A triumvirate of border videos : humor or missteps?

The first is the newest. It’s a commercial for Mexico’s Gana Gol lottery featuring US soccer star Landon Donovan. And it’s hot…if you’re judging by the temperature of Mexican anger towards it. First of all, Donovan is generally despised in Mexico. He’s the face of US soccer, which has a pretty heated rivalry with our neighbors to the south. He’s also the US’s all-time leader in both goals scored and assists, more than one of which came in crucial matches against the Mexican side. Oh, and he did once urinate on the field in Guadalajara—that didn’t go over so well. So to add to all of that, Donovan dresses in an over-the-top campesino outfit in this particular commercial that many Mexicans find offensive, both because of what it suggests and who is wearing it. After sneaking across the border to buy a ticket for the lottery, he’s stopped by a border guard who recognizes him. When questioned why he’s there, Donovan says, “winning in Mexico is easier,” which raises the ire of the guard (we assume he thinks LD means in fútbol). When Donovan explains it’s easier to win the lottery, the guard lets him go…but not before taking his Ganga Gol card for himself.

The second is a short-lived commercial from Burger King that was quickly removed from airplay when the company was hit with a major backlash from Latinos. The commercial promoted BK’s “Texican Whopper,” which they claim combines the taste of Texas “with a little spicy Mexican.” In it, a tall cowboy and an extremely short lucha libre character come together to be roomies and share the joys of eating Burger King.

And finally, the ever controversial Mexican hip-hop/rock band Molotov and their 2003 hit “Frijolero,” which has made people laugh, swear, sing, and yell since its release. I’ll have a lot more to say about this band in the future, but for now I think the video speaks for itself. Though I should tell you that the Spanish portions of the song are sung in a way to parody American pronunciation of Spanish and that the group includes a US expat in the lineup, Randy “El Gringo Loco” Ebright, whose father was formerly a US DEA official in Mexico.

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