Monday, October 18, 2010

A Charitable Contribution

One worthy organization that nearly missed the Nobel Peace Prize is Réclames Sans Frontières or Commercials Without Borders. Known to most as RSF, it reaches out to the economically disadvantaged to reinforce their basic human identity as consumers. Here in the Americas, hurricane season is upon us. RSF teams are already waiting to be dispatched to bring in displays of new cars, vacations and jewelry wherever disaster might strike.

My contribution to RSF is below. It's part of the second wave of aid. When media infrastructure is destroyed, it means that people can go without commercials for a week or more. While existing channels get rebuilt, RSF, to everyone's relief, will hit the airwaves right away.

TV Commercial

A middle aged couple is shown in a well appointed suburban home. One of their children comes through the front door, coughing. He struggles with the wind and rain to shut the door.

M: I can't believe it! It's one storm after another!
Steel drums build in the background and a ray of sunshine comes through the door.
Do you know what I'm thinking?

F: Not so fast honey. Music and sunshine fade away. Do you remember what it's like in the Carribbean? We don't need to travel for flies and mosquitoes. We'll have them here in a few months.

M: That's right. Plus, we'll have to get used to the heat again. And I thought summer would never end.

F: So why go back to it? Also, do want that pale yellow stuff they call "Beer" down there? It looks like Bono's old sunglasses. Theme from FC de Kampioenen fades in.

M: My goodness. Where can we take the family for a nice vacation?

F: Belgium!

M: Really?

F: Of course! You can get real beer. There are plenty of deserted beaches at this time of year, and we can eat Belgian waffles, Dutch pancakes and lots of fries! Besides, Julius Caesar recommended it back in the day. He said, "The Belgae are the bravest of all the Gauls."

M: No kidding! I'll bet that means we'll get great service! You're right honey, this is the best idea I've had in a long time!

F: Close-up, rolls eyes. Music builds.

Long shot of the family, bundled up and running happily through puddles on a rainy beach. Theme from FC de Kampioenen is dominant now.

Voiceover: Belgium. Come for the weather.

Copyright notice: Feel free to link to this commercial or quote from it. If you produce it, that's €50 and a copy on DVD for my mother.

Anyway, here are some Belgian links that go further to promote the country and culture:

Radiobooks: This is the link to Radioboeken in English. The series has been discontinued, but the episodes are still available. Dutch and Flemish authors read their works. Most are about half an hour long.

deBuren: This is the publisher that sent me Kaas. They also promote Dutch language culture all over the world. One of their current efforts is...

citybooks: Artists, writers and photographers riff on their favorite cities. Most pieces are short, and they give you a feel for the locations.

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