Weekly Ad Uncoiling: Jyllands-Posten

Come on and go surfin’ safari with Mandela… that’s so narb, dude! Print campaign (click here for enlarged ad) for Denmark’s largest newspaper, Jyllands-Posten— now internationally famous of course thanks to publishing a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban. Headline: “Life is easier, if you don’t speak up. Debate.” Ain’t that the truth. Nice baggies, brodad! Chillaxin’ Nelson would be the Kahuna of South Africa, and Naomi would soo totally be his Gidget. And fighting to achieve liquid solidarity would have been wicked more peaceful than fighting apartheid ever was; everyone’s equal in the eyes of Neptune, Nellie. But, uh, Uncle Grey (JP’s ad agency)? That retouching job is gnarmin. (Thanks to Riptionary™ for help with the surf lingo).

Here’s a second execution in this goofy-ass campaign featuring a drunken barbecue chef Gandhi (click here to enlarge). Hey Mahatma, put another piece of cow on the fire for me! Fucker is bogarting the India Pale Ale. With these two ads, the Danish paper has now pissed off a couple billion more people. Who’s left? Richard Gere! Here’s a downhilling Dalai Lama just for you. Like the ads? Hate the ads? Debate.

19 Responses to “Weekly Ad Uncoiling: Jyllands-Posten”

  1. Jani Says:

    Man. These will propably get some debate going over there.
    I have hard time when I think what to think about these images… On other hand the message is probably very true…
    Mandela and Gandhi would have had very much easier life if they had not spoken out… But on the other hand millions of other people would have had shitty lives.
    Captain Obvious Strikes again…
    But yeah, I kind of like these, they make you think, but Gandhi grilling is kind of too in your face… Why couldn’t he surf and mandela grill. India has good surfing waters!

  2. David Forbes Says:

    Love the message. The ads seem just too sloppy and goofy. I think a more straightforward, simple ad would get the point across better.

  3. Lauren Says:

    Even though the message works from an advertising standpoint, these ads are pretty crass. Seriously, an emaciated Gahdhi grilling burgers?! Way to be offensive. I hate to see humanity’s heroes reduced to capitalist iconography just to make a buck.

  4. Mer Says:

    Oh, how very “clever” and “shocking”.


    Fighting cynicism with cynicism is like multiplying zeros.

  5. Jennifer dG Says:

    How is it even legal to use the likenesses of Mandela and the Dalai Lama in an advertisement without their permission? They are still alive, for goodness’ sake.

    I don’t like the ads, but I get it, yeah, you don’t accomplish great things by hanging around and grilling cows. It would have been far more powerful to show these men in their ACTUAL LIVES, undergoing hardship for their convictions, with the same tagline.

  6. Tanya Says:

    What’s next? Rosa Parks on roller skates (or should I say LOLer skates?)

    I’m not a fan of this campaign.

    And I also agree with Jennifer. That would have had much more impact.

  7. Mer Says:

    Jennifer, I completely agree.

  8. Nanna Says:

    I’m from Denmark and have therefore been able to follow the debate closely.
    Trouble is, with these adds, Jyllandsposten didn’t get permission to use these images, and that might cause them quite some problems.
    Besides, at the image of Mandela, the newspaper was asked if they didn’t know that it was considered pretty offensive to picture him in short trousers, since that symbolises a boy in the African culture, and Mandela found it highly insulting when he was clad in shorts on Robben Island. Jyllandsposten’s answer was, that no, they hadn’t really thought about that, since the pic was just a product of Photoshop anyway…… ARGHS!

    Besides, orginally Jyllandsposten was very much AGAINST Mandela. Around 1960 they critizised him in the newspaper…… But they’ve conveniently forgot that now.

    So, once again, Jyllandsposten hasn’t _really_ thought things through, it seems……

    (sorry if some of my grammar is bad, English is only my second language ;)

  9. David Forbes Says:

    Nanna: Wow, that’s mind-boggling. Just sloppy and, well, stupid on their part.

    Jennifer: Exactly. A picture like this or this with the same slogan would have been an effective ad, albeit somewhat derivative of Apple’s “Think Different” campaign.

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  11. Chris L Says:

    Their tagline is false, anyway (at least in the context of those images).

    I find it hard to believe that Mandela or Gandhi would have had an easier time (over the course of their lives) if they hadn’t struggled. Life is not easier for a repressed minority under the rule of a majority if they ‘don’t speak up’. I guess they had the advantage of being more educated and better off financially, but I think the point stands.

    If they’d shown a picture of a rich white South African circa 1970s or 80s then the tagline might have made more sense. (But even then, most of the white population was pretty terrified of moving outside of their little enclaves by the last few years.)

    Really, it would make the most sense to show a middle class family eating dinner in front of the TV. And that wouldn’t sell any papers, since they’d just be insulting their target audience.

  12. Tequila Says:

    @Chris…you echo my feelings exactly. Both men would not have had it easier let alone be grinning like idiots all the while. They’d be living the lives of the many they spoke for…surviving, suffering, maybe even dead before they became men. Who knows.

    A luxury life of leisure was not in the cards though.

  13. Marcia Says:

    As a South African I can definitely say that Mandela would not have had an easier life had he not spoken out. I see every day the millions of people still living in informal and/or subpar living conditions in South Africa right now. Things have improved but they would have been far worse had there been no one standing up. So I’m agreed with Chris L and Tequila. Actually the same goes for Gandhi and the Dalai Lama.

    I’m not entirely offended by the ads but they are in poor taste.

    …and the photoshopping is inferior…

    I also find Gandhi grilling meat disrespectful. And I’m generally someone that can handle the worse of irony.

  14. Jerem Morrow Says:

    “Life is easier, if you don’t speak up. Debate.”

    Says it all, and well. The pics, however…not sure if it’s a cultural difference in sense of humor or what, but they do smack of…perhaps too much cheese?

  15. Kenn Munk Says:

    This is, unfortunately, the standard of advertising in Denmark – I believe Uncle Grey also ripped off Mark Jenkins’ sellotape sculptures for another campaign, but that’s beside the point. Sadly, I don’t think they tried to be snidey when they clad Mandela in shorts, I think they didn’t know, how they missed the barbecue insult is beyond me though. I don’t mind a bit of provocative advertising, but this seems to go against what they want to say.

    Ignorance seems to be the driving force – also when it comes to Photoshop.

  16. dimitri Says:

    Along similar lines:

  17. Nadya Says:

    I just found a LOL-worthy counterpart to this campaign!


  18. tammaycall Says:

    Gandhi was a vegetarian who did not drink alcohol. These aren’t trivial details, but two of his deeply held beliefs. You’d think a newspaper could use google.

  19. vermicious_knid Says:

    aside from the overall weakness of the photoshop, my only beef is that “surfin’ mandela” is wearing fucking SHOES. nice. to everyone who’s feelings were hurt, get over it.