Saddam’s Diner and Hitler’s Pet Shop

A curse and blessing to working in advertising today is that most things have been seen, done and even imagined before. Novelty has become something of a commodity and delivering ‘standout’ something of a red squirrel among a tribe of greys. Nevertheless, the excitement, or more realistically interest, generated by the odd alien dance/song/storyline to befall our screens and skylines, is worthy of a mention, and in this post, some consideration to the “what if…” commercial ventures of the world’s most infamous dictators. As this advert by TBWA Being in Paris testifies, Pol Pot would have made an excellent tailor.

Ultimately, it is this lack of convention that makes the advert so memorable as viewers are encouraged to halt a dictator in his dangerous tracks – leaving the Sudanese president Bachir shaken, in a manner not dissimilar to the point when this advert’s message suddenly ambushes you. Cold sarcasm (“dream on” surely being one of the most disheartening of phrases) interrupting the not-so-unpleasant thought of the organised store, a second life where dictators turn shopkeepers, and tyranny translates to retail management. Sadly this is where my criticism lies, as the unusualness and Lurpak-esque, charming execution of the opening scenes jars with the “reality bites” that follow – successfully alarming, but failing to grasp the same sense of hope or a cause. Truthfully, dictators don’t stop, but this advert made me wish that they did… dream on.

Dictators just don't stop... but I wish that they did


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