Making Lemonade from an Ad for the USA


There’s an advertisement on TV in the UAE to encourage tourists to Discover the USA. There really isn’t very much advertising in general, so this “Land of Dreams” commercial really stands out. I’ve seen it dozens of times and am repeatedly perplexed by its existence and, more so, its directive.

The score, sung by June Carter Cash, is lovely. The tune starts out with nice images of people and places, and cuts back and forth to June signing on the beach. So far so good. Nice lyrics about rivers running through our hearts, etc.

AND THEN comes the refrain. The message. The reason to visit the USA:

Lemon tree, lemon tree, come and find your lemon tree. 


I guess it sounds pretty. Maybe its meant to be a metaphor about finding your dreams. But metaphors are lost on non-native speakers. And quite frankly this metaphor is lost on me.

The song would be lovely on the radio. But any way you look at it, the visual makes no sense for luring visitors to America. The images — close ups of people riding around in cars or spilling out crawfish on a big table — don’t match the music or the message.

See it for yourself:

I’m going to suspend my disbelief for a moment and go with it. What is my “lemon tree” in the USA?…the statue of liberty? Um…Glacier National Park? Um..Mount Rushmore? NOTHING SCANS. THE METAPHOR IS TOO OBSCURE.

Okay, I’ll try again. Perhaps I should go find a “lime tree” in Australia? Nope. No go. I want to go to Australia to see the Great Barrier Reef.

The only scenario in which the conceit might work would be “come and find your olive tree” as an ad for Greece. Or, maybe, “come and find your grape tree” as an invitation to the wine country of Italy or France.

I give up. I can’t make sense out of this commercial. But then again, I’m fixated on it and I’m sharing it with you.

Lemonade anyone?





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