Cellcom recently released an advertisement which generated public debate over its controversial political message.
The advertisement begins with a group of bored IDF soldiers patrolling the security fence until a soccerball lands on their tank. One of the good-looking soldiers makes a phone call on his Cellcom device asking friends to join him and his buddies for a “good time.” The camera pans out to reveal the soldiers playing soccer over the barrier which conceals the Palestinian opponent. At the end, a voiceover delivers the punch-line: “After all, what are we all after? Just a little fun.”
Watch the full advertisement in Hebrew below:
Not everybody took the political implications lightly. “The ad was criticized by Israeli bloggers for its insensitivity to the Palestinian predicament,” reported Haaretz. The newspaper also informed that Knessed member, Ahmed Tibi, “has joined the chorus of voices calling for cellphone company Cellcom to pull its latest commercial.” (for full article) Cellcom rebutted the claims by saying that they are a communication company that does not meddle in politics and reiterated the message of their campaign: when people of diverse backgrounds want to communicate they can do so under any circumstance.
I think the ad is daring and, more notably, pragmatic in its depiction of the security fence. In its irreverence, the ad lays out a reality which is swept under the rug: the fence is, both figuratively and literally, an obstruction to communication with Palestinians. Yet the ‘reality’ depicted in the ad is misleading. The soldiers ‘overcome’ this barrier, an overly rosy message about society’s strengths that ignores Palestinian difficulties and an increasingly grim situation. Then again, Cellcom can’t expect to boost its sales with the message that people can’t communicate in trying situations. I only wish that when IDF soldiers cheer at the end, we would see excited faces on the other side of the fence.