Tag Archives: sport

Footifying Australia: Using Australia’s language diversity and love of sport to gain market share. NAB’s winning strategy.

Everyone loves a winner – especially when it has something to do with sport. And sometimes you just have to tip your hat to a really clever winner, in this case the National Australia Bank (NAB).

While some of Australia’s residents might think you only need English to get ahead, others are wise to the fact that there is money to be made in multilingualism. NAB, one of Australia’s big banks, has twigged that an increasing number of Australians speak more than one language. It’s something NAB has used to its commercial advantage in its massive national cross-promotion of Australian rules football. There’s nothing selfless about it of course – it’s all about increasing its own national market share of banking. The campaign targets ten of Australia’s many communities (Arabic, Chinese, Croatian, French, German, Greek, Japanese, Punjabi, Spanish and Turkish) – with the grand final broadcast in each of their languages (available online for the 2013 end of season clincher).

Talk about ingenious marketing. It uses sport (an immediate winner in itself in Australia) and specifically the excitement of the AFL footy grand final  to attract English-speakers and non-English-speakers alike. Such an event – and the build up to it – gives you tremendous exposure, while the combination of the grand final and ten languages generates huge curiosity from all sides. People want to hear what footy sounds like in different languages, and in their own language.

The ad campaign is really clever – it focusses on teaching people selected to call the grand final in a way that’s authentic and exciting. You also have to work out the terminology….. Is a banana really a banana in your language? Notice too it’s not only the voice but also the body that needs to be taught what to do.



It’s a challenge to call a grand final in just the right way – and some practice is needed – as is shown so well in this next ad. In just a matter of seconds the build up of excitement is palpable. No-one can resist a good call – in whatever language. It really does work!



By the end of this ad, you’re jumping out of your seats. Well done NAB!  Talk about clever…..

Keep it up NAB – we want more of this kind of positive advertising that recognizes language diversity right in the heart of the Anglobubble.

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Roger Federer – a real (language) champion in every sense of the word – unless you’re in Australia….

Roger Federer really does have it all – amazing sporting skill and success, loads of prize winnings and sponsorships, good looks, great personality and at least 4 languages. How lucky is he! He’s a great role model – someone we’d like our teenagers to emulate. No? You’d think having 4 languages (more on that later) would be something everyone would appreciate as an incredible advantage and achievement – but sadly that’s not the case for many residents of the Anglobubble. If you don’t believe me, have a little look and listen at this clip of Roger being interviewed post-match at the Australian Tennis Open in 2011. Try and identify what languages he is speaking – and notice how effortlessly he moves from one to the other. But pay particular attention to the Antipodean accent of an unidentified journalist if you can…. (from 47 sec in)


The clip I am showing was put together in China – because they were amazed and admiring of how easily he returned and lobbed linguistically when dealing with the media.  That seems a normal reaction… But not in the Anglobubble. Here’s what the journalist has to ask: “Roger, just a question about all your languages. Do you ever wish or regret you speak so many languages?” It makes Roger sound like he must be suffering from some kind of chronic medical condition…. We can be pretty certain the Anglobubbler asking the question is monolingual. One of the secrets of Roger’s success has been his language skills – he does interviews in English, French, German and Swiss German – with aplomb. People in English-, French- and German-speaking countries love him because he can communicate directly with them and they can communicate directly with him – without translation. That’s what we call cornering your market! It’s good human relations and excellent business. Well done Roger! We need to tell our little Aussie tennis stars to do the same. Now how come Roger speaks 4 languages? Well, he was raised in German-speaking Switzerland – his father’s homeland – where he was raised speaking Swiss German and English at home (yes, his mother is an English-speaking South African!) and standard German at school. He learnt French as a teenager when he went to tennis academy in French-speaking Switzerland. It all seems perfectly natural when you know the back story. Because Roger has an unusual accent when speaking English (he sounds slightly foreign) we assume he learnt it as a second language. This is Anglobubble bias – we make assumptions about who’s really English-speaking or not…. We really need to be more aware. Here is Roger again having fun with languages at the French Open in 2010 – with the ease of a real (language) champion.


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