The other white people

At least a quarter of the posters within the train I ride, when I ride the train, are currently advertisements for the new(ly available in Japan) Pringles flavour, "French Consomme". Since PringlesWorld totally disses Japan I can't show you the actual images, but as we all know, talking about pictures is almost as interesting as seeing them! (Also, maybe someone will comment me up something nice.)

The campaign targets its Japanese audience by pretending to target the French people who live among them. Most of them are some variation on "Hey, François! You can now buy the real taste of French consomme in a pringle, in Japan!", superimposed over a picture of an aggressively blue-eyed, high-contrast, French-looking person looking shocked. (Few of them look particularly happy to me, but maybe I just can't read pretend French nonverbal cues.)

Of course few Japanese people will be naiive enough to think that a potato chip can capture the taste of French consomme so well that French people would have been jonesing for it all this time, but white folks are still eye-catching and Pringles is a well-known brand, so I suppose the campaign will work out okay.

Meanwhile, Nova has a new campaign based on two wooden puppets. You can see them at the top left of that page. The short one is a Japanese character named Kiku-chan (kiku as in "Chrysanthemum" is an element in names, and a different kiku is a verb meaning "to listen"), and the tall one is a foreigner named Shabeeru. I think maybe this is supposed to be "Chabert"? Or "Xavier"? Anyway, it's close to the verb shaberu, to talk.

I guess dualities make sense from a character-creation perspective, but if I were a Nova teacher I'd be a little annoyed by my parent company reinforcing, yet again, the idea that students of English are supposed to "listen". If you want to learn to talk, you have to talk.

More importantly, Shabeeru's face is a horrifying elongated dead-eyed skull, and he has a small t-shaped mat of chest hair -- blonde, of course. I did not need to see this puppet on my television screen so early in the morning.

Popularity factor: 4


I have seen those ads (both types), and they are indeed freaky.


I've had a soft spot for Nova ads since the days of the mompe-clad inakappe bappa standing in the field cackling "I am nou-ba, aha ha ha!" But my all-time favorite English school ad campaign has to be the "Celine de Aeon" one from a few years ago.

Anyway, maybe the short puppet being the kiku one is a veiled indication that the company is becoming "bigger" on speaking than listening?

Or maybe I'm just full of it; after all, "chrysanthemum flower" is a slang term for that part I'm always complaining about tweetching, ne?


C'est ridicule! (pretending to be a French)


Hahaha! Nouba. See, that's the kind of ad I want to see. Nowadays it's all "famous person learns to shop while another famous person smoulders at his kiddie desk". Bah humbug to reality!

Although I do find that new GEOS ad where Murakawa Eri mugs shamelessly as a foolish blonde-haired girl in the background comes dangerously near to touching a bench labelled "wet paint" in Japanese. (This isn't a good example of language-related mixups, though, because if anything, knowing that a sign means "wet paint" makes you MORE likely to touch whatever it applies to.)

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