Bell Canada Chinese: translate ideas, not just words

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  • Bell Canada’s bold new brand and new advertising used a fresh, clean look based on Bell-ements (elements of the new Bell logo) to create a distinct visual identity for the advertising itself and to launch all new product offers. Built around the promise of Bell as an enabler of a better life, the campaign featured “Today just got better” as the tagline and clever word-play around the “er” in better. The problem with the word-play was that it was entirely language based. It worked in English. But not in French. Or Cantonese. Or Mandarin. Or… you get the point. We were commissioned to develop the branding and advertising in a way that worked for the Bell Canada Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin speaking) consumer, maintaining the new brand look and feel while managing practical, tactical messages like new phones, features and plans.

    In the Bell Canada Chinese campaign, we focused on the core promise. This allowed us to translate ideas, not just words – a vital step when faced with a language that has some 3000-plus characters in comparison to 26.

    For the Chinese market, we created the concept of 能 (Neng – meaning “everything is possible”).  echoed the positive spirit of the tagline and positioned Bell as the agent of a better life, a maker of possibilities. We also found a unique way to make the bellements speak Chinese – using them not merely as ornamentation but as part of the graphic message.