or indeed be impolite to others.

      In some odd-yet-strangely fascinating way this commercial is opening a door between ‘John Q. Public’ (Americans) and ‘Ahmed al Oilfield’ through the comedic distortion of ‘truth’.

      • Firebrand,
        Subjugation of women is happening all over the world. In this commercial it happens by poking fun at the girls ignorance. In Saudi Arabia it happens by making women feel obliged to cover themselves.

        Subjugation of women is linked back through our belief systems so far that we can barely see the truth about why we would think that a commercial like this one is funny or entertaining.

        Despite the fact that women are just as human or equal to men, I agree with you in that it is poking fun at their cultural illiteracy.

        This commercial reminds me of how people used to think it was funny to watch Blackface painted shows: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackface

        How is it funny to be condescending in a way that makes it seem like the human who is being made fun of is less intelligent or less superior because of them being of any class, creed, race or gender?

        I only wish this world would evolve to have enough compassion and emotional intelligence to not find this sort of humor funny, but an odd spectacle of ignorance as the blackface shows were.

    • hey everyone i’m a saudi guy never been outside saudi arabia

      i think this ad is insulting for both sides . i love america and i respect american nation and you’re right about every thing you’ve said we are tring to hard to open reach a balance between our traditions and the modern life but we’re not retarded .

  3. hilarious, i didn’t think it was offensive either just showing that Saudis aren’t stupid and that they can smartly play with a typical stereotype to mess with 2 “blond” Americans who would believe anything told

  4. This was hilarious because it’s absolutely accurate. I am an American student who has gotten to know a lot of Saudis in the US and I’ve seen this play out time and time again.

    Ahmed, I think Saudis should definitely be thrilled about the commercial because it shows that although Americans might misunderstand Arabs, they are willing to sit down, munch on junk food, and get to know one another :-)

  5. you’re very khaqqaq

    I do agree with the gentelman in the first response.

    but about our part in this stereotype I think the US media get to used this way long time ago throught the movies and many others adversitments in magazines.

    • What does “khaqqaq” mean? I want to guess that he’s saying “you’re so gullible” but I’m curious. lol!

      • The meaning of this word as exactly explained in the Classic Arabic dictionary is more of a sexual term, but still a lot of people use it today to refer to something or somebody they think it is extremely beautiful.

  6. You know, I was really surprised by this ad. It was actually entertaining and funny. I think this commercial played up both American gullibility, and dare I add ignorance about Saudis, but the Saudi guys were not unlike some of the kids I went to college with. So spot on to Burger King. One more thing that I want to point out is that this commercial is acknowledging a set people that are traditionally not marketed towards in the US (i.e. Arabs and/or Muslims). It was not in a context that reinforces negativity and that was refreshing and novel in my eyes to see.

  7. Funny. I have been in Riyadh for many years and I have seen the same thing happen to me here – many Saudis I have met think we walk around looking like BayWatch girls or Desperate Housewives all the time! I agree with most of the previous posts – the only way to get real with stereotypes is by education! As a Canadian – you wouldn’t believe how many Americans think that Canada is an American state or the capital of Alaska – seriously! Education people – Education!

  8. Commercials need to act fast, so they do simplify. If you want to call that a stereotype, than you can, but I don’t think the stereotype is egregious. The young American women look like the gullible ones.

  9. *headdesk*

    Where are these commercials running?

    I think the commercials paint everyone involved in a negative light. Americans are stupid, Arabs are Orientalist caricatures.

  10. Wow. I love these because they reflect precisely how Saudis see themselves. Quality satire. How long will it take before Saudis realize that the world isn’t laughing with them, but at them?

  11. I for one think it is a dispicable and ethnocentric piece of trash. Burger King shut down another culturally offensive commercial depicting Mexicans. I cannot recall the details.

  12. I haven’t seen these commercials. They are airing on which channels?

    I think this ad IS insulting to Saudis. Basically, it shows that Saudis will exploit the naivety of foreign females so that they may exploit them sexually…that they are “clever” and will smile at your face while they are trying to use you for something. So even though the ad seems innoccuous and like it is lampooning ‘dumb Americans’ it is actually a stab at Saudis, too.

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