Aeromexico ad highlights American prejudice about Mexico

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Aeromexico ad highlights American prejudice about Mexico

The Background

Now having worked in the US, deemed on my visa to be an alien of outstanding ability (which makes me sound like ET doing a juggling act), and having transferred through homeland security on the way back to Blighty from holidaying in beautiful Mexico, I can vouch for the inherent suspicion a large number of Americans feel towards their neighbours.

Potus did nothing to improve neighbourly relationships by proposing a wall be built between their two nations and they foot the bill for it.

In true Spaghetti-Western style, this has all led to a classic Mexican standoff captured by renowned director Sergio Leone as a series of rapid-fire cuts between close ups of squinty-eyed suspicious glares.

Obviously, the wall can’t extend to 30,000 feet high and flights from Mexico to the Big Country pour in on a regular basis via Aeromexico.

Americans choosing to go in the opposite direction is el zilcho.

What They Did

Aeromexico, it transpires, is only trying to appeal to more southerly states possibly where the war on drugs and illegal immigration is most keenly felt.

So it’s no surprise when a vox pop of residents from the typically deep-south town of Wharton throws up very negative responses to the question on whether they have any desire to visit Mexico. ‘Let me stay here in peace and let those folk stay on their side of the border’ is the response from one good ol’ boy wearing a Stetson.

Which begs the question how can you get them to reconsider their entrenched views towards Mexico and head south to go loco down in Acapulco?

You give them a discount on their airfare to the same percentage of Mexican they have in their DNA, that’s what. How the mechanic of getting the DNA tests done to claim this reward isn’t embellished upon, but maybe that’s just me being pedantic.

One of the participants in the video we see is none too pleased when the revelation of his Mexican DNA percentage is revealed. ‘That’s bullshit’ he says in angry denial as if he’s been told he has got leprosy.

The bitter pill the partly Mexican Whartonians have to swallow is tempered only by the news of the discount this affords them on Aeromexico. Suddenly, their Mexicanness lifts their spirits as well as their prejudices.

In a place where money talks, this speaks volumes to them and one lady is suddenly distraught that she only has a mere 3% Mexican in her blood.

The Review

This film has gone viral, but perhaps the reasons for that are more about the underlying message than the the excellence of the execution.

I’ll grant you, there are some hilarious moments where someone is asked whether they like a series of Mexican things, like tequila… yep, burritos… yep, but Mexico itself… no, but the whole film revels for far too long in its own cleverness for my liking.

I suspect the sentiment of the end line: ‘There are no borders within us’ is the message everyone is sharing in an increasingly divided and fractured society, not the news that this curious offer is out there.

In Hindsight

Aeromexico may benefit in PR terms for having the bravery to add its name to something courting controversy, but it spends more time mocking narrow-minded Americans than on the broader offerings of the airline. It’s also probably not the wisest brand strategy to alienate your target audience by mercilessly taking the piss out of them.

Pats on the back for all involved in creating something that exposes the ugly face of prejudice and highlights the divisive policies of the orange-faced one, but as an ad, I have real reservations and it’s not for a seat on Aeromexico.

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Tony Malcolm

Tony Malcolm

  • Freelance creative director

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