The latest Lucozade advertising campaign features a parody of the David and Goliath story.

In the first television ad in the campaign, introduced as a “The Prequel” to the well-known David and Goliath story, David wakes up with a very bad hangover. Unable to remember what he’d done the night before, he’s told by his friend that he had “picked a fight with Goliath”.

David’s friend goes on to scold him for calling him a “giant”, because “you can’t call people giants” (apparently it’s not P.C.). David retorts that Goliath is about 12 foot 9 inches (which is exactly 3 feet higher than Goliath’s height in the Masoretic Text of 1 Samuel 17, where he’s 9 foot 9 inches – depending on what size you take as a ‘cubit’). I guess to be impressive, in the age of Marvel superheroes and villains, Goliath may have required an extra three feet. Besides, the biblical versions themselves exaggerate Goliath’s height by precisely three feet. Goliath is only 6 foot 9 inches in the earliest version of the story that we know, the version in the Greek Septuagint.

On hearing that Goliath is at the door of his house, David takes a swig of Lucozade, which restores him for his upcoming fight. Then the scrawny boy, who has an English accent, is bathed in an orange glow, his hair turning bright orange.

The colour matches the Lucozade Original flavour. But perhaps there is some play with 1 Samuel 16.12, where the King James Version and many other English versions refer to David as “ruddy” – having red hair or complexion. By making David white-skinned with red or orange hair, the advertisers have, no doubt inadvertently, followed the Aryan interpretation of David as a non-Jewish white guy.

A billboard advertisement shows David having defeated Goliath. The victory appears to take place in the Swiss Alps, going by the background. In any case, the location has shifted from the valley in which the two meet according to 1 Samuel 17.3. And the change does serve to make the victory more grand. And more European.

You will also note that the artist has drawn Goliath shirtless and holding only a broken stick. This is an odd choice, given the Bible’s insistence that Goliath was heavily clad in armour, unlike David, and that Goliath taunted David for not carrying a sword: “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?”

The campaign’s tagline “Energy Beats Everything” can be contrasted with the biblical version, in which David relies on the Jewish God to save him. In late capitalism, an energizing sports-drink is the substitute for divine power.

 

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