Perth Language Institute
The two videos in question are both ads for Language Schools. Berlitz is a global language school with around 550 different locations while Perth Language Institute is a language school based solely in Perth, Australia. They have both created television ads with the purpose of convincing the audience that language is important. In both ads end with fatal consequences as a result of miscommunication due to the wrong understanding of a word of the complete misinterpretation of non-verbal signs. They portray this in a humorous way but the underlying message is clear which is that it is always better to possess the knowledge of more than one language.
The Berlitz Ad
The Berlitz ad that ran on the Norwegian Television channel TV2 in 2005 starts with the images of a young male in uniform who is being instructed in the usage of the coast guard equipment by his senior. This is all done in a very casual way and the audience gets the impression that not much happens in the area. The first reference to the theme of the Berlitz ad is made when the senior describes the radio equipment as “vital for survival” (the first part of the ad is in German and this is only a translation). This does not seem important to the audience as it is said rather quickly and the audience is still wondering about the subject of the ad but this sets the macabre atmosphere. The ad continues with the young male starting to relax in his new domain until the radio turns on. He first turns around but does not see his superior and then decides to answer his first call. “Mayday, mayday. We are sinking.” Here already the audience is puzzled as he does not seem fazed or even in the slightest excited and simply answers with “this is the German Coastguard”. The call for help is repeated and punch line is revealed as he replies “What are you thinking about?”....
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