The goal was merely to promote clean energy in Israel – but television ads starring a pair of male puppets called “plug” and “socket” have instead unleashed a debate about gay pride.
The puppets, named Sheka and Teka in Hebrew, have appeared in ads for the state-owned Israel Electric for more than a decade. Israelis have long playfully questioned whether they might be gay.
But the arrival of a baby puppet in the new campaign set off fresh speculation about their sexual orientation.
The ads highlight a striking paradox of the Holy Land: although religion holds great sway and there is no civil marriage, gays have gained a widespread acceptance that is increasingly noted around the world.
Gay activists demand that the ad characters, who have a close but ambiguous relationship, officially come out of the closet.
Gay rights advocates accuse the utility of being intentionally ambiguous about their sexuality in a cynical publicity ploy.
Israel Electric says it does not understand the fuss over the campaign. It says the puppets are merely delivering the company’s messages. “They represent the concerned Israeli, who is really worried about the air quality he is breathing and the environment he lives in. The baby that was born now represents the next generation,” said Oren Helman, a senior vice-president who is behind the commercial. “There are no hints or ambiguities here.” – Sapa-AP