Loans to Whom???

That's it – Isracard has lost any shred of respect I ever had for it, if I had any.
Bad copywriting reflects badly on the company, in my book.
Their crude Hebrew slogan, "halva'ot le-kooooolam" הלוואות לכוווולם, is bad enough. Yeah, I get the point, I get the visual, I get the message. It's still annoying and infantile. I can ignore it. But when this "gem" gets translated literally into English, the mind boggles.

The offending ad takes up practically an entire page on yesterday's (November 17th) Jerusalem Post. At the bottom, in big red letters, is this scintillating copy:
Loans to a-a-a-all – that's Isracard.

Now, the Hebrew le-kooolam is bad enough. But at least it's idiomatic; people actually talk that way. You can just imagine a kindergarten teacher smiling at her flock and saying, "hineh balonim le-kooolam!" i.e., "Here are balloons for everyone!" That's about how sophisticated this slogan is. But what's this a-a-a-all ??? It's so totally meaningless that it defies contemplation.

I am currently translating one book about advertising & copywriting – Vered Mosenzon's The Yellow Tool Box – while reading another: Don't Mess with the Logo, by Jon Edge & Andy Milligan. I found the following paragraph very appropriate:

"Well, anyway, when you thought of all the reasons you would recommend [brand X] to someone else, were any of those reasons 'You'll love the advertising'? If you answered yes, then you work in advertising or you used to work in advertising or want to work in advertising. Any other sane person would say no."

See, that paragraph describes me. A company's advertising, to me, is definitely part of its brand value. Any company with lousy copywriting loses points and loses some of my trust. Why on earth does Isracard treat us like kindergarten kids? Why don't they care enough to have their ads and slogans re-invented in English? Don't we English-speaking customers count? Don't they want our business? Obviously, paying a copywriter to re-create their message in English is more expensive than telling the J. Post (or any other publication) "oh, just have it translated, I don't care if it's literal, so long as it doesn't cost me extra" – or something to that effect. Yet it irks me. It is unprofessional and short-sighted.



N K said...

Yes, I also noticed that's enough to make you throw up. Did they even try to sound it out?


Unknown said...

Reading this and trying to pronounce the kooolam and the a-a-all really had me LOL.


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