Can Hamsters Be Gansta?

July 14, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 33 Comments
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The creators of the new commercial for Kia Soul nailed it.  It’s one of the most creative ads I’ve seen in a while.  It features a crew of hamsters in the voices of the hip hop group The Black Sheep singing The Choice is Yours.  It’s also a very smart ad, especially if you understand the inside slang about the toaster, the washing machine, and cardboard (refrigerator) box.  It’s hilarious without being obvious or dumbed-down.  The animation is also killer (check out the hamster in the hoodie at :53 channeling Snoop Dogg)… these hamsters got swagger.

Why am I talking about hamsters in a car commercial on a blog about race?  In reading the YouTube comments, there were some folks who think the commercial is racist – that the car company is equating urban environments and hip hop with “rats.”  I like to think that I’m very attuned to racist sentiments; I don’t have to go looking for racism, too often it finds me.  And actually, the creators’ aim is to sell cars and make money, not make a statement, but I appreciate the attention they paid to the details of swagger and hip hop cool.  But, what do you think: is this commercial smart or racist?

Valerie Linson
Series Producer, Basic Black

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