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25/09/2008 - par Mark Tungate (tungateinparis@hotmail.com)

I often wonder how French people view the English. As far as I can tell, it amounts to a string of clichés about polite men with umbrellas and hard-drinking girls with bare legs, even in winter. Our food is terrible, we drink like fish and our teeth are rotten, but at least we have a good sense of humour. Oh, and our tailors are rich - even though we shop at H&M.
I was reminded of this by the advertising campaign for Telelangue, currently adorning the walls of the metro. «Arrêtez de massacrer l'Anglais!» Sound familiar? The idea is quite amusing - but I wasn't going to mention it until I received a press release telling me that it had been an outstanding success for the agency The Marketingroup. The name of the agency is a nice bit of franglais in itself. How do you pronounce that, boys and girls? Ze Marketeengroop? For the name of your agency to really make sense, mes amis, it needs two Gs. The Marketing Group. Stop massacring English, indeed.
But my main argument here is with the posters. One of the people being massacred is not English - he's Scottish. He wears a kilt. How would you feel if I depicted you as Belgian or Swiss? The English and the Scottish fought each other for centuries, with massacres on both sides. You've seen Braveheart, I suppose? I'm sure you didn't realise your innocent advertising image was weighed down with unpleasant symbolism. But next time, stick with the bowler hat and the umbrella.

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