Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Commercial: "I Am A Dick"

I can't make up stuff this funny. The rest of the cherry blossom photos will have to wait because I just saw a TV commercial so ridiculous that my fingers have immediately begun blogging about it involuntarily. First, a little back story.

There is this Japanese loan company called Dick. Dick (the most logical spelling of its name, since it is spelled ディック -- Dikku -- in katakana) started out with the name Ike (アイク -- Aiku), until one day, without warning, they started airing this TV ad announcing that their new name would be Dick. Fiancee (then Girlfriend) and I immediately recognized this as one of the worst name changes possible and laughed about it for a long time.

More recently, Dick started a campaign with the English catchphrase "I am a hero." The ads feature images of individuals whose lives have been made exciting and fun by borrowing money at ludicrous interest rates and a Japanese sub-slogan which translates roughly as "Because you are the main character." When I saw these ads, I thought this new catchphrase was a step in the right direction. Anything's better than relying on the strength of your company's name alone, when your company's name happens to be Dick.

Unfortunately, the commercial I saw tonight is a giant leap in the wrong direction. We see some footage of a young business man looking intrepid and financially confident. A male voice-over says, "Boku wa..." and there is an English translation of his voice-over on the screen. Next we see a similarly empowered-looking female on the screen, and a female voice says, "Atashi wa..." with the accomanying English translation.

Now, had I translated "Boku wa" and "Atashi wa" to English, I'd have come up with "I am." Makes sense, considering Dick's previous "I am a hero" campaign. But the English on the screen when these people speak says, "I am a..."with the article "a" included on the end.

You can see where this is going. After a couple repeats of the voice-over and English translation "I am a..." the commercial ends and we are shown the name of the company in big katakana letters: Dick.

"I am a Dick."

I don't have a video of this commercial, but some other observant Japan blogger is bound to pick up on this and post the commercial on YouTube. I'll keep a watchful eye out for it.

5 comments:

butt? said...

wow... I've seen the "I am a hero" ads all around, but I haven't seen the CM yet, but I'll be on the look-out for it now!

-butt?

Sluggo said...

Here it is: http://www.iamahero.jp/cm/

Enjoy, you bunch of dicks!

Jesse Jace said...

That's not the commercial I saw, but it's close. The one I saw had the text "I am a..." with a dot-dot-dot at the end. Without that dot-dot-dot, it's not nearly as funny. I haven't seen that commercial again since the first time. I wonder if some friendly English speaker notified Dick of the comedic nature of their ad.

butt? said...

Jesse, if you click the link you have to watch the 15sec version, it's the one with the "I am a..." translation. The 30sec version uses "I am a HERO"
I put it up on my blog too (noairplay.blogspot.com)

-butt?

Jesse Jace said...

Oh, you're right! That's the one! Thanks, Butt?