On His Day Off, Ferris Bueller Sings in Chinese

Category: Culture, Language

Bueller?…Bueller?…Bueller? Just where has he been after ditching school? Perhaps he’s been to China. Or he’s grown up and bought a car.

Life has moved pretty fast since the film’s release in 1986. The world has opened up in terms of trade and offshore manufacturing, with the internet and technology boom propelling some countries to the forefront (although we’d have to ask Bueller’s econ teacher if he thinks this is due to “voodoo” economics). Foreign markets such as Brazil, Mexico and Turkey have emerged as significant economic powers.

Perhaps the one country that has changed the most dramatically is China, with a GDP that has just surpassed Japan’s and has placed The Middle Kingdom at the heels of the U.S., the GDP frontrunner. For Honda, China is one of the best sales car lots in the world: with 62 million registered vehicles in 2009 and projections to exceed 200 million by 2020 according to chinaautoweb.com.

This is where the Bueller ad comes into play. In the movie, the main character struts his stuff and his German vocal chords to Wayne Newton’s Danke Schoen. Then he twists and shouts in English. In the new Super Bowl ad, Bueller is back with a new Honda and instead of passing a German-American parade, he happens upon a Chinese parade. Next thing you know he’s singing in Chinese, which makes perfect sense because although the ad is geared to an American audience, the potential is in China and with the ever-growing Chinese-American population. Of course, the choice of a Chinese song could have been simply because the music rights were just less expensive or free. But we suspect something else was at play.

Broderick, a veteran of Broadway, is a great singer in any language, yet we think it’s not really his voice but rather a some great dubbing. His Chinese “voice” is similar to his English voice, his lips move nicely with the words and he’s singing on screen for just the right amount of time so as to give you the illusion that he’s fluent. Nice going Honda! Now go out and enjoy the beautiful day.



Are you still here? Don’t you have anything better to do?

Photo attribution: Tricia Wang 王圣捷