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Apple iPhone Ad Puts an Artistic Spotlight on Greece (but Not All Greeks Are Happy)

A villager proudly poses for a photo. Screenshot of YouTube video ad by Apple.

Apple’s latest commercial looks like something straight out of a foreign indie film,” popular US digital news website Mashable declares. Part of what gives it that feel? The advertisement for the iPhone 7 Plus's portrait and depth-of-field modes is entirely shot in two Greek villages in Peloponnese, features Greek-speaking villagers and is subtitled in English.

The Greek involvement in the ad has certainly made some Greeks proud, but others have complained that the ad's storyline enforces stereotypes.

Titled “Take Mine,” it follows a young woman (actress Νefeli Kouri), who arrives at a Greek village in Mani, Peloponnese, to visit family. She meets her “yiayia” (that's Greek for grandmother) at the old village “kafenio” (a Greek café) and takes a picture of her with her new rose gold iPhone. She is amazed by the photo clarity and soon the camera takes the viewer on a stroll through the village's picturesque paths meeting friends and family, who all pose for a photo.

Not only are the characters and location Greek, but the soundtrack is as well. What might sound like a Hawaiian tune or Swiss yodeling to the untrained is actually an old recording of a Greek song from the 1930s called “Pame sti Honolulu” (Let's go to Honolulu) by Rebetiko musician Kostas Bezos.

You can watch the video on YouTube, where it has reached over 5 million views, here:

While some see the ad as charming, there are others who have accused the ad of portraying Greek people as ignorant and have left many negative comments on Facebook.

On Huffington Post Greece, John Simotas from the US, commented:

Δείχνουν την Ελλάδα λες και είμαστε ακόμα στην δεκαετία του '50. Από τις ενδυμασίες, μέχρι τις συμπεριφορές των ανθρώπων που κάνουν λες και δεν έχουν ξαναδεί κινητό με φωτογραφική μηχανή στην ζωή τους……… Υπερηφανεύεστε μια ζωή για τα πιό χαζά πράγματα…………

They portray Greece as if we are still in the 1950s: clothes, the behavior of people, who act like they have never seen a mobile phone with a camera before…..You always are proud of the silliest things…

And a Greek portal, among many others, shared the news, underlying both the pros and cons of the ad:

To μόνο παράξενο στην ιστορία αυτή είναι ότι όλο το χωριό ενθουσιάζεται από τη μαγική αυτή συσκευή, σαν να μην είχε δει ποτέ κανείς smartphone.

Τουλάχιστον οι ηθοποιοί ήταν Έλληνες που μιλούσαν κανονικά ελληνικά, και θα έχει ακόμα μια ευκαιρία η χώρα μας να προβληθεί παγκοσμίως έστω και έτσι.

The only strange thing in this story is that the whole village is in awe of this “magic device,” as if nobody there has seen a smartphone before.

At least, the actors were Greek and they were speaking proper Greek; this will be another opportunity for our country to get famous around the world, even if in this way.

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