February 28th is Andalucía Day. In the run up to it, everyone is talking about what makes the region unique.
I first decided to write about this after seeing two ads that tried to depict this region, one achieving it majestically and one failing miserably. Both have opened a discussion online as to what it means to be andaluz(a) and how they want to be perceived by the rest of the world.
So often this region has fallen prey to stereotypes. Spanish TV has frequently – if not exclusively – depicted Andalusians as the fools in any show, the funny character to be laughed at or pitied.
The archetypes reduced Andalusians to agricultural, low class, lazy, not very intelligent people, who were there to serve and be made fun of. Their accent ridiculed, their culture mocked and generally not greatly appreciated.
Nothing further from who they really are.
Andalusians are tired of being seen as something they’re not. More and more people are raising their voices to reclaim the unique accent as something to be proud of, calling for recognition of the many attributes of this land that go far beyond the stereotypes.
That is why when Cruzcampo aired their new ad, it went viral.
Andaluces(zas) loved it and so did plenty of other people. Not only was the message on point, the technological skills needed to achieve it were state-of-the-art. It takes a lot of hard work and deepfake to put a woman who died in 1995 back on screen. Lola Flores was not just any woman, though. And that is, in part, the brilliance of the ad.
Ok, yes, it’s an ad that wants to sell you beer. All ads want to sell something. Yet it managed to capture a little of the essence of what makes Andalucía, Andalucía.
Because at the end of the day, having a cerveza at a terraza is also very much a part of the culture here, especially since Cruzcampo was created in Seville in 1904. Plus, everyone is missing being able to have a drink out and about at the moment with all the pandemic restrictions.
So, yeah, as far as ads go, this one was pretty brilliant.
In contrast, a few weeks later the Junta de Andalucía published its official Andalucía Day institutional video which was received by a chorus of criticism.
The short promo had a neutral accent voiceover reciting the words to the Andalucía anthem and appeared to have been put together from snippets of stock video footage. The Andalusian flag didn’t appear once. There was little real representation of her people and the images showed mostly countryside, with hardly any infrastructure, technological innovation or business outside of the hospitality and agricultural industries in sight.
Twitter was up in arms. And a stream of comments flooded in below the ad on all platforms. It seemed ironic that a video meant to celebrate the autonomy of the region should fail so miserably to do so.
Then, a few days after the first video aired, a second appeared. This one, far more apt at reflecting an Andalusian sentiment.
Not everyone would agree that rap is the best music choice but the comments reflected a more positive reaction this time around.
Had the Junta pulled off a second video in record time? It seemed unlikely. Had they repurposed a video meant for something else? Did they have two videos from the start? There was no way to tell. Had it really taken the whole of Andalucía’s critical comments to make them see sense? How much public money had been spent to make two institutional videos? These were some of the questions posed around the subject, but we are left to guess the answers.
Meanwhile, other brands joined in with the 28F fun, with depictions of local expressions.
Still, rightly or wrongly depicted, all these ads seem to agree on one thing: there is something quite special about Andalucía and it should be celebrated.
What do you think makes Andalucía unique?