East Meets West

Sunday, August 13, 2006


You can forget about Viagra and Cialis. In Turkey there is a new product on the market that is available without a prescription, easily found and apparently gives you the same results.

There are things in Turkey that still shock, then baffle me. Turkey seems to me like a country that leans towards conservative and, for the most part, is rooted in its religious traditions. Yet I still can’t come to grips with the fact that transvestites and soft porn newspapers (on newsstands found between the communist paper and the sports paper) are a common site in this city.

But yesterday I saw something that to date takes the cake. My beloved teenhood snack – Bugles – is now available in Turkey under the name of Patos Critos. And their clever ad campaign positions Patos Critos as the 3-dimensional chip. This concept has been creatively visualized in their TV ad, which I saw for the first time last night.

A 2-dimensional guy is sitting at a bus stop looking very bored. A 2-D girl sits down next to him and starts munching on Patos Critos. As she eats the 3-D snack, she becomes a hot 3-D chick, her face and hair popping out, then her chest, etc. 2-D guy is no longer bored but intrigued. She offers him some of her crunchy 3-D snack, and he also becomes 3-dimensional. They don’t show where exactly, but when they both look down, she gets shocked and he gets embarrassed leaving it up to the viewer’s imagination…

Needless to say, I will be very strategic about where and with whom I eat my Bugles.

Friday, August 11, 2006


‘I’m about to say something I never thought I’d say in Turkish’ I told my colleague before making the phone call. I had sold a tour to a client that promised ‘a visit of the town on donkeys’. The client really wanted the donkeys. I was calling the agent organizing the tour to make sure there would definitely be donkeys.

‘Our client really wants the donkey ride – I just want to confirm that they will be able to ride donkeys during their tour.’

My boss had come into my office at this point and she and my colleague were struggling to stifle their laughter. The man at the other end of the phone sounded very serious, and seemed to not quite understand, so I repeated what I had said.

‘The tour description says that they will be riding donkeys for part of the tour – can you please confirm that our client will be able to ride donkeys’. More pant-peeing giggles from my office, while the man on the phone replied with a serious tone of voice, which I could only attribute to the fact that he was trying to keep from busting up laughing himself. After all, it’s not everyday you get a call asking about donkey rides.

I finally got the confirmation I was looking for, and as soon as I hung up the phone, my office burst into roaring laughter. Once we calmed down, caught our breath and wiped the tears from our eyes, my boss said to me ‘Do you realize what you just asked?’

The Turkish word I used was ‘dolasmak’ which means to walk around or to make a tour, which I thought was a nice-sounding way to ask about a donkey ride. But it also has another meaning, which paints an entirely different picture when paired with an animal. I had effectively been asking if my client could go around (as in on a date) with a donkey…