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Trend Watch

N'est-ce Pas

A commercial extolling the rewards of American work ethic ...


When:

Lookups spiked on March 27, 2014.

nest-ce-pas-cadillac
Photo: General Motors

Why:

A commercial for Cadillac presents a well-dressed man who says that his luxury lifestyle (and a luxury hybrid car) are the "stuff" that is a reward for a distinctively American work ethic. This is contrasted with people who stroll home from work, go to cafés, and take the month of August off - in other words, the French. At the end of the commercial, he says: "As for the stuff, that's the upside of only taking two weeks off in August. N'est-ce pas?"

The ad has gotten more attention since Ford's ad agency made a shot-by-shot satire featuring an urban recycler instead of a successful businessman; in this version, care for the environment and local communities replaces the "stuff" of the original.

N'est-ce pas? (pronounced \ness-pah) means "isn't it so?" in French. Its frequent use in English explains why it is entered as a foreign term in our dictionary.



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