Are there advertisements that are more effective in other languages?

Communicating in other languages is not easy, but communicating with the intention of selling in other languages can become a real Mission: Impossible (with an original soundtrack and everything). Are there advertisements that are more effective in some languages than in others? Why? How does the language have an impact on the message? If you like persuasive advertising, communicating in other languages and getting the dirt on advertising translation, keep reading…

 

Language: Spanglish

Product: Renault Clío

Year: 1996

Slogan: “Gerapa”.

You can watch it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHiCLNWO8JE

 

Topping Okodia’s selection is one of the best car advertisements in history: the legendary “Gerapa”, a peculiar advertising translation of the lyrics “Get up” from the song “Sex Machine” by the great James Brown. The ad is as simple as ABC but extremely effective, with that unmistakable look that videos from the 1990s have, which defined an entire generation of new consumers. Despite its “shabbiness”, the “Gerapa” by Renault Clío continues to be one of the most effective advertisements in other languages that Okodia has seen over the past decades.

 

Language: English

Product: Coca-Cola

Year: 1971

Slogan: A Message of Hope.

You can watch it at: https://vimeo.com/95561000

 

The advertising agency McCann-Erickson created some of the most enduring advertisements in the history of advertising for Coca-Cola—messages that have become huge musical hits that consumers from all over the world sing to. This is the case for the third ad that we at Okodia chose for you: “A message of hope…” by Coca- Cola, one of the most well-known jingles in the world and, of course, one of the most well-known songs from commercials in the history of advertising translation.

 

 

Language: English

Product: BMW X3

Year: 2006

Slogan:  Be water my friend.

You can watch it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAkkhX7iggw

 

The reason for it is not quite known but some of the most effective advertisements in the history of advertising translation are car advertising spots, with messages so powerful that they linger for a long time in the popular imagination and, on top of that, in the computers of advertising communication professors at universities all over the world. The third ad that we at Okodia chose is perhaps the best example of how to adapt an advertising message to communicate in other languages by simply using subtitles. Could something like this work in Spain, a country historically known for hating subtitles? But of course!

To achieve success, the creative minds at the agency SCPF—which was responsible for the BMW X3 advertising spot—not only used a black-and-white cut from 1971 of the great Bruce Lee talking about being as flexible as water, they also made a simile between this flexibility and this car model’s ability to adapt to the road and, above all, dared to use subtitles instead of dubbing it from English to Spanish. The result? An increase of more than 73% in sales in Spain, which is easier said than done…

 

What do you think about these three examples of effective advertisements communicating in other languages? Do you want to give another example of advertising translation that, for whatever reason, caught your attention? We at Okodia would love to get to know your opinion…