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storytelling, travelling brand, creative translation, marketing consultancy, textappeal, cross cultural marketing

The Secret of the Time-Travelling Brand

  |   News

David Brand was in a rush to catch his Uber from the Textappeal offices in London. He planned to make a quick stop by his office to pull together a few charts with the final spending figures, followed by a late bite to eat, and hopefully a few hours of sleep before his 7:30 a.m. debrief with the CEO. A mad six months of global campaign preparation, but the finish line was in sight!

Despite Yuliya’s insistence on guiding him, he told the Languages Account Director of Slavic origin that he’d find his own way out.

She walked him to the lift and gave him a notebook with a pink cover: “For you, David. Text me if you need anything.”  “Spasio, Yuliya!” he answered, knowing it was more impactful to offer thanks in her native Russian, even though her English was perfect…

He stepped into the booth and mechanically pressed a button for the ground floor. Then something inexplicable happened, and everything went horribly wrong.

david brand using the elevator

Unfortunately David Brand fails to notice that instead of hitting “G” for the ground floor, he has accidentally pressed an unfamiliar button that says “-10,000”. The lift sails well past the ground floor, and continues on and on. A digital display above the door spins backwards from -250 then -1000, -5000. But before processing this predicament, he mindlessly checks his phone. The Uber is 1 minute away.

He feels his heart and pit of his stomach float for a few seconds before the infernal machine screeches to a halt. The overhead lights switch off. Silence. Blinking above on the display, a red display warns: -10,000. A millisecond that feels like an eon passes, and the door opens.

London has disappeared. Instead an unknown wilderness illuminated by a full moon lays before him. Instinctively, he checks his phone again. No service.

gif showing jack from Lost wakes up from the shock

As the shock recedes, he steps out of the doors and his senses adjust. A cold breeze whispers in his ear, he feels himself shiver. With impeccable timing, as if he has stepped into a campfire story, he hears a howling in the distance. Then, something else closer by…a scratching, perhaps? He nervously wonders if hungry wild animals already surround him, ready to pounce and rip him apart like a Waitrose prime beef cut.

gif with a tiger

And to think all he wanted to do was get his brand campaign translated and delivered to 110 markets, and be done with it. He remembers Yuliya had said something about stories being told in different ways, and recommended what she called “cultural validation” as if he didn’t know! Six months of market research, endless meetings with the agency…enough! The final brief was to come up with one big idea that worked everywhere: a universal story. He had spent a fortune on market research; battled with French and German operations who insisted they were “different”; been bamboozled by the law firm that had rejected 40 product names because they were supposedly already registered in places like Turkey, Vietnam or Argentina.

But now, here he is. A minor lapse in judgement and he finds himself surrounded by ferocious beasts and on the verge of dying alone, never to fly Emirates or Virgin again. If he isn’t eaten alive, perhaps he will perish from thirst and hunger, missing next week’s dinner at The Ivy without notice. It occurs to him that they wouldn’t hesitate to cancel his hard-earned table privileges over such an egregious lack of courtesy. Just before finding a mossy log to sit down on as his despair sinks in, he notices a small fire flickering in the distance. At the thought of warmth, his resolve stiffens and he makes his way towards the light.

gif showing savages dansing around a bonfire

As he approaches the fire, he sees figures huddled nearby, talking and eating. “People just like me!” he reassures himself, “but only dressed in animal skins instead of Armani suits!”  In a frantic voice, he greets the group in several languages; surely one of them must understand at least something he’s saying! “Hello! Guten tag! Moshi moshi! Privet! Tudo bom!” The group suddenly turns towards him, wide-eyed and with jaws gaping. They break into a loud babble of unintelligible cries, a clatter he can hardly recognise as a language. The tallest individual of the group swiftly moves towards him and seems to size him up. The Tall Man makes some strange, rapid gestures to the others. Then he pulls out a long, jagged flint knife that glows from being in the fire. He runs his fingers along the blade, almost exactly as David’s grandmother would when cleaning the Georg Jensen silverware. If the Tall Man is trying to say something to him, he can’t imagine that it’s friendly.

gif with a character from scary movie holding a knife

Seconds tick by as David runs through several options in his head. “Hand gestures are generally universal, right?” In a rapid succession of movements, he wildly waves towards the night sky and motions towards the wilderness in the distance. One of them sweeps his hand from one end of the crowd to the other and then points to himself again, circling his hand over his stomach while slowly explaining each gesture aloud in English.

The group looks on, mouths agape. Suddenly, the tallest warrior charges at David with several of his comrades-at-arms. They seize him and hold him aloft above their heads, marching him towards the direction of the communal fire. Just as he’s coming to terms with the fact that those gestures may have been mistaken for signals of aggression, he sees the crowd part to reveal two spits suspended over the fire: a skewered deer carcass slowly being spun over one, and the other, to his terror, unoccupied…

Seconds tick by as he runs through several options in his head. Once again, out of instinct, habit and nervousness, he looks to his phone and a single bar of service appears! Before he loses the connection, he shoots an SMS to Textappeal. “Stuck on Lvl -10,000. Pls help!” He eyes the animal-skin-clad group warily as a reply from Yuliya comes through. “On my way! Don’t say anything or make eye contact!”

An excruciatingly silent few minutes pass by until, out of the bushes, his Account Director appears. “So sorry about this,” she says, brushing a few stray twigs out of her hair. “We really need to get that lift fixed! Anyway, let’s get started.” She pulls an iPad out of her bag and begins scanning and swiping away at the screen. Just as he’s about to kindly protest that time is of the essence, her face brightens. “Aha!” Yuliya exclaims. “What we need here is a classic ‘Deus Ex Machina’ solution!”

Before the marketer can protest, she thrusts the iPad into his arms. A video is playing from his latest campaign. “Hold it up with two arms!” she commands. “This society is primarily animistic, and they will revere the light from the screen as well as from the video as being a deistic presence.”

homer simpson holdin a tablet and simulating different faces

Bathed in the glow of the screen, the group kneels in the collective presence of his brand video – a slideshow that highlights this season’s latest rack-ready fashion designs – playing on the screen. “It’s working!” he exclaims. The sartorial collection enthralls the group, as they sit cross-legged and murmur to themselves. While they tug on their own animal-skin coverings, they point to the screen in awe. When the video concludes, the tall, imposing member of the group with the flint knife approaches David Brand and his colleague. With the tip of his blade, the man points to the screen, then to his own rags, then to the marketer, and shrugs.

David and Yuliya face each other and exchange knowing smiles. By bridging this communication gap, they have stumbled upon a whole new world of potential early adopters who are clearly displeased with their own style, but are taking to the designs on the screen. He flips the iPad around and punches a quick message to his CEO. “Found an entirely new market with the help of Textappeal. Can you do a late-night briefing?”

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sea life is the new win for transcreation specialists Textappeal

Textappeal’s New Business Win: SEA LIFE

  |   News

SEA LIFE Aquariums is the world’s largest and most engaging conservation based aquarium brand, with more than 50 attractions around the world.

SEA LIFE create a breathtaking experience for the whole family and want to share their passion for sea life – its welfare and conservation are paramount in all they do.

Textappeal are proud to support the SEA LIFE brand in helping to promote the SEA LIFE ethos and enabling it to resonate with an audience across 13 European and Asian markets in 13 languages among which are Finnish, Portuguese, Turkish, Arabic, Thai, Korean, Simplified Chinese and Swedish.

SEA LIFE were looking for a partner to support the global unveiling of their website; a partner who shares the same passion for excellence in all they do and a partner who could further the SEA LIFE brand to audiences in markets where the brand is present.

Another crucial point for the brand was to retain consistency across SEA LIFE’s global estate of aquariums and deliver a brand message that would be fun, engaging and family-friendly across the markets SEA LIFE currently operate in.

SEA LIFE were impressed with Textappeal’s approach, passion and credentials and we are now working on the brand’s global website transcreation.

Our goal is to inform people in each specific market, in a locally relevant manner, of the importance of marine conservation, get them involved and inspire children to fall in love with the sea. To help them better understand the importance of the protection of sea life in an entertaining and culturally relevant manner.

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Cultural Insights

Textappeal Shares Cultural Insights at NYT Luxury Summit

  |   News

Alongside Aston Martin, Bang & Olufsen, Georg Jensen, and Goldman Sachs, Textappeal has been asked to hold a talk at the international New York Times Luxury Summit. The event takes place May 19th the Four Seasons Hotel in London.

Textappeal will highlight “The do’s and don’ts of culture, reputation and collaboration”. In company of C-suite executives from around the world, we will address the challenges facing global brands to manage their reputation in a digitalised world.  Check the agenda on the Luxury Law Summit’s website.

To find out how Textappeal can help you manage your global brand reputation, contact us on info@textappeal.com 

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Ad Professionals Do Good in Cannes

  |   News

 

We believe global advertising has the power not only to drive a brand’s results, but also to do some good. That’s why for the 6th consecutive year the Textappeal team is proud to support ACT Responsible at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

On Wednesday 18th June at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, ACT Responsible will launch its annual exhibition of the best creative work for sustainable causes. It’s an amazing, inspiring and sometimes shocking experience! Come and visit Hall Riviera – beachside entrance.

All the translations of creative work were provided by Textappeal.

* ACT Responsible is a Swiss-based not-for-profit organisation created in 2001. ACT stands for Advertising Community Together. Their mission is to federate the international advertising communications industry around social responsibility and sustainable development and share good practices. Contact ACT Responsible

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Why Translate Words when You can Steal Them?

  |   CultureShocks Blog

Achtung! Of the 5,000 new words that feature in the latest edition of the German equivalent of the OED – the Duden – one has raised a few more eyebrows than the rest. It’s an Anglicism, or a loan word from the English language, that has gained intriguing popularity in the German-speaking world, even appearing on the lips of Chancellor Angela Merkel. The word is Shitstorm, and means in German roughly what it means in English.

This last point is one worth making, because the German language has a longstanding tradition of borrowing words from English and distorting their meaning ever so slightly, giving them a new life of their own in English. Pseudo-anglicisms have become engrained, the unwitting German speakers largely unaware that the words have not travelled well: that in English a Streetworker is not an outreach worker, and that asking for a Handy is likely to get you a slap rather than a mobile phone.

France is traditionally much more protective over its language, with the much-vaunted Académie française dictating what should and should not be said. Or at least attempting to dictate… In this technological age it has made some admirable attempts to resist the (new) lingua franca by introducing such terms as courriel – a clever way of combining “courrier” (mail) and “électronique” – and mèl as substitutes for the English “email”. But few of their attempts to safeguard their linguistic shores against English invasion have been successful, and some of them have invited ridicule, as with this recent #hashtagdebacle. And reading virtually any French popular culture or fashion publication is enough to show that the prescriptivists are increasingly fighting a losing battle.

Japanese is a language from further afield that is a big borrower, not just from English but from other tongues too: sarariman – a salaried office/white collar worker – from “salary” + “man”; sekuhara, from “sex(ual) hara(ssment)”; abekku – or “romantic couple” – deriving from avec (“with”) in French; or igirisu, meaning England, from “ingles” in Portuguese, one of the many Japanese words that evidence the countries’ shared history.

It’s no secret that the English language is prone to pinching words at will, now more than ever deserving of its reputation as the “bastard tongue”. There is not enough space even to make a start in this blog, but suffice to say that our vocabulary reflects our rich and varied history in terms of trade, colonisation, cuisine, immigration and much more besides.

Any bastard favourites that you can think of from home or abroad? Let us know in the comments section or via Twitter or Facebook!

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