Three Ads: Pretentious Pronunciations, a Never-Before-Seen Oz, and a Lying Dad (get a Kleenex for the last one)

6088059547_f927b9db32_zI don’t have much of an intro for this—just that I saw these three commercials on Adweek, and I like them.

The first one gives us the “correct” pronunciations of some brand names—many are foreign, and expensive. I sometimes pronounce Adidas as “Ah-dee-dahs” just as a joke, because it rhymes with la dee das and sounds so highfalutin. Didn’t know how cultured I am. After hearing several of the “right” pronunciations, my eight year old said, “Yeah, I think people are going to stick with the old ones.”

The next one is an extended commercial that gives the back story for Comcast’s XFINITY, a system that lets blind people select their own movies. Watching this is a step beyond seeing the world through other’s eyes—especially since that world is Oz.

And this last one is from MetLife Hong Kong. Made me cry . . . each of the four times I’ve watched it so far.

[photo: “Old Philips TV,” by King-of-Herrings, used under a Creative Commons license]


Language Learning for a Small World and a Big Introduction

Most commercials make me hit the mute button or click “Skip this Ad.” But some I like so much that I search them out on Youtube for a second, third, and fourth look. Here are two of those.

The first one, from Rosetta Stone Language Learning, begins with this: “Imagine the world if everyone learned just one more language. Imagine the stories we’d share.”

The second one, my favorite of the two, is from the American Heart Association. It opens with the words “Hello, Jack. Hello, Jack. I am your grandfather. I waited so long to meet you”—and ends with a nice surprise. (By the way, from what I can tell, the grandfather is learning his English from a Langenscheidt pocket dictionary.)

The City with the Most Cosmopolitan Skyline in the World—Gets an Update

519MBW3HVQLIt’s the most globalized, most international, most architecturally inclusive city in the world. The fact that it’s fictional is irrelevant.

It’s Babe’s city, and it’s the setting for one of the best cross-cultural films ever made—Babe: Pig in the City. When Babe and Esme Hoggett travel from their English farm to big-city USA, it’s not just Europe and the Americas colliding. There’s all sorts of collisions between species as well, with—to name a few—humans, dogs, cats, apes, mice, a duck, and, of course, a pig.

A wide shot of Babe’s city shows a wonderfully crowded skyline of landmarks from around the world. There’s the Chrysler Building, Big Ben, the Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, Christ the Redeemer, and more, all brought together in one metropolis.

Babe’s city was first revealed in  1998, and now, years later, it looks as if several skyscrapers have been added to its horizon. Not only that, but Franklin Templeton Investments has joined the neighborhood. The evidence is the Franklin Templeton commercial “Global Perspective,” which shows the additions of Burj Khalifa, the Petronas Towers, London’s “Gherkin,” and the list goes on. Of course, development comes with a price, as it seems that several structures had to be razed to make room for the new arrivals (Christ the Redeemer’s outstretched arms are nowhere to be seen). Makes sense. Rarely do you have enough real estate available to put in your own Mount Fuji.

So where exactly is Babe’s city? Well, in the movie, it looks as if it’s on the East Coast. And in the commercial, we can narrow it down to an area above Ben Franklin’s left eye. If that doesn’t make sense, you’ll need to watch the ad—and while you’re at it, see how many landmarks you can identify.

Brian Stokle at Urban Life Signs has analyzed the Franklin Templeton commercial and shows some pretty good evidence that the city has been built up on Downtown Vancouver. But I’m not convinced. To my knowledge, Babe has never set foot in Canada. (Visit Stokle’s post, “World Skyline,” for a rundown of the landmarks in the commercial, as well as a shot-by-shot description and other “geeky analysis and research.”)

“Global Perspectives” has been around for a couple years, and I may have seen parts of it before, but it caught my eye two weekends ago when I saw Taipei 101 sporting Benjamin Franklin’s face. That’s not as far-fetched as it might seem: According to a recent China Post article, Franklin Templeton Investments occupies office space in the Taiwan skyscraper. No word yet on when Ben’s face will actually adorn the facade.

(Brian Stokle, “World Skyline,” Urban Life Signs, June 20, 2012; Ted Chen, “Chinese Company to Establish Office in 101,” The China Post, July 5, 2014)

Have Glasses Will Travel

Hey, kids, the next time somebody makes fun of your glasses, just tell them you’re going places. (Then show them this commercial from

“The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” —Eden Phillpotts, A Shadow Passes, 1918

Rainbows, True Colors, the iPhone 5c, and The British Paraorchestra

I saw one of the new iPhone 5C commercials a couple days ago. It’s a great collage of people around the world saying hello on their phones. I guess Apple wants their cheaper, more colorful smart phone to catch on all over the globe. (Who am I kidding? Of course Apple wants all their phones to catch on all over the globe.)

There are two versions of the ad, “Greetings” and “Greetings Too,” but the one-minute extended version combines both. Are the languages you speak buried inside?

We certainly live in a rainbow-colored world.

After I watched this, I got nostalgic for the song “True Colors,” so I clicked around YouTube and found Cindy Lauper’s and Phil Collin’s versions. Then I came to last year’s cover by The British Paraorchestra (“the world’s first ensemble of professional disabled musicians”), The Kaos Signing Choir for Deaf and Hearing Children, and ParalympicsGB athletes. Very moving.

You with the sad eyes
Don’t be discouraged
Oh, I realize
It’s hard to take courage
In a world full of people
You can lose sight of it all
And the darkness inside you
Can make you feel so small

But I see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don’t be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors
Are beautiful like a rainbow

Les Images de France 5

I can’t speak French, but I like the way it sounds.

And I don’t know much about the French public TV channel France 5, but I like their video logos.

Last year, the branding agency Les Télécréateurs, helped rebrand the channel and came up with a series of 25 “idents” to show between programs. Les Télécréateurs, on their Vimeo site, writes,

The concept is as simple as it is strong; a multitude of things that move in the same direction, one following the other, like a chain reaction between completely different worlds. Its underlying meaning is stated loud and clear: knowledge derives from making new links.

The idents become a voyage in which the viewer experiences the ever changing world. Each shot is just long enough for you to grasp what you’re watching, but not too long that it bores you. It also instills in you the feeling of wanting more. Everything travels from left to right but sometimes a thing can reach the apex of its trajectory and start moving in the opposite direction.

And Alphabetical Order®, who directed the spots, says,

[T]his is of course about moving forward, striving, exploring, fighting, longing, pushing the limits and developing. It symbolizes what makes humanity prosper, what fascinates us in life.

Here’s a “Branding Montage” of idents paired with announcements for some of their programming. I can understand some of the words and can make out several of the locations (the pictures help). But, man, I really should have studied French harder in college.

(Les Télécréateurs, France 5 Rebrand | Idents, Vimeo)

Go Global with Go Daddy . . . but Be Sure to Be First

I’m not a fan of very many Go Daddy commercials. Most aren’t in very good taste. But I was looking at the availability of some domain names at their site today, and I saw an ad that I like. It’s pretty funny, and it’s supposed to air during the Super Bowl.

The commercial is touting registration for .co domains. While .co is the internet country code for Colombia, it’s been open to unrestricted used since 2010.

The ad is aimed at an American audience, but it has a global cast. The internet really has broadened the playing field when it comes to the marketing of ideas, even ones that are “one in a gazillion.”