Picture this. A two-piece comfy sofa; a soothing image of a lake and a small, deserted beach on the background; a pitcher of delicious ice-tea and then your lovely mom … sucking someone –or being sucked by someone– for some reason.
That is pretty much the takeaway for so many Spanish-speakers out there who could not help but notice the gaffe in Kmart’s latest Mother’s Day campaign. The problem here lies in the choice of the word Mamaste, which –apparently– is supposed to be a play on words between Mom & Namasté, inviting mothers to Find their happy place and relax on Mothers Day. But while Namasté might be a term well-known among the yoga community, Kmart would be well advised to consider what “Mamaste” actually means in Spanish.
OK, I get it. They don’t want to spend money on hiring pesky bilingual copywriters, but they could have just turned to Google Translate instead. I mean. It’s FREE! it’s easy; it’s right… there. How lazy are they?
And this is only the tip of the iceberg. As my friend J.C. Maya discovered, there’s even a book (on sale in Target) with the same title: Mamaste: Discover a More Authentic, Balance, and Joyful Motherhood from Within,
Now if y’all excuse me: HA HA HA HA HA HA (or as we say in good Spanish: JA JA JA JA)
So much for the bad blood between this blogger (i.e. yours truly) and Hispanic Heritage Month. Goya has launched a new campaign which is actually a fun way to show America what I HAVE BEEN SAYING, like, FOREVER: That not all Latinos are fond of fútbol, abuelas or conservative values.
The following spot, crafted by Dallas-based Dieste, kicks off with a hilarious take on a Latin stereotype that is way too common in this country:
[NARRATOR’S VOICE] They say if you know one Latino, you know all Latinos: We only think of fútbol and nothing but fútbol.
Pan out to a scene where dad & kid are having breakfast (¿huevos rancheros?) and kid blurts out: “Dad, I want to play hockey.”
But perhaps my favorite part is around the subject of language, where you can get away by saying, well, they all speak Spanish… REALLY? Think again:
Frijoles > Habichuelas > Porotos > Judías*
*Yes, judías. Go Google it or something…
Our client GOYA celebrates Latin diversity with their new campaign: Ode to a Mix. Let’s celebrate our heritage with unique flavors. If it’s Goya… it has to be good! pic.twitter.com/B8MuA0bj7a
Spectrum Latino –which I believe is like “regular Spectrum,” but Latino– is determined to engage with its Hispanic consumers across social media. Its latest effort comes in the form of a Twitter survey, in which the company wants to hear our opinions in our own language.
In the survey, posted this week on Spectrum Latino’s Twitter account, the company wants to know what we (i.e. The Hispanics) do with our phones, whether we use them mostly to take pictures, make phone calls, send texts or stream content. But the options are written in a bizarre, non-existing language resulting in words like “estrimeando” and “fotografeando” (presumably “streaming” and “taking photographs.”
Anyhow, here’s the original tweet but, more importantly, the replies, which are gold:
You guys must think I just make stuff up just to keep updating this wonderful blog and all. But no. Thanks to the ever creative minds of marketing professionals, there is always something new under the Latino-Hispanic muy caliente sun.
Señoras y señores: I give you the BBQ Dragon, the portable, hands-free, rechargeable gadget which –according to a presumably serious press release– will help you make “the best carne asada in town.” Why? Because Cinco de Mayo is approaching!
I’m not sure this thing was even conceived with carne asada or Cinco de mayo in mind, but who the hell cares? We are fast approaching this blogger’s favorite faux-Mexican holiday.
After much teasing, Dos Equis finally unveiled its first full-fledged commercial featuring French actor Augustin Legrand, the brand’s new “Most Interesting Man in the World.”
And he’s actually not that interesting.
Unlike Jonathan Goldsmith, Dos Equis’ original — and devastatingly handsome — Most Interesting Man in the World, the new guy comes across more like a hipster than a seductive “real man” á la Goldsmith. Unlike his predecessor, who enjoyed sharing a good meal surrounded by several gorgeous women, the new will make you a “spinach fettuccini with a shiitake mushroom glaze.”
Per Dos Equis, the action in the new ads take place entirely in the present era, unlike the old ones that included footage of a younger version of the man, suggesting a bygone era. The new spots — and spokesperson — are also an attempt to attract more so-called millennials to the brand, proving once again that millennials just ruin everything.
Making fun of Mr. Trump’s idiotic idea for a U.S.-Mexico border wall has become a national sport –and the subject of some questionable marketing tactics.
The latest example is this ad for Tecate Light, which aired Monday night during the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald [the crazy] Trump. In a nutshell, Tecate proposes building its own wall — but it’s not yuuuge, but small enough to rest a beer on for a neighborly chat between gringos and Mexicans.
The tagline: This wall is going to be small but it’s going to be huge. Watch and decide for yourself: Which is the worst idea: Trump’s or Tecate’s?
I have no idea what kind of Mexicans the people of MillerCoors hang out with, but apparently they are the inspiration behind Zumbida, an alcoholic drink with a make-believe Mexican name, which is supposed to be inspired by the “Mexican tradition of Aguas Frescas.”
Per its very colorful package, Zumbida (LOL) is described as “Aguas Frescas con un toque de piquete,” which makes absolutely no sense, because in Mexico, when you say “con piquete” you don’t really need to say “con un toque de…” but I guess that’s too much for the people of MillerCoors and their imaginary Mexican friends.
Anyway, as I was saying, while “un toque de piquete” makes absolutely no sense, what really gets me here is the word Zumbida, which I guess they think is something like a zumbido, zumbada,zumba or zabe Dios qué … (God help them, please!)
As a company spokesperson told AdAge (apparently with a straight face):
“Zumbida is a traditional drink done in a distinctly American way — a fusion.”
So let me get this straight: Zumbida (LOL) is a based on a “Mexican traditional drink” done in a “distinctly American way,” which basically means it’s some sort of disgusting sugary drink spiked with a heavy dosage of marketing bullshit.”
Despite high-profile, unsuccessful efforts to give my people (i.e. The Hispanics) dedicated “Hispanic stores” with “Hispanic stuff” presumably preferred by “Hispanic people,” big corporations continue to make strides — and waste invest their money — in giving my people their very own Hispanic tiendas.
Take CVS Pharmacy, which says it has converted 11 existing locations and added a brand-new store to launch its “Hispanic-centric store concept.”
And what exactly makes this CVS a Hispanic CVS? Well, I’m glad you asked. According to this WLRN story: “Cafecito, bilingual staff, money transfer services, and an expanded discount fragrance counter,” because unlike regular, non-Hiapanic people, we love to drink coffee and send money abroad while smelling real nice.
Per a CVS press release, the the new stores will carry “more than 1,500 trusted Hispanic products including favorite brands such as Café La Llave, Agustin Reyes, Fabuloso, Suavitel, Creolina and Formula 88.”
So, there I was, minding my own business; walking the streets of Manhattan; thinking about a God whose naughtiness might have escaped me when, suddenly, out of the blue, boom! I bump into a 3-meter-high advertisement for Pito Rico, a seemingly real product hailing from Puerto Rico, promising a night-long fiesta.
At first I thought someone was just screwing with my head, putting things out there for the pure enjoyment of this blog’s readers.
But no. Not only this “Pito Rico” exists; this thing has its own Website and is coming to a liquor store near us!
Not content with bringing my people (the Hispanics) a line of Latin-inspired creamers, Nestle’s Coffee Mate tonight is premiering a telenovela: Crema con aroma de café, presumably because only a good, steamy drama will compel us to put chemically-processed stuff into our café sin leche.
Not to be outdone by the likes of Mattel and Oscar Mayer with their Latin-inspired dolls and Hispanic-targeted cold cuts, Nestlé’s Cofee Mate is launching a series of “Latin-inspired products” and promoting them on Twitter with a super inventive Latin handle: #LatinTouch.
When she is not peddling recipes based on Oscar Mayer products, Lola spends her time sharing advice on family gatherings, laundry, married life and other mundane things while speaking her mind and saying things as they are “wether we like them or not.” She even takes the time to give us Spanish lessons -in English- and at least as far as I could see, she has better grammar than the Procter & Gamble abuela.
I don’t know you, but I can only imagine the meeting behind Lola’s creation:
Creative # 1: Let’s create an abuela to share recipes and stuff online, ’cause Latinos are online and love their abuelas and food and stuff…
Creative # 2: Yeah, but you know, Latinos are going to go up in arms because of the tired, abuela cliché, etc. You know how they are (I’m looking at you, @miblogestublog)
Creative # 1: Oh, I get it! Let’s make her fun and irreverent. That’ll do it.
Done. Budget approved.
Honestly, between these two, I kind of prefer the flasher (At least he did not try to be funny, nor show his face, only his cold cuts.)
After almost eight years of blogging about the wonderful world of Spanish-language media, marketing and pop culture, I’ve come across all kinds of weird, poor, lazy, bad and terrible translations from English to Spanish and viceversa.
Some are plain silly, others are just hilarious. But this one above (whose origin is still shady) takes the cake -or should I say ‘se lleva el pastel?’
NOTE: In all honesty, I think the above might just be a case of very witty Photoshop. But… oh, how I wish it were true!