This morning, a site that I often visit displayed in the upper right of the front page a small Allstate Insurance ad featuring the slogan "Hamare haath, aapke saath." This caught my linguistic attention, and since there was a vivid purple button reading LEARN MORE , I dutifully clicked on it.
But the result was just a larger Allstate page displaying the same slogan:
A bit of web search turned up this charming video advertisement on YouTube:
and also informed me that Allstate registered "HAMARE HAATH, AAPKE SAATH" as a trademark (filed 2014-10-28, registered 2015-03-24), for the area of "Insurance services, namely, underwriting, issuance and administration of property and casualty insurance", and that "The English translation of "HAMARE HAATH, AAPKE SAATH" in the mark is "OUR HANDS, WITH YOURS"."
The cultural context of the video suggests that the slogan's language is from South Asia, and indeed Google Translate identifies the language as Hindi (despite presentation in the latin alphabet rather than in devanagari):
I left the comma out the first time I tried it — putting the comma back in rendered Google Translate perplexed, in the familiar mode of powerful but brittle modern AI algorithms:
I presume the Urdu version of this slogan would be the same (in transliteration).
A reader will no doubt be able to give us a morphosyntactic analysis, and discuss the difference between "with you" and "with yours" in the translations.
But what I can't figure out is why I was selected for this ad — obviously something about my browsing history identified me as Indian (or Pakistani?), but it's not clear to me what it was.
In some cases the causative factor is clear if stupid. Often after I look something up for a LLOG post, I'm dogged for months by advertisements for an object or a service that I have no interest in purchasing. But the only recent triggering factor that I can think of in this case is following a Google News link to a South Asian newspaper.
I also wondered about Allstate's slogan transduction into other languages. It's easy to find the Spanish ("…en buenas manos") version, but what about Portuguese, or French, or German, or Russian, or Chinese? A marketing-newsletter article (Patricia Odell, "3 Multicultural Marketing Lessons from Allstate", 11/9/2015) suggests that Allstate markets insurance only in the U.S., and that Hindi might be a special case:
The challenge here was how to introduce Allstate to the Asian/Indian marketplace. This group is the fastest growing ethnic population in the U.S., has higher income compared to other segments and spends more than the general market. They are insurance savvy and like the personal touch of an agent. […]
“We needed to make the brand relevant by showing them we know how they truly live, that they are bi-cultural, succeeding in U.S., but holding on to tradition. That they are living a better life in the U.S. and that’s a direct result of their own effort and they understand value of all they have to lose,” she said.
The messaging that emerged was that “we understand what you have achieved because of your hard work and we can protect what you have,” she said. The creative, print and video, picked up design elements from Indian textiles and cultural nuances from the traditional spices the culture uses.
“We demonstrated that Allstate agents respect tradition and will be good partners,” she said. “We increased brand consideration and are exceeding online metrics that we put in place.”
But this 2003 Chicago Tribune article suggests that Allstate did something similar previously in Chinese:
[W]hen the insurance giant decided to target Chinese-Americans in a new advertising campaign rolling out this week in New York, it had to go to great lengths to redefine its age-old tagline, "You're in good hands with Allstate."
Instead, the campaign, which will air in Cantonese and Mandarin, translates the slogan as this: "Turn to our hands to be worry-free."
It's not clear whether they also presented the slogan in textual form, and if so, whether it was in Chinese characters or in pinyin or (for Cantonese) in some other transliteration.