11 July 2014

Bilingual taglines along the lines "Life is Magnifique"

My short post dated 15 November 2011 on the Sofitel slogan Life is Magnifique continues to attract a good number of hits.

While the Sofitel tagline is bilingual in the sense that it contains words in two languages, I'm actually looking for a word to describe taglines for global and/or English-mother-tongue target audiences that use one or more words in a language other than English, but where the tagline writers have assumed that the said word(s) will be accessible to or will have an otherwise positive impact on the target audience.

For a long list of taglines and slogans for global and English-speaking target audiences, see here. But very few are of the type I'm interested in today.

Bilingual taglines like Sofitel's pop up here and there, otherwise the concept seems to be confined to the European automotive industry.
Examples include:
  • VW: Das Auto (The car).
  • Opel: Wir leben Autos. (We live cars.).
  • VW: Fahrvergnügen (driving enjoyment; from fahren, to drive and Vergnügen enjoyment)
    (used by VW in the US in the 1990s) (Wikipedia article).
  • Citroen (Citroën): Créative technologie (English syntax + French spelling) (+ French accent in advertisements and infotainment videos) represents a further step change in the process.
  • Audi: Vorsprung durch Technik (advancement through technology).
  • Airbnb: new logo/symbol called a Bélo. (Nancy Friedman, who blogs at Fritinancy, informs me that Bélo is a coined word based on 'belong' with an accent for garnish.
  • Los Angeles Dodgers (the baseball team): Nancy has written about Los Doyers (the LA Dodgers for Spanish-speaking fans).
  • Jarritos (a Mexican softdrink now making inroads in El Norte (i.e. the USA): Nancy reports Jarritos' use, in an outdoor-ad campaign in California, of the bilingual pun Por flavor! (also tweeted here).
Can anyone suggest any others?

Renault's Créateur d'automobiles (Thanks John) is different in that it is pure French but uses words that make the meaning perfectly transparent to English-mother-tongue readers as well as many others. The YouTube video here features a pronounced but clear French accent, presumably deliberately.

There is a book of bilingual (English-Spanish) slogans listed on the Amazon site under the title 1000+ Bilingual Slogans. The author also calls it a bilingual advertising handbook. The author is using the term 'bilingual' for a book in which each slogan is presented in the two languages, with many looking (to me) like close translations.

Update (27 September 2015)

Striking quote from Seven reasons Volkswagen is worse than Enron by David Bach (my bold):
For years, Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Volkswagen have used German slogans and tag lines in their English-speaking advertising to link their products to the country’s engineering prowess. Expect to see “Das Auto” and “Vorsprung durch Technik” to be wiped off billboards as fast as value has been wiped off German car manufacturers’ market caps.

Update (14 January 2016)

An interesting insight from The little book of transcreation, Insight into the world of creative translation by London-based transcreation agency Mother Tongue:
Car maker Volkswagen is using its “Das Auto” line worldwide. It highlights the fact that the cars come from Germany – a country known for high-quality engineering. But in Brazil the strategy has backfired. The VW Beetle was made there for decades, and the brand was seen as an “honorary Brazilian”. This was reflected in its previous slogan, “você conhece, você confia” (“you know, you trust”). By emphasizing its foreignness, VW threw away an emotional bond built up over many years.

1 comment:

  1. The Renault tagline was "Créateur d'automobiles"


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After completing a BSc in physics and maths in Australia and extended travels in Africa I found a job in Paris that left me with considerab...