Dam advertising Dunglish

Dam beer

Someone told me recently that this advert has been around for a while, but that’s not important. What is important, is that it was spotted in New York City by a Dutch friend of mine now living in Québec who couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw this and forwarded it to me. He assured me that he asked New Yorkers what they thought and most of them didn’t get it because of the Dunglish. This is a clear cut example of Dutch marketing folks having fun thinking they are clever and irritating everyone else but themselves and their client. Tip to you Einsteins, get with the programme and read Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug. Today!

The red to emphasise Dam looks like a rip off of the I Amsterdam slogan, which, if you follow this link, was also poorly ripped off by Madrid. Second, the whole Hallo! And welcome schtick is bad punctuation and copywriting unless it was aimed at a Dutch audience who could get all warm and fuzzy being abroad and all, but it wasn’t, killing the effect like a flat glass of Amstel. Third, why on Earth did they use the Dutch word for beer (bier) instead of the English one? Talk about getting a headache from a cheap buzz! Crafting beer? Are you on drugs too? The ‘Gauw tot ziens’ (a quick and dirty translation of ‘See you soon’) doesn’t work if you cannnot read it, which is probably like 95% of people. It might as well be written in hieroglyphs.

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15 Responses to “Dam advertising Dunglish”

  1. Larry says:

    It was conceived by an ad agency in Texas. I don’t know what your friend’s experience with the New Yorkers says about New Yorkers, maybe just that his friends didn’t happen to get the dam/damn pun or the use of ‘bier’ to seem more European.

    The Amsterdam brewing company in Toronto has been using the slogan ‘Amsterdam good beer’ (and ripping off the Heineken logo) for years and people seem to get it.

    And yes, crafting beer … there are such things as ‘craft breweries’ but Amstel/Heineken is too much of a huge corporation to be one.

    The Biermarkt pseudo-Belgian restaurant in Toronto doesn’t even bother trying make its fake Dutch seem convincing (their ads are fully of quasi-German like ‘schlurpen’ and ‘ze’ and ‘und’ and umlauts and so on). Grolsch in Canada recently stopped a goofy ad campaign based on the widespread misapprehension of what the ‘sch’ in its name sounds like (thirschht quenching, and so on); the new ads are less silly but still use the ‘sh’ pronunciation that North Americans assume is right.

    In short, ‘One Dam Good Bier’ is lame, but it could be a lot worse.

    Amstel: because you’re slightly too pretentious for Heineken.

    Amstel: congratulates for figuring out that Stella isn’t worth the money.

  2. Natashka says:

    Amsterdam good beer is much better! And it’s all in English 🙂

    Love those last two slogans!

  3. Larry says:

    (They actually manage to make ‘Amersterdam’ of it somewhere on the site, which is quite a feat)

    To support the correct and appropriate commercial use of Dutch, I plan to visit the Belgian waffle place that opened here recently, whsoe name is Goed Eten.

  4. Koos says:

    You didn’t mention it but this phrase doesn’t feel right either: […]we’re happy Amstel Light is finally getting recognized for what we’ve known all along[…]

    I’d say its either getting recognition, or being recognized, not getting recognized. Also a certain thing or person doesn’t get recognition for what someone else has known… I think a more correct phrase would be more along the lines of “we’re happy Amstel Light is finally getting recognition for what we know it has always been […]”.

  5. Larry says:

    Nothing wrong with ‘getting recognized’.

    Koos: ‘Also a certain thing or person doesn’t get recognition for what someone else has known’.

    Yeah, it does. Amstel are saying they’ve always known their product was ODGB and that now finally others are acknowledging that, uh, fact.

    Did you know that Beck’s is America’s Favorite German Bier? I saw it on a T-shirt the other day.

    Of course, ‘bier’ means something entirely different in English, most of the time:

  6. mare says:

    My New York friends of course knew this slogant was wordplay and made to sound “European” but they also had associations with dental dams (“beflapjes”) and biers (“lijkbaren”).

    Both are most often associated with disease and death, not with something you are supposed to drink.

  7. ludolph says:

    Die stompzinnige dam/damn woordspeling werd ook al eens gebruikt in de titel van een Nederlandse speelfilm, Amsterdamned. Destijds voldoende reden voor mij om die film ongezien als derderangs te kwalificeren. Het doet denken aan een scholier die een beetje Engels geleerd heeft en op zijn vriendjes indruk wil maken door zijn Nederlands te doorspekken met stoere Amerikaanse cowboywoorden.

  8. Mark says:

    It’s obviously been done on purpose, the usage of dutch in the end is fine. I am dutch and therefore would know. Secondly, the usage of the dutch line at the end, indicates this advert might actually be meant to be spelt wrong just to make the world play work.

  9. Eric says:

    Mark: “the usage of dutch in the end is fine.”

    “Gauw tot ziens”?? I’ve never heard someone use that expression and I’ve been dutch for quite a while 😛
    “Tot ziens” and “tot gauw” are commonly used, but not that “Gauw tot ziens” contraption…

  10. Edith says:

    @ Mark,

    You are Dutch, but you don’t recognize faulty Dutch? (‘gauw tot ziens’)

  11. Mr. M says:

    Hello Edith,

    I am Dutch too. Can you perhaps explain why “gauw tot ziens” is faulty Dutch?

    – Graag tot ziens
    – Snel tot ziens
    – Gauw tot ziens

    Not all of these forms are commonly used, however all are correct Dutch in my opinion.

  12. Larry says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever used it myself, but I don’t see anything inherently wrong with ‘gauw tot ziens’. I suspect some people are objecting because it’s not part of their idiom and their additional justification is:

    1. ‘tot ziens’ generally implies wanting to see the other person soon, so ‘gauw’ is unnecessary
    2. ‘tot gauw’ exists in their idiom, as does ‘tot ziens’, therefore ‘tot gauw’ must be a contaminated form

    ‘Gauw tot ziens’ gets 3300 Google hits, of which 1500 are on .nl sites. Some of them seem to be from native speakers, others are lists of Dutch phrases and still others are people objecting to the phrase …

  13. LarryE says:

    Other than a few words which have come into English from Dutch, such as yacht and skipper, I speak almost no Dutch and so would appear to be more a member of the intended audience for the ad than any speakers of the language.

    It struck me as just another beer ad trying to be clever by being, as someone said above, made to sound somehow “European.” Which is nothing new; after all, Häagen-Dazs ice cream, the name of which was made up for exactly that purpose, has been around for nearly 50 years. At least in this case the product really is European.

  14. sishinakajima says:

    actually, the dutch drink pils or pilsener, but they call it beer. Since it’s not the same real beer as in the US, Japan or anyplace in the world, as for the inventors of the “bier” isn’t that ironic?

  15. Simon says:

    I know we’re a few months later, but I am watching oakland at the yankees as I type, and during the commercial break I saw this add on TV! Pretty weird to hear “Dames en heren, we gaan beginnen!!!!” when you least expect it.

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