Dear American Consumers,
Let me say this: I am not a marketing ninja. Nor am I a grammar ninja. That being said, I would like share with you a mini Greek grammar lesson which might help ad agencies/ marketing of Greek products in the future. In Greek, the letters o + i (oi) join in holy matrimony to produce the lovely sound “eee” (long e). With this shared knowledge, you may now be able to understand why the new Dannon Oikos, pronounced “Oïkos*,” ad campaign make me a very unhappy camper.
I would like to know, which ad agency is responsible for the creating the Oikos campaign? I learned the above grammar lesson probably in 2nd grade? of Greek School. So, basically what I’m saying is that you could tested the product on any 6 year old Greek-American kid and they would have flicked you in the forehead and said, “It’s e-kos, silly…not oïkos!!” Before I continue, I will admit I’ve yet to try this dairy delight. And although I like to consider myself an open-minded consumer, willing to try a new product at least once, I can say with great certainty I will never buy Oy-kos yogurt. Just thinking about the ad campaigns makes me want to punch walls. And, trust me the last thing I need right now is to be seen punching holes through the dairy aisle of the local FroGro. Oy-kos my a–. It’s so awkward to say, in English and Greek alike. In French, “oi” would be a “w” sound. I remember this from 7th grade French when my teacher told us “oink” would be “wonk.” There you go Wo-kos Yogurt! Again, awkward. I can only imagine the client meeting. “Alright, are we going to lie about the spelling or the pronunciation?” I guess they decided upon the later. And poor Dannon folk believed them. This is assuming that anyone on the creative side thought to consult anything/one/where Greek before pursuing such a project. I mean, even Wikepedia-ed knows better. It says, the Greek oikos is the origin for “Eco-” of or pertaining to the house, family, or earth. Imagine instead of eco-friendly, oïko-friendly? Oïko-logy instead of eco-logy? I mean there’s nothing wrong with OY! Like, in the Yiddish tradition OY! But, oikos is not the place for “oy.”
And this “Made from an authentic Greek Recipe,” business just makes it worse. I want to be like, Really? Whose? Did you talk to someone’s yiayia and get her step-by-step instructions? Well, if you did. Bravo! Good on you. In your quest for traditional, you just forgot to ask her one little thing, HOW TO PRONOUNCE oikos.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Uncle Jesse (mullet or no). But even the ridiculously (I repeat, ridiculously) good-looking John Stamos saying Oy-kos can’t undo the harm that’s been done. It makes me sad, I just can’t bear to think of Uncle Jesse as a sell-out. But, for all intents and purposes, that he is. I wonder how many of you Greeks people buy Oikos yogurt? And, do you feel any sense of betrayal? Well, you should. I’m just messing with you! I’m not judging you, really. But, I am judging you, Dannon, and your choice in ad agency. John Stamos is perfect, so he gets a bye. But, like I mentioned, I know very little about these things, but I still feel it is my duty to share whatever minute knowledge I might possess.
That reminds me, the other day when a My Big Fat Greek Wedding comment interceded class discussion in post-colonial lit., someone goes, “Haha, yeah! Do you use Windex?!” The class erupted in half-sleepy giggles (it was barely 10AM) and I had a similar reaction to the one I have upon seeing the Oikos yogurt commercials. I must use this outlet to inform all my non-Greek readers: Windex is not the Greek multi-purpose cleaner. We do not use Windex to heal wounds, clear acne and disinfect the toilet bowl. I don’t even know if Windex is sold in Greece (if it is, it’s probably expensive). What we do use, however is rubbing alcohol to do all of the above. And in Greece, some of the rubbing alcohol is blue. It could pass for Windex. I’m not sure if that’s where the joke got its origins, but I assume it is.
So, to recap today’s lessons: 1) Oikos is pronounced E-cos. 2) Do not use Windex as facial cleanser or antiseptic. Class dismissed. And..wait…one more thing! Ad agencies: I realize your target audience is non-Greeks but, Greek Americans still have to be in contact with your products. Please try to be a little more culturally sensitive. Thank you, that is all.
*Note: I stand corrected. In Ancient Greek, Oikos is actually pronounced Oïkos. Sigh. #greekamericangirlproblems. Thank you to my gracious reader, Eleni.