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Rosetta Stone Says Learning a Language Is Good for You, and Great for the World


With millennials eager to travel abroad and a wealth of language-learning options available, Rosetta Stone doesn't want to get lost in translation. So the company teamed with Energy BBDO and content platform Vice.com for a campaign that positions Rosetta's offerings as a way for young adults to connect, share experiences and broaden their understanding.

Rosetta's iconic yellow product boxes, airport kiosks and direct-response plays of the past are nowhere in sight. Instead, we're served aspirational branding work tagged "Create a smaller world." Narrative storytelling and positive vibes drive both a 60-second commercial and the first of four long-form videos.

Now, brevity is usually a virtue in adland, but the traditional TV spot falls a tad flat. It's not awful, just sort of generic and too schmaltzy, with quick-cut, feel-good images of people "connecting"—during karaoke, or running to catch trains in the rain—and an overly optimistic voiceover: "If everyone learned just one more language, the world would be a more tolerant place, a happier place."

That's a lovely sentiment, and perhaps even true, but many consumers buy Rosetta for more practical reasons. Often, they just wish to learn enough of a language to be understood when they ask directions to restaurants, bars, hotels and other locations while traveling.

KidSuper Watches the World Cup in Berlin With German Ultras, an 11-minute film running on Vice Sports, seems more in tune with this reality. We meet Colm Dillane, a goofy but likable millennial soccer fan from New York who journeys to Berlin to soak up the atmosphere, play in some neighborhood pickup games and watch the recent World Cup contest between Germany and the U.S. on an outdoor Jumbotron. Thanks to Rosetta, he knows some useful phrases—"Germany, protect your balls, I'm coming" is my favorite—and his adventures in a Berlin bar and on the streets among hard-core "soccer hooligans" (mostly just enthusiastic ultra-fans) are genuinely charming.

That said, three to five minutes would've sufficed, and I wonder how many viewers will hang around until the end. Still, Colm's story should resonate with the target, and it does a great job of illustrating how small linguistic triumphs can have huge meaning when you're far from home.

Credits for the :60 below.

Client: Rosetta Stone
Spot: "Smaller World"

Agency: Energy BBDO
Chief Creative Officer: Mark Taylor
Creative Director: Jonathan Linder
Associate Creative Director, Copywriter: Natalie Taylor
Head of Production: Rowley Samuels
Senior Producer: Elena Robinson
Production Business Manager: Zoe Grubbe

Production Company: Pulse Films
Director: Young Replicant
Executive Producer: Kira Carstensen

Production Service Company, Uruguay: Home Productions
Producer: Andy Scriven
Director of Photography: Jackson Hunt

Editing Company: Union Editorial
Editor: Daniel Luna

Sound Mix: Stir Post
Executive Producer: Mindy Verson
Engineer: Peter Erazmus

Finishing: MPC

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