T.M.E.

This past week, apart from the post-election agreements, Spain has lived through a revolution on the internet: the new Philips video, How to groom the man garden. In less than one week, the clip has received more than 1.3 million hits.

Here’s the English version:

And here’s the Spanish version:

The video is a sort of tutorial for men, on how to groom their private parts. Nothing special, if it weren’t for the language they use, intended to be funny.

A friend sent me the link to the video by WhatsApp on Tuesday, just 6 days after its release, and that same afternoon I saw the video on my Twitter and Facebook newsfeeds many times. Philips had posted it on 20th May and by the end of the week it had doubled its hits, which keep on growing exponentially.

The surprise here is that Philips also released this video in other versions; the original one, in English, but also in French and in German (well, English with German subtitles) and none of these versions has gone as viral as the Spanish one; in fact, they have not gone viral at all. Though, over the last few days, we have witnessed a subtle increase in the hits on the original version, but still far from the figures of the Spanish video.

The Spanish version is almost a perfect translation of the English one.

“Si nunca te has podado tu bosque” vs. “If you’ve never shaved your man garden before”

“Sin la maleza, el árbol parece más grande” vs. “With no underbrush, the tree looks taller”

“Las joyas de la corona” vs. “Your crown jewels”

“Sujeta el mástil por la punta” vs. “Grab the tip of your best friend”

“Si bajas hacia las rocas del bosque” vs. “When you get down to the marbles”

“Otro pájaro que vuela libre” vs. “Let that bald eagle fly free”

The French version also has a couple of double entendres (adieu la broussaille, les bijoux de famille), but they don’t use as many metaphors as in the English and Spanish versions.

So why the differences in the hits between versions? At first, I started thinking these differences were due to cultural reasons. Maybe all these metaphors just don’t work everywhere.

I also thought of the YouTube audience. According to Women’s Media Center, while men spend 1 hour weekly on YouTube, women only spend a little more than half an hour. More than this, 25% of men watch YouTube videos every day, while only 17% of women do so. These are only figures, of course.

As I always do in these cases, I’ve asked among my friends, who are very trustworthy people, what they thought about the video. We could divide the results into two categories:

Friends from outside of Spain (US, Canada, Romania, Belgium, The Netherlands, UK, Germany, Israel, France and Sweden)

Nobody has liked the video. “Too obvious”, “Way too many metaphors”, “Annoying”, “Boring”.

Friends from Spain

Men over 40 don’t like the video either. “Seems like they are talking to a teenager.” “We like nasty euphemisms because of our catholic background, so this must be targeted to very young guys.”

Most women over 40 found the video funny, overall. Some of them are even thinking of buying the device to let their partners try it.

Most women under 40 also found the video funny and the tutorial interesting.

Most men under 40 liked the video. Some of them already include manscaping in their grooming routine and some others think it isn’t so bad and might even try it.

Philips Public Relations spokesperson for Spain, Luis Suarez, argues that it is a video targeted to a young audience and it’s being shared mainly on Twitter and WhatsApp. However, he doesn’t know the reasons for the success in Spain. He thinks it is maybe because of the dubbing, intentionally home-made to increase the sensation that the whole video is a fake Philips. He also says they had to adapt the language in the translation to avoid using any obscene word and to get the final “fun” tone.

He obviously doesn’t know what he is talking about, as the English version is exactly the same as the Spanish one. No adaptation of the language. None. Metaphor by metaphor, all are the same, as we have seen above.

If we consider the hits of other videos about male grooming, we can see it’s not a matter of Spanish local idiosyncrasy. Men from all over the world could be a target for these kinds of videos and tutorials.

Who was Philips addressing? Have they thought of their audience before releasing the video? Were they aware that a viral video can also backfire?

As a conclusion, and without any other information other than the questions to my friends and a couple of articles and interviews that I’ve read, it is precisely the euphemistic language which is engaging the female audience in Spain, while in other places they prefer to call things by their names.

Let’s see how visits to the Philips channel evolve in the next few weeks.


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