Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Israeli defense firm Rafael sings "dinga dinga dee" to the country of India. Really.

Ok. In my last post I described Devendra Banhart's Shabop Shalom as the oddest song I'd heard in a while. I was so so wrong.

The Israeli defense industry firm Rafael recently released a video "to help build familiarity between India and Israel and Rafael." Saurabh Joshi's February 25th article for the South Asian Defense & Strategic Affairs website, StratPost, quotes Assy Josephy, the Director of Exhibitions for Rafael, as explainging that “[i]n Israel we have Jewish people from India, so we know about Bollywood and the song and dance numbers. Israelis are generally aware of Indian culture." Clearly, that awareness does not translate into an ability to produce it.

As Noah Shachtman of Wired's Danger Room blog notes, "Every element of the promotional film is just plain wrong. The sari-clad, "Indian" dancers look all too ashkenaz and zaftig. The unshaven, hawk-nosed, leather-clad leading man appears to be a refugee from You Don't Mess With the Zohan. Then of course, there's the implication that the Indian military is somehow like a helpless woman who "need(s) to feel safe and sheltered."

Judge for yourself...

[www.stratpost.com] Israeli Rafael's Indian promo

Now, for full disclosure, I should say that that I am a research scientist who mostly works for the defense industry (a little NASA too) and have seen and been a party to some good intentioned but questionably executed attempts at marketing. This is not an area my industry has any real feel for. In fact, Shachtman, and his intern Zelda Roland, recently lampooned my company and a few others for coming up with some "Most Awesomely Bad Military Acronyms." Sigh. Truth hurts.

No comments: