As the man runs up to the car, he first finds an attractive woman, who eagerly pats the seat for him to take as The Hermits song "I'm Into Something Good" plays. Choice B provides a car full of women, who pat a spot in between them in the back seat. Choice C has the vehicle filled with 1970's gay band The Village People (as the tune "YMCA" plays) and, in the back seat, a leather daddy pats his lap as a place for the man to sit.

The tagline: "It's your call."

This commercial is lighthearted and there is no negative facial reaction from the man, leaving the "gay" choice as a neutral option. However, it is placed in this category because the Village People remain a stereotyped reference to gays.

South Africa has of course had a dramatic social and cultural turnaround in recent years. Up until 1976, the country actually banned all TV, fearing it might keep people away from church. Progressiveness has now become a hallmark. Since the lifting of Apartheid, gays are now protected by federal law.
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Company: Mobile Telephone Network
    View Company Scorecard / Contact Company
Brand: MTN cell phones
Ad Title: Hitchhiker
Business Category: Telecommunications
Media Outlets: Television
Country: South Africa
Region: Africa
Agency: TBWA Worldwide
Year: 1997
Target: Mainstream
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Theme(s)

Leatherman

Theme Breakdown

AdRespect Score: 
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Abandoned in middle of a desert by a broken down truck, an attractive man gets a chance for a ride when a car drives by. The announcer says, "Because different people have different needs, at MTN we offer you a choice of celluar packages. In fact, choice is such a big thing for us, we're even giving you a choice of endings to our commercial."

As the man runs up to the car, he first finds an attractive woman, who eagerly pats the seat for him to take as The Hermits song "I'm Into Something Good" plays. Choice B provides a car full of women, who pat a spot in between them in the back seat. Choice C has the vehicle filled with 1970's gay band The Village People (as the tune "YMCA" plays) and, in the back seat, a leather daddy pats his lap as a place for the man to sit.

The tagline: "It's your call."

This commercial is lighthearted and there is no negative facial reaction from the man, leaving the "gay" choice as a neutral option. However, it is placed in this category because the Village People remain a stereotyped reference to gays.

South Africa has of course had a dramatic social and cultural turnaround in recent years. Up until 1976, the country actually banned all TV, fearing it might keep people away from church. Progressiveness has now become a hallmark. Since the lifting of Apartheid, gays are now protected by federal law.

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Thomas D. , Detroit
I don't care whether or not it's funny. The Village People thing is an exhausted "marketing tool" that just isn't creative. How much are these ad execs getting paid again?

Kevin , Hauppauge, NY
I disagree with the negative assessment, a group of attractive men would not have been nearly as humorous as the Village People and the intent here was to get a laugh. Well Done!

Tom , Easton, Penn.
While a stereotype, there is a thriving leather community out there where Choice C would definitely be a positive.

Michele , New York
I'm a leatherwoman, and the idea of being the option C car sounds fantastic. The cute women turn me off because they are not butch. Besides, he may have been in the phone talking to his hunky boyfriend.
Most leathermen I know don't look like fashion models and we bisexual women who like looking at gay leathermen are glad of it. I think macho clone types are way sexy and so do most of my friends.

Gordon , Boise, Idaho
I quite LIKED the option C ending. I did not agree with the reviewer's final judgement of "cute men" being preferable to the Village People. I thought the leather daddy was a great handsome choice! Woof!

Steven Bluestine , New York, NY
I liked this ad a lot. Even though it would have been more "positive" with a less stereotypical gay twist (such as just one good looking guy in the car), I think it's still VERY positive. After all, the narrator makes it clear that these are three happy endings; thus, this represents this man's fantasy. Furthermore, there's a logical progression of increasing outrageousness, from one woman, to multiple women, to multiple men. I myself would put this ad in the neutral or positive categories.

Rick , Harlingen, TX
I think it was a positive ad, he promised his friend/family that he would get there. Then he has a three options.. one pretty chick, four hot ones, or five buff dudes.. (I think the Village People stereotype is so old though.) I think it would have been more thought provoking with five hot guys [non-Village] and actually made more of a point than a joke.

Adam , Chanhassen, MN
Yes, the Village People thing is kinda old and rather stereotyped, but it still gets a laugh from me. And I think that was the point here. I have no problem with the stereotype.

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