Latinos/Hispanos/Mexicanos: Learning inglés/English?

Begin learning an international language and quickly become “fist-bumping” friends with la cafetería employee, give a flower to someone you don’t even know, get “the girl” and a corporate job where you speak inglés/US-English in a matter of days. It’s all so very realistic!

Hola. ¿Qué tal? Is the language company talked about at this link not doing well financially? Regardless, they have a really bad ad which reeks of desperation currently running on the español television networks en Los Estados Unidos/the US/The Cesspool.

All the actors in this ad are white, including the white Latino. He’s the main character and plays the role of the customer. Just like the español television networks en Los Estados Unidos/in the US which come across as anti-ethnic with white Latinos before their expensive cameras, this language company also comes off as anti-ethnic. Are there no people “of colour” in your world, language company? Or did the television network(s) order the ad with only white Latinos? That wouldn’t surprise me. (Univisión has their token non-white Latino, Tony Dandrades).

This ad is another heterosexual commercial. It would be much more interesting if the main character/the customer were a Queer boy and met or got “the guy.” And with same-gender marriage being legal in many US states, the (español) network still can’t show two Queer boys meeting and beginning a relationship? A gay ad would speak positively to the pro-gay viewers. But instead, this ad is just another heteronormative ad with supposed “straight” people. So predictable and boring.

This language ad wouldn’t be offensive if the actors—other than the main character—were at least bilingual and spoke fluently in both inglés/US-English y español and helped the main character in a friendly way to learn inglés (which is the point of the ad) and spoke fluently back and forth between the two languages in helping him pronounce and learn words in US-English. That would be a very positive and an international ad. But that’s not what we have here, unfortunately.

This ad is very unrealistic. It gives the viewer the impression that if one learns US-English (which can presumably be learned in a matter of days if one believes this ad) that the main character achieves the following:

1. The main character in this ad (the customer) very quickly becomes “fist-bumping” amigos with the salesperson en la cafetería just from ordering coffee and because this customer has learned a few words in US-English (coffee being one of the words). The ad gives the impression that the salesperson in la cafetería has never, ever had any customer that didn’t speak perfect US-English, and the salesperson can’t at all figure out what this customer on his first visit to la cafetería is trying to say in his attempt to order coffee, which is pronounced “café” en español. One would think that someone working en la cafetería would know that, no? How difficult is “café” to understand? I mean really?

2. After bumping into la muchacha on his first trip to la cafetería, the main character (the customer) very quickly gets “the (white) girl” with blond hair because he waits outside la cafetería for her to arrive with an extra coffee he bought for her after learning how to order two coffees in US-English. He and this blond chica quickly become a couple. As you may be concluding about now, this ad is so very realistic because this stuff happens all the time, you know.

3. Then shortly afterwards, this customer (the main character) pursues a corporate job and is ready to tackle the corporate skyscrapers where he looks like he’s dreaming of being a corporate CEO or some other type of (corrupt) corporate basura because that’s what is programmed. One is supposed to desire to be a CEO. How realistic is that?

This language company is trying to promote their English classes to the gullible viewer who only speaks español and who will fall for this stupid and unrealistic ad. And that’s the offensive part of this ad, which is the unspoken part: The viewer can’t possibly achieve any of these things if the viewer only speaks español. The people in the ad are the typical USans in that they’re not able to speak any español. They give blank stares instead.

It’s good and intelligent to learn and be fluent in other international languages. I know someone who is fluent in 4 languages.

I am wondering when the other actors in this tacky ad will begin learning español since they don’t seem able to speak a word of it? It’s the español-only speaker (the main character/customer) having to learn US-English because the people he’s interacting with are illiterate en español and act ignorant. For example, the cashier in la cafetería acts unable to understand that the customer wants café (coffee). Then the customer (the main character with bad acting skills) seems frustrated that he can’t be understood by the cashier. But before that, the customer (main character) had tripped going into la cafetería because he wasn’t looking down watching where he was going, but this obnoxious ad implies he tripped because he could not read the sign on the door of la cafetería saying, “Watch your step.” He wouldn’t need to read the sign on their door if he had been watching where he was going. Duh. Then he bumped into la chica on his way out of la cafetería, whom he later “gets”/hooks up with. They quickly begin the perfunctory hand-holding routine which seems to be mandatory for heterosexuals, he then briefly fucks with her blond hair, and then the viewer sees them soaked from walking in the rain together and then there’s the halting beso/kiss (of course that has to be in there!). That happens all the time, doesn’t it? But when they had their first encounter outside la cafetería, he didn’t know how to say “excuse me” (in English) to her when he bumped into her. Of course there are body-language ways of saying “excuse me” to anyone without saying a word in any language but that’s not what this ad wanted to imply.

Also during the ad, the main character is now able to read a sign in English outside la cafetería saying take a free flower so he takes a flower while waiting for la chica to show up to give her a free coffee and gives this flower to a woman (she’s also white with short reddish hair) he doesn’t even know who is sitting at a table outside la cafetería. The woman has a child sitting at her table and the woman is on her mind-controlling gadget/tablet (the ad’s message to the viewer: you must be on your gadget to be anyone). People walk over to people they don’t know and give them flowers all the time, don’t they? I see that frequently, don’t you? [sarcasm intended] Well naturally, she looks a little surprised by it as if to say (while smiling to him) “why did you do that?” I would be suspicious, surprised by it too and thinking: What do you want? Why did you just give me this flower? What are you up to, muchacho?

There’s loud music playing for the entire length of this ad so one cannot hear the ad’s dialogue (it’s just mouthed) to hear how well or how poorly the main character/customer progresses in learning inglés and to hear if he sounds authentic in his supposed attempt to sound like a first-language speaker.

Along with the ad being anti-ethnic with its all white people cast, it’s also anti-español the way it’s produced and scripted. It implies that español is inferior to English. Nonsense. I find the entire ad offensive.

As I said earlier, the ad promotes the mind-controlling stupidphones and another gadget (smartphones are transforming society into a sea of stupid). They have the customer pull out his stupidphone from his pocket and we see the language company’s graphics all over his screen after he was successful saying the word “coffee.” At his home, he gets on his tablet to continue on with this language service.

The acting in this ad is bad. It doesn’t look natural. It looks forced, phony and tries too hard to convince the Latino/Hispano/Mexicano/Chicano viewer that one can quickly learn inglés (which of course is bull shit) and be just like el muchacho in the ad.

English is a difficult language to learn, and to learn any language well one needs an in-person (human) teacher who is an expert in the language to answer a student’s questions related to pronunciation, grammar and so forth that a student will most assuredly have while learning the language. Learning a language well takes a long time. It’s a lot more complicated than learning vocabulary word. It’s not at all as it’s falsely presented in this bad commercial. Chau.—el barrio rosa

11 comments on “Latinos/Hispanos/Mexicanos: Learning inglés/English?

  1. E

    Hola, that ad just played where I am and I watched it more closely because you wrote about it. One thing you didn’t say that I noticed is that all of the extras in the background are white heterosexual couples with men and women paired together. Far from the idea that Alejandro up the page had.

    Saludos.

  2. bianca

    i saw this ad when it first started running & only watched it because it was new. they finally changed their ad i thought. they seem to run them for at least a year before they change them.

    can this really happen? seems too much like fiction with the “happy ever after” ending…but i thought i’d proably be the only one that thought that…. it’s cool to see i’m not.

  3. LK

    This ad really feeds right into the right-wing haters who yell ‘Learn English, Learn English.’ They make it sound like someone can instantly learn English. Not true.

    1. LK

      Oooooooops, forgot to add even though it’s off topic…. You have the prettiest comment section I’ve ever seen, very unusual. I like the colors.

  4. Alejandro

    If they had made this a gay ad that would have been very cool. I’d like that. As you say, all that’s out there are hetero ads. Show two dudes meeting, not two women meeting. Nothing against lesbians but the corp. media think it’s “safer” to show a lesbian couple than a gay male couple.

  5. Chica Salsa

    Hola, hola. Aren’t there two versions of that ad? Him giving that mother (?) a flower is cut out and them standing in the rain kissing is also cut out in the shorter version, if memory serves. Or did I get put off by it all and my brain cut out those scenes for me?

    1. rosa_barrio Post author

      Hola Chica Salsa, I think there are two versions. I’ve mostly seen the longer version and made a point of watching it (which took some doing) so I could write about it. Gracias for your comment. Chau.

  6. Nobody you know

    Speaking of mind-controlling, I don’t have a television so I haven’t seen this ad. Good article nevertheless. Well analyzed and some very good points made. Thanks.

  7. Azúcar

    I’m not swayed by ads. I’m suspect of them. The guy that this ad’s about looks gay to me and my roommate. He thinks it’s a gay guy playing a straight role which really does happen a lot.

  8. carlos

    hola, glad to know i’m not the only one turned off by that ad.,,,,for many of the reasons you gave….it’s a bit much to say the least. it’s so corny i guess that’s the way to say it. muchas gracias.

Fin. The End.