When Greta Gerwig’s upcoming Barbie new INTERNATIONAL POSTER TIME The movie hit the internet last week and it went viral, apparently for all the wrong reasons.
The French version of the poster looks innocuous enough. It features Margot Robbie as the pink doll, and Ray Ann Gosling plays her blonde sidekick, Ken. But the French catchphrase: “Elle peut faire. Lui, c’est juste Ken”—meaning “She can do anything. He’s just Ken”—is an NSFW pun in French slang, where ken is another word for “fuck”. So the tagline became: “She knows how to do everything. He just knows how to make love.”
Read it like this, Gerwig’s PG-13 Comedy satire turned R-rated bawdy sex comedy.
French PosterBarbie. Warner Bros. 1980
Internet, Internet, take this up. Several French Twitter users tweeted photos of the poster and commented on the “accidental” or “unfortunate” translation. Naturally, it went viral, with some of the original tweets being viewed millions of times.
Why this is so hilarious to French speakers needs some explanation. In the so-called “verlan
” slang, which first became popular in 1500s, French words are given new meaning by changing the sound order of the syllables. Tomber(falling) became be-ton(concrete). In this case, forniquer or its abbreviated version, niquer(fuck) became queni or keni, which has been shortened over time to ken .
Then, in the Barbie
tagline, the meaning of “Lui, c’est juste Ken” happens changed because c’est(he was) and sait(he knew How) is a homonym. “He’s just Ken” becomes “He just knows how to make love.”
In France, Barbie posters did not cause much shock and outrage – just a vulgar pun can scare the French nation – and, initially, most French speakers thought the pun was poorly translated or too literal meaning result. But the pun is so obvious – ken as slang for “fuck” for anyone under People are common saying , many people in France that many people began to doubt the nSFW information of the poster. Guerrilla marketing practices.
A closer look at the tagline seems to confirm this. The original English Barbie tagline read: “Barbie is everything. He’s just Ken.” But the French translation of the first line is not a literal translation of “Barbie est tout” (“Barbie is everything”), but “[Barbie] peut tout faire ” (“Barbie can do anything”), which fits nicely into slang with dirty connotations can do.
“It was definitely intentional; there’s no way a French-speaking person could not have noticed the dirty pun,” a French marketing executive from a rival studio told The Hollywood Reporter, and noted with admiration, “It’s a real kind of genius that they put this in.”
Comments sought, Warner Bros. refused to confirm or deny the raunchy French pun Whether it is intentional or unintentional. But they made no secret of their delight at the buzz the poster has generated on social media in France and abroad.
“Speculation surrounding the marketing campaign for Barbie
suggests that awareness is high and excitement is high A spokesperson for Warner Bros. Discovery said: “Our upcoming film in France has been well received by the public. “We can’t wait for audiences around the world to see the film when it hits theaters next month. ”