John Oliver Clowns Peña Nieto’s “Ya Chole” PR Campaign and It Is Too Real

Lead Photo: Photo: Misael Valtierra/Cuarto Oscuro

As if being ineffectual, corrupt, and arrogant wasn’t already enough for Mexico’s circus clown president Enrique Peña Nieto and his cabinet of evil Oompa Loompas, they’ve once again provided the world with a textbook example of the oft-abused adjective “tone deaf.” In this case, we’re not referring to a presidential karaoke sesh at Los Pinos, but rather to a cringe-worthy publicity campaign in which Peña Nieto and the ruling Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) essentially tell the Mexican people to “STFU and stop complaining.” Doh.

The glossy advertisement in question features a couple of working-class carpenters talking shop as they listen to radio news. One of them responds to the headlines with an understandable, “Ya chole con eso de las reformas,” (or “Enough of these reforms already,”) to which his younger counterpart responds, “Ya chole con tus quejas,” ( or “Enough of your complaints”). The younger carpenter accompanies his pompous exhortation with a dubious list of the positive social outcomes brought about by the reforms. Savings, workplace insurance, blah, blah, blah. Cut. Print. And in some alternate universe, this marketing firm is winning a prize for bringing the Mexican people back on the side of their federal government.

But of course, this is not that universe, and social media exploded when the deeply offensive 30-second commercial spot first aired. Realizing that just maybe they effed up big time, the government was quick to take it down, but not before John Oliver got to it. In a recent segment, HBO’s reigning king of comedic investigative journalism broke down the issue for American audiences, contextualizing Peña Nieto’s dismal approval ratings and the generally terrible job he’s been doing in his three years as president. Oliver then closes off the brief segment by sharing a viral GIF that involves an exploding poop emoji, which basically encapsulates what blows up in your face when you run a country the way Peña Nieto has.