It’s a tale of two cities, united by a common name, separated by 6,000 miles, and brought together again by one sublimely silly South American phone commercial.
For more than a century, Montevideo, Minn., and the capital of Uruguay have bonded over their shared name. That bond forms the heart of a 3-minute spot about a young man who sets out from his home in rural Uruguay, hoping to make his fortune in cosmopolitan Montevideo — a coastal city of 1.3 million — but winds up on the southwestern Minnesota prairie instead. Somehow.
The Spanish-language spot follows the confused visitor as he leverages the power of his Movistar phone to bring a taste of Uruguay to the other Montevideo. In short order, everyone in town is a drinking mate, eating chivito sandwiches and playing fútbol.
The Montevideos (Montesvideo?) struck up a cross-continential friendship in 1905 that continues strong today. A statue of Uruguayan national hero José Artigas stands guard over the downtown in the southwestern Minnesota city of 5,300, and the annual Fiesta Days celebration — in full swing this weekend — features Uruguayan-style barbecue and pageant queens dressed in Uruguayan-style gowns.