Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A supplementary entry in the open diary of how to (and how not to) get by in the Portuguese language. Adverts are a great way to help with Portuguese learning. From the radio, to the TV, to billboards and magazine spreads, adverts are a helpful linguistic tool mainly because 1) they often involve smart/funny/repetitive language to draw your attention and 2) you know what they are trying to communicate already - namely: this product is good, please buy it.

Two adverts that I have seen recently have caught my attention and caused me to think about the Portuguese language. The first (above) is for a cell phone company. The slogan sinal de qualidade has a double meaning in Portuguese that is lost in a direct translation to English. This is because "sinal" is a very broad word roughly correlating to "signal" or "sign" in English but covering everything from traffic lights, road markings, telephone reception, sign post and brand logo in Portuguese meaning. Thus, sinal de qualidade is saying that VIVO is a brand name of quality AND gives you quality reception when you make a call.

Another advert I've seen recently is for EPSON, makers of computer printers and suchlike. Towards the end of their TV advert they have the word PENSO displayed on the screen which then rearranges itself into the brand name EPSON. PENSO means "I think" which is quite a smart slogan, I guess. It surprises me that a large international company like EPSON have a Portuguese-specific advertising campaign. Lots of other Multi-nationals (Colgate or VISA, for example) often import their adverts from the States with little adaptation to the Brazilian market. I suppose if EPSON wanted to repeat their little trick for the English market they would need to rename their brand KINTHI and then have the letters rearrange themselves to spell "I think". I don't think it's going to happen somehow.

No comments: