Kids and grownups love it so, the local world of Haribo

On a particularly warm camping trip last summer, I left a bag of Haribo Starmix in my tent during the hottest part of the day. When I retrieved it that evening, I realised the sweets had congealed into one rather unsavoury-looking blob. I dejectedly muttered the sing-song slogan, ‘Kids and grownups love it so, the happy world of Haribo’. A German friend automatically responded, ‘Haribo macht Kinder froh, und Erwachsene ebenso’ – ‘Haribo makes children happy, and grownups too’. A fellow French camper then piped up with ‘Haribo, c’est beau la vie – pour les grands et les petits’ – ‘Haribo, life is beautiful – for grownups and children’. This got my inner languages nerd very excited, and soon banished the memory of my ruined sweets.

On further investigation, I found that the German confectioners have crafted a perfectly functioning jingle across all of their target markets… here are some more for your delectation, along with the rough English equivalents:

Italian – Haribo è la bontà – che si gusta ad ogni età

(Haribo is the great thing that you can eat at any age)

Spanish – Vive un sabor mágico – ven al mundo Haribo

(Experience a magical taste – come to the world of Haribo)

Portuguese – Haribo doces sabores – para os pequenos e os maiores

(Haribo sweet flavours – for the little ones and the grown ups)

For the full experience, I recommend testing your language recognition skills on this very entertaining Haribo slogan sporcle.

To me, this is a rare genuine example of that much over-used buzzword in the languages industry: transcreation. Haribo had a two-pronged approach to becoming a global household name: an internationally recognisable melody, and a consistent vision – that Haribo sweets are to be enjoyed at any age. The language labs then got to work producing neat little rhyming couplets that weren’t exact translations of the original German, but fit the global melody whilst being intelligently tailored to their intended language and market. The same can be said for transcreated Disney songs, which provide hours of Youtube fun.

Whilst we’re on the topic of setting terminology straight, it’s worth pointing out that the transcreation of the Haribo slogan is part of the greater aim of localising the Haribo product for each new target market. Other steps in this localisation process are the translation of the ingredients on the packet and the creation of bespoke content for each new audience: a local celebrity endorsement, for instance, or a profile of a local Haribo vendor. Content creation, translation, transcreation – all these things need to be factored into successful localisation.

It’s clear the guys at Haribo are pretty savvy about all this. However, it seems they were short on inspiration when it came to Poland, where the slogan simply reads: ‘Haribo smak radości’ – loosely translating as ‘Haribo tastes of joy’. Here at Quill we’re racking our brains for a slicker alternative – if you can think of one, we’d love to hear it!

Emma Hall, Localisation Operations Manager

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