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Back to school for adverising agencies

The invasion of Anglicisms has been a success, and we are to blame.
4 minutos

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Según la Gestalt, “el todo es más que la suma de las partes”. Si aceptamos el mantra de la escuela alemana, estamos abocados a aceptar que la construcción estética contiene una gramática propia, unos elementos básicos que en su conjunción forman un todo con entidad propia, pero disoluble y flexible. 

Spanish language and literature, a neglected subject

After hearing so much “I don’t like maths”, it turns out that the eternal unfinished assignment is language. Once again this year, we have left it for September and, now that the school year is starting, it’s time to apply ourselves!

The Spanish language, or Castilian, is a Romance language which is the official language in 21 countries, born of a promiscuous union between pre-Roman, Latin, Visigoth Germanic, Arabic and “we say it like this in my village” languages. With its foundations laid in Gramática castellana (Castilian Grammar) by Antonio de Nebrija (1492) and evolving with history and society, today it is one of the most important languages ot the world*.

So, why do people speak it increasingly poorly? Tell me that you are not now used to hearing infinitives replacing imperatives, invented words, corrupted grammar and anything that sounds rather British and that we use asap.

Why is this happening to the world’s second language by number of speakers?

Because nobody remembers
second place.

Spanish, the world's second language

The situation is like this: every year, the number of speakers of Spanish as a first language grows and the use we make of it becomes poorer. English beats Spanish by a landslide in terms of credibility in “serious” matters such as scientific publications and in more relaxed matters such as our social interactions. Perhaps the power of the British Empire endures, at least in terms of its ability to conquer with its language, although it is probably more a question of fashion: it is the most trendy, to be sure. And the younger we are, the more shorts (“bermudas”, in Spanish) we have in our wardrobe and the more breaks (“descansos”) we take to eat our sandwiches (“bocadillos”). And so it happens that taking this fashion to its ultimate consequences has… consequences! There have been warnings for a long time, using:

  • Artícles with almost two decades of tradition and little political correctness (it was the 2000s!):
    “…It’s not the same thing to say “tocino” as “bacon” – even if it has the same fat…” (“…No es lo mismo decir “bacon” que tocino —aunque tenga igual de grasa…”)Read more*.
  • Humorous creations that have made history by teaching us to use the new language “that way”*:

  • Adverts (ups, spots – “anuncios”) commercials*:

Is Spanish spoken in advertising?

We fondly remember 2016, the year in which the RAE* itself joined forces with the Academia de la Publicidad to defend the use of Spanish, commissioning Grey to produce a campaign to make it clear that communicating is #MejorEnTuLengua (BetterInYourLenguage)*. El objetivo: concienciar a agencias y público en general del uso excesivo del inglés.

This defence of the Spanish language is increasingly global; it’s not only of concern to Spaniards. Here is a Mexican campaign about Anglo-Saxon cannibalism in the world of marketing.

Back to school

That is not to say that every Anglicism, Gallicism, Neologism and other -ism is a devil -ism. They are part of a living language that adapts to the times proof that the monster is alive! But if we use them immoderately, they become noise, unwanted communication. That is, spam.

A language like Spanish, rich, aged and as intoxicating as the best wine, should take the lead in the Guía Peñín* of our communications and leave behind its inferiority complex. (The Guía Peñín is Spain’s most famous and comprehensive wine guide). It is time to pamper it a little, to all become Guardians of Words to prevent them from disappearing and to assume the responsibility we have as major disseminators of content.

To companies like ours, a digital agency where we refer (in English) to CEO (“Director Ejecutivo”), Accounts Managers (“Directores de Cuentas”), Copys (“Redactores”), Art Directors (“Director de Arte”) or guys from the back (programadores) where we do benchmarking (“evaluaciones comparativas”) before devising concepts presented in ppt slides (“diapositivas”), it’s quite hard for us to go back to Spanish! However, this year we should aim to follow that path, as the secret to reaching any audience is to speak to them in their own language.

This September we start the course hoping that Spanish will be “the most applied”, in the world of advertising and marketing too. Who knows, maybe we’ll get a taste for it and end up calling ourselves Geñetsis.

Work in progress! (“¡Seguimos trabajando en ello!”)

* Videos and landing pages in Spanish

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