Marketers are adding a new and powerful tool to their magic mix of tricks and schemes to help us part with our money…foreign words! English so often the go-to language for marketers, is now making way for some foreign words when there is a need to conjure up authenticity, cultural depth, heritage and sophistication…or sometimes just link it to a national reputation.
Audi were actually onto this decades ago (1982 to be precise). When the legendary adverting guru, Sir John Hegarty, saw a faded poster on a factory wall in Ingolstadt 30 years ago, he didn’t see unintelligible German words. He saw a catchphrase that would sell millions of cars to UK buyers by connecting Audi with the global perception of German engineering prowess. That faded poster said:
Vorsprung durch Technik
It roughly means “advancement through technology”. However, in German it communicated so much more….superior German engineering, reliability and strength. It sounded cool too – forever imprinted on my mind.
Fast forward to 2016 and another brand is also finding the power of the foreign word. Two years ago the manufacturers of San Pellegrino mineral water decided to make a tiny change to the labelling of their bottles: They would add the words Toscana, Italia to their still water brand Acqua Panna. Clemont Vachon, a company spokesperson said at a conference held in Florence (or should that be Firenze?) this week that:
“We decided to use Toscana, not the English word, Tuscany – and after 18 months ales have in creased by 14%
Italian is an emotional language, not mechanical like German, and speaks to the heart. Just say ‘Armani’ and you think of passion and style.”
Will this be a new trend?
Foreign straplines and words sprinkled into the English media would be most welcome – and a gentle encouragement to learn foreign languages – if after all they are seen as cooler, authentic and stylish.
Where marketers lead, society usually follows. Penso di sì (doesn’t that sound like a strapline, already?)