According to a poll last year, a staggering one in six Americans believed President Barack Obama is a Muslim. So to them, this Hypo bleach ad running in Nigeria would make perfect sense. In it, Obama is dressed like a sheikh, a Muslim man of stature:
But the ad is not referring to some Americans’ stubborn distrust of Obama’s assertion that he’s actually Christian. The campaign’s creative director, Abolaji Alausa of Nigerian agency Noah’s Ark, explained his Obama-Islam connection to Business Insider in an email.
“Simply put, the bleaching power of Hypo has a force that attracts the most unlikely characters to love wearing white regardless of their strong social beliefs,” he wrote.
The “Damn good whites” slogan is meant to hit as the punchline, whether it’s referring to America’s uneasy relationship with much of the Muslim world or the fight waged against apartheid by South African civil rights leader Desmond Tutu, whom Hypo dressed up a member of the Ku Klux Klan:
Hypo also made a “Damn good whites” ad with Ellen DeGeneres in a wedding gown, but that one’s a little harder to explain.
“Although Portia wore a white gown,” Alausa said, referring to DeGeneres’ wife Portia de Rossi, “Ellen would not be caught dead in one.”
This last one taps into the gay marriage debate, but is more a chance for Alausa to show off his knowledge of U.S. pop culture:
Alausa said the idea behind the campaign was a simple one Nigerians would understand, and it’s based off of the bleach brand’s association with the colour white.
“…In every part of the world, white signifies peace, and it’s not any different in the minds of Nigerians, therefore our primary audience understood the message of putting hate aside despite our different beliefs,” he wrote.
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