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Regulator removes Vodafone TV Ad depicting Samoan culture as violent

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – 20 FEBRUARY 2023: The Regulator has confirmed instructing that a Vodafone TV advertisement be removed from airing as it portrays Samoan culture as violent.

“I have asked to remove the Vodafone Advertisement as it depicts Samoan culture as violent and supporting bigamy,” Lematua Gisa Fuatai Purcell told Talamua when asked for comment.

The advertisement has Samoan chiefs, a Taupou and young men in traditional attire and a palagi (European) man who happened to land at the village.

Lematua said the advertisement shows a Samoan chief instructing the taulele’a (untitled men) to grab the palagi man who tied up his hands and feet and carried him on a pole.

They then dug a hole and put the palagi man inside it with only his head above the sand just as his mobile phone rang. The palagi was spared when he told the village that he uses Vodafone which is also the villages’ preferred mobile phone provider.

The palagi man was then married to the village taupou. As the wedding proceeds on a beach, the palagi mans’ wife appeared, but he used a coconut frond to cover his face as he hid behind the taupou.

According to the Regulator, the advertisement painted a negative image of the Samoan culture.

“When tourists see the advertisement, they will think that is the case in Samoa and may take a wrong impression of Samoan culture and way of life,” – the Regulator Lematua Gisa Fuatai Purcell.

She said there were already complaints about the advertisement but she only saw the advertisement on television last Friday night and took action the following day.

The Acting Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone Samoa, Rana Bose confirmed receipt of a letter from the Regulator about the ad.

“The Office of the Regulator has not asked to remove the advertisement but amend certain portions and we have already removed the advertisement temporarily to make the changes,” said Bose.

“The advertisement is purely imaginary humour and the concept was taken from a few Hollywood adventure movies with a Samoan touch,” said Bose.

He also emphasized that Vodafone respects Samoan culture and its values.

The advertisement has since been removed not only from TV but from Vodafones social and online pages.