An Ad In Downtown Montreal Asks You To 'Be The Goat'... Literally
It has a double meaning in English. But not in French.
It's not as baaaaad as it seems. An ad for Columbia Sportswear on the side of the Hudson's Bay building in downtown Montreal calls on viewers to "Be The Goat." While in English "goat" can be understood as an acronym for "greatest of all time," it loses that double meaning in the French version on the banners: "Soyez la chèvre."
It's not just a bad translation, however.
Banners reading "Soyez la chèvre" on the Hudson's Bay building in downtown Montreal.Thomas MacDonald | MTL Blog
The English version of the Columbia ad campaign also refers to the animal.
"Goats don't care about being 'the g.o.a.t." a video associated with the campaign states. "They just care about being a goat. Doing goat things. [...] Because they have an innate drive and, more importantly, the right tools to go wherever they will. And you've got that same will, we've got the way."
[Introducing] the all-terrain, hyper-grippy Facet 75 Mid.www.youtube.com
The series of banners on the Hudson's Bay building does include images of a goat. But that hasn't prevented confusion among some onlookers.
A March 29 tweet about the banners has received hundreds of likes and dozens of comments, many questioning the translation.
\u201cSur l'\u00e9difice du La Baie, au centre-ville de #Montr\u00e9al, Columbia a litt\u00e9ralement traduit \u00ab Be the goat \u00bb par \u00ab Soyez la ch\u00e8vre \u00bb. Si par \u00ab goat \u00bb on entend \u00ab greatest of all time \u00bb, mettons que la traduction ne rend pas tr\u00e8s bien l'id\u00e9e...\ud83e\udd28\ud83d\udc10\u201d— Patrice Cinq-Mars (@Patrice Cinq-Mars) 1680118020
"The translation team decided to keep the goat concept probably because of the graphics," a comment from Twitter user MathieuGomez8 reads. They posit that "the English marketing team didn't think about other languages... It happens in the translation world, there are sacrifices to be made."
Contacted by MTL Blog, a Columbia spokesperson said the direct translation was intentional.
"We understand that some consumers may read into the headline and take-away a double meaning, but our clear intention was to correlate the on-trail confidence of a goat, and the performance of our footwear," they said.
They also explained a French-speaking Montreal-based team was responsible for the translation.