Never say no to Panda

A few days ago a friend showed me one of these ads for Panda cheese, which have been a hit in the Arab world. They're very funny, and as Steve Clemons points out, full of geopolitical significance: a menacing Chinese Panda forcing consumption, a metaphor for the way the US likes to force things down Arab throats, etc. But I mostly like that this simple yet extremely funny ad, with instantly recognizable depictions of everyday situations in Egypt, may be the first Arabic TV ad to go viral globally. It's one of the best ad series I've seen since the UK's jingoistic Tango ads of the 1990s.
Credit to the boutique firm that came up with the ad, Elephant Cairo. Here's an interview with their creative director who won a Silver Lion for the Panda ads.

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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.