Thursday, June 4, 2009

Obamania and a Truck Party

One thing that I've always found curious here is the most popular mode of advertisement. A sort of African IPO party, the East African community uses moving "look at me" fests to let people know of something fresh. Say a business wants to open a new shop in our town. How will they get the word out? Naturally, rent a flatbed truck, load it down with banners, max the weight out with speakers blaring music to be heard blocks away, and then put some people on it with company t-shirts to dance and cause a big scene. Did I mention the truck then moves? They drive around the city in circles, which is especially funny considering our roads are laden with pot holes, speed bumps, curbs, and random objects. Watching people attempt to stand, much less dance in a moving flatbed truck in East Africa is always a joyful source of laughter.

Well yesterday, we arrived in Nairobi for some appointments and a meeting, and a giant party truck pulled in front of us. As it turned, I caught sight of the banner on the side and immediately recognized the large smiling face of our USA president and large block letters that spelled out OBAMA. We couldn't help but laugh, yet another Kenyan party for the American president, many months after the election and inauguration. Still, it seemed odd to have a truck party for our president... where's the advertisement??

Then the truck turned again and I got a better look at the sign: Obama Strawberry Flavored Bubble Gum. Yes. This was an ad for a new product. Let's read that again: Obama Strawberry Flavored Bubble Gum. He actually has a gum named after him folks. With his picture on the wrapper. Soon to be the most popular candy in East Africa. I wonder if he gets any royalties??

2 comments:

Brent said...

Michael,
Thanks for keeping us updated. In Kampala, Uganda they use the flatbeds for university student government elections as well as for new business openings. Also, Obama is loved in Uganda. Apparently his father's tribe lived near the country borders so he's also claimed by Ugandans. I saw an Obama Butchery, heard of a mobile Obama Restaurant and saw Obama t-shirts, flags, etc. Hope things are well.

Michael & Joe Joe said...

Fisher, is that you? Been wracking my brain for what Brent I knew in Uganda. Had no idea you were there? Who'd you work with? How's life kicking along?