Sunday, December 19, 2010

Have the guts to go guerrilla?

When I first saw the thumbnails for this campaign on Ads of The World, I thought it was for PeTA. Or maybe organ donation.

But on closer inspection, it turned out to be a very gory self-promotion by Der Doctor Guerrilla, an Italian alternative marketing agency that wants to get noticed.

How would you react to receiving one of these nasty little things on your desk? Especially just before lunch?

"Would new ideas be of service to you? [Need new ideas?] Fresh human brain from a male adult (but not too adult)"

"Could a hand be of service? [Need a hand?] Fresh human hand from an adult male (but not too adult)."

"Would heart and passion be of service your agency? [Need more heart and passion at your agency?] Fresh human heart from an adult male (but not too adult)."

What we non-Italian audiences (and readers of AOTW's bad translations) are missing is the pun. In Italian, "servire" isn't just used like English "serve" but also to indicate a need. That's why I provided the awkward double translations above.

Another thing that doesn't really translate is the fourth concept. It's uniquely Italian, and to understand it you need to know that Italy's first civilization, the Etruscans, considered the liver to be the most important organ in the body, the seat of life and the soul. The Etruscans were later so assimilated by Rome that even their language has been lost. But today, Italians use the expression "if you have the liver for it" like we use "guts", "stomach" or "balls" — to indicate willpower, determination, and manliness.

So now you can amaze your friends and frighten your enemies at agency Christmas parties by deconstructing this ad:

"Would the liver to do guerrilla marketing be of service to your agency? [Does your agency need someone with the guts to do guerilla marketing?] Fresh human liver from an adult male (but not too adult)."

UPDATE: The Doc himself left a note on Acart's Facebook page:

Hi Tom, thanks for the post and nice to meet you ... The translation of the concepts you've done is apt, I knew I likely to encounter misunderstanding on the "liver". There is only one small mistake: I am not an agency but a freelancer looking for work as a creative:)

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