The Shmooze

Moses Brings Them Out to the Theaters

By Nathan Burstein

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It doesn’t have the glamour of Cannes or the indie cred of Sundance, but it does boast Moses as its mascot.

In the lead-up to next month’s Toronto Jewish Film Festival, organizers have released a series of ads featuring the biblical forefather in a humorous mix of modern situations - a publicity effort that has won praise from the ad industry but a ban from the city’s Transit Commission.

The most risque element of the campaign - and the subject of the ban - is an image of Moses in a “Ten Commandments”-style robe, exiting a limo without underwear and unintentionally flashing the paparazzi, in the manner of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears circa 2007. Although Moses’ private parts are tastefully blurred, a Transit Commission rep told trade newspaper Ad Week that it was rejected for fear of “instances where people might not find it funny.” (“We can’t think of any, but I suppose it’s possible,” Ad Week countered.)

A pair of YouTube promos feature Moses working at a movie theater, in one case serving goat’s milk rather than soda at the concession stand. Working as a janitor in the second ad, the Israelite leader splits a puddle of spilled soda for an attractive woman, then brings it back together before her date can pass.


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