Feb 15 2010

Three friendly faces (Sergio, Benoît, and Beat) from the lighter side of Swiss ads

by at 7:11 pm

We’ve complained about ads in Switzerland before and posted a clip of Jon Stewart mocking them, so we were pleasantly surprised when we recently came across some hilarious and original ads for the Swiss Federal Railways. (Ads for Switzerland are another matter—we’ve seen some good ones, including the Swiss Mountain Cleaners, which you may remember, and more recently, “We do whatever it takes to make your holiday perfect.”) Just like the Swiss Federal Railways’ official names, which appear on trains in German, French, and Italian (respectively SBB, CFF, FFS—read more on Wikipedia), the ads feature three characters: Sergio, Benoît, and Beat. Sergio sounds Italian, Benoît sounds French, so I guess Beat is a Swiss-German name?

Coat of Arms of Beatenberg

In fact, it is! As their website says: “Sergio from Ticino, French-Swiss Benoît and German-Swiss Beat are the three friendly faces of the new SBB leisure time campaign.” And according to Wikipedia: Beat is pronounced BEH-awe-t. It derives from the Latin beatusmaximus. It is not popular in the rest of the German-speaking world. It is popular in Switzerland because of Beatus of Lungern, the Apostle of Switzerland. I’m not sure if Sergio or Benoît have similarly specific Swiss-French or Ticinese connotations.

Sergio, Benoît, and Beat

Anyway, we’ve been seeing billboards featuring this trio and Jackie saw a video online of them playing in the snow, advertising the railways’ winter deals. The concept is that the three are testing out different deals offered by the train company, and the ads feature them in a variety of settings, including train travel on your birthday with the “Happy Birthday travelpass”:

Sergio, Benoît, and Beat celebrate one of their birthdays

The first video is now gone, it seems, which is too bad (when I finish this post I’m going to use their comment form to ask them to put it back online.) But another video featuring them in a museum is online. watch it here:

Watch now!

There’s a form setup so you can be alerted by text message when a new ad becomes available. Jackie signed me up, so I’ll be sure to let you know.

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