Sunday, July 09, 2006

Dr. Dujardin's Definitive Translation of the Adidas Jose + 10 Ads

(World Cup Final Edition)

The doctor is in.

I defended my dissertation on Friday. (Successfully.) In the spirit of this capstone experience (a pleasure I could hardly deny my readers), I submit the final draft of the Adidas Jose + 10 ad, which I first proposed and outlined on June 14, drafted and revised on June 21, and have enjoyed as thousands of world-wide readers have since poured in (many more than my dissertation will ever see!). A final edition only seems fitting on the day of the World Cup clash between France and Italy, a match I could see going either way. I'm rooting for good football.

As with the PhD, this accomplishment would not have been possible without the help of many careful readers (in this case, none of whom I know personally): my thanks to Brian Bremen, "thetraytiger," Jordan, Jan from Germany, and several other anonymous posters for their shrewd input on the ad. I will note where each has contributed here, but please go to the comments section of the last draft to see their notes in full.

Dramatis personae:

¶ Jose
¶ Jose's amigo Pedro, aka Gordito
¶ A world-wide roster of professional footballers (sponsored by Adidas . . . after all, they ain't playing for charity!)

You can see "Jose" and "Pedro's" audition here:

As I noted, however, responding to an anonymous poster who pointed out that Jose's friend is named Pedro, I have yet to hear his name actually spoken in any version of the ad: has anyone? For me, he remains Gordito: cheeky, I know, but I'm very fond of the boy, whose imperious demands and loose body language bring his character into sharper focus than Jose's over the course of the match.

One more time, for posterity, the ad goes like this:

I. Equipo (the team)

As the ad opens, Gordito is bored, chilling out in an old arm chair (next to an abandoned car) outside, as Jose bounces a soccer ball off the wall nearby.

Gordito: Jose? Jugamos?/ Jose? Shall we play?

Jose: Si/ Yes.

The scene cuts to the courtyard where Jose and Gordito play even-odds to see who gets first pick of the players. As "Jordan" posted: "I think the game that they play is called shooting fingers, or odds/evens in English, and the "pares" means "evens." . . . On 'three,' they both hold out either 1 or 2 fingers. If the sum is even, whomever called evens/pares wins (2 in 3 chance)."

Gordito: Pares -- uno, dos y tres!/ Evens -- one, two, and three! (They each shoot some fingers, Jose loses the draw.)

Jose: Ach!/ Ach! (the international language of frustration). Gordito gets first pick; the players arrive, running in from various angles of the courtyard, some in their native team gear, some in their club kits, and some in more casual warm-ups.

G: Cisse!/ Djubril Cisse, of France, who broke his leg just prior to the Cup, and so will not appear in today's final against Italy. [Cisse played for Liverpool, but as of 7/11, will be going on loan to Marseilles.]

J: Kaka!/ Kaka, of Brazil (remember, lots of them go by one name), who plays for AC Milan.

G: Zidane!/ Zinedine Zizane (Zizou), captain of France, who is planning to retire after Sunday's final, both from national play and Real Madrid.

J: Beckham!/ David Beckham, captain of England until their loss to Portugal; also at Real Madrid (quite a powerhouse).

G: Defoe!/ Jermaine Defoe, a forward for the Tottenham Hotspurs, who was not selected to play for England in the Cup. . . tsk, tsk, Sven!

J: Kahn!/ Oliver Kahn, German goal-keeper, who won the "Golden Ball" (ringing Austin Powers?) at the 2002 World Cup, but was controversially benched in this tournament in favor of Jens Lehman; Kahn plays for Bayern Munich.

G: Messi!/ Lionel Messi, of Argentina and FC Barcelona.

J: Mm, Beckenbauer!

G: . . . [realizing what Jose had just said] Beckenbauer!? ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

The joke that they're sharing is that Jose has selected the player Franz Beckenbauer -- which sounds like "bake-un-bow-yea" in their idiom -- who was a German star (and former national team manager) from the late sixties and seventies (and an Adidas icon to boot). Just when they're laughing, however, Beckenbauer turns up, in the era-appropriate kit (and his old number, 5). Oliver Kahn is especially dumb-struck, and Beckenbauer approaches him first to shake his hand. Still a neat moment.

But having cottoned on to the kids' m.o., Zidane whispers in Gordito's ear the name of a French football icon from the late seventies and eighties, Michel Platini -- G: Platini! -- who duly arrives to hug his no. 10 heir, Zidane (i.e., Germans don't hug. . . though I know they could use one now. . .).

The players are stretching, smiling, and getting to know each other while they warm up, but Jose and Gordito are all business.

G: Oye, Defoe!/ Listen up, Defoe! Gordito throws Defoe the goalie gear, surprising -- and amusing -- because, as I've noted, Defoe is a forward; but we've established that these are the kids' teams, as Jose then makes explicit.

J: [the coin toss; Cisse stoops to pick it up; Jose swipes it from his hands] Soy capitan!/ I'm the captain!

G: [calling out to his players behind him] Oye, cuatro cuatro dos!/ Four four two! The standard soccer line up of four defenders, four midfielders, then two forwards, or strikers.

J: [to his team, very seriously] Cuidado Cisse, porque el corre muy rapido. . . vale? vale. / Watch out for Cisse, because he runs very fast . . . All right? All right. (Cisse nods and wags his finger in agreement). On this exchange, an anonymous poster generously contributes: "in the part where you say Jose says "Cuidado" I'm hearing "El cuidad con (something something)" but at least the meaning is still there =]." Further comments?

G: [pointing to two players in his backfield] Lampard, Robben, venga, ramos!/ Lampard, Robben, come on, to the wings! (or sides, of the pitch, with a gesture that tells them to switch -- which they do).

And that's Frank Lampard, of England and Chelsea (who has no reason to smile these days -- as he does in the photo above -- given the way he played for England in the tournament); and Arjen Robben, of the Netherlands and Chelsea (uh huh, another powerhouse).

II. Partido (the game)

The match begins when Jose shoves German player Michael Ballack to the side and says either pita!/ the whistle (has blown), or quita!, get back, referring to the ten yard clearance rule; "thetraytiger" hears quita, I still hear pita -- regardless, Jose takes the first touch and play begins.

G:Vengamos! Venga, corre!/ Let's go! Come on, run!

Jose tackles -- okay, trips -- the rapidly advancing Robben, who considers it a foul. Jose shrugs off his protest with a clipped sorry! to continue play.

J: (dwarfed by opponents) Aqui, Beckham!/ Here, Beckham! (who produces his trademark bending cross; I take it Jose doesn't ask much of him defensively).

Kaka ends up with the ball, advances, shoots, and Defoe -- remember, a forward -- manages to deflect it, with a laugh. Jose, disappointed in Kaka, orders, Tu, al banquillo!/ You, to the bench! -- in which the joke is who benches Kaka?! -- but then he shouts, Duff, ven! / Duff, come! Damien Duff, of Ireland and Chelsea, comes in off the bench. Play continues.

G: Oye, Zidane!/ Hey, Zidane! (whom he passes the ball). Zidane. . . eventually to Cisse. As Cisse heads up the wing, Capitan Gordito yells A Lampard!/ To Lampard! (thank you, anonymous poster), who is running up the center and ready for a cross.

Lampard collects the cross and shoots; the goalie, Kahn, grabs it.

G: Gol!

Kahn: "Nooooo!"

Lampard and Gordito's team consider it a goal. Kahn disagrees, and argues with Jose over the goal line. As Brian Bremen brought to my attention, this goal recreates the controversial cross-bar goal from World Cup 1966, won by England over Germany (funny how the English celebrate such a dodgy triumph). But as "Jan" from Germany added here, Kahn is saying "'hey, der war auf der linie, der ball!' which means as much as 'hey, the ball didn't cross the line!'" (danke schon, Jan!) Kahn and Jose are arguing when . . .

Jose's mother calls from the balcony: Jose!

J: Que?!/ What?

Jose's mom: A casa!!/ Come home! He shakes his head and throws up his arm in disappointment, and heads for home, as the camera pulls back to reveal noone on the "pitch," save for Jose and Gordito, reluctantly exiting their fantasy. . . Interestingly, I find it hard to pick out Gordito here, though assume he is there: was he part of the fantasy?

As we draw to a conclusion here, I want to add once again that in translating the ad to the letter (so to speak), I am aware that I am violating the spirit of the ad, which rightly supposes that kids all over the globe -- and fully-fledged grown-ups -- play "fantasy football," so that you don't need to know what Jose and his friend are saying to "get" the ad. But knowing what they are saying, and appreciating the sly wit rendered by the kids' particular choices, adds an additional level of fun, no doubt. I truly have yet to tire of it, especially given how slyly Adidas has put out the ad in so many different versions.

A round-up of other related information:

¶ You can see the making of the ad here, which includes other players not mentioned in the ad:

Can someone translate Kaka? Truly, a blur to me, given that Portuguese slurrrrs the sharp consonants of Spanish.

Such humble and generous readers! Since I posted this earlier today, an anonymous contributor has answered the call: "Found Kaka's translation on Adidas Performance's website in the Behind the Scene clip: 'They were great. They obviously played around, they are kids and want to have fun. They were good actors and behaved very well during the recording. They were truly fantastic children.'" Fantastico! Muchas gracias! (You'll still see this post in the comments . . .)

¶ In the first half of the ad, the tune is D'aloutte, by RJD2, which you can get on iTunes. In the second half -- that skimming "If you don't give my football back, I'm gonna get my Dad on you. . ." -- is by Jim Noir, the tune Eanie Meany. I have skimmed my way through many days since with that tune.

¶ As for Adidas, its initial press release for the ad can be found here.

That article includes the full roster of Adidas athletes appearing in "Impossible Team," many of whom I don't mention (or picture) here:

José’s team:

Michael Ballack Germany, FC Bayern Munich
Franz Beckenbauer Germany
David Beckham England, Real Madrid CF
Du-Ri Cha Korea Republic, Eintracht Frankfurt
Damian Duff Ireland, Chelsea FC
Steven Gerrard England, Liverpool FC
Kaká Brazil, AC Milan
Oliver Kahn Germany, FC Bayern Munich
Juan Román Riquelme Argentina, Villarreal CF
Bastian Schweinsteiger Germany, FC Bayern Munich
Patrick Vieira France, Juventus Turin

Pedro’s team:

Djibril Cissé France, Liverpool FC
Jermain Defoe England, Tottenham Hotspur
Kevin Kuranyi Germany, FC Schalke
Frank Lampard England, Chelsea FC
Michel Platini France
Shunsuke Nakamura Japan, Celtic Glasgow
Alessandro Nesta Italy, AC Milan
Lukas Podolski Germany, FC Köln
Raúl Spain, Real Madrid CF
Arjen Robben The Netherlands, Chelsea FC
David Trézéguet France, Juventus
Zinédine Zidane France, Real Madrid CF

Also, there is also an article on the English-language site of the German periodical Der Spiegel.

I myself am waiting to read a follow-up piece on how Adidas fared as a result of this ad (and, who knows, may write one myself . . .), though it would be hard to sort out the Adidas sales from this ad from the fact that Germany hosted the World Cup (Adidas is a German company). I trust there are people employed to do this kind of sorting.

¶ If you pick through the FIFA World cup site, you can find World Cup (and Adidas sponsored) players' "+ 10," or fantasy teams.

Michael Ballack's, for example, is here:

Lionel Messi's

Zinedine Zidane's

Franz Beckenbauer's

David Beckham's

¶ Finally, do read the international comments posted about the ad on YouTube, e.g.: spettacolo, or spectacular, in Italian; simplesmente fantastico, simply fantastic, in Portuguese; Que grande anuncio y grande cancion! What a great ad, and a great song, in Spanish; and (we'll let the Germans have the last word here), Ich find sie ganz cool, I find this pretty cool.

Those comments, as well as the number of countries represented thus far by readers in this blog, testify to the truly global reach of the World Cup. Kinda neat, and as I've said, a great way to feel as if I'm participating in this quadrennial event.

Looking forward to a good final today: Vale? Vale.



infinity said...

I', looking forward to the last match tonight. It was such a great 4 weeks, we'll definitely miss all our guests. And even though we didn't make it to the final, we celebrated the 3rd like the 1st ;)
Thanks for this translation, I adore these commercials, the kids are so cute and the music stayed in my head all day long *lol*

Euonymous said...

I take it infinity is writing from Germany . . . As far as I know, Germany did a great job. . . Again, danke schon. .

Anonymous said...

Found Kaka's translation on Adidas Performance's website in the Behind the Scene clip.

"They were great. They obviously played around, they are kids and want to have fun. They were good actors and behaved very well during the recording. They were truly fantastic children."

HK gal said...

I love this ad, many of my fave footballers are involved, e.g. Beckham & Kahn. I especially love the beautiful idea of making a kids dream come true, i.e. playing with the greatest footballers in the world. thank you very much for such detailed coverage

Anonymous said...

Great job translating, but if I recall correctly, Jose (while being dwarfed by an opponent) calls for Kaka, not Beckham, and when Kaka fails to pass him the ball and unsuccessfully shoots it, he gets angry and benches him!

Also, his Mom is calling for him to come "inside the house" (a casa), but it is not that important, obviously! Everyone gets the "joke" and the spirit of the add. And thanks for the info!

Euonymous said...

Thanks for your input! I respectfully think I will hold firm on these two counts, tho. . . Jose calls for Beckham to pass to him, and he benches Kaka after Kaka fails to score against Defoe; and "a casa" literally translated is "to house!," (which I translated to the English idiom with "come home!") Whateva. Thanks for coming! Keep enjoying the ad.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see in this spot Maradona, Pelé and Cruyff. But is an amazing history and it has the latinamerican flavor.

Richard L Zayas said...

Has anyone ever seen a full list of all the players who are on the poster? I have the poster in my room and love it but, some of the players are from before my era and I had some trouble finding out who they were. I have something like 7 left.

If anyone has a full list I would love it! IF needed I could write in a list of the players I still need to identify (using descriptions)

Ex: who is the Italian guy in the back with the mustache?