Rhonda Goes to Bali

Oct 15th, 2012, in Featured, IM Posts, by

Rhonda flies into Bali and becomes romantically entangled with cabana boy Ketut.

Rhonda & KetutIn an 'AAMI' car insurance series of ads on Australian television the main character Rhonda saves so much money using AAMI insurance that she is able to afford holidays in the tropical island paradise of Bali, and meet the colourful locals.

In the first of the three videos Rhonda is serviced by a foot masseuse on Kuta beach or thereabouts, who in real life is shockingly not a foot masseuse on Kuta beach, but rumour has it an employee at the Indonesian consulate in the city of Melbourne.


"Rhonda is mine"

In the second video we and Rhonda meet the strappingly handsome example of Balinese manhood Ketut, played by Kadek Marhardika, another happy denizen of the very good and charming in its way city of Melbourne.


"You look so hot today Rhonda. Like a sunrise."

Finally, Rhonda returns home, with longing memories of Ketut:


"Kiss me Ketut"

The very popular as these things go ad series has generated a 110k Likes Facebook page entitled

The sexual tension between Katut and Rhonda

Rhonda AAMIa thriving t-shirt industry in Bali, a "Rhonda and Ketut: The Musical" parody, and some agonising over the "subtext" of the videos, and issues of the "sexuality and representations of Asian men".

KetutQuestions raised include

  • Do the ads promote (female) Asian sex tourism?
  • Do the ads suggest only frumpy western women find Asian men attractive?
  • Are the ads forms of neo-colonialist oppression of Indonesians?
  • Are the massage lady and Ketut necessarily portrayed as subservient?
  • And is it all related to the recent research findings suggesting Indonesian men are the most well endowed in all of Asia?

28 Comments on “Rhonda Goes to Bali”

  1. avatar DCGuy says:
    October 15th, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Yeah, this isn’t a bad solution, either. I said Africa in my post, but left out all the fine work done by the Bali beach boys. Rhonda’s happy, Ketut gets to send his take of the Aussie insurance payments back to his wife and kids in the village. Everyone’s a winner.

  2. avatar Chris says:
    October 15th, 2012 at 11:11 am

    While the advertisements are mildly amusing, I find it a little ironic that Rhonda’s car insurance savings (from presumably careful driving) would lead her to have a holiday in Bali, a place known for an abysmal record for road safety.

    In the first of the three videos Rhonda is serviced by a foot masseuse on Kuta beach or thereabouts, who in real life is shockingly not a foot masseuse on Kuta beach, but rumour has it an employee at the Indonesian consulate in the city of Melbourne.

    Have you phoned the Indonesian Consulate to check this rumour, or are you afraid of being blacklisted? :)

  3. avatar timdog says:
    October 15th, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    That beach – I assume it’s somewhere in Australia; it sure as dammit ain’t Kuta, or anywhere I recognise from Bali.

    I like the ads though – and I do hope that those are consular staff moonlighting as lovable natives…

    Now then, on the sex-tourism subcontext: I was in Morocco last month, and there are rather a lot of Rhondas there, parading around with a wiry Brahim or M’hmd draped across their shoulder. This left me pondering: what, specifically, is it that a certain type of western man goes looking for, usually, in Southeast Asia, that a certain type of western woman more generally looks for in Africa?

    And why is Rhonda’s story ripe for a bit of light-hearted advertising comedy. Would it have been quite so effective if it had been Roger rather than Rhonda, and instead of Ketut it had been Ayu from Banyuwangi…

  4. avatar ET says:
    October 15th, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    timdog

    That beach – I assume it’s somewhere in Australia; it sure as dammit ain’t Kuta, or anywhere I recognise from Bali.

    No, it ain’t Kuta. Kuta beach is much wider. It looks more like Sanur beach judging by the looks of the sand which had been dredged from the sea bottom in Benoa to replace the original beach which in 2003 was almost entirely eroded away.

    And why is Rhonda’s story ripe for a bit of light-hearted advertising comedy. Would it have been quite so effective if it had been Roger rather than Rhonda, and instead of Ketut it had been Ayu from Banyuwangi…

    Good question. Imagine if it would have been Roger and Ayu. It would have started an outrage, not in the least by the feminist harpies who would certainly have denounced in a shrill voice the obvious sexploitation by the male chauvinist oppressor.

  5. avatar timdog says:
    October 16th, 2012 at 12:53 am

    It ain’t Sanur either, ET. Have a look at the very first frame (00.01-00.02) – what are those blue, remembered hills? Doesn’t look like anywhere in Bali that I know.

    It would have started an outrage, not in the least by the feminist harpies who would certainly have denounced in a shrill voice the obvious sexploitation by the male chauvinist oppressor.

    I’m not so sure about that, mister; I would have thought that there’d be as much, if not more, scope for a justified feminist critique of Rhonda’s story – and indeed of the very fact that it might be deemed suitable for a bit of cheery comedy. I just think people would have found it a bit sleazy if it had been Roger.

  6. avatar Andrew Reid says:
    October 16th, 2012 at 6:50 am

    Ketut has also made an appearance with Dennis Cometti in a football related AAMI ad.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZosVnZ3__s

    Gruen Planet, an ABC program about advertising, has looked at the whole AAMI campaign angle.
    http://www.abc.net.au/tv/gruenplanet/pages/s3583424.htm

  7. avatar David says:
    October 16th, 2012 at 7:17 am

    This is pretty funny too….

  8. avatar DCGuy says:
    October 16th, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Guys, it’s great if Rhonda can get her rocks off, jeez none of us are gonna do the job.

  9. avatar Jodie says:
    October 18th, 2012 at 5:27 am

    The commercials were filmed in Melbourne.

  10. avatar bonni says:
    October 18th, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Nice! Happy for ketut and rhonda hahaha. I must say some balinese guys have that charisma :)

  11. avatar DCGuy says:
    October 18th, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    Guys, if Rhonda can go to Bali and get totally ploughed, good for her, and better for all of us. Don’t get me wrong on the other site. I’m all for women like Rhonda getting ploughed, preferably by strapping young exotic men. I just don’t wanna have to do the job myself or get judged for not doing it.

  12. avatar Nay says:
    October 22nd, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    I’m all for women like Rhonda getting ploughed, preferably by strapping young exotic men. I just don’t wanna have to do the job myself or get judged for not doing it.

    Don’t forget ladies… Jamaica is also open for business!

  13. avatar Pete says:
    November 14th, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    I reckon AAMI’s add on TV promotes sexual tourism in third world countries like Bali. I liked Rhonda better when she was just exploiting a local on the beach for a foot massage. If that was gender reversed and it was a middle aged bloke we would have all heard about it by now and the add would have been pulled. Poor Ketut, I feel for you mate.

  14. avatar timdog says:
    November 30th, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    You know what they’ve got in downtown Kuta now? They’ve got all these tee shirts with Rhonda catchphrases on them – “You’re naughty Ketut”, “I know you – you Rhonda!” etc…

    Thing’s a bloody phenomenon!

  15. avatar oigal says:
    December 1st, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Timdog.

    You are in Kuta for Schoolies week…Mmmm I had always thought you were beyond that

  16. avatar timdog says:
    December 1st, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Ah come now oigal, never too old for a bit of Schoolies fun…

    Actually, it only dawned on me after I arrived yesterday that I had wandered into the midst of that. The horrific weather, the mind-numbing traffic (jesus, at least they’ve started doing something about the Dewa Ruci intersection, but between that and the ongoing airport work, there’s a constant pall of dust over the whole place), and ten-billion foul-mouthed, near-naked Australian children. It’s a little too much for a village boy from Cornwall.

    I had to be down this end for some stuff today, but I am fleeing to greener quarters tomorrow – you know: the bit where everyone floats around in white linen and beads talking about art.

  17. avatar ET says:
    December 2nd, 2012 at 12:10 am

    timdog

    “It’s a little too much for a village boy from Cornwall.”

    It’s a little too much for anybody. I’m moving out to big skies and empty spaces, at least for now.

  18. avatar timdog says:
    December 2nd, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Big skies and empty spaces are good, very good indeed, Mr ET. NO all you need is a good, educated, feminist Western woman your own age to share them with, isn’t that so? ;-)

  19. avatar Oigal says:
    December 2nd, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    :-)… Can say that I blame you Timdog although if you are heading where I think you are heading sounds like just a different level of Dante’s hell.

    One of the local oz papers this week had quite a write up and a video of the feral kids and Kuta (the Australian or the Age paper I forget which). Oh my, what a spoilt nation of barely literate brats we have become.

    Makes one reconsider ever going home.

  20. avatar Nay says:
    December 3rd, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Oh well, you know what they say:-
    “A ship of fools makes for a great business opportunity”

  21. avatar Melissa says:
    December 3rd, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Do the ads suggest only frumpy western women find Asian men attractive?
    Since Ketut’s not exactly a specimen of what, to my knowledge, Indonesian women find irresistibly attractive either, I don’t think that’s true. The only people who thinks so probably don’t know a lot of Asian men. For me, Rhonda and Ketut’s casting and comedic timing succeeded in selling the idea of “holiday romance” rather than “sex tourism” in the ad. Related to the “Roger & Ayu” hypothetical scenario mentioned above, if “Ayu” had been a slightly younger Merthi rather than a woman with top model looks and young enough to be “Roger”‘s daughter, people’s minds probably wouldn’t automatically jump to exploitation either.

  22. avatar jim says:
    December 29th, 2012 at 9:26 am

    This is a dumb commercial, ketut is a fat man looks like an indian from bangladesh. But then balinese and indonesians are mostly have indian ancestors anyway that is why they are hindu.

  23. avatar Chris says:
    January 6th, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    In the first of the three videos Rhonda is serviced by a foot masseuse on Kuta beach or thereabouts, who in real life is shockingly not a foot masseuse on Kuta beach, but rumour has it an employee at the Indonesian consulate in the city of Melbourne.

    Alas, I could not find the foot masseuse on a recent visit to the Indonesian consulate in Melbourne.

  24. avatar empressnasigoreng says:
    January 9th, 2013 at 4:39 am

    The beach is Beaumaris in Melbourne.
    The masseuse is a retired lady who does aquarobics.
    Rhonda moonlights as Kerry Packer’s secretary.
    Ketut is a forklift driver and has become quite the celebrity. he keeps popping up in my friend’s facebook photos. Apparently he gets mobbed everywhere he goes.

  25. avatar agan says:
    January 10th, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    Haha …. roll over Pak Achmad Sudarsono and listen to the news
    Ketut is hot like a Mojopahit sunrise and ever so busy va va voomin’ and forkliftin’
    in the land downunder’ waves and beaches in your absence.

  26. avatar Gwen Ferry says:
    January 30th, 2013 at 11:49 am

    I did not think the lady in the car that gets hit by watermelons was the same lady. She looks older and her voice is not the same. I heard it was being pulled from the tv but not sure

  27. avatar wahyu nurudin says:
    February 25th, 2013 at 9:13 am

    is she rhonda byrne the author og “the secret”?

  28. avatar Richard says:
    April 5th, 2014 at 9:00 am

    So ketut is Balinese but he says I love you in Indonesian!!???



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