We speak the same language…

4 Dec

In one of my classes today, we had to do a breaking news writing assignment. It was one of those “the plot thickens…” type of stories, and one of the girls in my class thought that this assignment was like playing Cluedo.

Cluedo? What the hell is Cluedo?

So, as an unwitting American, I ask her what this Cluedo game is about. She tells me it’s some board game where everyone solves a murder. Then I said, “Oh! Clue!” Yes, that board game I enjoyed when I was still a Catholic schoolboy.

I don’t understand. So I went on Wikipedia later and found out about the history of Clue–I mean Cluedo–and it was originally made in Britain. However, when they introduced it to the United States, they decided to call it Clue. Cluedo sounds pretty tacky anyway, but what I don’t understand is why it’s called one thing in the UK while in the US, it’s a totally different name? It’s the same thing in advertising. I give you two examples:

In the UK, a movie came out in April called “The Boat That Rocked,” which was about British radio stations broadcasting from ships to counter the BBC. Here’s a trailer:

However, in the US, the same movie was retitled “Pirate Radio.” Pretty succinct, but I’m wondering why they can’t seem to have a common title for it. It’s not like we speak two different languages!

It’s not even limited to just titles. It also concepts. Did you know there are two different versions of the Mac vs. PC ad beaming worldwide in English? Of course, most of us are familiar with this one:

But if you’re living in the UK, you get Mitchell and Webb instead:

What can Mitchell and Webb do better in the UK that Justin Long and John Hodgman can’t? Please, I want to know! Oh, and don’t get me started with the Japanese Mac vs. PC ads!

4 Responses to “We speak the same language…”

  1. katrina kay December 4, 2009 at 02:13 #

    lol cluedo

    this was a cool post!

  2. richie December 4, 2009 at 08:18 #

    Yeah, who was it who said we’re two people separated by the same language? Or something? Winston Churchill? Dunno..
    Show’s how sharp I am I suppose, I could’ve at least googled it before commenting on your blog, but I’m so lazy, the google button eludes me.

    I always thought the mitchell and web mac ads were lame though. John Hodgeman is my hero afterall. Dunno who the other guy is but he is pretty smooth.

    Yeah, Cluedo does sound tacky. Maybe it was a licensing issue, or maybe we’re just British? Americans afterall have 20/20 hindsight. They can just look across the pond and go “fuck, we’re not doing THAT”.

    Way to go with Pirate Radio.


  3. Robert Smith December 4, 2009 at 15:30 #

    That might not be the best example of their work but Mitchell & Webb are pretty good.

    And anyway, why have all the adverts the same? I find it a touch irritating when you get ads that have clearly been made for a foreign audience shown over here. Talk about rubbing globalisation in your face. A company might as well say “We value you so little that we’ll just use the same commercial for you as we do for everyone else. You might not have even heard of the people we’ve paid to present it but we’re sure you’ll still do as you’re told.”

  4. MarQ December 6, 2009 at 04:51 #

    Globalization at its finest, indeed. I tend to enjoy seeing what other countries’ equivalent of our media is.

    My favorite examples are the 12 different versions of “Ugly Betty” and of course, “Kapamilya Deal or No Deal” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkNb6g2Vo3k

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