Posted by: Manuel Delgado | April 12, 2010

I wrestle big Japanese men?

Pepsi launched a new Hispanic marketing initiative around the US Census.

The concept is really good: it calls for Hispanics to submit their stories and show their “human” side, proving that we’re more than numbers.

After all submissions are received, the company will create a documentary with the best stories. The film is to be hosted by Latina actress Eva Longoria.

If only they hand’t made a basic error in naming the program.

The original name in English, which seems to be the language in which the promotion was conceived, is “I Count.”

That name is very good. It summarizes the concept beautifully with the double entendre “I count [numbers]” and “I’m important.”

However, the unfortunate name of the promotion in Spanish is “Yo Sumo,” meaning “I add.”

(Or “I participate in Japan’s national sport, wrestling in sacred ground to honor the Shinto Gods”).

As obvious as it may seem, a better name would have been simply “Yo cuento.” This would have maintained the two English meanings (“I count [numbers]” and “I’m important”), but it would have added a great third one: “I tell a story.”

Many times the easiest and more obvious approach is the best one. Makes you wonder if using something that was so close to the English name felt “too easy” to the Pepsi marketing folks.

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Responses

  1. My dear friend…

    There’s no error in the name of the campaign. This is not a campaign to make yourself count on the Census, it is a campaign to invite you to tell us what you ADD UP to the culture of this country.
    Census is the one that counts, they want to know qué sumas tú.

    The name was chosen for two reasons: first, the above explained. YO SUMO goes beyond the Census counting; second, take a look around and you’ll see how EVERYBODY was doing YO CUENTO, HAZTE CONTAR, CUENTAS, and anything with contar all around this market.

    Those were mainly the reasons for using YO SUMO instead of YO CUENTO.

    And, with all due respect, the I WRESTLE is a very bad joke… :P

    Regards,

    V.

    • Dear Victor,

      Thanks for your comments.

      The goal of the blog post was simply to point out that “Yo Sumo” is not a good name for the promotion.

      Your justification makes this evident. “Adding up” is a great expression in English- and the best Spanish equivalents would be words like “agregar” or ”añadir” (as in “add to the whole”), not “sumar.”

      Using “sumar” in an expression like the one you suggest as an example, “Qué sumas tú,” seems forced: even when asking your friends about what’s going on, it’s very common to hear “que cuentas.”

      The fact that everybody was using variations of ”contar” should have an indication that perhaps that was the best way to refer to projects related to the Census.

      Picking a bad name for the sake of originality hardly seems justifiable.

      And about the wrestle joke, yes. I’ll admit it’s quite bad. But when your work generates bad jokes, you should worry less about the jokes and more about the work.

      Respectfully,

      Manuel-san


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