Depending on what part of town you are from or what language your TV is talking to you in, you’ve heard the name ‘Los Pitufos’. Confused? Well think of one of the most popular brands in kid’s entertainment and think of 500 million chotchkies sold world wide with the Pitufos image that includes blue bottled water. Yes it’s none other than The Smurfs whose long awaited movie opens today.
Thanks to the youngsters in mi familia and their screeches about Pitufos did I realize the Smurfs I grew up and their Pitufos were one in the same. How did we come to praise these mushroom dwelling blue cuties with two different monikers and where the hell did that translation come from?
After some digging I found the culprit. Spanish magazine editor, Alfons Moline, who some thirty years ago couldn’t translate, the word smurf into Spanish (why he didn’t leave well enough alone I’ll never know) named the characters after a famous folktale hero known as ‘Patufet’. Now, all of Spain, Mexico and Latin American uses the term Los Pitufos, pronounced ‘pee-two-foes’ when talking about The Smurfs. That still doesn’t explain how mi familia and many other U.S. Hispanics are pitufo crazy and smurf ignorant.
The answer there, didn’t take much digging it was corporate America trying to sell more crap to Latinos without giving it much thought. Someone in the advertising department must of read the dated study that all Hispanics prefer to be sold everything and anything in Spanish even their American pop culture. Isn’t that a condumrum or “adivinanza” in Spanish (see somethings are better left untranslated)? Therefore most Smurf advertising in Spanish-language media and in ads where there are high concentration of Latinos only use the Pitufo name. Bad idea I say.
First, it’s generally appreciated if a translation for marketing purposes is at least in the same English sounding neighborhood you know like Nueva York or Los Doyers (which incidently the team trademarked). Don’t sell me Alvin y Las Ardillas when everyone else is talking about Alvin & the Chipmunks. And don’t promote Harry Potter y Los Reliquias de la Muerte which doesn’t sound as British and regal as Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows.
Do you want us to assimilate or don’t you or do you just want us to buy your crap?