Goodbye subtitles

Berlitz wants you to learn the language so you can watch the movie.

There are various noble reasons to learn a foreign language: professional advancement, ease of travel, impressing strangers, more colourful cursing, talking about people behind their back, building empathy and fighting dementia. While some insufferably ambitious types may take up French to, say, read Proust or Baudelaire in the original, Berlitz is setting the bar just a little bit lower – at movies.

Working with Rethink, the language school has a new campaign built around the insight that focusing on subtitles can mean missing the action on the screen. Two new videos show clichéd clips from made-up films shot so that most of the action (characters’ faces, crucial photographs) are off-screen. The focus is on the subtitles and whatever else falls into that reduced line of vision. It also works as a metaphor for all kinds of interactions where one is missing out due to language constraints.

The videos target francophone Quebecers, who consume a lot of subtitled English content. They’re circulating on Facebook and other social media, and will run as YouTube pre-roll for movie trailers.


Client: Berlitz
Agency: Rethink
National creative directors: Chris Staples, Ian Grais
CD: Nicolas Quintal
CW: Xavier Blais
AD: Maxime Sauté