Yes, it’s fun, but how’s my reception on the other side?

Thanks to ihaveanidea.org for this.

So global agency McCann-Erickson is catching heat for their new Cellcom commercial featuring a group of Israeli soldiers kicking a ball back and forth over the Westbank Barrier with unseen Palestinians. Groups have since arisen to demand the spot be banned, calling it “despicable” for, I guess, portraying the wall as nothing more than an obstacle to fun.

For a student of history, it brings to mind the first Christmas of the First World War when frontline soldiers on both sides declared a Christmas Truce. They crossed the trenches to sing carols, share Christmas goodies and yes, have a game of soccer in No Man’s Land. True story.

Lest old acquaintance be forgot?

Similar truces again occured during Easter and Christmas of 1915, but were soon halted by leadership who didn’t want the grunts ‘fraternizing with the enemy’. I wonder if today’s party-poopers are of the same mentality? Perhaps they’re angry because McCann takes a current event and commits sacrilege by turning it into a shill for cell phones? Sort of a ‘too soon’ tirade? Either way media like this definitely has potential to be a bigger PR debacle for the propagandists than for the cell-phone salesmen.

These ads don’t even show Palestinian faces, nor are the phones proposed as a solution to non-violent engagement. But somehow they’ve done more to humanize the enemy than all the bloody images of weeping parents and bombed-out babies on CNN combined. The commercial ends with a voiceover in Hebrew, ”After all, what are we all after? Just a little fun.” Maybe its not all everyone’s after, but it’s a start.

Update: parodies have already sprung up going for the least-inspired outcomes imaginable–Israelis responding with military force. Ho-hum.

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