Franklyfluent Investigates: Brand Mascots

Neglected, derided and so often forgotten, it might feel as if the brand mascot is a dying breed. But here at franklyfluent, we know that the truth is much deeper, darker and more complex. In the first in a series of ground-breaking exposés we lift the lid on what some have termed a sinister brand mascot resurgence. Perhaps the mascots know that, in a time when much seems uncertain, the British public is particularly vulnerable to their adorable and nostalgic charms.

Through these rigorous journalistic efforts we have come to identify the five types of brand mascot that still stalk supermarket aisles and ad breaks, just waiting for an opportunity to assault your eyeballs with their hypnotic powers of persuasion. Franklyfluent investigates…

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Three Ads that Sparked Outrage in 2017

©Pepsico

Are you angry? Mad? Fuming? Maybe it was Ray Winstone’s great floating potato head endlessly urging to you bet (‘responsibly’) that got you riled up. Or perhaps you felt a little patronised when Veet tried to give you a tutorial on how to get out of a swimming pool ‘like Kim K’ (and not like yourself, you terrible clumsy oaf). Or maybe you finally flipped out at the twelfth Facebook ad in a day trying to make you visit Jersey.

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Our Pick of the Best Ever Alternative Christmas Ads

It’s that time of year again, when John Lewis & co. haul out the big guns and blast us all right in the face with a little thing called Christmas. But here at franklyfluent we thought it was time to look past the raft of big-budget ads all desperately competing to warm our chilly disenchanted cockles, and unearth some of the less conventional examples of seasonal marketing. Here’s our pick of the best alternative Christmas ads.

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THE DOG THAT ATE JAPAN

GENEVIEVE EDWARDS, resident FF Japanese aficionado,
EXPOSES THE CURIOUS WORLD OF JAPANESE ADVERTISING

I have a confession to make. After over a year living in Japan, I left the country still almost totally baffled by their TV advertising. To my big dumb foreign-person eyes it looked like a random Technicolor cacophony of such unparalleled mania I rarely knew what was being advertised, let alone what was going on.

Often I was left in a state of near-trauma after the 30-second onslaught, faintly shaking and wiping away dribble as I mumbled ‘But what did it mean? Why was she shaving a bear? How did the cheese learn to dance?’ 

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Crossing the Channel with Uber

When Parisians were invited to hail their first Uber rides in the French capital last June, the company was quick to incur the wrath of furious local taxi drivers. A year on – burnt tyres and violent protests still fresh in people’s memories –, Uber launches its charm offensive to make inroads with the market, braving its first campaign en français.

Double entendres and contextual jokes abound in this display of copywriting dexterity, which is the brainchild of Paris-based agency Marcel. The adverts’ formula is simple: give life to a few decidedly French wordplays based on the company’s name. The result is a series of print ads that firmly ensconce Uber within the world of the baguettes and berets – and put some serious mileage between the brand and its American parentage.

Here are some of our top picks from the bunch:

It’s with the help of three charming grey-haired travellers who appear more provincial than Parisian that Uber proclaims it is no longer reserve of the capital, and is operating in 10 cities across the country. What better way to hammer home your Francophile credentials than by borrowing that most iconic of French symbols – the beret? And the fortunate similarity in name doesn’t hurt either…
It’s with the help of three charming grey-haired travellers who appear more provincial than Parisian that Uber proclaims it is no longer reserve of the capital, and is operating in 10 cities across the country. What better way to hammer home your Francophile credentials than by borrowing that most iconic of French symbols – the beret? And the fortunate similarity in name doesn’t hurt either…

Continue reading Crossing the Channel with Uber

Hop to it

Earlier this year, you voted for the idiom you most wanted to see brought to life as an IDIOMASCOT.

Drum roll, please: it’s time to reveal the newest member of the herd… Hailing from Spain, when frogs grow hair is an equivalent idiom to the English pigs might fly – and conjures up an image no less bizarre to our minds!

When frogs grow hair

 

But no one likes a lazy toad, so we’re putting the whole gang to work to raise money for charity. As of now, the full suite of IDIOMASCOTS are available as limited edition prints to buy with all proceeds donated to national literacy charity Beanstalk.

You can read more about Beanstalk and browse the prints here.

To the LEMON-aid

LEMON

With Christmas just round the corner it’s time to focus our minds. I’m afraid we’re not talking pigs in blankets, no… the hour is almost upon us to draw up our list of hopes and dreams, aspirations and targets: our new year’s resolutions.

But fear not – sticking to your guns and actually achieving your goals just got a whole lot easier… thanks to LEMON – a newly launched app that we’re incredibly proud to have been a part of helping bring to life.

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The last roar

Since the IDIOMASCOTS made their first public outing back in March this year, they’ve gone down a real storm. Valiantly flying the flag for creative translations, we’re proud of the little blighters.300 Hairy Bears

But since setting them wild, we’ve been inundated with amusing idioms from the animal kingdom the world over. Is it time to expand the menagerie? Cast your votes for your favourite below (or even submit your own in the comments section) to determine who will have the last roar.

Update: The votes are in! Meet the latest addition to the menagerie here.

Any French speakers in the building?

If you’ve ever worked agency-side, chances are you’ll recognise round-robin email pleas like this. Carrots on sticks range from alcohol to free product (though just how enticing that is depends on the account in question).

Cue well-meaning offers all the way from account manager Anna who spent a year abroad in Toulouse through to French-born Guillaume in finance.

In the most scientific of experiments, we asked two such kind souls to translate a luxury jewellery company’s endline: ‘Rare finds are our hallmark’. OK – admittedly a rather contrived test; we’ve asked one of our franklyfluent creative copywriters to have a crack too.

rocked-london-logo

James (account director, BA in French)

Les trouvailles rares sont notre passion. / [literally: rare finds are our passion.]

James’s suggestion is a good attempt to stick close and literal to the original. The French ‘trouvailles’ is the obvious and seemingly closest translation for ‘finds’, but it usually refers to the sorts of discoveries you make in your attic (what David Dickinson calls ‘bobby dazzlers’).

Anne-Marie (receptionist, native French)

Notre marque de fabrique ? Les pièces rares. / [literally: our trademark? Rare pieces.]

Here ‘marque de fabrique’ goes some way in fulfilling the dual role of ‘hallmark’, but lacks the jewellery cues that ‘hallmark’ carries.

Sandrine (franklyfluent creative translator)

À la recherche de la perle rare. / [literally: in search of rare gems.]

A little clunky-sounding translated back into English and, of our three suggested translations, the furthest away in literal terms, but with good cause as Sandrine explains:

‘A direct translation won’t do here. For one, the word for ‘hallmark’ in French (‘poinçon’) is very technical and can’t be used to make the luxury cues the English does. Word-for-word translations also tend to feel clunky and awkward. So we have to look for an equivalent play on words that conveys similar positive brand associations and sounds fluent to a French audience.’

In this sense Sandrine’s solution works: it nods towards the title of Proust’s famous French novel À la recherche du temps perdu, which to the French ear instantly conjures ideas of luxury, elegance, nostalgia and pride.

And it builds on a well-known French idiom: ‘trouver la perle rare’, meaning ‘to find a real gem’.

These things combined, Sandrine’s creative transcreation does a clever job of translating the idea behind our client’s slogan; it suggests elegance and refinement, and nods toward the jewellery sector, all in a natural, seamless French.

A real coup, if you’ll allow it. Now we’re off to watch Bargain Hunt.

 

300 hairy bears! Introducing the IDIOMASCOTS

Update – we’re proud to announce the little critters have made it out of their cage and into the most recent edition of The Drum‘s Creative Showcase!

franklyfluent transcreation IDIOMASCOTS in The Drum

 


 

Today we’re proud to unleash a curious set of critters onto the world of creative translation. We affectionately call them the IDIOMASCOTS.

franklyfluent IDIOMASCOTS

 


A friendly group, each one of the five illustrations represents an oddly amusing idiom from a different corner of the world – from Slovenia’s 300 hairy bears to Japanese monkeys, we take a look at the delicate task of translating from one culture to another, and the often comical effects of an overly literal translation.


 

What do you think of the IDIOMASCOTS? — tweet to us @fftranslations using #ffidiomascots